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Sanskrit 2


Admission requirements

Having successfully finished 5481K1SA Sanskrit 1 or, for students of the BA Taalwetenschap specialisatie VIET, 5512V2038 Vedisch Sanskrit. Please, contact the Coordinator of Studies or Dr. E.A. Cecil, if you are interested in taking this course, but do NOT fulfill the abovementioned requirement.


In this course we read two pieces of Sanskrit literature for beginners:

  • The first chapters of the story of Nala and Damayantī from the Sanskrit epic, the Mahābhārata.

  • A selection of fables from the Sanskrit fable collection, the Hitopadeśa.

The course presupposes basic knowledge of Sanskrit grammar. Students are encouraged to make active use of Gonda’s Elementary Grammar and Whitney’s Sanskrit Grammar. Primary objective of the class is to practice reading original Sanskrit texts, to build and expand the student’s knowledge of Sanskrit vocabulary, and to deepen the comprehension of Sanskrit grammar and syntax in general. Both texts are read in the Devanāgarī script. The texts are read from Lanman’s Sanskrit Reader. This comes with a handy Sanskrit-English vocabulary and notes to the selected texts. There are two two-hourly classes each week. The course requires active preparation and participation. Attendance of the classes is compulsory. In addition there is a one hour response meeting every two weeks.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of grammar of classical Sanskrit

  • Building up of basic vocabulary of Sanskrit

  • Knowledge of and ability to read Devanāgarī script

  • Ability to translate simple narrative texts from Sanskrit into English



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and participation are obligatory. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course load

  • Classes (13×4), feedback hours (6×1) and exams (2×2): 62 hours

  • Learning the Devanāgarī script, preparation and revision of readings: 138 hours

  • Revision and preparation for exams: 80 hours

  • Total: 280 hours (10 EC x 28 hours)

Assessment method


2 written examinations.


2 written examinations (w), covering respectively the story of Nala and Damayantī and the Hito-padeśa:
1) at the end of the first block (40%)
2) at the end of the second block (60%)


In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. The individual exams cannot be retaken. There is one opportunity for a re-sit of the entire course (100%).

The course is an integrated whole. The final examination and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.



Reading list

  • Charles Rockwell Lanman, A Sanskrit Reader. Text and Vocabulary and Notes, Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press, 1884. (various reprints)

  • Jan Gonda, A Concise Elementary Grammar of the Sanskrit Language, with Exercises, Reading Selections, and a Glossary. Translated from the German by Gordon B. Ford, Jr. Leiden: Brill, 1966.

  • William Dwight Whitney, Sanskrit Grammar. Including both the classical language and the older dialects of Veda and Brāhmaṇa, Fifth Edition. Leipzig, 1924. (various reprints)


Students of the BA program South and Southeast Asia Studies are required to register through uSis before January 15. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timeta-ble in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Other students are requested to send an email to the study co-ordinator including their name, stu-dent ID number, course title and prospectus or catalog number. Depending on the availability of places, the study co-ordinator will register these students after January 15. By February 1 at the latest the student will be able to see in uSis whether (s)he is registered or not.

Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration dead-lines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

(Studeren à la carte is not possible for this course.)


Dr. E.A. Cecil


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Cen-tre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).