Sanskrit (samskrta = cultured, perfected, in contrast to prakrta = uncultured, popular) is the sacred, ancient language of Hinduism.
One school of thought believes that an early form of Sanskrit originated with Aryan invaders and their Vedic hymns around 2,000 BCE.
Another view suggests that an early form of Sanskrit existed within the Indus valley. And the entire Aryan invader thesis has been questioned.
Regardless of its disputed origins, the speakers of Sanskrit believed, as do many Hindus today, that the correct pronunciation of this language may elevate individuals to higher planes of consciousness, leading to greater spiritual awareness.¹
Sanskrit has also found its way into Jain scripture.
The earliest surviving character of its unique Devanagari (language of the gods) script is dated at 150 CE.
Not unlike Latin in the Catholic Church, Sanskrit remains sacred and prestigious among teachers and students throughout India and beyond.²
¹ This kind of claim is not unique to Hinduism. Not a few adherents of different religions believe that their own special language is the key to higher consciousness, awareness or God. I personally think it’s a joke to assume that God would prefer one “special” language over another. In Catholicism, some speak of the Latin Mass as if it has some kind of special sanctity. But what these people forget is that Jesus and his message is for anyone who wants to hear it. That’s why I applaud Catholic Bibles translated in any language and see them as equally valid as ancient Greek (original language of the New Testament) or Hebrew (original language of the Jewish scriptures and the Christian Old Testament) manuscripts. Some contemporary religious scholars use the language-game-power-trip to try to raise themselves above and literally intimidate others. But again, that is contrary to the Christian message.