BUTTERWORTH: Sanskrit is Greek to most people but for Bhanu Swami Maharaj (pic) the ancient language is a cinch to master.
The Canadian of Japanese descent said the sacred language of Hinduism may seem complicated but it was easier than most languages because it was phonetic-based.
“There are vowels and consonants but you only have to memorise 60. Reading it is easy. It is unlike the character-based Chinese or Japanese languages where you have to remember 6,000 to 10,000 characters,” said the scholar, 67.
However, he said that while Sanskrit words were pronounced exactly as they were written, “it can also be difficult as there are many conjugation and declension of nouns and verbs”.
He has translated 29 books from Sanskrit into English. His significant works involve the Brahma Sutras, Bhaktirasanrta Sindu, Brahma Samhita and the Srimad Bhagavatam from Volume One to 12.
Bhanu Swami, a scholar in Sanskrit and Bengali, spoke of the difficulties in translating the books due to the meaning of certain words.
“One word can have the opposite meaning sometimes. And there is scripture like Brahma Sutras which is particularly difficult because the words are in a condensed form,” he explained.
He said he was deeply influenced by the teachings of Srila A.C. Bhaktidedanta Swami Prahhupad, who came from a long line of spiritual masters in India.
Bhanu Swami, who joined the Hare Krishna movement in India in 1970, has travelled extensively in Europe, Russia, Australia, Malaysia and Japan.
He was a speaker at the Hindu Civilisation and Heritage Exhibition at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Kanhaiya Temple of Devotion and Understanding in Seberang Jaya yesterday.
Talks and the exhibition will go on at the temple until Aug 14.
The exhibition highlights historical records of the Bujang Valley, Kedah Tua, Gangga Negara and Langkasuka; the Hindu history of Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Prambanan (Indonesia), and places in China, Korea, Japan, Australia, North America, South America, Russia, the Vatican and Egypt.
It is organised by the Bhaktivedanta Science Unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness Malaysia.
The public is welcome to view the exhibition from 9am to 9.30pm on weekdays and from 8.30am to 11pm on weekends. Admission is free.