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March 27, 2012 / A

“He may well be able to water one thousand radishes”

Radishes

Via Flickr.

After getting tired of studying the Sanskrit कारक system, I jumped ahead a bit to a topic I’ve never fully understood: the use of कर्मप्रवचनीय. My working definition of कर्मप्रवचनीय is that it refers to verb prefixes used in a prepositional or non-verbal way. All कर्मप्रवचनीय words are in the निपात (“particle”) class and are therefore in the अव्यय (“indeclinable”) class as well.

One common example of a कर्मप्रवचनीय is आ (आङ् in Panini’s system), as in Kalidasa’s आ कैलासाद्बिसकिसलयच्छेदपाथेयवन्तः (“(going) up to Kailasa, with bits of lotus stalks as food for their journey”).

Right now I’m studying the uses of अपि as a कर्मप्रवचनीय. This is a common word, enough so that most Sanskrit students know it more as an indeclinable than as a verb prefix. S. D. Joshi cites some examples of अपि as a कर्मप्रवचनीय from the काशिकावृत्ति as follows:

सर्पिषो ऽपि स्यात्
Let there be a little ghee.
मुधुनो ऽपि स्यात्
Let there be a little honey.

And then this ridiculous example comes out of nowhere:

अपि सिञ्चेन् मूलकसहस्रम्
He may well be able to water one thousand radishes.

The काशिकावृत्ति has plenty of examples with barley and beans, and now we have radishes too! This seems to indicate some sort of agrarian community, or else that these वैयाकरणs were trying to finish up quickly before going to dinner.

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