Language is fundamental to a human being. For this reason, it is a primary element in education.
Language is one of the greatest gifts that a child is given. How the child learns to speak is all
important and will be determined by the examples the child is given. So the aim of the educator
should be to present the child with the finest language. Linguists agree that one of the finest
languages is Sanskrit. Sir William Jones, recognised as a founder of modern linguistics, said in
"The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than
the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either; yet bearing to
both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than can
possibly have been produced by accident."
The considerable benefits of studying the classical languages, Greek and Latin, have been known in
the West for hundreds of years; indeed, in recent centuries some of the best education available
in the world has been based upon them. However, Sir William Jones had discovered a classical
language par excellence, more ancient than Greek or Latin, which had been preserved intact for
thousands of years.
The word ‘Sanskrit’ means ‘perfected’, for its sound system and grammar are scientifically
structured. It has even been put forward as being the most suitable language for use in computers
(c.f. Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence ’, The A.I. Magazine,
Sanskrit also has one of the greatest literatures known to humanity. The Sanskrit epics, the
‘Ra1ncivana’ and the ‘Mahabharata’ are inspiring and fascinating. Children love these stories and
enjoy the company of great and heroic men and women.
Before beginning this book children need to be fairly fluent in reading the Sanskrit script. They
should also be able to write this script beautifully and take dictation of simple words (such as
those in the first pages of this book) with something approaching accuracy. Of course, all this
presupposes familiarity with, and ability in, Sanskrit pronunciation. It has been found that
children with these skills can begin this book when nearing the age of seven years.
Practice in dictation of vocabulary and individual reading of letters, words, sentences and
stories should carry on throughout the period of this book‘s use to maintain a good standard. For
this purpose Appendices l and 2 should be used. This would ensure that the children are not
relying on memory, which would normally be the case if they were reading their current story.
Appendices l and 2 are for reading practice only and should not be used at this stage for
translation. For this reason, words from these texts are generally not included in the
vocabularies at the end of this book.
By the time the stories are reached in this book, the teacher would do well to have familiarised
him or herself with the tales of Krishna’s childhood, around which the book is based. These will
be found in the 'Srimad Bhagavatam’, available in many translations, some expressly for children.
Such familiarity will enable the teacher to tell the story naturally and simply just before it is
met by the children in the Sanskrit version. As with most situations, it is best not to read from
a book but rather to speak from a well funded memory and the inspiration of the moment.
Before a new story is begun, the new words should be practised orally over the course of several
lessons. Words which the children have met before should also be practised again. Then the story
should be read by the teacher, one sentence at a time, with the children merely listening and
repeating the sentence after the teacher. The children should then be asked for a translation.
This process should be repeated over several sessions until the story is quite well known. A
useful exercise at this stage is to read the story out with one word in each sentence left out.
The children should be able to give the sentence back with the word replaced. It is worth
mentioning that these stories lend themselves to being acted out.
Up to this point the children would not have read the story themselves. Only now should they be
asked to read from this book and then write a translation. Written translation work may be entered
straight into this book, since it is essentially a workbook in which children write. When
translating, they should first write the English meaning beneath each Sanskrit word and only then
write the complete sentence when they have worked it out. In this way they are discouraged from
writing the story from guesswork or vague memory.
In writing translations of individual words the children should include the preposition
corresponding with the particular ending of the word (e. g., 'from Rama', 'in the house' etc,).
Since in English no preposition is used for the object, it being known by word order alone, the
children are asked to add ‘(2nd)’ after the English translation of the object of the sentence.
As the book proceeds, the singular forms of the noun Ram are gradually built up, case- ending by
case—ending. The recitation of these forms, as given in English and Sanskrit, should be regularly
practised up to the line which the children have reached.
The 'Stories 0f Krishna' comes in two books, this being the first of the two. Both parts together
should take about four or five terms to complete.
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