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Learn Sanskrit through Self Study

Lesson3: Conversation in a family

Section-15: Siksha- About Aksharas

As mentioned in our previous article (Vedic approach to Sound), the Vedas are very particular about the pronounciation of the aksharas and words. In order to pronounce a word properly, it is not enough or sufficient to simply memorize and reproduce the sounds. One must know the origin or the way sound originates, how it interacts with other sounds and what is finally heard by the listner.

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The Vedanga Siksha is also based on Panini, the Vyakarana Kartha (exponent of the Vyakarana Shastra) and explains the usage in worldly as well as in Vedic forms. 

The origin of sound as per siksha is as follows. 

The self communes with the intellect and stirrs up the mind towards expressing the object. The mind in turn, kindles the body heat which directs the wind through the regions of the chest, first generates the low or mild form of the sound. 

From here the wind proceeds through the region of the neck to the head whence it comes out of the mouth as the sound which we hear. In this process, five factors are recognized in the production of the sound. 

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So the Siksha Shastra refers to three types of sound volumes. Udatha, Anudatha and Swaritha, high, low and medium respectively. Similarly, the sound can be differentiated on the basis of time over which it is uttered, which can be, short, long or very long. These are "hraswa", "dheerga" and "plutha". The Vedanga also prescribes eight places (parts of the body) from where the sound gets accentuated. 

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The Siksha Shastra gives the different aksharas which originate from the eight places and their combinations. It also describes the times for the different individual and combination aksharas. 

A complete and thorough study of the Vedas requires in depth knowledge of the Siksha Shastra. However, for our purposes here, we will not require the intricate details of the Shastra. This article was presented only to convince the student of the thoroughness of the Vedic system of Instruction. It may be pertinent to point out that the aksharas and their combinations can also be indicated through signs or gestures using the fingers, somewhat similar to the manner in which a maestro would conduct an orchestra. It is also possible to view this as a basis for a form of sign language!

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Start of this Lesson



Early Morning

Later in the Morning

In the Afternoon

Later in the Evening

Basic Grammar

Imperative mood

Formation of sentences

Frame questions


Exercises 2-3

Exercises 4-5

Exercises 6-7

Exercises 8-9




  Message of the Gita

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Last updated on  Oct. 05, 2012