Mattia Silvani

Self portrait by Mattia Salvini
My name is Mattia and I have recently spent time teaching Sanskrit at Buddha’s Smile School. Despite my broken Hindi, the small students actually listened to the lessons with interest. The children memorized Sanskrit verses and made an effort to learn the first steps in the language.

Rajan is providing a rare opportunity for these children, to acquire an education that their background would normally not afford them.

At the time when I was teaching, the facilities were limited. I used to teach Sanskrit to about fourteen children, but in the classes there were at least another ten, since they had no other place to stay during pauses. To my surprise, even some of the children who were sitting there in ‘stand-by’ mode, had been attentive enough to memorize a few verses. They were also quite eager to repeat them aloud.

Sanskrit and Hindi are quite close, and the students had no great difficulty in picking up a very precise pronunciation. Of all the activities, they seemed to enjoy memorization and chanting, and Rajan included some of the salutations to Ganesa (the god that removes obstacles) to their morning prayer.

Knowing some Sanskrit opens up an immense storehouse of traditional knowledge, which is often far from the reach of even many Indians. More immediately, chanting the verses puts the children, and whomsoever can hear their enthusiastic renditions, in touch with a sense of very enjoyable, cheerful sacredness. I often wondered who else will have a chance to hear these Sanskrit verses: probably their parents and relatives will be amused to hear their small kids bring home what usually only trained professional priests can.

I am not sure as to whether any of the children will go much further with the Sanskrit, but who knows? Anyhow, they seem to enjoy it. This rich language has been one of the favoured idioms of culture in India for millennia: they should access and carry some Sanskrit to their lives, if they so wish.

Mattia Salvini
Ph.D.candidate and Part Time Lecturer
Dept. Of Study of Religions
SOAS University of London

2 Responses to “Mattia Silvani”

  1. mattia

    ciao mattia,sei un grande per quello che fai.potrai essermi d’aiuto visto che voglio sapere come si scrive il mio nome in lingua hindi.devanagari.mi chiamo anch’io mattia.spero tu mi possa aiutare.fammi sapere.grazie.è molto importante

  2. mattia salvini

    ti aiuterei volentieri,
    ma dovro’ mandarti
    un email con un allegato,
    e non ho il tuo indirizzo