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A Linguistic Analysis of the Rgveda Padapatha (An Old and Rare Book)

A Linguistic Analysis of the Rgveda Padapatha (An Old and Rare Book)
Item Code: NAS205
Author: Vashishtha Narayan Jha
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: English
Edition: 1992
ISBN: 8170303206
Pages: 300
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
About the Book

The present volume is the out come of a close study of the Rgvedapadapatha of Sakalya. The work is the first of its kind in the sense that it is for the first time that such detailed study of the entire Pada-text of Sakalya has been taken for analysis. Sakalya was a pre-Pariinian,, grammarian and no grammatical text of Sakalya other than the Path-text of the Rgveda where Saklya has applied his knowledge of grammer is available with us today. Thus the present volume aims at reconstructing the knowledge of grammar of Sakalya. This work will help in tracing the history of grammatical thought in ancient India. This will also help in trac-ing the history of development of grammatical concepts of Panini.

About the Author

Professor V.N. Jha, is director, centre of Advanced study in Sanskrit, university of Poona, Pune.


The Present work is the revised version of my Thesis submitted to the University of Poona for Ph.D. Degree in 1974. About sixteen years have passed. I still find that the results arrived at are valid. Not only that the results are confirmed by further studies in the same line conducted by my students. It was discovered that the entire analysis of Sakalya centres around the concept of pada. The study of the Taittiriya Padapktha by my student has confirmed it. The development of the concept of pada is quite clear now. Sakalya's as well as Atreya's concepts of pada are Pre-Papinian concepts. While Sakalya's concept is little remote, that of Atreya is closer to Parini. There seems to be two lines of development (1) Sakalya to Katyayana, the Varttikalcara and (2) Atreya to Parini.

I am indebted to Dr. S.D.Joshi, the then Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit languages, University of Poona, my revered guru under whose guidance I could give the work its present shape.

I am also grateful to Prof. Dr. R.N.Dandekar, the first Director, Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit (CASS), University of Poona, for giving me the opportunity to work with Prof.Joshi.

Dr Kashinath Hota, Dr Subas Dash, Dr Sanjay Deodikar, Smt. Suvarna Shete have seen the proofs through the press. I bless them.

My sincere thanks are due to the staff of the CASS library and the library of the Deccan College.

I also thank Indian Books Centre for taking up the publication of this work.


I.1.0 The General background of Pp

The continuous recitation of a Vedic mantra with applied sandhis is known as the Sp, and the recitation without such sandhis, i.e., the recitation by dissolving the Sandhis, is known as the Pp.

All the four Vedas have a Pp along with the Sp. Since the danger of text-corruption is inherent in oral transmission it became necessary to ensure the correct Vedic text. This gave rise to the composition of the Pp.

The process of explaining the Vedic mantras had already started in the Brahmana-period which shows some traces of grammatical analysis. Yet, this incidental analysis is mainly ritually motivated. The main aim of the Brahmanas is to connect the Vedic mantras with the sacrifices. However, the Pp represents the earliest record known to us of purely grammatical analysis quite different from the Brahmanas.

The Pp served two purposes. First, it established the base for preserving the Vedas, and, secondly, and consequently, it served to clarify the meaning of the Vedic mantras.

Now, the question became how to ensure the transmission of the Sp? For that purpose several mnemonic techniques were developed. They go by the name of vikrti. Traditionally eight vikrtis are known to us, namely, jata mila, ;sikha, rekha, dhvaja, danda, ratha, and ghana.

Before these vikrtis had been devised, a patha known as kramapatha was in use. The vikrtis are, in fact, a further elaboration of the kramapatha which is directly based on the Pp. The kramapatha was merely a recitation of the Pp in which words were repeated as AB, BC, CD, DE, and so on. The pattern in which words are repeated is still very simple. But, from the jatapatha onwards the pattern of word- repetition became more and more complicated. Just to give an example, in the jatapatha the words repeated six times, for instance, ABB, AAB, BCC, BBC, and so on. In the ghanaptitha, the very intricate pattern of word-repetition was adopted in which words were repeated thirteen times.

The term vikrti does not apply to the Pp and the kramapatha because neither of these pathas changes the order of the words in a mantra. But, in the eight vikrtis mentioned above, the order of the words is reversed also. This might be the reason for calling them as vikrtis.

The invention of all these vikrtis shows how much trouble people took in memorising the orally transmitted text, so as to keep the Sam' hitii text free from corruption. However, the display of mnemonic techniques has less value for preserving the text than showing the achievements of human memory. We are not sure when these vikrtis were introduced. Their origin may be relatively late.

1.1.1 The Pp of the RV

The Pp of the RV is the oldest Pp that we have. It is generally believed that this Pp was composed around 600 B.C. We will discuss this point later.

The author of this Pp is gakalya.2a The authors of the Pps of the TS and the SV are Atreya and Gargya respectively. The authors of the Pp on the VS and the AV are not known. The Pps of the RV, the AV and the VS follow common principles, whereas the Pp of the TS shows much improvement over the other Pps. One thing these Pps having common is that they show only one cut in a compound word. But the Pp of the SV goes one step ahead and shows more than one cut in a compound-word following the morphemic division of the word. Therefore, it can be said that the Pps of the RV, the AV and the VS are earlier than the Pp of the TS. The Pp of the SV is the latest. On the other hand, out of the Pps of the RV, the AV, the VS and the TS, the Pp of the RV is the oldest, because the mention of Sakalya's name is found in the AiAr.3

1.1.2. Nature and Scope of the thesis

For the present study, the Pp of the RV alone is taken. An attempt is made to get a complete picture of the principles on which the Pada-text is based. To reach this goal the method of descriptive analysis is adopted. Each suffix is individually studied in order to discover the principles why some suffixes are separated from the stems and others not.

Likewise, the analysis of compounds is also studied. Further, the separation of individual words by way of danda is studied. After the completion of study of data an attempt is made to formulate the principles which guided the Pdk in separating linguistic elements. It is further attempted to assess the Pdk's knowledge of grammar. Sandhi - rules known to him are reconstructed. His ideas on notions like pragrhya, pada, non-pada, and avasdnasandhi are also reconstructed as far as possible.

The entire study of the Pp has been divided into two parts. Part I contains the results and conclusions based on the analysis of the actual data given in Part II. This latter part describes how the Pdk treats individual types of forms.

The Pp of the RV being the oldest Pp occupies a unique position in the history of grammatical thought in India. It presupposes a considerable knowledge of the grammar of the Vedic language on the part of Pdk. The first available text on grammar of the Sanskrit language is P's Astd. But before P there must have been a long tradition of grammarians. P himself mentions not less than ten predecessors. One of these is Sakalya, the author of the Pp of the RV. Probably P's reference to Sakalya is based on the Pp and not on a grammatical treatise by Sakalya. There is no work available today under the name of Sakalya except the Pada-text of the RV. From his procedure adopted for word-analysis it is clear that Sakalya was a trained grammarian. Therefore, if we study the Pada-text from this grammatical angle, we are certain to derive much information about the state of the science of grammar in the time of Sak.

But no serious attempt has been made so far to ascertain gak's contribution to grammar. The /313r which is based on the Pada-text of the RV does not go beyond listing data collected from the Pp. It does not attempt to phrase the rules on which the Pdk's analysis was based. It mainly tells us how to reconstruct the Sp from the Pp. Only from the Apr and the Vpr onwards we see that attempts have been made to account for the way in which the Pp is derived. But these Prdtgakhyas too do not study the Pada-text systematically.

No modern scholar either has attempted to find out the principles behind the Pdk's treatment of the Sp. However, some attempts have been made to point out inconsistencies in the Pp.4 Obviously, these studies were not undertaken with the aim to discover the basic principles underlying the composition of the Pada-text. These scholars did not base their studies on the Pada-text as a whole and they could not, therefore, explain a number of points which they take to be 'error' on the part of the Pdk. In fact, many of them are not errors but simply exceptions to the general rules made to achieve a certain purpose.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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