On a whim, I decided to start learning ancient Sanskrit language. Well, not exactly a whim, I had good reasons and it is something I always wanted to learn, but I finally took the plunge recently. My ultimate goal is to be able to read and understand certain Buddhist sutras in the Mahayana tradition. This is a bit harder than it looks because such sutras are not preserved in Classical Sanskrit like certain other venerable Indian texts are (the Ramayana, Bhagavad-gita). Instead they were largely composed in a language called Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.
For those not Sanskrit language is to northern Indian languages what Classical Latin is to Western European languages. Such Indian languages were either derivatives of Sanskrit, or were influenced by it to some degree or another.
Anyhow, the textbook I purchased, shown above, is pretty nice though the book cover and binding . It has twelve chapters, and gradually walks you through basic Sanskrit grammar, vocabulary, and introduces the Devanāgarī script. The Devanagari script was not used classic Sanskrit writings, but it is widely used by 120 languages in India and Nepal according to Wikipedia, and is used to record Sanskrit nowadays so it’s a good place to start.
The way I figure it, once I get a handle on Classical Sanskrit I can branch out to other forms and writings. Time will tell.
So far I am only on chapter 3, but already have learned a lot. I hope to share more on Sanskrit soon.