Sa.msk.rta as language name

Aklujkar aklujkar at UNIXG.UBC.CA
Thu Sep 25 03:25:31 UTC 1997

In the  message dated 97-09-19 14:13:36 EDT, Hrid at AOL.COM asked  about
early references specifically to the Sanskrit language. Responding to this,
S. Palaniappan drew attention to the following postings in Indology.
Item #        Date        Time        Recs    Subject
006780      96/12/13   07:23      31        'saMskRta'
006788      96/12/13  19:46       49        Re: 'saMskRta'

I do not recall what these postings said and have not had time to retrieve
them from the Archive. However, it may be useful to mention that I have
discussed the matter, at least to some extent, in  my article "The Early
History of Sanskrit as Supreme Language," published in _Ideology and Status
of Sanskrit_  edited by Jan Houben (Brill, 1996).  See fn 18 in particular.

It is possible to take the phrase ... vaaca.m ... sa.msk.rtaam occurring
in the Sundara-kaa.n.da of Vaalmiiki's as a reference to
Sanskrit as language. If one accepts this interpretation, if one includes
the Sundara-kaa.n.da in the oldest parts of the, and if one
accepts "for the composition of the oldest parts of the surviving" "a date no later than the middle of the sixth century B.C."
(Robert P.Goldman in his excellent "Introduction" to his translation of the
Baala-kaa.n.da, p. 22), then one could say that Sa.msk.rta as a language
name is at least as old as the sixth century B.C.

 S. Palaniappan remarks: >It was interesting to me that only PataJjali
unambiguously calls the language Samskrta.< I do not think this is
accurate. Some scholars might have derived this implication from
Pata;njali's phrase sa.msk.rtya sa.msk.rtya padaani uts.rjyante, but, as
far as I could check, there is no occurrence in Pata;njali's Mahaa-bhaa.sya
in which sa.msk.rta unambiguously stands for a specific language.

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