Introduction

A Basic Course in Sanskrit Chanting from Himalayan Academy

The purpose of this free course is to help aspirants learn correct pronunciation of Sanskrit, with particular focus on reciting mantras with ease and confidence. With time and practice, the phonetic perfection of Sanskrit will reveal itself. The exercises contained within this manual are designed to facilitate discovery of the perfect form of articulation within the mouth so that the Sanskrit sounds and mantras come to life, taking shape within the various meters of verse. This is the study of śikṣā and uccaraṇa.

Śikṣā (from the root śikṣ meaning to impart) refers to the transmission of a mantra’s potency from guru to disciple, planting the seeds of perfect pronunciation, understanding and intention. Uccaraṇa (from ut, meaning uplifting, and caraṇa, meaning with movement) refers to the applied effort of the disciple in nurturing that seed into a sturdy tree that produces spiritual fruits. In this way, the fruits of Sanskrit propagate from generation to generation through the oral tradition, preserving the majesty of thought discovered by the Vedic culture so long ago.

Copyright, Himalayan Academy, first edition 2021. Created by Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami; co-written by Sanskrit scholar Adaityananda Sarasvati (Adam Welch), with contributions by Ekatmananda Sarasvati (Robert Rogers)