SOAS University of London

Centre of Yoga Studies

Sanskrit resources for beginners

Sanskrit resources for beginners

For any budding Sanskritists there is a wealth of available resources online to support self-study. To name just a handful:

  • Back to basics - For a complete beginner, learning the alphabet is the first challenge of the sanskrit journey, this alphabet tutor is a great place to start guiding on how to pronounce each letter, and how it may be written in different fonts. 
    Enjoylearningsanskrit
  • Antonia Ruppel's, Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit - One of the few more recently published learning aids. Clearly laid out and more accessible than some of the more dated materials for new students of sanskrit, and with a helpful accompanying website of materials to support learning.
    You can hear Antonia's conversations with leading scholars of Sanskrit at the Sanskrit Studies podcast
    Antonia also has a new reader published last year.
  • Maurer's The Sanskrit Language: An introductory Sanskrit grammar and reader - There is a paperback book of this grammar and reading resource but the accompanying website is a really helpful summary of the lessons and exercises in the book and a good tool to structure self study and revision. 
  • Online dictionaries - Once you start reading Sanskrit an online dictionary becomes your most useful friend. Cologne university has created this database of options, you can see from the dating most of them go back a few years, Monier-Williams is still a preferred choice for many students.
    For beginners - sanskritdictionary.com - can feel more user-friendly and accessible to start with as you start to navigate roots and words.
  • Witney's Grammar - Another classic from the archives of Sanskrit learning but remains a robust and comprehensive assistant to all your most pressing questions of grammar and its intricacies. Impressive that this has been catalogued online for accessibility. 
  • Little Red Book - As the introduction to this useful site explains, the key to the successful study of Sanskrit lies in knowing where to look things up, in dictionaries, grammars and tables of paradigms. A refreshingly clean, clear and concise collection of common examples are collected here
  • Sanskrit.Inria has a particularly useful grammar tool that allows you to type in a verbal root and class and see the full conjugation table. You have to know a certain amount to use this tool successfully but once you get into translations and reading this is a very helpful resource to double check your workings and help you along the way.