Panini’s Mysterious 83 words show he is close to Vedic Period – Part 1 (Post No.10,757)


Post No. 10,757

Date uploaded in London – –    18 MARCH   2022         

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Panini was the world’s first grammarian; he was the symbol of brevity.

‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ (Shakespeare said it in English) probably came from Panini’s clever use of words. Later Sutra (aphorism) literature followed him. In Tamil, Tiru Valluvar used pithy sayings. Tirukkural is famous for its brevity.

Dr Aravinda Kumar of Uttar Pradesh in his book ‘Archaic Words in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi’ (year 1981) has given a list of 83 words. Those words are not in Vedas or later classical literature. If the words are found in either of these two, they have different meaning; not what Panini said.

At the end of his book which was the basis of his Ph.D. thesis he concludes that Panini lived closer to Vedic period for the following reasons:

If the words are found elsewhere,

Many words underwent a radical change in meaning.

Morphological changes are also evident in some cases.

It must be borne in mind that such profound and vast semantic changes in the language call for much longer duration of time.

If a study like this is done on all the works of Panini (the Ganapaatha, the Dhaatupaatha, the Unaadikosa and Lingaanusaasana) it will shed much greater illumination.

Goldstucker and other scholars who placed Panini in 700 BCE or before are right.

Here is the list of words dealt with by him in the book:

Words and their occurrence in Ashtadhyayi are as follows:

Abhresa 3-3-37

Acitta 4-2-47

Adhruva 3-4-54

Agnaayi 4-1-37

Ajatsunda 6-1-151

Ajaada 4-1-171

Ajiravaati 6-3-119

Anaya 5-2-9

Aniravasita 2-4-10

Antara 1-1-36

Antarghanah 3-3-37

Anubraahmana 4-2-62

Anugava 5-4-83

Anu padiinaa 5-2-9

Anu pravacaniiya 5-1-111

Anu satika 7-2-20

Apakara 4-3-32

Arma 6-2-90

The author says,

Arma = ruined and deserted place

It is interesting to note that in the Armaic language of the Semitic family  the word ARMA has been used in the sense of uneven and stony part of the country. It is quite probable that the word Arma owed its origin to the Armaic language.

My comments

Armaic was the language spoken by Adam and Jesus according to scholars. Earlier I posted an article about Coriander, Guggulu and Goni from V S Agrawala’s book. According to these scholars, Panini used Greek, and other Semitic language words. At least these people agree that we had contacts with these areas from 1000 BCE.


Aristapura 6-2-100

Asmaka 4-1-171

Atyaakaara 6-1-134

Avastara 3-3-120

Aacita 4-1-22; 5-1-53; 6-2-146

Aakranda 4-4-38

Aanaaya 3-3-124

Meaning is a net ,a fisherman’s net according to later dictionaries

My comments :

There is a famous Saivite saint by name Aanaaya Nayanaar, who went to Sivaloka by music. He sang the glory of Siva and attained liberation. He attracted all animals by  playing his flute reminding us of St Francis of Assisi.

It looks like a Tamil word. The 1935 Ananda Vikatan Tamil dictionary says Aanaaya kalai= an attire which looks like a net!!

We have to do more research on this word.


Aapamityaka 4-2-21

Aasandivat 8-2-12

Aasvina 5-2-19

Distance travelled by horse (I have written an article about it)

Bharga 4-1-111, 178

Daardurika 4-3-34

Dhanva 4-2-121

Glaha 3-3-70

Goghna 3-4-73

Goni 4-1-42

Gotraa 4-2-51

Goni (grain sack)  is an interesting word. Even Tamils use the word Koni Usi (special needle for stitching sacks)

Gonaka is found in Brahmajaala sutta. It means woollen cloth made from the hair of long haired goats. It was presumably the same thing as Kaunakesa, one piece loin cloth worn by the early Sumerians and Accadians and made of suspended loops of wool hanging from a woollen skirt. It may be surmised that this word travelled to India through trade and commerce in pre-Paninian time.

Susruta (2-34-11) uses in the sense of a sack.

If some one sees some similarity with Sumerians then they jump to conclusion that we borrowed it fro mthem. Why should Panini write grammar for Sumerian or Semitic words? is my question. I quoted Anaya Nayanar story from Periya Puranam and earlier Tamil literature. Can I say Panini borrowed it from Tamils?

35 words covered so far.

To be continued…………………………..

 tags- Panini, Mystery words, archaic, Anaya nayanar, Goni, Arma, Armaic language, Sanskrit, Tamil

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