Sa.msk.rta as language name

John Smith jds10 at CUS.CAM.AC.UK
Thu Sep 25 06:26:21 UTC 1997

On Wed, 24 Sep 1997, Aklujkar wrote:

> ...
> 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.

Yes, but I don't think many scholars *do* accept Goldman's dating. I
certainly don't; when I reviewed the Balakanda volume I commented that it
was difficult to concur with a chronology that gives the Ramayana a
sporting chance of predating the Satapatha Brahmana. Of course early
Indian textual chronology is hopelessly vague in absolute terms, but the
broad relative chronology is reasonably clear; the only way to accept
Goldman's date would be to push the whole lot back by several centuries
(which is not something Goldman proposes, as far as I recall).

The reference (R 5.28.17-18) is nonetheless an interesting one:  thanks
for drawing attention to it.

John Smith

Dr J. D. Smith                *  jds10 at
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