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Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 6

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Indra, the mighty god whose heroic deeds first brought fertility to the world, is praised throughout the Rigveda. In killing the monstrous snake Vritra -- the name means 'hindrance', from the root /vr, vrnti -- as described in the Lesson 3 text, he freed the waters and made terrestrial life possible: ndra sadhr asanod hni, vnasptmr asanod antriksam (III, 34, 10) 'Indra won the plants, the days, he won the trees ('forest-lords'), the atmosphere'. The relationship of the poets with the gods is reciprocal and complex. At the beginning of this lesson text Indra is described as yajvrddha 'strengthened by worship', and elsewhere in the Rigveda this too is explained as a divine gift: ahm dm grnat prvyam vsu, ahm brhma krnavam mhyam vrdhanam (X, 49, 1) 'I shall give to the singer the ancient boon, I shall make prayer the means of growth for me'.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text is verses 2-6 of VI, 21 (462), from a powerful sequence of 30 songs addressed to Indra, many of which, like VI, 21, are among the oldest in the Rigveda. The metre is again tristubh. The poets' perception of themselves as belonging to a continuum of worship and praise, as described in verses 5 and 6, is a constant theme of the Rigveda: d ratm vara t prsa, n madhyamh pitrah somysah, sum y yr avrk rtajs, t no avantu pitro hvesu (X, 15, 1) 'may they rise up, the more recent, the distant, and those from the middle past, the inspired fathers; may those who have left life, not harming, knowing Truth, the fathers, may they bring help at our invocations'.

tm u stusa ndaram y vdno
grvhasam grbhr yajvrddham
ysya dvam ti mahn prthivyh
purumysya riric mahitvm

  • tm -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- him
  • u -- particle; <u> and, now -- now
  • stuse -- verb; 1st person singular middle present of </stu, stus> praise -- I praise
  • ndram -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <ndra> Indra -- Indra # Often to be read as trisyllabic, ndara.
  • ys -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- who
  • vdnas -- participle; nominative singular masculine perfect middle participle of </vid, vda> know -- knowing, wise
  • grvhasam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <grvhas> brought by song -- brought by song
  • grbhs -- noun; instrumental plural feminine of <gr> song -- by means of songs
  • yajvrddham -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <yajvrddha> strengthened by worship -- strengthened by worship
  • ysya -- relative pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- of whom
  • dvam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <dy, dv> sky, heaven, day -- heaven
  • mahn -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <mahn> greatness -- in greatness
  • prthivys -- noun; ablative singular feminine of <prthiv> earth -- than the earth
  • purumysya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <purumy> wonderful -- wonderful
  • ti riric -- verb; 3rd person singular middle perfect of </ric, rinkti> leave + preverb <ti> beyond -- exceeds # As in the last lesson text, the preverb here does double duty.
  • mahitvm -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <mahitv> greatness, majesty -- majesty

s t tmo avayunm tatanvt
sriyena vaynavac cakra
kad te mrt amrtasya dhma
yaksanto n minanti svadhvah

  • ss -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- he
  • t -- emphatic particle; <t> indeed, just -- it is
  • tmas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <tmas> darkness -- the darkness
  • avayunm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <avayun> without distinction, without certainty -- without distinction
  • tatanvt -- participle; accusative singular neuter perfect active participle of </tan, tanute> stretch, stretch out -- extending
  • sryena -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <srya> sun -- with the sun
  • vaynavat -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <vaynavant> possessing distinction, certainty -- distinct # The important word vayna, with its derivatives a-vayun and vayna-vant, is as yet undeciphered. This translation is simply a suggestion.
  • cakra -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of </kr, krnti> do, make -- he makes
  • kad -- interrogative adverb; <kad> when? -- when?
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- your
  • mrts -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <mrta> mortal -- mortals
  • amrtasya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <amrta> immortal, undying -- of the immortal
  • dhma -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <dhman> foundation, just law, precept -- precept
  • yaksantas -- participle; nominative plural masculine desiderative present active participle of </yaj, yjati> worship -- longing to worship # (The verb from which this participle derives is debated by scholars.)
  • n -- particle; <n> not -- not
  • minanti -- verb; 3rd person plural active present of </m, minti> vary, transgress -- do they transgress
  • svadhvas -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <svadhvant> possessing inherent power, self-powerful -- O self-powerful one

ys t cakra s kha svid ndrah
km jnam carati ksu viks
ks te yaj mnase m vrya
k ark indra katamh s ht

  • ys -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- who
  • t -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- those things
  • cakra -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of </kr, krnti> do, make -- he does
  • ss -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- that
  • kha -- interrogative adverb; <kha> where? -- where?
  • svit -- enclitic particle; <svit> pray? -- pray?
  • ndras -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <ndra> Indra -- Indra
  • km -- interrogative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ks, k, kt, km> who, which, what? -- what
  • jnam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <jna> person, people -- people
  • carati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of </car, crati> move + preverb <> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- he frequents
  • ksu -- interrogative pronoun; locative plural feminine of <ks, k, kt, km> who, which, what? -- among which
  • viks -- noun; locative plural feminine of <v> settlement, folk -- settlements
  • ks -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ks, k, kt, km> who, which, what? -- which?
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- your
  • yajs -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <yaj> worship -- worship
  • mnase -- noun; dative singular neuter of <mnas> understanding, spirit -- to the understanding # The meaning 'spirit' is later; see Lesson 9.
  • m -- indeclinable; <m> blessing, blessed -- blessed
  • vrya -- noun; dative singular masculine of <vra> wish -- to the wish
  • ks -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ks, k, kt, km> who, which, what? -- which
  • arks -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <ark> song of praise, eulogy -- eulogy
  • indra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <ndra> Indra -- O Indra
  • katams -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <katams, katam, katamt> who, which (of many) -- which
  • ss -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- the
  • ht -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <htr> celebrant -- celebrant

id h te vvisatah purjh
pratnsa sh purukrt skhyah
y madhyamsa ut ntansa
utvamsya puruhta bodhi

  • id -- adverb; <id> at this moment -- at this moment
  • h -- particle; <h> for, because -- for
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- belonging to you
  • vvisatas -- participle; genitive singular masculine present active intensive participle of </vis, vivesti> be active -- indefatigable
  • purjs -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <purj> born aforetime -- born aforetime
  • pratnsas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <pratn> ancient -- ancient
  • sr -- verb; 3rd person plural active perfect of </as, sti> be -- they are
  • purukrt -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <purukrt> doing much -- you who does much
  • skhyas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <skhi> friend -- friends # The declension is irregular.
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <ys, y, yt> who, which -- who
  • madhyamsas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <madhyam> middle, middle one -- those from the middle past
  • ut -- conjunction; <ut> and -- and
  • ntansas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ntana> now existing -- those now existing
  • ut -- conjunction; <ut> and -- and
  • avamsya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <avam> lowest, most recent -- the most recent one
  • puruhta -- adjective; vocative singular nominative of <puruht> much invoked -- O much invoked
  • bodhi -- verb; 2nd person singular active aorist imperative of </budh, bdhati> wake, observe -- observe

tm prchnto varsah prni
pratn ta indra rtiynu yemuh
rcmasi vra brahmavho
yd ev vidm tt tv mahntam

  • tm -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ss, s, tt> that; he, she, it -- him
  • prchntas -- participle; nominative plural masculine present active participle of </prach, prchti> ask, ask for -- invoking
  • varsas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <vara> lower, more recent -- the more recent
  • prni -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <pra> former, farther -- former
  • pratn -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <pratn> ancient -- ancient
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- your
  • indra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <ndra> Indra -- Indra
  • rty -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <rtya> deed worthy of fame -- deeds of fame
  • nu yemur -- verb; 3rd person plural active perfect of </yam, ychati> extend, stretch out + preverb <nu> after -- they have reached out to
  • rcmasi -- verb; 1st person plural active present of </arc, rcati> praise -- we praise
  • vra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <vr> hero, man, strong son -- O hero
  • brahmavhas -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <brhmavhas> brought by prayer -- brought by prayer
  • yt -- adverb; <yt> so far as, in as much as -- in as much as
  • ev -- adverb; <ev> so, just -- just
  • vidm -- verb; 1st person plural active perfect of </vid, vda> know -- we understand
  • tt -- adverb; <tt> so -- so
  • tv -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvm> you -- you
  • mahntam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <mahnt> great, mighty -- mighty one

Lesson Text

tm u stusa ndaram y vdno
grvhasam grbhr yajvrddham
ysya dvam ti mahn prthivyh
purumysya riric mahitvm

s t tmo avayunm tatanvt
sriyena vaynavac cakra
kad te mrt amrtasya dhma
yaksanto n minanti svadhvah

ys t cakra s kha svid ndrah
km jnam carati ksu viks
ks te yaj mnase m vrya
k ark indra katamh s ht

id h te vvisatah purjh
pratnsa sh purukrt skhyah
y madhyamsa ut ntansa
utvamsya puruhta bodhi

tm prchnto varsah prni
pratn ta indra rtiynu yemuh
rcmasi vra brahmavho
yd ev vidm tt tv mahntam

Translation

Him now I praise, Indra, who is wise,
Brought by song, by means of songs, strengthened by worship;
Of whom -- beyond heaven in greatness, wonderful --
The majesty exceeds the earth.
He it is makes the darkness, extending without distinction
With the sun to be distinct.
When do mortals, longing to worship the just law of you, the immortal one,
Not transgress it, O self-powerful?
Who does those things, where pray is that Indra?
What people does he frequent, among which settlements?
Which worship is blessed, O Indra, to your understanding,
To your wish; which eulogy, which the celebrant of many?
For at this moment there are belonging to you, O indefatigable one, those born aforetime,
Ancient friends, you who does much;
Those who are from the middle past, and those now existing,
And, O much invoked, observe the most recent one.
Invoking him, the more recent ones
Have reached out to your former ancient deeds of fame, Indra.
Just in as much as we understand,
So do we praise you, hero brought by prayer, mighty one.

Grammar

26. The Perfect System: the perfect tense.

The sense of a continuum described in the introduction to the lesson, of both human and divine activity, is brought out by the usual function of the perfect tense. It can appear alongside the imperfect as a simple narrative tense, as in the Lesson 3 text: v vjrena parisdo jaghna 'he struck away the surrounding coils with a weapon'. It can also describe the present outcome of a previous action, as in the Lesson 1 text: prst vv sadhr vivea 'invoked, he has entered all the plants'. But most often it describes a past action that continues into the present, and can be translated by the present tense, with the implication 'and always has', as in the first verse of this lesson text, 'whose majesty exceeds (ti riric) the earth'.

Forms of the perfect are marked by reduplication, like ri-ric-, from the root /ric 'leave'. The general rules of reduplication were given in section 13.2. In addition, in the formation of the perfect, when the vowel of the root is r it reduplicates as a or : /vrdh, v-vrdh-. Reduplication is generally easy to recognise, but examples 156 and 157 below illustrate how a root with an initial sibilant followed by a hard consonant reduplicates.

The forms of the perfect tense that would occur from the root /kr 'do, make', which reduplicates with a prefixed ca-, are given in the table in order to show the endings. The table also shows how the root between reduplicating prefix and ending can vary, in this case kr, kr, kr and kr. No first person dual forms occur, and the second person plural middle is formed from /dh only, dadhidhv. Note that the first and third persons singular middle are identical, and that the endings may be attached with a connecting -i-, as in the 3rd person middle plural.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   ca-kr-a       ca-kr-m   ca-kr-       ca-kr-mhe
2   ca-kr-tha   ca-kr-thur   ca-kr-   ca-kr-s   ca-kr-the   ca-kr-dhv
3   ca-kr-a   ca-kr-tur   ca-kr-r   ca-kr-   ca-kr-te   ca-kr-i-r

Roots ending in -, like /dh, take the anomalous ending -au in the first and third persons singular active, as in example number 155 below. A few roots, including /yam 'extend, stretch out', in some forms contract the reduplication and the root to e, as in the last verse of the lesson text, nu yemur 'they have reached out'.

  • hann him nu aps tatarda, pr vaksn abhinat prvatnm (I, 32, 1) 'he destroyed the dragon, released the waters, split open the fertile places of the mountains' [151]
  • yh prvybhir ut ntanbhir, grbhr vvrdh grnatm rsnm (VI, 44, 13) 'who grows with the ancient and the present songs of singing seers' [152]
  • agnm sumnya dadhire pur jnh (III, 2, 5) 'the people place (have always placed, and still do) Agni in front for favour' [153]
  • s sryah [...] krsn tmmsi tvsy jaghna (X, 89, 2) 'he is the sun, he destroys the black darknesses with energy' (tvsi, f) [154]
  • y imm mhya rtm, dev dada mrtyya svadhvn (IV, 5, 2) 'the self-powerful god who has given (/d 'give') this gift to me, a mortal' [155]
  • suvijnm cikitse jnya, sc csac [st ca sat] ca vcas pasprdhte (VII, 104, 12) 'it is a clear distinction to an observant person, the true and the untrue (lit. 'being and non-being'), the two speeches are in conflict (/sprdh 'be in conflict')' [156]
  • idm vpur nivcanam jansa, cranti yn nadys tasthr pah (V, 47, 5) 'this, people, is a marvellous saying, that the streams move but the waters stand still (/sth 'stand')' (the perfect tense occurring with the present; the waters stand, have always stood, and always will) [157]

As in Greek, the root vid 'know' forms a perfect without reduplication and with present meaning. The form of the root is either vid- or ved-: vda 'I know, he knows', Greek oida; vidm 'we know', Greek idmen. In the same way /vid forms perfect participles without reduplication and with present meaning; see examples 165 and 169 in section 27.1 below, and vdnas in the first line of the lesson text.

  • nhm veda bhrtrtvm n svasrtvm (X, 108, 10) 'I know neither brotherhood nor sisterhood' [158] (=93)
  • vidr dvsmsi ytave (Lesson 5 text) 'they know to keep enmities away' [159]
  • vd [vda] y vnm padm, antriksena ptatm, vda nvh samudryah (I, 25, 7) '(Varuna) who knows the course of the birds flying through airy space, the course of the sea-faring boat' [160]
26.1. Moods of the Perfect System.

The endings are the same as the endings of the Present System, but the root is reduplicated.

  • stmo babhtu agnye (I, 127, 10) 'praise be to Agni' (perfect imperative) [161]
  • tt s nah rma yachata, dity yn mmocati (Lesson 5 text) 'extend for sure that refuge to us, O Adityas, that will make free' (perfect subjunctive) [162]
  • prti me stmam ditir jagrbhyt (V, 42, 2) 'may Aditi welcome my praise' (perfect optative, from /grabh 'take') [163]
27. Perfect participles.
27.1. Perfect active participles in -vms.

The table below shows the masculine forms that are found. Note that in the instrumental, dative, ablative and genitive singular, and the accusative and genitive plural, -vms- becomes -us-. These cases are often susceptible to change, and are called 'weak' -- compare the syncopation of the vowel in the same set of cases in the declension of rjan described in section 22 of the last lesson. Forms are given for cikitvms, from /cit, ctati 'perceive, observe'.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   cikitvn   cikitvms   cikitvmsas
Acc   cikitvmsam   cikitvms   cikitsas
Ins   cikits       cikitvdbhis
Dat   cikitse        
Abl   cikitsas        
Gen   cikitsas       cikitsm
Voc   ckitvas        

The feminine is made from the weak stem with the secondary ending -, cikits, and declines like dev, as described in section 17.3. Only two neuter forms, both accusative singular, occur in the Rigveda, one of them, tatanvt, in the second verse of this lesson text.

  • cikitvm [cikitvn] abh payati, krtni y ca krtv (I, 25, 11) '(Varuna) discerns, observant, which things are done and which are yet to do' [164] (quoted in section 15.3 above)
  • vdad vidv chrnvac [vidvn rnvat] ca vidvn (V, 30, 3) 'the one not knowing will know, and the one knowing will hear' [165]
  • suvijnm cikitse jnya (VII, 104, 12) 'it is a clear distinction to an observant person' [166] (see 156)
  • chardr yna dse ychati tmn (Lesson 2 text) 'with which by his nature he extends a shield for the worshipper (from /d, which like /vid forms a perfect participle without reduplication. It is regularly used in a nominal sense)' [167]
  • srya tm jgatas tasthsa [tasthsas] ca (I, 115, 1) 'the sun, the breath of all that moves and stands (from /sth)' [168] (=127)
  • t vidvms havmahe vm, t no vidvms mnma vocetam ady (I, 120, 3) 'as such we call upon you two knowing ones, so, knowing, may you today speak (optative) the thought for us' [169]
27.2. Perfect middle participles.

Perfect middle participles are formed by adding the suffix -na to the reduplicated stem, and follow the declension of adjectives in -a described in section 6.

  • abh dvijnm tr rocanni, vv rjmsi uucn [uucns] astht (I, 149, 4) 'of double birth, (Agni) has risen above the three spheres of light, all the airy regions, shining bright (from /uc 'be bright')' [170]
  • hann him prvate iriynm (I, 32, 2) 'he destroyed the dragon lying (from /ri 'lie') on the mountain' [171] (elsewhere, in IV, 19, 3, the dragon is described as susupn, another perfect middle participle, from /svap 'sleep'; see example 123 in the last lesson)
  • samrn rmbhih pnvamne, any vm anym pi eti ubhre (III, 33, 2) 'going together (sam-rn, from /r 'go'), swelling with waves, each of you approaches the other, you beautiful ones' [172]
28. Nouns of one syllable ending in consonants.

Monosyllabic nouns ending in consonants are ancient, and of frequent occurrence in Rigveda. Among the examples already encountered, all of which are feminine nouns, are vc 'voice, speech', gr 'song', p 'water', rs 'harm', vys 'brightening', srdh 'failure, misfortune' and v 'settlement, folk'. Two more feminine abstract nouns, bh 'splendour' and rj 'power' occurred in the vocatives ubhas pat and rjm pate in examples 141 and 148. There are some masculines, like pd 'foot' (strong stem pd-) and ms 'moon, month', and a few neuter singulars, which have no ending in the nominative/accusative/vocative, like svr 'sunlight' in the Lesson 4 text, and bhs 'light' -- bhsvat described dawn in example 100.

Masculine/Feminine   Singular   Plural
Nom   [-s]   -as
Acc   -am   -as
Ins   -   -bhis
Dat   -e   -bhyas
Abl   -as   -bhyas
Gen   -as   -m
Loc   -i   -su
Voc   -   -as

Because of the phonological rule that prohibits two consonants at the end of a word, as described in section 18 of Lesson 4, the -s of the nominative singular is always lost, giving a range of endings according to the rule of permitted finals: of the nouns listed above the forms vk, gr (the vowel is also long before endings beginning with consonants, see example 176 below), and vt (from v) are found in the text. p 'water' lengthens the initial vowel in the nominative plural, as in example 177. In the weak cases the accent often moves to the ending.

The dual masculine/feminine endings are similar to those for the masculine nouns in -a described in section 6: pd or pdau 'two feet', ablative padbhym, locative pads.

  • es grveva jarit ta indra, yarti vcam brhd usnh (V, 36, 4) 'this singer of yours, Indra, like the cantor, sends his voice forth on high, sparing no effort' [173] (=132)
  • km et vc krnav tvhm [tva ahm] (X, 95, 2) 'what shall I do with this speech of yours?' [174]
  • tvm naksanta no grah [gras] (VIII, 92, 27) 'let our songs reach you' [175] (=4)
  • grvhasam grbhr [grbhs] yajvrddham (lesson text) 'brought by song, accompanied by songs, strengthened by worship' [176]
  • yann po [pas] yanam ichmnh (lesson 3 text) 'off went the waters, longing to be gone' [177]
  • ahm et [ets] mnave vivcandrh, sug [sugs] ap [aps] cakara vjrabhuh (I, 165, 8) 'I, weapon-armed, have made for man these all-bright waters flowing freely (su-g)' [178]
  • s no dv s rish [riss] ptu nktam (Lesson 1 text) 'may he protect us day and night from harm' [179]
  • srye jytir dadhur ms aktn (X, 12, 7) '(when the gods) placed light in the sun, twilight rays in the moon' [180]
  • m vto vtu arap pa srdhah [srdhas] (Lesson 5 text) 'let the wholesome wind blow a blessing, blow away misfortunes' [181]
  • rj vim si (VIII, 95, 3) '(for) you are the king of settlements' [182]
  • km jnam carati ksu viks (lesson text) 'what people does he frequent, among which settlements?' [183]

Monosyllables are also regularly found at the end of simple compounds, as in the vocative puru-krt 'doing much' in this lesson text, and ratna-bhj 'dispensing treasure' which occurs in the Lesson 4 text in the genitive, ratnabhjas.

  • pr vm s mitrvarunv rtv, vpro mnmni drghard [drgha-rt] iyarti (VII, 61, 2) 'to you, Mitra and Varuna, he, the far-famed holy poet, sends forth his thoughts' [184] (the conclusion of the verse is example number 56 in Lesson 3)
  • rma yachata dvipde ctuspade (X, 37, 11) 'extend protection to the two-footed (dvi-pd), to the four-footed' [185] (=126)
29. Comparative and Superlative.

As in Greek, there are two ways of forming both the comparative (English better, wiser) and the superlative (best, most wise). The secondary formation, which adds the endings -tara (Greek -tero) for the comparative, and -tama (compare Latin -timo, ultimo, English ultimate), for the superlative, occurs most frequently. The more ancient forms of the primary formation, -yms, like Greek -in, Latin -ior (comparative) and -istha, -isto, (superlative) occur only slightly less frequently in the Rigveda, but become progressively less common in the later language.

29.1. Primary formation.

The masculine endings of the comparative in --yms are parallel to those of the perfect active participle in -vms, with the weak form -yas-: nominative singular nvyn 'newer', dative singular nvyase (vocative nvyas). In addition, neuter singular forms occur frequently: the nominative/accusative ending is -yas. The endings of the oblique cases are the same as for the masculine. The feminine again is formed by adding the secondary suffix - to the weak stem, nvyas. The shorter form of the suffix without -- is also found, nvyms, and some comparatives, like vsyms 'better', are always formed in this way. No dual forms occur.

  • tm yujthm mnaso y jvyn (I, 183, 1) 'may you two harness that which is swifter (masculine) than understanding' [186] (=55, 73)
  • idm pitr martm ucyate vcah, svdh svdyo [svdyas] rudrya vrdhanam (I, 114, 6) 'this speech is addressed to the father of the Maruts, sweeter (neuter) than the sweet (svd), the means of growth for Rudra' [187]
  • krnutam antriksam vryo [vryas], prathatam jvse no rjmsi (VI, 69, 5) 'You two made the atmosphere broader (neuter, from vryms, comparative of ur), you spread out the airy regions for us to live' [188]
  • mnma rudhi nvyasah (I, 131, 6) 'listen to the thought of a newer one' [189]

Superlatives in -istha follow the declension in -a given in section 6.

  • asm vo astu sumat cnisth (VII, 57, 4) 'may your most gracious favour be upon us' [190] (=12)
  • c [ca] ocistha ddih vi myah (VIII, 60, 6) 'be bright (/uc, cati), O brightest one, shine happiness for the folk' [191]
  • mno jvistham patyatsu anth (VI, 9, 5) 'among flying things the understanding is swiftest (compare jvyms, example number 186)' [192]
  • svdisth dhtr ucthya asyate (I, 110, 1) 'the sweetest (compare svdyms, example number 187) thought is sung for praise' [193]
  • td kam, devnm rstham vpusm apayam (V, 62, 1) 'I saw that one, the finest (comparative ryms) of the marvels of the gods' [194] (=91, 142)
29.2. Secondary formation.

The majority of adjectives in -tara and -tama also decline regularly as adjectives in -a as described in section 6.

  • tc citrm rdha bhara, so yd drgharttamam (Lesson 4 text) 'bring hither that radiant favour, O dawn, which is most famed (superlative of drgha-rt 'far-famed' in example 184 above)' [195]
  • ys t [yr t] y prvatarm payan, vyuchntm ussam mrtysah (I, 113, 11) 'those are gone, the mortal men who saw the earlier (comparative of prva 'previous') dawn shining out' [196]
  • agnr d dh prcet [t h prcets], agnr vedhstama [vedhstamas] rsih (VI, 14, 2) 'for Agni is indeed mindful, Agni is the most honourable (superlative of vedhs) seer' [197]
  • vidvmso [vidvmsas] vidstaram sapema (VI, 15, 10) 'may we, ignorant, honour the one who knows better (vidstara, from the weak form of the perfect participle vidvms)' [198]
  • yd vo vaym praminma vratni, vidsm dev [devs] vidustarsah (X, 2, 4) 'when we, more ignorant, O gods, neglect the holy laws of you, the wise ones' [199]

A few adjectives formed with -tara or the reduced forms -ra and -ma, having affinity with pronouns, exhibit some forms that are like y, as described in section 11. The numeral ka 'one' in section 25 of the last lesson similarly showed elements of both declensions. The Lesson 3 text contains an example of such a word: ttara 'higher', used with a temporal sense, 'future', occurs with both adjectival and pronominal endings. In this lesson text the adjectives madhyam, literally 'most in the middle', vara 'lower, more recent' and avam 'lowest, most recent', all similarly used in a temporal sense, behave in the same way. In the last verse of the lesson text varsas 'the more recent ones' is the nominative plural masculine adjectival form. But in the first line of X, 15, quoted in the Textual Analysis at the beginning of this lesson, d ratm vara [vare] t prsah 'may they rise up, the more recent, the distant (fathers)', vare shows the nominative plural masculine pronominal ending.

30. Interrogatives.

Interrogatives are distinguished by an initial k-, like Latin qu- (quis, quid, quando, quomodo). The pronoun k 'who, which, what?', repeated four times in the third verse of the lesson text, follows the usual pronominal declension described in section 11, with the addition of an alternative neuter nominative and accusative form, km. This has already been encountered in a compound adjective in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text: kim-y 'what-desiring?' An old nominative singular masculine is preserved in the indeclinable forms nkis and mkis, Greek mtis, 'not any one'.

k forms a number of derivative interrogatives, like ka-tam 'which of many?', also in the third verse of in the lesson text. The form is that of a secondary superlative in -tama, as described above, and there is a parallel comparative form, ka-tar 'which of two?' Both these follow the pronominal declension. Of other derivatives of k, the indeclinables kad 'when?', kha 'where?', and kath 'how?', the first two of which also occur in the lesson text, are regularly found.

The particle cit 'even, all' following k gives an indefinite or general sense: 'whoever, whatever, anyone, anything'.

  • k ark indra katamh s ht (lesson text) 'which eulogy, Indra, which the celebrant of many?' [200]
  • katar prv katarparyh [katar par ays], kath jt kavayah k v veda (I, 185, 1) 'which of these two (heaven and earth) is earlier, which later, how were they born, O sages, who knows for certain?' [201]
  • km s rdhak krnavad ym sahsram, ms jabhra arda ca prvh (IV, 18, 4) 'what will he (Indra) separately do, whom she bears for a thousand months and many autumns?' [202]
  • ndra nkis tv [nkis tv] prti asti esm, vv jtni abh asi tni (VI, 25, 5) 'Indra, none of these equals you (prti + /as), you are above all those creatures' [203]
  • yd dha ynti martah, sm ha bruvate dhvan , rnti k cid [ks cit] esm (I, 37, 13) 'when indeed the storm gods travel, indeed they speak among themselves on the way; anyone hears them' (/ru 'hear' takes the genitive of the person heard) [204] (first two lines = 134)