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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 8 (Vikram Santurkar)
   2. Re: Sanskrit Glossary (Thattey)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 10:24:08 -0700
From: "Vikram Santurkar" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 8
To: "Anand Mishra" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, Michel Bostr?m
        <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>,    <>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="iso-8859-1"

Namaste ananda-mahodaya,

bhavataH antima vAkyam tu atyuttam asti - darvI pAka-rasam yathA. 

 manasi shlokamekam udbhavati
"yasya nAsti svyam praGNYA shastram tasya karoti kim
 lochanAbhyAm vihInasya darpaNaH kim karishyati"


-----Original Message-----
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Anand Mishra
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 8:16 AM
To: Michel Bostr?m;
Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 8

Dear Friends,

I submitt following comments upon the points raised by Mr. Bostr?m in his last 

1. We find following definitions/explanations of 'sUtra' in the literature.

(a) alpAkSaramasandigdhaM sAravadvizvato mukham / astobhamanavadyaJca sUtraM 
sUtra-kRto viduH // (mugdhabodha-TIkA, durgAdAsa)

(b) laghUni sUcitArthAni svalpAkSara padAni ca / sarvataH sArabhUtAni 
sUtrANyAhurmanISiNaH // (bhAmatI)

(c) saJjA ca paribhASA ca vidhirniyama eva ca / atidezo'dhikArazca SadvidhaM 
sUtra-lakSaNam //

'sUtraM ca bahvartha-sUcanAd bhavati' (bhAmatI) tatra, sUtraNAt sUtram ....

Now, sUtra is so called, because it joins something.
In our case it connects, joins, 'sews' the thoughts like pearls in a necklace. 
Therefore, it is 'sUtra'.
(Similar, is the sense of word 'grantha'). It need not be something written. 
The 'sUtra' style of writitng shows that it was composed primarily for oral 
retention. That is why 'sUtraM bahvartha sUcanAd bhavati', i.e. only the 
minimum information in a condensed form with a lot of explanation and exercise 
behind it. Therefore we need so many 'bhASya' to understand them ( many 
commentaries on brahma-sUtra). Definition (c) is clearly from the tradition of 
grammarians where the types of pANinian sUtras are listed. (a) and (b) 
emphasize on minimal words with an interesting difference. (a) says 
'asandigdha' i.e. the meaning should be clear without any confusion, but (b) 
does not mention that. Anyway, the point I want to make is that it is correct 
that 'sUtra' denotes 'that which connects something', but it need not be 
physical pages that should be sewn together (which is also correct but is a 
development) but the thoughts and ideas. Perhaps, here I could mention that it 
is not only grammatical rules which are 'sUtra' but we have a lot of literature 
composed in this style, the work of pANini however is perhaps the best example. 
So, the word 'sUtra' does not in any way necessitates written work.

2. This meaning of 'guru' is another example of 'seeing a meaing' in a word, 
about which I talked in the last letter. The verse which comes in 
'advayatArakopaniSad' is as follows:
gu-zabdastvandhakAro'sti ru-zabdastannirodhakaH / andhakAra-nirodhitvAt 
gururityabhidhIyate // Here 'gu' is associated with 'darkness' because the 
'zabda' comes in many such words like 'guhya' (from root guh-saMvaraNe), 
'gupta' (from gup-rakzaNe) etc.
which connotes 'something which is not clearly, visibly there'. It is this 
'darkness=ignorance'. Then 'ru' comes in words like 'nirodha' (from root
'rudh-AvaraNe') which connotes inter alia 'destruction'. And so 'guru' is the 
destructor of ignorance.
Here it may be noted that 'guru' is not derived from 'two-roots'. In fact the 
normal derivation of the word is from the root 'gRR'-giraNe or 'gRR'-zabde und 
'guru' is 'gRNati=upadizati iti guruH'. Apart from that, one 'pada' has 'one' 
root and not two or many.
It can have many affixes. So this etymology of 'guru'
is again a 'philosophical flight' about which I was talking.

Secondly is the question, Can the individual letters be inflected? The answer 
is: yes. Examples (in
abundance!) is to be found in the 'aSTAdhyAyI' of 'pANini' itself. pANini's is 
not only a grammar of sanskrit, but a grammar written in sanskrit also. And 
when he e.g. in rule 8.3.29 says 'DaH si dhuT' (dhuT be optionally the augment 
of dental s when it follows the cerebral D) then he has inflected both 's' and 
'D'. So 'sounds' have inflection in the very sanskrit of pANini itself. 

As to the meanings not being in the dictionary, I can only say that this tells 
us more about the dictionary then the otherway round. The world, any way, is 
more than the sum total of what the dictionaries/books contain.

It is correct that the meanings of syllables is not within the field of 
'vyAkaraNa' but rather that of 'nirukta'; but at the same time neither is 
oblivious to the meaning nor is pANini. Both go hand in hand.

3. An 'a priori' division of something which is worthy of scholarly attention 
and something which is not, is in no way a scholarly approach. This division 
could be motivated by extreme irrationality or by extreme rationality. It 
doesn't matter, the effect is the same. An almost dogmatic faith in the 
finality of reason is as hazardous as its opposite. Indian tradition is not a 
tradition only of reason alone, although it serves an important purpose. It 
would be sad if modern scholars ignore this aspect. Like the simile in 
'mahAbhArata' they would be only 'like the spoon in curry' (darvI pAka-rasaM 
yathA) which although completely submerged in the curry, doesn't know how it 

With warm regards

Anand Mishra

--- Michel Bostr?m <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> schrieb:

> Friends,
> Shri Mishra makes some very good points below.  May I add the 
> following:
> 1) Clearly Panini composed the Ashtadhyayi with the intent that it 
> should be memorised, so this is a part of an oral tradition.
> But note that the word
> sutra (with verb form is suu-traya, to tie, cognate with the English 
> "sew")- means in the first instance a thread or string; secondly a 
> book - the pages of which are sewn together with thread or string - ; 
> and finally a
> grammatical rule.   The fact that the Vishnusutra is
> attributed to Panini
> indicates that his works were composed in the context of a scholarly 
> tradition that was both written and oral - though clearly precedence 
> was given to the oral.  If anyone knows why a grammatical rule is a 
> sutra, I would love to hear from you.  I take it that it is because 
> these sutras are strung together, but this does not quite make sense.
>  Suerly only the
> collection as a whole should be called a sutra? (I hope that I have 
> not missed anything here.)
> 2) I have never actually heard about meanings being attribute to 
> phonemes - only to syllables.  In particular, I have heard the one 
> about guru being derived from two roots, "gu" and "ru", at least a 
> dozen times.  (I am sure that someone out there will be able to remind 
> what these roots are supposed to mean.)  All I can cay is: if you say 
> so, I guess that is what these sounds mean.  But that does not make 
> them Sanskrit.
> They are not found in
> any dictionary and, as far as I know, they have no conjugations or 
> declensions, so they cannot be used in a Sanskrit sentence.  Panini 
> dealt with the structure of the Sanskrit language - and to a lesser 
> extent, the Vedic language, where Sanskrit diverges from the Vedic.  
> The meanings of syllables lies outside his field of study.
> 3) If a religious or philosophical text uses a myth as a heuristic 
> device, or a hymn or a mantra as an aid to concentration, they can 
> play a very useful role for adherents of that cult.  This is something 
> that I would not disparage.  If other people invent meanings for words 
> that are nowhere recorded in any natural sentence in Sanskrit, and 
> cannot even be used in a real sentence, and if they consider this to 
> be part of their religious observation then this has to be respected.  
> As pointed out Shri Mishra, this is a natural outgrowth of the Vedic 
> focus on the sounding of hymns.
> Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with the Sanskrit language as such 
> and does not merit the attention of scholars either of language or of 
> philosophy.
> Please forgive if I have sounded unduly critical on this subject.  I 
> am a giant fan of Panini, the greatest linguist that ever lived by a 
> very wide margin - whether or not he actually composed all the works 
> that are attributed to him.  I dislike intensely seeing his work 
> buried in an accretion of trivia.  Also, as you see, I am in general 
> rather lacking in diplomacy.
> Kind regards
> Michel
> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 21:59:43 +0200 (CEST)
> From: Anand Mishra <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 2 Panini and
>       letters
> To: Michel Bostrom <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>,
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> Dear Friends,
> I am a newcomer to your mailing list and am writing for the first 
> time. I have been following with interest the evolving discussion 
> initiated by someone in search of the 'meaning' of the letters of 
> Sanskrit alphabet.
> In this connection the informative letter of Mr.
> Dhananjaya and further the comments of Mr. Bostrom are noteworthy.
> I, however, want to share the following
> observations:
> (NB: I shall follow the Harvard-Kyoto convention for sanskrit because 
> of portability problems with other
> conventions.)
> 1. There is an ancient vedic tradition much older then pANini which 
> concerns itself with phonetics. This stream of learning is called 
> 'zikSA' and is one of the six streams (vedAGga) developed for 
> perfecting vedic recitations and rituals. pANini-zikSA is a work in 
> this stream.
> 2. Another vedAGga is vyAkaraNa which analyses the language by 
> dividing it in constituting components and thus giving a description 
> of that language. The grammarian provides these constituting 
> components e.g.
> prakRti (dhAtu, prAtipadika etc.) or pratyaya
> (affixes) and then prescribes rules which generate the language from 
> these components. In his aSTAdhyAyI it is this task which pANini takes 
> up. Here it should be noted that the language (bhASA) came first and 
> grammar later. Language is real ('akSara'=na kSaratIti a-kSara, that 
> which does not obliterate) and grammatical formulation is a creation 
> of the grammarian. He perceives a structure, a system in the language 
> and explains it through his grammar. There could be more than one 
> grammars for a language.
> 3. In this process, it is natural to identify and characterize the 
> building blocks of the language.
> The
> normal ordering of the speech-sounds in Sanskrit is according to the 
> place of articulation moving from 'kaNTha' (velar) towards 'oSTha' 
> (labial). pANini (or may be someone prior to him, a 'pUrvAcArya') 
> reorganized the alphabet allowing the formation of sigla and thus 
> enabling a more compact formulation of rules. Here one must note an 
> important feature of Indian scholarly tradition. And it is that a 
> traditional Indian scholar, howsoever great, considers himself to be a 
> transmitter of the wisdom he has acquired from his peers and is not 
> much interested in proclaiming what 'he' thinks or what 'he' has 
> discovered. (Patents and copyrights are a gift of modern 
> civilizations!). Even if pANini himself is improvising this reordering 
> of alphabet, he would rather attribute it to lord ziva 's cymbal. This 
> story tells us more about this feature of Indian tradition.
> The emphasis is always on the 'teaching' and 'an unbroken continuity 
> of teaching'. So we find upanishadic expressions like 'iti zuzrama 
> pUrvezAM ye nastadvyAcacakSire'.
> 4. At this point we must also reflect upon the different styles of 
> presentation of a fact, which we meet in the long indian tradition. It 
> is perhaps very easy to caste aside 'fairy tales' as imaginary 
> anecdotes. But more challenging, and in any case more interesting, is 
> to relate it to the intended idea of the author. It is rightly said 
> about indian tradition
=== message truncated ===

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Message: 2
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 17:40:44 +0530
From: Thattey <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] Sanskrit Glossary
To: Paulo Lyra <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>,
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

Dear Paul,
My cousin Dr. R.P.Kane who lives in Sao Paolo may be able to help you. He is 
well versed in Sanskrit and Brazilian Portuguese.
He is available at [EMAIL PROTECTED]
I have forwarded your mail to him.
Bhalchandra G. Thattey
Swalpasya Api Yogasya Trayatay Mahato Bhayat I
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Paulo Lyra 
  Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 7:42 AM
  Subject: [Sanskrit] Sanskrit Glossary

  To all Sanskrit Pundits,
  At present I am writing a book, namely "Small Glossary of Indian Philosophy", 
edited in Brazilian-Portuguese, whereby 90% percent of the entries included in 
the Glossary (about 800 words) are in Sanskrit. Could I submit these entries to 
any of you and, if convenient, receive suggestions and/or corrections so that I 
may feel more confident in publishing this non-profit work.
  Namas te & Pranams, Paulo Lyra, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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