Sanskrit and computer?

कलाशालायां यदा वयं पठन्त्यः आस्म, तदा प्रसिद्धतया संस्कृतजनैः एवमुक्तमासीत् संस्कृतं गणकयन्त्राय उचिता भाषा इति। अनया चिन्तया भृशं प्रभाविता अहं पठनात् परं हैदराबाद् नगरम् अगच्छम्। तत्र 15 दिनानि यावत् उषित्वा CALTS विभागे विषये किञ्चित् अपठम्। तत्तु प्रायः 1% एव भवेत् यतः तेषां कार्यं बहोः कालात् प्रचलन्नस्ति। नैजस्थितिहेतोः (due to personal reasons) तस्मिन् विभागे संशोधनं कर्तुम् अक्षमा अभवम्। ततः परं मम दृष्टिः व्याकरणे आसीत्। न केवलं शब्दानां रूपनिष्पत्तिः ज्ञातव्या, परन्तु सम्पूर्णव्याकरणशास्त्रस्य स्वरूपं ज्ञातव्यमिति आशा उत्पन्ना।

In my college days, I was completely taken by the idea which was floating around that Sanskrit is the most compatible language for computers because its grammar is very structured. This link, though 41/2 years old, gives a very beautiful look at why Sanskrit was ever considered as a computer language. There are further discussions on this topic to say whether Sanskrit can actually be used as a programming language though it seems to be a far cry from reality. Yes, it can be used for a few tasks but a programming language?

We as students of Sanskrit should face reality and try to highlight only points that can be relevant and viable to the modern world. Anything beyond that is a classic case of pulling wool over one’s eyes. Medicinal info, psychological aspects, management strategies, linguistics, arts and above all, philosophy of life are some of the areas I would personally choose to talk about.


PRG said...

very nice article on computers and sanskrit. 'viable to modern world'....This reminds me of Abhiraman sir's words.

R u oK said...

Very Nice. Once I also saw a program on Discovery, or read somewhere, i dont remember, in which they told that if there were Aliens and all that, then the Sanskrit would be the most easy to communicate language with them.
Let me tell how we are westernizing.
Youth follow Actors/Directors.
They follow west ( I'm afraid they r out of ideas )
Thus youth end up following west, and so the people, and hence everyone.
The people would start practising Yog ang learn Sanskrit when west starts to do so.
I pray to remain different from that lot.

Ganesh Wagle said...

nice read..
thanks for providing the link to discussion on, Sanskrit as programming language.

Aarathi Sankaran said...

R u oK : The west follow us and we follow the west. Ultimately we ending up following our own culture :-)
Ganesh Wagle : I got this link thro' Panini-L a discussion group on google. Very interesting look at grammar. And welcome to our blog.

Deedz2Remember said...

I am not sure I entirely follow your skepticism. Let me tell at the very onset that I do not know Sanskrit. When it is said that Sanskrit can be most ideally suited as a programming language, what is meant is the possible usage of a natural language for programming.

In our current computer science knowledge algorithms and programs (essentially a logical set of instructions ) can only be written in specialized ‘Computer Languages’. The reason being to interpret the programs the Compiler for that language is codified with a limited set of syntax and rules. Most natural languages cannot be easily systemized and thus developing a Compiler which can parse a logic written in say plain English may not be possible.

However the idea which you are referring to is that Sanskrit due to its highly systemized set of rules and grammar can be codified into a Compiler. i.e. the whole Sanskrit grammar can be written into the compiler (again going back to the highly defined and systemized nature of Sanskrit grammar). Thus if the whole natural language can be coded into the Compiler it can then read an instruction(program) written in that language.

Now whether it can be done using Sanskrit or not I am not qualified to say, but this is my little effort to try and explain the gist of ‘Sanskrit as a programming language’.

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Old_Gamer said...

I am almost sure that it can be done if the right people do it. It needs much more work than fantasizing about what can be done and what the results will be like.

Vikas said...


Krishnamurthi CG said...

The post has some views which are correct but with respect to something else it is not. Samskrit has many tools hidden in Vyakarana, Nyaya, Mimamsa texts which can become algorithms for NLP etc. Well the authors studied in Madras where after 60s Sanskrit shastras weren't taught. Prof. Vizhinathan himself used to fly to Tirupati every week to study under Mahamahopadyaya Ramanuja Tattacharya. Who was the first generation Sanskrit computational linguist himself.