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 Learning Sanskrit - Compounds (1)

Compounds - An introductory study


 Introduction

Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka again. This is the first document about a very important subject in Sanskrit grammar: Compounds. Since these aggregates of words are commonly used in Sanskrit, you have to know how they are formed. It is vital for a translator to be able to "label" a particular compound in order to recognize the words forming it. For example, if while translating a text I come across this compound, how am I to recognize the words of which it is composed?:

कृष्णरामौ
Kṛṣṇarāmau

It is possible that you already have recognized the first word: Kṛṣṇa... but what is the second one?... Rāmau? Not at all, the word is Rāma. The termination "au" indicates that the compound is formed from two terms: Kṛṣṇa and Rāma in this case. This is a good example of a common copulative compound. As you have just seen, if you cannot recognize the compound and the rules used for forming it, you will undergo many difficulties in order to identify the words of which it is composed. That is why, a serious study of the Sanskrit compounds is completely necessary so that you can read or write Sanskrit in an appropriate manner.

The formation of compounds in Sanskrit is not merely a matter of piling words up without rhyme or reason. The subject is much more profound and gets more and more complicated as you go deep into it. Do not worry anyway, because I am going to explain all to you in detail. I want you to learn Sanskrit compounds, but I do not want you to run away in despair, haha! You must know one thing about my way of thinking about Sanskrit teaching and learning:

I do not agree with those Sanskrit teachers saying that Sanskrit language is very easy to learn. When I am told so, I always feel that someone is lying to me. It may be a "white lie" in order to encourage me to learn Sanskrit zealously, or perhaps somebody is trying to sell me a Sanskrit course... and this is not a white lie of course, but a black one. Still, I prefer to be sincere when teaching Sanskrit. I have been studying it for 16 years to date (2005) and I think that I am a rookie yet, really. The immensity and depth of this language is unbelievable, and the vastness of its literature is beyond the understanding of a common human mind. Besides, there are different styles of Sanskrit. Some Sanskrit texts can be translated without any difficulty, while others are tremendously difficult to translate. For instance, the use of long compounds in some scriptures of Trika (a philosophical system) makes any attempt of translation a frustrating experience. On the other hand, some Vedic passages are extraordinarily difficult to understand properly, such as those of Īśopaniṣad. In fact, I would say that if you want to translate Sanskrit scriptures containing philosophical teachings, you should seek the help of a master who is conversant with that philosophy or you will be in the sea.

However, I am fully convinced that Sanskrit language can be taught in a much easier manner than that to be found in most grammars. My mission is to teach you all in a simple manner, but that is not to say that Sanskrit is very easy. It demands an effort from you. The learning of this language is not for people suffering from intellectual laziness but for those who desire to face a good intellectual challenge. As you learn Sanskrit, your intellect gets stronger. Moreover, your emotions must get stronger too, as you have to pledge yourself to keep studying Sanskrit at all costs, despite the inevitable difficulties in your way, if you want to be successful in your undertaking. In short, when you study Sanskrit your will, knowledge and power of action get stronger.

Thus, I would say that Sanskrit is not easy, but at the same time, that you can successfully learn it if you strive to do so and your teacher is a good one. The problem when you learn Sanskrit does not lies in the difficulty of a particular rule or group of them, but in the immense quantity of rules... and exceptions... to be studied. The immensity of Sanskrit grammar is the real difficulty, no doubt. However, little by little, like an ant carrying a leaf on its back this time... and another one next time... you will make your way to the core of Sanskrit. Take it easy and keep studying, as the success is always yours if you persevere.

And now, a clarifying overview.

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 Overview

There are four kinds of Sanskrit compounds, some of which are in turn divided into sub-categories as you will see. The four main categories of compounds are as follows: (1) Copulative or Dvandva; (2) Determinative or Tatpuruṣa; (3) Attributive or Bahuvrīhi and (4) Adverbial or Avyayībhāva. In turn, Dvandva compounds may be divided into three sub-categories, etc. etc.... but to make things easier, let us see all that in a simple chart:

SANSKRIT
COMPOUNDS
DVANDVÁ or COPULATIVE ITARETARA
SAMĀHĀRA
EKAŚEṢA (this is not a kind of compound anyway, but quite a vṛtti or complex formation. I will explain this to you later)
TATPURUṢA or DETERMINATIVE TATPURUṢA (Inflectional) Accusative
Instrumental
Dative
Ablative
Genitive
Locative
NAN (Negative)
KARMADHĀRAYA (Appositional) Dvigu compounds are also included within this category
PRĀDI (Prepositional, 1st kind)
GATI (Prepositional, 2nd kind)
UPAPADA (Compounds containing a upapada)
BAHUVRĪHI or ATTRIBUTIVE SAMĀNĀDHIKARAṆA
(The members --generally two-- are in apposition to one another)
VYADHIKARAṆA
(The members --generally two-- are not in apposition to one another)
AVYAYĪBHĀVA or ADVERBIAL
Despite the previous general classification, there is a fifth kind of compounds known as "Saha supā", which does not abide by any rules governing the rest of compounds. Some grammarians even speak of six types of compounds. Still, to say that there are four kinds of compounds is quite right in a general sense and it will be very convenient in our study.

Before explaining every kind of compound to you, I would want to answer the following questions:

1) What are the Vṛtti-s? The word Vṛtti has a lot of meanings, but in Sanskrit grammar mainly means a complex form. There are five Vṛtti-s... a chart now:

VṚTTI-S or
COMPLEX FORMS
Kṛt To form this type of Vṛtti, you add Kṛt or primary affixes to roots in order to form nouns, adjectives and indeclinables. For example: the affix "at" is added to a root so that the respective present participle can be formed. Look: "ad" (to eat) + "at" = "adat" (eating). Study Primary Affixes in Affixes, please.
Taddhita To form this type of Vṛtti, you add Taddhita or secondary affixes to nouns in order to change the meaning of those words in different ways. For example: the affix "aka" is added to a root so that the sense of "made by" can be conveyed properly. Look: "kulāla" (a potter) + "aka" = "kaulālaka" (something which was made by a potter, that is, "pottery"). Note that "u" in "kulāla" took its Guṇa substitute (au), while the final "a" has been dropped before adding "aka". Study Secondary Affixes in Affixes, please.
Dhātu To form this type of Vṛtti, you have to obtain derivative verbs from primitive roots through the use of various rules. For example: "budh" (to know -- a primitive root). If you want to express "a desire to know", you have to transform "budh" into "bubhuts" through the use of different rules. This "derivative" base can be conjugated as usually, by adding "a" and the respective terminations. Look: "bubhutsasi" (You want to know, you desire to know). Study how to form Dhātuvṛtti-s in Verbs, please.
Samāsa To form this type of Vṛtti, you have to join several words together into a kind of "compound word". For example: "yoga" + "āsana" = "yogāsana" (yogic posture). We are right now studying "compounds" in Compounds.
Ekaśeṣa To form this type of Vṛtti, you have to retain one of several nouns (generally alike in form) in a composition of words. Look: "haṁsa" (goose) + "haṁsī" (she-goose) = haṁsau (a goose and a she-goose). Note that only the word "haṁsau" is in masculine gender, that is to say, only masculine gender is retained when there are two genders in this kind of Vṛtti. It is not a Samāsavṛtti at all, but it is generally included in Dvandva category (copulative compounds) for the sake of convenience. I will teach you how to form this kind of Vṛtti in this very document, do not worry.

We are now about to study Samāsavṛtti and Ekaśeṣavṛtti (which is included in Dvandva compounds anyway, despite it is not a compound).

2) Which words can enter into combination with each other in order to form Samāsa-s or compounds? Nouns, adjectives, indeclinables and verbs can. An indeclinable is a word that cannot be declined (See Declension in the Sanskrit section)... oh!, I am a genius!, haha. Indeclinables are mainly words used adverbially. For example: "tathā" (so, in that manner, etc.); "pratān" (extensively); "muhur" (often, over and over again, etc.) and the like. I will go on explaining indeclinables to you later on, do not worry.

3) What is the gender of a compound? Normally, the gender of a compound is determined by that of the last word in it. For example: "Bhaktiyogaḥ" (note that despite "bhakti" is feminine, the compound is masculine as "yoga" is a masculine noun). Also note that all words (except the last one) generally appear in their crude form or Prātipadika, that is, they appear as such, as they originally are... without any kind of declension.
For example: "Ekapādaprasāraṇasarvāṅgatulāsanam"...

I will be compassionate to you: "Eka-pāda-prasāraṇa-sarva-aṅga-tulā-āsanam". The translation now: "Posture (āsanam) of the balance (tulā) performed with all (sarva) limbs or body (aṅga), in which one (eka) foot (pāda) is stretched out (prasāraṇa)". As you can see, all words (except the last one, "āsanam") appear in their crude form or Prātipadika. They can be found in that manner in any Sanskrit dictionary, as no declension is there. The gender of the compound coincides with the gender of the last word in this case. As I said before, this is a general rule to be kept in mind when you build compounds.

4) Such words as "normally", "generally" and "general rule" would indicate that there are actually some exceptions. That is right. You will begin studying in this document a particular kind of compound named "Samāhāradvandva" (See chart above) whose gender is always "neuter" despite the last word can be masculine or femenine. For example: "aharniśam", day (ahar) and night (niśā). Note that "niśā" is originally feminine, but its gender changes to a neuter one in the compound, this way: "niśam". Besides, there is a special type of compound in which the words does not appear in their crude form. These compounds are known as Aluk. For example: "Bṛhaspatiḥ", Lord (patiḥ) of prayer (bṛhas) --this is an epithet of the guru of gods according to Vedic literature--. Note that "bṛhas" is the genitive case of "bṛh" (prayer), that is to say, "bṛhas" means "of prayer". If you were to use the crude form (Prātipadika) of the word, the compound would read: "Bṛh-patiḥ". So, you are retaining an inflected (declined) form such as "bṛhas" when building this compound, and not the usual Prātipadika. As I said, this kind of compound is called Aluk and it is seen now and then in Sanskrit texts. There is also a type of compound known as Nityasamāsa... but I think it is enough for now or your mind will collapse, hehe. Everything will be taught in due course, do not worry.

5) Sandhi Rules are used when forming a compound, aren't they? Sure... they are vital! That is why I taught you Rules of Sandhi in Combination. Have them at hand always because you will need those Rules sooner or later when forming or translating compounds.

Enough of this... let us begin studying Dvandva compounds and its three subcategories: Itaretara, Samāhāra and Ekaśeṣa.

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 Copulative compounds

The principal characteristic of the Copulative or Dvandva compounds is that they contain nouns which, if not joined together in the form a compound, would appear separated by "ca" (and). The copulative particle "ca" may be used in different ways to produce identical results. Now, I will use the words Kṛṣṇa and Rāma to show how to use "ca". If you wish to write "Kṛṣṇa and Rāma", you may simply write:

कृष्णः च रामः - Kṛṣṇaḥ ca rāmaḥ »» कृष्णश् च रामः - Kṛṣṇaś ca rāmaḥ (by the 3rd Rule of Visarga Sandhi) »» कृष्णश्च रामः - Kṛṣṇaśca rāmaḥ (you simply join "Kṛṣṇaś" and "ca" together to finish polishing the phrase) »» Kṛṣṇa and Rāma

However, you may put the things in two different ways too:

कृष्णः रामः च - Kṛṣṇaḥ rāmaḥ ca »» कृष्णो रामश् च - Kṛṣṇo rāmaś ca (by the 2nd Rule of Visarga Sandhi and the 3rd Rule of Visarga Sandhi, respectively) »» कृष्णो रामश्च - Kṛṣṇo rāmaśca (you simply join "rāmaś" and "ca" together to finish polishing the phrase) »» Kṛṣṇa and Rāma

कृष्णः च रामः च - Kṛṣṇaḥ ca rāmaḥ ca »» कृष्णश् च रामश् च - Kṛṣṇaś ca rāmaś ca (by the 3rd Rule of Visarga Sandhi) »» कृष्णश्च रामश्च - Kṛṣṇaśca rāmaśca (you simply join "Kṛṣṇaś" and "ca" as well as "rāmaś" and "ca" together to finish polishing the phrase) »» Kṛṣṇa and Rāma

So, you have three general manners to write "Kṛṣṇa and Rāma", the fourth one would be in the form of a Dvandva or Copulative compound: कृष्णरामौ - Kṛṣṇarāmau

The Copulative compounds are divided into three categories (two plus Ekaśeṣa). Here you are the names of each of them along with their principal characteristics:

Copulative
Compounds
Itaretara This type is characterized by independence of the members, i.e. each of them can be clearly detected. If there are two members, the compound takes the dual number, but if there are three or more, it takes the plural. The gender of the compound is that of the last member. The compound "Kṛṣṇarāmau" (Kṛṣṇa and Rāma) is a good example of a Copulative compound formed from two members.
Samāhāra The main feature of this type is that it is constituted by an aggregate of words whose individual meaning is subordinate to the collective meaning of the compound itself, if there is any. In other words, this kind of compounds cannot be translated literally the whole time, but its meaning involves many times something more complex. Its gender is "always" neuter (regardless the gender of the last member) and its number is "always" singular. Careful! The compound "Āhāranidrābhayam" (The characteristics of animal life) is a good example of Samāhāra with a collective sense different from the individual meaning of each of its members (āhāra=food, nidrā=sleep and bhaya=fear). In turn, "Ahinakulam" (A snake and a ichneumon) is a good example of a Samāhāra without a collective sense different from the individual meaning of each member (áhi=snake and nakula=ichneumon).
Ekaśeṣa The main characteristics of this kind of compounds is that it is formed from several similar terms (either similar in form or sense), but only one of them retains the appropriate number (singular, dual or plural), and if they have different genders, only the masculine one is retained. A good example of similar terms regarding form would be the following: "Kṛṣṇau" (Two Kṛṣṇa-s -in dual number-)" or "Kṛṣṇāḥ" (Three or more Kṛṣṇa-s -in plural number-). In turn, a good example of similar terms regarding form but with different gender would be the following: "Viḍālau" (it might mean either "Two cats" or "A cat -viḍāla- and a she-cat -viḍālā-". Finally, a good example of similar terms regarding sense but different in form would be the following: "Pitarau" [Parents -it might be translated as "Two fathers", but it is generally interpreted as "mātā" (mother) and "pitā" (father), i.e. "mātā ca pitā" or "mātā pitā ca" or else "mātā ca pitā ca" (mother and father), wherein only the masculine gender is retained].

One more example of Itaretara-s: मधुघृते - Madhughṛte »» Honey (madhu) and clarified butter (ghṛta) -note how the compound takes the dual number in neuter gender, as "ghṛta" is a neuter noun-

One more example of Samāhāra-s: उष्ट्रखरम् - Uṣṭrakharam »» Camels (uṣṭra) and donkeys (khara) -although you might translate the compound in this way "A camel and a donkey", it is not generally translated in singular number-

One more example of Ekaśeṣa-s: तौ - Tau »» He (saḥ) and she (sā) -although you might translate the word "Tau" as "Those two" ("tad" or "that" in masculine gender and dual number), it might also be taken as an Ekaśeṣa derived from "sa ca sā" or "sa sā ca" or "sa ca sā ca" (He and she), in which only the masculine gender is retained. That is why the compound is "Tau" (masculine) and not "Te" (feminine). Also note that the original word "saḥ" (he) drops its final Visarga (ḥ) before a consonant by the 10th Rule of Visarga Sandhi-

Enough of this... for the time being. Maybe you are thinking, "Oh, how simple the Copulative compounds are!". Well, your present joy will be completely spoiled, shattered, annihilated and ruined later on when you study the subject in depth, be sure. Oh, I really like Sanskrit, it is so evil, hehe!

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 Determinative compounds

The principal characteristic of the Determinative or Tatpuruṣa compounds is that they contain two members and the former "determines" the import of the latter. The first member is named "attributive". Now, I will use the words "Śiva" and "likhitam" (written) to show an example of a common Tatpuruṣa compound (an inflectional Tatpuruṣa of the Instrumental kind, in this case). If you would wish to write "Written by Śiva ", you may simply put it this way:

शिवेन लिखितम् - Śivena likhitam »» Written by Śiva (note how the word "Śiva" was properly declined in Instrumental case - More information on declension at Declension pages)

However, you may put all that into a single Tatpuruṣa compound:

शिवलिखितम् - Śivalikhitam »» Written by Śiva (note how the word "Śiva" appears here in its crude form or Prātipadika, i.e. it has not been declined at all)

The Determinative compounds are divided into six categories. Here you are the names of each of them along with their principal characteristics:

Determinative
Compounds
Tatpuruṣa
(Inflectional)
Accusative This type is characterized by its attributive member (the first) being in the Accusative case if the compound were to be dissolved. The compound "Kṣayagataḥ" (One who has gone to destruction) is a good example of an Inflectional (Accusative) Tatpuruṣa compound (kṣaya=destruction and gataḥ=one who has gone).
Instrumental This type is characterized by its attributive member (the first) being in the Instrumental case if the compound were to be dissolved. The compound "Devoktaḥ" (That which was said by God) is a good example of an Inflectional (Instrumental) Tatpuruṣa compound (deva=God and uktaḥ=that which was said).
Dative This type is characterized by its attributive member (the first) being in the Dative case if the compound were to be dissolved. The compound "Narahitam" (Good for man) is a good example of an Inflectional (Dative) Tatpuruṣa compound (nara=man and hitám=good).
Ablative This type is characterized by its attributive member (the first) being in the Ablative case if the compound were to be dissolved. The gender of the compound is that of the last member. The compound "Svargapatitaḥ" (One who has fallen from heaven) is a good example of an Inflectional (Ablative) Tatpuruṣa compound (svarga=heaven and patitaḥ=one who has fallen).
Genitive This type is characterized by its attributive member (the first) being in the Genitive case if the compound were to be dissolved. The compound "Śivasūtrāṇi" (The aphorisms of Śiva) is a good example of an Inflectional (Genitive) Tatpuruṣa compound (śiva=Śiva and sūtrāṇi=aphorisms).
Locative This type is characterized by its attributive member (the first) being in the Locative case if the compound were to be dissolved. The compound "Ambarīṣabhṛṣṭaḥ" (Fried in a frying-pan) is a good example of an Inflectional (Locative) Tatpuruṣa compound (ambarīṣa=frying-pan and bhṛṣṭaḥ=fried).
Nan
(Negative)
This type is characterized by the negative particles "a" (before a consonant) or "an" (before a vowel) being added to a noun in order to form the Nan compounds. The compound "Asat" (nonexistent, not true, not good) is a good example of a Nan compound (a=non or not, and sat=existent, true or good).
Karmadhāraya
(Appositional)
This type is characterized by its two members being declined in the same case if the compound were to be dissolved. The first member or attributive is in apposition to the second member. The compound "Puruṣadevaḥ" (A person who is like God) is a good example of a Karmadhāraya compound (puruṣa=person and devaḥ=God).

Dvigu compounds are included under the Karmadhāraya category. They are Karmadhāraya or Appositional compounds in which the attributive member (the first) is a numeral. The compound "Tribhuvanam" (The three worlds) is a good example of a Dvigu compound (trí=three and bhuvanam=world). Yes, it is in singular despite it should be in plural number. This is so because the compound indicates an aggregate of things... well, I will explain this rule to you later.
Prādi
(Prepositional
1st kind)
This type is characterized by the attributive member (the first) being a preposition. The compound "Praguruḥ" (An eminent guru o preceptor) is a good example of a Prādi compound (pra=eminent -derived from "pragata"- and guruḥ=guru or preceptor).
Gati
(Prepositional
2nd kind)
This type of compounds is generally formed from adding verbal indeclinables to a specific group of terms (which will be described by me later on). The compound "Vaṣaṭkṛtya" (Having pronounced the sacred word Vaṣaṭ) is a good example of a Gati compound constituted by a word belonging to the aforesaid specific group of terms plus a verbal indeclinable (vaṣaṭ=the sacred word Vaṣaṭ and kṛtya=having pronounced).
Upapada
(Compounds
containing
a upapada)
This type is characterized by the second member being a noun derived from a root. In turn, this noun is bound to take a Kṛt or Primary affix (See Affixes pages, for more information) due to the presence of the attributive member (the first). Upapada is just the name of the first member (attributive) in this special case, that is, the noun prefixed to another noun taking a Kṛt or Primary affix. Hence the name of the entire compound: Upapada Tatpuruṣa. The compound "Kumbhakāraḥ" (A potter) is a good example of a Upapada compound (kumbha=pot and kāraḥ=one who makes). Note that the word "kumbha" is the "upapada" here, as it is subordinate to a noun derived from a root and taking a Kṛt affix. This special noun is the second member (i.e. kāraḥ derived from the root "kṛ" -to do, make-), no doubt, and took a Kṛt affix due to the presence of the upapada itself or first member.
The gender of the Determinative or Tatpuruṣa compounds is "generally" that of their last member.
Anyway, there are several exceptions.

Now, additional examples of each type of Determinative or Tatpuruṣa compound:

One more example of Inflectional Tatpuruṣa (Accusative): शिवश्रितः - Śivaśritaḥ »» One who has resorted (śritaḥ) to Śiva (śiva) -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: शिवं श्रितः - Śivaṁ śritaḥ »» One who has resorted (śritaḥ) to Śiva (śivam)... and "śivam" is the Accusative case of the noun "śiva", the first member. Hence this kind of compound is called Inflectional (Accusative) Tatpuruṣa-

One more example of Inflectional Tatpuruṣa (Instrumental): क्षीरौदनः - Kṣīraudanaḥ »» Rice (boiled) (odanaḥ) with milk (kṣīra) -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: क्षीरेण ओदनः - Kṣīreṇa odanaḥ »» क्षीरेणौदनः - Kṣīreṇaudanaḥ (final "a" and initial "o" were combined according to the 2nd Primary Rule of Vowel Sandhi) »» Rice (boiled) (odanaḥ) with milk (kṣīreṇa)... and "kṣīreṇa" is the Instrumental case of the noun "kṣīra" (milk), the first member. Hence this kind of compound is called Inflectional (Instrumental) Tatpuruṣa-

One more example of Inflectional Tatpuruṣa (Dative): यज्ञघृतम् - Yajñaghṛtam »» Clarified butter (ghṛtam) for the sacrifice (yajña) -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: यज्ञाय घृतम् - Yajñāya ghṛtam »» Clarified butter (ghṛtam) for the sacrifice (yajñāya)... and "yajñāya" is the Dative case of the noun "yajña" (sacrifice), the first member. Hence this kind of compound is called Inflectional (Dative) Tatpuruṣa-

One more example of Inflectional Tatpuruṣa (Ablative): देवभयम् - Devabhayam »» Fear (bhayam) from God (deva) -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: देवात् भयम् - Devāt bhayam »» देवाद् भयम् - Devād bhayam (final "t" in "devāt" is replaced with "d" by the 3rd sub-rule of the 2nd Rule of Consonant Sandhi) »» देवाद्भयम् - Devādbhayam »» Fear (bhayam) from God (devāt)... and "devāt" is the Ablative case of the noun "deva" (God), the first member. Hence this kind of compound is called Inflectional (Ablative) Tatpuruṣa-

One more example of Inflectional Tatpuruṣa (Genitive): योगमुद्रा - Yogamudrā »» Seal (mudrā) of Yoga or Union (yoga) -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: योगस्य मुद्रा - Yogasya mudrā »» Seal (mudrā) of Yoga or Union (yogasya)... and "yogasya" is the Genitive case of the noun "yoga" (Yoga or Union), the first member. Hence this kind of compound is called Inflectional (Genitive) Tatpuruṣa-

One more example of Inflectional Tatpuruṣa (Locative): सूर्यशुष्कः - Sūryaśuṣkaḥ »» Dried (śuṣkaḥ) in the sun (sūrya) -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: सूर्ये शुष्कः - Sūrye śuṣkaḥ »» Dried (śuṣkaḥ) in the sun (sūrye)... and "sūrye" is the Locative case of the noun "sūrya" (sun), the first member. Hence this kind of compound is called Inflectional (Locative) Tatpuruṣa-


One more example of Nan compounds (Negative): अनुपपत्तिः - Anupapattiḥ »» Non-accomplishment (an-upapattiḥ) -"an" is used before vowel, and "a" is used before consonant e.g. "adharma" (unrighteousness)-


One more example of "standard" Karmadhāraya compounds (Appositional): रक्तपुष्पम् - Raktapuṣpam »» A red (rakta) flower (puṣpam) -should you dissolve the compound, both of members would be declined in identical case: रक्तम् पुष्पम् - Raktam puṣpam »» रक्तं पुष्पम् - Raktaṁ puṣpam (final "m" in "raktam" is replaced with "ṁ" by the 10th Rule of Consonant Sandhi) »» A red (raktam) flower (puṣpam)... and as you can see, both of members are declined in Nominative case, acting the first or attributive member as an apposition to the second one. Hence this kind of compound is called Karmadhāraya or Appositional Tatpuruṣa-

One more example of Dvigu compounds, which are also included under the category of Karmadhāraya compounds (Appositional): पञ्चपर्वतम् - Pañcaparvatam »» Five (pañca) peaks or mountains (parvatam) -should you dissolve the compound, both of members would be declined in identical case: पञ्च पर्वताः - Pañca parvatāḥ »» Five (pañca) peaks or mountains (parvatāḥ) [see Numbers (3) (English) for more information on declension of numerals]... and as you can see, both of members are declined in Nominative case, being the first or attributive a numeral and acting as an apposition to the second one. Hence the Dvigu compounds are considered to be Karmadhāraya-s or Appositional Tatpuruṣa-s too-


One more example of Prādi compounds (Prepositional 1st kind): अतिमुक्तिः - Atimuktiḥ »» A liberation (muktiḥ) which is unrivalled (ati) -the preposition "ati" is derived from "atikrānta" (unrivalled) in this particular case. Thus, should you dissolve the compound, the phrase would read: अतिक्रान्ता मुक्तिः - Atikrāntā muktiḥ »» A liberation (muktiḥ) which is unrivalled (atikrāntā)... as "mukti" is a feminine noun, "atikrānta" is to take the feminine gender too, that is, "atikrāntā"-


One more example of Gati compounds (Prepositional 2nd kind): प्रादुर्भूय - Prādurbhūya »» Having become (bhūya) manifest or evident (prādus) -this is an example showing a Gati compound formed from one of the words included in that specific group of terms I mentioned before (i.e. "prādus") and a verbal indeclinable (i.e. "bhūya", derived from the root "bhū" or "to be, become")-


One more example of Upapada compounds (Compounds containing an upapada): वेदगः - Vedagaḥ »» One who chants (gaḥ) verses of the Veda-s (veda) -this is an example of a Upapada compound. The word "Veda" is the "upapada" here, as it is subordinate to a noun derived from a root and taking a Kṛt affix. This special noun is the second member (i.e. "gaḥ" derived from the root "gai" -to sing-), no doubt, and took a Kṛt affix due to the presence of the upapada itself or first member-


Well, if you are still alive, we can study now Bahuvrīhi compounds.

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 Attributive compounds

The main characteristic of the Attributive or Bahuvrīhi compounds is that they contain two or "more members" in apposition to one another (thank God, they contain only two members for the most part). These members are usually nouns (substantives or adjectives), although the first member may also be an indeclinable (words that cannot be declined... I will explain this later), a numeral, etc. The last one is generally a substantive, though it may be a numeral sometimes. The first member is called "attributive" because always modifies or alters the sense of the remaining members. These compounds are related to something else than what is referred to by its own members. An Attributive or Bahuvrīhi compound "very often" attributes what is denoted by the last member to something different, i.e. something that is not denoted by neither of its members. In other words, the last member loses its character of a substantive and along with the attributive member (the first one) qualifies a new noun emerging as a result.

OK, it is difficult to understand that way, but there is always a key to determine the type of compounds you are analyzing: "Attempt to dissolve it and check the results". For example, if I had to prove that the following compound is a inflectional Tatpuruṣa of the Instrumental kind:

शिवलिखितम् - Śivalikhitam (śiva-written)

Then, the means to do that lies in dissolving it and study the results:

शिवेन लिखितम् - Śivena likhitam »» Written by Śiva (note how the word "Śiva" was properly declined in Instrumental case - More information on declension at the Declension documents)

Thus, it has been proved that the compound is an inflectional Tatpuruṣa of the Instrumental kind because its first member is to be declined in that case when the compound is dissolved.

The same thing is true to the Attributive of Bahuvrīhi compounds, but the rule changes regarding the results you will get, of course:

"When you dissolve an Attributive or Bahuvrīhi compound, the pronoun yad (which, who) should always appear in any of the eight cases. However, in practice, only these six cases (Accusative, Instrumental, Dative, Ablative, Genitive, Locative) are generally possible. As you can see, Nominative and Vocative cases are not included here, but be warned that under some particular circumstances, the Nominative case is used".

The relative pronoun "yad" may be masculine, feminine or neuter. When it is masculine in gender, the declension is as follows:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative यः यौ ये
yaḥ yau ye
which or who which or who which or who
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative यम् यौ यान्
yam yau yān
to which or whom to which or whom to which or whom
Instrumental येन याभ्याम् यैः
yena yābhyām yaiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. which or whom by/through/along with/etc. which or whom by/through/along with/etc. which or whom
Dative यस्मै याभ्याम् येभ्यः
yasmai yābhyām yebhyaḥ
to/for/etc. which or whom to/for/etc. which or whom to/for/etc. which or whom
Ablative यस्मात् याभ्याम् येभ्यः
yasmāt yābhyām yebhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. which or whom from/on account of/etc. which or whom from/on account of/etc. which or whom
Genitive यस्य ययोः येषाम्
yasya yayoḥ yeṣām
of which or whom (whose) of which or whom (whose) of which or whom (whose)
Locative यस्मिन् ययोः येषु
yasmin yayoḥ yeṣu
in/on/etc. which or whom in/on/etc. which or whom in/on/etc. which or whom

When it is feminine in gender, the declension is as follows:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative या ये याः
ye yāḥ
which or who which or who which or who
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative याम् ये याः
yām ye yāḥ
to which or whom to which or whom to which or whom
Instrumental यया याभ्याम् याभिः
yayā yābhyām yābhiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. which or whom by/through/along with/etc. which or whom by/through/along with/etc. which or whom
Dative यस्यै याभ्याम् याभ्यः
yasyai yābhyām yābhyaḥ
to/for/etc. which or whom to/for/etc. which or whom to/for/etc. which or whom
Ablative यस्याः याभ्याम् याभ्यः
yasyāḥ yābhyām yābhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. which or whom from/on account of/etc. which or whom from/on account of/etc. which or whom
Genitive यस्याः ययोः यासाम्
yasyāḥ yayoḥ yāsām
of which or whom (whose) of which or whom (whose) of which or whom (whose)
Locative यस्याम् ययोः यासु
yasyām yayoḥ yāsu
in/on/etc. which or whom in/on/etc. which or whom in/on/etc. which or whom

When it is neuter in gender, the declension is identical with that of masculine, except for the Nominative and Accusative cases:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative यत् ये यानि
yat ye yāni
which or who which or who which or who
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative यत् ये यानि
yat ye yāni
to which or whom to which or whom to which or whom
Instrumental येन याभ्याम् यैः
yena yābhyām yaiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. which or whom by/through/along with/etc. which or whom by/through/along with/etc. which or whom
Dative यस्मै याभ्याम् येभ्यः
yasmai yābhyām yebhyaḥ
to/for/etc. which or whom to/for/etc. which or whom to/for/etc. which or whom
Ablative यस्मात् याभ्याम् येभ्यः
yasmāt yābhyām yebhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. which or whom from/on account of/etc. which or whom from/on account of/etc. which or whom
Genitive यस्य ययोः येषाम्
yasya yayoḥ yeṣām
of which or whom (whose) of which or whom (whose) of which or whom (whose)
Locative यस्मिन् ययोः येषु
yasmin yayoḥ yeṣu
in/on/etc. which or whom in/on/etc. which or whom in/on/etc. which or whom

However, the most commonly seen declension is that of Genitive ("yasya" --masculine and neuter-- and "yasyāḥ" -- feminine--).

The Attributive compounds are "usually" divided into two categories. Here you are the names of each of them along with their principal characteristics:

Attributive
Compounds
Samānādhikaraṇa
(This type is characterized by its members being in apposition to one another, i.e. if the compound is dissolved the members are declined in the same case)
Accusative The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Accusative case. The compound "prāptodakaḥ" (masculine) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Accusative case, it results in: prāptam udakam yam asau = prāptamudakaṁ yamasau --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules--. It may be translated this way: That (asaú) to which (yam) (you can go) to obtain (prāptám) (some) water (udakam). This might be the epithet of a "village" ("grāma", a masculine noun), to which you go to get some water to drink.Note that: (1) Both members (prāptá and udaka) are declined in the same case (Nominative singular here). (2) The term "yam" is the Accusative case of "yad" (masculine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (masculine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "grāma" or a village in this particular case). (4) I am using "asaú" ("that", masculine) because I am talking about an object or thing. Anyway, this word is sometimes used regarding persons..
Instrumental The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Instrumental case. The compound "cūrṇitagodhūmam" (neuter) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Instrumental case, it results in: cūrṇitaḥ godhūmaḥ yena adaḥ = cūrṇito godhūmo yenādaḥ --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules--. It may be translated this way: That (adas) by which (yena) wheat (godhūmaḥ) (is) ground (cūrṇitaḥ). This might be the epithet of a "mill" ("peṣaṇa", a neuter noun), by which you grind grains of wheat.Note that: (1) Both members (cūrṇita and godhūma) are declined in the same case (Nominative singular here). (2) The term "yena" is the Instrumental case of "yad" (neuter). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (neuter here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "peṣaṇa" or a mill in this particular case). (4) Why did I use "adas" and not "asaú" here? Both terms mean "that", but "asaú" is for masculine and feminine nouns (singular number), while "adas" is used with neuter nouns (singular number). Both words derive from "adas", which coincides with the neuter form, as you can see. After this chart, you will find other ones showing how to decline properly "adas" (that) so that all your doubt may be dissipated.
Dative The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Dative case. The compound "upahṛtāhaṅkāraḥ" (masculine) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Dative case, it results in: upahṛtaḥ ahaṅkāraḥ yasmai asau = upahṛto'haṅkāro yasmai saḥ --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules--. It may be translated this way: One (saḥ) for whom (yasmai) (false) ego (ahaṅkāraḥ) (has been) taken away or destroyed (upahṛtaḥ). It may sound somewhat strange in English, but I tried to be as literal as possible in order to show you the Dative case of "yad" (i.e. yasmai) in the sentence. The purport is: "One whose false ego has been taken away or destroyed". This might be the epithet of "God" ("deva", a masculine noun), who is without any false ego.Note that: (1) Both members (upahṛta and ahaṅkāra) are declined in the same case (Nominative singular here). (2) The term "yasmai" is the Dative case of "yad" (masculine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (masculine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "deva" or God in this particular case). (4) I use "saḥ" (He) instead of "asaú" (that), because I am talking about a subject ("God" here) and not about an object or thing. Anyway, sometimes "asaú" is used to designate a subject. Afterward, there will be a chart showing the entire declension of "tad", from which "saḥ" is derived.
Ablative The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Ablative case. The compound "kṣiptāgniḥ" (masculine) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Ablative case, it results in: kṣiptaḥ agniḥ yasmāt asau = kṣipto'gniryasmādasau --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules--. It may be translated this way: That (asaú) from which (yasmāt) fire (agniḥ) (is) cast or thrown (kṣiptaḥ). It may sound somewhat strange in English, but I tried to be as literal as possible in order to show you the Ablative case of "yad" (i.e. yasmāt) in the sentence. The purport is: "That which casts or throws fire". This might be the epithet of a "volcano" ("adrivahni", a masculine noun), which casts or throws fire, as you know.Note that: (1) Both members (kṣipta and agni) are declined in the same case (Nominative singular here). (2) The term "yasmāt" is the Ablative case of "yad" (masculine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (masculine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "adrivahni" or a volcano in this particular case). (4) I am using "asaú" ("that", masculine) again because I am talking about an object or thing. Anyway, this word is sometimes used regarding subjects.
Genitive The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Genitive case. The compound "bahuvrīhiḥ" (masculine) is a good example. Note that this is the name of the Attributive compounds you are studying right now... and of course, it may be considered to be a Bahuvrīhi compound too. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Genitive case, it results in: bahuḥ vrīhiḥ yasya saḥ = bahurvrīhiryasya saḥ --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules--. It may be translated this way: One (saḥ) whose --of whom-- (yasya) rice (vrīhiḥ) (is) abundant (bahuḥ). It may sound somewhat strange in English, but I tried to be as literal as possible in order to show you the Genitive case of "yad" (i.e. yasya) in the sentence. The purport is: "One who has a lot of rice ". This might be the epithet of "a man having plenty of rice". OK, I have not been extremely creative now, haha, but I just wanted to give an example by using the term Bahuvrīhi.Note that: (1) Both members (bahu and vrīhi) are declined in the same case (Nominative singular here). (2) The term "yasya" is the Genitive case of "yad" (masculine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (masculine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "bahuvrīhi" or someone having plenty of rice in this particular case). (4) I use "saḥ" (He) instead of "asaú" (that), because I am talking about a subject ("a man having plenty of rice" here) and not about an object or thing. Anyway, "asaú" is sometimes used to designate subjects. Afterward, there will be a chart showing the entire declension of "tad", from which "saḥ" is derived.
Locative The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Locative case. The compound "sundarapuraḥ" (masculine) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Locative case, it results in: sundarāṇi purāṇi yasmin asau = sundarāṇi purāṇyyasminasau --if you agglutinate the words--. It may be translated this way: That (asaú) in which (yasmin) the cities (purāṇi) (are) beautiful (sundarāṇi). It may sound somewhat strange in English, but I tried to be as literal as possible in order to show you the Locative case of "yad" (i.e. yasmin) in the sentence. The purport is: "A place wherein the cities are beautiful". This might be the epithet of a particular "region or country" ("deśa", a masculine noun), whose cities are beautiful.Note that: (1) Both members (sundara and pura) are declined in the same case (Nominative plural here). (2) The term "yasmin" is the Locative case of "yad" (masculine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (masculine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "deśa" or a region or country in this particular case). (4) I am using "asaú" ("that", masculine) again because I am talking about an object or thing. Anyway, this word is sometimes used regarding subjects too.
Vyadhikaraṇa
(This type is characterized by its members not being in apposition to one another, i.e. if the compound is dissolved the members are not declined in the same case)
Genitive The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Genitive case. The compound "daṇḍapāṇiḥ" (feminine) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Genitive case, it results in: daṇḍena pāṇiḥ yasyāḥ sā = daṇḍena pāṇiryasyāḥ sā --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules-- or also, daṇḍaḥ pāṇau yasyāḥ sā --no additional agglutinations or Sandhi Rules are necessary here--. It may be translated this way: One (sā) whose --of whom-- (yasyāḥ) hand (pāṇiḥ) (is endowed with) a staff (daṇḍena), or else, One (sā) in the hand (pāṇau) of whom --i.e. in whose hand-- (yasyāḥ) (there is) a staff (daṇḍaḥ). It may sound somewhat strange in English, but I tried to be as literal as possible in order to show you the Genitive case of "yad" (i.e. yasyāḥ) in the sentence. The purport is: "A staff-handed woman". This might be the epithet of a "policewoman" ("nagararakṣiṇī", a feminine noun), who has a staff in her hand. Granted, it is possible that in the traditional Sanskrit dictionaries only the word "policeman" (nagararakṣī) is to be found, but... we are living in the third millennium now, you know, hehe. Note that: (1) Both members (daṇḍa and pāṇi) are not declined in the same case (Instrumental and Nominative or Nominative and Locative, both of them in singular number here). (2) The term "yasyāḥ" is the Genitive case of "yad" (feminine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (feminine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "nagararakṣiṇī" or a policewoman in this particular case). (4) I use "sā" (she) instead of "asaú" (that), because I am talking about a subject ("a staff-handed woman" here) and not about an object or thing. Anyway, "asaú" is sometimes also used regarding subjects. Afterward, there will be a chart showing the entire declension of "tad", from which "sā" is derived.
Locative The resulting sentence has "yad" declined in the Locative case. The compound "bhaktipuruṣaḥ" (masculine) is a good example. When you dissolve it by keeping "yad" declined in the Locative case, it results in: bhaktyā puruṣāḥ yasmin asau = bhaktyā puruṣā yasminasau --if you agglutinate the words and apply Sandhi Rules--. It may be translated this way: That (asaú) in which (yasmin) the people (puruṣāḥ) (are) endowed with devotion (bhaktyā). It may sound somewhat strange in English, but I tried to be as literal as possible in order to show you the Locative case of "yad" (i.e. yasmin) in the sentence. The purport is: "A region wherein the people are endowed with devotion". This might be the epithet of "Viṣṇu's heaven" ("Vaikuṇṭha", a masculine noun... even though sometimes it may be neuter, but I had to choose a gender in this example, of course), in which its inhabitants are full of devotion. This is not an official epithet of Vaikuṇṭha, but I have just invented for you, hehe. Granted, you may qualify any heavenly world by means of that Bahuvrīhi compound, not only Vaikuṇṭha, provided that you keep the proper gender (masculine, in this case, as Vaikuṇṭha is a masculine noun).Note that: (1) Both members (bhakti and puruṣa) are not declined in the same case (Instrumental singular and Nominative plural here). (2) The term "yasmin" is the Locative case of "yad" (masculine). (3) The compound itself, which acts as a kind of adjective, must obligatorily have the same gender (masculine here) as the thing that is referred to by it (i.e. "Vaikuṇṭha" or Viṣṇu's heaven in this particular case). (4) I am using "asaú" ("that", masculine) again because I am talking about an object or thing (a world), even though sometimes "asaú" is used in respect of subjects.

Now, what I promised, that is, complete charts showing how to decline "adas" (that) and "tad" (he, she, it, that):

The demonstrative pronoun "adas" may be masculine, feminine or neuter. When it is masculine in gender, the declension is as follows:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative असौ अमू अमी
asau amū amī
that those two those
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative अमुम् अमू अमून्
amum amū amūn
to that to those two to those
Instrumental अमुना अमूभ्याम् अमीभिः
amunā amūbhyām amībhiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. that by/through/along with/etc. those two by/through/along with/etc. those
Dative अमुष्मै अमूभ्याम् अमीभ्यः
amuṣmai amūbhyām amībhyaḥ
to/for/etc. that to/for/etc. those two to/for/etc. those
Ablative अमुष्मात् अमूभ्याम् अमीभ्यः
amuṣmāt amūbhyām amībhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. that from/on account of/etc. those two from/on account of/etc. those
Genitive अमुष्य अमुयोः अमीषाम्
amuṣya amuyoḥ amīṣām
of that of those two of those
Locative अमुष्मिन् अमुयोः अमीषु
amuṣmin amuyoḥ amīṣu
in/on/etc. that in/on/etc. those two in/on/etc. those

When it is feminine in gender, the declension is as follows:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative असौ अमू अमूः
asau amū amūḥ
that those two those
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative अमूम् अमू अमूः
amūm amū amūḥ
to that to those two to those
Instrumental अमुया अमूभ्याम् अमूभिः
amuyā amūbhyām amūbhiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. that by/through/along with/etc. those two by/through/along with/etc. those
Dative अमुष्यै अमूभ्याम् अमूभ्यः
amuṣyai amūbhyām amūbhyaḥ
to/for/etc. that to/for/etc. those two to/for/etc. those
Ablative अमुष्याः अमूभ्याम् अमूभ्यः
amuṣyāḥ amūbhyām amūbhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. that from/on account of/etc. those two from/on account of/etc. those
Genitive अमुष्याः अमुयोः अमूषाम्
amuṣyāḥ amuyoḥ amūṣām
of that of those two of those
Locative अमुष्याम् अमुयोः अमूषु
amuṣyām amuyoḥ amūṣu
in/on/etc. that in/on/etc. those two in/on/etc. those

When it is neuter in gender, the declension is identical with that of masculine, except for the Nominative and Accusative cases:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative अदः अमू अमूनि
adaḥ amū amūni
that those two those
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative अमुम् अमू अमून्
amum amū amūn
to that to those two to those
Instrumental अमुना अमूभ्याम् अमीभिः
amunā amūbhyām amībhiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. that by/through/along with/etc. those two by/through/along with/etc. those
Dative अमुष्मै अमूभ्याम् अमीभ्यः
amuṣmai amūbhyām amībhyaḥ
to/for/etc. that to/for/etc. those two to/for/etc. those
Ablative अमुष्मात् अमूभ्याम् अमीभ्यः
amuṣmāt amūbhyām amībhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. that from/on account of/etc. those two from/on account of/etc. those
Genitive अमुष्य अमुयोः अमीषाम्
amuṣya amuyoḥ amīṣām
of that of those two of those
Locative अमुष्मिन् अमुयोः अमीषु
amuṣmin amuyoḥ amīṣu
in/on/etc. that in/on/etc. those two in/on/etc. those

And what about "tad"? Listen up:

The demonstrative pronoun "tad" may be masculine, feminine or neuter. When it is masculine in gender, the declension is as follows:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative सः तौ ते
saḥ tau te
he both/both of them they
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative तम् तौ तान्
tam tau tān
to him to both/both of them to them
Instrumental तेन ताभ्याम् तैः
tena tābhyām taiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. him by/through/along with/etc. both/both of them by/through/along with/etc. them
Dative तस्मै ताभ्याम् तेभ्यः
tasmai tābhyām tebhyaḥ
to/for/etc. him to/for/etc. both/both of them to/for/etc. them
Ablative तस्मात् ताभ्याम् तेभ्यः
tasmāt tābhyām tebhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. him from/on account of/etc. both/both of them from/on account of/etc. them
Genitive तस्य तयोः तेषाम्
tasya tayoḥ teṣām
of his or his of both/them both of theirs or their
Locative तस्मिन् तयोः तेषु
tasmin tayoḥ teṣu
in/on/etc. him in/on/etc. both/both of them in/on/etc. them

When it is feminine in gender, the declension is as follows:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative सा ते ताः
te tāḥ
she both/both of them they
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative ताम् ते ताः
tām te tāḥ
to her to both/both of them to them
Instrumental तया ताभ्याम् ताभिः
tayā tābhyām tābhiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. her by/through/along with/etc. both/both of them by/through/along with/etc. them
Dative तस्यै ताभ्याम् ताभ्यः
tasyai tābhyām tābhyaḥ
to/for/etc. her to/for/etc. both/both of them to/for/etc. them
Ablative तस्याः ताभ्याम् ताभ्यः
tasyāḥ tābhyām tābhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. her from/on account of/etc. both/both of them from/on account of/etc. them
Genitive तस्याः तयोः तासाम्
tasyāḥ tayoḥ tāsām
of hers or her of both/them both of them
Locative तस्याम् तयोः तासु
tasyām tayoḥ tāsu
in/on/etc. her in/on/etc. both/both of them in/on/etc. them

When it is neuter in gender, the declension is identical with that of masculine, except for the Nominative and Accusative cases:

CASES Singular Dual Plural
Nominative तत् ते तानि
tat te tāni
it or that both/both of them or those two they or those
Vocative n/a n/a n/a
Accusative तत् ते तानि
tat te tāni
to it or that to both/both of them or those two to them or those
Instrumental तेन ताभ्याम् तैः
tena tābhyām taiḥ
by/through/along with/etc. it or that by/through/along with/etc. both/both of them or those two by/through/along with/etc. them or those
Dative तस्मै ताभ्याम् तेभ्यः
tasmai tābhyām tebhyaḥ
to/for/etc. it or that to/for/etc. both/both of them or those two to/for/etc. them or those
Ablative तस्मात् ताभ्याम् तेभ्यः
tasmāt tābhyām tebhyaḥ
from/on account of/etc. it or that from/on account of/etc. both/both of them or those two from/on account of/etc. them or those
Genitive तस्य तयोः तेषाम्
tasya tayoḥ teṣām
of its or its; or of that of both/them both or those two of theirs or their; or of those
Locative तस्मिन् तयोः तेषु
tasmin tayoḥ teṣu
in/on/etc. it or that in/on/etc. both/both of them or those two in/on/etc. them or those

And now a few additional examples:

One more example of Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Accusative): प्राप्तमोक्षः - Prāptamokṣaḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: prāptaḥ mokṣaḥ yam saḥ »» prāpto mokṣo yaṁ saḥ [after applying both the 2nd Rule of Visarga Sandhi (twice) and the 10th Rule of Consonant Sandhi (once)] »» One (saḥ) whom (yam) (a living being resorts) to obtain (prāptaḥ) Liberation (mokṣaḥ)»» This might be the epithet of a "Sadguru" (a true Guru), from whom a person gets Liberation. The gender of the compound is masculine because Sadguru is a masculine noun. This very compound could also be considered as a Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Instrumental). Look:

One more example of Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Instrumental): प्राप्तमोक्षः - Prāptamokṣaḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: prāptaḥ mokṣaḥ yena saḥ »» prāpto mokṣo yena saḥ [after applying the 2nd Rule of Visarga Sandhi (twice)] »» One (saḥ) by whom (yena) Liberation (mokṣaḥ) is or has been attained (prāptaḥ) »» It may sound strange in English, but it is easy to understand. Listen up: This might be the epithet of "someone who attained Liberation"... (a saint, sage, great yogī, etc.), in other words, any being that has attained that state or condition. The gender of the compound is masculine because I am speaking of a man now, but it could be feminine or even neuter according to the gender of the one who attained Liberation, got it? This compound could also be considered as a Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Accusative), such as I have described above.

One more example of Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Dative): उपहृतपशुः - Upahṛtapaśuḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: upahṛtaḥ paśuḥ yasmai saḥ »» upahṛtaḥ paśuryasmai saḥ (after applying the 7th Rule of Visarga Sandhi and agglutinating words) »» One (saḥ) for whom (yasmai) a beast (generally cattle) (paśuḥ) is immolated or sacrificed (upahṛtaḥ) »» This is the epithet of the god Rudra (the one who destroys the entire universe at the time of final dissolution). The gender of the compound is masculine because Rudra is a masculine noun.

One more example of Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Ablative): उद्धृतौदना - Uddhṛtaudanā -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: uddhṛtaḥ odanaḥ yasyāḥ asau »» uddhṛta odano yasyā asau [after applying the 2nd Rule of Visarga Sandhi (once) along with the 9th Rule of Visarga Sandhi (twice)] »» That (asau) from which (yasyāḥ) (boiled) rice (odanaḥ) is extracted (uddhṛtaḥ) »» This is the epithet of any cooking-vessel (sthālī). The gender of the compound is feminine because "sthālī" is a feminine noun.

One more example of Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Genitive): रक्तपटः - Raktapaṭaḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: raktaḥ paṭaḥ yasya saḥ »» raktaḥ paṭo yasya saḥ (after applying the 2nd Rule of Visarga Sandhi) »» One (saḥ) whose --of whom-- (yasya) garment(s) (paṭaḥ) are red (raktaḥ) »» This is the epithet of Garuḍa, the celebrated eagle who wears red clothes and is the vehicle of Lord Viṣṇu. The gender of the compound is masculine because Garuḍa is a masculine noun.

One more example of Samānādhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Locative): वीरपुरुषः - Vīrapuruṣaḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: vīrāḥ puruṣāḥ yasmin asau »» vīrāḥ puruṣā yasmin asau (after applying the 9th Rule of Visarga Sandhi) »» That (asau) in which (yasmin) men (puruṣāḥ) are heroes (vīrāḥ) »» This is a well-known epithet of a "village" (grāma). The gender of the compound is masculine because "grāma" is a masculine noun.


One more example of Vyadhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Genitive): चक्रपाणिः - Cakrapāṇiḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: cakreṇa pāṇiḥ yasya saḥ »» cakreṇa pāṇiryasya saḥ (after applying the 7th Rule of Visarga Sandhi and agglutinating words) »» One (saḥ) whose --of whom-- (yasya) hand (pāṇiḥ) (is endowed) with a disc (cakreṇa); or else: cakram pāṇau yasya saḥ »» cakraṁ pāṇau yasya saḥ (after applying the 10th Rule of Consonant Sandhi) »» One (saḥ) in the hand (pāṇau) of whom --i.e. in whose hand-- (yasya) (there is) a disc (cakram) »» This is a well-known epithet of Lord Viṣṇu. The gender of the compound is masculine because Viṣṇu is a masculine noun.

One more example of Vyadhikaraṇa-bahuvrīhi (Locative): सिद्धिपुरुषः - Siddhipuruṣaḥ -should you dissolve the compound, the sentence would read: siddhibhiḥ puruṣāḥ yasmin asau »» siddhibhiḥ puruṣā yasminasau [after applying the 9th Rule of Visarga Sandhi and agglutinating words] »» That (asau) in which (yasmin) the people (puruṣāḥ) (are endowed) with supernatural powers (siddhibhiḥ) »» This might be used as an epithet of any celestial world wherein the inhabitants may display magical powers. The gender of the compound is masculine in this case because this epithet is meant for celestial worlds whose names are masculine nouns, but it might be feminine or neuter in accordance with the gender of the names of the aforesaid worlds.


Now, a brief introduction to Avyayībhāva compounds.

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 Adverbial compounds

The principal characteristic of the Adverbial or Avyayībhāva compounds is that they are composed of two members: the first member is always an indeclinable or Avyaya (adverb or preposition) and the second one is a noun, which is treated as if it were a neuter noun declined in Accusative case, singular. Thus, the entire compound is also indeclinable, i.e. it cannot be declined or inflected. In short, these compounds retain their gender, number and case under all circumstances (See Declension for more information about declension).

The Avyaya-s or indeclinables consist mainly in:

Avyaya Simple Adverbs Such as "atra" (here), "adhunā" (now), "tadā" (then), "prāk" (before), "hi" (indeed, because), etc.
Prepositions Such as "áti" (beyond, surpassing), "upa" (near, close to), "pari" (about, around), "prati" (toward, opposite to, in return), "su" (well, completely), etc.
Conjunctions Such as "átha" (now, then, moreover), "ca" (and), "vā" (or), "tu" (but, however), "kim" (what?), etc.
Interjections Such as "aho" (ah!, oh!, alas!), "bata" (ah!, oh!, alas!), "hanta" (come on!, here!, look!, ah!, oh!, alas!), "bhoḥ" (oh!), "vaṣat" (an exclamation used during the sacrifices), etc.
Particles Such as "khalu" (certainly), "ku" (bad), "sma" (used in a sentence with a verb being conjugated in present tense gives it the sense of the past tense), "svit" (it implies doubt), "svī" (it implies acceptance), etc.
Compound Mainly Avyayībhāva-s (the type of compounds we are studying right now) plus some Bahuvrīhi and Tatpuruṣa compounds (which I will not describe at this moment). An Avyayībhāva compound includes a simple Avyaya (only adverb or preposition, careful!) for its first member.

There are several rules governing this kind of compounds, but four are fundamental. These rules are related to the second member, obviously:

Fundamental Rules of the Avyayībhāva compounds

1) Final long vowels are to be shortened.

2) Final "e" or "ai" are turned into "i".

3) Final "o" changes to "u".

4) Final "n" in masculine or feminine nouns ending in "an" is always dropped; while it is optionally dropped in the case of neuter nouns ending in "an".


Five simple examples now:

a) Yathā (an adverb meaning "according to") + icchā (will, wish)

यथा + इच्छा - Yathā + icchā »» यथा + इच्छ - Yathā + iccha (I had to shorten the final "ā" in "icchā" by the first fundamental rule of Avyayībhāva compounds) »» यथा + इच्छम् - Yathā + iccham (now I declined the word "iccha" in Accusative case, singular number, as if it were a mere "neuter" noun ending in "a" - See Declension section and the respective appendixes for more information) »» यथेच्छम् - Yatheccham (finally I combined both members by applying the 2nd Primary Rule of Vowel Sandhi) »» "According to wish" or "at will"

b) Áti (a preposition meaning "beyond") + Yamunā (the holy river Yamunā)

अति + यमुना - Áti + Yamunā »» अति + यमुन - Áti + Yamuna (I had to shorten the final "ā" in "Yamunā" by the first fundamental rule of Avyayībhāva compounds) »» अति + यमुनम् - Áti + Yamunam (now I declined the word "Yamuna" in Accusative case, singular number, as if it were a mere "neuter" noun ending in "a" - See Declension section and the respective appendixes for more information) »» अतियमुनम् - Atiyamunam (finally I joined both members) »» "Beyond the river Yamunā"

c) Iti (an adverb meaning "in this manner, so, such") + Viṣṇu (in the sense of "the word Viṣṇu", and not Lord Viṣṇu directly)

इति + विष्णु - Iti + viṣṇu (I did not have to use any fundamental rule of Avyayībhāva compounds in this case) »» इति + विष्णु - Iti + viṣṇu (now I declined the word "viṣṇu" in Accusative case, singular number, as if it were a mere "neuter" noun ending in "u"... and I see that the declined form coincides with the original one i.e. "viṣṇu" - See Declension section and the respective appendixes for more information) »» इतिविष्णु - Itiviṣṇu (finally I joined both members) »» "Such is the (meaning of the) word Viṣṇu"

d) Upa (a preposition meaning "near, close to") + go (a cow)

उप + गो - Upa + go »» उप + गु - Upa + gu (I had to replace the final "o" in "go" with "u" by the third fundamental rule of Avyayībhāva compounds) »» उप + गु - Upa + gu (now I declined the word "gu" in Accusative case, singular number, as if it were a mere "neuter" noun ending in "u"... and I see that the declined form coincides with the original one i.e. "gu" - See Declension section and the respective appendixes for more information) »» उपगु - Upagu (finally I joined both members) »» "Near a cow" or "close to a cow"

e) Nis (a preposition meaning "devoid of, exempt from, without") + rājan (a king)

निस् + राजन् - Nis + rājan »» निर् + राज - Nir + rāja (I had to change "s" to "r" by the 7th Rule of Visarga Sandhi and then "obligatorily" drop the final "n" in "rājan" by the fourth fundamental rule of Avyayībhāva compounds, because "rājan" is a masculine noun) »» नी + राज - Nī + rāja (now I dropped the final "r" in "nir" and made "i" long by the 8th Rule of Visarga Sandhi) »» नी + राजम् - Nī + rājam (now I declined the word "rāja" in Accusative case, singular number, as if it were a mere "neuter" noun ending in "a" - See Declension section and the respective appendixes for more information) »» नीराजम् - Nīrājam (finally I joined both members) »» "Devoid of a king" or "without any king"

Remember that these compounds are indeclinables. In other words, they "do not" change their gender (i.e. neuter), number (i.e. singular) and case (i.e. Accusative) under any circumstances. For example, if I were to use the above Avyayībhāva compound "Atiyamunam" (beyond the river Yamunā):

अतियमुनम् + ग्रामः - Atiyamunam + grāmaḥ [note that "grāmaḥ" is the Nominative case, singular number, of "grāma" (village), a masculine noun ending in "a"] »» अतियमुनं + ग्रामः - Atiyamunaṁ + grāmaḥ (I had to change "m" to "ṁ" by the 10th Rule of Consonant Sandhi) »» अतियमुनं ग्रामः - Atiyamunaṁ grāmaḥ (finally I joined both words into a sentence) »» "A village (located) beyond the river Yamunā"

I did not have to change the gender of "Atiyamunam" to masculine (e.g. "Atiyamunaḥ") in order to keep the concord, since "grāma" is a masculine noun and so on, but "Atiyamunam" remained the same because it is indeclinable, got my point? It does not matter where you use an Avyayībhāva compound, it will retain its gender, number and case always.

It is enough for now.

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 Concluding remarks

Oh well, this has been a mere warming up, no doubt. The subject "Samāsavṛtti" or plainly "Samāsa-s" (compounds) is much deeper indeed. Anyway, by the present document I have laid solid foundations so that the building known as "Compounds" will not collapse... and crush both (you and me) in the process, hehe. If you think that laying the foundations was a hard task, you will not want to know how difficult it will be constructing the respective floors... and there are a lot of floors to make the things worse. Those floors will test if you really want to learn Samāsa-s or it was just a mere pretending, haha. Oh, I love Sanskrit because it liquidates the false ego entirely! In ordinary (i.e. egoistical) life, you may pretend to be interested in this or that, but as far as Sanskrit learning is concerned the things are "real": You want to learn it or you do not want to learn it. No pretending can survive in the long run because Sanskrit grammar is overwhelming.

See you soon.

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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.