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Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 4

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Twenty poems in the Rigveda are addressed to Ushas, the goddess of the dawn, who is sometimes invoked jointly with her sister, the goddess of night. The lesson text is the last of a group of seven poems, VII, 75-81, all of which are addressed to dawn.

Reading and Textual Analysis

VII, 75-80 are in tristubh, but the metre of this poem, VII, 81 (597), is more complex, consisting of verses in the brhat metre, lines of 8, 8, 12, and 8 syllables, alternating with satobrhat, lines of 12, 8, 12, and 8 syllables. As in the Lesson 2 text the poet makes linguistic play on dawn's name, uss. The verb from which it derives is /vas, uchti 'shine', and a feminine present participle of the verb, uchnt 'shining', describes her in verses 1 & 4. The sun's usrys 'shining beams' that accompany dawn's vi-s 'brightening' are described in the second verse, and the poet concludes with a radiant metaphor, the wish that dawn should 'shine misfortunes away'. This last line, together with the last line of the first verse, is repeated from a poem to dawn in Book I: vvam asy nnma cksase jgaj, jytis krnoti snr, pa dvso maghn duhit div, us uchad pa srdhah 'all the moving world pays reverence to the sight of her; the fair lady makes the light. Let dawn, the gracious daughter of heaven, shine away hatred, shine misfortunes away' (I, 48, 8).

prty u adari yat
uchnt duhit divh
po mhi vyayati cksase tmo
jytis krnoti snr

  • u -- particle; <u> and, now -- now
  • prti adari -- verb; 3rd person singular passive aorist of </dr> see, appear + preverb <prti> against -- she has come into view # The present forms of /dr are understood to be supplied by another root, /pa, pyati 'see'.
  • yat -- participle; nominative singular feminine present active participle of </i, ti> go + preverb <> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- approaching
  • uchnt -- participle; nominative singular feminine present active participle of </vas, uchti> shine -- shining
  • duhit -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <duhitr> daughter -- the daughter
  • divs -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dy, dv> sky, heaven, day -- of heaven
  • mhi -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <mh> great -- the great # In the early language there are a number of related adjectives meaning 'great' from a basic stem mh-; how these should be classified is debated.
  • pa vyayati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of </vy, vyyati> cover + preverb <pa> away -- she draws away
  • cksase -- noun; dative singular neuter of <cksas> seeing, sight -- for sight
  • tmas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <tmas> darkness -- the darkness
  • jytis -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <jytis> light -- the light
  • krnoti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of </kr, krnti> do, make -- she makes
  • snr -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <snr> fair lady -- the fair lady

d usryh srjate sriyah scm
udyn nksatram arcivt
tvd uso visi sriyasya ca
sm bhaktna gamemahi

  • usrys -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <usry> beam -- beams
  • t srjate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of </srj, srjti> let go + preverb <t> up -- sends up
  • sryas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <srya> sun -- the sun
  • sc -- adverb; <sc> at the same time -- at the same time
  • udyt -- participle; nominative singular neuter present active participle of </i, ti> go + preverb <t> up -- rising # Compare the feminine of this participle in the first verse, with a different preverb.
  • nksatram -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <nksatra> star -- the star
  • arcivt -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <arcivnt> possessing rays, flaming -- flaming
  • tva -- personal pronoun; genitive singular of <tvm> you -- your
  • t -- emphatic particle; <t> indeed, just -- own # Stresses the previous word, here 'your'.
  • usas -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <uss> dawn -- O dawn
  • vysi -- noun; locative singular feminine of <vys> brightening -- at the brightening # The word is made up of the preverb v and -us, from the root vas, uchti 'shine', like dawn's name, uss.
  • sryasya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <srya> sun -- of the sun
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- and
  • bhaktna -- noun; instrumental singular of <bhakt> what is apportioned -- with our share # The exact meaning is uncertain. In form bhakt is the past participle of /bhaj, bhjati 'apportion, share', which occurs in the Rigveda only twice, here and at I, 127, 5, where it is adjectival: Agni's undying fires are described as seeking out vas 'help' that is both bhakt and bhakta.
  • sm gamemahi -- verb; 1st person plural middle aorist optative of </gam, gchati> go + preverb <sm> together -- may we partake of # sm + /gam 'partake of' takes the instrumental.

prti tv duhitar diva
so jr abhutsmahi
y vhasi pur sprhm vananvati
rtnam n dse myah

  • tv -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- you
  • duhitar -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <duhitr> daughter -- O daughter
  • divas -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dy, dv> sky, heaven, day -- of heaven # Unaccented as forming part of the vocative, 'O daughter of heaven', within the sentence.
  • sas -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <uss> dawn -- O dawn
  • jrs -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <jr> eager -- eager
  • prti abhutsmahi -- verb; 1st person plural middle sigmatic aorist of </budh, bdhati> wake, observe + preverb <prti> against -- we have wakened to meet
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- who
  • vhasi -- verb; 2nd person singular active present of </vah, vhati> conduct, bring -- brings
  • pur -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <pur> much, many -- much
  • sprhm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <sprh> desirable -- that is desirable
  • vananvati -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <vnanvant> lovely -- O lovely one
  • rtnam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rtna> treasure -- treasure
  • n -- particle; <n> like -- like # Compare n 'not', which occurred in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text.
  • dse -- noun; dative singular masculine of <dvms> the one worshipping -- for the worshipper
  • myas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <myas> happiness -- happiness

uchnt y krnsi mamhn mahi
prakhya devi svar dr
tsys te ratnabhja mahe vaym
syma mtr n snvah

  • uchnt -- participle; nominative singular feminine present active participle of </vas, uchti> shine -- shining
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- who
  • krnsi -- verb; 2nd person singular active present of </kr, krnti> do, make -- you make
  • mamhn -- adverb; <mamhn> assuredly -- assuredly
  • mahi -- adjective; vocative singular feminine of <mh> great -- great
  • prakhya -- infinitive; dative infinitive of </khy> look upon + preverb <pr> forth -- to be gazed upon # This verb, like /dr, has no present forms in the Rigveda. As with vrtave in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text, the dative infinitives in this line have a passive sense.
  • devi -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <dev> divine, goddess -- O goddess
  • svr -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <svr> sunlight, heaven -- the sunlight
  • dr -- infinitive; dative infinitive of </dr> see, appear -- to be seen
  • tsys -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular feminine of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- her
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- you
  • ratnabhjas -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <ratnabhj> dispensing treasure -- dispensing treasure # The second element, 'dispensing', comes from the root /bhaj; compare the past participle bhakt in verse 2.
  • mahe -- verb; 3rd person plural middle present of </y, yti> approach with longing, solicit -- we approach with longing # Considered to be a separate root from /y, yti 'go, travel' in the third verse of the Lesson 3 text.
  • vaym -- personal pronoun; nominative of <vaym> we -- we
  • syma -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of </as, sti> be -- may we be
  • mtr -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <mtr> mother -- of the mother
  • n -- particle; <n> like -- like
  • snvas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <sn> son -- sons

tc citrm rdha bhara
so yd drgharttamam
yt te divo duhitar martabhjanam
td rsva bhunjmahai

  • tt -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- that
  • citrm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <citr> bright, radiant -- radiant
  • rdhas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rdhas> favour, gift -- favour
  • bhara -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of </bhr, bhrati> bring, bear + preverb <> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- bring hither
  • sas -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <uss> dawn -- O dawn
  • yt -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- which
  • drgharttamam -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <drgharttama> most widely known, famed -- most famed
  • yt -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- which
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- your
  • divas -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dy, dv> sky, heaven, day -- of heaven # See note to this word in the first line of verse 3.
  • duhitar -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <duhitr> daughter -- O daughter
  • martabhjanam -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <martabhjana> mortal sustenance -- mortal sustenance
  • tt -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- that
  • rsva -- verb; 2nd person singular middle aorist imperative of </r> grant -- grant
  • bhunjmahai -- verb; 1st person plural middle subjunctive of </bhuj, bhujte> turn to account -- may we turn to account # Accented as first word in the (grammatical) sentence.

rvah srbhyo amrtam vasutvanm
vjm asmbhyam gmatah
codayitr maghnah snrtvat
us uchad pa srdhah

  • rvas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rvas> fame -- fame
  • srbhyas -- noun; dative plural masculine of <sr> prince -- to princes
  • amrtam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <amrta> immortal, undying -- undying
  • vasutvanm -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vasutvan> prosperity -- prosperity
  • vjn -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <vja> power, strength -- strength
  • asmbhyam -- personal pronoun; dative of <vaym> we -- to us
  • gmatas -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <gmant> consisting of cattle -- in cattle
  • codayitr -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <codayitr> rouser -- rouser
  • maghnas -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <maghvan> gracious -- of the gracious # The declension is irregular (see section 22 in the next lesson).
  • snrtvat -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <snrtvant> possessing joy, joyous -- the joyous one
  • uss -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <uss> dawn -- dawn
  • pa uchat -- verb; 3rd person singular active injunctive of </vas, uchti> shine + preverb <pa> away -- let her shine away
  • srdhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srdh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

Lesson Text

prty u adari yat
uchnt duhit divh
po mhi vyayati cksase tmo
jytis krnoti snr

d usryh srjate sriyah scm
udyn nksatram arcivt
tvd uso visi sriyasya ca
sm bhaktna gamemahi

prti tv duhitar diva
so jr abhutsmahi
y vhasi pur sprhm vananvati
rtnam n dse myah

uchnt y krnsi mamhn mahi
prakhya devi svar dr
tsys te ratnabhja mahe vaym
syma mtr n snvah

tc citrm rdha bhara
so yd drgharttamam
yt te divo duhitar martabhjanam
td rsva bhunjmahai

rvah srbhyo amrtam vasutvanm
vjm asmbhyam gmatah
codayitr maghnah snrtvat
us uchad pa srdhah

Translation

Now she has come into view, approaching,
Shining, the daughter of heaven.
She draws away, for sight, the great darkness,
The fair lady makes the light.
The sun, at the same time, sends up beams,
Rising, a flaming star.
At your own brightening, O dawn, and the sun's,
May we partake of our share.
You, O daughter of heaven,
We have wakened eager to meet, O dawn.
Who brings much that is desirable, O lovely one,
Happiness, like treasure, to the worshipper.
You who, shining, assuredly, O great goddess,
Makes the sunlight to be gazed on, seen;
We approach you with longing, may we be
Like her sons, of the mother dispensing treasure.
Bring hither that radiant favour,
O dawn, which is most famed.
That mortal sustenance of yours, O daughter of heaven,
Grant; may we turn it to account.
Fame to princes, undying prosperity,
Strength in cattle to us,
Rouser of the gracious, may the joyous one,
Dawn, shine misfortunes away.

Grammar

16. Stems in -as, -is, and -us.
16.1. Stems in -as.

There are a number of stems in -as, accented on the first syllable and of neuter gender, most of which are abstract nouns. Many of these have been encountered in previous lessons: shas 'might', mhas 'trouble', vas 'help', pyas 'plenty', vcas 'speech', nmas 'honour', mnas 'understanding, spirit', dvsas 'enmity'; and in this lesson text cksas 'sight', rvas 'fame', myas 'happiness' and and rdhas 'favour'. In addition, tmas 'darkness' and rjas 'airy space', words with a semi-concrete sense, also belong to this group. The forms that would occur if made from mnas 'understanding, spirit' are given to show the declension.

    Singular   Plural
Nom, Acc, Voc   mnas   mnmsi
Ins   mnas   mnobhis
Dat   mnase   mnobhyas
Abl   mnasas   mnobhyas
Gen   mnasas   mnasm
Loc   mnasi   mnassu

Plural forms other than the nominative, accusative and instrumental are of infrequent occurrence, as are dual forms; the dual nominative/accusative/vocative would be mnas.

Some of these abstract nouns shade into a more concrete sense in some passages: na ndro ytu cha [...] vase rdhase ca (IV, 20, 2) 'may Indra come towards us, for help and for favour' [83], tvm dt pratham rdhasm asi (VIII, 90, 2) 'you are the first giver of gifts' [84]; ddhn [ddhns] cksasi priym (IX, 17, 6) '(the poets) placing the beloved in sight' [85], tvedm [tva idm] vvam [...] yt pyasi cksas sryasya (VII, 98, 6) 'all this (is) yours, which you see with the eye of the sun' [86]; en vaym pyas pnvamnh (Lesson 3 text) 'in this way we, swelling with plenty' [87], pyo gsu dadh [dadhs] sadhsu (X, 73, 9) 'you placed fruitfulness in cattle, in plants (milk, sap)' [88].

The adjectives belonging to this declension are chiefly compounds, like mdhu-vacas 'sweetly speaking', dev-ravas 'having divine renown', and pr-cetas 'mindful' from the first verse of the Lesson 2 text, which when neuter inflect as above. The compounded su-mnas 'well-disposed' is given below to show the nominative, accusative and vocative masculine and feminine endings. The endings of the oblique cases are the same for all three genders.

Masculine/Feminine   Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   sumns   sumnas   sumnasas
Acc   sumnasam   sumnas   sumnasas
Voc   smanas   smanas   smanasas

A few of the neuter nouns have parallel adjectives, distinguished by a shift in accent: pas 'work' aps 'active', yas 'glory' yas 'glorious'.

The feminine uss 'dawn', if it belongs in this group, is very irregular, not only in gender and accent, but also in optionally lengthening the second syllable in some forms of the nominative, vocative and accusative.

16.2. Stems in -is and -us.

These stems, fewer in number, are also chiefly neuter, and their inflection is similar to that of the stems in -as, although the final s becomes s before vowel endings, and changes to r, not o, before the bh of the instrumental, dative and ablative plural endings: mnas, mnobhis, vpus 'marvel, marvellous', vpurbhis. Three nouns with stems in -is have been encountered so far: chards 'protection, shield' in the Lesson 2 text, jytis 'light' in this lesson, and ocs 'flame' in the example quoted at the end of the last lesson, dbhyena ocs (X, 118, 7) 'with flame that is not to be deceived'. Another noun in this group, neuter arcs 'ray (of light)', appears slightly more frequently than masculine arc, with the same meaning. There is a similar parallel with mnu 'man' and mnus, like mnu in this instance necessarily of masculine gender.

  • chardr [chards] yna dse ychati tmn (Lesson 2 text) 'with which by his nature he extends a shield for the worshipper' [89]
  • t sryam nayatho [nayathas] jytis sah (VI, 72, 2) 'you two lead up the sun together with the light' [90]
  • td kam, devnm rstham vpusm apayam (V, 62, 1) 'I saw that one, the finest of the marvels of the gods' [91]
  • t sryo brhd arcmsi aret (VII, 62, 1) 'the sun has shed rays up on high (the neuter brht used adverbially)' [92]
17. Secondary nominal formation.
17.1. Secondary stems in -a, -ya, and -tv.

Sanskrit has a remarkable facility for elaborating new words out of existing ones, like building blocks. Secondary formations, or derivatives, are made by adding suffixes to existing words to form new ones. Two common suffixes used in this way are -a and -ya (usually to be read -iya), often used to make adjectives from nouns; from the neuter vpus mentioned in the previous section both the adjectives vpusa and vapusy (vapusya) are formed. The first vowel may be strengthened in such derivative formations. The initial word of the first lesson text was an example: vaivnar 'for all men' is a secondary formation from the compound vivnara, as the strengthening of the i of the first element to ai indicates. The adjective prthiva 'earthly' in the third verse of the Lesson 2 text occurred alongside divy 'heavenly', and these two words are secondary formations from prthiv 'earth' and dv 'heaven, sky', the first with strengthened vowel. The secondary formation davya 'divine' from example 36 in Lesson 2, davyni vratni 'divine laws', is probably made from dev 'god, divine'; but dev itself has the form of a secondary formation of dv.

Another productive suffix is -tv, added to nouns or adjectives to express the sense conveyed by English '-ness'. The neuter nouns mahi-tv 'greatness, majesty', deva-tv 'divinity', and amrta-tv 'immortality' appear frequently, but the regular way in which the suffix is applied permits nonce formations: bhrtr-tv occurs three times, but the feminine equivalent only once: nhm [n ahm] veda bhrtrtvm n [n u] svasrtvm (X, 108, 10) 'I know neither brotherhood nor sisterhood' [93].

17.2. Secondary stems in -vant and -mant.

The suffixes -vant and -mant both have the sense 'possessing, consisting of'. Of the two -vant is found more frequently, as in this lesson text: arcivnt in verse 2 (possessing arc 'ray', rather than arcs), the feminine of vnanvant in verse 3, vnanvat (of debated meaning as *vanan does not occur), and snrtvat, feminine of snrtvant 'joyous' (possessing snrt 'joy') in the last verse. The suffix -mant is also found in the last verse, in the word gmant 'consisting of cattle (g)'. These forms decline like the present active participles in -ant described in section 7 of Lesson 2, with the exception of the vowel of the suffix in the nominative singular masculine, which is lengthened to (the vocative ending is -vas). Like present active participles they form their feminine in -; see below.

  • samudrd rmr mdhumm [mdhumn] d rat (IV, 58, 1) 'from the sea the wave (rm, masculine) of sweetness (consisting of mdhu) has arisen' [94]
  • pr parjnyam ray [raya] vrstimntam (X, 98, 8) 'lead forth (causative imperative of r, rte 'move' with preverb pr 'forth') Parjanya bearing rain (possessing vrst)' [95]
  • dksinvanto amrtam bhajante (I, 125, 6) 'the generous (possessing dksin) share (/bhaj, bhjate) immortality' [96]
  • utdnm [ut idnm] bhgavantah syma (VII, 41, 4) 'and may we now be fortunate (possessing bhga)' [97]
  • pyasvatr [pyasvats] sadhayah, pyasvan [pyasvat] mmakm vcah (X, 17, 14) 'the plants (feminine) are fruitful (possessing pyas), my speech (neuter) is fruitful' [98]
17.3. Secondary feminine stems in -.

The suffix - is used to form the feminine of a large number of masculine stems, including the present participles in -ant and agent nouns in -tr, as mentioned in Lesson 2, and the possessive stems in -vant and -mant described above. The n of the possessive suffix, as the examples from the lesson text and number 98 above show, is dropped before the additional feminine suffix. Feminine participles of second conjugation verbs also drop the n: yat [-yat] 'approaching' (masculine -ynt) in the first verse of the lesson text is from the second conjugation verb /i, but /vas, which forms the participle uchnt 'shining' (masculine uchnt) in verses 1 & 4, belongs to the first conjugation.

A feminine agent noun, codayitr 'rouser' (the masculine would be *codayitr), occurs in the last verse of the lesson text; others are jnitr 'female parent' (masculine janitr or jnitr), avitr 'female helper' (avitr), and netr 'female leader, guide' (netr).

The suffix - also forms the feminines of a number of stems in -a, like snr in the first verse of the lesson text, masculine snra, dev 'divine, goddess', masculine dev, and vpus, the feminine of the derivative adjective vpusa mentioned at the beginning of this section. It can similarly be used to form the feminine of stems in -u, like ur 'broad, wide', feminine urv, as in the Lesson 3 text: tsya vaym prasav yma urvh [urvs] 'at his impelling we broad ones go', and pur 'much, many', feminine prv. The feminine of prth, also 'broad', prthv, was used to describe the earth, and developed into the feminine noun prthv or, more usually, prthiv 'earth' (urv is also occasionally used with this meaning). Stems in -i however do not form their feminine in this way. As described in section 3, the feminine endings of the -i stems are generally the same as the masculine endings.

Also belonging to this secondary declension are a few independent feminine nouns, like c 'might' (see example 82 above, cy) and rtr 'night'. These are the forms that would occur if made from dev 'goddess'.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   dev   devs
Acc   devm   devs
Ins   devy   devbhis
Dat   devya   devbhyas
Abl   devys   devbhyas
Gen   devys   devnm
Loc   devym   devsu
Voc   dvi   dvs
  • prabodhyant suvitya dev (IV, 14, 3) 'the goddess (dawn) awakening (causative participle) for well-being (suvit, neuter)' [99]
  • bhsvat netr snrtnm (I, 92, 7; I, 113, 4) 'She (dawn,) possessing light (bhs, neuter 'light' with suffix -vant, feminine -vat), leader of joys (snrt; compare snrtvat in the lesson text)' [100]
  • hvymi rtrm jgato nivanm (I, 35, 1) 'I call upon (/hv, hvyati, a secondary form of /h) night, the source of rest (feminine of nivana, see the last verse of the Lesson 2 text) of the moving world' [101]
  • prst div prst agnh prthivym (Lesson 1 text) 'Agni invoked in heaven, invoked on earth' [102]
  • tisr dvah prthivs tisr invati (Lesson 2 text) 'he gives motion to the three heavens, the three earths' [103]
  • rtry [rtrys] cid ndho ti deva payasi (I, 94, 7) 'O god (Agni), you see even beyond the darkness (ndhas, neuter) of night' [104]

Dual forms, particularly the nominative, accusative and vocative, occur frequently, referring to pairs of female deified bodies, like rdas 'the two worlds'.

    Dual
Nom, Acc   dev
Dat, Abl   devbhym
Gen, Loc   devys
Voc   dv
  • asy me dyvprthiv [...] bhtm avitr vcasah (II, 32, 1) 'O heaven-and-earth, be helpers of this my speech' [105]
  • huv devnm vas jnitr (I, 185, 6) 'I call upon the two parents (female, referring to heaven and earth) with the help of the gods' [106]
  • ysya rvo rdas antr urv (VII, 18, 24) 'whose fame (is) between the two wide worlds' [107]
18. The imperfect.

The imperfect is the past tense of story-telling, and belongs to the Present System. It is characterised by a prefixed augment a-, like the Greek augment e-, which always carries the accent if the verb is accented. The following table gives the endings of the imperfect tense.

The alternative second and third person plural active endings -tana and -ur are found in some verbs of the athematic conjugation. The ending -i of the first person singular middle combines with the -a- of the thematic conjugation to give -e.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -am   -va   -ma   -i   -vahi   -mahi
2   -s   -tam   -ta, -tana   -ths   -ethm (I), -thm (II)   -dhvam
3   -t   -tm   -an, -ur   -ta   -etm (I), -tm (II)   -anta (I), -ata (II)

The imperfect tense is described as belonging to the Present System because the stem of the verb, the part that follows the augment and precedes the endings as given in the table, corresponds to the stem of the present tense. So, from the thematic conjugation, /jus, jus-te 'he enjoys', -jusa-ta 'he enjoyed'; /ruh, rha-ti 'it springs up' -roha-t 'it sprang up'; /man, mnya-te 'he thinks', -manya-nta 'they thought'; from the athematic conjugation /as, s-ti 'he is', [+a]s-am 'I was'; /kr, krn-ti 'he makes', -krno-ta 'you made'; /d, dd-ti 'he gives', -dad-s 'you (singular) gave'.

The phonology of Sanskrit does not permit more than one consonant at the end of a word, and when this might result the second consonant is dropped. As the endings of the 2nd and 3rd person singular imperfect are simply the consonants s and t, without a union vowel, the ending may therefore disappear. In the Lesson 3 text, for example, phan [pa ahan] 'he struck away' occurs for the phonologically impossible pa *ahant.

In the third lesson text the streams told the story of their release from the demon using a series of 3rd person singular imperfects: radat 'he dug' (present rdati), han 'he struck' (present hnti), nayat 'he led' (present nyati). In the next verse, where the imperfect occurs with the preverb v, the augment is omitted, as the narrative tense has become clear: vi-vrct 'he cut in pieces' (present vrcti).

  • ssm [ss usm] avindat s svh [svr] s agnm (X, 68, 9) 'he it was found (from /vid, vindti) the dawn, the sunlight, the fire' [108]
  • pyo gsu dadh [dadhs] sadhsu (X, 73, 9) 'you placed fruitfulness in cattle, in plants' [109] (=88)
  • tt savit vo amrtatvm suvat [ asuvat] (I, 110, 3) 'then Savitar generated immortality for you' [110]
  • prathatam prthivm mtram v (VI, 72, 2) 'you two spread out mother earth' [111] (=42)
  • sukstrkrnvann [sukstr akrnvan] nayanta sndhn [...] po h esm jusanta devh (IV, 33, 7, 9) 'they made good fields (kstra, neuter), they led the rivers... for the gods delighted in their work' [112]
  • yj jyath [yt jyaths] aprvya [...] tt prthivm aprathayah (VIII, 89, 5) 'when you were born (imperfect without augment), O incomparable one, then you spread out (causative) the earth' [113] (=67)
19. The subjunctive mood.

The meaning of the subjunctive lies somewhere between that of the optative, the mood of wishing, and the imperative, the mood of command. It shows greater confidence in the future outcome than the optative, and is frequently used simply to express future time in the Rigveda. The endings of the subjunctive are attached to the stem with an added a or . Where this union vowel may be either long or short a is given in square brackets in the table.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -ni,   -va   -ma   -ai   -vahai   -mahai, -mahe
2   -[a]si, -[a]s   -[a]thas   -[a]tha   -[a]se   -aithe   -[a]dhve, -[a]dhvai
3   -[a]ti, -[a]t   -[a]tas   -[a]n   -[a]te   -aite   -anta, -ante

The subjunctive is formed in more than one system, but the examples below belong to the Present System.

  • yt te divo duhitar martabhjanam, td rsva bhunjmahai (lesson text) 'that mortal sustenance of yours, O daughter of heaven, grant; may we turn it to account' [114]
  • ys tbhyam dn [dt] n tm mho anavat (II, 23, 4) 'he who will worship (from /d, dati) you, may distress not reach (from /am, anti) him' [115]
  • ysya brhmni sukrat vtha [vthas], yt krtv n ardah prnathe (VII, 61, 2) 'whose prayers, O very able pair, you may favour, so that you will fill (his) autumns with capability, as it were' [116] (=56)
  • tvm naksanta no grah (VIII, 92, 27) 'let our songs reach you' [117] (=4)
20. Word order in the sentence.

As we saw in section 2 of the first lesson, in Sanskrit the object usually precedes the verb in the sentence, unlike in English. All the examples given in that grammar section followed this order. Sanskrit is described therefore as an Object Verb (OV) language; modern English is a Verb Object (VO) language. An example of a textbook sentence in an OV language appeared in section 8 of the second lesson: tvst duhitr vahatm krnoti (X, 17, 1), literally, 'Tvashtar for the daughter a bridal arranges' (44). The subject begins the sentence, the verb is at the end, the object, 'a bridal', immediately precedes the verb and the indirect object 'for the daughter' precedes the object.

The order of words in a Rigvedic sentence is however far from invariable. It is quite usual for a verb in the imperative mood to begin the sentence, giving it emphasis, as in the Lesson 3 text: rmadhvam me vcase somyya 'rest for my inspired speech'. In two examples given to illustrate the use of participles, the first person plural form of the optative, the mood of wishing, began the sentence: pyema n sryam uccrantam (VI, 52, 5 & X, 59, 4) 'now we would see the sun rising' (33); abh syma mahat mnyamnn (I, 178, 5) 'may we surpass those thinking themselves great' (81). And we have seen a number of other sentences where a straightforward tense form precedes the object: scethe avinossam [avin ussam] (VII, 5, 2) 'you accompany, O Ashvins, the dawn' (26); prathatam prthivm mtram v (VI, 72, 2) 'you two spread out mother earth' (42 & 111).

The Rigveda is poetry, and there are frequently poetic reasons for the variety in word order. The following three lines from the grammar sections of the third lesson demonstrate a form of chiasmus, both OV and VO word order being used by the poet; in each case OV comes first. t srbhyo grnat rsi sumnm (VI, 4, 8) 'those things to princes, to the singer grant favour' (78); ur jytih krnuhi mtsi devn (IX, 94, 5) 'a broad light make, delight the gods' (79); agnm vrnn vrnate kavkratum (V, 11, 4) 'Agni choosing, they choose the sage-wise' (80).

A distinguishing characteristic of an OV language is that the genitive regularly precedes the subject to which is belongs, as in the description of Savitar in the second lesson text: div dhart bhvanasya prajpatih 'of heaven supporter, of existence creature-lord'. The grammar sections have shown a number of examples of this: devnm sumata syma (VII, 41, 4) 'of gods in the favour may we be' (8); apm rmm sacate (IX, 86, 8) 'of waters the wave he accompanies' (19); bhvanasya rj (IX, 97, 40) 'of existence the king' (32); devnm vas (I, 185, 6) 'of the gods with help' (106). But this word order can also be varied when the sense requires it, as in the first verse of II, 32 when the poet appeals to the gods to inspire him: bhtm avitr vcasah 'be helpers of the speech' (105).

The adjective, in OV languages, like the dependent genitive, stands naturally before the noun it describes. In VO languages the adjective usually follows, as in French 'carte blanche', 'Le Bateau Ivre'. English, despite now being a VO language, still maintains an earlier word order: 'white feather', 'The Cruel Sea'. In French too examples of this survive: 'mauvaise honte', 'Grande-Bretagne'. In the Rigveda the adjective usually precedes the noun: citrm rdhah 'radiant gift' (this lesson text, verse 5), ttar yugni 'future generations' (the last verse of the Lesson 3 text), and from section 16.2 in this lesson, dbhyena ocs 'with not to be deceived flame'. But we have also seen instances where the adjective follows: vjram svarym 'a weapon of sunlight (svr 'sunlight' with secondary suffix -ya)' (71); raym vivvram sam inva 'treasure all-precious bestow' (75). In these passages this inverted word order is perhaps more poetic, as it is in English.