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 Learning Sanskrit - Combination (2)

Vowel Sandhi -Part 2- (Primary Rules cont.)


 Introduction

Hi, this is Gabriel Pradīpaka. We will continue to learn Vowel Sandhi (Primary Rules) here. Remember now the three kinds of Sandhi:

1) Vowel Combinations (Vowel Sandhi)

2) Visarga Combinations (Visarga Sandhi)

3) Consonant Combinations (Consonant Sandhi)

We are studying Vowel Combinations (Vowel Sandhi).

Four primary rules are left. But, before beginning with our study, remember the following table:

Gradations of Vowel Alternation
Type Vowels
WEAKENED GRADATION (simple vowels) a i-ī u-ū ṛ-ṝ
STRENGTHENED GRADATION (Guṇa) a e o ar al
PROTRACTED GRADATION (Vṛddhi) ā ai au ār āl

Besides, it is available now a page with plenty of examples for every rule which has been taught. Click here.

Let's begin our study right now.

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 4th Primary Rule

This is a very important and useful rule. You will be using it all the time, no doubt.

4th Primary Rule
When "i-ī, u-ū, ṛ-ṝ and ḷ" are followed by a dissimilar vowel, then "y, v, r and l" are respectively substituted for them.

Look at the following table:

Table 4
i-ī + dissimilar vowel = y + dissimilar vowel
u-ū + dissimilar vowel = v + dissimilar vowel
ṛ-ṝ + dissimilar vowel = r + dissimilar vowel
+ dissimilar vowel = l + dissimilar vowel

One example for every case. Obviously, I am not giving all possible examples with every dissimilar vowel:

(i, ī) + dissimilar vowel = y + dissimilar vowel
I have marked with green color the resulting combination
योगि (yogi) + आनन्द (ānanda) = योग्यानन्द (yognanda) सुधी (sudhī) + उपास्यः (upāsyaḥ) = सुध्युपास्यः (sudhyupāsyaḥ)
Bliss (ānanda) of a Yogī (yogi) Adored (upāsyaḥ) by the wise (sudhī)
(u, ū) + dissimilar vowel = v + dissimilar vowel
I have marked with green color the resulting combination
मधु (madhu) + अरि (ari) = मध्वरि (madhvari) वधू (vadhū) + इच्छा (icchā) = वध्विच्छा (vadhvicchā)
The enemy (ari) of Madhu (madhu)
--this is an epithet of Viṣṇu--
The wish (icchā) of a wife (vadhū)
(ṛ, ṝ) + dissimilar vowel = r + dissimilar vowel
I have marked with green color the resulting combination
पितृ (pitṛ) + इङ्गित (iṅgita) = पित्रिङ्गित (pitriṅgita) धातॄ (dhātṝ) + अंश (aṁśa) = धात्रंश (dhātraṁśa)
The gesture (iṅgita) of a father (pitṛ) A portion (aṁśa) of earth (dhātṝ)
(ḷ) + dissimilar vowel = l + dissimilar vowel
I have marked with green color the resulting combination
(ḷ) + आकृति (ākṛti) = लाकृति (kṛti)
A form (ḷkāra) like that of ḷ (ḷ)

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 5th Primary Rule

This rule is really a complement of the 2nd primary rule.

5th Primary Rule
When "a" or "ā" are followed by a vṛddhi letter, both of them will be absorbed into the vṛddhi letter

Which are the vṛddhi letters? The little table appearing at the beginning of this page answers this question. They are the "protracted gradation" on that table. In a word: ā, ai, au, ār and āl. However, "ār" and "āl" are not letters but an aggregate of them: "ā + r" and "ā + l", respectively. Besides, it is obvious that "a" or "ā" combined with "ā" is again "ā". This is stated by the 3rd primary rule. So, just "ai" and "au" are left. They are the "vṛddhi letters" referred to in the present primary rule.

Look at the following table:

Table 5
a-ā + ai = ai
a-ā + au = au

One example for every case:

(a, ā) + ai = ai
I have marked with green color the resulting combination
योग (yoga) + ऐक्य (aikya) = योगैक्य (yogaikya) सेना (senā) + ऐश्वर्य (aiśvarya) = सेनैश्वर्य (senaiśvarya)
Unity (aikya) of Yoga (yoga) The sovereignty (aiśvarya) of an army (senā)
(a, ā) + au = au
I have marked with green color the resulting combination
योग (yoga) + औषध (auṣadha) = योगौषध (yogauṣadha) सेना (senā) + औग्र्य (augrya) = सेनौग्र्य (senaugrya)
Yogic (yoga) herbs (auṣadha) The fierceness (augrya) of an army (senā)

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 6th Primary Rule

This rule is very useful indeed. It is used often.

6th Primary Rule
"e", "o", "ai" and "au", when followed by a vowel "within one word", are changed to "ay", "av", "āy" and "āv" respectively. However, when there are "two words", one ending in "e", "o", "ai" and "au", and the other beginning with any vowel, this rule is optionally used. If not used, you must use the 7th primary rule.

This rule holds good when the combination occurs within a word. It could be used optionally with two words, but the 7th primary rule is used usually to rule over Sandhi between two words.

Table 6
e + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = ay
o + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = av
ai + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = āy
au + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = āv

Two examples for every case:

e + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = ay
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
The following examples show how to form declensions by adding terminations.
हरे (hare) + (e) = हरये (haraye) मते (mate) + (e) = मतये (mataye)
For Hari (haraye) For the intellect (mataye)
o + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = av
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
The following examples show how to form declensions by adding terminations.
गुरो (guro) + (e) = गुरवे (gurave) विष्णो (viṣṇo) + (e) = विष्णवे (viṣṇave)
For the guru (gurave) For Viṣṇu (viṣṇave)
ai + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = āy
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
The following examples show how to add the suffix "aka" and the termination "ti" with the respective "a" in between, to the verbs.
नै (nai) + अक (aka) = नायक (nāyaka) गै (gai) + अति (ati) = गायति (gāyati)
A leader (nāyaka) He/She/It sings (gāyati)
au + any vowel (within one word or "optionally" among two words) = āv
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
The following examples show how to add the suffix "aka" and how this rules works when there are two words in the combination.
पौ (pau) + अक (aka) = पावक (pāvaka) नौ (nau) + अवतु (avatu) = नाववतु (nāvavatu)
The purifier --i.e. "fire"-- (pāvaka) May He/She/It protect (avatu) us (nau)

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 7th Primary Rule

The previous rule may be used within one word as well as among two words. The present rule is an optional one to be utilized when there are two words. It contains three subrules:

7th Primary Rule
a) "e" and "o" at the end of a word, when followed by any vowel (except "a") are firstly transformed into "ay" and "av" (6th primary rule) and then "y" and "v" may be optionally dropped. No coalescence after that, of course. That is, the words remain separate.
b) "e" and "o" at the end of a word, when followed by "a", do not undergo any changes. However, "a" merges into "e" and "o" and the apostrophe (avagraha) is written in its place.
c) "ai" and "au" at the end of a word, when followed by any vowel are firstly transformed into "āy" and "āv" (6th primary rule) and then "y" and "v" may be optionally dropped. No coalescence after that, of course. That is, the words remain separate.

And now a simple table:

Table 7
final "e" + any vowel (except "a") = a + any vowel (except "a")
final "o" + any vowel (except "a") = a + any vowel (except "a")
final "e" + a = e'
final "o" + a = o'
final "ai" + any vowel = ā + any vowel
final "au" + any vowel = ā + any vowel

Two examples for every case:

final "e" + any vowel (except "a") = a + any vowel (except "a")
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
हरे (hare) + एहि (ehi) = हर एहि (hara ehi) मतये (mataye) + उक्तः (uktaḥ) = मतय उक्तः (mataya uktaḥ)
Oh Hari (hare), come near (ehi)! Something that has been told (uktaḥ) for the intellect (mataye)
final "o" + any vowel (except "a") = a + any vowel (except "a")
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
गुरो (guro) + एहि (ehi) = गुर एहि (gura ehi) विष्णो (viṣṇo) + आगच्छ (āgaccha) = विष्ण आगच्छ (viṣṇa āgaccha)
Oh guru (guro), come near (ehi)! Oh Viṣṇu (viṣṇo), come (āgaccha)!
final "e" + a = e'
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
हरे (hare) + अव (ava) = हरेऽव (hare'va) देवे (deve) + अहम् (aham) = देवेऽहम् (deve'ham)
Oh Hari (hare), protect (ava)! I (am) (aham) in God (deve)
final "o" + a = o'
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
प्रभो (prabho) + अद्धि (addhi) = प्रभोऽद्धि (prabho'ddhi) गुरो (guro) + अव (ava) = गुरोऽव (guro'va)
Oh Lord (prabho), eat (addhi)! Oh guru (guro), protect (ava)!
final "ai" + any vowel = ā + any vowel
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
श्रियै (śriyai) + उद्यतः (udyataḥ) = श्रिया उद्यतः (śriyā udyataḥ) शक्त्यै (śaktyai) + उद्यतः (udyataḥ) = शक्त्या उद्यतः (śaktyā udyataḥ)
Intent on (udyataḥ) (getting) wealth (śriyai) Intent on (udyataḥ) (getting) power (śaktyai)
final "au" + any vowel = ā + any vowel
I have marked with green color the resulting combination.
गुरौ (gurau) + उत्कः (utkaḥ) = गुरा उत्कः (gurā utkaḥ) विष्णौ (viṣṇau) + उत्कः (utkaḥ) = विष्णा उत्कः (viṣṇā utkaḥ)
Longing to see (utkaḥ) the guru (gurau) Longing to see (utkaḥ) Viṣṇu (viṣṇau)

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 Concluding remarks

It is over. These are the seven primary rules of Vowel Sandhi. You first must learn them all before diving into more complex rules of Sandhi. However, do not learn by heart. Not at all. Instead, attempt to understand their core and then go to the examples given in Combination - 1 (Appendix 1) for more information. There is a link to the aforesaid document on top of this document (click on "top" below, and then click on GO TO THE "EXAMPLES" PAGE). Have fun and keep learning Sanskrit.

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 Further information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.