Pālī

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pali, PAlI, Paali


Pālī (also, Pālī)

Language plays a very important part in the communication of ideas.

Pālī (or Pālī) is one of the several ancient languages of India. During the times of Gautama Buddha (6th century B.C.) it appears to have been the language of the common people.

Derived from the root ‘pā’ (‘to protect’) ‘Pālī’ is ‘that which protects’. However, it was originally applied to Buddha’s words as contained in the Tripitakas (or Tipitakas). Later on, it indicated the language of these works.

It has also been known as Māgadhī language. However, the language of the edicts of the Magadhan emperor Aśoka (272-232 B. C.) is a little different.

Pāli is closer to Vedic rather than classical Sanskrit.

Apart from the Devanāgarī script, the scripts of other countries like those of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand are also being used to express the Pālī texts.

The literature in the Pālī language is quite extensive.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Pālī (also, Pālī) Language plays a very important part in the communication of ideas. Pālī (or Pālī) is one of the several ancient languages of India. During the times of Gautama Buddha (6th century A. C.) it appears to have been the language of the common people. Derived from the root ‘pā’ (‘to protect’) ‘Pālī’ is ‘that which protects’. However, it was originally applied to Buddha’s words as contained in the Tripitakas (or Tipitakas). Later on, it indicated the language of these works. It has also been known as Māgadhī language. However, the language of the edicts of the Magadhan emperor Aśoka (272-232 B. C.) is a little different. Pāli is closer to Vedic rather than classical Sanskrit. Apart from the Devanāgarī script, the scripts of other countries like those of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand are also being used to express the Pālī texts. The literature in the Pālī language is quite extensive.