Sanskrit

Skt., samskrta: perfect, complete
also called devanagari: divine language

The sacred language of India in which most of its religious texts are written. Because the language developed (from so-called Vedic) along with the philosophical, scientific and religious thought of India, it features a highly differentiated and sophisticated terminology for extraordinary states of consciousness, subtle physiology and mental/spiritual processes of which no immediate equivalents are known in Western languages; even though Sanskrit does belong to the Indo-European family of languages.

As a written language, Sanskrit consists of 51 letters or glyphs, not counting the numerals 0 to 9 nor the many diacritical marks.

The alphabet is subdivided into 15 vowels (Skt., nityas) and 36 (semi-vowels and) consonants (Skt., tattvas); making it one of the largest alphabetic scripts in use today.

The glyphs (and their pronunciation) are often difficult to transliterate into Roman-based Western languages with only twenty-six letters, and several systems are in use.