Written by London Swaminathan

Post No.7684

Date uploaded in London – 12 March 2020

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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Panini lived 2700 years ago in North West India. Great Sanskrit scholars of India and abroad place him before the Buddha. His grammar is closer to Vedic Sanskrit than the classical Sanskrit. More over Patanjali’s huge Mahabhashya must have been written at least 500 years after Panini. When we look at other ‘sutra’ literature, we see a big gap between the original and the commentary.

“The Sanskrit grammarians were the first to analyse word forms, to recognise the difference between the root and the suffix, to determine the functions of suffixes and on the whole to elaborate a grammatical system to accurate and complete as to be unparalleled in any other country”-Macdonell, India’s Past, p 136

“The celebrated grammar of Panini is the oldest surviving representative of this elaborate grammatical analysis of forms and linguistic investigation.

Panini is the architect of the magnificent edifice known as the Ashtadhyayi, which justly commands the wonder and admiration of the world”—V S Agrawala

Weber regards Panini’s grammar as

“Superior to all similar works of other countries, by the thoroughness with which it investigates the roots the language and the formation of its words”–

History of Indian Literature, p.216

According to Goldstucker

“Panini’s work is indeed a kind of natural history of the Sanskrit language. His grammar is the centre of a vast and important branch of ancient literature. No work has struck deeper roots than his in the soil of the scientific development of India”.

The characteristic feature of Panini’s system is that it derives words from verbal roots. He has given us a comprehensive list of suffixes and roots.

As Colebrook has put it,

“the Ashtadhyayi certainly bears internal evidence of its having accomplished by a single effort.”

According to Burnell,

“Paninis grammar, in all probability, been little tampered with; we have better warrant for its integrity than in the case of any other work”.

On the Aindra School of Sanskrit grammarians

Bhagavan Panini!

Patanjali, the author of Mahabhashya, has applied his master mind to reveal the depth and range of Panini’s scholarship. Like Katyayana, Patanjali applies the term Bhagawan exclusively to Panini in recognition of his supreme position in the field of study he had made his own.

Greatest of the modern Tamil poets Subrahmanya Bharati praised him as the scholar who has produced ‘an incredible work’..

Dr S Radhakrishnan, philosopher and President of India writes,

“Two works on dramaturgy , one by Silali and the other by Krsasva , are referred to by Panini. They show that the dramatic art in India existed long before its rise in Greece.We have lost those works”.

Of Panini’s Sanskrit grammar, which could be printed in about 35 pages of quarto size, the late professor A Macdonnell of Oxford said,

And yet this grammar describes the  entire Sanskrit language  in all the details of its structure with a completeness  which has been never equalled elsewhere.  It is at once the shortest and fullest grammar in the world.”

Kalhana in Rajatarangini

Being to the last degree one, who has achieved his tasks and  helped to augment virtue, what is the difference between  His Majesty J ayapida and  Panini who has fully dealt with the Krthya suffixexs  and made rules for  Guna and  Vrddhi.

During the time of the expounding of Mahabhasya through cleverly camaflouged verses , here is one attack on him which thr scholars circulated as follows,

He who has allwed  himself to be eclipsed  by the brahmins and  who prescribes rules for the stability of society what is the difference    between  His Majesty Jayapida and  Panini who has dealt with the prepositions  Vi and  P ra and laid down rules for the  terminations of the past tense.

— Rajatarangini 4-635 to 637

The comment by R S Pandit on these three verses is

Each of the epithets has a three fold mwaning. One as applied to the grammarian and of the other two , one is in praise of Jayapida and  the other in condemnation of  him. The reference is to  the illustrious grammarian Panini  whose memory is kept ever green in India ,

Yena vyakaranam protam tasmai paninaye namah –

To Panini  by whom  was formulated grammar – a salutation.

tags – Panini, quotes, McDonnell, Burnell,