Home BREAKING NEWS University of British Columbia to Host the 17th World Sanskrit Conference

University of British Columbia to Host the 17th World Sanskrit Conference

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From wsc.ubcsanskrit.ca

By  Shyamal Sinha

From wsc.ubcsanskrit.ca

 

Sanskrit regarded as the mother of all modern languages and historians often call it the “perfect language”. This is not without reason as Sanskrit is a language that has the most number of letters and aksharas compared to any other language.

It is among the 22 languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India in terms of official use. It has been vastly and beautifully used in countless poems, literary works and numerous written mediums all through the world. In music, Sanskrit is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of Indian classical music and kirtanas, bhajans, stotras, and shlokas of Sanskrit are popular throughout India.Perhaps the most prominent use is found in religious scriptures, books and other writings. It holds the secrets of The Vedas, The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita and their unadulterated meaning within itself. Being the ultimate language, it brought complete clarity using words the modern world hasn’t yet seen.

Sanskrit is called the “mother of all languages” and though Western science dates its origin to the 3rd or 4rth century BC, ancient Indian texts take it thousands of years before the Vedas were written. The language was the first ever to exist in the form of speaking and then in the form of script that developed into Brahmi script. It spread from India to China where they whole heartedly regard Sanskrit to be the source of their regional languages.

The International Association of Sanskrit Studies (IASS) is organizing the 17th World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, from 9–13 July. Hosted by the Department of Asian Studies at UBC, it will be the first time that the triennial event is held in Canada.

The WSC is an international forum for professional scholars, researchers, and educators of the Sanskrit language and its literatures, and of related history, religion, and cultures. Some 600 scholars from around the world will present their research findings within the discipline.

The conference program is divided into 24 sections, including panels, scholarly papers, plenary speakers, and keynotes. Most of the research to be presented at the conference ranges from Sanskrit language, grammar, poetry, drama, and aesthetics, to philosophy, Veda, epics, and Buddhist and Jain studies. There are also two special panels on “Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts: Texts, Techniques, and Traditions.”

The author of this news report, a PhD student at The University of Hong Kong’s Centre of Buddhist Studies and a regular contributor to Buddhistdoor Global, will present a paper at the conference titled, “A Linguistics Approach to the Use of the Terms Bhavanga and Bhavanga-citta in the Theory of Continuity of Personality.” The presentation will discuss the relationship between consciousness (citta) and personhood (attabhava), which has attracted scholarly attention recently and is at the center of a lively debate. The author will also present the different ways that discussions on consciousness and personhood have served as an area of academic study for a wider range of issues, including rebirth, and continuity of consciousness until the attainment of nirvana.

The conference will also include a number of cultural performances and lectures open to the public, including the Gala Kutiyattam Performance by Nepathya, introduced by David Shulman of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This performance will be the first time that the ancient Sanskrit theatrical tradition of Kutiyattam, a UNESCO Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, will be performed in Canada. To enhance the public dimensions of the WSC, the Indian Summer Festival will be held in Vancouver during the conference.

The IASS was founded in 1972 after the first International Sanskrit Conference, which was sponsored by the Indian government in collaboration with UNESCO. The primary purpose of the IASS is to organize the World Sanskrit Conference every three years.

Computers require algorithmic programming and scientific research has found Sanskrit to be the perfect language for this purpose. Its preciseness and variety owe to this research.
Sanskrit is one language that can convey the biggest word meanings, quantitatively and qualitatively in the least amount of words. Owing to the abundance of words and preciseness of letters, it is most expressive. It is sometimes called the “poems of everyday life”.

Sanskrit has the largest library of words in comparison to any language. It is said to have 102 Arab, 87 Crore and 50 Lakh words (Hindi units have been used) that have been used via scriptures, books, speaking etc. In fac, professors say that a similar amount of words can be generated from these words within the next 100-150 years.

In the modern world, we want everything fast and we want it now. To study a language like Sanskrit, one requires calmness of mind, patience and reverence for the language. This ancient science has been ruthlessly plundered, looted and misinterpreted by foreign plunderers who were unable to fathom the greatness of its existence.