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June 30, 2012 / A

Long rules

When I first heard about the Ashtadhyayi and its reputation for brevity, I thought that its rules would be like what I found in the first part of 1.1:

1.1.1 वृद्धिरादैच्
आ, ऐ, and औ are called वृद्धि.

1.1.13 शे
The Vedic suffix शे (is exempt from sandhi)

1.1.15 ओत्
(Particles ending in the vowel ओ (are exempt from sandhi)

But at each step this idealized picture of the nature of the Ashtadhyayi became a little harder to maintain. Reading further on, I realized that without a thorough knowledge of the धातुपाठ and गणपाठ several important rules would mean little to me:

1.1.27 सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि
The words in the list starting with सर्व are called सर्वनामन्

Later I found rules that seemed to stretch on beyond my ability to grasp them:

1.1.58 न पदान्तद्विर्वचनवरेयलोपस्वरसवर्णानुस्वारदीर्घजश्चर्विधिषु
In rules related to the end of a पद, doubling,  वरच्, elision of य, accent, homogeneous sounds, the अनुस्वार, long vowels, जश् consonants, and चर् consonants, the substitute is not treated like what it replaced.

And these rules seem to get longer and longer. Whenever I find a new one I think “surely they can’t be any longer than this!”

3.1.123 छन्दसि निष्टर्क्यदेवहूयप्रणीयोन्नीयोच्छिष्यमर्यस्तर्याध्वर्यखन्यखान्यदेवयज्यापृच्छ्यप्रतिषीव्यब्रह्मवाद्यभाव्यस्ताव्योपचाय्यपृडानि
The words निष्टर्क्य, देवहूय, प्रणीय, उन्नीय, उच्छिष्य, मर्य, स्तर्य, अध्वर्य, खन्य, खान्य, देवयज्य, आपृच्छ्य, प्रतिषीव्य, ब्रह्मवाद्य, भाव्य, स्ताव्य, and उपचाय्यपृड exist as-is in the Vedas.

But of course I’m wrong again.

3.2.142 संपृचानुरुधाङ्यमाङ्यसपरिसृसंसृजपरिदेविसंज्वरपरिक्षिपपरिरट-परिवदपरिदहपरिमुहदुषद्विषद्रुहदुहयुजाक्रीडविविचत्यजभजातिचरापचरामुषाभ्याहनश्च
After संपृच् etc., घिनुण् is used in the sense of one’s nature, obligation, or skill.

The “real” affix here is इन्. घ् causes चवर्ग letters to shift to कवर्ग —

संपृच् -> संपर्किन्.

ण् causes वृद्धि where possible, supposedly. From the examples given by Rama Nath Sharma, it seems more accurately to strengthen the vowel as necessary until it is in a heavy syllable:

अनुरुध् -> अनुरोधिन्
आयम् -> आयासिन्

With a sort of morbid curiosity I skimmed the remainder of the text looking for another mountain of a rule. And to nobody’s surprise but mine, there’s at least one more waiting for me.


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