Query from Mr. Rajagopalan Seshadri on previous posts on अव्ययानि

There is one query from Mr. Rajagopalan Seshadri, making a statement

So, we put in short indeclinable as लिङ्ग-विभक्ति-वचन-शून्यानि अव्ययानि.

I would like to respond as follows –

Your statement लिङ्ग-विभक्ति-वचन-शून्यानि अव्ययानि is not a  good conclusion. For example किम्  is usually a pronoun. But in a sentence such as  सः गच्छति किम् ? ‘Does he go ?’ it is an interrogative and hence an अव्ययम्.

The concept in English grammar speaking of Parts of Speech classifies words into eight classes. The concept of अव्ययम् challenges that. In Sanskrit अव्ययम् encompasses, as I mentioned in my first post, adverbs, conjunctions, exclamatory words, auxiliaries (such as न for negation), also gerunds and infinitives.

Another example of a word which does have लिङ्ग, विभक्ति, वचन but is an अव्ययम् is वेगेन. So अव्यय-s are those words in a sentence, which, in a sentence, do not have to conform and have the same formatting as of another word. In a sentence अश्वः वेगेन धावति the word वेगेन does have a formatting. But that formatting does not conform, does not have to conform to the formatting either of अश्वः or of धावति.

So अव्ययम् is a concept of ‘no mandate of conformity of formatting’ and not of having formatting or not. Of course there are many अव्यय-s, which do not have any formatting whatsoever, e.g. न. हे, भोः. Even किम् has a formatting नपुंसकलिङ्गम्, प्रथमा विभक्तिः, एकवचनम्. But in a sentence such as सः गच्छति किम् ? its formatting does not conform to the formatting of सः or of गच्छति.

Actually there is some discussion about उपसर्ग-विभक्ति-स्वर-प्रति-रूपकाश्च in the commentary on the सूत्रम् स्वरादिनिपातमव्ययम्. So, the post on this needs further detailing.

Words which do not have any formatting whatsoever and are used in sentences are अव्यय-s. But words having formatting can also be अव्यय-s. So important criterion for identifying अव्यय-s in a sentence is the ‘mandate of conformity or not with the formatting of another word(s)’.


One thought on “Query from Mr. Rajagopalan Seshadri on previous posts on अव्ययानि

  1. There is a difference between what is considered as अव्यय and not अव्यय. When one form is used is not further declined, it is considered as अव्यय that means it wont go any further changes. In all the examples, it is is simply you have selected those forms with declined already which could not be declined further. These are considered as

    “विभक्तिप्रतिरूपकाश्च” इति स्वरादिगणसूत्रात्। . In most of these cases, these are used as अव्यय-s as they are considered as adverbs also qualifying the action. Hence they are considered as अव्यय-s without further changes, with any verb which do not take gender agreement in any case, but only take number and person agreement.

    It cannot be declined as वेगेन गच्छति, वेगाभ्यां गच्छतः, वेगैः गच्छतः according to the verb. Hence it is right to consider it as अव्यय. Adverbs does not require any inflexion as explained above.

    In all the cases, वेगः is speed, and वेगेन means with speed, which can be translated only as adverb in English idiomatically speedily. Depends on how you translate it as adverb or qualification of the subject of the verb through the verb.

    वेगेन, जवेन, तरसा, रंहसा are the other words used as adverbs. These are not further declined and this is the meaning of अव्यय. and Rajagopalan also meant only this much. which does not take number and gender agreement accordingly with another noun and that does not have any case ending in itself.

    In the examples, महता वेगेन स गच्छति also means the same used as adverb which can take another adjective also. I don’t think such are considered as अव्यय-s. It can be simple explained with simple translation, he is going with a great speed, and in English, speedily and at a great speed are not exactly equivalent.

    Most of the अव्यय-s are used as adverbs and at the same time, as in the case above, all the adverbs need not be अव्यय-s. Depends on the structure and the context.

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