Adverbs in Sanskrit

Adverbs are one of the eight parts of speech, viz. (1) noun (2) pronoun (3) adjective (4) verb (5) adverb (6) preposition (7) conjunction (8) interjection.

Adverbs again are of different types – adverbs of manner, time, condition, (reason, purpose), place.

In a sentence they can be identified as answers to the four interrogatives – how, when, why, where.

In a sentence adverbs could be specific words such as “fast”, “suddenly” or there can be adverbial phrases such as “in the morning”. In a complex sentence, there can be adverbial sub-clauses.

In the grammar of Indian languages, the terminology for “adverb” is क्रियाविशेषण. But in the grammar of Sanskrit, there is no such term as क्रियाविशेषणम्. If so, are there no adverbs in Sanskrit ? There have to be. Every language has to have adverbs. If Sanskrit also has adverbs, but they are not called क्रियाविशेषणम्, what is the Sanskrit terminology ?

Actually, even in English grammar “adverb”s are not a class of words. In the phrase “in the morning”, “in” is a preposition, “the” is an article (a type of preposition), “morning” is a noun. Yet the total phrase “in the morning” is adverbial. So, parts of speech are not classes of words.

A word or a phrase or a clause in a sentence becomes that part of speech, depending upon what role it is performing.

We also know however, that nouns and pronouns are different classes of words. So words are of different classes.

In “cold water” the word “cold” is adjective of “water”. In “I am having cold”, “cold” is noun. In “It is so cold here” cold is adverbial. That raises a question, “What class of word is the word “cold” ?

I think great confusion is caused by them being called as parts of speech. A “class of a word” and a “part of speech” ought to be understood as different grammatical concepts. But when I search on the internet for explanation of “classes of words” I get “classes of words (or parts of speech)”.  Isn’t this wrong ?

Since adverbs perform adverbial functions, it would be good to understand what the adverbial functions are. Basically an adverb adds to the verb, i.e. it gives more information about the action connoted by the verb. The additional information will be answers to four interrogatives – how, when, why, where कथम् कदा किमर्थम् कुत्र.

Now, adverbs do not undergo any inflection, even when other words in a sentence may. For example He walks fast (singular) सः वेगेन चलति (एकवचनम्) They walk fast (plural) ते वेगेन चलन्ति (बहुवचनम्) A word, which does not undergo any inflection are called as indeclinable अव्ययम्. Is वेगेन an indeclinable ? It is already declined from the root word वेग. In Sanskrit declensions of words are obtained by affixing suffixes प्रत्यय-s. Should that mean that indeclinables are words, which do not have any प्रत्यय-s affixed ?

By the above, we have following questions to explore –

(1) What are अव्यय-s, the indeclinables ?

(2) How are adverbs related to अव्यय-s ?

(3) Are there adverbs other than अव्यय-s ? If yes, where and how does one get them ?

  1. In अष्टाध्यायी अव्ययम् is defined by the सूत्रम् – स्वरादिनिपातमव्ययम् (1’1’37) – Note, here स्वरादि does not mean beginning with a vowel (स्वर+आदि) It means स्वर्+आदि, rather स्वः-आदि i.e. स्वः &c. There are two exhaustive lists of अव्यय-s in गणपाठ* – Note, study about गणपाठ* is linked here.
    1. स्वरादि-list with reference to (1’1’37) beginning with स्वर्
    2. चादि-list beginning with च, with reference to चादयोऽसत्त्वे (1’4’57).
    3. Words in these lists do not have any explicit  प्रत्यय-s and stay indeclinable. Hence they are अव्यय-s very truly.
    4. These lists include conjunction-pairs of अव्यय-s such as यथा-तथा (so .. as) यदा-तदा (when … then) यदि-तर्हि (If .. then) यतः-ततः (because .. hence) यत्र-तत्र (where .. there).  These are adverbial.
      1. But there are also in these lists words which are conjunctions, which are non-adverbial, e.g. च वा अथवा किंवा परन्तु अपि
    5. These lists also contain interjections (or exclamatories) such as हे, भोः, उ, उत, अहो, बत, रे etc. Interjections are often not connected with the sentence. They hence would not be adverbial.
    6. These lists also contain interrogatives, which are considered to be adverbial in English grammar.
    7. In these lists there are words, which are adverbial forthright, e.g. अद्य ह्यः श्वः अत्र तत्र सर्वत्र अन्यत्र सदा अधुना इदानीम् तदानीम् प्रातः सायम् पुरा अनन्तरम् etc.
    8. It seems, it would be good to to sort out the स्वरादि-s and चादि-s into four data-classes viz. Adverbial conjunctions, non-adverbial conjunctions, adverbs and interjections.
  2. अव्ययीभावः – One comes across this word अव्ययीभावः in as many as eight सूत्र-s in अष्टाध्यायी 1’1’41, 2’1’5, 2’4’18, 2’4’83, 4’3’59, 5’4’107, 6’2’121, 6’3’80. Note, अव्ययीभावः means the sense of being indeclinable, though not exactly undeclined or indeclinable. For example “everyday” = प्रतिदिनम् (दिने दिने प्रतिदिनम्) अव्ययीभाव-words are mostly adverbial.
  3. कारके (1’4’23) – Adverbials can also be obtained by declining a word in a case-form कारके by affixing विभक्ति-प्रत्यय-s. In English, prepositions to, unto, with, by, for, from, in, at, on, upon, above, under, etc. help composing adverbial phrases. In Sanskrit कारक case-forms are six –
    1. कर्तृकारका प्रथमा the first case is used for subject words.
    2. कर्मकारका द्वितीया 2’3’2, 2’3’8 the second case, e.g. “Goes home” गृहं गच्छति
    3. करणकारका तृतीया 2’3’18 the third case e.g. “walks fast” वेगेन चलति
    4. सम्प्रदाने चतुर्थी 2’3’13 the fourth case e.g. “pleads for peace” शान्तये आह्वयते
    5. अपादाने पञ्चमी 2’3’28 the fifth case, e.g. “outside of house” गृहात् बहिः
    6. अधिकरणे सप्तमी 2’3’36 the seventh case e.g. “sits on the throne” सिंहासने उपविशति.
      1. As has been explained above by examples, adverbials can be obtained in case-forms विभक्ति-s, द्वितीया to पञ्चमी and सप्तमी.
      2. Although I have not any example of प्रथमा विभक्ति in the adverbial sense, adjectival word in neuter gender, singular often become adverbial, e.g He walks fast सः द्रुतम् चलति.
      3. So, we can say that the कारक-concept, as is set in case-forms विभक्ति-s in Sanskrit is substantially the adverbial concept.
      4. This discussion of case-forms विभक्ति-s does not include the sixth case षष्ठी विभक्ति. This is because षष्ठी विभक्ति connects two or more nouns, adjectives etc. and concerned words would suffer change in form, in concordance with each other, e.g. sword of a soldier सैनिकस्य खड्गम् swords of soldiers सैनिकानां खड्गानि. The word “soldier” becoming plural will cause the word “sword” also to become plural.
  4. In Sanskrit certain verbal suffixes कृत्-प्रत्यय-s also give adverbial effect e.g. ऋणं कृत्वा घृतं पिबेत्. Here the क्त्वा-प्रत्यय in कृत्वा acts as a conjunct between two actions – (i) ऋणं कृत्वा get loan (if you have to, but) (ii) घृतं पिबेत् do enjoy ghee.
  5. There are also two special constructs in Sanskrit known as सति-सप्तमी and सच्छष्ठी. They make adverbial clauses. For example
    1. इत्थं विचारयति कोषगते द्विरेफे हा हन्त हन्त नलिनीं गज उज्जहार = just when the honeybee in the bosom of the lotus flower was engrossed in such thoughts, alas, an elephant uprooted the lotus. Note, all the words विचारयति कोषगते द्विरेफे are in the seventh case सप्तमी विभक्ति and they make an adverbial sub-clause of time, English translation of this is the long-winding “just when the honeybee in the bosom of the lotus flower was engrossed in such thoughts”.
    2. यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः (गीता 2’69) – Here पश्यतो मुनेः (पश्यतः मुनेः) both words – one verbal derivative, the other the subject-word of that verbal derivative – both are in षष्ठी विभक्ति Here पश्यतः मुनेः is in the style of a sub-clause, यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः means, when all the world is awake, it is night (idiomatically) for the sage who is seeing. Note
      1. यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि is adjectival clause qualifying the word निशा
      2. सा निशा = is the main clause
      3. पश्यतो मुनेः = is adverbial phrase of time.
  6. Among numerical words also there are adverbials, e.g. “He stood first”. “First” is a definite number. But in “He came last”, “last” is indefinite. Actually “first” “last” are basically adjectival, but in these example-sentences they are adverbial.

As such grammar of Sanskrit, अष्टाध्यायी in particular, is the science of formatting words, such that the formatted words become parts of speech. Adverbial is also an essential aspect of speech. I have been able to identify as above, six different ways available in Sanskrit for fulfilling this aspect.

शुभमस्तु !



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 !



विभक्तयः – Generally and in अष्टाध्यायी

The term विभक्ति is generally understood to be the process of obtaining पदानि after affixing सुप्-प्रत्यय-s to प्रातिपदिक-s. But in अष्टाध्यायी the term विभक्ति has 2 different contexts and connotations.

  1. विभक्ति is the process of affixing both – (a) सुप्-प्रत्यय-s to प्रातिपदिक-s and (b) affixing तिङ्-प्रत्यय-s to धातु-s
  2. सुबन्त-s have some connotation in respect of composing the सूत्र-s, especially regarding अनुवृत्ति.

Maybe, it would be easier to understand this latter connotation by some example. Let us study the  following सूत्र-s

1’3’2 उपदेशेऽजननुनासिक इत् = उपदेशे (7-1) अच् (1-1) अनुनासिकः (1-1) इत् (1-1)

  • Note उपदेशे (7-1) means the word उपदेश is of 7th case and 1-वचनम्.
  • Here, one should also understand the meaning of उपदेश. As has been explained in the article “संज्ञक-s-or-इत्-s-of-पाणिनि” linked here, a धातु, सूत्रम्, गण, उणादि, वाक्य, लिङ्गानुशासनम्, आगम, प्रत्यय and आदेश, all these are उपदेश-s.
  • In all these, अनुनासिकः अच् is to be noted to be इत्.

1’3’3 हलन्त्यम् = हल् (1-1) अन्त्यम् (1-1)

  • Here there is no word in 7th case. Hence we can bring forward उपदेशे from the previous सूत्रम्. This process of bringing forward is called as अनुवृत्ति.
  • In the previous सूत्रम् there are three words having (1-1) as their विभक्ति-वचन analysis.  Of these अच् and अनुनासिकः are inter-related. The word इत् is stand-alone. So, that word can also be brought forward.
  • With those two अनुवृत्ति-s, this सूत्रम् should be now read as उपदेशे हलन्त्यम् इत्.
  • By this the overall meaning becomes, “consonant हल् at the end-position अन्त्यम् of an उपदेश is to be noted to be इत्.”

1’3’4 न विभक्तौ तुस्माः = न (0) विभक्तौ (7-1) तुस्माः (1-3)

  • Here, because we have the word विभक्तौ in 7th case, we cannot have अनुवृत्ति of उपदेशे, which also is in the 7th case.
  • But we can have अनुवृत्ति-s of both हलन्त्यम् and इत्, both of them being of 1st case. Actually since तुस्माः are specific हल्-s and the सूत्रम् is speaking about these specific हल्-s, we may not have अनुवृत्ति of हल् as a whole. But having अनुवृत्ति of अन्त्यम् would still be logical. Since the अनुवृत्ति should have matching gender, case and number, we should modify them suitably. The सूत्रम् then should be read as न विभक्तौ अन्त्याः तुस्माः इतः, meaning, “तुस्माः, which are as endings of विभक्ति-s, would NOT be considered as इत्-s.”
  • This also means that in all other उपदेश-s, which are not विभक्ति-s, हलन्त्यम् stays valid as इत्.

From the above, it is clear that in अष्टाध्यायी the term विभक्ति has 2 different contexts, one as an उपदेश and another, as a consideration of अनुवृत्ति.

There is also a consideration about which विभक्ति is used in what sense, when composing सूत्र-s. For example षष्ठी the sixth case is used when composing सूत्र-s as conceptualized in षष्ठी स्थानेयोगा (1’1’49). The word स्थानेयोगा means substitution, replacement.

In सूत्रम् – इको यणचि (६।१।७७) [इकः यण् अचि]

  • इकः (6-1) has षष्ठी of इक्. The इक्-s are “to be substituted” by यण्.
  • अचि (7-1) has सप्तमी of अच्. Here सप्तमी is used to connote “when followed by” (अच्).

The purpose of this write-up is to bring forth that विभक्ति-s of words have their general usages in Sanskrit sentences, such as कर्तृपदस्य प्रथमा, कर्मपदस्य द्वितीया, करणकारका तृतीया, सम्प्रदाने चतुर्थी, अपादाने पञ्चमी, अधिकरणे सप्तमी. But in understanding सूत्र-s in अष्टाध्यायी, they have specific connotations, such षष्ठी स्थानेयोगा (“to be substituted by”), सप्तमी “when followed by”. The विभक्ति-s are significant also to understand अनुवृत्ति-s.

शुभमस्तु |




Why all धातु-s and प्रत्यय-s have “given” names ?

In Sanskrit grammar, in अष्टाध्यायी in particular, all धातु-s and प्रत्यय-s have “given” names, just as all new-born children are “given” names. The names given to धातु-s and प्रत्यय-s are coined, by using elements, which in अष्टाध्यायी are called as इत्-s. The इत्-s are coded / enlisted in 7 सूत्र-s from (1’3’2) to (1’3’8). One can think that इत्-s are somewhat like dress-codes. Dress-codes help to distinguish one from the other. For example धातु  कृ has forms in 5th class and also in 8th class. For धातु कृ in 5th class, its given name is कृञ्, whereas धातु कृ of 8th class has its given name डुकृञ्.

There is another grammatical concept in अष्टाध्यायी called as प्रक्रिया, the process(es). प्रक्रिया-s are like “make-up” of an actor for his role on the stage. In fact composing a sentence in Sanskrit is as good as conducting a play on the stage. Every word is an actor on the stage. Once the actor is given a proper “make-up”, he can move anywhere on the stage. That being the exact logic of “make-up” of every word, once the make-up is proper, the word can be anywhere in the sentence.
Elements of the make-up are many. To make up an actor for the role of रावण, he would have to have ten heads !
Make-up starts with undressing the usual dress of the actor. So forming a verb starts with undressing the इत्-s from the धातु. So from the name डुकृञ् both the इत्-s, डु and ञ् are taken away. So we have कृ ready for the make-up.
Now प्रत्यय-s can be considered to be elements of the make-up. Let us say, प्रत्यय-s are like caps. But the caps are also different to suit the role. For a Sikh it would be a turban, for a king it would be a crown, So the caps also have “names”. If the make-up artist has an assistant, he would ask the assistant by the particular name of the make-up element, so that the assistant would get the right cap. But the cap has to fit the particular actor. Also, the crown of the king will be different from that of the prince. So the crown would need preparation. The first step always would be to take away the “naming” elements, the इत्-s. For example there is a प्रत्यय – शतृ. In this name, there is श, which is its इत्. That has to be taken away, dropped. This प्रक्रिया of dropping the इत्-s is summarized in the diktat सूत्रम् – तस्य लोपः (1’3’9).
Isn’t this concept charming, that framing a Sanskrit sentence is like composing a one-act play, with proper make-up of every word, so that the word has a distinct identity, by which it can be distinguished, regardless of where it is in the sentence ?
This flexibility of syntax has made composing poetry in Sanskrit so much easier, that most of Sanskrit literature is in poetic style. Again, essence of poetic style is the rhythm. That makes it easy to commit them to memory. That is how so much of Sanskrit literature has survived over thousands of years, even after the huge library of Nalanda (or was it Takshashila ? or both ?) burnt down.
There has been an impression spread around that learning Sanskrit needs lot of mugging up. But if once the rhythm of it catches your fancy, you would not mind it. Rather, every सूत्रम्, every Mantra well understood and committed to memory will be your personal treasure. Let us all build up that treasure !

सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि 1’1’27

On Tuesday Dec. 19, 2017 Dr. Malhar Kulkarni discussed this सूत्रम् – सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि 1’1’27.

This is a संज्ञासूत्रम् related to सर्वनामानि Pronouns. सर्वनाम is the संज्ञा.

There are pronouns in every language. Since it is a grammatical terminology, there would be a definition, which would explain, what a pronoun is. One definition, I get is, “… a pronoun is defined as a word or phrase that may be substituted for a noun or noun phrase, which once replaced, is known as the pronoun’s antecedent.” I am not convinced that every pronoun has an antecedent. Pronouns of first and second person would not have to have antecedents. Only pronouns of third person would have antecedents.

What is the definition of सर्वनामानि in Sanskrit grammar ?

The word सर्वनामानि is a compound word. Deciphering this compound word would explain the concept behind सर्वनामानि and would in turn be its definition. One pattern of deciphering would be सर्वेभ्यः नामानि इति सर्वनामानि (चतुर्थी-तत्पुरुषः) Hence सर्वनामानि are such nouns,

  • which can be applicable to all सर्वेभ्यः
  • also, which can be usable by all i.e. सर्वैः प्रयोक्तव्यानि This aspect is mentioned in त्यदादीनि सर्वैर्नित्यम् (1’2’72)

So, whereas this सूत्रम् सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि 1’1’27 introduces the संज्ञा सर्वनाम, more of its ramifications have to be understood from other सूत्र-s, such as शि सर्वनामस्थानम् (1’1’42) त्यदादीनि सर्वैर्नित्यम् (1’2’72).

This pattern of discussion of this सूत्रम् brings newer thoughts and newer dimensions to “How to study अष्टाध्यायीसूत्राणि ?”. Earlier on 3rd January 2016, I had attended a session by Dr. Nilesh Joshi. And I had compiled a note on a sequential procedure to study सूत्र-s in अष्टाध्यायी.

(1) सूत्रम् → (2) पदच्छेदाः → (3) पदानां विभक्तिवचनविश्लेषणम् → (4) सूत्रवृत्तिः → (5) सूत्रार्थः → (6) व्याख्यानामभ्यासः |

In respect of Step (6) व्याख्यानामभ्यासः I had noted that commentaries on सूत्र-s can be read at

This link is a useful tool to read commentaries on any सूत्रम्. One needs to only edit the सूत्र-number in the file address.

But, for one’s own study of any सूत्र, one can and should make one’s own notes, observations and questions.

I had some review of this Methodology, occasioned by a query in April, 2016 by Mr. Kristan Stratos at That was a good opportunity for me to review/summarize the methodology for Study of a सूत्रम् in अष्टाध्यायी. I detailed it as follows –

For understanding any सूत्रम्, one should follow a sequence –

  1. Write down the सूत्रम् as given → सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि
  2. Do पदच्छेद – सर्व-दीनि सर्व-नामानि
  3. Decipher compound words –  
    1. सर्व आदौ येषांस्तानि सर्वादीनि (बहुव्रीहिः)
    2. सर्वेभ्यः नामानि सर्वनामानि (चतुर्थी-तत्पुरुषः)
  4. Do विभक्ति-वचन case-number analysis of all पद-s – सर्वादीनि (1’3) सर्वनामानि (1’3)
  5. Bring forth any such word(s) or phrase(s) from previous सूत्र (or सूत्र-s), which would be essential for proper interpretation of the given सूत्र. This step called as अनुवृत्ति may be or may not be required or applicable. For this सूत्रम् – सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि no अनुवृत्ति seems necessary.
  6. Paraphrase the सूत्रम् i.e. put it in a proper syntax i.e. write the अन्वय so that the paraphrasing brings forth the meaning. Such paraphrasing is called as वृत्ति. One may do this not necessarily in संस्कृत. Concept of वृत्ति is to bring forth the interpretation. So it can be done in any language.

 Since this सूत्रम् has just two words, both in subject case, paraphrasing of the सूत्रम् is simple – just add the verb and complete the sentence → सर्वादीनि (All those starting with सर्व) are सर्वनामानि (are such type of nouns, which can be used by all, are, what are called as Pronouns in English.)

  1. To reinforce the interpretation, one may compile examples. Actually, for this सूत्रम् सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि, one needs not compile the examples afresh. All सर्वनामानि are already compiled in one place in गणपाठ, which is sort of an Annexure of अष्टाध्यायी. Actually if any सूत्रम् has the word आदि in it, this word आदि is a code-word in अष्टाध्यायी, suggesting that there are many more. All those “many more” are then detailed in गणपाठ. All सर्वनामानि are in सर्वादि-गण in गणपाठ. Note, गण means a collection. सर्वादि-गण means collection of all those, starting with सर्व, i.e. collection of all सर्वनामानि.
  2. Interestingly, in सर्वादि-गण there are as many as 35 सर्वनामानि listed in five sub-groups. Does any other language have so many pronouns ?
    1. सर्व, विश्व, उभ, उभय, डतर, डतम, अन्य, अन्यतर, इतर, त्वत्, त्व, नेम, सम, सिम (sub-group of 14)
    2. पूर्वपरावरदक्षिणोत्तरापराधराणि व्यवस्थायामसंज्ञायाम् This subgroup is a सूत्रम् by itself. A सूत्रम्, which is an integral part of a गण in गणपाठ is called as गणसूत्रम्.
      1. Listed here are पूर्व, पर, अवर, दक्षिण, उत्तर, अपर, अधर (sub-group of 7)
      2. But it is specified here that these words would be pronouns only when व्यवस्थायामसंज्ञायाम्.
    3. स्वमज्ञातिधनाख्यायाम् – This is also a गणसूत्रम्. Identified here is pronoun स्व. But it is specified here that स्व would be a pronoun only when it is ज्ञातिधनाख्यायाम्
    4. अन्तरं बहिर्योगोपसंव्यानयोः – This is also a गणसूत्रम्. Identified here is pronoun अन्तर. But it is specified here that अन्तर would be a pronoun only when it is बहिर्योगोपसंव्यानयोः
    5. त्यद्-तद्-यद्-एतद्-इदम्-अदस्-एक-द्वि-युष्मद्-अस्मद्-भवत्-किम् (sub-group of 12). Actually this subgroup details the त्यद्-गण suggested by the सूत्रम् – त्यदादीनि सर्वैर्नित्यम् (1’2’72).
  3. The गणसूत्र-s of subgroups #2, 3 and 4 cannot be studied in the same methodology as of studying a सूत्रम् in अष्टाध्यायी, because in गणपाठ we do not have any associated सूत्र(s), required for a comprehensive study. But these 3 सूत्र-s are quoted not only in गणपाठ in सिद्धान्तकौमुदी, they are also in अष्टाध्यायी by their specific numbers
    1. पूर्वपरावरदक्षिणोत्तरापराधराणि व्यवस्थायामसंज्ञायाम् 1’1’34
    2. स्वमज्ञातिधनाख्यायाम् 1’1’35
    3. अन्तरं बहिर्योगोपसंव्यानयोः 1’1’36

The सूत्रम् what we are studying is सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि 1’1’27. So there are 9 more सूत्र-s in-between. So, all 10 सूत्र-s from 1’1’27 to 1’1’36 ought to be interrelated. Let me list them all.

1’1’27 सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि (सि.कौ. 213)

1’1’28 विभाषा दिक्-समासे बहुव्रीहौ (सि.कौ. 292)

1’1’29 न बहुव्रीहौ (सि.कौ. 222)

1’1’30 तृतीयासमासे (सि.कौ. 223)

1’1’31 द्वन्द्वे च (सि.कौ. 224)

1’1’32 विभाषा जसि (सि.कौ. 225)

1’1’33 प्रथमचरमतयाल्पार्धकतिपयनेमाश्च (सि.कौ. 226)

1’1’34 पूर्वपरावरदक्षिणोत्तरापराधराणि व्यवस्थायामसंज्ञायाम् (सि.कौ. 218)

1’1’35 स्वमज्ञातिधनाख्यायाम् (सि.कौ. 219)

1’1’36 अन्तरं बहिर्योगोपसंव्यानयोः (सि.कौ. 220)

In the above listing, what are given in parentheses are serial numbers of paras in सिद्धान्तकौमुदी, in which the different सूत्र-s are discussed. All the Paras # 213 to 226 are in अजन्तपुँल्लिङ्गप्रकरणम् in सिद्धान्तकौमुदी. Para # 292 is in अजन्तस्त्रीलिङ्गप्रकरणम्. Also the serial order of the para numbers in सिद्धान्तकौमुदी is different from their numbers in अष्टाध्यायी.

In महाभाष्यम् all these सूत्र-s are discussed in the sixth आह्निकम् and in the sequence as per अष्टाध्यायी.

Common theme or topic of all these 10 सूत्र-s is सर्वनामानि. Having started the study of only one सूत्र, it now transpires that we have to study 10 सूत्र-s. But study of the one सूत्र, with which we started, will become an incomplete study, if we do not study all the ten. This – to study related सूत्र-s together – seems to be one good modification in the method of studying अष्टाध्यायी.

Actually for the study to be as much complete a study as possible, it comes to mind that one should study all other सूत्र-s, which deal with some aspect or the other of all the सर्वनामानि.

On this count Dr. Malhar Kulkarni did discuss that there are three important aspects about सर्वनामानि, which merit a study. These are

  • Word-forms of सर्वनामानि are different in case of चतुर्थी-पञ्चमी-सप्तमी-एकवचनम् and प्रथमा-षष्ठी बहुवचनम्
  • पञ्चम्यास्तसिल् (5’3’7) and सप्तम्यास्त्रल् (5’3’10)
  • अव्ययसर्वनाम्नामकच् प्राक् टेः (5’3’71)

The pronouns युष्मद् and अस्मद् are unique that their word-forms are common in all genders. To be able to locate, compile and study the सूत्र-s related to everyone of the 35-odd pronouns, a Critical Word Index of अष्टाध्यायी would be very good. I posted a query inquiring whether any such Critical Word Index of अष्टाध्यायी has already been compiled. Dr. H. N. Bhat very kindly gave a link to पाणिनीयसूत्रपाठस्य तत्परिशिष्टग्रन्थानां च शब्दकोशाः compiled by पाठक-चित्राव-शास्त्रिणौ way back in 1935. It is mentioned in the preface that they labored on it over 12 years !

There is so much to study ! Let us proceed.

In 1’1’28 and 1’1’32 there is the word विभाषा. In अष्टाध्यायी this word is used in a specific sense, as mentioned in न वेति विभाषा (1’1’44), i.e. “maybe or may not be”. This should help in interpreting these two सूत्र-s.

First of all, we should put in appropriate अनुवृत्ति-s in all these सूत्र-s. This way, we can make some cursory study of all the 10 सूत्र-s.

  1. 1’1’27 सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि
  2. 1’1’28 विभाषा दिक्-समासे बहुव्रीहौ (सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि) = if (i) a pronoun-word is in a compound word and (ii) the compound word is speaking of a direction and (iii) if the compounding is of बहुव्रीहि-type, then the pronoun word may or may not merit treatment as a pronoun
  3. 1’1’29 न बहुव्रीहौ (सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि) = If any of the सर्वनामानि is part of a compound word, (excepting one speaking of a direction) such compound word would not be a सर्वनाम. A बहुव्रीहि-compound word is eminently adjectival. For example
  4. 1’1’30 तृतीयासमासे (सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि ) =
  5. 1’1’31 द्वन्द्वे च (सर्वनामानि )
  6. 1’1’32 विभाषा जसि (सर्वनामानि)
  7. 1’1’33 प्रथमचरमतयाल्पार्धकतिपयनेमाश्च (सर्वनामानि) = The pronouns identified here are प्रथम, चरम, तय, ल्प, र्ध, कतिपय, नेम. It seems that सर्वादिगण has missed out प्रथम, चरम, तय, ल्प, र्ध, कतिपय.
  8. 1’1’34 पूर्वपरावरदक्षिणोत्तरापराधराणि व्यवस्थायामसंज्ञायाम् (सर्वनामानि) = The pronouns identified here are पूर्व, पर, वर, दक्षिण, उत्तर, पर, धर. But these would be pronouns only when they have the context of व्यवस्था and are not nouns.
  9. 1’1’35 स्वमज्ञातिधनाख्यायाम् (सर्वनाम) = स्व would be a pronoun only if it has no context of ज्ञाति, धन, आख्या.
  10. 1’1’36 अन्तरं बहिर्योगोपसंव्यानयोः (सर्वनाम) = अन्तर would be a pronoun only if it has a context of बहिर्योग and उपसंव्यान.

Since there are pronouns in every language, it should be interesting to make a comparative study of pronouns in English and in Sanskrit.

In English pronouns are of 10 types –

  1. Personal Pronouns ⇒ Are subjective (he, she, it, I, we, you, they) and objective (him, her, it, me, us, you, them). Note, objective pronouns are only the द्वितीया (/चतुर्थी) विभक्ति of the subjective personal pronouns.
  2. Interrogative Pronouns ⇒ (who, what, which, whom whose) In Sanskrit these are forms of किम्.
  3. Indefinite Pronouns ⇒ (all, anyone, both, each, anything, everybody, many, no one, some, someone, few, etc)
    1. It seems that at least the word बहु from बहुगणवतुडति सङ्ख्या in सूत्रम् 1’1’22 actually qualify to be an indefinite pronoun.
    2. Also suffixes चित् and चन make the indefinite pronouns when affixed to forms of किम् e.g. कश्चित्, किञ्चित्, काचित्, कश्चन, किञ्चन, काचन.
  4. Relative Pronouns ⇒ E.g. “Is this, what I get ?” Here, “this” and “what” are related, “what” being in the subordinate clause. More impressive example is यः पश्यति स पश्यति (गीता 13’27) He, who sees, sees OR One, who sees, sees.
  5. Possessive Pronouns ⇒(His, hers, its, mine, ours, yours, theirs) In Sanskrit these are by षष्ठी विभक्ति of the subjective personal pronouns.
  6. Reflexive Pronouns ⇒ (Himself, herself, itself, myself, yourself, ourselves, themselves). In Sanskrit the function of the suffix “self” is served by adjectival usage of स्व, e.g. I saw it myself मया स्वेन दृष्टम् or one uses स्वयम् adverbially e.g. स्वयमेवात्मनात्मानं वेत्थ त्वम् (गीता 10’15) i.e. त्वम् आत्मानम् आत्मना स्वयमेव वेत्थ You त्वम् know वेत्थ thyself आत्मानम् by thyself आत्मना automatically (by virtue of your intrinsic faculty) स्वयमेव.  
  7. Intensive Pronouns ⇒ e.g. “You yourself must come.” Note, “you” is a personal pronoun, “yourself” is a reflexive pronoun. Both together becomes intensive pronoun. Above example of स्वयमेवात्मनात्मानं वेत्थ त्वम् is a classic example of very forceful combination of reflexivity and intensity.
  8. Demonstrative Pronouns ⇒ (this, that, these, those, none, neither, such)
  9. Reciprocal Pronouns ⇒ (Each other, each other’s, one another, one another’s)
  10. Distributive Pronouns ⇒ (Each, either, neither)

For this study of pronouns to be comprehensive and complete, one needs to be find which pronoun is detailed in which other सूत्र-s and note the significance of every such detail.

It comes to mind that study up to here may be taken as Part 1 of the study of this subject of सर्वनामानि Pronouns in Sanskrit.

शुभमस्तु !



संज्ञा-s in अष्टाध्यायी

संज्ञा-s in अष्टाध्यायी

On Tuesday Dec. 12, 2017, I attended Dr. Malhar Kulkarni’s व्याख्यानम् on सूत्र-s 1’1’20 to 1’1’23.

I indulged in further deliberation of my own, with a focus on सूत्र-s 1’1’20 and 1’1’22 . This post is loud thinking of that deliberation. The two सूत्र-s are दाधा घ्वदाप् (1’1’20) and तरप्-तमपौ घः (1’1’22). Both of these are  संज्ञासूत्र-s, because सूत्रम् – दाधा घ्वदाप् (1’1’20) defines what all is denoted by the संज्ञा घु.  The other सूत्रम् – तरप्-तमपौ घः (1’1’22) defines what all is denoted by the संज्ञा घः 

As is obvious, संज्ञा घु has many elements encompassed by दाधा excepting of course दाप्. The point is “संज्ञा घु has many elements”. That became the clue for my deliberation and I proceeded to check whether most संज्ञा-s have more-than-one elements. And lo ! That appears to be THE fact !

In mathematics, entity having a number of elements is called a “set”. By that token संज्ञा-s in अष्टाध्यायी seem to be names given to sets. All प्रत्याहार-s are basically sets and they connote names or संज्ञा-s of respective sets. For example, अच् is the name of the set, which has all vowels as its elements; हल् is the name of the set, which has all consonants as its elements. Even the very first सूत्रम् – वृद्धिरादैच् (1’1’1) defines the संज्ञा “वृद्धिः” which has the elements आत् and ऐच्; Actually ऐच् is a sub-set having elements ऐ and औ; आत् is the other sub-set of वृद्धिः, and has only a single element आत्. So वृद्धिः is a “union” of two subsets आत् and ऐच्. 

Set theory in mathematics recognizes even null sets. I wonder, whether अष्टाध्यायी has any संज्ञा, which is a null set !

In सूत्रम् – दाधा घ्वदाप् (1’1’20), exception of दाप् is like intersection of a set to leave an element out. 

I wonder whether relating concepts of set theory can give a good insight into the structure of अष्टाध्यायी. 

I feel like complimenting myself for the deliberation and observation that संज्ञा-s in अष्टाध्यायी are names given to sets. Elements of sets are detailed primarily in two different ways. The सूत्र-s such as वृद्धिरादैच् (1’1’1), दाधा घ्वदाप् (1’1’20), etc. detail their elements in the particular संज्ञासूत्र itself. But elements of some सूत्र-s such as सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि (1’1’27) are better detailed in गणपाठ. In this context it would be interesting to see my post “What is गणपाठ ?“.

The third way of identifying a संज्ञा and detailing its elements is to do that in different सूत्र-s. A good example is the सूत्रम् – सुप्तिङन्तं पदम् (1’4’14). There are two संज्ञा-s included here सुप् and तिङ्. Elements of सुप् are detailed in स्वौजसमौट्-छष्टाभ्याम्-भिस्-ङे-भ्याम्-भ्यस्-ङसि-भ्याम्-भ्यस्-ङसोसाम्-ङि-ओस्-सुप् (4’1’2). Elements of तिङ् are detailed in तिप्-तस्-झि-सिप्-वस्-थ-मिब्-वस्-मस्-ताताम्-झ-थासाथाम्-ध्व-मिड्-वहि-महिङ् (3’4’78). 

Actually सूत्रम् – सुप्तिङन्तं पदम् (1’4’14) is interesting, because it also contains and defines a third संज्ञा viz. पदम्. Whatever is सुबन्त or तिङन्त, i.e. whatever has in its ending सुप् or तिङ्, i.e. whatever has either a सुप् or तिङ् suffix, is a पदम्. And as defined by this सूत्रम् – सुप्तिङन्तं पदम् (1’4’14),  पदम् is a set having two sub-sets सुप् and तिङ्.

  • On a different note, I am a bit concerned of this definition of पदम् as सुप्तिङन्तं पदम्. This is because there are many पद-s, which are neither सुबन्त nor तिङन्त, e. g. क्त्वान्त- or तुमन्त-कृदन्त-s. To my mind, these are also पद-s, because they qualify the सूत्रम् – समर्थः पदविधिः (2’1’1). They are, for sure, समर्थ, meaningful and significant.

Anyway, we can grant that संज्ञा is a terminology of Sanskrit grammar. If so, one wonders what is the terminology in English grammar equivalent to संज्ञा ? In English grammar, among parts of speech, there are nouns and pronouns. Since pronouns are same as सर्वनामानि, one can think that नामानि would correspond with nouns. Since संज्ञा-s are also given names, संज्ञा also seemingly corresponds with ‘noun’. 

Looking at स्वौजसमौट्-छष्टाभ्याम्-भिस्-ङे-भ्याम्-भ्यस्-ङसि-भ्याम्-भ्यस्-ङसोसाम्-ङि-ओस्-सुप् (4’1’2) and तिप्-तस्-झि-सिप्-वस्-थ-मिब्-वस्-मस्-ताताम्-झ-थासाथाम्-ध्व-मिड्-वहि-महिङ् (3’4’78), it can be thought that elements of सुप् and तिङ् enumerated in these सूत्र-s are not संज्ञा-s; they are nouns नामानि of सुप्-प्रत्यय-s and तिङ्-प्रत्यय-s.  I guess, this line of thinking can help distinguish between नामानि and संज्ञा-s. Then we can say that English grammar has nothing equivalent to संज्ञा-s.

That is some loud thinking about संज्ञा-s in अष्टाध्यायी. 

शुभमस्तु !


Comprehensive study of grammar of Sanskrit

What all must be studied for complete study of grammar of Sanskrit ? One general impression is that one should study and then the job is done. But there is a श्लोक

अनधीते महाभाष्ये व्यर्था सा पदमञ्जरी ।
अधीते तु महाभाष्ये व्यर्था सा पदमञ्जरी ॥

Here, the word पदमञ्जरी usually refers to अष्टाध्यायी by पाणिनि.  So, here we have reference to two books – अष्टाध्यायी by पाणिनि and महाभाष्य by पतञ्जलि respectively. Original of the two is अष्टाध्यायी by पाणिनि, though, in this श्लोक more credence is accorded to study of महाभाष्य by पतञ्जलि.

However in his सिद्धान्तकौमुदी, भट्टोजी दीक्षित pays his tributes as मुनित्रयं नमस्कृत्य. This seems to be so, because Sanskrit grammar is itself known as त्रिमुनि-व्याकरणम्. The त्रिमुनि-s are पाणिनि, वररुचि कात्यायन and पतञ्जलि  Contribution of वररुचि कात्यायन is by his वृत्ति-s, which often explain सूत्र-s in अष्टाध्यायी by supplementary सूत्र-s, as if अष्टाध्यायी becomes more complete by the supplementary सूत्र-s in वृत्ति-s of वररुचि कात्यायन. Because of his वृत्ति-s वररुचि कात्यायन is also known as the वार्त्तिक (वृत्तीनां कर्ता).

अष्टाध्यायी is the base both for महाभाष्य by पतञ्जलि and वृत्ति-s of वररुचि कात्यायन. That is why it is said in the above श्लोक, that if one studies महाभाष्य, there is no need to study अष्टाध्यायी separately.

Actually language has two aspects – (1) words and (2) using the words to make a meaningful expression. The second part “using the words to make a meaningful expression” often becomes the exercise of composing a sentence.

From what I have understood, अष्टाध्यायी’s focus is on words, rather on formatting of words. This is so, because in Sanskrit every word to be used in a sentence, rather, for any word to be worthy of use in a sentence, it has to be a formatted word.

Second aspect of Sanskrit is freedom from syntax. In Sanskrit the formatting of words makes the words so much self-same, that they can be placed anywhere, in any sequence or order. Although the word order is most commonly the Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) order, that is not any rigid word order.

Formatting of words is best detailed in अष्टाध्यायी. But study of अष्टाध्यायी should not be understood as study only of the eight chapters, four quarters of each chapter. There are important परिशिष्ट-s, which are part and parcel of अष्टाध्यायी. They are गणपाठः, धातुपाठः, लिङ्गानुशासनम्, उणादिसूत्राणि, फिट्सूत्राणि, पाणिनीया शिक्षा.

Most books on अष्टाध्यायी detail सूत्राणि in the thirty-two quarters in अष्टाध्यायी. But to make the study of Sanskrit grammar complete, one must study also all the परिशिष्ट-s.

One method of study has been as propounded in his सिद्धान्तकौमुदी by भट्टोजी दीक्षित. But सिद्धान्तकौमुदी is said to be a composition of 17th century, just about 400 years old. There certainly have been many studies of अष्टाध्यायी, evidenced by many commentaries, called as वृत्ति-s, some well-known among them being काशिका-वृत्तिः, न्यासः, मनोरमा, बाल-मनोरमा, प्रौढ-मनोरमा, तत्त्व-बोधिनी, etc.

Although Sanskrit offers quite some freedom of syntax, there have been some definite concepts of composing sentences. These are possibly best detailed in वाक्पदीयम् of भर्तृहरि, said to be step brother of राजा विक्रमादित्य of 5th AD.

Another aspect of Sanskrit language, which is considered as part of its grammar is adorned speech, adorned by rhythm or by fancy.

  • Adornment of speech by rhythm is covered in study of prosody छन्दःशास्त्रम्, also called as शब्दालङ्कार.
  • Adornment of speech by fancy is covered in अर्थालङ्कार.

As mentioned earlier, every word to be worthy of use in a sentence needs to be formatted. In formatting there is morphology through different steps called as प्रक्रिया. There have been studies focusing only on the morphological aspects of formatting of words and are available in books such as प्रक्रियासर्वस्वम्.

Actually etymological studies व्युत्पत्तिविचार may be considered as the converse of morphological studies. But etymological studies can go deeper than just the converse of morphological studies. I came across a book व्युत्पत्तिवाद published by राष्ट्रिय संस्कृत संस्थानम्

One more aspect of study of words is study of synonyms and antonyms. Sanskrit has a great old tradition of such study. Two such studies which are monumental, are निघण्टु-निरुक्त by यास्काचार्य and अमरकोश (actual name नामलिङ्गानुशासनम्) by अमरसिंह.

I hope this compilation becomes useful to anyone wanting to undertake comprehensive study of grammar of Sanskrit.

शुभमस्तु !



Are there nouns in Sanskrit ?

The more I think of etymologies of Sanskrit nouns, the more I get to think that there are no nouns in Sanskrit.

But it is the structural requirement of sentences that subject-words, object-words have to be nouns or pronouns.

So what a word is etymologically and what the word is in a sentence are considerations, which have great influence of the context.

The very first sentence, rather the very first श्लोक in गीता would become a good example. Here is its study. 

In the simple looking phrase of just two words धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे the number of permutations of interpretations can be 
  1. considering धर्मक्षेत्रे as adjective of कुरुक्षेत्रे 
  2. considering कुरुक्षेत्रे as adjective of धर्मक्षेत्रे 
  3. considering both धर्मक्षेत्रे and कुरुक्षेत्रे as nouns.
Interesting it then is, that all of these three interpretations will be grammatically valid. 
By mathematics of permutations, there can be a fourth permutation of considering both धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे to be adjectives. That permutation will not be valid, keeping structural requirement of a sentence. 
By similar considerations in this same श्लोक, there are four words, समवेताः युयुत्सवः मामकाः पाण्डवाः All are in प्रथमा, बहुवचनम्. Hence they are all eligible to be subject-words, subjects of the verb अकुर्वत. We can consider number of sentences possible with as many subject-words =>
  1. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः किमकुर्वत
  2. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे युयुत्सवः किमकुर्वत
  3. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे मामकाः किमकुर्वत
  4. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे पाण्डवाः किमकुर्वत
  5. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः युयुत्सवः किमकुर्वत
  6. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः मामकाः किमकुर्वत
  7. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः पाण्डवाः किमकुर्वत
  8. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे युयुत्सवः मामकाः किमकुर्वत
  9. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे युयुत्सवः पाण्डवाः किमकुर्वत
  10. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः युयुत्सवः मामकाः किमकुर्वत
  11. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः युयुत्सवः पाण्डवाः किमकुर्वत
  12. धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेताः युयुत्सवः मामकाः पाण्डवाः च किमकुर्वत
It may be noticed that all the 12 permutations as above are valid sentences. 
But study of the first sentence brings forth that, though समवेताः is etymologically an adjective, it is serving the function of subject-word and hence in the sentence, it should be considered to be a noun. Etymologically समवेताः is क्त-कृदन्तम् of धातुः समवे (सम् + अव + इ) hence definitely an adjective.
One can prove that all the four words समवेताः युयुत्सवः मामकाः पाण्डवाः are adjectives by their etymology. For example पाण्डव (पाण्डोः यः सः पाण्डवः) is basically an adjective and qualifies all five पाण्डवाः. To say पाण्डवः युधिष्ठिरः, पाण्डवः भीमः, पाण्डवः अर्जुनः, पाण्डवः नकुलः, पाण्डवः सहदेवः are all valid phrases, where पाण्डवः is an adjective. 
So, what a word is etymologically and what the role of the word is in a sentence are two different things. Possibly one should be finding good discussion on the role of a word in a sentence in वाक्यपदीयम् of भर्तृहरिः. That could be the logic of its title having the word वाक्य not वाक्. It comes to mind that by this viewpoint, study of वाक्यपदीयम् of भर्तृहरिः has its own significance. Probably such significance of वाक्यपदीयम् has not been brought out at all. There is so much talk of study of अष्टाध्यायी, कौमुदी etc., that study of वाक्यपदीयम् hardly ever gets any mention. 
शुभमस्तु !

When would one need सिद्धान्तकौमुदी ?

Ms. Irene Gelstian posted a query, “Please help me understand when should one consult the full version, and when the abridged version is sufficient.” By ‘full version’ she meant सिद्धान्तकौमुदी and by ‘the abridged version’ लघुसिद्धान्तकौमुदी. Here is my deliberation.

Just a look at the contents of the two books also brings out some major differences. For example second chapter in सिद्धान्तकौमुदी is परिभाषाप्रकरणम्. There is no such chapter itself in लघुसिद्धान्तकौमुदी  So, if one wants to understand what परिभाषा is, then one needs to study it only in सिद्धान्तकौमुदी.
As per my understanding, परिभाषाः are premises, which are inherent in the structure of the book.
For example there is  सूत्रम् – विप्रतिषेधे परं कार्यम् (पा. 1-4-2). In the instance of dilemma, go by the latter.
  • An example of dilemma is अच्सन्धिः of इ + इ, say इति इच्छा
  • If one should go by इको यणचि (6-1-77) the संधि should be इत्यिच्छा.
  • But by अकः सवर्णे दीर्घः (6-1-101) the संधि would be इतीच्छा.
  • So we have a dilemma – should इति इच्छा be इत्यिच्छा or इतीच्छा ?
  • विप्रतिषेधे परं कार्यम् resolves the dilemma saying “go by the latter.” Between (6-1-77) and (6-1-101) the latter is (6-1-101). Hence, इतीच्छा only.
  • So विप्रतिषेधे परं कार्यम् is the परिभाषा, the premise behind पाणिनि’s sequencing of the सूत्राणि in अष्टाध्यायी.
  • But this premise विप्रतिषेधे परं कार्यम् does not extend all across. It extends only up to (8-1-74). Its application beyond (8-1-74) is stopped by पूर्वत्रासिद्धम् (8-2-2).
    • For example, what should be संधि of ते अज्ञानम् ?
    • By एचोऽयवायावः (6-1-78) तयज्ञानम्
    • By लोपः शाकल्यस्य (8-3-19) तेऽज्ञानम्
    • Going by विप्रतिषेधे परं कार्यम् it should be only तेऽज्ञानम्. However since application of विप्रतिषेधे परं कार्यम् does not extend beyond (8-1-74), तयज्ञानम् as per एचोऽयवायावः (6-1-78) is also valid.
So, a totally different answer to the query “when should one consult the full version” is, “go by अष्टाध्यायी itself.” Even the full version सिद्धान्तकौमुदी may not explain many such nuances, much less, the short or abridged version लघुसिद्धान्तकौमुदी.
One may get intrigued by the सूत्राणि listed in different chapters, both in लघुसिद्धान्तकौमुदी and सिद्धान्तकौमुदी. For example अच्सन्धिप्रकरणम् in both lists the सूत्रम् – झलां जश्झशि (8-4-53). Prima facie, the वर्ण-s dwelt upon in this सूत्रम् are all हलः. Why then is this सूत्रम् in अच्सन्धिप्रकरणम् at all ?
Having said all this, it seems, first of all, one needs to ask oneself, how deep one wants to go. Looks like, the query seeks clear identification as “लघुसिद्धान्तकौमुदी will take one as much deep, सिद्धान्तकौमुदी that much deeper and for further depth only अष्टाध्यायी itself.” I don’t think any such identification exists.  Particular study on hand will itself dictate which book to refer.
शुभमस्तु !

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 !