Comments from Mr. Desikan on change of voice and role of अव्यय-s

Mr. Desikan put forth an observation – “Subject in active voice gets a preposition ‘by’ in passive voice. Since function of the preposition ‘by’ is served by third case, in Sanskirt the subject of active voice is put in third case, when making passive voice. See माता to मात्रा and अहं to मया in the above examples.”

I understood the observation to be inquiring about the role of indeclinables in the transformation into passive voice. I responded – “कर्मणि-प्रयोगे अपि क्रियापदं कर्तृपदमेव अनुवर्तते । पश्यतु, “पुस्तकं पठ्यते”, “पुस्तकानि पठ्यन्ते”.

Mr. Desikan pursued his original query, inquiring “मातया – कः प्रयोगः ?” Please read  मात्रा in place of मातया, all through.

My response is –

कस्मिन्नपि वाक्ये यत्किमपि पदं न किन्चिन्नाम अनुवर्तते, न वा किञ्चित् क्रियापदं अनुवर्तते तत् अव्ययात्मकं मन्तव्यं इति मे मतिः | अतः “मातया बालः ताड्यते” अस्मिन् वाक्ये ‘मातया’-शब्दः अव्ययात्मकः भवति | एतद्विधे विचारे न कश्चित् व्याकरण-दोषः खलु ? यः शब्दः कर्तरि-प्रयोगे कर्तृपदेन भवति, तस्य वाक्यस्य कर्मणि-प्रयोगे सः शब्दः अव्ययात्मकः भवति | ‘अहं तिष्ठामि’ अस्य वाक्यस्य भावे-प्रयोगे ‘मया तिष्ठ्यते’इत्यस्य रूपान्तरे ‘मया’-शब्दः अव्ययात्मकः एव | अत्र कर्तृपदं किम् ? यदि धातुः अकर्मकः, तर्हि तस्य भावे-प्रयोगे कर्ता न विद्यते इति मम विचारः |

In English, my response is – Whichever word/phrase in a sentence does not follow (or does not have to follow) the formatting of another noun or verb, that word/phrase is to be treated as indeclinable अव्ययम्. In Sanskrit change of voice can apply even to active voice sentences having intransitive verbs. Voice so changed is called as भावे-प्रयोगः. Sentences in भावे-प्रयोगः have no subject ! So there is no visible conformity between subject and verb. In a sentence मया तिष्ठ्यते the word मया then merits to be treated as being indeclinable i.e. अव्ययम्. Formatting of this word मया has no mandate of conformity with the formatting of the other word, the verb तिष्ठ्यते.

This leads to discussing उपसर्ग-विभक्ति-स्वर-प्रति-रूपकाश्च in the commentary on the सूत्रम् स्वरादिनिपातमव्ययम्. But विभक्तिरूपकाश्च i.e. words declined by case do become अव्यय-s.

Thanks to Dr. Bhat for pointing out that query of Mr. Desikan is about the word “मातया” This word is wrong. It is a grave mistake, committed by me. The word should be  मात्रा.


3 thoughts on “Comments from Mr. Desikan on change of voice and role of अव्यय-s

  1. See माता to मातया and अहं to मया in the above examples.”

    His question was how माता becomes मातया in कर्मणि or भावे प्रयोग?

    and not what is the प्रयोग.

    As we know, the word used to denote is मातृ – ending in ऋ and hence in nominative case it will take the form माता and in the Instrumental case, it will take मात्रा whether it be कर्मणि or भावे प्रयोग. Hence the question, what is this प्रयोग? This question was asked from the point of view of Paninian Grammar.

    According to you, it may be simple अव्यय and no question of declination as expected by him. This is what I got the idea from your reply. Just lime बाला becomes बालया, माता becomes मातया according to you.

    Am I correct?

    • धन्यवादाः भट-महोदय ! “मातया”-इति निश्चयेन अनुचितम् रूपम् | यद्यपि बाला-शब्दस्य तृतीया-विभक्त्यां “बालया” “माता”-शब्दस्य कर्मणि-प्रयोगे “मात्रा” इत्येव | अक्ष्यम्यः दोषः संजातः | धन्यवादाः यत् भवता निर्दिष्टः |

  2. एतद्विधे विचारे न कश्चित् व्याकरण-दोषः खलु ?

    पाणिनीयव्याकरणदृष्ट्या शुद्धं रूपं पूर्वस्मिन्नेव प्रत्युत्तरे दत्तमेव। अतोऽन्यत् व्याकरणदोष एव – मातया, मात्या, मातेन इत्यादिकं भवता अव्ययत्वेनाभिमतानि रूपाणि। मातृशब्दय्स तृतीयान्तं रूपम् – मात्रा इत्येव भवति पाणिनीयानुसारेण।

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