Administrative Building of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati
Administrative Building of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati

 Tirupati: Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth (RSVP) has embarked on a massive project of bringing out a multi-lingual Sanskrit Etymological dictionary in the next 3 to 4 years. The dictionary will have meanings in as many languages as possible for every Sanskrit word which was said to be the mother of all languages. The project was the brainchild of former RSVP Chancellor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik.


  • 20 to 25,000 entries may find place in the dictionary, says Prof Korada Suryanarayana 
  • So far, 5,630 words were identified with their etymology and meanings
The idea behind the project was that, the divine language of India–Sanskrit had exerted immense influence on Indian culture and tradition for centuries together. Most of the Indian languages are highly influenced by its structure and vocabulary.

 A majority of modern Indian languages like Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali, Oriya etc. treat Sanskrit as their source of vocabulary and for coining new words. The reason is Sanskrit is a highly productive language that can express any idea in clear and unambiguous terms, says RSVP project coordinator Prof Korada Suryanarayana.Many Sanskrit dictionaries, both traditional and modern are presently available. However, most of them are bi-lingual or monolingual. 

The proposed dictionary is unique in the sense that it is the first attempt to prepare a dictionary that gives meaning in 10 Indian languages. The languages considered for this dictionary are – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Gujarathi and Marathi besides English, Prof Korada explained. 

Speaking to The Hans India, he added that the objectives of the project include national integration and international understanding. It should facilitate the process of translating the treasures of one language to another and to equip the present and future generation students with linguistic resources and to enhance communication capacity in several languages. 

It will also help in the promotion of regional languages along with Hindi. The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Sanskrit Sansthan was funding the project. It started in 2012 but funding was stopped for some time for the unknown reasons. The project continued after the present Vice-Chancellor Prof V Muralidhara Sharma took over the reins of RSVP. 

Being a lexicographer, Sharma took personal interest in the project. To a question, Prof Suryanarayana replied that approximately 20 to 25 thousand entries may find place in the dictionary. 

The meanings of the words are provided in phonetic transcription so that people of one language can read the meanings in other languages too. He said that the root words are taken from Shabdakalpadrumam. For every word, etymology and grammatical information will be given. A maximum of four meanings are given for each word, keeping the voluminous nature of the work, he explained.

So far, the Sanskrit root-words were entered in the computer covering the vowels. The process is going on. Till now, 5,630 words were entered in the computer along with their etymology and meanings. Scholars were also identified for different languages and were requested to provide meanings in their respective languages, he maintained. If everything goes on expected lines, the dictionary may come out in the next three to four years. 

By V Pradeep Kumar