How does one begin the study of an ancient language when one doesn't have a teacher? Great question. Still working on that. In the meantime, I am teaching myself.
My heady passion of delving into the depths of transliteration and translation have to be tempered (to some extend) for the time being. We must crawl before we walk. So I am learning devanagari and pronunciation of sanskrit vowels and consonants.
I did some research and found an excellent textbook on the topic-- by Thomas Egenes: Introduction to Sanskrit (comes in two volumes). There are a number of really great resources online, some of which are linked in the side bar. A CD or website which includes audio can be very helpful in pronunciation.
Devanagari refer to the written characters of this language. As seen below:
Devanagari means the "city (nagari) of immortals (deva)". Amazing.
So here I go again... loved this parallel:
Sanskrit (samskrta) means "perfected" or "put together", "together"= sam. I find this breakdown of the words fascinating because of Patanjali's 8 Limbs of Yoga, laid out in the Yoga Sutras, the 8th limb is Samadhi. Samadhi is the yogic equivalent of enlightenment-- union. Oneness.