How much of अष्टाध्यायी should one know ? Part 1

I came to deliberate on the subject “How much of अष्टाध्यायी should one know ?” when I was studying together the following words –

  1. श्रुतिः, भूतिः, विभूतिः, आप्तिः प्राप्तिः नीतिः धृतिः स्तुतिः कृतिः सम्पत्तिः विपत्तिः वृत्तिः निवृत्तिः प्रीतिः (15)
  2. गतिः, प्रगतिः मतिः, अनुमतिः विनतिः (5)
  3. कीर्तिः स्थितिः (2)
  4. बुद्धिः ऋद्धिः सिद्धिः वृद्धिः (4)
  5. पुष्टिः वृष्टिः सृष्टिः इष्टिः (4)
  6. कीर्णिः संकीर्णिः विकीर्णिः (3)

There are some common things in all the above words.

  1. They are all feminine nouns.
  2. They are all derived from धातु-s.
  3. They seem to have been derived by affixing some common suffix प्रत्ययः, ति (?)

Whereas there are the common features as above, one can also notice in their grouping, some differentiations.

  1. In the first group, by taking away the suffix ति, we can know the धातु-s. The धातु-s are श्रु, भू, विभू, आप् प्राप् नी धृ स्तु कृ सम्पत् विपत् वृत् निवृत् प्री
  2. In the second group what we have after taking away the suffix ति, is part of the धातु. This means that in the process of affixing the suffix, some part of the धातु is lost, some part suffers लोपः. The धातु-s are – गम् प्रगम् मन् अनुमन् विनम्  
  3. In the third group the धातु undergoes a change आदेशः before affixation of the suffix ति. The धातु-s are – कॄ स्था
  4. In the fourth group, the suffix does not remain ति. It suffers a change आदेशः. But the आदेश has some sound-related relationship with the ending consonant of the धातु. The धातु-s are बुध् ऋध् सिध् वृध्
  5. In the fifth and sixth group the suffix does not remain ति. It suffers a change आदेशः. Also the आदेश does not have any direct relationship with the ending consonant of the धातु. The धातु-s are पुष् वृष् सृज् यज्

Certainly the प्रक्रिया-s of forming feminine nouns from धातु-s are of different types. The प्रक्रिया-s can be understood only by study of अष्टाध्यायी.

As such, meanings of the listed (or similar) words seem to be so straightforward, that one may ask oneself, whether study of concerned प्रक्रिया-s and study of related सूत्र-s of अष्टाध्यायी is a must.

Although as many as 33 words are listed, one cannot get such feminine nouns from all 2200-odd धातु-s. Even among the 33 above, some words are from धातु-s having prefixes i.e. उपसर्ग-s.

By the way, just for curiosity, it may be interesting to note the प्रक्रिया for deriving at least one of those 33 words, say, इष्टिः from यज्.

  1. One should start with the grammatical name of the धातु. Grammatical name of यज् is यजँ. Here the वर्ण-s are य + ज् + अँ (Note the ending अँ is nasal अनुनासिक). The ending अँ becomes इत् by उपदेशेऽजनुनासिक इत् (1’3’2). The अँ would get dropped by तस्य लोपः (1’3’9) That is how we have यज् from यजँ.
  2. On the other side we have the प्रत्ययः क्तिन् (सूत्रम् – स्त्रियां क्तिन् 3’3’94). क्तिन् is also grammatical name of the प्रत्यय. Here the वर्ण-s are क् ति न्. Of these क् is इत् (it is कित्) by लशक्वतद्धिते (1’3’8) and न् is also इत् (it is नित्) by हलन्त्यम् (1’3’3) Both कित् and नित् would get dropped by तस्य लोपः (1’3’9) That is how we have ति from क्तिन्.
    1. This प्रत्यय क्तिन् cannot be used for all धातु-s, because it is not सार्वधातुक प्रत्यय, it is आर्धधातुक by सूत्रम् आर्धधातुकं शेषः (3’4’114)
    2. Interpretation of सूत्रम् – स्त्रियां क्तिन् (3’3’94) requires taking cognizance अनुवृत्ति from previous सूत्र-s – अकर्तरि च कारके संज्ञायाम् (3’3’19) and भावे (3’3’18). This means that, the प्रत्यय क्तिन् helps to get स्त्रियां feminine संज्ञायाम् nouns, where the sense is of अकर्तरि non-active voice, inclusive of भावे non-active voice of intransitive verbs and having the sense of “action” कारके.
  3. Now सूत्रम् वचिस्वपियजादिनां किति (6’1’15) contains specific mention of धातु यज् that,  when affixing a suffix like क्तिन्, which suffers कित्, the य at the beginning आदि of the धातु, will undergo सम्प्रसारणम् (This word सम्प्रसारणम् in सूत्रम् 6’1’13 merits “carry forward” अनुवृत्ति when interpreting सूत्रम् 6’1’15). सम्प्रसारणम् means य in शिवसूत्रम् 5 – ह य व र ट् would change over to इ in शिवसूत्रम् 1 – अ इ उ ण्. We thus come to the stage इज् + तिः
  4. To proceed further from इज् + तिः one should take cognizance of the सूत्रम् – व्रश्चभ्रस्जसृजमृजयजराजभ्राजच्छशां षः ८।२।३६ By this, the ज् in इज् changes to ष्, i.e. इज् becomes इष्. Actually this change from इज् to इष् has also the condition that the ज् should be followed by झल् (brought forward from सूत्रम् – झलो झलि (8’2’26)). Here we do have ज् followed by त्, which is a झल्. That brings us to the stage इष् + तिः
  5. To proceed further the त् in तिः changes to टिः the change being caused by the ष् in इष् in accordance with सूत्रम् – ष्टुना ष्टुः (8’4’41) Interpretation of this सूत्रम् requires अनुवृत्ति i.e. bringing forward स्तोः from the previous सूत्रम् – स्तोः श्चुना श्चुः (8’4’40)
  6. All in all, deriving इष्टिः from यजँ+क्तिन् has been obtained by taking cognizance of as many as 13 सूत्र-s, viz. 1’3’2, 1’3’9, 3’3’94, 1’3’8, 1’3’9, 3’3’19, 3’3’18, 6’1’15, 6’1’13, 8’2’36, 8’2’26, 8’4’41, 8’4’40
    1. The सूत्र-s which prove relevant in this instance are from chapters 1, 3, 6 and 8 (sections 2 and 4 of chapter 8).
    2. Obviously, one would take cognizance of all these सूत्र-s, only after knowing that there are as many सूत्र-s, which are relevant and necessary. That often amounts to knowing almost the whole of अष्टाध्यायी.
  7. One may wonder, “why not just understand the word from the dictionary and be done with it ?”
    1. In Apte’s dictionary इष्टिः is detailed as इष्टिः f. [इष्-क्तिन्] 1 Wish, request, desire. -2 Seeking, striving to get. -3 Any desired object. -4 A desired rule or desideratum; (a term used with reference to Patañjali’s additions to Kātyāyana’s Vārttikas; इष्टयो भाष्यकारस्य, इति भाष्यकारेष्टया &c.; cf. उपसंख्यान). -5 Impulse, hurry. -6 Invitation, order. -7 (यज्-क्तिन्) A sacrifice. Ms.11.2.2. शबर seems to interpret the word especially in the sense of ‘a दर्शपूर्णमास sacrifice’. इष्टिराजसूयचातुर्मास्येषु । &c. MS.II.2.12. -8 An oblation consisting of butter, food &c. -9 Summary in verses (= संग्रहश्लोक). एभिर्यज्ञेभिस्तदभीष्टिमश्याम् Rv.1.166.14
    2. It may be noted that in Apte’s dictionary for the word इष्टिः, there are mentions of two derivations इष्-क्तिन् and also यज्-क्तिन्.

Certainly, there is great degree of self-satisfaction, on knowing every word as deeply as possible.

So, how much of अष्टाध्यायी one should know depends upon, what degree of self-satisfaction, one would be seeking and to what depth one would like to know every word.

शुभमस्तु !



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