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chunk 102: sandhi lessons

Sixteen-vowel style.
decoration before pause
eight-vowel style
Breaking zloka lines in the middle.
Don't stop in the middle.
"Do not break" lines.
zloka, verse and pAda
about the letter x in rules
badly split lines
ch and cch
aN disambiguation
About "limb".
"moonfaced" means beautiful
pronunciation of jJa
some vedic chanting videos
Splitting the luT.
Hints to learn to pronounce the puff.
There are two sorts of Nic.
conjugation of han
About Nic plus san.


Sixteen-vowel style.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1593

Sometimes zlokas are chanted as two verses of sixteen syllables each, with no pause in the middle.

Let's listen to two examples.

First, we will listen to the guru zloka, that is ---

gu ru rbra hmA gu ru rvi SNu rgu ru rde vo ma he zva rahAAA |

gu ru sHsA kSA tpa ram bra hma ta smai zrI gu ra ve na mahAAAA ||

It is in this video, from 0:03 to 0:15 --

Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu - Vedic Chants - Guru Mantra - Pudukkotai Mahalinga Sastri

Now we'll listen to the first zloka of the viSNusahasranAma. It is --

vi zvaM vi SNu rva Sa TkA ro bhU ta bha vya bha va tpra bhuHu |

bhU ta kR dbhU ta bhR dbhA vo bhU tA tmA bhUta bhA va naHa ||

Here it is in the voice of Ishaan Pai --

Vishnu Sahasranamam | Vande Guru Paramparaam | Ishaan Pai

A zloka line has sixteen vowels and a pause at the end, and the vowel before the pause gets a decoration before pause . This "decoration" thing means that the syllables rahAAA mahAAA bhuHu naHa above are pronounced rahAAA mahAAA bhuHu naHa but written raH maH bhuH naH. Whatever goes before a pause is lengthened.

Next: eight-vowel style .


decoration before pausemmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C- 1594

When chanting verses or sutras, the last letters before a pause are seldom chanted in the same way they are written. Instead, the grammatically correct form of the last vowel is replaced by a "decorated" version, that is always longer.

When chanting, before a pause, --

1. A short vowel is always lengthened.

2. Long vowels too are lengthened.

3. ai au are replaced with aihi auhu.

4. aH iH etc are replaced with ahAAA ihIII

5. AH IH etc are replaced with AAAha IIIhi

6. Final t T k p sound as ta Ta ka, pa, with a very short a, and the vowel before the t T k p may be lengthened too.

7. Many people like to lengthen the final m of a verse.

8. Other people will read everything spelled as M in the paper they are reading aloud from as mmmm.

These changes are not taught by grammarians. Your chanting teacher teaches you to chant this way.

As different teachers have different opinions, not everybody follows points 1 to 8 above. Those points are a general guide that will come in handy if you listen at chanters in, say, Youtube videos. But when you chant yourself you have to follow the instructions of your teacher, not those eight points.

Example. Listen to this kid chanting ooom vizvaM viSNur vaSaTkAro bhUta-bhavya-bhavat-prabhuHu | bhUta-kRd bhUta-bhRd bhAvo bhUt'-AtmA bhUta-bhAvanaHa || --

Vishnu Sahasranamam | Vande Guru Paramparaam | Ishaan Pai

The last words of these two verses must be chanted as prabhuHu and bhAvanaHa. Because they have been chanted that way since anyone can remember.

Yet, they are invariably written as prabhuH and bhAvanaH.

Why? Because according to pANini and all the ancient grammarians, these words must be pronounced, when not chanting, as prabhuH bhAvanaH, both with an H sound at the end, not Hu Ha. In those times, they used the H sound in the everyday language, but Hu Ha when reciting the veda.

How do I know that? Because otherwise, we would have a pANini rule teaching us something like "replace aH with aHa before a pause". That replacement is not a compulsory grammar rule; rather, it is something done as a decoration, when chanting.


eight-vowel stylemmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1595

Nowadays, most zlokas are chanted as four groups of eight vowels each, with a full pause after each group. The last vowel of each group gets a decoration before pause .

Let's listen to the same guru zloka we heard earlier, but this time in eight-vowel style . What we are going to hear is --

gu ru rbra hmA gu ru rvi SNuhUUU

gu ru rde vo ma he zva rahAAA |

gu ru sHsA kSA tpa ram bra hmAAAA

ta smai zrI gu ra ve na mahAAAA ||

In a female voice --

Guru Shloka | Authentic Chant | Lakshya Yoga

in a male voice --

Guru Shloka, meaning with Hindi & English || Karthik athreya

(The second has parabbrahma, the first parambrahma, both are ok.)

IMPORTANT WARNING. Even though the eight-vowel style is the most common way of chanting nowadays, all zlokas are always spelled as common grammar would want us to say them when speaking, and as if we were not going to make a pause in the middle. This causes no end of problems to many people that try to chant while reading aloud from a piece of paper, because they don't knwow how to do the split in the middle.

Example. You will find this in writing --

anye ca bahavazH zUrA mad-arthe tyakta-jIvitAH

Reading this aloud as it written, with a visarga at the end, is perfectly grammatical if you don't pause at the middle. You will say it like this --


But if we are chanting in the sixteen-vowel style, then it should be chanted like this, with AAAha at the end --


And with a pause at the middle, it should be this --

anyecabahavazHzUrAAAha ( pause) madarthetyaktajIvitAAAha

because the last word before the pause is zUrAs and, when we make no pause, it loses its s before m. And before pause, As becomes AAAha.

But, of course, in these days of kaliyuga, most people chanting the BHG have no idea that bahavAzH zUrAH means "many heroes" and is a plural and lost the H before m, so they will just stick in a pause anywhere between the eight vowel and the ninth and chant something like this, very wrongly --

anyecabahavazHzUrAAA ( pause) madarthetyaktajIvitAAAha


Breaking zloka lines in the middle.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1596

For some reason, zlokas are always written as if they were chanted in the sixteen-vowel style , but, in this century, they are nearly always chanted in the eight-vowel style .

These two customs together make a mess for beginners that try to read aloud from a paper.

An example to see why.

(1) The words viSnus and devas, when they have a pause between them, must be pronounced

viSnuH ( pause) devaH

according to grammar.

(2) And when chanting, that's actually

viSnuhUUU ( pause) devaH

(3) But when you don't make a pause in between, they must sound like


Which means that your correctly written zloka line has --

gu ru rbra hmA gu ru rvi SNu rgu ru rde vo ma he zva rahAAA |

and, if you are a freshman, there is no way that you can know that when you chant that in the eight-vowel style this must sound like --

gu ru rbra hmA gu ru rvi SNuhUUU ( pause) gu ru rde vo ma he zva rahAAA |

Splitting the line is very easy for someone that knows enough Sanskrit to understand the words. But for beginners it is nearly impossible. Learning to split reliably will take more than a year.

The solution to the problem is NOT studying grammar for a year. Because, if you are studying Sanskrit, not chanting at all for a year is a bad bad bad idea.

You should NEVER try to chant by read aloud from a paper. That's a real badidea, Indan students never do that.

The traditional, and best way to learn to chant, is getting someone to teach you to chant in chunks of eight. That person will do the splits for you. They chant a pAda, you repeat it twice, teacher fixes your worst mistake, repeat until flawless.

The second best solution is finding a teacher that does thesame, but more than one student repeat in chorus. That does not work so well, but is cheapr.

If you can't afford or can't find such a teacher, the third best solution is listening to a lot of videos of chanting. You can find many in internet. But be careful. You have to listen to CHANTING, not to singing.


Don't stop in the middle.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ 1597

obsolete, see Do not break lines.


DSITMmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ 1598

obsolete, see Do not break lines.


" Do not break" lines.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1599

Most [zloka]s can be chanted either in eight-vowel style or in sixteen-vowel style . Yet, some of them can be chanted only in sixteen-vowel style. As an example, line 15a from this page --

rAjanyA rAja-kanyAz cApy Anayantv abhiSecanam

Whoever made this line was expecting it to be chanted in sixteen-vowel style only. The first pAda has nine vowels, rAjanyArAjakanyAzcApi, the second pAda has eight, Anayantv abhiSecanam, and when we say both in one breath, rule ikoyaNaci works and we get sixteen vowels.

So, if we try to chant this in eight-vowel style , we will either break the metre or break the grammar. Possible workarounds --

(A) Chant this line without the pause in the middle. This sometimes works well for the rythm and sometimes does not -- depending on the chanting melody we are using, doing that can be very challenging. It can be done easily if you are using the viSNusahasranAma melody of Ishaan Pai.

(B) To hell with the metre, and keep the grammar. Make the pause right after cApi --

rAjanyArAjakanyAzcA ( pause) pyAnayantvabhiSecanam

This invariably sounds bad, but, as the saying goes, apANinIyanM na prayujyeta .

(C) To hell with the grammar and keep the rythm. Put the pause in the middle of a word --

rAjanyArAjakanyAzcA ( pause) pyAnayantvabhiSecanam

rAjanyArAjakanyAzcAp ( pause) yAnayantvabhiSecanam

Pausing at the middle of a compound is considered bad taste. So in cases like --


it can be argued that solution (A) is best.


zloka, verse and pAdammmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1600

A zloka, also called anuSTubh, is a particular sort of stanza made of two verses of sixteen vowels each.

Each verse, or " zloka line", has a caesura between the eight vowel and the ninth. In other words, each verse of 16 vowels is made of two parts with eight vowels each.

Each of these parts is called a pAda "quarter, fourth part".

Example: this is a zloka --

udyamena hi sidhyanti kAryANi na manorathaiH |

na hi suptasya siMhasya pravizanti mukhe mRgAH ||

This is a verse --

udyamena hi sidhyanti kAryANi na manorathaiH |

And these two are pAdas --

udyamena hi sidhyanti

kAryANi na manorathaiH |

Because of an old custom, we must write a stick after the second pAda and two sticks after the fourth.

Please do not use the word "shloka" in English to mean "any sort of Sanskrit stanza". That it not what the word means. I only use the word to mean a specific sort of stanza.

zlokas can be chanted in two styles --

sixteen-vowel style

eight-vowel style

This gadget will allow you to test if anything with sixteen vowels in it is a zloka line or not --

zloka tester


about the letter x in rulesmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1601

If you see any letter x inside some rules, please ignore it completely. Chant the rule TeHx as if it were written TeH. WAFTI!

I add x to some rules so that all pANini rules in this website have different letters. For instance, there is TeH and TeHx, oraJ and oraJx, AtmanepadeSvanyatarasyAm and AtmanepadeSvanyatarasyAmx.


badly split linesmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1602

Earlier, we said that the same verse can be chanted either in sixteen-vowel style as --

yajJaziSTAzinasHsantomucyantesarvakilbiSaiHi ( pause)

or in eight-vowel style as --

yajJaziSTAzinasHsantahAA ( pause) mucyantesarvakilbiSaiHII ( pause)

Here you have a recording of that verse in eight-vowel style . The last word of the first pAda is pronounced santahA because there is a pause after it --

sri sri 3 13

And this is a recording of the same verse in sixteen-vowel style , with no pause in the middle. Therefore the last word is pronounced santo, because it is followed by m without a pause --

Brava 3 13

And here is a recording of another style that you will find often in the internet: random style. In this verse, there is a pause between the two halves, but, unlike in the eight-vowel style above, there is no santahA before the pause, but santo instead --

sanskritchannel 3 13

Doing this is extremely common in internet. Do not do this. If you don't know how to split, don't do your splitting yourself; instead, trust someone that knows.


ch and cchmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1603

The pANini rules AGmAGozca ff are written under the assumption that there is some sound difference between ch and cch. Grammatical theory considerations appear to lead to the conclusion that ch is a normal consonant, with the same duration as say c or d or bh, while cch is a double consonant , and lasts the same time as any two-consonant cluster.

However, many people, like me, make no distinction at all between the two sounds, and always pronounce cch as a doubled consonant -- even when the pANini rules say that it may be spelled as ch. I don't think I ever heard anyone saying ch.

The following spectrogram shows the word gacchati as an example of how the cch looks --

In that image, you can see that the puff of the cch has a very high airflow, far higher than the puff in English CH. As far as I know, nowadays, everybody pronounces both ch and cch in that way. I might be wrong. It is also possible that in the times of pANini there was a faster way of saying ch, which has been now lost to time.

This lack of difference explains why in the manuscripts some people spelled gacchati as gachati, which is nowadays considered to be an incorrect spelling. It also explains why some words, like Anarcchus, are sometimes spelled Anarcchus and other times Anarchus. The pronunciation is always gacchati Anarcchus, the spelling.

Summarizing: I think you should always pronounce both ch and cch as cch, because everybody else does that, no matter what pANini says.


aN disambiguationmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ 1604

aN in a rule can mean --

aN -- a taddhita affix

aN' -- a kRt affix

aN'' -- the vowels a A i I u U


proto-indo-europeanmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1605

According to the views of Westermn grammarians, Sanskrit evolved from an older language called PIE, about which you can read about in [WIKIProto-Indo-European_language].

Be that true or not, when I say that some Sanskrit word, like tiSThati, "comes from the PIE root sta meaning staying", that means there are words in many non-Indian languages (germanic, slavic, Romance, Celtic, Avestan) that sound vaguely like "sta" and mean roughly "staying".

All I know about PIE I got from etymonline dot com, fantastic website.


About " limb".mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1606

Rule svAGgAcco mentions svAGga- "ones' own limb". A limb is a nonfluid material thing that is, or used to be, naturally part of the body of a living being. For instance, a head or a leg, but not the blood.

By analogy, a limb can also be a part of anything nonliving that bears with it that same sort of relationship. Like the branch of a tree or the peak of a mountain.


"moonfaced" means beautifulmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1607

In English, when we say someone is moonfaced, we mean that their face is round like the full moon, therefore ugly.

In Sanskrit, when we say that someone's face is like the moon (candramukhA-), we mean that her face is beautiful like the moon, it shines and attracts attention.


pronunciation of jJammmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ 1608

How to Pronounce jJA in Sanskrit - 'gya' or 'gnya' or 'dnya' or 'jna'


some vedic chanting videosmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ 1609


Splitting the luT.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C- 1610

According to the grammar, kartAsmi is a single word meaning "I will do", same thing as kariSyAmi --

kR + loTkR + mipkR + tAsmi hardsoft kartAsmi

while there is another kartAsmi that is two words, kartA + asmi, a sentence that means "I am a maker". The first word here is kartA, made from masculine kartR- ( kR + tRc) plus su --

kR + tRc m + su hardsoft kar + tR + su Rd;uzana kartA

Why did pANini say that kartAsmi is a verb, instead of just saying that the two words kartA + asmi may mean "I will make"? Three reasons --

(1) As asmi and kartA are two words, we can say asmi kartA to mean "I am the maker", but not to say "I will make it". The verb can only be kartAsmi "I will make", because tAs and mip are affixes.

(2) The object of a doer verb gets second by karmaNidvi, so we say with the verb --

kumbhaGM kartAsmi "I will make a pot"

but the object of a tRc-ender gets sixth --

asmi kumbhasya kartA "I am the maker of the pot"

(3) kartR- must agree in gender with the doer and gets GI by Rnne --

asmi kumbhasya kartrI "I am the makeress of the pot"

but verbs don't change with gender, so no matter your sex you will say --

kumbham kartAsmi "I will make a pot"

In spite of all this, sometimes you will find spellings like kartA 'smi for "I will make", and sometimes the epics have asmi kartA in the same sense, or even ahaM kartA or kartA 'ham. All of these suck -- if the meaning is "I will make", we must say and write kartAsmi.


Hints to learn to pronounce the puff.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1611

Learning to pronounce the puff is tricky if your native language is Spanish, French, Japanese or any other language that does not use any puff. Yet if it is English or any other language that uses the puff sort of randomly, learning it becomes extremely tricky.

First we need some theory. The consonants that have puff are the SANKRIT consonants kh gh ch jh Th Dh th dh ph bh. The Sanskrit consonants k g c j T D t d p b have a weaker puff or no puff at all. The English consonats "sh" and "th" are utterly puffless, because the do not stop completely the flow of air at any point. Notice that a Sankrit kh is not a k sound followed by a "h sound". It is not a cluster. A kh is just a k, but pronounced with more air pressure.

Second, go get a candle, or a cheap lighter (a Zippo won't do).

Third step. Watch this video carefully, that explains how the puff works for native speakers of English --

Speech is really SBEECH! Dr Geoff Lindsey

And now comes the fourth and hardest step. You have to learn to say "pin", at will, with a very strong aspiration, and to say "pin" with a very weak aspiration, or with no aspiration. This is where the candle light helps. A strong aspiration cames out of the mouth and will extinguish a candle flame that is a handspan away, right in front of your mouth, or in front and a little below. A weak aspiration will just make the candle flicker. No aspiration won't have any effect on the flame.

After some practice with the flame, you will become able to say "pin" with more or less air pressure at will. Then you will start to be able to hear how much pressure are other people using, and match it.

Listening to this zloka here is good for practice --

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6 - Verse 31 | Following Sri Sri

this chanter uses high pressure in bhU sthi bha sarvathA, and low pressure in jatyekatva vartate.

You will hear other pros that use more pressure on the th, or less or no pressure on the t. All styles are good, provided that (a) there is enough difference in pressure between t and th, and (b) you never use English "th" sound, there is no such thing in Sanskrit.


There are two sorts of Nic.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1612

The Nic affix may be added after all roots except the sanAdyanta roots. For instance, if we add it after cur, /cint, pac, sthA we get cori, cinti, pAci, sthApi, which are /sanadyAnta roots. These cori cinti pAci /sthAip are called Nijanta (Nich-ender) roots.

There are two sorts of Nic --

(A) The roots made with ( causative Nic) means making others do the action of the original root.

For instance, pac and sthA mean "cook", "stay", and pAci sthAp means "making others cook", "making others stay. These are made by rule hetumatica. Inria flags these with ca.

(B) The ( Nichclass Nic) does not change the meaning. Rule satyApa says that some roots must always get Nic. Inria flags these with [10].

In the epics, sometimes any root of the other nine classes will take Nic without change of meaning. This sux, but you will find it, so be careful.

The words that contain these two sorts of Nic sound exactly the same, the only difference is in the meaning. That is why you cannot trust inria -- sometimes it will screw up and mark a [10] with ca or a ca with [10].


conjugation of hanmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1613

If you look at the first four tenses of the root han in inria conjugation, it appears to be quite messy.

The logic is this. The root han --

becomes ha before the serious Git (by anudAttopadeza),

turns into ghn before vowel Git (by gamahana and hohante),

and turns into ja before hi''' (by hanterjaH)

and therefore only stays as han before y v m and before the pit affixes.

In haMsi "you kill", the n turned into M by nazcA.

In the laG, s''' and t''' were lost by halGyA (not by saMyogAnta).

The zatR is of course ghnat-, because zatR is Git.


About Nic plus san.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1614

The sanAdyanta roots (such as pAci, from pac + Nic) can get the same affixes as the simple roots, such as [tense]s and kRt affixes --

pAci + laT tip → .. → pAcayati "he makes others cook"

pAci + tumun → .. → pAcayitum "to make others cook"

pAci + tavya → .. → pAcayitavya- "that should be made to cook"

However, they cannot get a second sanAdyanta affix.

The only exception to this rule is that a root that ends in Ni can get san added. For instance, ni plus Nic makes nAyi "make others lead", and that Nayi root can get san, making a third root that means "being about to make others lead" or "wanting to make others lead" --

nAyi + san sanyaGoH nAnAyi + san sanyataH ninAyi + sanninAyi + iSan hardsoft ninAye + iSa ecoya ninAyayiSa "want to make others lead"

as in --

putreNa senAnM ninAyayiSati rAjA "the king wants to make his son lead the army"

I don't think I have ever seen one of these Nic + san roots in the wild.

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chunk 102: sandhi lessons