Resources

For reading, hearing, and clarifying Sanskrit

Are you new to Sanskrit? Read our guide for beginners.

This page contains links to Sanskrit content that you can read and listen to. It also contains resources for making this content understandable.

In each section, the resources are roughly in order of difficulty, with the easiest first. Unless otherwise noted, all resources are freely available online.

On this page

  1. Reading
  2. Listening
  3. Dictionaries
  4. Grammar
  5. Buddhist Sanskrit

Reading

If you are new to our site, our library of learner-friendly Sanskrit books follows the best practices from second language acquisition research and provides abundant input for Sanskrit beginners.

Samskrita Bharati has hundreds of Sanskrit books for sale through its online bookstore (India, US). Many of these books are written in sarala-saṃskṛtam, a simple but grammatically correct form of Sanskrit that resembles modern Indian languages like Hindi.

Dozens of issues of Chandamama, the Indian children's magazine, are on archive.org. These magazines have vibrant, detailed illustrations and cover a variety of topics. The language used is generally the sarala-saṃskṛtam mentioned above.

The Sanskrit Wikipedia contains more than ten thousand articles on various subjects, both traditional and modern. The language used is generally the sarala-saṃskṛtam mentioned above. Since Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, the quality may vary.

Traditional Sanskrit texts are available through various websites, such as Sanskrit Documents, GRETIL, Wikisource, and archive.org. Dozens of other collections can be found on indology.info.

Listening

These resources generally use sarala-saṃskṛtam, a simple but grammatically correct form of Sanskrit that resembles modern Indian languages like Hindi. Some resources may make minor usage errors.

Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan has a series of Sanskrit beginner classes on YouTube. These classes are entirely in Sanskrit, but context clues make the videos easy to follow. Otherwise, the class format is traditional and focuses on drilling, exercises, and grammar lessons.

Bookbox.com has a small set of Sanskrit children's stories on YouTube. These stories use cheerful, colorful illustrations and animations to establish meaning and context. English translations are available through YouTube subtitles.

Vyoma-saṃskṛta-pāṭhaśālā offers online Sanskrit classes on a variety of subjects related to traditional Sanskrit education. Many classes are taught in Sanskrit. Classes are either free or available for a small fee.

The public broadcaster Doordarshan has a daily news segment called Vaarta. Each segment is around ten minutes long and covers national and international events.

Doordarshan also has a weekly magazine show called Vaartavali. Each episode is around half an hour long. Compared to Vaarta, Vaartavali is more informal and covers a greater variety of topics.

Dictionaries

spokensanskrit.org is a fast and simple Sanskrit dictionary that also includes usage examples from modern conversational Sanskrit.

The Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English dictionary is the primary dictionary used by English-speaking Sanskrit scholars. Unfortunately, the dictionary expects some knowledge of Sanskrit grammar and English grammatical categories, which makes it difficult to use without training.

The Amarakosha is a famous and ancient Sanskrit thesaurus. This online index of the Amarakosha makes it easy to search for words and find their synonyms.

Grammar

M. R. Kale's A Higher Sanskrit Grammar is a readable and student-friendly summary of English grammar that also makes references to traditional grammar for further reading. The book is available for free on archive.org.

Rama Nath Sharma's English translation and commentary on the Ashtadhyayi is the most lucid and comprehensive of the English-language commentaries on the most important text in traditional grammar. This series is available for free on archive.org.

ashtadhyayi.com contains all of the major texts of traditional Sanskrit grammar. Almost all of the site content is in highly technical Sanskrit.

Buddhist Sanskrit

For convenience, we have collected resources specific to Buddhist Sanskrit here.

Franklin Edgerton's Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary is the standard reference grammar (and dictionary) for Buddhist Sanskrit. There is also a convenient online version of Edgerton's dictionary.

The Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon is a free collection of all major Buddhist texts written in Sanskrit. Texts are provided in Devanagari and in Roman transliteration.