In May 2012 I did both Prathamaa and dwiteeyaa Dikshaa exams of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan. That prompted me to look for other examinations of any other institutes. I had already known of Sanskrit-Exams of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. I have also known that Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeetha, Pune also conducts exams in Sanskrit.
By my own – admittedly subjective – opinion, the examinations of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan really are graded at a very comfortable pace, which can motivate even a bland new learner to learn Sanskrit.
I was happy to have my wife and my grandson do the Balabodha exam on Sunday 16th September 2012. My wife had learnt Sanskrit in her school some 45 years ago. I suggested that she should better begin at the beginning. My grandson is an American by birth and is here for the past one year. The boy is so positive for every suggestion, he readily agreed to do the Balabodha exam. Both have done well and would like to do the next Praarambha exam in February 2013.
Also Mr. Manoj Bhavsar, a follower of my blog had been following up with me whether I would conduct Sanskrit teaching. He is also a devotee of Shri Aurobindo. So it was arranged that I shall take classes at Aurobindo Society, Churchgate, Mumbai. Nine candidates from there also appeared for the Balabodha exam.
Nearer to home, Mr. Prakash Kapadia another follower of my blog also urged that Sanskrit will be better learnt by one-to-one teaching. I agreed and his wife Priti and son Vibhu also did the Balabodha exam.
The purpose of narrating all this is –
- Any study becomes focused and meaningful, if one would also plan to do some exams in that subject. This would be so much true for Sanskrit.
- The exam-series should really take one through a graded study.
- I am really impressed by the textbooks of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
The scheme of the Bhavan’s exams starts with Balabodha, then Praarambha, Pravesh, Parichaya and finally Kovid. Kovid is regarded as equivalent to graduation. I myself did Parichaya. So at this September-2012 schedule I was both a teacher and a student. I plan to do Kovid In February 2013.
When I say that the structure of Bhavan’s exams is graded, one can appreciate that for Balabodha and Praarambha one has only one paper of 50 marks, actually only 48 and 2 marks reserved for good hand-writing. That again is so important, right ? Then there are 2 papers and two textbooks for Pravesh, three papers and three textbooks for Parichaya and four papers and four textbooks for Kovid.
Almost all the essential grammar of Sanskrit is well-covered in these 11 papers and 11 textbooks. There is also good introduction to Sanskirt prosody and Sanskrit literature at large. So it becomes a program of two and half years for a fresh learner to become a graduate.
Shri. Shivagopal Mishra, who handles the desk of these exams at the Bhavan’s HQs at Chowpati, Mumbai, quite close from Babulnath temple also told me that some 1000+ students take the exams in Mauritius. Bhavan of course has many centers all over India.
Bhavan started the Sanskrit exams in 1956 or so. Kovid exams started possibly in 1997, since the textbook mentions its First Edition to have been published in 1997.
For anyone keen to learn Sanskrit at a comfortable pace and yet have the essentials covered in a relatively short period of two-and-half years, I would strongly recommend Bhavan’s exams.
By the way, I covered the study of Balabodha textbook at my blog http://sanskritabhavanam.wordpress.com Interested readers may browse.