Dêvanâgarî (Sk.). Lit., “the language or letters of the dêvas” or gods. The characters of the Sanskrit language. The alphabet and the art of writing were kept secret for ages, as the Dwijas (Twice-born) and the Dikshitas (Initiates) alone were permitted to use this art. It was a crime for a. Sudra to recite a verse of the Vedas, and for any of the two lower castes (Vaisya and Sudra) to know the letters was an offence punishable by death. Therefore is the word lipi, ‘‘writing”, absent from the oldest MSS., a fact which gave the Orientalists the erroneous and rather incongruous idea that writing was not only unknown before the day of Pânini, but even to that sage himself That the greatest grammarian the world has ever produced should be ignorant of writing would indeed be the greatest and most incomprehensible phenomenon of all.
Source: H.P.Blavatsky - The Theosophical Glossary