Sanskrit, which is recognized as one of the oldest living languages of the world, is often misunderstood as only a language of religious hymns and rituals. This was stated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister while inaugurating the 15th World Sanskrit Conference, here today. He said, " Such an understanding does injustice to the great genius of this language and betrays ignorance of the work of great writers, thinkers, sages and scientists like Kautilya, Charaka, Sushruta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya and many others. Indeed, Sanskrit, is much more than a language. It is a complete knowledge system that embodies the great learning traditions of ancient India."
The Prime Minister stated that Sanskrit language has also been the source of values and ideals that have sustained India through the ages. He said, "Like the great civilization of India, Sanskrit does not belong to any particular race, sect or religion. It represents a culture that is not narrow and sectarian but open, tolerant and all embracing. The open-minded seers and thinkers who spelt out their vision and philosophy in the sacred Vedas and the Upanishads were able to balance the opposites in their life and in philosophy. It is this spirit of liberalism and tolerance imbedded in Sanskrit that we must inculcate in our present-day life. The message of the ancient sages of India, who gave us the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world as one family, continues to be of great significance to the world even today."
The Prime Minister said , "I am sure that the deliberations of this Conference will not only lead to a better understanding of the various areas of Sanskrit Studies, but will also result in a better appreciation of India's culture, our values, our ideals and our world-view." He also said that in the course of time, we will further strengthen our efforts for the promotion, development and enrichment of Sanskrit
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development stated that within India if there is unity amidst diversity, he felt it should be attributable to Sanskrit. As almost all of our modern Indian languages are offshoots of Sanskrit, and owe most of their vocabulary and their forms of expressions to Sanskrit, he added. He said, "It is thus well accepted that Sanskrit is an ocean from which we can harvest gems and pearls of knowledge and wisdom by churning it purposefully- akin to the mythological churning of the ocean that yielded the Amritamanthana. Sir, I believe that the allegory of Amritamanthana has become more relevant in today's world from another perspective too. It teaches us how to resolve conflicting interests for a common purpose or a mission and I am confident that this percept is as much valid in the field of politics as it is to the academic and scholastic fields. So let us collectively work together at the Conference and beyond to churn and derive from Sanskrit as much of knowledge and wisdom as we can. " The Minister pointed out that not only is India promoting Sanskrit but other countries too are doing so as well. He said, "I was thus pleasantly surprised to learn that the Government of Mauritius in June 2011 has passed a bill for Spoken Sanskrit in its national Assembly; making provisions for well-being, development, relationships and common problems of the Sanskrit-speaking peoples of the world. While Sanskrit studies are pursued at collegiate level in many countries of the world, it is quite heartening to note that some of the schools in England and New Zealand have recently made provisions for including Sanskrit in their curriculum at primary and secondary school levels too. I am told that the a Sanskrit rock band Shanti Shanti, in USA, have released their sixth album titled "Veda" containing shlokas from all the four Vedas. Recently, a renowned pop singer in China too has been singing hymns in Sanskrit. These developments augur well for the rejuvenation of Sanskrit."
The International Association of Sanskrit Studies (IASS) at its Conference held in Kyoto agreed that the 15th World Sanskrit Conference be held at Delhi jointly with the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan. About two hundred scholars from 32 countries and about a thousand scholars from India are participating in this Conference. The IASS owes its origin to an International Sanskrit Conference that was held in Delhi in 1972 and was sponsored by the Government of India in collaboration with UNESCO. Since its inception, the IASS has been organizing the World Sanskrit Conference every three years, with three previous Conferences having been held in India.