SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Sanskrit Language 2

Module Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year


Sanskrit Language 1 or equivalent.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  1. an increased ability to read and understand Sanskrit texts
  2. an increased knowledge and understanding of Sanskrit grammar
  3. a basic familiarity of the history of Sanskrit literature
  4. a basic familiarity of Sanskrit culture and religious background


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The passages to be read, translated, interpreted, and discussed in class are taken in the main from Lanman's Sanskrit Reader and Boethlingk's Sanskrit-Chrestomathie, and include specimens from various layers of Sanskrit literature (Hitopadesa, Kathasaritsagara, Manu, Vedic prose and poetry, etc.) up to Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa.  The readings are combined with a thorough revision of Sanskrit grammar, to which approximately half of the class hours are dedicated.  Students are also made familiar with the corresponding chapters of the history of Sanskrit literature.

This module is core for Year 2 of the degree BA Sanskrit Pathway.

Method of assessment

One three hour written examination to be taken in May/June (80%); one homework assignment to be submitted on day 1, after reading week, term 1 (5%); one homework assignment to be submitted on day 1, term 2 (5%); one homework assignment to be submitted on day 1, after reading week, term 2 (5%); one homework assignment to be submitted on day 1, term 3 (5%). Total word count for the above assignments ca 5,000.

Suggested reading


  • Charles Rockwell Lanman, A Sanskrit Reader. Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass (reprint)
  • Adolf F. Stenzler. A Primer of the Sanskrit Language. Translated with some revision by Renate Söhnen- Thieme. London: SOAS.
  • W.D. Whitney, The roots, verb-forms, and primary derivatives of the Sanskrit language (a supplement to his Sanskrit grammar). Leipzig, 1885 (repr. Delhi).

For Reference

  • Otto F. Boethlingk, Sanskrit-Chrestomathie. St. Petersburg: Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften.Arthur Berriedale Keith, A History of Sanskrit literature. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Jakob S. Speijer, Sanskrit Syntax. Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass (reprint).
  • Moriz Winternitz, History of Sanskrit Literature, vol. 1, 3. Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass (reprint).
  • William Dwight Whitney, Sanskrit Grammar; including both the classical language, and the
    older dialects, of Veda and Bràhmaõa. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (reprinted many times).
  • J. Dowson, A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology. 11th ed. London, 1968. (Paperback Rupa publ. 1993.)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules