Our Special Christmas Gift – Sanskrit @StJames Christmas Party

A pleasant hour was enjoyed by my niece and myself at the virtual Sanskrit@St James Christmas party held on 12 December 2020 and hosted by Mr Bloomfield.  We were part of an international group of attendees.  Sanskrit was the vehicle that afforded us the pleasure to travel a virtual journey from Nepal to Scotland to South Africa and in between.

The warm welcome and the recitations and chants opened our eyes as to how Sanskrit was being studied and enjoyed in the global community.  Dr Chintamani Yogi’s enthusiasm was evident in his presentation.  The beautiful ‘Hymn to Mother’ from Sudhir and Purnima touched us with its earnestness. The recitations from the Isho Upanishad and the Bhagavad Gita by Dr Thompson, Warwick Jessup, Sarah and Andrew, Helen, and David Stollar appealed to us as it was done with much love and humility.  The youngest attendee, Samridhi chanted with the innocence and purity as only a child can have.  It is encouraging to note that there are still youngsters being steered and guided into the study of this ancient language.

The confidence of the different presenters made us realise that we still have a long journey ahead of us in our study of Sanskrit.  However, invitations to events like these, give us a sense of belonging to the global Sanskrit community and signal to us that we too have a place and a part to play in motivating and encouraging interest in the study of Sanskrit.

My niece and I both agreed that our experience was best summed up through the words of an author unknown : ‘ The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or touched.  They must be felt with the heart. ‘

Dharshani and Navi Naidoo, Durban

Just the delight to be part of Sanskrita family from all over the world

Great seeing all the familiar faces and cheer of everyone

The chanting of verses and hearing the St James children reciting was heartening and admirable

I certainly felt the peace togetherness and non dual presence with everyone

An absolute treat to be part of this sacred Satsanga full of blessings wisdom and grace ….

I look forward to many more to come

With love and gratitude


40 years old, Maharaja Sri Shantananda Saraswati asked Mr Leon MacLaren to study Sanskrita. And here we are!

What a marvelous assembly of Sanskrita lovers with unity for expressing love to and for Sanskrita! 116 of us from all over the world, Nepal, South Africa, Scotland and London to name a few, gathered around our computer screens, mobile phones and tablet devices…dressed up for a night out on Zoom. (I feel I should mention it was midnight in Nepal). There were candles, Christmas trees, Santa Claus hats and even Randolph The Reindeer wallpaper. Festivity was in the air!

For the next three-quarters of an hour, we indulged in hearing Sanskrita prayers being sounded with great reverence, blessings, reflections and observations in and around a Mahavakya from the Aitereya Upanishad, as well as Verse 14 of Warrick and Elena Jessups new translation Self Discovery, the Isa Upanishad, Taiteriya Upanishad to name a few items from the delicious programme…. all so beautifully related to this celebration of Christmas. We were left satisfied, yet also thirsty for more… !
There were many relevant things that stood out for me, however here are just a few points below:
    1. Prajna means the knowledge coming forth. All worldly affairs are guided by, supported and thrives in this knowledge. Prajna is the foundation. Knowledge made manifest is Brahman. This includes Christmas.
    2. Our own divine Self, is the light that lights the whole universe and it’s that light that we celebrate at Christmas. May you all discover this light afresh this Christmas.
    3. We were reminded to always start off with something fine when teaching. Maybe a verse of the Bhagavad Gita perhaps. Students may not always understand, but it may come up in their life at a later stage, if they are truly attending.
We need to feed both hemispheres of the brain. Sanskrita looks after both hemispheres of the brain very well. The right brain deals with poetry and meaning and is well looked after by the finest literature of Sanskrita. The left brain deals with detail, precision and logic. It is beautifully looked after by Sanskrita grammar and its order. So we must make sure that in our lessons we give both sides attention, so that people hear the language in its wholeness and perfection.
Gratitude for an evening spent in the greatest company.
Salona Singh
School of Philosophy Durban