Ram Karan Sharma (photo taken 2005)
"Sanskrit is one of the oldest surviving members of the Indo-European family of
languages, characterized by its uninterrupted continuity
for at least the last six thousand years. It is not
confined to any region, any religion, any one
philosophical school or race or caste."
served as a vehicle for all kinds of literary, cultural,
spiritual, intellectual, philosophical and scientific
expressions of humankind throughout the ages. It
continues to serve as a medium of expression including
day-to-day conversation and modern aesthetic creations.
It has also served as a most effective medium for a
dialogue of cordial understanding between the East and
the West for at least the last two
"Sanskrit represents not merely a
language, but a distinct tradition that brings us closer
to one another linguistically, philosophically,
culturally as well as
Dr. Ram Karan Sharma was born March 20, 1927 at Shivapur in Saran District in Bihar. He received an M.A. (Sanskrit and Hindi) from Patna University.
He has degrees in Sāhityācārya, Vedānta Śāstrī and Navya-Vyākaraṇa Śāstrī from Bihar Sanskrit Association. As a Fulbright scholar he received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the University of California where he worked with Professor M. B. Emeneau. An esteemed international scholar, Dr. Sharma has held visiting professorships at Columbia, Chicago, and the University of California. As of 2006, Dr. Sharma resides in Delhi and teaches in the United States for several months of each year.
Dr. Sharma writes in both Sanskrit and English. His literary works include
the poetry collections Sandhya, Patheyasatakam, Vina, and Kavita and the novels, Rayisah and Sima. Apart from his literary works he also translated and edited books on Indian medicine, epics, and the purāṇas. He has published about one hundred research papers in various seminars, journals and books in the field of Indology.
His Elements of Poetry in the Mahabharata is a systematic analysis of similies, metaphors, and figures of speech in the context of oral poetry.
Other major works include the Anthology of Mediaeval Sanskrit Literature (included in volume one of Paniker's Anthology of Medieval Indian Literature), Śivasahasranāmāṣṭakam, Sivasukiyam, Gaganavani, Caraka Samhita, Rejuvenative Healthcare in Ayurveda, Kavita, Sarvamangala, Sumanomala, Dipika, and editing the 1993 reprint edition of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. His contributions to the subject of the development of Buddhist thought in India include editing Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy.
Dr. Sharma is known for actively organizing Oriental conferences and
seminars promoting the international exchange of ideas.
He is President of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies.
He has served as Secretary of the Central Sanskrit Board and Organizing Secretary for the First and Fifth World Sanskrit Conferences. For his many and
varied contributions to Sanskrit literature he has received many awards
including the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1989, the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad
Award in 1989, the Delhi Sanskrit Academy Award, and one of India's most
prestigious awards, the Presidential Award. He received the 2005 Krishna Kanta Handique Memorial Award, presented in 2006 by the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Dr. Sharma is the second person to receive this high honor, given in recognition of his contributions to promote the cause of Sanskrit language and literature. He is a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) and Member of the American Oriental Society.
He was a government servant under Bihar Civil Service, Government of Bihar. As an educator he has held many prestigious positions in government and academic institutions, including:
- 1961-1970, Special Officer (Sanskrit), Government of India
- 1970-1974 and 1980-1983, Founder Director, Rastriya Sanskrit Sansthan
- 1974-1980, Vice-Chancellor of Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga University, Darbhanga
- 1983-1984, Joint Educational Advisor, Government of India
- 1984-1985, Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, Varanasi
Ram Karan Sharma, Rama Karana Sharma, R. K. Sharma, RK Sarma, Sanskrit audio recordings, Śivasahasranāmāṣṭakam, Sivasahasranamastakam, Siva sahasranama, Shiva sahasranama, Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, Ganesa Purana, Elements of Poetry in the Mahabharata, Mahābhārata