Sanskrit is the venerable literary language of India. Its earliest works date back to the ancient Vedas, composed in 1000 BCE, and it continues to be used in some circles in contemporary South Asia. For many centuries it served as the primary medium through which the literate civilization of India expressed itself. Sanskrit is the religious language of the Hindu scriptures, and of many Buddhist and Jain works as well. In classical and medieval India it was the language of poetry, philosophy, politics, history, science, and innumerable technical fields. It is a “perfected language” whose grammar was first codified by Panini in the fourth century BCE.