SANSKRIT & SANSKRITI
YOGIC WAY OF LIVING & SEEKING
चैतन्य की चेतना मैं, चेतना का राग शक्ति,
धर्म का चित्त मैं, चित्त की आग भक्ति,
सृष्टि की दृष्टि मैं, दृष्टि का दृष्टा शिव,
ब्रह्मांड की शक्ति मैं, शक्ति का सृष्टा शिव,
शून्यमय है, शून्य यह सारा,
अजर मैं, अमर मैं,
कब मैं और कहाँ मैं,
नाद शिव का, प्रतिबिंब शक्ति का
नहीं मैं, कहीं मैं
~ Adiguru Prakriti
Sanskrit & Sanskriti (Yogic way of living & seeking)
The English word 'Culture' does not mean the same as 'Sanskriti'? The term Sanskriti comes from the language Sanskrit. Culture is different from ‘Sanskriti’. Culture can be through any language. Not every culture has a language of its own.
It is said that losing your language Sanskrit is equivalent to losing the Sanskriti (संस्कृति). But it is not the same as saying if you lose your language you lose your culture. Sanskrit is a deep rich language in continuous existence for thousands of years. It has the vocabulary for the subtle dimensions of life. Rig Veda the first known written work known to the humankind is written in the Sanskrit language. Historians estimate that the Rig Veda was written well over 5,000 years ago, although the text itself is of more antiquity, it was available in the oral tradition for a much longer period.
Below table shows, how, if you lose one culture, you gain another culture but if you lose Sanskrit, you lose ‘Sanskriti’. It means that you still will have some culture, even if you were to lose when you acquire another language. But if you lose Sanskrit you lose your ‘Sanskriti’ - and gain some other culture but not the ‘Sanskriti’. Sanskriti is incomplete, non-existent without Sanskrit. Thousands of Mantras are in Sanskrit. It's a language rich in element Akasha and the Sanskrit words/sounds reach the specific cosmic centres of Shakti.
Sanskrit defines Sanskriti as the Indian way of life, way of thinking and way of seeking & yogic lifestyle. Thus, ‘Sanskriti’ is a top-down approach as compared to culture, which is most often, a bottom-up approach. Culture, as the word means is an auto-development, advancement of a society living under a certain socio-economic-political situation, almost the same as developing a bacteria culture in a laboratory. That Growth is culture. To its quite opposite is Sanskriti which is a life and society patterned after a hallowed inspiration from the lives of highly evolved Enlightened Beings, Devatas & Shaktis.
The human can defy nature for meeting his objectives. Ancient Indian sages identified this human ability and they challenged humans by setting higher goals to become better beings. That needs voluntary sacrifices, curtailing leisure, purifying his intellect, his mind-emotions etc. He was prodded to live for a goal and not succumb to growing like bacterial culture under a given situation, rather, create a situation that fosters spiritual ascension. Development that follows thus, guided by Sanskrit, the language of Divine, Higher Shakti, is Sanskriti.
If 'culture' is not ‘Sanskriti’, then what is the equivalent word for ‘culture’ in Indian languages?
Let us examine: What is not Sanskrit is ‘non-Sanskrit’ or ‘Asanskrit’ (असंस्कृत). In Sanskrit literature, the word ‘Asanskrit’ denotes ‘uncivilized’, ‘savage’ ‘uncultured’ etc. However, for those who have developed automatically through natural (प्राकृतिक) process are known as ‘Prakrit’ (प्राकृत), ‘developed naturally as organic growth’. Thus, what is not ‘Sanskrit’ is ‘Prakrit’. It follows therefore that what is not “Sanskriti’ (संस्कृति) is ‘Prakriti (प्रकृति).
It is considered naïve when ‘Sanskriti’ is translated as culture and other’s ‘culture’ as ‘Sanskriti’. It is similar to translation mishap that happened a few centuries ago, translating religions of non-Hindus as ‘Dharma’. There are a lot of words, terms in Sanskrit which are part of Indian Sanskriti like Naad/Nada, Yog/Yoga, Shakti, Pranayama, Kriya, Brahm, Atma, Paramatma, Chetna, Pragnya, Gyan, Akasha, Jal, Prithvi, Agni, Vayu etc, the list is very long, which were roughly, approximately, loosely translated in English. The English language doesn't have the vocabulary for the subtle dimensions of life.
Hence next time when you are reading the English translation of any Sanskrit term, make sure you understand the concept, the meaning of the term in its entirety, else you will miss the "point".