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GRAMMAR OF THREE SAGES (TRIMUNI VYKARAA)

Bertram G. Liyanage1 There are eight traditions developed in history to study the grammar of Sanskrit, the most archaic literary language in the world, and the Pinian tradition is the pioneering tradition among them as well as the most popular. It is named after the great sage Pini, who formulated nearly 4,000 aphorisms in eight chapters - and hence called Adhyy - to instruct the grammar of Sanskrit. Ktyyana composed a Vrttika on Pinian sutras (aphorisms) to elucidate many complexities of it and enhanced the content, some 100 or 150 years after Pini. After an equal interval, observing the inappropriateness of some of the adjustments made by Ktyyana and proposing much amelioration on the content, Patajali composed the Mahbhya, great commentary, on the sutras of Pini and the vrttikas of Ktyyana. The tradition states that each following composer bears more authority over proceeding (yatottara munn prmyam), in concluding grammatical rivalries, which determines the words of Patajali as final. Contribution of these three sages eventually led to the perfect school of Sanskrit Grammar that foreshadowed numerous later commentators and was applied to classical Sanskrit Literature practically. Grammar thus began with Pinis sutras and matured in Patajalis erudite embellishment has been named the Grammar of Three Sages (Trimuni Vykaraa). Grammar was considered one of the vedgas, ancillaries (lit., limbs of Veda), compulsory to study with Veda. They are six in number as ik (phonetics), kalpa (practical advices on rites), vykaraa (grammar), nirukta (etymology), jyotia (astrology) and chandas (prosody), of which grammar comes first (mukha vykaraam). The superiority of grammar over other vedgas lies in two facts; it paved the path for the literature of sutras and commentaries of all the later systems of Indology and purified the use of the language, the ultimate medium of communication. Patajali enumerates five purposes to study grammar, intensifying its significance. George Cardona adds four more purposes to the list, taking Kaiyaas and Nageas viewpoints into account. In addition to them, the Dharmastra also provides some mundane purposes like naming a child, greeting properly and so on. However, among the purposes of Patajali, protecting Veda against possible changes and the belief in the necessity of being accurate to acquire the merits of sacrificial performances come forth. The dialogue between Siddhntin and Astyaprayukta in Mahbhya is a well-known explanation regarding the changing aspect of language due to some natural and geographical causes. All the modern scholars like T. Burrow stress the urgency of protecting Veda as the beginning of grammatical interest in Indian mind. In preparing his grammatical work Pini had studied in fact all the available earlier systems of Sanskrit Grammar which are emerged with Vedic studies. Arthur A. Macdonell has counted 64 grammarians prior to Pini and Rama Nath Sharma goes further increasing the number to 85. The sources for these figures are not clear. However, Pini himself gives some names of earlier grammarians in his work like piali, Kyapa, Grgya, Glava, Ckravarmaa, Bhradvja, kayana, akalya, Senaka, and Sphoyana. It is also worth mentioning here the famous debate occurred between kayana and Grgya on the way of the derivation of nouns. The former advocated that all nouns are derived from verbal roots whereas the latter objected to it. Preparing the udi list, Pini also seems to give
1 A teacher in Sanskrit at Peliyagoda Vidylnkra Pirivena, Sri Lanka.

some concession to Grgyas objection but he followed the former. As Sharma suggests, there would have been five types of grammatical works namely da, prokta, upajta, kta, and vyakhyna which Pini used as a reference. In addition, in earlier grammatical studies, ik and Prtikya played a very prominent role too. By their names themselves, they represent certain schools of Vedic studies. It is reasonable to suggest that each school had maintained a grammatical manual exclusively with their reserved tradition. Anyhow, the available number of Prtikhya and ik is comparatively small (approximately 11 or 12 Prthikhys and 40 ikhs). They mainly deal with phonetic rules and euphonious combinations. Sometimes, as in Taittirya Ptikya, we find descriptions of the places of articulation and in some others of prosody as well. They do not focus on secondary derivatives, and compounds and they totally refrain from accounting verbs and verbal derivatives. Besides, they have used technical terms of grammar amply like udtta, anudtta, praghya etc., to which, sometimes, Pini also referred directly without defining them. Yska comes thereafter. According to Burrow, he knew how to use some technical terms like nman, sarvanman, upasrga, and nipta by their correct grammatical implications. He is, however, not considered as grammarian since his work is etymological. Yska himself recognises his work as a complement to grammar. Examining the inspiration of every historical endeavour made on grammar, Pini composed the first complete grammatical work created for any language in the world. The life and time of Pini is not ascertained. Assuming some facts, he has been safely placed in 5th century BCE, and according to some records, he lived in modern Pakistan and came from the Pahn dynasty. His work is called abdnusana, instructing correct speech, though now it is better known as Adhyy. Kaiyaa verifies that the term abdnusana can be used as a synonym for grammar. Adhyy is the first sutra work compiled following the all appropriate conditions such as a minimum use of words, straightforwardness, being essential, all-encompassing, unstoppably applicable and accurate. Though the total number of original sutras varies in different versions, the Vtti, small commentary on Adhyy, comprises 3996 sutras including first sentence of the Mahbhya and the 14 iva sutras. Pini uses many technical terms and meta-language in his work, and presents general grammatical rules (smnya), definition of them (lakaa), exception to them (viea), counter explanations (apavda) and, if possible, objection to them (pratiedha) too. Eight chapters of his work deal with various themes. Roughly, 1st and 2nd chapters contain definitions and interpretations of grammatical key terms and primary grammatical concepts like compounds, nouns and genders. Analysis based on extraction of individual padas of sentences is found from 3rd to 5th chapters and from 6th to 8th there are phonological and morphophonemic operations. Each chapter has been divided into four portions and up to the first portion of eighth chapter (sapda saptdhyy) he gives all grammatical rules. The last three portions beginning with prvtrsiddham (VIII.2.1) is a collection of conclusive aphorisms. Nevertheless, at the expense of clarity, Adhyy is not a straightforward manual. In the preface of his Sanskrit Grammar, Max Mller, for instance, shows the difficulty of forming Aorist of root jg, even after following 8 rules of Pini. The later scholiast Ngea suggested some useful guidelines in the Paribhendraekhara to avoid these difficulties (prva-para-nityntar-agpavdanm uttarottaram). In writing Vrttika, Ktyyana attempted to examine the Adhyy critically. Even though it is supposed that his native place could be somewhere in Eastern India or Southern India, yet it is certain that he seems to be very acquainted with other Sanskrit grammatical traditions, out of Pinian sys-

tem. Complete work of his vrttikas, enunciations by brief sentences, has not been discovered yet, but 4293 vrttikas have been restored taken from the Mahbhya. These vrttikas encapsulate one third of Pinian sutras. On this ground, it is not plausible to assume that Ktyyana was concerned not to write vrttiks for the whole work but for what seemed faulty in it. Instead, Patajali might have collected some vrttikas according his interest. Ngea observed that the function of vrttikas is to consider what is expressed, not expressed and wrongly expressed by sutra (uktnukta durukta cintakatva vrttikam). In the light of this definition, it seems that Ktyyana indeed examined the meaning and application of a given rule: whether the rule had under-application, over-application or, rarely, no-application at all. He implemented many techniques for this analysis and splitting the content of a rule (yoga vibhga) is salient among them. Patajalis Mahbhya is a comprehensive exposition (vykhyna) on Pinis work as well as the first serious contribution on linguistic features and philosophy of a language. It focuses on both sutras and vrttikas properly by means of 85 daily lessons (ahniks) and deals with 1713 sutras directly with implicit references to 275 other sutras. Except Ktyyana, there were some other commentators who had an influence on Patajali. Pini himself write a small commentary (vtti) and so did Vyi, Ku, and Mthura. None of their works is available at the moment except some minor references made by Patajali in his work. He delineates the content of sutras in a very simple and lyrical manner but deep in meaning. His style of writing features eight characteristics; questions (prana), illustrations (dnta), examples (udharaa), counter examples (praty udharaa), answers (uttara), objections (kepa), doubts (sandeha) and resolutions of doubts (samdhna). The purpose of the Mahbhya can be broadly categorised under four headings. Firstly, he attempts to defend Pini where some alternations and modifications proposed by Ktyyana are not reasonable. Secondly, he himself examines some sutras in more detail independently when Ktyyana has put less or no stress on them. At times, thirdly, demonstrating that what Ktyyana has explicitly expressed was implied by Pini also comes to his mind. Finally, he also interpolates some fresh explanations into some sutras where they were not applicable at his time. After Patajali, all later grammarians and commentators quoted these three sages and established their explanations as uniformed system, which resulted the present grammar of Sanskrit at present.