Seminar on Paṇini and Foundations of Language Studies

Organised by

Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, IIT-Madras


Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysuru

Dates: February 17-18, 2023

Venue: IIT-Madras

Organising Partners:


Concept Note:

The works of ancient Sanskrit grammarians serve as the foundation of modern studies of language, both theoretical as well as in the forms of descriptions. The ancient grammarians of the Indian subcontinent have worked on language extensively and have codified patterns underlying language in Sanskrit. One such example is the monumental work Ashtadhyaayii by Panini. It has been commented upon by various aacāryas like Kātyāyana and Patañjali. They have impacted and influenced, in many ways, the study of languages by their contributions to the use of meta-lingual and mathematical constructs employed in a grammatical framework.

The implications and applications of the bulk of their work available in modern time expands to the study of human cognition and to the foundational architecture of intelligent machine design, machine learning, and artificial language. Panini’s Ashtadhyaayii is not a grammar of Sanskrit. Rather, it presents the foundation of the theory of language. On the other hand, the modern linguistic traditions (structuralism and mentalism in particular) do not reflect association or familiarity with the ancient Indian knowledge systems except a few oblique and opaque remarks by some practitioners. The reference to the texts and scholarship of the 5th BCE does not become apparent in the modern discourse of the study of language. The goal of this seminar is to explore the missing link between the findings of ancient Sanskrit grammatical traditions and approaches to the study of language, human mind, and language-mind-machine interface in modern times.

We aim at bringing out technical explanations of the study of structure of Sanskrit vis-à-vis modern Indian languages. It will explore the areas of applications of the sound theoretical foundation of morphologically rich inflection system and its implications for the architecture of human mind through the study of natural language and thereof intelligent machine design. The seminar aims at focussing on establishing the missing link between the scientific foundation of the grammatical architecture and its application for the study of modern languages and human mind. We aim to explore relationship between language, grammar, and philosophy with the study the basics of theoretical foundations for the study of sounds, words, and sentences.

In this conference we aim to bring out the underlying system of language presented in our ancient grammatical traditions. We have invited scholars with profound experience of teaching and research on ancient grammatical schools to deliver a talks on topic/issues of: 1) trajectory of grammatical traditions in Sanskrit to enable the expression of scientific and mathematical thought in contemporary idioms of other languages, 2) Influence of Sanskrit grammatical traditions on modern linguistics, 3) Sanskrit, Linguistics, Society and Culture (in local and/or global contexts), 4) role of study of Sanskrit linguistics in aiding development of artificial language and intelligent machine design, 5) modern analysis of grammar of natural languages and contributions to modern linguistic theories to name a few.

Invited Speakers

M. Jayaraman

Professor, School of Yoga, SVYASA (Svami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhan Samsthan) Yoga Deemed University Bengaluru

Research Areas: Yoga, Samskrit


Professor, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj Chair Professor, IIT Madras, Chennai

Research Areas: Vedanta, History of Sanskrit, Aesthetics & Linguistics

Malhar A Kulkarni

Professor, IIT Bombay, Mumbai

Research Areas: Sanskrit language, Paninian Grammar, Philosophy of Language.

Korada Subrahmanyam

Professor, IIT Hyderabad, Hyderabad

Research Areas: Paninian Grammar, Philosophy of Language, Translation, VedasVedangas and Upanishads


Professor, Sree Sankaracharya University. Assistant Director, MHRD.

Research Areas: Sanskrit Grammar, Linguistics, Yoga, Vedas, History of Indian Civilization and Kerala School of Sanskrit. 


Doctrate in Sanskrit,  Volunteer, Samskrita Bharati Sr. Research Fellow, Samskrit Promotion Foundation.

Research Areas: Linguistics, Mathematics & Astronomy in India, Pedagogy of Sanskrit Literature

Dattaraj Deshpande

State Organizing Secretary, Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, Tamil Nadu

Research Areas: Indigenous Pedagogy, Rigveda & Dharma Shastra

Megh Kalyanasundaram

Director Special Projects, INDICA

Research Areas: Some aspects of ancient Indian chronology, Indian Knowledge Systems, Landscape in Indic texts, Ancient Indian Jurisprudence, Ideas of India and Philosophy

Manogna Sastry

Team Leader, Research, Infinity Foundation, India, Author 

Research Areas: Astrophysics, Indology, civilisational studies, consciousness studies, work on Sri Aurobindo, sustainability and education

Manjushree Hegde

Research Scholar, IIT Madras

Research Areas: Pāṇinian Grammar, Advaita-vedānta, Indian Philosophy (ṣaḍ-darśanas)

Udayana Hegde

Asst. Professor, Department of Vyakarana, School of Veda-Vedangas, National Samskrit University, Tirupati (A.P)

Research Areas: Pāṇinian Grammar, Philosophy of Language, Translation, Advaita-vedānta, Indian Philosophy (ṣaḍ-darśanas)