Post No. 8790

Date uploaded in London – –8 OCTOBER 2020   

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Panini, world’s first grammarian and linguist wrote a book named ‘Eight Chapters’. In Sanskrit it is called ‘Ashtadhyayi.’  Famous Sanskrit scholar Goldstucker dated him around eighth century BCE. It contains 3995 sutras/ rules. Three centuries after him, came Katyayana Vararuchi. He made 4263 notes/remarks on his 3995 sutras. Some notes have three or four points. Definitely he added over 10,000 notes. These are called Vartikas. Though he made over 10,000 omissions, additions, commissions and objections , world praised Panini as the greatest grammarian. The reason for 10,000 +++++ correction or objections is that he lived 300 years after Panini and so made some changes. So he is not praised like Panini.  A few centuries later came the greatest commentator the world has ever seen. His name was Patanjali. He lived in 150 BCE. Everybody agrees on his date. His commentary on Panini’s Sanskrit grammar is called Maha Bhasya meaning great commentary. It is really great in contents and size. 1000 years after Patanjali came two gentlemen named Vamana and Jayaditya. Both of them sat in Kasi, the holiest city for Hindus, and wrote a new commentary with latest examples. Since they wrote it from Kasi/ Varanasi/Benares, the commentary is called Kaasikaa.

Though all the above mentioned books are grammar works, they are encyclopaedic in contents. They deal with Astronomy to Zoology. Panini gives interesting details about brahmins of North India. He twice uses the Vedic term Varna 5-2-132 and 6-3-84 (dharma sila varnach cha ).

The Brahmanas formed the highest caste. Katyayana mentioned Chaturvarnya ((5-1-124). The order is also given by Patanjali  ‘Brahmana- Kshatriya- Vit- Sudrah ( Bhasya 1-436)

Panini in a sutra 51-124 refers to the Bhava (nature) and Karma (conduct) which should characterise a Brahmin. Katyayana applies this rule to all the four castes. Tamil Veda Tirukkural also repeated what Panini and Katyayana said in Kural couplets 972, 973. Manu also said it 2-168

“Alike is birth to all; but in their greatness they are not alike owing to the divergence of their actions” -972

“The ignoble are low though placed high by birth; noble souls are not low though born low”. -973

Manu also says 2-168

“A twice born man who does not study the Vedas but exerts himself doing something else quickly turns into  a (Sudra) servant, even while he is alive ,and his descendants too”.


Panini also knew brahmins were called after their native regions 5-4-104

e.g Avanti Brahmana, Sarasvata (who migrated from Sarasvati River) , Saurashtra Brahmanas.

Ku Brahmana and Maha Brahmana

 A degraded Brahmana was called ‘Ku-brahman’a (5-4-105) while a Brahmin who is pre eminent in his duties is called Maha Brahmana (5-4-105)

Pali texts say Bodhisatva Narada  as being the Maha  Brahma in a particular epoch. The Matanga Jataka tale refers to the superior position of a Maha Brahma . The Pali texts use Maha Brahma to mean a Super Brahmana.


Arya Brahmana, Arya Kshatriya and Arya Vaisya

The term Arya Vaisya is used in Tamil Nadu even today

In Panniniyam Arya Brahmana meant Kings Chief Counsellor

Arya Kumara meant Crown Prince.

Arya Vaisya meant business people with high status. Even Tamil Epic Silappadkikaram called Maha Nayakan and Maha Sattuvan, the business leaders of marine trade and land trade , parents of hero and heroine Kovalan and Kannaki. They belonged to Super Vaisya category.

Panini mentioned Arya Vaisya in 3-1-103 (Aryah svaami – vaisyayoh)


Many Types of Sudraas – Yavana Sudras, Saka Sudras,  Funeral Service Sudras

Not all the sudras were degraded in Panini- Patanjalis time.

Patanjali mentioned the condition that prevailed 2200 years ago.

Sudras who lived within Aryavarta.

Foreign Sudras- outside Arya Varta – Yavanas were foreign Sudras.

Even Sangam Tamil literature mentioned them as Mlechas (who doesn’t speak Tamil) and men of harsh , unintelligible words (Van Sol Yavanar).

The foreign Sudras were:- Kishkindha- Gabdikam

Saka- Yavanam

Saurya- Krauncham (KRAUNCHA birds)

Of these Kishkindha Sudras make interesting reading. We read about tribes with Monkey totems on their bodies called Vanaras who ruled Kishkndha in Karnataka. But Patanjali’s Kishkindha was near Gorakpur in Uttar Pradesh. One has to probe more to find out about two Kishknidhas in Hindu scriptures; it is a rare Sanskrit word.

Bird Migration 2700 years ago!

Krauncha dwara is also an interesting term; Lord Kartikeya is also called Krauncha Bedanar. It is a natural pass in the Garhwal Himalayas through which Siberian birds migrate o India from Europe. The natural mountain pass is linked with Skanda mythology. Kalidasa also mentioned Krauncha Pass in Megadutam in verse 59. Our forefathers were keen observers of  Bird Migration and named the Bird Migratory route after Krauncha birds It is also called Niti Pass and Parasurama is also linked to it.

Undertakers (funeral service) and Chandalas were the lowest category among the Sudras. These untouchable Sudras had to take food in their own utensils.

Carpenters, Metal workers, Weavers were sudras but allowed to do Yaga, Yajna (Fire Sacrifice) works.

So we know from different literary works that not all Sudras were untouchables. But the grammatical works cover periods of  1500 years—from Paniniyam to seventh century Kasika!!

One can get lot of information about ornithology, zoology , astronomy, botany, legal system etc. Innumerable references are there about stars which shows their great advancement in astrology and astronomy. Even different colour lightnings are scientifically interpreted showing their interest in meteorology.


tags –   super brahmins, Yavana, Shudra, Arya Vaisya

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