Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 10

Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 10

सरलं संस्कृतम् – दशमः (१०) पाठः |

Towards the end of previous Lesson 9, three aspects were mentioned for proceeding further. I propose to proceed with आत्मनेपदी धातु-s.

As mentioned in previous lesson, धातु-s in Sanskrit are परस्मैपदी, आत्मनेपदी or उभयपदी. Actually these names of classes of धातु-s have some meaning. The meaning can be deciphered as follows –

  • परस्मैपदी धातु-s mean such धातु-s, whereby effect of the “action” is seen to influence someone or something else.
    • In the word परस्मैपदी there are two parts परस्मै and पदी. परस्मै means unto another. पदी can be interpreted to mean “having influence”. So परस्मैपदी would mean “having influence unto another”.
    • For example when saying अहं पाठशालां गच्छामि (I go to school), the school is going to have a new element there, i.e. myself.
    • Even when saying अहं वदामि (I say) my saying is going to cause new reverberations in the environment around me.
  • आत्मनेपदी धातु-s mean such धातु-s, whereby effect of the “action” is seen to influence  the doer, the subject.
    • The word आत्मनेपदी also has two parts आत्मने and पदी. आत्मने means unto oneself and पदी as above can be interpreted to mean “having influence”. So आत्मनेपदी would mean “having influence unto oneself.
    • When saying चन्द्रः क्षीयते वर्धते च (moon waxes and wanes) the actions of waxing and waning influence the moon, the subject itself.
  • In turn उभयपदी धातु-s mean such धातु-s, whereby effect of the “action” is seen to influence either the doer, (i.e. the subject) or someone (or something) else.
    • Eminent example of उभयपदी धातु is धातु ‘कृ’ (to do). An action of doing something has an influence both on doer and on something, that is done.
    • This brings to mind a line from गीता where it is said, “करणं कर्म कर्तेति त्रिविधः कर्मसंग्रहः” (१८-१८) meaning, “the tools, the action itself and the doer are three types of repositories of action”.
  • The idea in citing the quote from गीता, is simply to detail that the consideration of which धातु is परस्मैपदी, आत्मनेपदी or उभयपदी seems to be very, very subtle. The nomenclatures परस्मैपदी, आत्मनेपदी, उभयपदी do have specific meaning. But it is difficult, at least for me to explain the concept very clearly. But there is no problem once one accepts whatever the पद of a particular धातु is. Practise will make it easier. Couple of examples given above are my own attempt to understand the concept. Admittedly the examples provide some help to understand the concept, but do not make it entirely clear.
    • For example it is difficult to explain how the verbal root स्था in सः तिष्ठति or सः उत्तिष्ठति is परस्मैपदी.

We have studied inflections of some 25 परस्मैपदी धातु-s in simple present, imperative and लिट् and लङ् past tenses. Here are inflections of a commonly used आत्मनेपदी धातु “लभ्”.

Table 10-1

Inflections of आत्मनेपदी धातु “लभ्”

No. धातु (गण) Meaning काल / अर्थ पुरुष एकवचनम् द्विवचनम् बहुवचनम्
1 लभ् (१) To get, to obtain, to gain लट्-वर्तमान प्रथम मध्यम उत्तम लभते
लोट्-आज्ञार्थ प्रथम मध्यम उत्तम लभताम्
लिट्-भूतकाल प्रथम लेभे लेभाते लेभिरे
लङ्-भूतकाल प्रथम मध्यम उत्तम अलभत

Actually at they have facilitated obtaining inflexions for a large number of धातु-s in ten types of काल / अर्थ options, known as लकार-s. Of these ten लकार-s four are noted above under the column काल / अर्थ.

The ten लकार-s are described in Table 10-2.

Table 10-2

The ten लकार-s



काल / अर्थ

Tense or mood




Simple Present



अनद्यतन भूतकाल

Simple Past



परोक्ष भूतकाल

Past unseen by the speaker



तृतीय भूतकाल

Aorist (or Imperfect) Past



द्वितीय-भविष्यत्काल also known as ‘स्य’-भविष्यत्काल

Simple future or future with certainty of action



प्रथम-भविष्यत्काल also known as ता-भविष्यत्काल

Future indicating ‘likelihood’ of action



Conditional mood ‘might’








Potential mood ‘should’




Benedictive mood i.e. ‘may’ as in “May God bless you”

I could not find an apt Sanskrit explanation for item 7 लृङ्. Actually various tenses and moods detailed above indicate only their general usages. There are also optional usages.

For example Simple present has optional usage

  1. for Immediate past, e.g.
    • “When did you come ?” कदा त्वं आगतोऽसि
    • “Here I am” अयमागच्छामि
  2. and also for immediate future e.g.
    • “When will you go to town ?” कदा ग्रामं गमिष्यसि ?
    • “Here I go” एषः गच्छामि
  3. Both these optional usages are not just colloquial, but very much endorsed by Sanskrit grammar by Panini’s aphorism वर्त्तमानसामीप्ये वर्त्तमानवद्वा (पा. सूत्रम् ३-३-१३१) meaning “when present is close-by” or “when tense is similar to present tense”.
  4. The लकारार्थप्रकरणम् (chapter on meanings of लकार-s) in आशुबोध-व्याकरणम् by तारानाथ तर्कवाचस्पति discusses as many as 49 सूत्र-s detailing various usages of different लकार-s. I wonder whether there is a readily available translation of such a useful and important chapter as this.
  5. Actually the usages will be clearer when clarified by examples. The examples under para (1) are from this very book आशुबोध-व्याकरणम्

शुभमस्तु |



3 thoughts on “Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 10

  1. धनं लब्धुं वणिजस्य I don’t think this is a correct form to denote the merchant:

    -बव, बालव, कौलव, तैतिल, गर, वणिज, विष्टि, शकुनि, चतुष्पाद, नाग and र्किस्तुघ्न.-

    It is the name of one of the करण-s according to V S Apte.

    I don’t think लाभम् is not used as such in isolation. There are many usages where it replaces क्त्वा and not तुमुन् under many rules in a verb following another main verb स्वादुमि णमुल् । । ३,४.२६ । । up to अन्वच्यानुलोम्ये । । ३,४.६४ । ।

    स्वादुंकारं भुङ्क्ते etc. eats making it tasty.

    यष्टिग्राहं युध्यन्ते, यष्टिं ग्राहम्। लोष्टग्राहम्, लोष्टं ग्राहम्।

    All the examples are having two verbs, one finite and the other infinite as in the examples and not used in isolation.

    • नमस्ते श्रीमन् भट-महोदय !
      (1) Apte’s dictionary does list –
      वणिज: m. 1 A merchant, trader.
      And it also details –
      व्यापारः meaning 3. Profession, trade, …
      So व्यापारः is the tool of वणिज: the trader.
      Apte’s dictionary also lists
      वणिज् m. 1 A merchant, trader.
      However for “Simple Sanskrit” I thought it simpler to use वणिज: instead of वणिज्
      (2) In “कथं चलति व्यापारः ? लाभम्” the word लाभम् is not in isolation. It is associated with चलति. I think colloquially one would not repeat the verb from the question. Idea of giving the question in the example was to show the association. Without the question, लाभम् would have appeared to be in isolation. Not when the question also is stated.

  2. भवतः विवरणं व्याख्यानं च सरलं लाभकरं च। प्रत्यायानां ल्युट् इति प्रत्ययः अपि अस्ति। सः प्रत्ययः मया प्रायेण प्रयुक्तः। उदाहरणानि सन्ति – अर्जनम्, आसनम्, पर्यटनम्, प्रापणम्, परीक्षणम्, प्रकाशनम्, इत्यादयानि।

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