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The linguistics of the Indian family of languages, their relationship to each other and their relationship to the Indo-European family is a vast and fascinating topic, whose importance has unfortunately been politicized due to the AIT brouhaha which is also developing into one of the biggest hoaxes of History. Here we will examine briefly the historical development of some of the languages including the key personalities of  those who were prolific in these languages. Any list of  individuals in the ancient world who studied linguistics would almost certainly include the names of Panini and Bhartrihari. One must make a distinction between the development of a spoken language and the development of its associated scripts. In India as perhaps elsewhere )the later developments take place several millennia after the development of language. Initially ,we will tackle the  issue of the dating of the script .

Origins of the Brahmi Script and the Brahmi numeral system

in order to decipher the  history of  subjects such as Vedic mathematics one must have a consistent history of the evolution of the scripts in use in the Indian subcontinent, The following 3 excerpts are taken from George ifrah's book who arrives at the following genealogical trees for the evolution of  the alphabet as well as the evolution of the numeral  system . Unfortunately Ifrah makes a distinction between the development of the Brahmi numeral system and the Brahmi alphabet. In the case of the Brahhmi numeral system he ascribes an autochthonous origin  whereas he is somehwat ambivalent with respect to the origin of the Brahmi alphabet, ascribing it to a West Semitic or a Aramaic origin . The problem with this is that Brahmi is a syllabic alphabet and that none of the alphabets associated with the Semitic languages are syllabic. Even if one were to accept a Western Semitic origin for the Brahmi alphabet, there  are contradictions galore. For one the indic alphabets all have 56 consonants as opposed to the 26 in the Western alphabets. Which mweans the ancient indic had to come up with  30 additional signs. The Brahmi alphabet and its successors show all the indications of highly developed semantic system specifically designe dfor a phonetic and syllabic system. and it is unlikely they would have borrowed the script from a non-syllabic system and then modified it. It would have been far simpler to design  the alphabet afresh. We will discuss the origins of the Brahmi script in greater detail as we study the subject in increasing detail


Thus there is a body of thought that feels the Brahmi script (and its later derivative the Nagari script were derived originally from Aramean One must distinguish between scripts and spoken language. The development of  a script as opposed to the  spread of a spoken language is a top down activity  spread and taught by a small group of learned individuals. Such an assumption leads to the conclusion that an entire script may be adopted at a distinct time in history.    The origin of the Brahmi script remains an inconclusive  question at this  time, but it is entirely possible that it was derived from an Aramean script  .

There is however little doubt that the written form of the modern numeral system that the world uses almost universally today is derived from the Brahmi numeral system

Ifrah sets out to prove the following hypothesis concerning the discovery of the Brahmi numeral system in the context of the invention of  the place value system.

Those who read his very well designed book will, I have little doubt come away convinced that he establishes the truth of the above assertions in a very convincing manner.

According to Georges  Ifrah “This language outlived all the others, becoming the unique source of all the forms of writing that later emerged in India and her neighboring countries. It was given the name Bráhmi, (or Saraswati)   in Hindu religion one of the names of the seven *matnká or ‘mothers of the world”: one of the feminine energies (shakti) supposed to represent the Hindu divinities. Represented as sitting on a goose, her power was equal to that of Brahma, the “Immeasurable”, god of the Sky and the horizons, who endlessly gives birth to the Creation” and who one day invented Bráhmi writing for the well-being and diversity of human kind. It is more than a coincidence that the name of the river  Saraswati and the name of the script Bráhmi are synonymous
According to the edicts of Asoka, Bráhmi appeared, in a slightly modified form, in contemporary inscriptions of the Shunga Dynasty (185 — c. 75 BCE on the Magadha, in the present Bihar state, south of the Ganges, then in those of the Kanva Dynasty (who succeeded the former from 73 to c. 30 BCE). 

This (the gift of a singularly well conceived and phonetic script) is one of  the main reasons why the deity adorns our site with her presence.

More on the Bráhmi script



A similar genealogical tree can be drawn for the numerals we use today.






The Eternal Relevance of Sanskrit

Sanskrit in America


Learn Sanskrit online


List of some of the European Individuals who studied the Indic Civilization



Sir William Jones (1746-1794) the founder of Indology, largely responsible for postulating a Proto Indo European language for which no speakers have been found and for misdating the chronology of ancient India

Hermann George Jacobi  (1850-1837)was the first to suggest that the Vedic Hymns were collected around 4500 BCE based on Astronomical observations made by the Vedics

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) decreed English to be the medium of instruction, drafted the Indian Penal Code

Friedrich Maximilian Mueller (1823-1900) translated the books of the east. His private views of these books were vastly at variance with his public pronouncements

Roberto Di Nobili(1577-1656),Jesuit Priest, posed as a Brahmana ,posited a counterfeit Veda, called the Romaka Veda

Rudolf Roth(1821-1893) studied rare manuscripts in Sanskrit

Abbe Dubois, Jean Antoine (1765-18) went to India to convert the heathen returned discouraged that it was very difficult too accomplish

William Carey[1](1761-1834),Missionary

Sir  Charles Wilkins (1749-1836)

Translated the Bhagavad Gita  in 1785

Colonel Colin Mackenzie (1753-1821)

Collector of Indian Manuscripts

Henry Thomas Colebrook (1765-1837)

Studied Sanskrit from the Pundits and wrote on the Vedas

Horace Hayman Wilson (1786-1860)

First Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford U

wrote on the Puranas

August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845)

Lecturer in Sanskrit ,Bonn University

Franz Bopp (1791-1867)

Did detailed research leading to postulation of Proto Indo European (PIE)

James Mill (1773-1836).Completed The History of British India in  1817

Colonel Boden who endowed the Boden Chair of Sanskrit Studies in 1811 with the purpose of debunking the Vedas

Sir Monier Monier-Williams (1819-1899),Boden Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford

Robert Caldwell (1815-1891) Collected Sanskrit manuscripts, a British missionary

Sir Alexander Cunningham (1814-1893), member of Asiatic Society of Bengal

Vincent Smith(1848-1920), author of Oxford History of India

Frederick Eden Pargiter (1852-1897) published ‘Purana texts of the Dynasties of the Kali age”

Arthur Anthony McDonell(1854-1930), brought 7000 Sanskrit manuscripts from Kashi to Oxford University

Sir Mark Aurel Stein (1862-1943),Archaeological Survey of India

Maurice Bloomfield (1855-1928), interpreted the Vedas

Arthur Barriedale Keith (1879-1944) published ‘The religion of and philosophy of the Vedas’ in 2 volumes in 1925, Cannot be regarded as a authentic or reliable translation

Sir Robert Erie Mortimer Wheeler(1890-1976)


Alexander Basham

Morris Winternitz (1863-1937), wrote History of Indian Literature

Alain Danielou (1907-1994)

Sir John Hubert  Marshall,(1876-1958) director general Archaeological Survey of India

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) follows in the tradition of Heinrich Zimmer, albeit he uses the word myth much too liberally

Edwin Bryant (Ph.DColumbia,1997)


Heinrich Zimmer (1890-1943) author of Philosophies of India "Indian philosophy was at the heart of Zimmer's interest in oriental studies, and this volume therefore represents his major contribution to our understanding of Asia. It is both the most complete and most intelligent account of this extraordinarily rich and complex philosophical tradition yet written."

 Edward Elbridge Salisbury (1814-1901)

William Dwight Whitney (1827-1894)  

Release Date: Sept. 19, 2006 Contact: Susan Gawlowicz (585) 475-5061 or



Imaging Technology Restores 700-Year-Old Sacred Hindu Text
RIT scientists travel twice to India to work on damaged manuscript

NOTE: Images of the palm leaf manuscript are available at:

Image A:
Image B:
Please see the suggested caption at the end of the press release.

Scientists who worked on the Archimedes Palimpsest are using modern imaging technologies to digitally restore a 700-year-old palm-leaf manuscript containing the essence of Hindu philosophy.

The project led by P.R. Mukund and Roger Easton, professors at Rochester Institute of Technology, will digitally preserve the original Hindu writings known as the Sarvamoola granthas attributed to scholar Shri Madvacharya (1238-1317). The collection of 36 works contains commentaries written in Sanskrit on sacred Hindu scriptures and conveys the scholar’s Dvaita philosophy of the meaning of life and the role of God.

The document is difficult to handle and to read, the result of centuries of inappropriate storage techniques, botched preservation efforts and degradation due to improper handling. Each leaf of the manuscript measures 26 inches long and two inches wide, and is bound together with braided cord threaded through two holes. Heavy wooden covers sandwich the 340 palm leaves, cracked and chipped at the edges. Time and a misguided application of oil have aged the palm leaves dark brown, obscuring the Sanskrit writings.

“It is literally crumbling to dust,” says Mukund, the Gleason Professor of Electrical Engineering at RIT.

According to Mukund, 15 percent of the manuscript is missing.

“The book will never be opened again unless there is a compelling reason to do so,” Mukund says. “Because every time they do, they lose some. After this, there won’t be a need to open the book.”

Mukund first became involved with the project when his spiritual teacher in India brought the problem to his attention and urged him to find a solution. This became a personal goal for Mukund, who studies and teaches Hindu philosophy or “our way of life” and understood the importance of preserving the document for future scholars. The accuracy of existing printed copies of the Sarvamoola granthas is unknown.

Mukund sought the expertise of RIT colleague Easton, who imaged the Dead Sea Scrolls and is currently working on the Archimedes Palimpsest. Easton, a professor at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, brought in Keith Knox, an imaging senior scientist at Boeing LTS, as a consultant. Mukund added Ajay Pasupuleti, a doctoral candidate in microsystems at RIT, and the team was formed.

The scientists traveled to India in December 2005 to assess the document stored at a monastery-like mathas in Udupi, India. Sponsored by a grant from RIT, the team returned to the monastery in June and spent six days imaging the document using a scientific digital camera and an infrared filter to enhance the contrast between the ink and the palm leaf. Images of each palm leaf, back and front, were captured in eight to 10 sections, processed and digitally stitched together. The scientists ran the 7,900 total images through various image-processing algorithms using Adobe Photoshop and Knox’s own custom software.

“This is a very significant application of the same types of tools that we have used on the Archimedes Palimpsest,” Easton says. “Not incidentally, this also has been one of the most enjoyable projects in my career, since the results will be of great interest to a large number of people in India.”

The processed images of the Sarvamoola granthas will be stored in a variety of media formats, including electronically, in published books and on silicon wafers for long-term preservation. Etching the sacred writings on silicon wafers was the idea of Mukund’s student Pasupuleti. The process, called aluminum metallization, transfers an image to a wafer by creating a negative of the image and depositing metal on the silicon surface.

According to Pasupuleti, each wafer can hold the image of three leaves. More than 100 wafers will be needed to store the entire manuscript. As an archival material, silicon wafers are both fire- and waterproof, and readable with the use of a magnifying glass.

Mukund and Pasupuleti will return to India at the end of November to give printed and electronic versions of the Sarvamoola granthas to the monastery in Udupi in a public ceremony in Bangalore, the largest city in the Karnataka region.

“We feel we were blessed to have this opportunity to do this,” Mukund says. “It was a fantastic and profoundly spiritual experience. And we all came away cleansed.”

Based on the success of this project, Mukund is seeking funding to image other Dvaita manuscripts in the Udupi region written since the time of Shri Madvacharya. He estimates the existence of approximately 800 palm leaf manuscripts, some of which are in private collections.




Caption: Each palm leaf of the sacred Hindu manuscript, the Sarvamoola granthas, was captured in multiple sections, processed and digitally stitched together. Image A shows the condition of an original leaf from the text, stitched together but unprocessed. Image B shows a stitched and processed page after applying modern imaging technologies. Images were taken by Roger Easton, from Rochester Institute of Technology, and Keith Knox, from Boeing LTS, using a Sensys scientific digital camera and an infrared filter.

About RIT: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized as a leader in computing, engineering, imaging technology, fine and applied arts, and education of the deaf. More than 15,300 full- and part-time students are enrolled in RIT’s 340 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For well over a decade, U.S. News and World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. The Princeton Review recognizes RIT as one of America’s “Most Wired Campuses,” and the university is also featured in The Fiske Guide to Colleges and Barron’s Best Buys in Education.

RIT University News Web site



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