Sanskrit Academic Enrichment Trip to Malta
March 1, 2024

Sanskrit Academic Enrichment Trip to Malta

Seven pupils studying IGCSE Sanskrit visited Malta from 8th to 13th February for an academic enrichment visit.

In the mornings, pupils each received one hour of Sanskrit tuition and also had three hours of supervised study of subjects of their own choice. In the afternoons, there were trips focussing on the ancient temples of Malta which predate the pyramids of Egypt. These Maltese temples are perhaps contemporaneous with the sacrificial culture spoken of in the most ancient Sanskrit texts, the Vedas. Many of the features of these temples remind us of the Vedic world.

In the evenings there were seminars relating to Sanskrit literature and possible connections to the temple culture of Malta, two of which were given by visiting speakers from Malta University. We were also shown a film on this topic which our visiting speakers had made.

The overall theme for the trip, chosen by one of the pupils, was a philosophically challenging verse from the Bhagavad Gita IGCSE set text, which can be translated as ‘One whose every undertaking is free from desirous intentions, and whose actions have been burnt up in the fire of knowledge, that person the enlightened call wise.’ Pupils practised reciting the verse in Sanskrit and analysed the grammar of the verse and the etymology of the Sanskrit words, all of which were found to be key to understanding.

Pupils then explored in their own experience what this verse might mean, and one of our speakers from Malta University, Dr Michael Zammit, who has recently retired from being Professor of Philosophy, and who has translated the Bhagavad Gita from Sanskrit into Maltese, further helped pupils to penetrate its meaning.

One evening Mrs Jessup also led a compelling seminar based on a section of the A Level Hinduism syllabus which deals with the topic of women in Hindu society and which at the same time revisits part of the IGCSE Sanskrit epic civilisation course on the goddess in Sanskrit literature.

Pupils enjoyed the trip and found it had both broadened and deepened their understanding of the IGCSE Sanskrit syllabus!