An English translation of the Sanskrit poetic metre vasanta-tilaka, “the ornament of spring” also aptly describes the Sanskrit course facilitated by Radhika Ramana Dasa.
During the first week of sunny spring days in Radhadesh, students were absorbed in repeating the names of Krishna (in all eight cases) as they received an introduction to Sanskrit based on the teaching methods of Srila Jiva Goswami. “Introduction to Sanskrit”, which runs two weeks, is one of the College’s academic courses and is accredited by University of Wales, Lampeter. Within the two weeks, Radhika Ramana imparts a basic understanding of the purpose of Sanskrit study and the structure and scope of the language. Students memorize the oral alphabet, as well as the Devanagari characters and several verse metres. Thus by the completion of the course, they can carefully find their way through simple Sanskrit texts.
A great value of the course is its devotional aspect. A language, or any skill, comes alive when related to something that holds great importance for the individual, such as scripture. Radhika Ramana’s presentation of techniques from the Harinama Vyakarana of Jiva Goswami, along with his linguistic expertise and saintly disposition, provide an inspiringly devotional course. The aim is to give students an appreciation for the beauty and utility of the Sanskrit language. Radhika Ramana revealed his intent, in line with Jiva Goswami, on the first day of classes: “The purpose of this course is to learn Sanskrit, but even more, to become Krishna conscious while learning Sanskrit.”