Jul 26, 2021
Simplifying the basics of Sanskrit Grammar

Sanskrit is one of the three earliest documented languages on the planet, and it has long served as one of the primary channels for the transmission of knowledge and ideas in not only India, but also a large part of Asia. A great number of ancient Indian texts and literature were written in this language, demonstrating the unsurpassed knowledge that arose in the Indian subcontinent. 

If all the people in a whole country could speak, write, and use the language in daily conversation as well as report complex topics like Mathematics, Astronomy, etc. in it, can this language really be that difficult to learn for a population that is way too familiar with machine languages and can easily communicate with the computers? It is majorly fear originating in misinformation that has made most people in the world stop using Sanskrit, and consequently, pushing such a beautiful language towards extinction. In this article, you will find out how simple Sanskrit grammar for beginners really is and how to learn it easily.

The Sanskrit grammar in a nutshell

Panini constructed Sanskrit grammar in approximately 500 BCE, and documented the rules and formulas in his book "Ashtadhyayi". Interestingly, the same grammar is being used today, it hasn’t changed at all. He designed it in such a way that the language is guided by the words and their environment.

Sanskrit verbs can be crosslinked in one of three ways: first, second, or third person. There are three numerical forms for verbs: singular, dual, and plural. There are ten tenses and three voices for verbs: active, middle, and passive. There are eight cases: nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, and locative; three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter; and three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. This vast distribution of words makes Sanskrit applications very specific and formulative.

Sanskrit grammar is not meant to be difficult at all…

The word Sanskrit itself signifies "pure or perfect." It's one of the most precise and harmonious languages that has ever been designed in the history of the world’s civilizations. The language has an exquisite lexicon, phonology, grammar, and syntax that are also highly scientific, and therefore, quite easy to learn step-by-step, in order. Sanskrit grammar for beginners may seem challenging, but once you dive deeper and grasp how the language works, you’ll know it is one of the few languages in the world where words and sentence formation are extremely simple. On top of it, a grammatically correct sentence in Sanskrit generates no confusion and can be translated without ambiguity to a third person, unlike most of the modern languages in the world.

  • The alphabets:

Sanskrit is made up of 52 letters, 16 vowels, and 36 consonants, all of which are related to human anatomy. The chakras in the human body, which regulate the human body from the throat, heart, and navel to the brain, are the source of 50 of the 52 Sanskrit alphabets.

  • Words formation in Sanskrit:

Everything in the world has a word for it in Sanskrit. To the surprise of many, these words remained unchanged throughout the millennia, with no introduction of a new word. In fact, in Sanskrit, each letter has a meaning, and each word indicates an attribute of an object rather than the whole object, which gives us a lot of liberty to play around with the letters to form a variety of words. 

Sanskrit words are composed of basic elements like Dhatus, each Dhatu with an individual meaning of its own. Therefore, each Sanskrit word essentially conveys data, information, and message. There are around 2200 dhatus in Sanskrit and an infinite number of words can be constructed effectively by adding prefixes and suffixes to these Dhatus. Furthermore, each Sanskrit word carries information such as gender, quantity, and tense. As a result, any Sanskrit speaker can easily understand both the word and the thing it refers to.

  • Objects in a sentence:

The base can be used to identify an object in Sanskrit fundamentals. An object can be connected to and interact with other objects in its surrounding in a variety of ways. For instance, 'Rama' could be the agent or the recipient of an activity in relation to other objects. Even the possible conversations in these events have been meticulously and succinctly recorded in this language's grammatical rules.

  • Phonetics:

Sanskrit has a flawless one-to-one relationship between the written (letter) and the spoken (sound). It is broken down into 48 phonemes (13 vowels and 35 consonants), each of which has its own alphabet symbol. The vowels are separated into short and long categories based on the shape of the lips when speaking them. Similarly, the consonants have been arranged in a logical and methodical order. It’s very easy to pick up when one learns the alphabets and phonetics in association with each other.

  • Grammatical components:

Sanskrit words are conscious of their roots and always refer back to the origin where they were derived from, resulting in a fluid link between the word and its meaning. Consequently, when each word is correctly used in a phrase, it produces an expression free of ambiguity. The application of Sanskrit grammar is exceedingly meticulous and accurate.

  • Morphology:

Simple words, as well as inflectional sounds such as plural endings, prefixes, and suffixes, are known as morphemes. The technique for manufacturing words is explained step-by-step like a mathematical equation in Panini's Ashtadyayi, making the generation of words the simplest.

  • Grammatical conventions and sentence formation:

Panini's work created a linguistic school that assessed sentences more generatively. The structure of the sentence was built using a variety of fundamental syntactic categories, such as verbal action, agents, and objects.

  • Logical and lexical semantics of the language:

Panini developed the Karaka Theory, a comprehensive theory based on the concept of action as described by the verb, by constructing a framework for action in terms of its interactions with agents and contexts. Panini devised six basic semantic notions to depict a range of action elements as seen through the perspective of the players. When it comes to accommodating a vast number of scenarios, the subject's intent is taken into account, removing any potential for ambiguity there as well.

  • Pragmatics:

In Sanskrit, nearly all types of meaning assessment concerning the connection between two words - sameness, opposites, connection, linkage, context, and so on - are addressed in-depth, ensuring that there is no confusion anywhere.

Why is Sanskrit grammar seen as so difficult then?

If you had learnt Sanskrit grammar and the language thereafter and disliked it, most likely it wasn't because of the language's difficulties; but rather because of bad teachers and their poor teaching methods. Most seemingly difficult subjects go through the same fate, especially highly organised subjects like Mathematics. Sanskrit mimics Mathematics a lot because of its structured grammatical rules and the educator's role in teaching such a subject is absolutely crucial. The teacher can lead the students to hate and avoid the subject or he/she may make them fall in love with it. 

Despite having numerous Sanskrit learning websites and many such outlets to learn Sanskrit online as well as offline in this century, there still isn’t a lot of effort made so far in improving the presentation and teaching methodologies of the subject. Most of the regular courses in Sanskrit basic learning use the same method as they would for teaching any other modern language, which may misrepresent Sanskrit learning as boring and difficult. We will try to help you out by proposing some ideas below to make Sanskrit grammar for beginners and thus Sanskrit basic learning easier than you may have known it to be.

How can Sanskrit grammar be simplified so that everyone can understand and learn it?

One thing most teachers miss is that the more a person understands a concept, above all the how’s and why’s of it, the more they automatically remember everything about it, usually without actively trying to memorize it. Like Science and Mathematics, Sanskrit is more than just a language, it’s a lifestyle. When you finally adopt the lifestyle, Sanskrit basic learning becomes even clearer. 

Here are some tips to make Sanskrit grammar for beginners simpler:

  • No more memorizing:

For each word, verb, and sentence in Sanskrit, a vast number of tables are taught to be remembered. However, attempting to memorize all of the tables not only becomes tedious, but it also limits one’s knowledge because there are simply an infinite amount of such tables in Sanskrit. Instead, the teacher should instruct the student on the underlying principles that underpin the tables, which are few in number. It's similar to studying a mathematical formula that makes it easier to deduce all of the by-products of the same.

It is just like the case with remembering vs. deriving mathematical formulas. For example, once someone understands how to multiply two algebraic identities, such as (a+b), they will never need to remember the formulas for (a+b)2, (a-b)2, or any other such formula which are the results of multiplication of such algebraic identities, and more formulas like (a2+b2) can be extracted from them as well. Similarly, if one understands how Sanskrit verbs work in general (remembers only that particular table) 

  • Portraying the language’s application instead of just giving a knowledge on the grammatical tools:

The most important way a human learns a new language is by becoming comfortable with it through visual and aural senses, rather than memorizing a set of rules. Including stimulating and relatable Sanskrit fables, shlokas, poetry, dramas, and other works in the course curriculum of Sanskrit basic learning, as well as the exposure to ancient Indian arts and culture, may help a person comprehend what the language represents. This kind of material which excites the brain not only makes the subject interesting to learn, but also acts as examples of the language’s usage and makes it more clear about how to use it in a scenario. 

  • The use of colors:

Who doesn’t love colors? The use of vivid colours in classes can make Sanskrit grammar for beginners way more engaging than rote learning of tables. The Sanskrit language is already exceptionally well-organized; the educator’s task is simply to recognize the pattern and pass it on to his/her students.

As mentioned earlier, Sanskrit vowels and consonants have been divided into five groups based on how the mouth's various organs are used. You can make an alphabet chart with distinct colour codes for short and long vowels, as well as a chart for consonants with colour coding based on phonetics, as shown below:

You can also use an alphabet, a pertinent word, and a picture of the word to help with recognition and revision.

  • Gamification:

Okay, if color can instil the interest, games will get one hooked, and you know it. Moreover, learning with others with the same interest area is also a very exciting idea. Group games can be devised for Sanskrit grammar for beginners which can be to practice grammatical formulas or to reinforce what you've learned. 

For instance, the teacher can divide the students into two groups, give each group a set of cards containing formulas, words, or even partial sentences, and set a competition to arrange the cards in the correct sequence. The group that completes the task first will be declared the winner. This game can be played with fragmented words or even sentences written on various cards.

Even though offline teaching procedures may not have adopted this exciting concept, luckily, gamification is kind of a very popular method on Sanskrit learning websites. Many apps now incorporate gamification for aiding to learn Sanskrit online. The games range from simple filling in the blanks to full-on video games where the student applies various techniques of Sanskrit basic learning to collect rewards.


As you can see, Sanskrit basic learning can be both simple and exciting when the correct teaching methods are employed. If you really are interested but can’t find a good teacher, there are many tools available to learn Sanskrit online, including a wide range of apps incorporating thrilling methods to teach Sanskrit grammar for beginners. Because it is an ancient language, there are no prerequisites for learning it; everyone and everyone can benefit from learning Sanskrit, even the children and we promise before you know it, you will fall in love with the language.

आलस्यं हि मनुष्याणां शरीरस्थो महान् रिपुः। नास्त्युद्यमसमो बन्धुः कृत्वा यं नावसीदति।। आलस्यं हि मनुष्याणां शरीरस्थो महान् रिपुः। नास्त्युद्यमसमो बन्धुः कृत्वा यं नावसीदति।।