Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 15

Simple Sanskrit – Lesson 15

सरलं संस्कृतम् – पञ्चदशः पाठः |

Towards the end of Lesson 9, it was suggested that संधि or संहिता is an important topic.

In simple terms संधि or संहिता is the concept of ‘resultant sound’ most of which happens naturally.

Actually examples of संधि or संहिता have been there right from first lesson. For example

  • in Table 1-8 प्रत्यागच्छामि … etc. are प्रति + आगच्छामि …. All the nine forms प्रत्यागच्छामि … etc. are ‘resultant sounds, i.e. संधि or संहिता.
  • शुभमस्तु at the end of every chapter is शुभम् + अस्तु
    • किञ्चित् , कस्माच्चित् are examples from Lesson 8.
  • कश्चित् = कः + चित् is an example, where the ending of the first word is a विसर्ग denoted by “:”

There is sort of a rule saying when it is compulsory to do संधि or संहिता –

संहितैकपदे नित्या नित्या धातूपसर्गयोः ।

नित्या समासे वाक्ये तु सा विवक्षामपेक्षते ॥

In Sanskrit, a rule about संधि or संहिता is also put in a verse !
It means

  1. संहितैकपदे नित्या = संहिता एकपदे नित्या  when a word is quoted as a single word, it is mandatory to do संधि or संहिता  e.g. कश्चित्
  2. नित्या धातूपसर्गयोः = when there is a prefix with a verbal root, it is mandatory to do संधि or संहिता  e.g. प्रत्यागच्छामि
  3. नित्या समासे = in compound word it is mandatory to do संधि or संहिता  e.g. शिरश्चन्द्रिका
  4. वाक्ये तु सा विवक्षामपेक्षते = In a sentence, it is discretionary. e.g. शुभमस्तु

First three statements above denote three broad classifications of संधि or संहिता. As can be seen –

Table 15-1

Three broad classifications of संधि or संहिता


Combined word


Ending sound of first omponent and beginning sound of second

Class of

संधि or संहिता



प्रति + आगच्छामि

Vowel इ + vowel आ




शुभम् + अस्तु

Consonant म् + vowel अ




किम् + चित्

Nasal Consonant म् + consonant च्




कस्मात् + चित्

Consonant त् + consonant च्




कः + चित्

विसर्ग “:” + consonant च्


Although there are just three broad classifications of संधि or संहिता, there would be many permutations in each class.

Before proceeding, it would be interesting to know why

  1. स्वर-संधि-s are also called as अच्-संधि-s and
  2. व्यञ्जन-संधि-s are also called as हल्-संधि-s.

Most of the स्वर-s and व्यञ्जन-s are set into 14 सूत्र -s known as शिवसूत्राणि or माहेश्वरसूत्राणि
1. अइउण् 2. ऋलृक् 3. एओङ् 4. ऐऔच् 5. हयवरट् 6. लण् 7. ञमङ्णनम् 8. झभञ्
9. घढधष् 10. जबगडदश् 11. खफछठथचटतव् 12. कपय् 13. शषसर् 14. हल्

It is said that when concluding his dance, Lord Shiva struck his Damru 14 times. Those 14 sounds were realized by the sages – Sanaka and others – as divine aphorisms, summarizing all the basic sounds, the vowels and consonants. The event is narrated in a shloka as follows –

नृत्तावसाने नटराजराजो ननाद ढक्कां नवपञ्चवारम्।

उद्धर्त्तुकाम: सनकादिसिद्धानेतद्विमर्शे शिवसूत्रजालम्॥

These are also called as प्रत्याहारसूत्राणि, because of some 43 प्रत्याहार-s that can be derived or extracted from the 14 शिवसूत्राणि.

As can be seen, the first four सूत्र -s – with first सूत्र starting with अ and the fourth सूत्र ending with च् – contain all the vowels अ, इ, उ, ऋ, लृ, ए, ओ, ऐ, औ if we neglect the ending consonants ण्, क् and ङ् of the first to third सूत्र-s. So, अच् is a प्रत्याहार and it means all the vowels स्वर-s. In turn अच्-संधि-s means all स्वर-संधि-s.

In like manner the प्रत्याहार हल्-, starting from ह of fifth सूत्र and ending with ल् of the fourteenth सूत्र contains all consonants. In turn हल्-संधि-s means व्यञ्जन-संधि-s.

For more practice with प्रत्याहार-s –

  1. अक् means स्वर-s अ, इ, उ, ऋ, लृ
  2. इक् means स्वर-s इ, उ, ऋ, लृ
  3. एच् means स्वर-s ए, ओ, ऐ, औ