An Indo-European language belonging the Indo-Arayan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of languages, Sanskrit is the premier classical language of India and the sacred language of high-caste Hindu religious rituals. It is also one of the official languages of India, and in traditional learning it can also serve as a pan Indian lingua franca. In the context of Indian culture, Sanskrit has a position similar to that of Latin and Greek in Europe.

Vedic Sanskrit refers to the earliest form of the language in the early part of the 2nd millennium B.C., when Aryan tribal people composed hymns to their many gods (using a regular structure of invocation). The oral transmissions were preserved in the Vedas (and in their accompanying commentaries - Brahmanas, Upanisads, Sutras etc).

By about the middle of the first millennium B.C., a less complex language was attested in the epics of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana. Classical Sanskrit refers to the period after Panini composed his grammar of Sanskrit (about 400 B.C.), which achieved the status of authority and the language started thus to be standardised. It continued to be used in courtly and priestly circles in its Paninian form. Panini's grammar forms the basis for modern Sanskrit grammars.

Sanskrit is a highly inflected (synthetic) language (e.g. seven cases, a complex verb conjugation system and it differentiates between the numbers of singular, dual and plural). From around the 12th century, the commonest script for Sanskrit has been the Nagari (Devanagari) script, (originally descending from the Brahmi sceipt), even though traditionally many local scripts have been used.

CLASSIFICATION = Indo-European family, SCRIPT = Nagari (Devanagari), written from the left to the right

Complete Sanskrit (Teach yourself) SAN CBEG 1
First year Sanskrit course SAN CBEG 4; SAN CBEG 4(PACK)
Introduction to Sanskrit SAN CBEG 2(PACK)
Sanskrit : an easy introduction to an enchanting language : Volume One-Three SAN CBEG 3a-3d; SAN CBEG 3(PACK)
Primer of the Sanskrit language SAN GRAM 3
Sanskrit Grammar - 5th ed. SAN GRAM 2
The Sanskrit language : An introductory grammar and reader SAN GRAM 1