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Yaska's Nirukta - A Comprehensive Study

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Item Code: UBC654
Author: Nalini Devi Mishra
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9788177024944
Pages: 390
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 580 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

The present work titled 'Yaska's Nirukta: A comprehensive study' is a sincere attempt on throwing light on the etymology of vedic words made by Yaska in his work with the help of Durgacarya's commentary. It comprises ten chapters that reflect on different aspects related to the study. Efforts have been made here to trace the basic concept of 'nirvcana' or the 'nirukta' with a view to show the rich heritage of vedic interpretation throughout the ages. Among the vedic interpreters Yäska seems to be very close to Skandasvami. Interestingly enough the book also reflects on the influence exercised by Yäska's nirukta on the authors of the post- vedänga period and western world. It seems to be of vital importance to the research on the languages of the world. A select bibliography has been added to the book for the wider appreciation of the readers.

About the Author

Dr Nalini Devi Misra has contributed immensely to the field of vedic studies since nineties of the last century. A good number of research papers on vedas authored by Dr. Misra are published in different reputed research journals of the country and abroad. She has been accredited with good response from the scholarly world of the country. Born in 1955 Dr. Misra has a good academic carrier securing three gold medals in the B.A and M.A in Sanskrit under the Gauhati University in the years 1975 and 1977. Being honoured with UGC Junior research Fellowship in the year 1977, she has completed her Ph.D work in 1987. She has joined the University of Gauhati as a lecturer in Sanskrit in 1981 and she has served the same university as Reader and Professor in the vedic literature till 2020. Dr. Misra has authored two books and edited one. At present she is busy with her research pursuits.


It is needless to say how a long history of the Nighantu and the Nirukta texts have started editing, which is evident from Professor Lakshman Sarup's hard labour. The manuscripts available from Rajputana to Vadodara, Tehri Garhwal to Kashmir, Varanasi, Patna, Madras, Madurai and Tanjore etc, were used to restore the correct edition of both the texts. There are numbers of commentator and they are almost all accessed by the posterity gradually, Rudolf Roth is the path-finder in this respect. He has brought out the edited text of the Nirukta at Gottingen in 1852. Mahāmahopadhyāya Pandit Shivadatta has edited, developed and corrected the versions of the Nirukta with Durga's commentary, which was published from Bombay in the year 1912. The Nirukta is a vast work. Aufrecht in Catalogus catalogorum has discussed briefly on Durga as the commentator of Nirukta. A copy of this commentary is available in Bodleian Library, Oxford. Lot of efforts were made to get the correct reading of the Nighantu and the Nirukta. The words of Nighanțu are less than fifteen hundred and about two hundred words are repeated therin. Those words are happened to be the most ancient words with archaic usages. Yaska's zeal for writing a commentary on these words brings laurel to him. He is, in fact, the pathfinder linguist of the world. He has established that all nouns are derived from verbs and thus advocated the verbal origin of nouns. His language appears to be very simple and lucid and he excelled in the sutra style. He has quoted his predecessors with reverence. Yaska has taken up the matter of Sanskrit as a spoken language of his time too.


The Science of language is a subject of interest for every student of literature. It concerns every faculty of human being. Language, thus plays a vital role in our life. The rising language problems of the world cause everybody to move to the study of the origin of languages. In such a vital state, the study of Sanskrit, the mother of Indian languages needs a careful observation. Having such an idea in mind I have started my research work with a sincere study on the Nirukta written by Yäska. For me, it is a systematic study on the Vedic language. As a result of such an academic pursuit, I have obtained my Ph.D. degree on a work named as 'Yaska's Nirukta: A Comprehensive Study in 1987. The present book is a modified form of my Ph.D. work of the same title. The linguistic study in India gets a prominent place with the work of Nirukta of Yäska before the fifth century B.C. For the first time it shows that a comprehensive and systematic study of a language spoken by its people was preserved well in India. It is true that specalations on Vedic language have started with the revelations of the Veda. The Veda is full of informations of the language in which the seers have revealed. But Yaska's Nirukta has systematically treated all these. He has explained all the three types of words viz. Vedic synonymous words, the homonymous words as well as obscure Vedic words and names of Vedic gods which are recorded in the Vedic lexicon Nighantu. There are found to be many Nighantus in the ancient Vedic age. Out of these, Yaska has commented upon that Nighantu text which begins with the word 'go' and ends with the word 'devapatnyaḥ'. The Nighantu is also known as 'Samämnäya'. It is a collection of 1769 Vedic words which are taken for explanation by Yaska. In his interpretation of Vedic words two aspects have been mainly focused, i.e.,on the one hand, he has interpreted the Vedic words in such a way that it helps in understanding the meanings of Vedic texts and on the other hand, the explanations of Vedic words for gods help in knowing the Vedic theism considerably. Besides, the study of the work seems to be very important because this work has referred to many Vedic etymologists, grammarians and many expounders of Supreme Reality.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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