अष्टाध्याय्यध्ययनम् (१) – परिशिष्टम् (१)

अष्टाध्याय्यध्ययनम् (१) – परिशिष्टम् (१)
My post अष्टाध्याय्यध्ययनम् (१) received a good number of very learned critical comments. It is important to present them, because if I do not present them my post will remain full of those points which caused the criticism.

(1) श्री. नन्दूजी अभ्यंकर commented –
Don’t you need to introduce the शिवसूत्र-s before starting on aShTAdhyAyI?
I responded saying – अष्टाध्याय्याः अध्ययने शिवसूत्राणां अभ्यासः शनैः शनैः भवत्येव यथा “अष्टाध्याय्यध्ययनम् (1)”-मध्ये चतुःशिवसूत्राणाम् ।

Carrying the thought process further, now, it comes to mind that my analysis of first three सूत्र-s of अष्टाध्यायी suggests that they reveal a study of first four शिवसूत्र-s viz.
अ इ उ ण् । ऋ लृ क् । ए ओ ङ् । ऐ औ च् ।
Actually study of first three सूत्र-s of अष्टाध्यायी brings out the use of त्-ending to refer to a singular vowel and also implicit vowels आ ई ऊ दीर्घ-ऋ and दीर्घ-लृ which are not explicit in शिवसूत्र-s

(2) Possibly prompted by this study of अष्टाध्यायी Mr. Himanshu Pota put up a post about सूत्रम् at his blog http://learnsanskrit.wordpress.comgiving a well-known definition of a सूत्रम् –

अल्पाक्षरमसन्दिग्धं सारवद्विश्वतोमुखम्।
अस्तोभमनवद्यं च सूत्रं सूत्रविदो विदुः॥
अल्पाक्षरम् – concise, असन्दिग्धम् – clear, unambiguous, सारवद् – meaningful, विश्वतोमुखम् – universal, अस्तोभम् – not halting, smooth flow, अनवद्यम् – without any mistakes.

(3) Dr. H. N. Bhat gave links to many sites, where good amount of commentaries, studies, translations of अष्टाध्यायी as compiled by sages, scholars are available, many of them online. Here are the links provided by Dr. Bhat –
an English Translation of Ashtadhyayi and its commentary in English also available for download online:


Here is a lucid commentary on the selected Sutra-s in Sanskrit itself:


The dictionary of KV Abhyankar is downloadable for free from this site:


The 3rd सूत्र and its interpretation and the commentaries are at –


Actually this link presents study of sarvaaNi sootraaNi, सर्वाणि सूत्राणि, all the सूत्र-s by to and fro hyperlinks on every page.

(4) Mr. Himanshu Pota raised an interesting question –

Why didn’t अ come under 1.1.3? Should अ not have the same status as इ and उ, i.e.,
अ -> आ
इ -> ई
उ -> ऊ
Why has अ been treated differently?

My response was –

It seems अ and आ are not considered to be related to each other in a गुणवृद्धि-relationship, say, आ being वृद्धि of अ.
It can be appreciated that when pronouncing इ and ई or उ and ऊ, the organs do not experience any significant change. Only the same sound is pronounced longer. That is called as वृद्धि.
However when pronouncing आ the jaws get apart. अ is simply a guttural sound.
For years we have thought आ being वृद्धि of अ. Is it really so ?
How intelligently पाणिनी has put them into different सूत्र-s; आ in 1-1-1 and अ in 1-1-2; also not clubbing them into 1-1-3.
Science of phonetics at its minutest, best ?

On this discussion Dr. H. N. Bhat made his observation saying – “Very Strange discussion on a strange interpretation.”

He has made very detailed comments. I wish to point out that reading all the comments also should not be missed out.

(5) Mr. Vardhan raised a question –

Is not the second word of the third sutra गुणवृद्धी (which is in द्विवचनम्) and not गुणवृद्धिः (which is in एकवचनम्) ?

This was also pointed out by Dr. Avinash Sathaye in a personal message to me.

Although I had replied Mr. Vardhan saying – तृतीयं सूत्रमस्ति “इको गुणवृद्धिः = इक: गुणवृद्धिः ।” यतः “इकः”-शब्दः एकवचनेनास्ति “गुणवृद्धिः”-शब्दः अपि एकवचनेनैव साधु इति मे मतिः । कथमिदम् ?”

seeing that Dr. Sathaye also pointed out to the same, I checked again. Yes, the text (संहिता) available does read गुणवृद्धी, not गुणवृद्धिः.

Dr. Sathaye also points out that इक: is not प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनम् but षष्ठी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् इक् ।

With गुणवृद्धी being in द्विवचनम् and इक: being षष्ठी विभक्तिः the word-by-word analysis of इक: गुणवृद्धी needs be reviewed.

इक: “इक्” इति सामासिकं नपुसकलिङ्गि नाम । तस्य षष्ठी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।

  • इक् = “इ उ ऋ लृ” एतेषां समुच्चयः (समाहार-द्वन्द्वः) ।
  • “(अ) इ उ ण् । ऋ लृ क् ।” एतयोः शिवसूत्रयोः आधारेण ।

गुणवृद्धी – “गुणवृद्धि” इति सामासिकं पुल्लिङ्गि नाम । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः द्विवचनम् च ।

  • Since the compound word is in द्विवचनम् the compound needs to be deciphered as इतरेतर-द्वन्द्वः (both the components पद-s are separate identity, not merged into each other. It was analyzed as समाहार-द्वन्द्वः earlier । As इतरेतर-द्वन्द्वः –
  • गुण(रूपेण) वृद्धि(रूपेण) च इति गुणवृद्धि (इतरेतर-द्वन्द्वः) ।

Overall meaning derived earlier, fortunately, does not change much.
इकः गुणवृद्धी = The vowels connoted by इक् have existence both by गुणरूप and वृद्धिरूप. Thus this सूत्रम् “इको गुणवृद्धी” takes into its ambit and makes explicit the vowels इ उ ऋ लृ and also ई ऊ दीर्घ-ऋ and दीर्घ-लृ.

Even when saying so, some experts have voiced that my understanding and interpretation that the word वृद्धि as a grammatical term (संज्ञा) connotes and encompasses दीर्घत्वम् of the vowels इ उ ऋ लृ is not correct.

My simplistic interpretation of वृद्धि even in the context of first सूत्रम् १-१-१ वृद्धिरादैच् । was that वृद्धि connotes that the vowels आ ऐ औ are of stronger, longer, characteristics. I extrapolated this to be also indicative of द्विमात्रात्मक nature of these vowels for analyzing meters in poetry This also is not liked by the experts.

In fact I landed into a problem with this extrapolation when interpreting सूत्रम् १-१-२ अदेङ् गुणः । By this सूत्रम् the interpretation was “Less weightage is the Characteristics of syllables/vowels अ and ए, ओ.” But when analyzing poetry ए, ओ are not weak or एकमात्रात्मक

So, the terms गुण and वृद्धि connoting vowels being of strong or weak from the point of view of pronunciation seems okay. But to extrapolate that to be indicative of एकमात्रात्मक or द्विमात्रात्मक for analyzing meter of poetry seems over-extrapolation.

(5) In another discussion by अञ्जू नागराज” at samskrita@googlegroups.com on 29 September 2011 there was this mention –
if there is a document/book with the ashtadhyayi split sutra wise – i.e. by the 6 types of sutras

  1. संज्ञा – definition;
  2. परिभाषा – interpretation;
  3. विधि- rules;
  4. नियम – restriction;
  5. अतिदेश- extension;
  6. अधिकार – header/domain.

In response to this, a mention was made of a shloka –

संज्ञा च परिभाषा च विधिर्नियम एव च ।
अतिदेशोधिकारश्च षड्विधं सूत्रलक्षणम् ।।

The three opening sutras studied in अष्टाध्याय्यध्ययनम् (१) also merit classification in one or more of these six categories.

It seems to decide into which class(es) a सूत्रम् should be classified, a process of elimination may have to be applied. For example,

वृद्धिरादैच् – Is it a संज्ञा or परिभाषा or विधि or नियम or अतिदेश or अधिकार ?

  • If it is a संज्ञा, which संज्ञा does it define ? Does it define वृद्धि ? But the word वृद्धि also appears in इक: गुणवृद्धी. If आदैच् is definition of वृद्धि, there is no relationship between आदैच् and इक:, whereby आदैच् can be considered as definition of वृद्धि.
  • At http://sanskritdocuments.org/learning_tools/sarvanisutrani/1.1.1.htm I find a compilation of commentaries on सूत्रम् १-१-१ There it is quoted from काशिका-वृत्तिः “वृद्धिशब्दः संज्ञात्वेन विधीयते”
    • In dictionary of Sanskrit Grammar by Shree. V. K. Abhyankar, the word वृद्धि is detailed as “..(1) a technical term used by पाणिनि to denote the vowels आ ऐ औ; a vowel belonging to the third grade out of the three grades of vowels known as zero, normal and long grades, cf. वृद्धिरादैच् Pa. I-1.1 (2) lengthening completely of a vowel which is called as प्लुति in grammar; the term is used in ऋक् tantra in प्रातिशाख्य in this sense…”
      • Detail in this dictionary raises further query. If वृद्धि denotes only to the vowels आ ऐ औ, what about its mention in इक: गुणवृद्धी ?
      • If वृद्धि denotes “..lengthening completely of a vowel which is called as प्लुति”, are वृद्धि and प्लुति synonyms of each other ?
  • I am getting in a mode “नैको मुनिर्यस्य मतं प्रमाणम्” !!
  • Although I got lot of criticism about my interpretation, somehow I am getting to think that I am not too much off the mark in saying “वृद्धिरादैच् connotes that the vowels आ ऐ औ have the characteristics of being strong.” This connotation stays valid even for interpreting इको गुणवृद्धी
  • Along side an inquiry crops up, as raised by हिमांशु, whether strong character of a vowel connotes its pronunciation being long दीर्घ. So whether वृद्धि also means दीर्घ, what appears to have been detailed in the dictionary as प्लुति. If so, is or is not आ दीर्घ of अ ?
    • Even if आ is to be regarded as दीर्घ of अ, this दीर्घत्वम् is different from how ई becomes दीर्घ of इ and ऊ becomes दीर्घ of उ । The difference is in the fact that in pronouncing आ, jaws get separated. In pronouncing ई as दीर्घ of इ, no perceptible change of organs happens.
  • Since these three सूत्र-s गुण or वृद्धि character of different vowels, and give guidance on how to pronounce them, the “how to” aspect would put them into the class of विधिसूत्र-s. This also is my opinion.

(6) In the context of the order in which various सूत्र-s are compiled and classified in eight different अध्याय-s and total 32 पाद-s, there is a thought that there is some as yet unraveled programming logic. I am pleased with myself that I have been able to structure a kind of illustration based on the set-theory. I often ask myself why do I compose my own thoughts independently. I should not be reinventing the wheel. But if I am able to explore a new angle, the whole effort is very satisfying. That is how I felt when I was able to compose that set-theory based illustration !

May it be noted that what I post in my posts are my thoughts. I do very humbly submit that readers, especially learners, should not get guided (much less be misguided) by my observations. Any statement of mine should be accepted or rejected depending upon whether one feels convinced or not.
I am fallible. I do commit mistakes. I am so much indebted to all the criticisms, especially those which point out the mistakes (e.g. गुणवृद्धी being in द्विवचनम् and इक: being षष्ठी विभक्तिः).

I apply the same rule to myself, “accept  if I am convinced.” Sometimes it takes me long time to be convinced, because, admittedly,  I am slow learner. Scholars may please forgive me, if I do not seem to be subscribing to all of their view-points, immediately. Most importantly, however, every criticism prompts me to correct my mistakes and to take a more comprehensive look at the subject.

This परिशिष्टम् is primarily for expressing my indebtedness to the scholars who have showered their affection by their criticism.


5 thoughts on “अष्टाध्याय्यध्ययनम् (१) – परिशिष्टम् (१)

  1. I proceed deeply thank you Sir about your so magnificent work. As in the beginning I look to the Sanskrit as every thing new to me, only that now I understand much, much better and this I must deeply thank you and, selfishly maybe, ask God that deep Bless you and keep you in the Light.

  2. The great Adi Shankaracharya was asked why all the philosophical questions cannot be settled once and for all. He replied it will not be possible to collect all human beings in one place and answer all their doubts at once.

    There are many learned works on Ashtadhyayi but for each of them a different mental preparation is necessary. The very fact that there is not *the* commentary on Ashtadhyayi but there are many commentaries indicates that there has always been a need for multiple explanations.

    Abhayankarji has a technical background very similar to other thousands of people who want to learn Ashtadhyayi and that’s the reason I am so excited about these series of lessons.

    Abhayankarji is open to all the suggestions, as shown in the addendum to his first lesson. Views of all the pundits are duly included to improve the explanation or even if we were to say correct some interpretations made incorrectly owing to him not being from the traditional vyakaran background.

    I hope I represent many students in suggesting that Abhayankarji’s style of presentation will benefit us greatly.



  3. I am so pleased to find that Shri Abhyankarji has undertaken the task of elucidating the अष्टाध्यायी with a new approach. That the basic knowledge of व्याकरण is necessary was drilled into our minds by our Sanskrit teacher in school. On the very first day he wrote on the board the following–यद्यपि बहु नाधीषे तथापि पठ पुत्र व्याकरणम् |. ‘स्व ‘ जन: ‘श्व ‘जन: मा भूत् ‘सकलं ‘ ‘ शकलं ‘; ‘ सकृत् ‘ ‘शकृत्’

    As Shri Abhyankarji delves deeper into the अष्टाध्यायी, the logic behind his approach will no doubt become more explicit. Many years ago I bought a two volume work ” संस्कृत पठन पाठन की अनुभुत सरलतम विधि” by ब्रह्मदत्त जिज्ञासु and published by Ramlal Kapur Trust, Sonipat, Haryana (I bought it at Vedic Sangam 41 Dadar Dept Stores, M.C.Jawle Marg, Mumbai 28). The lessons are so designed that an adult student, by studying on his/her own, can get get a good insight into the logic and working of अष्टाध्यायी in about six months. Perhaps he should take a look at that work in order to design hiw own distinct approach.

    ब्रह्मदत्त जिज्ञासु provides the following explanation of वृद्धिरादैच् (1:1.1) as follows: आदैच् वृद्धिः भवति = आत् (दीर्घ आकार) और ऐच् (ऐ औ) की वृद्धि संज्ञा (नाम) होती है. He then explains the rule with an illustration of how the word शालीयः is formed. शाला शब्द मे दो अच् है. इसमे आदि (पहिला) अच् ‘शा’ मे ‘आ’ है सो वृद्धिसंज्ञक है. According to वृद्धिर्यस्याचामादिस्तद् वृद्धम् (1:1.72) जिसके अचोमे आदि (पहिला) अच् वृद्धि (आ ऐ और औ में से एक) उसकी वृद्ध संज्ञा (नाम) होती है. वृद्ध संज्ञा हो जानेपर शालायां भवः = शालामे होनेवाला बालक यने शालीय हुआ. This is further explained by reference to the सूत्र (4:2.113)– शाला प्रातिपादिक की वृद्ध संज्ञा होकर उससे वृद्धाच्छः सूत्रसे छ प्रत्यय होता है.

    Shrinivas Tilak

    • धन्यवादाः खलु श्रीमन् “श्रीनिवास तिलक”-महोदय !

      Many thanks Tilakjee ! भवतः संदेशः प्रोत्साहकः मार्गदर्शकः अपि ।

      I shall certainly explore “संस्कृत पठन पाठन की अनुभुत सरलतम विधि” (in two volumes) by ब्रह्मदत्त जिज्ञासु and published by Ramlal Kapur Trust, Sonipat, Haryana (I bought it at Vedic Sangam 41 Dadar Dept Stores, M.C.Jawle Marg, Mumbai 28. So nice of you to not only give the title of the book but also tell, where it can be available in Mumbai. I stay in Mumbai. So, I can personally find out.

  4. @abhyankara-varya:

    bahu SlaaghanIyam asti bhavataH etat blog |

    ye prashnaaH sandehaaH mayi utthitaaH, mayaa samyak apRuShTamaanaaH, teShaam api samIcIna – rItyaa vivaraNam kRutavantaH | dhanyavaadaaH |

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