Sanskrit Times – Episode 1

As I am learning new Sanskrit words, I sometimes feel inspired to share some of the ancient scripts. I will post them titled “Sanskrit Times” implying my quality time with Sanskrit.

Today, I read the following verse, took from the Vows being chanted during the Wedding Ceremony in India.

oṃ asato mā sadgamaya
tamaso mā jyotirgamaya
mṛtyormā amṛtaṃ gamaya
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

The English translation by Shunori Ramanathan is as follows:

Lead me from the unreal to the real
From the darkness to the light
From death to immortality
Let there be peace, peace, peace


The Sanskrit Effect

I am a Tamil native speaker who didn’t show much interest in learning Sanskrit until recently. One way of my meditation is to play Sanskrit Mantras and give all my attention to the words (Concentrative Meditation) as I listen to them. I naturally got pulled into the beauty of this language – which seems to have certain positive effects on me psychologically. As a practice, I started learning new words and read certain verses from the ancient script Bhagavad Gita as a part of my internal journey/transformation.

I recently came across a study – that proved certain effects on the brain of the traditional Sanskrit scholars (N = 21) from India compared to non-Sanskrit scholars (N = 21) through structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In particular, it has been shown a massive grey matter density and an increase in cortical thickness in Language, Memory, and Visual Systems of the brain for the Sanskrit practitioners.

I am not quite surprised with these results as I believe that recitation/self-affirmation is a powerful method to change the way your mind works, especially when you are depressed/anxious. However, I think this effect doesn’t depend on the language itself.

For a detailed scientific read: