Prakrit and Pali Literature
Around 6th century BC, people of India were speaking and writing languages that were much simpler than classical Sanskrit. These vernacular forms, of which there were several, are called the Prakrits. Most of the literature generally called Prakrit is devoted to Jainism . The sacred texts ( Siddhanta or Agama ) of the two main sects of the Jains employed three types of Prakrit. The oldest sutras of the Svetambara sect are written in Ardha-Magadhi, while later books are in Maharastri. The Svetambara canon, written in verse and prose, received its final form in AD 454. The sacred books of the Digambara sect are written in Savraseni. An important source of knowledge of Prakrit is the Sanskrit drama. Kalidasa is included among many dramatists, who, in order to obtain a realistic effect, had the common people in their plays speak in Prakrit.
Pali LiteratureThe term "Pali" denotes a set of sacred texts of the Buddhists. The nature of literature in Pali language is basically religious and philosophical. Pali literature has a rich collection of Buddhist texts and scriptures. The basic and the most important part of the teachings of Buddha is called as "Tipitika". It is said that most of the original teachings of Buddha are contained in Tipitika. Still some people insist that Pali Tipitika has the original teachings of Buddha. Read on further to know more about Pali language literature.
The 2500-year-old Theravada tradition is carefully preserved in Pali. It is famously known as "Buddhavachana", which means words of Buddha. It is said that the most genuine form of the teachings of Buddha are preserved in Pali literature. The very foundation of Buddhism is contained in these texts and the society takes maximum pains to make sure that they are carefully preserved. Pali signifies the very tenet of Buddhism.
Pali is a very refined and pure language that was spoken during the early years of 600-200 B.C. This was the time period of the Indo-Aryan era in the continent. It was widely spoken by people not only in India but in neighboring countries as well. Though it is not spoken in the contemporary world, it has left behind a rich heritage of literature that is relevant to the socio-cultural environment of not only India, but also countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and other neighboring countries.