Sanskrit Is the Most Ancient and Perfect Among the Languages of the World. Its Storehouse Of Knowledge Is An Unsurpassed And The Most Invaluable Treasure Of The World. This Language Is A Symbol Of Peculiar Indian Tradition And Thought, Which Ha Exhibited Full Freedom In The Search Of Truth, Ha Shown Complete Tolerance Towards Spiritual And Other Kind Of Experience Of Mankind, And Has Shown Catholicity Towards Universal Truth. This Language Contains Not Only A Rich Fund Of Knowledge Of People Of India But It Is Also An Unparalleled Way To Acquire Knowledge And It Thus Significant For The Whole World. In Order To Highlight Its International Significance And To Keep Intact Traditional Scholarship And To Strike A Compromise Between Indian And Western Outlook And To Conduct Research And Study The Various Aspects Of Culture And Spiritual Literature This University Was Founded On 22 March, 1958 By The Then Chief Minister Dr. Sampurnanand And Education Minister Pt. Kamlapati Tripathi At Varanasi, The Oldest Cultural City Of India, With The Name Of “Varanaseya Snskrit Vishwavidyalaya”, D. A.N.Jha Being The First Vice Chancellor. It Was Renamed A Sampurnanand Sanskrit University under the U.P. State University Act, 1973, W.e.f. 16th Dec. 1974.
The university has since been proceeding along the set path of the programme while trying to achieve its goal. If its former shape “Govt. Sanskrit College” is included it has an excellent history of about 205 years.
The history Sampurnanand Sanskrit University includes history of the Sanskrit Education itself. The guideline set by the glorious past of the Govt. Sanskrit College, Benares has been most appropriate for the University. Under a proposal af Sri Jonathan Duncan, the then resident of East India Company and the approval of Governor General Lord Carnwalis, this Govt. Sanskrit College was established in 1791. Pt. Kashinath was its first teacher and Acharya. There was an arrangement for the teaching of subjects such as Veda, Vedanta, Purana, Ayurveda, Sahitya, Astrology, Theology, Mimamsa, Nyaya etc. The college was conducted with the surplus revenue of Benares State which was first deposited in a special account and later remitted to the general head of education.
In 1844, Sri J.Muir,ICS, was made its first principal. Efforts were made to develop the college in various aspects. Dr. J.R.Valentine developed the spirit of a comparative study of oriental and occidental classics and specific Sanskrit texts were translated into English in order to achieve this goal. Dr. Valentine established an Anglo-Sanskrit Department with this end in view. In 1861, Dr. R.T.H.Grifith was appointed its Principal. He was the first scholar who translated the Valmiki Ramayan into English verses. A reasonable achievement was made in the direction of development, preservation and advancement of Sanskrit learning during the principalship. The publication of ‘The Pandit’ – ‘Kashi Vidya Sudhanidhi’ was launched which contained translations of many rare Sanskrit texts. The publication of this magazine continued till 1916. During the principalship of Dr. G.Theibo the system of oral examination was abolished and the system of written examination as well the issue of certificates and degree was started.
During the period of Dr. Arthur Venis (1888-1918), the publication of Vijayanagara series of Sanskrit texts was accomplished. In 1909, the post examination controller was created. In 1904, an effort was made to give it the name and form of university. Efforts were made to collect , preserve and publish Sanskrit manuscripts which resulted in the establishment of the “Saraswati Bhavana” library, which is most reputed and well known in the whole world.
During the principalship of Dr. Ganga Nath Jha (1918-1923) the publication of “Saraswati Bhavana Garnthamala” and “Saraswati Bhavana Studies” was started and specific Sanskrit texts based on deep research were published which marked a remarkable approach in the direction of study and dissemination of knowledge inherent in Sanskrit texts. Moreover, a Board of Sanskrit Studies was set up to conduct examination.
Mahamahopadhyaya Pt. Gopinath Kaviraj (Principal – 1923-1937) contributed significantly through translation and publication of specific texts as well as cataloguing of manuscripts.
In 1937, another effort was made to give it the name and form of a University but it could not materialize until 1956 when Varanaseya Sanskrit University Act was passed. It is remarkable that this college performed all those acts which an all India University is expected to do. Convocations were held between 1947 to 1958 every time in the manner of a University. The Sanskrit Colleges of this country and that of Nepal were affiliated to this college even before this University was founded. The number of affiliated colleges in U.P. alone was 1441. thus this college acted like a University not only for this country but also for other countries. Pt. Kuber Nath Shukla was the last principal of the Govt. Sanskrit College. He was also the first Registrar of the University.