HUNDREDS of people around the country are taking the time to learn Sanskrit language in seven days.
The free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, describes Sanskrit as a historical Indo-Aryan language, the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and a literary and scholarly language in Buddhism and Jainism.
Sanskrit is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India, and it is an official language of the State of Uttarakhand. It also holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies.
On the invitation of the Fiji Sevashram Sangha, world renowned Sanskrit scholar Prof Gajendra Punda is now taking classes in Labasa before doing the same in Lautoka.
Swamy Sanyukta Nanda of the Fiji Sevashram Sangha said classes in Suva were well attended and participants numbers had to be restricted to 55.
"The group was organised into two smaller ones, one session being run by his wife and one by Prof Punda. Participants were of all age groups and from all walks of life such as academics, workers and retired senior teachers," Swamy Nanda said.
"The way this course was run was easy to understand and it captured the participants' interest and enthusiasm on the first day and they were compelled to take time every evening for classes."
Participants who attended classes in Suva, agreed that the Fiji Sevashram Sangha had provided an opportunity to get them to better understand and learn conversational Sanskrit.
Many said they never imagined they would be able to speak a word of Sanskrit in their life.
While closing the course, Swamy Nanda acknowledged Prof Punda's "selfless" efforts to promote Sanskrit.
He thanked Mr Punda for travelling to Fiji at his own expense to provide Fijians the opportunity to learn Sanskrit.
He reminded participants that every nation's progress was measured by its sampati (wealth) and sanskriti (culture), saying "sadly people are accumulating wealth but losing their culture".
Swami Nanda also said Sanskrit was the symbol of Hindu culture and heritage and Hindus should revive it.
Classes are now being held in Labasa while the Lautoka session is scheduled for June 3-10.