Arya Putra Ravana Spoke Sanskrit! Hanuman spoke Prakrta!

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No.1848; Date: 6 May 2015

Uploaded at London time: 8-43 am


Sanskrit was spoken by all the well educated people in ancient India. Sanskrit was the language used as official language in all the Royal courts. Dance, Drama and Music used Sanskrit. All the Tamil dictionaries and ancient Tamil Nighandus give Sanskrit words as Tamil words!!! In short there is no ancient Tamil literature without Sanskrit words. They treated both Tamil and Sanskrit as their two eyes. The oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam has a lot of Sanskrit words. He even formulated rules to use Sanskrit words in Tamil literature. His book was certified and approved by the Acharya of Tiruvithankodu who had mastered the four Vedas. All these details are documented in literature.

Sanskrit was the link language throughout India. Ravana and Hanuman were great Sanskrit scholars. Ravana mastered Sama Veda as well. Tamil poets were well versed in Sanskrit. Kapila taught Tamil to a North Indian King named Brahma Dutta who ridiculed Tamil and made him to write poems in Tamil. His poems are included in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Kovalan, hero of Tamil epic Silappadikaram, helped a Brahmin woman who was crying in the street holding a letter written in Sanskrit by her husband. Kamban who adapted Valmiki Ramayana in Tamil was a great Sanskrit scholar.

Hanuman’s Hesitation!

Hanuman hesitated to speak Sanskrit thinking that Sita would mistake him for Ravana (Ramayana, canto 30)

Ravana and his spies spoke in Sanskrit. So when Hanuman went to Asokavana, he thinks:

“Shall I, a puny Vanar, chose

The Sanskrit men delight to use?

If, as a man of Brahman kind,

I speak the tongue by rules refined.

The lady, yielding to her fears,

Will think’ it’s Ravana’s voice she hears.

I must assume my only plan-

The language of a common man”

—Translated by T H Griffith

The language of the common man in those days was Prakrit. In Sanskrit dramas women (even queens), children, court jester spoke Prakrit. Kings, ministers and Brahmins spoke Sanskrit. Low characters (in dramas) like fishermen, policemen spoke in dialect.

In Sudraka’s Mrccakatika, the comedian (jester) says,“ I hate a woman speaking Sanskrit and a man singing”. It is followed until this day in Tamil and Hindi films. Kings or high officers or heroes speak a chaste language and low characters like village folk, comedians speak in dialect or colloquial language. We also speak a dialect or colloquial language at home but when we go to a stage and speak in front of a huge crowd we speak literal, posh language. So Hanuman also wanted to be very careful in choosing his language.

Aryaputra Ravana!

In the Ramayana Ravana and Vali were addressed as Arya while Kaikeyi was addressed as Anarya ( Non-Arya i.e. uncultured, uncivilized)

Door Keepers of Ravana’s palace addressed him Aryaputra (Yuddha Kanda, Sarga32, Sloka 35)

Vijayasvaryaputreti soabivadhya prasadya cha

Nyavaidayadanuprasam prahastam vaahiniipatim

In the following sloka of Kiskindha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, Vali was addressed as Aryaputra by his wife Tara

Supteva punaruththaaya aaryaputreti vaadinii

Ruroda saa patim drstvaa samviitam ptrunyudamabih

In the Sloka 14 of Sarga 36 of Ayodhya kanda, Kaikeyi was addressed as Anarya by King Dasaratha

Vahantam kim tudasi maam niyujya dhuri maahite

Anaarye krtyamaarangam kim purvamupaarudhah


Writing during Ramayana Days

We know that Hanuman was well versed in Nava vyakarana. All the monkeys wrote Ram on the stones and they started floating in water. Rama gave his ring to Hanuman as a token to be shown to Sita. His name was engraved on it. Hindus used scripts, but sparsely.

T H Griffith’s translation of relevant Valmiki verse is as follows:

He gave the ring that bore his name,

A token for the captive dame,

That the sad lady in her woe

The missive of her lord might know.

‘This ring’, he said, ‘my wife will see,

Nor fear an envoy sent by me…’

Since writing was prevalent in ancient India, Asoka installed hundreds of rock edicts in Brahmi script from Afghanistan to Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu (Most of the edicts including Kanchi’s) were destroyed by the Muslim invaders and the monsoon weather. Brahmi inscriptions were available up to the Southern Sri Lanka 2600 years ago!!

Pictures are taken from various websites; thanks.