“The Beauty and Logic of Sanskrit”
2-Hour Introduction to Sanskrit Pronunciation Class by Damodar Das
The importance of pronouncing Sanskrit correctly cannot be overstated. As the video below explains, it was strictly an orally-transmitted language for thousands of years, and it’s pronunciation hasn’t changed because of the particular attention to detail therein.
In Sanskrit, the language of the gods (“Deva-Vani”), a name for the Divine is said to be the essence of the Divinity itself; the Divinity and its oral expression cannot be separated.
In addition, some words’ meaning are completely different given different pronunciation such as “maala” (prayer beads) vs. “mala”.
And finally, the most sacred language on Earth is deserving of the utmost respect in terms of pronunciation.
For these 3 reasons (the sound is the Divine, some words meanings can change without proper pronunciation, and pure respect) accurate pronunciation is paramount.
However, many Westerners find Sanskrit pronunciation confusing simply because the transliteration of it into our Wester Roman alphabet looks intimidating, and because most of us are not philologists with an understanding of how to read transliteration symbols.
As you can read in the testimonials below, Damodar Das makes pronouncing Sanskrit words and reading them without transliteration directly from the Sanskrit script (“Devanagari” ) super fun and accessible. Check them out below as well a short video from one of his class sessions.
Testimonials for “The Beauty and Logic of Sanskrit” from Damodar Das
“”Damodar has been a presenter at Grounded by Yoga’s Teacher Trainings since about 2015 and how grateful am I! The language of Sanskrit is not my strongpoint and he presents it in a fun way that the students just love! The positive feedback from my groups are always wonderful and have invited Damodar back year after year since the first time. We follow up with Kirtan and with Damodar leading the group in a community expression of devotional chants and mantras I like to call a taste of Bhakti! The whole afternoon is not just a class, it’s an experience and extremely well done.” – Sandy Hicks, owner
“A perfect, concise and fun way to begin learning to read and write in Sanskrit.” – Lennessa S., yoga studio owner
“Damodar’s enthusiasm and lightheartedness made the Sanskrit come alive – separating it from a ‘boring language class’.” Thank you. – Retha C., yoga studio owner
“I loved learning the sounds of the symbols. It was easier than I imagined. Damodar did a great job teaching us the proper pronunciation of the Sanskrit symbols. He is so enthusiastic about what he’s presenting, that it gets everyone else excited too.” Tami M., yoga teacher-trainee
“This was a fun way to break the ice of the fear of learning to read Sanskrit. It piqued my interest in learning to read Sanskrit at a more advanced level. Prior to this class my interest was non-existent. I thought it would be too challenging. Damodar Das made it easier and fun. Now I want to dive in.” – Shannon B., yoga teacher-trainee
“I was so excited to learn the basics of Sanskrit. I had so much fun, and I loved chanting at the end. Damodar Das made learning a new language easy, and more importantly, FUN! His enthusiasm radiated through the studio.” – Anna B. , yoga teacher-trainee
“I liked the interactive nature of the class, and the making sure the pronunciations were understood for each person. Damodar Das was funny, charismatic and kind. It is valuable to know the correct pronunciations of the sacred Sanskrit words so I can fully embody and project these vibrations out to the world now (in the original, intended manner.” – Katie B., yoga teacher-trainee
“I enjoyed the energy that was brought to class, it was fun and pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone. Damodar Das was energetic, fun, and offered a great overview of Sanskrit!” – Anonymous
“Learning Sanskrit is such a privilege and an important part of the journey of yoga. Damodar Das delivers in such a way as to expand our minds to embrace while enlightening with heartfelt love and laughter.” – Lori G., yoga teacher-trainee
“I felt very comfortable and able to ask questions and make mistakes. I loved how we worked as a team. I didn’t think I would be able to make sense of it all but Damodar Das really made it all come together for me.” – Jen N., yoga teacher-trainee
“I would recommend this course for people who are interested in learning more about the foundation of the is beautiful language!” – Chris B., yoga teacher-trainee
“I found the workshop well organized with the teachings building upon one another. The chart that shows the symbols accompanying the enunciation was a helpful tool to include.” – Brenda, yoga teacher-trainee
“If you are interested in learning Sanskrit, having lots of laughs and meeting wonderful people, this class is for you.” – Meg, yoga teacher-trainee
“Fun, high energy. Think Joe Pesci meets ancient obscure language = magic.” – Vicki P., yoga teacher-trainee
“I think learning further into the practice of yoga is beneficial. I love having a better understanding of the pronunciation.” – Trish M., yoga teacher-trainee
“I am very intimidated about learning languages especially pronouncing in front of others. In this class I was comfortable, even eager to try. I smiled throughout rather than wanting to hide.” – Sharon, yoga teacher-trainee
“The class was a great introduction to Sanskrit and its basic structure. We were recognizing words at the end of 2 hours!” – Pennee B., yoga teacher-trainee
“It was very fun & interesting. I believe Sanskrit should be kept alive and I am glad there are people in the world like Damodar who teach it!” – Jackie A., yoga teacher-trainee
“Damodar’s enthusiasm and friendliness made it fun to wrestle with sounds I’m not accustomed to making. I obtained a basic grasp of Sanskrit in just a few hours.” – Jennifer, yoga teacher-trainee
“Damodar Das is a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and draws a nice bridge between our English language and Sanskrit. I was leery on how we would be able to read a completely foreign language in the short time that we were together but it worked beautifully. I feel my yogic experience is broadened in a new and fascinating way.” – Shelby K., yoga teacher-trainee
“In a short time of 2 hours we were taught the shape and sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet. I am amazed how we were able to read and write words by the end. Thanks!” – Jim L., yoga teacher-trainee
“A brief yet incredibly accessible introduction to an ancient language. Adds further depth to the lineage of yoga – many thanks!” – Mere S., yoga teacher-trainee
The high energy and participation makes this beautiful language easier to learn!” – Brooke, yoga teacher-trainee
“Damodar Das has a great enthusiasm for the Sanskrit topic! Well presented – for a fairly complicated system. We learned a lot in a short time! Loved the kirtan portion! Thank you!” – Tracy D., yoga teacher-trainee
“As an introductory course, Damodar Das provided exactly the right amount of information so as not to overwhelm new students to the Sanskrit language.” – Anonymous
“If you are interested in learning Sanskrit, Damodar Das’ love of the subject is contagious. His presentation is absolutely lively and fun.” – Marc, yoga teacher-trainee
“Great introduction to Sanskrit! Damodar Das adapted the information to accommodate beginning learners very well! He also was able to fit in a lot of information in a very short time period and makes everyone feel comfortable.” – Christian, yoga teacher-trainee
“The teacher/ teaching was great, very positive and with humor. Content was delivered very well in a short period of time.” – Kary, yoga teacher-trainee
“[What I liked best was] the structural breakdown of the language and a progressive approach through the mouth.” – Catherine, yoga teacher-trainee
“This was a great quick session that gave me the basic knowledge to further my learning of Sanskrit.” – Diamond, yoga teacher-trainee
“[It was] exciting to learn how to pronounce Sanskrit for better Kirtan!!” – Anonymous
“[The class] gives great insight into how the mechanics of the mouth affect the way you create sounds.” – Stephany, yoga teacher-trainee
“[The class was] straigntforward and provided a good intro [to Sanskrit. There was a] logical order to the class [and I] liked the color and coding [for different characters].” – Julia, yoga teacher-trainee
“I now understand the architecture of my mouth. I can make more sounds than I ever imagined.” – Clare, yoga teacher-trainee
“The non-linear flow of teaching points allowed for a weaving of the vibrations of sanskrit to be clearly understood phonetically and physically (mouth) – like the Universe. Damodar is approachable and warm and helps you to feel comfortable [even] as you butcher something beautiful and exquisite.” – Rhiannon M., yoga teacher-trainee
“A good humored, fast paced romp through Sanskrit…and we really read it in no time at all!” – Ramdhir, yoga teacher-trainee
“Damodar’s humor helped make me comfortable. I like [he] walked us through starting with the mouth positions. It was a joy. I felt like I learned so much in a short time. It is taught in a way to make the language memorable.” – Kathy C., yoga teacher-trainee
“The organization of the presentation made it easy to follow. Sanskrit is something that seemed out of reach and very difficult – while I can see that it would take years to truly learn, I no longer feel as intimidated by it.” – Linda M., yoga teacher-trainee
“Great introductory lesson in decoding the Sanskrit alphabet that makes it easy to understand and remember.” – Sheela R., yoga teacher-trainee
“[Damodar’s] humor makes an otherwise seemingly difficult topic fun and understandable” – Diana W., yoga teacher-trainee
“Damodar made Sanskrit seem easy and fun and I was able to learn a lot in a very short period of time. He broke things down in a way that made it easy to understand and remember.” – Erin, yoga teacher-trainee
“Humor while professional. I liked the strategy of the lesson [which had] clear goals. [The] information was delivered lightly in a comforting atmosphere. [It was] okay to make mistake [and] get to try again.” – Deb O., yoga teacher-trainee.