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February 21, 2013 / A

Is this rule in the Ashtadhyayi or not?

When reading an ancient text, one inevitably comes across variants and interpolations that mark changes to the original text. (Of course, not all ancient texts are like this.) The Ashtadhyayi does have some small variants, but it is a remarkably consistent text regardless.

But how do variants and interpolations occur in the first place? I caught a hint of an answer earlier today.

While working through some rules, I came to what Rama Nath Sharma cites as 6.1.100:

6.1.100? अकः सवर्णे दीर्घः
When a vowel followed by a homogeneous sound, both are replaced by a sound homogeneous to both. (This is vowel sandhi for similar vowels.)

But to my surprise, at least one other source has a different rule:

6.1.100? नित्यम् आम्रेडिते डाचि
The last sound of an आम्रेडित (“replicated”) compound is always deleted when followed by the affix डाच्.

On this point, Rama Nath Sharma remarks that 6.1.100 is an interpolated rule from the Kashika Vrtti (KV). Thus says the Padamanjari:

वार्त्तिकम् एवेदम् । वृत्तिकृता सूत्ररूपेण पठितम् ।
This is just a वार्त्तिक. It’s stated by the author of the वृत्ति as if it’s a sutra.

In other words, the KV presents a new statement as if part of the original text. I can’t say whether or not the KV meant to assert that the rule was part of the original Ashtadhyayi, that the rule should be in the Ashtadhyayi, or that the rule is worth considering in context. Perhaps the whole notion of a concrete “text” was foreign to the author of the KV; Sanskrit scholars certainly have a long tradition of emending texts for one reason or another. And if these additions aren’t documented clearly, then eventually they become indistinguishable from other parts of the text. That doesn’t explain variant readings, but it certainly accounts for interpolations.

Back to the subject of memorizing the Ashtadhyayi. The text that I’m using for my flash cards seems to follow the KV. I’m not yet sure whether I’ll follow the rules in the KV or use the order presented by Rama Nath Sharma, and I’m not fully comfortable proceeding until I can resolve this.

Via Flickr.

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