World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) (17th : 2018)

Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage : A Wider Approach Deshpande, Madhav M. 2019

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


70440-Deshpande_Madhav_Scope_Early_Sanskrit_2019.pdf [ 1.17MB ]
JSON: 70440-1.0379841.json
JSON-LD: 70440-1.0379841-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 70440-1.0379841-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 70440-1.0379841-rdf.json
Turtle: 70440-1.0379841-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 70440-1.0379841-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 70440-1.0379841-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

 Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage: A Wider Approach Madhav M. Deshpande Proceedings of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Canada, July 9-13, 2018, Section 2: Linguistics.  Section Convenors: Madhav Deshpande, Jan Houben
General Editor: Adheesh Sathaye Published by the Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, on behalf of the International Association for Sanskrit Studies. DOI: 10.14288/1.0379841.
URI: Suggested Citation Format: MLA:
Deshpande, Madhav M. “Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage: A Wider Approach.” Proceedings of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Canada, July 9-13, 2018, Section 2: Linguistics. Edited by Madhav Deshpande and Jan Houben, 2019. DOI: 10.14288/1.0379841. APA:
Deshpande, M. (2019). Scope of early Sanskrit usage: A wider approach. In M. Desh-pande and J. Houben (eds.) Proceedings of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Canada, July 9-13, 2018, Section 2: Linguistics. DOI: 10.14288/1.0379841. Chicago:
Deshpande, Madhav M. 2019. “Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage: A Wider Approach.” In Proceedings of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Canada, July 9-13, 2018, Section 2: Linguistics, edited by Madhav Deshpande and Jan Houben. DOI: 10.14288/1.0379841. Proceedings of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, July 9-13, 2018 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CanadaTHE   17TH    WORLD   SANSKRIT  CONFERENCEVANCOUVER, CANADA • JULY 9-13, 2018वैधुसव ्मकबंटुकुअ ारा यसं ृ ता यनसमवायःINTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SANSKRIT STUDIESCopyright © 2019 by the author. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). THE 17TH WORLD SANSKRIT CONFERENCE, VANCOUVER, CANADA, JULY 9-13, 2018 Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage: 
A Wider Approach Madhav M. Deshpande Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit & Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Visiting Scholar, Department of Linguistics, Stanford University,  Stanford, CA, USA. Abstract Sheldon Pollock’s stimulating book Language of The Gods In The World Of Men has offered numerous new ideas on the nature and the place of Sanskrit in ancient India. While I agree with many of his views, I want to offer a different view on the antiquity of the non-ritual Sanskrit usage, and in doing so I will offer a cri-tique of some of Pollock’s ideas. To state it briefly, Pollock advocates a view that Sanskrit usage in Vedic times was pretty much restricted to the domain of ritual, and that only in later or post-Vedic times, and under patronage by certain dynas-ties, the usage of Sanskrit extended to non-ritual domains and eventually it be-came a language of the cosmopolis. However, I want to claim that the availability of literature blinds us to a most likely reality of early language use that probably extended more widely beyond the domain of ritual. How does one deduce that conclusion? Towards this aim, I shall offer some methodological solutions. They include the following considerations: 1. Vedic texts present us a ritual, literary and a poetic register. Can such a high register exist in the absence of other registers of usage? 2. One needs to take a close look at Sanskrit vocabulary that is not found in the known Vedic texts, and is recorded by Pāṇini and found in later literature, that has Indo-European cognates. 3. Detecting traces of rare dialects, such as women’s usages, in the Vedic texts. 4. Reviewing Pāṇini’s description of Sanskrit for non-ritual and yet living areas of Sanskrit usage. With such approaches, I shall argue that one can detect the existence of wider do-mains of the usage of Sanskrit beyond ritual during and after the Vedic period. Keywords:  Sanskrit Dialects, Indo-Aryan, Linguistic Variation, Diglossia Proceedings of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Canada, July 9-13 2018, Section 2: Linguistics, edited by Madhav Deshpande and Jan Houben, 2019. DOI: 10.14288/1.0379841.  DESHPANDE21. Need for a Wider Approach Sheldon Pollock’s stimulating book Language of The Gods in The World of Men (Pol-lock 2006) offers numerous new ideas on the nature and the place of Sanskrit in ancient and medieval India. I agree with many of his views. However, while reading the second chapter of his book, I noticed the subtitle “From Liturgy to Literature,” and I have gone through his long narrative describing the develop-ment of Sanskrit essentially from being a language of liturgy in the Vedic period to a language of literature (kāvya), including its appearance in Sanskrit inscrip-tional praśastis. To state it briefly, Pollock advocates a view that Sanskrit usage in Vedic times was pretty much restricted to the domain of ritual, and that only in later or post-Vedic times, and under patronage by certain dynasties, the usage of Sanskrit extended to non-ritual domains such as Sanskrit kāvya and eventually it became a language of the cosmopolis. However, I want to point out that the availability of a limited range of texts from ancient India limits us to such a nar-rower range of early language use that in reality extended far more widely be-yond the domain of liturgy or ritual. I am not so much interested in contesting Pollock’s views, but rather I would like to use his description of the development of Sanskrit as a starting point for a wider historical introspection into the avail-able evidence about Vedic and Sanskrit to find out what other dimensions of the usage of Sanskrit we can detect beyond the liturgical domain so prominently displayed in the mass of the Vedic texts. This is somewhat of a shift from the genre-oriented perspective of Pollock to the historical linguistics of Vedic and Sanskrit dialectology and variety of contemporaneous registers. There were two types of Latin: Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin. Classical Latin was used by the educated Romans. It is the one used by the Roman Catholic Church and studied by students around the world. Vulgar Latin was the more common spoken variety used by the common Romans. How and what can we detect about the earliest phase of Vedic Sanskrit known to us?  What sort of popular Sanskrit usage existed alongside the liturgical usage that is found in the Vedic texts?  How does one deduce the existence of such multiple layers and reg-isters for Sanskrit during the Vedic period?  Towards this aim, I shall offer some suggestions. 2. Language of the Vedic Hymns: A Select Special Subset Vedic texts present us a high ritual, liturgical and especially in the Ṛgveda a poet-ic register. Can such a high elite register exist in the absence of other registers of  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  3usage?  One of the verses of the Ṛgveda describes the process of the poetic/litur-gical selection of language:  saktum iva titaunā punanto yatra dhīrā manasā vācam akrata (Ṛgveda 10.71.2ab). When the Wise created language with the mind, as if winnowing barley with a sieve... This is a wonderful description of the process of selecting a special subset from the totality of the linguistic usage, the special subset that was deemed to be more appropriate for addressing the gods during sacrifice. If we look at this de-scription, it tells us that the linguistic usage found in the Vedic texts is this spe-cial subset, and not the totality of the linguistic usage which may have been in use in the day-to-day life of the Vedic people. Similarly, the users of this special subset are called dhīra, “the Wise.” They are the elites in this society, and they represent a special subset of the users of language, and do not represent the rest of the users of that language, who may be considered to be the common speakers of Vedic Sanskrit and related dialects. Thus, the attested Vedic texts provide us a thin slice of the then current linguistic usage. This is predominantly the domain of Vedic liturgy. But the same passage also clearly tells us that there exists a much larger domain of linguistic usage, a more pedestrian one and used by commoners in their daily life. That domain is available to us mostly indirectly, but its existence is beyond doubt. 3. Indo-European Sanskrit Words not found in Vedic Texts Granting the Indo-European prehistory of Vedic Sanskrit, how can we find any-thing about this wider domain of linguistic usage of Vedic Sanskrit and related dialects that must have existed contemporaneously and yet is only rarely attested in the available Vedic texts?  One way to infer the existence of such usage that is not attested in Vedic texts is to find examples of Sanskrit vocabulary that are known from the post-Vedic classical grammars and literatures that are of Indo-European origin and yet are not attested in Vedic. For example, consider the verb pard, “to fart.”  Whitney (1885: 95) says: “Not quotable either in verb-forms or de-rivatives.”  Walde (1927, Band II, 49) lists numerous Indo-European cognates for this verb. Also, see: Mayrhofer (1963: 225). Given its meaning, it is clear why the verb pardate would not be found in the select vocabulary of the liturgical texts, and yet it is not only listed in Pāṇini’s Dhātupāṭha as parda kutsite śabde (Bo-htlingk 1887: 61), it has cognates in many modern Indo-Aryan and Dravidian lan-guages (see: Turner 1966: 447).   DESHPANDE4This example indicates that there must have been historical continuity of this expression from its Indo-European prehistory to post-Vedic Sanskrit and Indo-Aryan vernaculars. The fact that pard is not attested in the available Vedic texts simply means that this expression was not appropriate for the liturgical context. One cannot imagine that an Indo-European expression somehow was discontinued during the Vedic period and was reintroduced into the post-Vedic usage. This indicates the existence of layers of linguistic usage during the Vedic period that are not part of the Vedic liturgical subset, and yet must have existed contemporaneously in the popular linguistic domain. 4. Prakritisms in Vedic Texts: Implications The existence of the so-called Prakritisms in the language of the Vedic texts is another indicator of the existence of more popular Indo-Aryan Sanskrit and re-lated dialects contemporary with Vedic Sanskrit. Walter Petersen (1912: 415-6) points out: In the first place, it is a well-known fact that the Vedic hymns already contain a number of Prakritisms, forms which distinctly belong to the "middle-Indian" period and do not represent the normal status of the Vedic sounds, but are exceptional cases and consequently borrowings from a different dialect. Thus Wackernagel, loc. cit., quotes as examples words with a cerebral, e.g., kāṭá “Tiefe”; kartá “Grube”; words with ṇ (< n), e.g., maṇí “Perle”; words with ṣ (< ṛs, rs, ḷs, ls), e.g., AV. kaṣati “kratzen” …; práuga =*práyuga, títau =*titasu, etc. To quote Wackernagel himself: “Daneben (sc. der priesterlichen Sprache) aber war (wenigstens in bes-timmten Volksschichten) schon zu der Zeit, da die uns erhaltenen Hym-nen entstanden, eine Sprache gebrauchlich, die über jene priesterliche Sprache weit hinaus entwickelt war, und die Haupteigenheiten der äl-testen Phase des Mittelindisch, der sogenannten Palistufe, an sich trug.” The conclusion therefore cannot be avoided that during the period of composition of the Vedic hymns two distinct groups of Indian dialects were developed and separated by an uncrossable gulf, on the one hand the priestly language of the Veda, on the other hand the popular dialects, which later became “Pali” and “Prakrit.” While Petersen talks about the “uncrossable gulf” between the priestly language of the Veda and the popular dialects, the very fact of the existence of Prakritisms in the Vedic texts seems to suggest otherwise, namely there was rather a close relationship between the language of the Veda and the popular  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  5dialects, so that words could easily pass from one to the other. This implies diglossia going back all the way to the Vedic period. If the very select register of the Vedic liturgy already contains Prakritisms, the home language of these Vedic priests – and more so the language of the commoners of that period – must have had even more Prakritisms. Whether such dialects were Sanskrit or Prakrit is a mere question of nomenclature, but the very existence of such multiple dialectal layers of Indo-Aryan during Vedic times seems unquestionable. Tedesco (1944: 215) points out:  The three forms of the late hymn RV 1.191: marāti, marāma, maranti, differ from the others, and from the general deponent character of the verb in Sanskrit, Iranian, and Latin, by their active inflection. This feature is already Middle Indic (cf. Pāli mīyati etc.), one of the oldest definite tes-timonies for this Middle Indic movement. Middle Indic tendencies sometimes come out more clearly in the popular Rigveda and Athar-vaveda than in later Sanskrit texts, because the language was not yet standardized. Several other scholars have dealt with this phenomenon of Prakritisms in the Veda. For a comprehensive discussion, See: Grierson (1888), Emeneau (1966), Devasthali (1970), Elizarenkova (1989), Pinault (1989), and Witzel (1989) and (1990). 5. Vedic Etymologies suggesting Prakrit-like mother-tongues  Mehendale (1963: 40) suggests that the Upaniṣadic etymology of puruṣa as puri śete is most likely based on the fact that the Prakrit cognates for Sanskrit puruṣa are mostly like purisa, puliśa. This suggests that the home dialects of the authors of some of the Upaniṣads were closely related to what we know as Middle Indic or Prakrits. The same conclusion can be reached with other pieces of evidence. 6. Other Registers of Speech in Vedic Usage: Women’s Language There is another source of information regarding some different registers of Vedic Sanskrit coexisting with the main liturgical register. To take just one exam-ple, the Indo-Iranian affix -ka- has been studied by Jamison with reference to its occurrences in Iranian, Vedic, Sanskrit and Prakrit texts. She remarks (2009: 312):  I will begin by stating my conclusions in advance, since they are, in my opinion, the least interesting part of the paper: the extremely common secondary *-ka-suffix of Indo-Iranian (and indeed the *-ko-suffix of PIE, however we want to represent it phonologically), generally described as a   DESHPANDE6diminutive or the like, is really a feature of linguistic register rather than of semantics or grammatical function. It belonged to a popular/affec-tive/informal level, which is not regularly represented in the high-cul-ture texts of the most ancient stages of the languages, but which breaks through occasionally in them, often precisely to signal a striking change in tone and style.    She further adds (2009: 213-4):  Other kinds of evidence can be adduced to support the view that Indo-Iranian -ka- was far more common in speech than its relatively re-strained representation in the texts of the oldest stages of Indo-Aryan and Iranian might suggest. One most important piece of such evidence is the unbelievably prolific growth the suffix shows in the “middle” peri-ods of both branches, Middle Indic and Middle Iranian. Since speakers of, say, Pāli and Middle Persian were not in linguistic contact, it is hard to explain why the middle-period languages on both sides simply ex-plode with -ka forms—unless the suffix had already been regularly on the lips and tongues of Proto-Indo-Iranian speakers when they were not aiming at the high and dignified style of praise hymns or royal pro-nouncements. Jamison further points out that the -ka affix is to be found particularly in passages that represent women’s speech, where words like aśvaka are used to refer to the horse in the Aśvamedha (TS VII.4.19.2h; VS XXIII.22). The same pas-sages also contain other rare vocabulary like the verb yabhati “cohabit,” which like the verb pardate “fart” is otherwise not to be found in the liturgical language. Such evidence points to the presence of other registers, like the women’s regis-ter, contemporary with the liturgical register which is largely that of elite males. For further details, see Jamison 1996, 2008 and 2009.  Within the Veda itself, segments like the Uṣas Hymns, the Frog Hymn, the Vṛṣākapi Hymn, or the Quail Hymn indicate slightly different registers, and one needs to recognize that the liturgical register itself is not one single homoge-neous register. The ritualistic prose of the Yajurveda and the poetic hymns of the Ṛgveda will not fit into one and the same register, and there may be sub-registers within the poetic hymns of the Ṛgveda.  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  77. Sub-Regional Variation within the Veda Thomas Burrow (1955: 31-2) pointed out:  There are dialectal differences between the Vedic language of the North West and the later classical language of Madhyadeśa. The most striking of these is that the Vedic language turns l into r whereas the classical language, to a large extent, preserves the distinction between r and l. This Vedic feature is characteristic of the whole of Iranian, and further-more it can be traced in the Aryan of the Near East and in some Aryan words in Finno-Ugrian. Clearly the fact that the more easterly dialects of early Indo-Aryan have avoided this change indicates a comparatively early separation from the main body, in comparison with the Vedic di-alect which has undergone this change in common with the rest of Aryan before being introduced into India. Are there different linguistic layers within a single Vedic text like the Ṛg-veda? Scharfe (2016) shows how the different family books of the Ṛgveda come from somewhat different geographical zones ranging from the river Kubhā in the northwest to Gaṅgā and Yamunā in the east. With an insightful analysis of the names of rivers, animals, mountains etc. besides peculiarities of grammati-cal and phonetic variation, Scharfe shows how these different Maṇḍalas of the Ṛgveda belong to different micro-geographies within the region from Af-ghanistan to Haryana. His demonstration suggests that originally there must have been significant dialectal differences between different Vedic communities, and many of these dialectal differences were perhaps leveled when the hymns composed by different families from different regions came to be collected into a single Saṃhitā. For instance, Scharfe points out (2016: 231):  Two decades ago I pointed out that a dialect feature divided maṇḍalas IV, V, and VI (and perhaps VIII) from maṇḍalas II, III, and VII: the for-mer group has dhakṣi “burn!” and dhukṣata “milk!”, the latter dakṣi “burn!” and dúdukṣan “desirous to milk.”   The micro-geographies of the different family Maṇḍalas so minutely de-scribed by Scharfe probably suggest the existence of somewhat different di-alects, though closely related to each other. It is important to note that the varia-tion like dakṣi ~ dhakṣi survived even after the process of Saṃhitā-formation, while many other variations may have been lost in that process. For a most re-  DESHPANDE8cent extensive discussion of Vedic and Sanskrit dialectology, see Smith (2017). As far as the discussion of Vedic and Sanskrit dialectology, he divides his discussion into Pre-Vedic, Western Vedic, Central Vedic, Eastern Vedic, Northwestern Vedic and Other Sanskrits. In any case, the discussions by Scharfe (2016) and Witzel (1989 and 1990) provide the most minute analysis of the dialectal variation dur-ing the Vedic period. Figure 1: Map in Scharfe (2016, 456) [with permission of the author]
 Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  98. Does kāvya truly begin with Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa, or is there kāvya as far back as in the Ṛgveda and Atharvaveda? One of the important arguments in Pollock’s book is if kāvya is truly of post-Vedic origin. Pollock recognizes that often the Vedic texts refer to composer ṛṣis with the word kavi, and yet he emphasizes that the Indian tradition recognizes Vālmīki as Ādi-Kavi, and this suggests that the Indian tradition itself sees a be-ginning of a new kind of literature with Vālmīki. There is some truth to this per-ception in the tradition of Kāvyaśāstra where the Vedic texts are largely seen as issuing direct commands (śrutisammita), while the advice given in kāvya is seen as a sugar-coated pill, advice in the mode of a beloved (kāntāsammita). It is this sugar-coating that distinguishes the command-issuing Vedas from the sweet poetry in the wide spread opinion of the Sanskrit Kāvyaśāstra. However, such a characterization of the Vedic literature applies more realistically to the Ya-jurvedic texts with the language of sacrificial injunctions, rather than to the lan-guage of the Ṛgveda, which can be highly poetic as in the hymns addressed to Uṣas. A significant number of Indian and Western scholars have seen poets and poetry in the hymns of the Ṛgveda and Atharvaveda – see Elizarenkova (1995), Shende (1967), Raja (1963), Tripathi (2007), Tripathi (2012), Mainkar (1977), Paczkowski (2016) and Thornton (2015). For the Indo-European background of Vedic poetics, see Watkins (1997). The poetic register of the Ṛgvedic hymns needs to be distinguished from the liturgical register of the Yajurveda. Jamison (2007) has offered an extensive analysis of the poetic aspects of the Ṛgveda. Following this line of understanding, the latest 2014 translation of the Ṛgveda by Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton is titled The Rigveda: The Earliest Religious Poetry of India. The continuity of Vedic meters like triṣṭubh into the Mahābhārata is another sign of the Vedic poetic registers flowing into the epic poetry, and some scholars like Smith (1975) have claimed that the triṣṭubh portions of the Mahābhārata consti-tute the oldest core of that epic. This indicates likely continuity between Vedic and epic literatures than a completely new beginning of kāvya. 9. Multiple Registers in Vedic Texts Within the liturgical register of the Veda, there are indeed significantly different sub-registers. Among them must be recognized the medical sub-register. Cer-tainly, in terms of its specialized vocabulary, this register as seen primarily in the hymns of the Atharvaveda is a distinct linguistic domain, requiring specialized expertise not available to other Vedic priests. In all likelihood, there was a conti-  DESHPANDE10nuity of the medical/magical register from the hymns of the Atharvaveda to the more systematic works of Āyurveda (see Bahulkar 1994). 10. Early Beginnings of Itihāsa and Purāṇa Literature during the Vedic Period In the 15th kāṇḍa of the Śaunakīya Atharvaveda, the so called Vrātyakāṇḍa, we have clear evidence of communities of Vrātyas. The hymn 15.2, for instance, refers to the Vrātyas moving to the eastern direction (15.2.1: sa udatiṣṭhat sa prācīṃ diśam anu vyacalat). Verse 15.2.5 (śraddhā puṃścalī mitro māgadho …) and several subse-quent verses refer to the eastern region of Magadha and the local culture of Puṃścalī and Māgadha as part of the culture associated with the Vrātyas. This already takes us to the eastern margins of the Vedic area, as compared to the northwestern regions reflected in the Ṛgveda, and into dialects of the east. In-stead of using the retroflexed form pariṣkanda, the Śaunakīya Atharvaveda 15.3.10 uses the eastern form pariskanda. Pāṇini (pariskandaḥ prācyabharateṣu, P. 8.3.75) explicitly recognizes this eastern tendency for this expression. Verses 15.6.11-12 (tam itihāsaś ca purāṇaṃ ca gāthāś ca nārāśaṃsīś cānuvya-calan /11/ itihāsasya ca vai sa purāṇasya ca gāthānāṃ ca nārāśaṃsīnāṃ ca priyaṃ dhā-ma bhavati ya evaṃ veda /12) refer to a whole range of popular literature, namely Itihāsa, Purāṇa, Gāthā and Nārāśaṃśī. While the literature referred to here in the Atharvaveda is the precursor of the epics and Purāṇas that became available in later times, and its early forms not entirely preserved for us, such references in the Atharvaveda indicate the existence of popular levels of literature from very early times, and the existence of related different linguistic registers for such literature different from the strictly liturgical literature. Certainly, such litera-tures and the registers associated with them are contemporaneous with the hymns of the Atharvaveda, but not preserved for us from those ancient times, except as occasional snippets like the Gāthās referring to the sacrifice of Janame-jaya in the Brāhmaṇas. Janamejaya is mentioned as a great king and conqueror in a number of late Vedic texts. The Aitareya Brāhmaṇa (VIII.21) informs us that his priest Tura Kāvaṣeya anointed him with the great anointing of Indra. The Śata-patha Brāhmaṇa mentions that he performed an Aśvamedha (horse sacrifice) at a place named Āsandīvat. The prominent role played by the Kuru dynasty in the consolidation of the Ṛgvedic texts is discussed by Witzel (1995). This also sug-gests some significant continuities from the Vedic traditions to the traditions recorded in the Mahābhārata.  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  1111. Evidence from Pāṇini for non-liturgical domains of Sanskrit usage Pāṇini’s rules provide us some indication of different registers of Sanskrit usage. For example, P.4.3.110 (pārāśarya-śilālibhyāṃ bhikṣu-naṭasūtrayoḥ) says: “The taddhita affix ṆinI is introduced after the nominal stems pārāśarya and śilālin to designate respectively the Bhikṣusūtra and Naṭasūtra.” It talks about the existence of a Bhikṣusūtra and a Naṭasūtra. The pre-Pāṇinian existence of these two genres of literatures takes us beyond the realm of liturgy into the realms of renunciation and theater. P.8.4.48 (nādinyākrośe putrasya) says: “Gemination does not replace t of pu-tra in composition with adinī when indicating insult or censure.”  This rule refers to a feature of colloquial Sanskrit used as a home language. While cursing a woman, the expression putrādinī, “Eater of Son,” does not have doubling of t, while describing something like a mother cat eating her cub the same expression could have the doubling. Again, we are given a glimpse of a realm of Sanskrit usage that is part of the home language and not related to any liturgy. P.8.2.83 (pratyabhivāde 'śūdre) says: “A prolated vowel which is high-pitched replaces the syllable beginning with the last vowel of an utterance when re-sponding to a respectful greeting, except in the case of a Śūdra.”  The modes of responding to greetings from various social layers, Śūdras and non-Śūdras, take us into a domain of widespread popular usage, rather than anything restricted to liturgy. There is evidence of regional variation of Sanskrit usage in Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī. For example, P.8.3.75 (pariskandaḥ prācyabharateṣu) tells us that the expression pariskanda, without retroflexion, is current among the Eastern Bharatas, while the retroflexed expression pariṣkanda was used elsewhere. P.4.2.109 (udīcyagrāmāc ca bahvaco 'ntodāttāt) tells us that the taddhita affix aÑ is introduced after a polysyllabic nominal stem designating a village name in the north ending in a high-pitched vowel to denote previously unspecified meanings. There are references to eastern and northern usages in many other rules of Pāṇini. Pāṇini also refers to nine previous grammarians who record specific usages known to them, possibly referring to local dialectal variation.   DESHPANDE1212. Not so well-known dialects of Sanskrit recorded by other ancient grammarians There are some interesting indications of dialects of Sanskrit in the few surviving quotations from grammarians other than Pāṇini. For example, P.6.1.77 (iko yaṇ aci) says that the sounds i, u, ṛ, and ḷ are respectively substituted by y, v, r, and l, if followed by a dissimilar vowel. On the other hand, a surviving opinion of Vyādi and Gālava says that, in the same environment, y, v, r, and l are inserted after i, u, ṛ, and ḷ, respectively, (cf. ikāṃ yaṇbhir vyavadhānaṃ vyāḍi-gālavayoḥ, cited in Puruṣottamadeva’s Bhāṣāvṛtti on P.6.1.77). With Pāṇini’s rule as it stands, we can derive the word vyākaraṇa from the combination of vi+ā+karaṇa. However, in that case, the derivation of the secondary form vaiyākaraṇa from vyākaraṇa becomes irregular, and Pāṇini needs to provide an exception rule that says that there is an insertion of ai after v in this derivation (cf. P.7.3.3: na yvābhyām padāntābhyām pūrvau tu tābhām aic). On the other hand, if we follow the opinion of Vyāḍi and Gālava, the combination of vi+ā+karaṇa results in viyākaraṇa, rather than vyākaraṇa. Then the secondary form vaiyākaraṇa can be derived naturally from viyākaraṇa without the need for any exception rule for insertion of ai. What we need to note is the somewhat uneven nature of Sanskrit known to Pāṇini, which looks like an interesting mixture of dialects. Our understanding of other dialects clears some of the difficulties in understanding this unevenness. 13. Regionality of Pāṇini’s description: Pāṇini as a Frontier Grammarian I have pointed out in a previous publication (Deshpande 1983) that Pāṇini’s di-alect of Sanskrit is in some sense a dialect from the frontier of subcontinental India. Pāṇini’s rule for the use of gerunds (samānakartṛkayoḥ pūrvakāle ktvā, P. 3.4.21) requires that the gerund clause and the main clause must have the same agent. However, no such condition is laid down in his rule that prescribes the use of the infinitive -tum in the sense of one action being the purpose of another action (tumunṇvulau kriyāyāṃ kriyārthāyām, P. 3.3.10). I have pointed out that in most of the Sanskrit literature known to us, the infinitive construction seems to follow the same condition as that of the gerund. Then why did Pāṇini not include it in his rule for the infinitives?  I have shown that examples like vaidyaḥ rogiṇe auṣadham pātuṃ dadyāt, “The doctor should give the medicine to the patient to drink,” with different agents for the main clause and the infinitive clause, are  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  13found in the older chapters of the Carakasaṃhitā, but not in the chapters added later by Dṛḍhabala, and rare in other Ayurvedic works. Older chapters of Carakasaṃhitā are believed to originate in the region of Gāndhāra, a region close to Pāṇini’s town of Śalātura in the Swat valley.  Discussing the situation of Sanskrit described by Pāṇini in relation to the language of the Vedas and other contemporary Indo-Aryan languages, Kulikov (2013: 59) says: There are certain discrepancies between the forms and constructions prescribed by Pāṇinian grammarians and the forms and constructions that are actually attested in the Vedic corpus (a part of which is tradi-tionally believed to underlie Pāṇinian grammar). Concentrating on one particular aspect of the Old Indian verbal system, viz. the morphology and syntax of present formations with the suffix -ya-, I will provide a few examples of such discrepancy. I will argue that the most plausible explanation of this mismatch can be found in the peculiar sociolinguis-tic situation in Ancient India: a number of linguistic phenomena de-scribed by grammarians did not appear in Vedic texts but existed within the semi-colloquial scholarly discourse of the learned community of Sanskrit scholars (comparable to Latin scholarly discourse in Medieval Europe). Some of these phenomena may result from the influence of Middle Indic dialects spoken by Ancient Indian scholars, thus represent-ing syntactic and morphological calques from their native dialects onto the Sanskrit grammatical system. Such interactions of the users of Sanskrit with “Middle Indic dialects spo-ken by Ancient Indian scholars,” seen even more explicitly in the Mahābhāṣya of Patañjali, indicate a wider usage of Sanskrit than the purely liturgical use, where one would expect simply repetition of the received formulas.  14. Regional Variation noted by Yāska and Patañjali Yāska, the author of the Nirukta, also describes regional variation in the usage of Sanskrit. For instance, Nirukta 2.1.2 says: athāpi bhāṣikebhyo dhātubhyo naigamāḥ kṛto bhāṣyante … athāpi naigamebhyo bhāṣikāḥ … prakṛtaya evaikeṣu bhāṣyante vikṛtaya ekeṣu / śavatir gatikarmā kambojeṣv eva bhāṣyate … vikāramasyāryeṣu bhāṣante śava iti / dātir lavanārthe prācyeṣu dātram udīcyeṣu / – “Further, primary forms alone are em-ployed (in speech) among some people; secondary forms among others. The verb śavati, meaning to go, is used by the Kambojas only. … Its modified form śava is   DESHPANDE14used by the Aryans. The verb dāti, in the sense to cut, is employed by the people of east, while the people of the north use the noun dātra (sickle).” A more expanded version of this passage is found in Patañjali’s Mahā-bhāṣya (Kielhorn edn, Vol I, p. 9): etasmin atimahati śabdasya prayogaviṣaye te te śab-dās tatra tatra niyataviṣayā dṛśyante / tayathā / śavatir gatikarmā kambojeṣv eva bhāṣito bhavati vikāra enam āryā bhāṣante śava iti / hammatiḥ surāṣṭreṣu raṃhatiḥ prācya-madhyeṣu gamim eva tv āryāḥ prayuñjate / dātir lavanārthe prācyeṣu dātramudīcyeṣu, “In this very wide domain of the usage of words, particular words are found re-stricted in certain regions. Such as, the verb śavati, in the sense to go, is used only among the Kambojas. The Āryas use the modified noun śava. The verb ham-mati is used in Surāṣṭra, raṃhati is used in the middle region and the east, and the Āryas only use the verb gacchati. The verb dāti, in the sense to cut, is used in the east, while the derived nominal form dātra (sickle) is used in the north.” Thieme’s articles (1937, 1938, etc.) draw our attention to the connection of Sanskrit usage to the usage in the Iranian borderland. I have earlier pointed to some aspects of Pāṇini’s grammar as being due to Pāṇini being a resident of this border region (Deshpande 1983), and more recently, Hock (2012) has again drawn our attention to the difference of usage between the frontier region of Pāṇini and the Madhyadeśa of Patañjali. Such regional variation in the usage suggests existence of regional di-alects of Sanskrit such that the differences were clearly noticeable to the gram-marians. I have earlier pointed out the existence of dialects even as regards the syntax of ditransitive verbs in Sanskrit as seen from the usage in Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya (Deshpande 1992). 15. Existence of Sanskrit Interlanguage Patañjali reports that if we do not explicitly study grammar, we will speak incor-rectly like girls or women. The Mahābhāṣya on P. 1.4.21 (Kielhorn edn, Vol. I, p. 322) tells us: dṛśyate khalv api viprayogaḥ / tad yathā / akṣīṇi me darśanīyāni / pādā me sukumārā iti / – “Some contrary usage is indeed seen. For example: [A girl says] ‘My eyes are beautiful, and my feet are delicate.’” Here, the girl who has not learned the proper Sanskrit usage uses Sanskrit plural forms to refer to her eyes and feet, where she should have used dual forms. However, this Prakritized us-age of Sanskrit was possible because the category of dual had disappeared in Prakrits. So, a sort of Sanskritized Prakrit or a Prakritized Sanskrit usage had emerged at the popular level (see Houben 2018).  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  15The Mahābhāṣya on Śivasūtra 2, (Kielhorn edn, Vol. I, p. 19) remarks: aśaktyā kayā cit brāhmaṇyā ṛtakaḥ iti prayoktavye ḷtakaḥ iti prayuktam | tasya anukaraṇam | brāhmaṇī ḷtakaḥ iti āha | kumārī ḷtakaḥ iti āha iti – “Due to lack of capacity, some Brahmin woman said ḷtaka instead of ṛtaka. Its imitation: The Brahmin woman said, ‘ḷtaka.’ The girl said, ‘ḷtaka.’”  This simply suggests that even Brahmin women and girls in a region like Magadha replaced r in Sanskrit with l, a feature commonly seen in the Prakrit in this easterly region, cf. rājā appearing as lājā in Magadhan inscriptions of Aśoka.  The story of the sages named Yarvāṇastarvāṇaḥ in Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya (Kielhorn edn, Vol. I, p. 11) is very instructive regarding the interaction between Sanskrit and Prakrit. These sages are so called because in their non-ritual use of language they used the Prakrit expressions yarvāṇa and tarvāna for the proper Sanskrit expressions yad vā naḥ and tad vā naḥ. However, Patañjali says that they used the proper Sanskrit expressions during the sacrificial ritual (yājñe karmaṇi punar nāpabhāṣante). Patañjali does not fault them and explains that the restric-tion on using proper Sanskrit applies only to the domain of ritual, and there is no such requirement outside of ritual (yājñe karmaṇi sa niyamaḥ). This hints at bilingualism among users/speakers of Sanskrit, who are living in a Prakrit speaking world. While they are assiduously trying to maintain grammatical Sanskrit in the domain of ritual, the use of Prakrit elsewhere cannot but affect their use and perception of Sanskrit. This also suggests the possibility that San-skrit, beyond the realm of conservative ritual use, was probably even more af-fected by the Prakrits. This says something about the non-liturgical domains of Sanskrit being potentially more affected by the use of local Prakrits by the users of Sanskrit. This sort of “interlanguage” use of Prakritized Sanskrit found in Patañjali is the precursor of the large-scale use of hybrid or approximative forms of Sanskrit in Buddhist and Jain traditions and in inscriptions. The origin of such intermediate varieties of Sanskrit is clearly not in the liturgical Sanskrit of the Vedas, but in the popular dialects that were not recorded during the period of the Vedas or Pāṇini but must have existed contemporaneously. 16. Conclusion With such approaches, I suggest that a description of the development of Sanskrit as “From Liturgy to Literature” is rather too narrow and needs to be expanded. The provided evidence shows that the usage of Sanskrit had a much wider scope with multiple regional and social variations and different registers.   DESHPANDE16Only some of these were captured in the Vedic literature as it has come down to us, and in post-Pāṇinian time, again only the literary Sanskrit has come down to us. This hides the reality of the wider scope of the usage of Sanskrit, much of it in its orality. However, fortunately we now have sufficient scattered evidence still available that allows us to tease out the details of these multiple registers and domains of the usage of Sanskrit and thus we can get a much more realistic idea of the development and transmission of this language. Bibliography Bahulkar, Shrikant S. 1994. Medical Ritual in the Atharvaveda Tradition. Pune: Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapith, Shri Balmukund Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya Re-search Series No. 8. Böhtlingk, Otto. 1887. Pāṇini’s Grammatik. Leipzig: Verlag von H. Haessel. Burrow, Thomas. 1955. The Sanskrit Language. London: Faber and Faber. Deshpande, Madhav. 1983. “Pāṇini as a Frontier Grammarian.” In CLS Papers from the 19th Regional Meeting, 19, Chicago Linguistic Society, 110-115.  -----------. 1992. “Ditransitive Constructions in Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya.” Journal of Oriental Research 56-57 (Professor S. S. Janaki Felicitation Volume): 41-50. Devasthali, G. V. 1970. “Prakritism in the Ṛgveda.” In Proceedings of the Seminar in Prakrit Studies, edited by R. N. Dandekar and A. M. Ghatage, 199-205. Emeneau, M. B. 1966. “The Dialects of Old Indo-Aryan.” In Ancient Indo-European Dialects: Proceedings of the Conference on Indo-European Linguistics, held at the University of California, Los Angeles, April 25-27, 1963, edited by Henrik Birnbaum and Jean Puhvel, Berkeley: University of California Press, 123-138. Elizarenkova T. Y. 1995. Language and Style of the Vedic Ṛṣis. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York. ----------. 1989. “About Traces of a Prakrit Dialectal Basis in the Language of the Ṛgveda.” In Dialectes dans les Litératures Indo-Aryennes, edited by Colette Caillat. Paris: Collège de France, Institut de Civilization Indienne, 1-17.  Grierson, G. A. 1888. “Progress of European Scholarship, No. X.” Indian Antiquary 17 (Nov. 1888): 321-328.  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  17Hock, Hans Henrich. 2012. “Sanskrit and Pāṇini, Core and Periphery.” In Sanskrit Vimarśaḥ: Journal of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, World Sanskrit Conference Special, pp. 85-102. Houben, Jan E. M. 2018. “Linguistic Paradox and Diglossia: The Emergence of Sanskrit and Sanskritic language in Ancient India.” Open Linguistics 4: 1–18. Jamison, Stephanie W. 1996. Sacrificed Wife Sacrificer’s Wife. Women, Ritual and Hospitality in Ancient India. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ----------. 2008. “Women's Language in the Rig Veda?” In Indologica: T. Y. Eliza-renkova Memorial Volume, Book 1, compiled and edited by L. Kulikov and M. Rusanov, Moscow, 153-165.  ----------. 2009. “Sociolinguistic Remarks on the Indo-Iranian *-ka- Suffix: A Marker of Colloquial Register.” Indo-Iranian Journal 52: 311–329. ----------. 2007. The Rig Veda between Two Worlds / Le  Rgveda entre deux mondes. Quatre conférences au Collège de France en mai 2004. Publications de l’Institut de Civilisation Indienne: Série in-8°; fasc. 74. Paris: de Boccard. Jamison, Stephanie W. and Joel P. Brereton. 2014. The Rigveda: The Earliest Reli-gious Poetry of India. 3 vols. New York: Oxford University Press. Kulikov, Leonid. 2013. “Language vs. Grammatical Tradition in Ancient India: How Real was Pāṇinian Sanskrit? Evidence from the History of Late Sans-krit Passives and Pseudo-passives.” Folia Linguistica Historica 34: 59-91.  Mainkar, T. G. 1977. The Ṛgvedic Foundations of Classical Poetics. Delhi: Ajanta Publi-cations. Mayrhofer, Manfred. 1963. Kurzgefasstes Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindischen, A Concise Etymological Sanskrit Dictionary, Vol. II. Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag.  Mehendale, M. A. 1963. “Upaniṣadic Etymologies.” In Munshi Indological Felicita-tion Volume, Bharatiya Vidya, Vol. 20-21, pp. 40-44.  Paczkowski, Andrew M. 2016. “Towards a New Method for Analyzing Syntax in Poetry - Discriminating Grammatical Patterns in the Rigveda.” PhD Dis-sertation, University of Georgia. Patañjali. Vyākaraṇa-Mahābhāṣya, edited by F. Kielhorn, 3rd edition by K. V. Abhyankar, Vol. I, 1962. Pune: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.   DESHPANDE18Petersen, Walter. 1912. “Vedic, Sanskrit, and Prakrit.” Journal of the American Orien-tal Society 32: 414-428. Pinault, Georges-Jean. 1989. “Reflets dialectaux en ṛgvédique.” In Dialectes dans les Litératures Indo-Aryennes, edited by Colette Caillat. Paris: Collège de France, Institut de Civilization Indienne, pp. 35-96. Pollock, Sheldon. 2006. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. Berkeley: University of California Press. Raja, Kunhan C. 1963. Poetic Philosophers of the Ṛgveda: Vedic and Pre-Vedic. Madras: Ganesh & Co. Private Ltd.  Scharfe, Hartmut. 2016. “Two on a Swing: A New Perspective on the Ṛgveda.” In Vedic Śākhās, Past, Present, Future, Proceedings of the Fifth International Vedic Workshop, Bucharest 2011. Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora, Vol. 9, edited by Jan E. M. Houben, Julieta Rotaru & Michael Witzel. Cambridge, MA: Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University, pp. 431-457. Shende, N. J. 1967. Kavi and Kāvya in the Atharvaveda. Pune: Publications of the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, Class B, No. 1, University of Pune. Smith, Caley. 2017. “The Dialectology of Indic.” In Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics, edited by Jared Klein, Brian Joseph and Matthias Fritz, pp. 417-447. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. Smith, Mary. 1975. “The Mahabharata’s Core.” Journal of the American Oriental 
Society 95: 479-482. Thornton, Elizabeth Katherine. 2015. “The Double-Voiced Rig Veda: Poetics and Power Dynamics of Formal Structuring Devices.” Doctoral Thesis, University of California at Lost Angeles. Tripathi, Gaya Charan. 2012. “The Poet and the Poetry in the Ṛgveda.” In Sanskrit Vimarśaḥ: Journal of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, World Sanskrit Conference Special, pp. 1-16. Tripathi, Radha Vallabh. 2007. Atharvaveda kā Kāvya. Banaras: Vishvavidyalaya Prakashan. Tedesco, Paul. 1944. “The Supposed Ṛgvedic Present marate.” Language 20: 212-222.  Scope of Early Sanskrit Usage  19Thieme, Paul. 1938. “Ein iranisches Kulturlehnwort in der vedischen Prosa.” Zeit-schrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 92 (n.s. 17): 47-52. ----------. 1937. “Über einige persische Wörter im Sanskrit.” Zeitschrift der Deut-schen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 91 (n.s. 16): 88-146. Turner, R.L. 1966. A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages. London: Oxford University Press. Watkins, Calvert. 1997. “The Indo-European Background of Vedic Poetics.” In Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts, New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas, edi-ted by Michael Witzel. Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora Vol 2. Cam-bridge, MA: Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard Univer-sity, pp. 245-256. Walde, Alois. 1927. Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der Indogermanischen Sprachen, Band II, heraugegeben und bearbeitet von Julius Pokorny. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Whitney, William Dwight. 1885. The Roots, Verb-Forms, and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Härtel. Witzel, Michael. 1989. “Tracing the Vedic dialects.” In Dialectes dans les Litératures Indo-Aryennes, edited by Colette Caillat. Paris: Collège de France, Institut de Civilization Indienne, pp. 97-266. ----------. 1990. “Notes on Vedic Dialects, (1).” ZINBUN 25: 31-70. ----------. 1995. “Early Sanskritization: Origins and Development of the Kuru State.” Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS) 1-4: 1–26. Yāska. Nirukta, with the commentary of Durgācārya. Volume 1. Ānandashrama Sanskrit Series 88, 1921. Pune: Anandashrama.


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items