Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 29

Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 29

Composing more than one component words and making a single word, which procedure is known as समास, is a specialty of Sanskrit. This is not to say that such composition of a single word from more than one words together is not found in other languages. Examples in English – outbreak, sunrise, sunset, in-laws, etc.

Yet it becomes specialty of Sanskrit because of number of component words, that can be put together. I was most impressed when I first came across a line in मेघदूतम् by कालिदास. बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या. The complete line is a single word of 17 letters. The total word and the letters therein even fully conform to the मन्दाक्रान्ता meter of the verse. There are eight component words – बाह्य, उद्यान, स्थित, हर, शिरस्, चन्द्रिका, धौत and हर्म्या ! And all together the word is an adjective of अलकानगरी !! English transcription of the word would be bAhyodyAnasthitaharashirashchandrikAdhautaharmyA, as many as 48 letters, even when using A instead of aa. Is it not very challenging to read Sanskrit in the transcripted mode ? This is one example, why it is good to learn the script of the language, right when beginning to learn a new language.

Again the eight component words, which are put together have an interrelationship between them, which needs to be detailed, so that one can then understand, how the word becomes an adjective of अलकानगरी. Detailing the interrelationship between component words is called as विग्रह of the समास. It is better to start विग्रह of one pair of component words.

For example

  1. बाह्योद्यान is बाह्य + उद्यान. बाह्य = external उद्यान = garden. So, बाह्योद्यान = external garden. This is an adjective-noun relationship. Sanskrit phrase would be बाह्यं उद्यानम् This is विग्रह of बाह्योद्यान

  2. In बाह्योद्यानस्थित, स्थित = put up. So बाह्योद्यानस्थित = put up (in) the external garden. I have shown the preposition ‘in’ in parentheses. The preposition is really the explanation of the interrelationship between बाह्योद्यान and स्थित. Sanskrit way of the preposition ‘in’ is सप्तमी विभक्ति. Hence बाह्योद्याने स्थित becomes विग्रह of बाह्योद्यानस्थित.

  3. Next we shall take बाह्योद्यानस्थित and हर. This again is an adjective-noun relationship. Sanskrit phrase would be बाह्योद्यानस्थितः हरः

  4. Now बाह्योद्यानस्थितहर and शिरस्. हर = Shiva and शिरस् = head. Obvious relationship between हर and शिरस् is head (of) Shiva. Here also the preposition ‘of’ is really the explanation of the interrelationship between हर and शिरस्. Sanskrit way of the preposition ‘of’ is षष्ठी विभक्ति. Hence हरस्य शिरस् becomes विग्रह of हरशिरस्. Rather we have बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरस् = बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरस्य शिरस्

  5. We can proceed to connect up बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरस् and चन्द्रिका. चन्द्रिका means crescent. The well-known relationship between हरशिरस् and चन्द्रिका is “crescent (on) the head of Shiva”. Sanskrit way of the preposition ‘on’ is सप्तमी विभक्ति. Hence विग्रह of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिका should be बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरसि चन्द्रिका. Overall meaning of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिका is “crescent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”

  6. Next बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिका and धौत. Here धौत means “washed”, “covered”, “lit”. Obvious meaning of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौत is “lit (by) crescent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”. Sanskrit way of the preposition ‘by’ is तृतीया विभक्ति. Hence विग्रह of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौत becomes बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकया धौत

  7. Now lastly we have to connect बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौत and हर्म्या. In the component हर्म्या the root word is हर्म्यम्

    1. The word is explained in Apte’s dictionary (See – http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.6.apte.1691431) is – हर्म्यम् [हृ-यत् मुट् च] 1 A palace, mansion, any large or palatial building; हर्म्यपृष्ठं समारूढः काको$पि गरु- डायते Subhāṣ.; बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या Me.7;

    2. As can be seen exactly this reference “बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या Me.7” is quoted in the dictionary.

    3. The obvious meaning of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्यम् is “mansion lit by the cresent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”.

    4. And the relationship between बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौत and हर्म्यम् is again adjective-noun relationship. So विग्रह of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्यम् becomes बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतं हर्म्यम् which fits the meaning “mansion lit by the crescent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”

    5. But the compound word is not ending as ..हर्म्यम्. The ending is हर्म्या, which is a feminine ending. So the total meaning of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या is pointing to a feminine noun. There is such feminine noun in the verse. The related portion of the verse is गन्तव्या ते वसतिरलका नाम यक्षेश्वराणाम् | बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या || The feminine noun is वसतिः meaning “place”, “residential complex”, “township”, “city”. Obviously बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या is adjectival to the feminine noun वसतिः. Then the interpretation of बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या should be (place, which has) “mansion lit by the crescent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”. Sanskrit way of explaining “.. (place, which has) ..” would be यस्यां सा. Using this the विग्रह would be बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्यम् यस्यां सा meaning “place which has mansion lit by the crescent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”. English meaning of the single word बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या becomes a phrase having 19 words !

    6. By a finer consideration, we can grant that there may not be only one mansion there. And all of them would be lit by the crescent. So we can modify the विग्रह to use plural as mansions and then say बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतानि हर्म्याणि यस्यां सा = place which has mansions lit by the crescent on the head of Shiva put up in the external garden”

As can be seen, interrelationships between component words are of different types. Here we have seen adjective-noun relationship, विभक्ति-relationship, relationship explained by a phrase such as यस्यां सा.

Sanskrit names of these relationships are –

  1. adjective-noun relationship = कर्मधारय

  2. विभक्ति-relationship = तत्पुरुष

  3. relationship explained by a phrase such as यस्यां सा = बहुव्रीहिः

There are some more types also and also their sub-types. We shall study them one by one.

शुभं भवतु !

-o-O-o-

One thought on “Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 29

  1. Dear Sir,
    The Introduction to the “समास” in Sanskrit and the Example of the Compound — बाह्योद्यानस्थितहरशिरश्चन्द्रिकाधौतहर्म्या — from मेघदूतम् by कालिदास have been excellently presented in this Lesson!

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