Introduction to Panini 1

Introduction to Panini

Consciousness and Speech Series XI.

Sacred Speech Masterclass XI, part one.

Baba Rampuri, in his introduction to Panini, discusses the enormous impact the sage Panini has had on both the ancient and modern worlds. He describes Panini’s great text, The Ashtadhyayi, the ancient grammar of the Sanskrit Language, whose logic has been adopted by computer programming languages, and whose discipline guided the ancient vedic sacrifices, as well as 2500 years of those who think about speech and consciousness, about the connection. Pāṇini’s grammar exploits a range of brevity-enabling devices to compose what has often been described as the tersest and yet most complete grammar of any language in the world.

Prof. Frits Staal: “We can now assert, with the power of hindsight, that Indian linguists in the fifth century B.C. knew and understood more than Western linguists in the nineteenth century A.D. Can one not extend this conclusion and claim that it is probable that Indian linguists are still ahead of their Western colleagues and may continue to be so in the next century? Quite possible; all we can say is that it is difficult to detect something that we have not already discovered ourselves.”


“Panini, then, was not an ancient and nebulous precursor of a science in which everything has since been done better, but a distant colleague of genius from whom linguists are still able to learn.”

“One of the greatest monuments of human intelligence (Bloomfield) is only beginning to claim its rightful position in linguistics. Many of the insights of Panini’s grammar still remain to be recaptured, but those that are already understood constitute a major theoretical contribution.”
Paul Kiparsky, Emeritus Prof. Stanford University ‘The encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics’, Asher, pp 2923.

“The mathematical method is characteristic of much of Western philosophy whereas the grammatical method is characteristic of much of Indian philosophy.” — Daniel H H Ingalls, ‘Comparison of Indian and Western Philosophy’, Journal of Oriental Research,1954.

“Not only Panini was by far the first linguist in recorded history, but I claim he was the first informaticien, 24 centuries before computers came into existence.” – Prof. Gerard Huet, Computer Scientist, Inria, Paris, in the Inaugural Speech at the First International Sanskrit Computational Linguistics Symposium, Paris, 29th october, 2007