प्रत्ययाः – नु, नुक्, क्नु

In my study of Sanskrit, it often happens that one search leads to another. I made a guess that the word देहः is from धातुः दिह्. The guess was correct ! Note देहः = दिह्-घञ् So I thought it good, to understand the meaning of देहः by understanding meaning of दिह्. In धातुपाठ, the meaning given is दिहँ उपच॒ये In Apte’s online dictionary, it is “1 To anoint, smear, plaster, spread over.” Wow ! देहः is what anoints; anoints the आत्मा ? Let me leave it at that.

On the page for दिह्, just above, there was the word दिष्णुः. That triggered thought of words ending with नु. Promptly भानुः, धेनुः, विष्णुः came to mind. I searched on these words. I got –

  • भानुः [भा-नु Uṇ.3.32] 1 Light, lustre, brightness.-2 A ray of light
  • धेनुः f. [धयति सुतान्, धीयते वत्सैर्वा, धे-नु इच्च Tv.] 1 A cow, milch-cow
  • विष्णुः [विष् व्यापने नुक् Uṇ.3.39].
  • On the same page as of विष्णुः, I also noticed धृष्णु a. [धृष्-क्नु] 1 Bold, confident, courageous, valiant, powerful (in a good sense).

Even when all these words end in नु/णु, the प्रत्यय-s are different.

  • In भानुः and धेनुः the प्रत्यय is नु Uṇ.3.32
    • In case of धेनुः नु is mentioned to be a प्रत्यय and also इत् (इच्च). I wonder whether that is correct.
  • In विष्णुः it is नुक् Uṇ.3.39
  • In धृष्णु it is क्नु

This is how I landed into this study of प्रत्ययाः – नु, नुक्, क्नु

नु Uṇ.3.32 and नुक् Uṇ.3.39 certainly suggest that these are उणादि suffixes.

  • उणादिसूत्रम् 3’32 (सिद्धान्तकौमुद्यां 319) is दाभाभ्यां नुः || दानुर्दाता | भानुः || In तत्त्वबोधिनी व्याख्या it is further detailed as – डुदाञ् दाने, भा दीप्तौ | ‘दानुर्दातरि विक्रान्तौ’ इति मेदिनी | ‘भानूरश्मिदिवाकरौ’ इत्यमरः |
  • उणादिसूत्रम् 3’34 (सिद्धान्तकौमुद्यां 321) is धेट इच्च || धयति सुतानिति धेनुः || In तत्त्वबोधिनी व्याख्या it is further detailed as – धेट् पाने – अस्मान्नुः स्यादिकारश्चान्तादेशः | ‘धेनुःस्यान्नवसूतिका’ इत्यमरः |
    • It comes to mind that the name of the धातु is धेट्. Here the ending ट् is इत् as per हलन्त्यम् (1-3-3). Hence it has to be dropped off by तस्य लोपः (1-3-9). The phrase इच्च in उणादिसूत्रम् 3’34 means all that.
  • उणादिसूत्रम् 3’39 (सिद्धान्तकौमुद्यां 326) is विषेः किच्च || विष्णुः || In तत्त्वबोधिनी व्याख्या it is further detailed as – विषेः | विष्लृँ व्याप्तौ | अस्माण्णुः स्यात्स च किच्चान्नित् | नित्वादाद्युदात्तत्वम् | विष्णुरिद्धा | ‘विष्णुर्नारायणः कृष्णः’ इत्यमरः |
    • विषेः किच्च clarifies that the उणादिप्रत्यय is to be understood as नुक् of which the ending क् is क्-इत्. Being an इत् it gets dropped off by तस्य लोपः (1-3-9). What affixes is नु only.

In Abhyankar’s Dictionary of Sanskrit Grammar, क्नु is detailed as कृत्-affix नु added to roots त्रस्, गृध्, धृष्, क्षिप् in the sense of habituated etc., as given in पाणिनिसूत्र-s – तच्छीलतद्धर्मतत्साधुकारिषु ३।२।१३४ त्रसिगृधिधृषिक्षिपेः क्नुः ३।२।१४० Hence त्रस्नुः, गृध्नुः || I can see that –

  • तच्छीलम् तद्धर्मः तत्साधुकारः seem to have been together translated by काशिनाथशास्त्री अभ्यंकर as that habit, which is implicit in the meaning of the धातु. Since गृध् means ‘to hanker for’, गृध्नुः means one who is in the habit of hankering. Since त्रस् means ‘to trouble’ त्रस्नुः means one who is in the habit of making trouble. By the way, if one gets troubled and shows it as much, vitiates the whole atmosphere, spreads his troubles and in turn causes trouble. So त्रस्नुः then would mean one who gets troubled and causes trouble.

It is contended that उणादिसूत्राणि were in vogue before पाणिनि. He acknowledged them in उणादयो बहुलम् (3’1’1). Possibly तच्छीलतद्धर्मतत्साधुकारिषु ३।२।१३४ त्रसिगृधिधृषिक्षिपेः क्नुः ३।२।१४० and such सूत्र-s were added to cover त्रस्नुः, गृध्नुः etc., which were not covered in उणादिसूत्राणि. He seems to have thought it good to give a different name to the suffix as क्नु, where also the beginning क् is an इत् as per लशक्वतद्धिते (1-3-8) and it gets dropped off by तस्य लोपः (1-3-9).

Even in भानुः the sun, भानु is one who has तत् शीलम्, तद्धर्मः, तत् साधुकारः of भा i.e. ‘to emit light’. All this revelation, to understand why one name of sun is भानुः, is sheer ecstasy !

In a way, by his सूत्रम् – तच्छीलतद्धर्मतत्साधुकारिषु ३।२।१३४, पाणिनि has given colorful explanation of not only his own क्नु, but also नु, नुक् etc. in उणादिसूत्राणि.

Look at the brevity of the words त्रस्नुः, गृध्नुः etc., compared with the long-winding phrases, one has to use to explain their meanings in English.

They say, success is its own reward. Study of Sanskrit is also that, ‘its own reward’ !

शुभमस्तु !