Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 12

Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 12

सरलं संस्कृतम् – द्वादशः पाठः |

In the previous chapter I hinted “Comprehensive study” of any धातु. Across the chapters thus far there has been detailing of लट्-वर्तमान, लोट्-आज्ञार्थ, लिट्-भूतकाल and लङ्-भूतकाल inflections of both परस्मैपदी and आत्मनेपदी धातु-s and also the concept of verbal derivatives धातुसाधित both adjectival विशेषण-s and indeclinable अव्यय-s.

However more aspects of a धातु are yet to be studied. There are six more लकार-s to be detailed. In addition, Sanskrit also provides desiderative inflections. For example, root meaning of धातु मुच् is to leave, to release, to renounce. One way to say “He wishes to renounce” is to say सः मोक्तुं इच्छति The desiderative in Sanskrit facilitates this to be more crisp by मोक्तुं इच्छति = मुमुक्षति.

And then there are also the passive voice inflections and causative inflections. To understand the patterns of these inflections, it would help to have some idea of the concept of गण of a धातु. The गण is a pattern of inflections applicable to a धातु. For example in Table 11-1 below, I have given examples of 10 patterns of inflection of diiferent धातु-s belonging to different गण-s.

Table 12-1

No. / गण


Present, Third person, Singular i.e. लट्-वर्तमाने प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम्

Passive Voice,

Present, Third person, Singular i.e. कर्मणिप्रयोगे लट्-वर्तमाने प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम्


Present, Third person, Singular i.e. प्रयोजकप्रयोगे लट्-वर्तमाने प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम्

Passive of Causative प्रयोजकस्य कर्मणिप्रयोगे लट्-वर्तमाने प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम्


पठ्  to read, to study






ब्रू  to say, to speak

ब्रवीति ब्रूते





दा to give

ददाति दत्ते





रञ्ज्  to be pleased

रज्जति रज्यते


रञ्जयति -ते, रजयति-ते रञ्ज्यते


चि to collect, to select, to opt for

चिनोति चिनुते


चापयति-ते, चाययति-ते,

चाप्यते, चाय्यते


दिश्  = to show direction

दिशति दिशते





भुञ्ज्  = to consume, to eat

भुनक्ति भुङ्क्ते





कृ   = to do

करोति कुरुते





क्री  = to buy

क्रीणाति क्रीणीते





सूच्  = to suggest

सूचयति सूचयते




It may be noted that –

  1. All inflections in column 4 for Passive Voice, Present, Third person, Singular i.e. कर्मणि लट्-वर्तमान, प्र. पु. एकवचनं are of a pattern similar to that of 4th गण, आत्मनेपद.
    1. I have tried to select the example धातु-s in Column 3 to be उभयपदी. But the passive voice will always be आत्मनेपदी.
  2. All inflections in Column 5 for Causative Present, Third person, Singular i.e. प्रयोजक लट्-वर्तमान, प्र. पु. एकवचनम् are of a pattern similar to 10th गण,
  3. The example चीयते of passive voice of 5th गण, धातु “चि” brings to mind a सुभाषितम् – गाङ्गमम्बु सितमम्बु यामुनं । कज्जलाभमुभयत्र मज्जतः । राजहंस तव सैव शुभ्रता । चीयते न च न चापचीयते ।।
    1. Its meaning is “Hey swan, whether you may swim in the fresh, clear water of the Ganges or in blackish water of Yamuna, your whiteness neither grows nor does it diminish.”
    2. The onomatopoeia in चीयते न च न चापचीयते is charming !
    3. Even the sounds कज्जला and मज्जतः make a good pairing.
    4. The meter of this सुभाषितम् having 11 syllables in each quarter seems to be रथोद्धता. Understanding the meters makes an interesting study by itself. We shall discuss that separately. Such study is called as study of the “Prosody”.
  4. The passive voice and causative practically make a new verbal root धातु, adopted from the main धातु. In Sanskrit grammar they are called as प्रत्ययान्त-धातु-s. Being धातु-s by themselves, they will certainly have inflections in the ten लकार-s and will also have their own कृदन्त-s (i.e. धातुसाधित-s). For example –
    1. कर्मणि भूतकालवाचक क्त-कृदन्त of गम्-धातु is गत
    2. कर्मणि भूतकालवाचक क्त-कृदन्त of प्रयोजक प्रत्ययान्त धातु (from गम्-धातु) is गमित.
    3. The प्रयोजक प्रत्ययान्त धातु from गम्-धातु can be taken to be गमय. This brings to mind the famous verse
      1. असतो मा सद्गमय | मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय | तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय |
      2. Here गमय is Imperative, second person, singular (लोट्-आज्ञार्थ, मध्यम पुरुष, एकवचन) from प्रयोजकप्रत्ययान्त-धातु गमय.
  5. Actually प्रत्ययान्त धातु-s are said to be of four types. Of these, Causals (प्रयोजक-s) and Desideratives (सन्नन्त-s) are mentioned above. Frequentatives (यणन्त-s) and Denominatives (नामधातु-s) are the other two types.
    1. One example of a नामधातु is in a सुभाषितम् –  निरस्तपादपे देशे एरण्डोऽपि द्रुमायते
      1. Here the verb is द्रुमायते. It is from a noun द्रुम meaning a big tree.
      2. Meaning of the सुभाषितम् is …. in a place with no trees, even a castor oil plant is seen as a big tree.
      3. As suggested by Dr. H. N. Bhat in his comment द्रुमायते would mean ‘is seen as a big tree’ with all the characteristics of a big tree.
    2. “to name” is possibly a good example of a नामधातु in English grammar. In Saskrit, it seems, in Sanskrit one can form नामधातु-s almost from every other noun, e.g. for saying ‘a thought is paraphrased (put in words)’ we can say विचारः शब्दायते
    3. Here is an interesting सुभाषितम् – गुणायन्ते दोषा: सुजनवदने, दुर्जनमुखे | गुणा दोषायन्ते, तदिदमपि नो विस्मयपदम् | meaning “in gentleman’s speech faults are also made as virtues; there should be no surprise that in the speech of a vile person, virtues are also faulted (criticized)”. Here नामधातु-s गुणायन्ते and दोषायन्ते are formed from the nouns गुण and दोष respectively.
    4. बुद्बुदायते from the noun बुद्बुद (= bubble). This word-formation is similar to English-style “bubblifies”. In English, it is style; in Sanskrit it is an option, which is grammatically endorsed.
    5. नामधातु-s make a signature statement of Sanskrit language. It exemplifies how Sanskrit-language provides flexibility and adaptibility to every other novelty or new situation. If one can form new words and even verbal roots, the language becomes vibrant and relevant at all times, through all ages, right ?
  6. The concept of “Desiderative” (सन्नन्त-s) is to be able to say “He desires to do”, कर्तुं इच्छति . But Desiderative helps to put it in a single word instead of two – चिकीर्षति With a new verbal root as  चिकीर्ष available, it can have its own inflections in various tenses and moods. One can also say, ‘He desired to do’ अचिकीर्षत् in past tense or चिकीर्षष्यति ‘He will desire to do’ in future tense.
    1. Other examples of Desideratives (सन्नन्त-s) are – पठ् –> पिपठिषति (= पठितुम् इच्छति); ब्रू (वच्) –> विवक्षति (वक्तुं इच्छति); दा –> दित्सति (दातुम् इच्छति) (आत्मनेपदी दित्सते);
    2. There would be rules of grammar, how such new verbal roots can be obtained. I am afraid that going into the rules of grammar may go beyond the concept of ‘Simple Sanskrit’. It would be simpler to find what the verbal roots are for different verbs and remember and use them as such.
    3. Basic idea of these lessons in Simple Sanskrit is not exactly to make student an expert in Sanskrit. But such information as of प्रत्ययान्त धातु-s is being detailed, to give acquaintance with these concepts, so that one can follow and enjoy Sanskrit literature, even if such forms would have been used sometime somewhere.
  1. Examples of Frequentatives (यणन्त-s) would be
    1. Drinks again and again पुन: पुन: पिबति = पेपीयते
      1. This brings to mind the verse quoted as a eulogy to भगवद्गीता, पाराशर्यवचःसरोजममलं गीतार्थगन्धोत्कटं । नानाख्यानककेसरं हरिकथासद्वासनावासितम् । लोके सज्जनषट्पदैरहरहः पेपीयमानं मुदा । भूयाद्भारतपंकजं कलिमलप्रध्वंसि नः श्रेयसे ॥
      2. In this verse भगवद्गीता, a composition of Parashara Vyasa is mentioned as a lotus, from which good people draw the nectar everyday, “drink it everyday’, so, ‘drink again and again’ Hence the word used is पेपीयमानं
      3. By the way पेपीयमानं is obviously the शानच्-कृदन्त of प्रयोजक-प्रत्ययान्त-धातु ‘पेपीय’. The concept of शानच्-कृदन्त has been already detailed in Table 10-3.
  1. Desideratives such as पिपठिषति = पठितुम् इच्छति frequentatives such as पुन: पुन: पिबति = पेपीयते in a way demonstrate how they help make compact concise expressions. Brevity is certainly a charming feature of Sanskrit.

शुभमस्तु |