First time ever, a World Samskrit Book Fair started in Bangalore yesterday. Its a time to rejoice for many folk who want to learn Samskrit out of genuine interest or for studying Hindu, Buddhist and Jain texts. All the religions used Samskrit as a communication medium to propagate ideas on their philosophies and world views. This book fair came out as a unique opportunity for vedic scholars, samskrit students and enthusiasts. This is a review of the same book fair.
I started off early today from Office and reached National College Grounds Bangalore by 5:00 PM. The security arrangements were pumped up. I guess the local authorities were very happy to be hosting this event. First things first, the arrangements were top notch. Samskrit Book Fair scores high on this count.
They divided the space available into four parts. One huge set for Cultural programmes, one section on the right side of National College Grounds (opposide Uttaradi Muttham) is divided in to two halves – o ne for poster exhibition and the other for Book Stalls. I first entered the exhibition area.
As I was looking at the first chart and trying to take a snap of a poster describing foresightedness of the denomination of numbers in Samskrit, a volunteer behind me was asking us to move further. He noticed me fumble with my phone and he immediately said “स्वीकरोतु, स्वीकरोतु”. All I could do was grin and say “धन्यवादः”. The exhibition had some great posters. Some of posters had samskrit slokas clearly explaining the significance of each sloka.
Most of the posters were intermittently explaining Hindu Culture. It is not surprising as I feel learning Samskrit brings one closer Hindu Culture – like it or not!
Several organizations have put up stalls. Udupi Samskrita Maha Vidyalaya’s stall consisting of some mathematical models built by their students based on samskrit verses was very good. Every stall was displaying a theme. Theme in first stall (right side to the exhibition entrance) is mathematics and sciences in samksrit poems and prose. Next one on chemistry and astronomy. Then on politics, then on medicine, then on biology. On left side of the exit, they have put up stalls from various organization displaying posters of work they have been doing. Indian manuscript protection board has some impressive presentations on how they are computerizing manuscripts for use by researchers while preserving originals safely. One very interesting stall had some posters by one Mr. Krsihna Murthy. The posters are a well defined chart of his views on how world evolved into whatever it is today. He feels our yuga systems says that there was human population even before Ice Age. He points to specific poems from puranas describing the same. Mr. Krishna Murthy is also selling copies of his work with a hand book. He says that we should encourage our next generation to study our history deeply so that foreigners distort truth according to their whims and fancies. Do visit his stall and buy his posters. I feel they are immensely useful to explain our next generation our history.
Now to book stalls. Today, there were a total of 154 stalls operational. I must tell you the stalls are crowded. I did not expect that there would be so much enthusiasm. I think the organizers too did not expect this response. Stalls are put up by Samskrita Bharatis from almost all states where the organization has presence. Stalls are put up by several other organizations also, including Rastriya Samsrkrita Sansthaan, Institute of Vedic Research, Institute of Samskrit Research, Udupi Samskrita Maha Vidyalaya, Dwaraka Sharada Peeth, Datta Peettham, Parampara.in etc. There are also stalls from James Publications co. – UK, Eastern Publishing Liners (or some such publication house) which basically contain books written by Max Mueller and other western linguists.
Best stall according to me is “Gita Press, Gorakhpur”. The range of books covered by the stall is amazing. Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharatam, Ramayanam, Ram Charita Manas, Upanishad sambhashana .. you name it! Thankfully for me, I found exactly what I was looking for (though not in Gita Press). Books on basic Samskrit grammar covering it from Shabdas, Dhatuvus and Vibhaktis to Chandas. Heres a list of stuff I got from the book fair:
1) Mathematical Method of Samskrit Grammar by Ram Kumar Thakur, Rajiv Nayan – Sathyam Publishing House
2) Samskrita Vyakarana Prakasika (in telugu) by K.A.Krishnamacharyulu – Gangadhar Publishers
3) Abhyasadarshini (exercises in Samskrit) compiled by Janardhan Hegde – Samskrita Bharati, Bangalore
4) Chandra System of Grammar (A Structural Study) by Dr. Amrendra Thakur – Sathyam Publishing House
5) Sanskrit Tutor – International Multimedia Developers
I am yet to plan out a strategy to start my course work. I would use 1 and 2 as text books, 3 as workbook, 4 and 5 as references.
If you are a governance, politics or law enthusiast, there are books (some commentaries and some translations) on Arthasastra, Nyaya Sastra too. There are some books dedicated to Rishis. There was one book called “Agastyaha”. Anyone who would like to learn about Siddhar Agastya should get it.
You have kids and you think you need books for kids? No problem. There are simple workbooks teaching kids how to use simple Samskrit in day to day conversations. For example, book number 3 (above) is from similar category. Also, almost all book stalls are offering good discounts. The best I have heard is 20 percent.
For entertainment of the audience, they have a cultural programmes area where performances take place. Today there was a local band playing some self made compositions and some tributes in Kannada. Tomorrow, from 6 PM to 8 PM, S P Balasubrahmanyam will be performing in the programme named “Samskrita-Rasa-Manjari”. So, make sure you stay till the end, if you visit tomorrow 🙂
If you are in Bangalore and would not mind to spare a couple of hours listening to Samskrit, blushing that it is so easy to understand, then please visit National College Grounds, Gandhi Bazar, Basavangudi. Also, if you do not mind a little bit of sun, visit the fair in the afternoon. Trust me, there is going to be huge crowd tomorrow and the day after. Samskrit is here to stay fellas. The general interest to learn the language is very high.
Here are some more pics. Sorry for the sloppy work with mobile cam, will try to better next time 🙂
|A Visit to Samskrit Book Fair|
अहं केशव विवेकानन्द शर्मा, आगच्छामि! पुनः मिलामः! प्रणामं! ॐ