Sanskrit and the West: the continuation of the adoration of Hinduism

How did the ancient language of Sanskrit recently gain popularity with the Western world? Recently, Hindu relations with the Western music world have improved due to Mick Jagger singing in Sanskrit on a new album by super group, SuperHeavy. The group, which also features a collaboration with the British songstress Joss Stone and award winning Indian musician AR Rahman, will sing ‘Satyameva Jayate’ (Truth Alone Triumphs). The album will also feature other songs in Urdu, another Hindu language.

Hindu Statesman, Rajan Jed, has praised Jagger and his band mates for experimenting in Sanskrit and has encouraged other Hinduism supporters such as Lady Gaga to do the same. But has this ancient language always been popular in the west? It has always been considered to be a sacred language in Hinduism and the root of Indo – European languages. Scientists and philosophers such as Robert Oppenheimer have been fascinated by the ‘Vedas’ which is a collection of religious and philosophical poems and hymns that have been compiled since 3000 BC, published in Sanskrit. The Hindu religion itself especially the Hindu gods can also be related to the human psyche. They have all experienced human emotions such as love and greed and offer an alternative to many westerners, who find it hard to relate to their perfect, sinless Christian God. Even more, Hinduism offers a more spiritual rather than religious path, which is becoming very fashionable with Westerners.

Hinduism was also celebrated earlier this month in India in a newspaper piece by Indian politician and Harvard University professor Subramanian Swamy, who claimed that the voting rights of Indian Muslims should be revoked unless they acknowledged their ancestral Hindu roots. Islamic terrorism in India should be destroyed and India should be restored to a country of Hindus, which it was in ancient times. This article is significant especially after the 2011 terrorist attacks in Mumbai in July, believed to be caused by Muslims from Pakistan.

However, has the commemoration of an ancient Hindu language by the respected music moguls inadvertently going to result in devastating relations with other religions? As compared with Hinduism, the practice of Islam has been misunderstood and feared by most of the western world with many turning to Buddhism or Hinduism for spirituality purposes. Instead, should the entertainment world and governments today focus more on improving Islamic relations rather than seeking to build on what is already a fruitful relationship with the Hindu culture?         

Rochelle Sampy

Interact UK: Star House, 104-108 Grafton Road, Kentish Town, London. NW5 4BA. Email:
Community Web Kit provided free by BT