Sanskrit

Introduction

The Sanskrit Language Program at the University of Virginia is housed here in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, and we work closely with colleagues in the Department of Religious Studies and the South Asia Center. Students at any level of their undergraduate or graduate career are encouraged to begin studying Sanskrit. In the first year, the emphasis is on grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking, and cultural background. The “second-year” courses are in a three-year sequence. One year we read from the Mahabharata in the fall and the Bhagavadgita in the spring. The next year it is the Ramayana in the fall and one of the older Upanisads in the spring. The next year it is the Kathasaritsagara in the fall and the Devi Mahatmya or some other Puranic text in the spring. After at least one year of “second-year” courses, a student may take any of the advanced courses as they become available. Those focus on plays and poetry, poetics, philosophy, the Indian grammatical tradition, and Vedic texts. Which of these courses is offered is often determined by student request. Beyond that, independent study is available for the most advanced students.

 


Sanskrit Faculty


 

Sanskrit Language Program Coordinator

Robert Hueckstedt
137 New Cabell Hall
(434) 243-8228
rah2k@virginia.edu

 


 

Course Descriptions

SANS 1010 - (3 Credits, Fall Only)
Elementary Sanskrit I

An introduction to Sanskrit, focusing on the sounds, the writing system, grammar, the language's history, and the cultural background of the major texts in Sanskrit. The textbook is A.M. Ruppel's Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit.

SANS 1020 - (3 Credits, Spring Only)
Elementary Sanskrit II

A continuation of SANS 1010, this course takes the diligent student to the point of being able to read and understand easier Sanskrit texts.

SANS 3012 - (3 Credits, offered once every three years in the Fall)
Selections from the Mahabharata

A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce students’ knowledge of grammar from SANS 1020, to expand vocabulary and to introduce the Mahābhārata, one of ancient India’s major epics. Prerequisite: SANS 1020.

SANS 3014 - (3 Credits, offered once every three years in the Fall)
Selections from the Ramayana of Valmiki

A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce student’s knowledge of grammar from SANS 1020, to expand vocabulary, and to introduce the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, one of the two major epics of ancient India, and the ‘first poem’ in Sanskrit. Prerequisite: SANS 1020.

SANS 3016 - (3 Credits, offered once every three years in the Fall)
Selections from the Kathasaritsagara of Somadeva

A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce student’s knowledge of grammar from SANS 1020, to expand vocabulary, and to introduce the Kathāsaritsāgara of Somadeva, the most important collection of story literature in Sanskrit. Prerequisite: SANS 1020.  

SANS 3022 - (3 Credits, offered once every three years in the Spring)
Selections from the Bhagavadgita

A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce students’ knowledge of grammar from SANS 1020, to expand vocabulary and to introduce the Bhagavadgītā, a major religious text of ancient India. Prerequisite: SANS 1020 and SANS 3012, 3014, or 3016.

SANS 3024 - (3 Credits, offered once every three years in the Spring)
Selections from the Upanisads

A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce students’ knowledge of grammar from SANS 1020, to expand vocabulary, and to introduce the Upaniṣads, major spiritual texts of ancient India. Prerequisite: SANS 1020 and SANS 3012, 3014, or 3016.

SANS 3026 - (3 Credits, offered once every three years in the Spring)
Selections from the Puranas

A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce student’s knowledge of grammar from SANS 1020, to expand vocabulary, and to introduce the huge corpus of Puranic texts. Prerequisite: SANS 1020 and SANS 3012, 3014, or 3016.

The Department reserves the right to place any student in the course most appropriate to his or her skill level. Such placement will be the responsibility of the coordinator for each language program, and should be made by the fifth class meeting.

For current course listing, please visit the Student Information System: http://www.virginia.edu/sis

Sanskrit Placement Test Information