Sanskrit Transliteration Keyboard on Linux

I have created an X keyboard layout that serves as a Linux equivalent to Toshiya Unebe’s “EasyUnicode” keyboard layout.


It allows one to easily type all the standard letters with diacritical marks for roman transliteration of Sanskrit, Pali, and some other Indic languages.  To get “ā” for example, one can just hold the Windows key and press “a”.  For “Ā” one holds the Windows key and shift and types “A”.  Use the layout picture below to view the location of available characters.  I also added a combining under ring for those who prefer to use that for vocalic r and l.  For this, first type “r” or “l”, then hold the Windows key and type “b”. This produces “r̥” or “l̥”.


  • Unzip the attached file and place it in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols
  • Add the following code to the layouts list section of /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev.xml

<description>Sanskrit (IAST)</description>

  • Log out and log back in
  • You should now be able to add the keyboard in your Input Devices or Keyboard Layout system settings.
  • Confirmed working on the latest versions of Manjaro (KDE), Debian (XFCE), Linux Mint (Cinnamon), and Ubuntu (Unity).


See this useful guide.  One can easily edit the keyboard file to reassign keys or choose a different keyboard shortcut to activate the different keystrokes.

Snake-related News Pieces

A fascinating piece from 1904 on snakes’ reputed power to hypnotize their prey: Aaron Ullrey
Nag Pancami controversy over worship of live snakes: Courtesy Lance Nelson (RISA Listserv)
Recent audio story from BBC Outlook about an out-of-work snake charmer from Bangladesh: Courtesy Alexander von Rospatt
BBC report on the Million Death Study in India, including reference to the latest reliable estimate of snakebite deaths in India: Courtesy Alexander von Rospatt
A new biomedical development for treating snakebite (somewhat over-hyped though): Courtesy Robert Bloodgood

Support my Tantric Medicine Book Project

I have launched a project page on Kickstarter to help me get my book on the Garudam medical tradition finalized and sent to a publisher this summer.  Please consider supporting this effort, and let people know about who might be interested in it.  But please do not post it unsolicited to any email LISTSERV, which is against the rules of Kickstarter.
Thank you for the support!