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Difference Between Sanskrit and Prakrit

Sanskrit VS Prakrit

Have you heard someone speak of the oldest language in the world? Maybe you’ve heard it on television documentaries before. But in case you haven’t, the oldest language in the world is that of the Indo-Aryan language. Indo-Aryan has two ancient languages that reflect its richness in culture and tradition: the Sanskrit and the Prakrit. To even say that it reflects the richness of the culture and tradition of its people is an understatement because many people, both dead and alive, believed that this language is the language of the gods. These two languages are not used in a contemporary setting anymore, however. Though there are some classes in educational establishments that study these languages and others even try to revive it. These languages have the same fate with that of the Latin and Greek language.

Sanskrit is an historical Indo-Aryan language that has a meaning of ‘refined speech.’ It is also used for religious purposes. The Hindu and Buddhist religion use this as their main liturgical language. In contemporary times, Sanskrit is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. Sanskrit is also the main language of Uttarakhad. In India, the standard registered Sanskrit used its classical Sanskrit. This language has been laid out in the Panini grammar dating back to the 4th century BCE. The position it has on greater India can be compared to Latin and Greek in Europe. This language has greatly influenced the other modern languages in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Pakistan and Nepal. Another form of Sanskrit is the Vedic Sanskrit. The Rig-Veda language is the oldest language that dates back to 1500 BCE, making Rigvedic Sanskrit the oldest one of the Indo-Iranian language. This is also one of the youngest in the Indo-European languages. This language family includes English and European languages. Sanskrit is very rich in tradition and culture. This language is full of poetry and other literature. It is also filled with scientific, philosophical, technical, and religious Hindu texts. Up until now, it is still used in forms of hymns and mantras. Some educational establishments still use this language however ancient it is.

Another kind of ancient language is the Prakrit. It is named after a group of Middle Indic. Middle Indic is a group of languages from the Indo-Aryan; it was based on the old Indic dialects. The word ‘Prakrit’ is from the root word ‘Prakrit,’ which means ‘original, natural, ordinary, or usual.’ This language was used in literary aspects when kings of the Khatriya caste also used this language. However, this language was branded illegitimate by the Brahminorthodoxy. One of the former Emperors of India, Asoka, was one of the first who used this language. This language is usually related to a different patron dynasty. This language is practiced with much culture and tradition across the entire Indian Subcontinent.



‘Sanskrit’ means ‘refined speech,’ while ‘Prakrit’ means ‘original, natural, ordinary.’

Sanskrit is richer in tradition, culture, and literature compared to Prakrit.

Sanskrit has great influence in the languages used in the Indian subcontinent, especially Nepal and Pakistan. Prakrit is not that influential.

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  1. Hi first thank you for your effort. It is very basic, making it principally ineffective.

    Prakrit, is a language used in Jainism and Buddhism and the chief difference that currently proclaimed is that Prakrit was the language of coolness and Sanskrit of the Brahim hegemony.

    There is a lot of research coming up especially at the Harappa and mohenjadaro sites that Jainism was existing at that time and widespread. The dating of these digs is 5000 to 7000 BCE. There is mention of Rishaba in the Vedas and Upanishads. The point here could be that initially it was Prakrit which was in common use, hence Prakrit which comes from natural as you have said. All of Jain literature and a lot of Buddhist literature is in Prakrit.

    Obviously one will never know but that is why one looks at date lines and tries to glean information about what could have been. Look up the I telnet there are plenty of resources, some authentic most not.

    ASI seems to say that a lot of temples in India were originally Jain temples but these are contentious and debatable issues purely because people identify themselves with a group and then assume and read a lot. The distinctive statues of Jainism make identification simple.

    Maybe Prakrit had a much larger following than is assumed, so don’t say it was not this or that. Even today like Sanskrit the basic sutras for a small group is in Prakrit.

    It could also be that in the evolution of languages, Sanskrit came out of Prakrit as happens in history. I am no scholar of either but I am a free thinker and a Jain and currently researching at the moment on the net and that is how I came to your article.

    Would be interesting to see other responses.

    • Also seem like your views are biased.

      For me it’s chicken and egg – one says chicken other says egg. I say whatever we got both to enjoy.

  2. In my comments autocorrect has changed things a bit

    Prakrit is the language of the common people is what I meant and it has been changed to coolness!

  3. “Prakrit is older than Sanskrit”.

    Aryans from Persia (Iran) developed new language (Sanskrit) for them and made it popular than its mother language by their Strategy with Kings.
    They might done this for their identity and need of dominant power.

    • There cannot be two global Language. It would though ‘just’,be irrational and scizopreniac May be Sanskrit was the global Language of the day.

      My comment is assuming that Prakrit is NOT a daughter of Sanskrit. Savarkar however thought Prakrit daughter of Sanskrit.

  4. Root language for all the modern Indo-European languges was Prakrit! Sanskrit was primarily developed to write religious texts!

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