1. How to go about the Sanskrit Reading Room.
First of all, in the email you have received you'll find the internet link and schedule of our meetings. Any changes to that will be communicated to you via the email you've submitted.
In the Member Zone (MZ), where you are now, you'll find many interesting things. Let's cover them now one by one:
Once you have entered the MZ, , under the heading "Current text" there will be a file containing the text we are reading at present. Make sure to download it and have it with you during the meeting, so you are always aware of what text we are discussing.
As not all of our members are familiar with the Devanagari script, we use the standardized Sanskrit transliteration system, which uses latin letters with some added symbols (diacritical marks). It is a great script to represent all the Sanskrit sounds. If you are used to Devanagari, no problem. It will take you no time to get used to transliterated Sanskrit. You may find useful the Devanagari-transliterated Sanskrit comparative table in the Miscellaneous section! Now let's turn to the other areas of the MZ:
New Members: That's where you are now. Make sure you go through the tips given in this article before attending the meetings.
Reference Materials: This is a section where you'll find files containing the most essential elements of Sanskrit grammar, such as tables, summaries, etc. Be sure to download and print them out. Refresh what you might know already and learn the new material on the go, at your own pace. [To give you an example - spend just 10 min a day learning a row in a noun or verb table, or memorize one or two meanings of some grammatical case. 10 min is all you need to spend, but do it consistently and regularly, and in a few months you'll fill your head with lots of Sanskrit. It will all be at the tips of your fingers, as you'll see it all applied in our meetings.]
Meeting notes: at every meeting we draw a graphical representation of each verse we analyse, which specifically represents the connection between the words, along with the words' grammatical forms. These diagrams are permanently stored in this "Meeting Notes" section and are available for download. Analyse them again and again in your own time!
Dictionaries: You can download some digital versions of Sanskrit-English dictionaries, both for Mac and PC. It's a great thing to have and a pleasure to use!
Miscellaneous: This is where we make available various secondary resources, like typing aids for Romanized Sanskrit, Devanagari text converters, etc. Take a look once and see - maybe you'll find some of it useful.
All the meetings are recorded and published on the Youtube channel “Sanskrit Sense” twice a week: https://www.youtube.com/sanskritsense (Playlist: Reading Room).
Make sure to SUBSCRIBE and hit the BELL BUTTON to get alerted once a new recording is uploaded, so if you miss a meeting, you will still get a chance to watch the recording!
As most of the meeting time we discuss the text itself, the facilitator's video is generally off, providing instead the screen to the whiteboard, where we analyze the verse graphically.
You are free to switch on/off your video during the meeting (as you might be sometimes seen in a tiny box along with the other participants).
Unmute yourself when asking a question, or commenting on a point or answering a question (the facilitator asks the audience time to time, to keep everyone "awake" :)).
Also, you will be unmuted if you hold the space key (if using a mobile you might have to do it manually from the tool panel). Often household noises slightly disturb the meeting, and so it is best if you keep yourself muted at other times.
OTHER USEFUL TIPS
You might like to take a screenshot of the verse diagram at the end of the meeting, as I will be uploading them to the website at the end of the week only.
I suggest not to look at the translations of the text that we are reading prior to the meeting. This will obviously give you more chance to learn - not knowing something makes you guess, and when you guess you start thinking of all your options, activating all your memory and intuition. So don't deprive youself of this healthy challenge!