Sanskrit Grammar/Chapter VIII

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Sanskrit Grammar by William Dwight Whitney
Chapter VIII: Conjugation


527. The subject of conjugation or verbal inflection involves, as in the other languages of the family, the distinctions of voice, tense, mode, number, and person.

a. Further, besides the simpler or ordinary conjugation of a verbal root, there are certain more or less fully developed secondary or derivative conjugations.

528. Voice. There are (as in Greek) two voices, active and middle, distinguished by a difference in the personal endings. This distinction is a pervading one: there is no active personal form which does not have its corresponding middle, and vice versa; and it is extended also in part to the participles (but not to the infinitive).

529. An active form is called by the Hindu grammarians parasmāi padam a word for another, and a middle form is called ātmane padam a word for one's self: the terms might be best paraphrased by transitive and reflexive. And the distinction thus expressed is doubtless the original foundation of the difference of active and middle forms; in the recorded condition of the language, however, the antithesis of transitive and reflexive meaning is in no small measure blurred, or even altogether effaced.

a. In the epics there is much effacement of the distinction between active and middle, the choice of voice being very often determined by metrical considerations alone.

530. Some verbs are conjugated in both voices, others in one only; sometimes a part of the tenses are inflected only in one voice, others only in the other or in both; of a verb usually inflected in one voice sporadic forms of the other occur; and sometimes the voice differs according as the verb is compounded with certain prepositions.

531. The middle forms outside the present-system (for which there is a special passive inflection: see below, 768 ff.), and sometimes also within that system, are liable to be used likewise in a passive sense.

532. Tense. The tenses are as follows: 1. a present, with 2. an imperfect, closely related with it in form, having a prefixed augment; 3. a perfect, made with reduplication (to which in the Veda is added, 4. a so-called pluperfect, made from it with prefixed augment); 5. an aorist, of three different formations: a. simple; b. reduplicated; c. sigmatic or sibilant; 6. a future, with 7. a conditional, an augment-tense, standing to it in the relation of an imperfect to a present; and 8. a second, a periphrastic, future (not found in the Veda).

a. The tenses here distinguished (in accordance with prevailing usage) as imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, and aorist receive those names from their correspondence in mode of formation with tenses so called in other languages of the family, especially in Greek, and not at all from differences of time designated by them. In no period of the Sanskrit language is there any expression of imperfect or pluperfect time — nor of perfect time, except in the older language, where the "aorist" has this value; later, imperfect, perfect, and aorist are so many undiscriminated past tenses or preterits: see below, under the different tenses.

533. Mode. In respect to mode, the difference between the classical Sanskrit and the older language of the Veda — and, in a less degree, of the Brāhmaṇas — is especially great.

a. In the Veda, the present tense has, besides its indicative inflection, a subjunctive, of considerable variety of formation, an optative, and an imperative (in 2d and 3d persons). The same three modes are found, though of much less frequent occurrence, as belonging to the perfect; and they are made also from the aorists, being of especial frequency from the simple aorist. The future has no modes (an occasional case or two are purely exceptional).

b. In the classical Sanskrit, the present adds to its indicative an optative and an imperative — of which last, moreover, the first persons are a remnant of the old subjunctive. And the aorist has also an optative, of somewhat peculiar inflection, usually called the precative (or benedictive).

534. The present, perfect, and future tenses have each of them, alike in the earlier and later language, a pair of participles, active and middle, sharing in the various peculiarities of the tense-formations; and in the Veda are found such participles belonging also to the aorist.

535. Tense-systems. The tenses, then, with their accompanying modes and participles, fall into certain well-marked groups or systems:

I. The present-system, composed of the present tense with its modes, its participle, and its preterit which we have called the imperfect.

II. The perfect-system, composed of the perfect tense (with, in the Veda, its modes and its preterit, the so-called pluperfect) and its participle.

III. The aorist-system, or systems, simple, reduplicated, and sibilant, composed of the aorist tense along with, in the later language, its "precative" optative (but, in the Veda, with its various modes and its participle).

IV. The future-systems: 1. the old or sibilant future, with its accompanying preterit, the conditional, and its participle; and 2. the new periphrastic future.

536. Number and Person. The verb has, of course, the same three numbers with the noun: namely, singular, dual, and plural; and in each number it has the three persons, first, second, and third. All of these are made in every tense and mode — except that the first persons of the imperative numbers are supplied from the subjunctive.

537. Verbal adjectives and nouns: Participles. The participles belonging to the tense-systems have been already spoken of above (534). There is besides, coming directly from the root of the verb, a participle, prevailingly of past and passive (or sometimes neuter) meaning. Future passive participles, or gerundives, of several different formations, are also made.

538. Infinitives. In the older language, a very considerable variety of derivative abstract nouns — only in a few sporadic instances having anything to do with the tense-systems — are used in an infinitive or quasi-infinitive sense; most often in the dative case, but sometimes also in the accusative, in the genitive and ablative, and (very rarely) in the locative. In the classical Sanskrit, there remains a single infinitive, of accusative case-form, having nothing to do with the tense-systems.

539. Gerunds. A so-called gerund (or absolutive) — being, like the infinitive, a stereotyped case-form of a derivative noun — is a part of the general verb-system in both the earlier and later language, being especially frequent in the later language, where it has only two forms, one for simple verbs, and the other for compound. Its value is that of an indeclinable active participle, of indeterminate but prevailingly past tense-character.

a. Another gerund, an adverbially used accusative in form, is found, but only rarely, both earlier and later.

540. Secondary conjugations. The secondary or derivative conjugations are as follows: 1. the passive; 2. the intensive; 3. the desiderative; 4. the causative. In these, a conjugation-stem, instead of the simple root, underlies the whole system of inflection. Yet there is clearly to be seen in them the character of a present-system, expanded into a more or less complete conjugation; and the passive is so purely a present-system that it will be described in the chapter devoted to that part of the inflection of the verb.

a. Under the same general head belongs the subject of denominative conjugation, or the conversion of noun and adjective-stems into conjugation-stems. Further, that of compound conjugation, whether by the prefixion of prepositions to roots or by the addition of auxiliary verbs to noun and adjective-stems. And finally, that of periphrastic conjugation, or the looser combination of auxiliaries with verbal nouns and adjectives.

541. The characteristic of a proper (finite or personal) verb-form is its personal ending. By this alone is determined its character as regards number and person — and in part also as regards mode and tense. But the distinctions of mode and tense are mainly made by the formation of tense and mode-stems, to which, rather than to the pure root, the personal endings are appended.

a. In this chapter will be given a general account of the personal endings, and also of the formation of mode-stems from tense-stems, and of those elements in the formation of tense-stems — the augment and the reduplication — which are found in more than one tense-system. Then, in the following chapters, each tense-system will be taken up by itself, and the methods of formation of its stems, both tense-stems and mode-stems, and their combination with the endings, will be described and illustrated in detail. And the complete conjugation of a few model verbs will be exhibited in systematic arrangement in Appendix C.

Personal Endings.

542. The endings of verbal inflection are, as was pointed out above, different throughout in the active and middle voices. They are also, as in Greek, usually of two somewhat varying forms for the same person in the same voice: one fuller, called primary; the ther briefer, called secondary. There are also less pervading differences, depending upon other conditions.

a. In the epics, exchanges of primary and secondary active endings eespecially the substitution of ma, va, ta, for mas, vas, tha) are not infrequent.

b. A condensed statement of all the varieties of ending for each person and number here follows.

543. Singular: First person, a. The primary ending in the active is mi. The subjunctive, however (later imperative), has ni instead; and in the oldest Veda this ni is sometimes wanting, and the person ends in ā (as if the ni of āni were dropped). The secondary ending is properly m; but to this m an a has come to be so persistently prefixed, appearing regularly where the tense-stem does not itself end in a (vam for varm or varam in RV., once, and abhūm MS., avadhīm TS. etc., sanem TB., are rare anomalies), that it is convenient to reckon am as ending, rather than m. But the perfect tense has neither mi nor m; its ending is simply a (sometimes ā: 248 c); or, from ā-roots, āu.

b. The primary middle ending, according to the analogy of the other persons, would be regularly me. But no tense or mode, at any period of the language, shows any relic whatever of a m in this person; the primary ending, present as well as perfect, from a-stems and others alike, is e; and to it corresponds i as secondary ending, which blends with the final of an a-stem to e. The optative has, however, a instead of i; and in the subjunctive (later imperative) appears āi for e.

544. Second person. a. In the active, the primary ending is si, which is shortened to s as secondary; as to the loss of this s after a final radical consonant, see below, 555. But the perfect and the imperative desert here entirely the analogy of the other forms. The perfect ending is invariably tha (or thā: 248 c). The imperative is far less regular. The fullest form of its ending is dhi; which, however, is more often reduced to hi; and in the great majority of verbs (including all a-stems, at every period of the language) no ending is present, but the bare stem stands as personal form. In a very small class of verbs (722–3), āna is the ending. There is also an alternative ending tāt; and this is even used sporadically in other persons of the imperative (see below, 570–1).

b. In the middle voice, the primary ending, both present and perfect, is se. The secondary stands in no apparent relation to this, being thās; and in the imperative is found only sva (or svā: 248 c), which in the Veda is not seldom to be read as sua. In the older language, se is sometimes strengthened to sāi in the subjunctive.

545. Third person. a. The active primary ending is ti; the secondary, tt>t; as to the loss of the latter after a final radical consonant, see below, 555. But in the imperative appears instead the peculiar ending tu; and in the perfect no characteristic consonant is present, and the third person has the same ending as the first.

b. The primary middle ending is te, with ta as corresponding secondary. In the older language, te is often strengthened to tāi in the subjunctive. In the perfect, the middle third person has, like the active, the same ending with the first, namely e simply; and in the older language, the third person present also often loses the distinctive part of its termination, and comes to coincide in form with the first (and MS. has aduha for adugdha). To this e perhaps corresponds, as secondary, the i of the aorist 3d pers. passive (842 ff.). The imperative has tām (or, in the Veda, rarely ām) for its ending.

546. Dual: First person. Both in active and in middle, the dual first person is in all its varieties precisely like the corresponding plural, only with substitution of v for the m of the latter: thus, vas (no vasi has been found to occur), va, vahe, vahi, vahāi. The person is, of course, of comparatively rare use, and from the Veda no form in vas, even, is quotable.

547. Second and Third persons. a. In the active, the primary ending of the second person is thas, and that of the third is tas; and this relation of th to t appears also in the perfect, and runs through the whole series of middle endings. The perfect endings are primary, but have u instead of a as vowel; and an a has become so persistently prefixed that their forms have to be reckoned as athus and atus. The secondary endings exhibit no definable relation to the primary in these two persons; they are tam and tām; and they are used in the imperative as well.

b. In the middle, a long ā — which, however, with the final a of a-stems becomes e — has become prefixed to all dual endings of the second and third persons, so as to form an inseparable part of them (dīdhīthām AV., and jihīthām ÇB., are isolated anomalies). The primary endings, present and perfect, are āthe and āte; the secondary (and imperative) are āthām and ātām (or, with stem-final a, ethe etc.).

c. The Rig-Veda has a very few forms in āithe and āite, apparently from ethe and ete with subjunctive strengthening (they are all detailed below: see 615, 701, 737, 752, 836, 1008, 1043).

548. Plural: First person. a. The earliest form of the active ending is masi, which in the oldest language is more frequent than the briefer mas (in RV., as five to one; in AV., however, only as three to four). In the classical Sanskrit, mas is the exclusive primary ending; but the secondary abbreviated ma belongs also to the perfect and the subjunctive (imperative). In the Veda, ma often becomes (248 c), especially in the perfect.

b. The primary middle ending is mahe. This is lightened in the secondary form to mahi; and, on the other hand, it is regularly (in the Veda, not invariably) strengthened to mahāi in the subjunctive (imperative).

549. Second person. a. The active primary ending is tha. The secondary, also imperative, ending is ta (in the Veda, only once in impv.). But in the perfect any characteristic consonant is wanting, and the ending is simply a. In the Veda, the syllable na, of problematic origin, is not infrequently added to both forms of the ending, making thana (rarely thanā) and tana. The forms in which this occurs will be detailed below, under the different formations; the addition is very rarely made excepting to persons of the first general conjugation.

b. The middle primary ending is dhve, which belongs to the perfect as well as the present. In the subjunctive of the older language it is sometimes strengthened to dhvāi. The secondary (and imperative) ending is dhvam (in RV., once dhva); and dhvāt is once met with in the imperative (570). In the Veda, the v of all these endings is sometimes to be resolved into u, and the ending becomes dissyllabic. As to the change of dh of these endings to ḍh, see above, 226 c.

550. Third person. a. The full primary ending is anti in the active, with ante as corresponding middle. The middle secondary ending is anta, to which should correspond an active ant; but of the t only altogether questionable traces are left, in the euphonic treatment of a final n (207); the ending is an. In the imperative, antu and antām take the place of anti and ante. The initial a of all these endings is like that of am in the 1st sing., disappearing after the final a of a tense-stem.

b. Moreover, anti, antu, ante, antām, anta are all liable to be weakened by the loss of their nasal, becoming ati etc. In the active, this weakening takes place only after reduplicated non-a-stems (and after a few roots which are treated as if reduplicated: 639 ff.); in the middle, it occurs after all tense-stems save those ending in a.

c. Further, for the secondary active ending an there is a substitute us (or ur: 169 b; the evidence of the Zend favors the latter form), which is used in the same reduplicating verbs that change anti to ati etc., and which accordingly appears as a weaker correlative of an. The same us is also used universally in the perfect, in the optative (not in the subjunctive), in those forms of the aorist whose stem does not end in a, and in the imperfect of root-stems ending in ā, and a few others (621).

d. The perfect middle has in all periods of the language the peculiar ending re, and the optative has the allied ran, in this person. In the Veda, a variety of other endings containing a r as distinctive consonant are met with: namely, re (and ire) and rate in the present; rata in the optative (both of present and of aorist); rire in the perfect; ranta, ran, and ram in aorists (and in an imperfect or two); rām and ratām in the imperative; ra in the imperfect of duh (MS.). The three rate, ratam, and rata are found even in the later language in one or two verbs (629).

551. Below are given, for convenience, in tabular form, the schemes of endings as accepted in the classical or later language: namely, a. the regular primary endings, used in the present indicative and the future (and the subjunctive in part); and b. the regular secondary endings, used in the imperfect, the conditional, the aorist, the optative (and the subjunctive in part); and further, of special schemes, c. the perfect endings (chiefly primary, especially in the middle); and d. the imperative endings (chiefly secondary). To the so-called imperative endings of the first person is prefixed the ā which is practically a part of them, though really containing the mode-sign of the subjunctive from which they are derived.

552. Further, a part of the endings are marked with an accent, and a part are left unaccented. The latter are those which never, under any circumstances, receive the accent; the former are accented in considerable classes of verbs, though by no means in all. It will be noticed that, in general, the unaccented endings are those of the singular active; but the 2d sing. imkerative has an accented ending; and, on the other hand, the whole series of 1st persons imperative, active and middle, have unaccented endings (this being a characteristic of the subjunctive formation which they represent).

553. The schemes of normal endings, then, are as follows:

a. Primary Endings.
active. middle.
s. d. p. s. d. p.
1 mi vás más é váhe máhe
2 si thás thá ā́the dhvé
3 ti tás ánti, áti ā́te ánte, áte
b. Secondary Endings.
1 am í, á váhi máhi
2 s tám thā́s ā́thām dhvám
3 t tā́m án, ús ā́tām ánta, áta, rán
c. Perfect Endings.
1 a é váhe máhe
2 tha áthus á ā́the dhvé
3 a átus ús é ā́te
d. Imperative Endings.
1 āni āva āma āi āvahāi āmahāi
2 dhí, hí, — tám svá ā́thām dhvám
3 tu tā́m ántu, átu tā́m ā́tām ántām, átām

554. In general, the rule is followed that an accented ending, if dissyllabic, is accented on its first syllable — and the constant union-vowels are regarded, in this respect, as integral parts of the endings. But the 3d pl. ending ate of the pres. indic. middle has in RV. the accent até in a number of verbs (see 613, 685, 699, 719); and an occasional instance is met with in other endings: thus, mahé (see 719, 735).

555. The secondary endings of the second and third persons singular, as consisting of an added consonant without vowel, should regularly (150) be lost whenever the root or stem to which they are to be added itself ends in a consonant. And this rule is in general followed; yet not without exceptions. Thus:

a. A root ending in a dental mute sometimes drops this final mute instead of the added s in the second person; and, on the other hand, a root or stem ending in s sometimes drops this s instead of the added t in the third person – in either case, establishing the ordinary relation of s and t in these persons, instead of s and s, or t and t. The examples noted are: 2d sing. aves (to 3d sing. avet), √vid, AB.; 3d sing. akat, √kṛ, ÇB. aghat, √ghas, JB. AÇS.; acakāt, √cakās, RT.; açāt, √çās, AB. MBh. R.; asrat, √sras, VS.; ahinat, √hiṅs, ÇB. TB. GB. Compare also the s-aorist forms ayās and srās (146 a), in which the same influence is to be seen; and further, ajāit etc. (889 a), and precative yāt for yās (837). A similar loss of any other final consonant is excessively rare; AV. has once abhanas, for -nak, √bhañj. There are also a few cases where a 1st sing. is irregularly modeled after a 3d sing.: thus, atṛṇam (to atṛṇat), √tṛd, KU., acchinam (to acchinat), √chid, MBh.: compare urther the 1st sing. in m instead of am, 543 a.

b. Again, a union-vowel is sometimes introduced before the ending, either a or i or ī: see below, 621 b, 631, 819, 880, 1004 a, 1068 a.

c. In a few isolated cases in the older language, this ī is changed to āi: see below, 904 b, 936, 1068 a.

556. The changes of form which roots and stems undergo in their combinations with these endings will be pointed out in detail below, under the various formations. Here may be simply mentioned in advance, as by far the most important among them, a distinction of stronger and weaker form of stem in large classes of verbs, standing in relation with the accent – the stem being of stronger form when the accent falls upon it, or before an accentless ending, and of weaker form when the accent is on the ending.

a. Of the endings marked as accented in the scheme, the ta of 2d pl. is not infrequently in the Veda treated as unaccented, the tone resting on the stem, which is strengthened. Much less often, the tam of 2d du. is treated in the same way; other endings, only sporadically. Details are given under the various formations below.

Subjunctive Mode.

557. Of the subjunctive mode (as was pointed out above) only fragments are left in the later or classical language: namely, in the so-called first persons imperative, and in the use (579) of the imperfect and aorist persons without augment after mā́ prohibitive. In the oldest period, however, it was a very frequent formation, being three or four times as common as the optative in the Rig-Veda, and nearly the same in the Atharvan; but already in the Brāhmaṇas it becomes comparatively rare. Its varieties of form are considerable, and sometimes perplexing.

558. In its normal and regular formation, a special mode-stem is made for the subjunctive by adding to the tense-stem an a – which combines with a final a of the tense-stem to ā. The accent rests upon the tense-stem, which accordingly has the strong form. Thus, from the strong present-stem doh (√duh) is made the subjunctive-stem dóha; from juhó (√hu), juháva; from yunáj (√yuj), yunája; from sunó (√su), sunáva; from bháva (√bhū), bhávā; from tudá (√tud), tudā́; from ucyá (pass., √vac), ucyā́; and so on.

559. The stem thus formed is inflected in general as an a-stem would be inflected in the indicative, with constant accent, and ā for a before the endings of the first person (733 i) – but with the following peculiarities as to ending etc.:

560. a. In the active, the 1st sing. has ni as ending: thus, dóhāni, yunájāni, bhávāni. But in the Rig-Veda sometimes ā simply: thus, áyā, brávā.

b. In 1st du., 1st pl., and 3d pl., the endings are the secondary: thus, dóhāva, dóhāma, dóhan; bhávāva, bhávāma, bhávān.

c. In 2d and 3d du. and 2d pl., the endings are primary: thus, dóhathas, dóhatas, dóhatha; bhávāthas, bhávātas, bhávātha.

d. In 2d and 3d sing., the endings are either primary or secondary: thus, dóhasi or dóhas, dóhati or dóhat; bhávāsi or bhávās, bhávāti or bhávāt.

e. Occasionally, forms with double mode-sign ā (by assimilation to the more numerous subjunctives from tense-stems in a) are met with from non-a-stems: thus, ásātha from as; áyās, áyāt, áyān from e (√i).

561. In the middle, forms with secondary instead of primary endings are very rare, being found only in the 3d pl. (where they are more frequent than the primary), and in a case or two of the 3d sing. (and AB. has once asyāthās).

a. The striking peculiarity of subjunctive middle inflection is the frequent strengthening of e to āi in the endings. This is less general in the very earliest language than later. In 1st sing., āi alone is found as ending, even in RV.; and in 1st du. also (of rare occurrence), only āvahāi is met with. In 1st pl., āmahāi prevails in RV. and AV. (āmahe is found a few times), and is alone known later. In 2d sing., sāi for se does not occur in RV., but is the only form in AV. and the Brāhmaṇas. In 3d sing., tāi for te occurs once in RV., and is the predominant form in AV., and the only one later. In 2d pl., dhvāi for dhve is found in one word in RV., and a few times in the Brāhmaṇas. In 3d pl., ntāi for nte is the Brāhmaṇa form (of far from frequent occurrence); it occurs neither in RV. nor AV. No such dual endings as thāi and tāi, for the and te, are anywhere found; but RV. has in a few words (nine: above, 547 c) āithe and āite, which appear to be a like subjunctive strengthening of ethe and ete (although found in one indicative form, kṛṇvāite). Before the āi-endings, the vowel is regularly long ā; but antāi instead of āntāi is two or three times met with, and once or twice (TS. AB.) atāi for ātāi.

562. The subjunctive endings, then, in combination with the subjunctive mode-sign, are as follows:

active. middle.
s. d. p. s. d. p.
1 āni āva āma āi āvahāi
2 asi
athas atha ase
āithe adhve
3 ati
atas an ate
āite ante, anta

a. And in further combination with final a of a tense-stem, the initial a of all these endings becomes ā: thus, for example, in 2d pers., āsi or ās, āthas, ātha, āse, ādhve.

563. Besides this proper subjunctive, with mode-sign, In its triple form — with primary, with strengthened primary, and with secondary endings — the name of subjunctive, in the forms "imperfect subjunctive" and "improper subjunctive", has been also given to the indicative forms of imperfect and aorist when used, with the augment omitted, in a modal sense (below, 587): such use being quite common in RV., but rapidly dying out, so that in the Brāhmaṇa language and later it is hardly met with except after prohibitive.

a. As to the general uses of the subjunctive, see below, 574 ff.

Optative Mode.

564. a. As has been already pointed out, the optative is of comparatively rare occurrence in the language of the Vedas; but it gains rapidly in frequency, and already in the Brāhmaṇas greatly outnumbers the subjunctive, and still later comes almost entirely to take its place.

b. Its mode of formation is the same in all periods of the language.

565. a. The optative mode-sign is in the active voice a different one, according as it is added to a tense-stem ending in a, or to one ending in some other final. In the latter case, it is yā́, accented; this is appended to the weaker form of the tense-stem, and takes the regular series of secondary endings, with, in 3d plur., us instead of an, and loss of the ā before it. After an a-stem, it is ī, unaccented; this ī blends with the final a to e (which then is accented or not according to the accent of the a); and the e is maintained unchanged before a vowel-ending (am, us), by means of an interposed euphonic y.

b. In the middle voice, the mode-sign is ī throughout, and takes the secondary endings, with a in 1st sing., and ran in 3d pl. After an a-stem, the rules as to its combination to e, the accent of the latter, and its retention before a vowel-ending with interposition of a y, are the same as in the active. After any other final, the weaker form of stem is taken, and the accent is on the ending (except in one class of verbs, where it falls upon the tense-stem: see 645); and the ī (as when combined to e) takes an inserted y before the vowel-endings (a, āthām, ātām).

c. It is, of course, impossible to tell from the form whether i or ī is combined with the final of an a-stem to e; but no good reason appears to exist for assuming i, rather than the ī which shows itself in the other class of stems in the middle voice.

566. The combined mode-sign and endings of the optative, then, are as follows, in their double form, for a-stems and for others:

a. for non-a-stems.
active. middle.
s. d. p. s. d. p.
1 yā́m yā́va yā́ma īyá īváhi īmáhi
2 yā́s yā́tam yā́ta īthā́s īyā́thām īdhvám
3 yā́t yā́tām yús ītá īyā́tām īrán
b. combined with the final of a-stems.
1 eyam eva ema eya evahi emahi
2 es etam eta ethās eyāthām edhvam
3 et etām eyus eta eyātām eran

c. The is in the Veda not seldom resolved into .

d. The contracted sanem, for saneyam, is found in TB. and Āpast. Certain Vedic 3d pl. middle forms in rata will be mentioned below, under the various formations.

567. Precative. Precative forms are such as have a sibilant inserted between the optative-sign and the ending. They are made almost only from the aorist stems, and, though allowed by the grammarians to be formed from every root — the active precative from the simple aorist, the middle from the sibilant aorist — are practically of rare occurrence at every period of the language, and especially later.

a. The inserted s runs in the active through the whole series of persons; in the middle, it is allowed only in the 2d and 3d persons sing. and du. and the 2d pl., and is quotable only for the 2d and 3d sing. In the 2d sing. act., the precative form, by reason of the necessary loss of the added s, is not distinguishable from the simple optative; in the 3d sing. act., the same is the case in the later language, which (compare 555 a) saves the personal ending t instead of the precative-sign s; but the RV. usually, and the other Vedic texts to some extent, have the proper ending yās (for yāst). As to ḍh in the 2d pl. mid., see 226 c.

b. The accent is as in the simple optative.

568. The precative endings, then, accepted in the later language (including, in brackets, those which are identical with the simple optative), are as follows:

active. middle.
s. d. p. s. d. p.
1 yā́sam yā́sva yā́sma [īyá] [īváhi] [īmáhi]
2 [yā́s] yā́stam yā́sta īṣṭhā́s īyā́sthām īḍhvam
3 [yā́t] yā́stām yā́sus īṣṭá īyā́stām [īrán]

a. Respecting the precative, see further 921 ff.

b. As to the general uses of the optative, see below, 573 ff.

Imperative Mode.

569. The imperative has no mode-sign; it is made by adding its own endings directly to the tense-stem, just as the other endings are added to form the indicative tenses.

a. Hence, in 2d and 3d du. and 2d pl., its forms are indistinguishable from those of the augment-preterit from the same stem with its augment omitted.

b. The rules as to the use of the different endings — especially in 2d sing., where the variety is considerable — will be given below, in connection with the various tense-systems. The ending tāt, however, has so much that is peculiar in its use that it calls for a little explanation here.

570. The Imperative in tāt. An imperative form, usually having the value of a 2d pers. sing., but sometimes also of other persons and numbers, is made by adding tāt to a present tense-stem — in its weak form, if it have a distinction of strong and weak form.

a. Examples are: brūtāt, hatāt, vittā́t; pipṛtāt, jahītāt, dhattā́t; kṛṇutāt, kurutāt; gṛhṇītāt, jānītā́t; ávatāt, rákṣatāt, vasatāt; viçatāt, sṛjatāt; asyatāt, naçyatāt, chyatāt; kriyatāt; gamayatāt, cyāvayatāt, vārayatāt; īpsatāt; jāgṛtāt. No examples have been found from a nasal-class verb (690), nor any other than those here given from a passive, intensive, or desiderative. The few accented cases indicate that the formation follows the general rule for one made with an accented ending (552).

b. The imperative in tāt is not a very rare formation in the older language, being made (in V., B., and S.) from about fifty roots, and in toward a hundred and fifty occurrences. Later, it is very unusual: thus, only a single example has been noted in MBh., and one in R.; and correspondingly few in yet more modern texts.

571. As regards its meaning, this form appears to have prevailingly in the Brāhmaṇas, and traceably but much less distinctly in the Vedic texts, a specific tense-value added to its mode-value — as signifying, namely, an injunction to be carried out at a later time than the present: it is (like the Latin forms in to and tote) a posterior or future imperative.

a. Examples are: ihāi ’vá mā tíṣṭhantam abhyèhī́ ’ti brūhi tā́ṁ tú na ā́gatām pratiprábrūtāt (ÇB.) say to her "come to me as I stand just here," and [afterward] announce her to us as having come; yád ūrdhvás tíṣṭhā dráviṇe ’há dhattāt (RV.) when thou shalt stand upright, [then] bestow riches here (and similarly in many cases); utkū́lam udvahó bhavo ’dúhya práti dhāvatāt (AV.) be a carrier up the ascent; after having carried up, run back again; vánaspátir ádhi tvā sthāsyati tásya vittāt (TS.) the tree will ascend thee, [then] take note of it.

b. Examples of its use as other than 2d sing. are as follows: 1st sing., āvyuṣáṁ jāgṛtād ahám (AV.; only case) let me watch till daybreak; as 3d sing., púnar mā́ ”viçatād rayíḥ (TS.) let wealth come again to me, ayáṁ tyásya rā́jā mūrdhā́naṁ ví pātayatāt (ÇB.) the king here shall make his head fly off; as 2d du., nā́satyāv abruvan devā́ḥ púnar ā́ vahatād íti (RV.) the gods said to the two Açvins "bring them back again"; as 2d pl., ā́paḥ ... devéṣu naḥ sukṛ́to brūtāt (TS.) ye waters, announce us to the gods as well-doers. In the later language, the prevailing value appears to be that of a 3d sing.: thus, bhavān prasādaṁ kurutāt (MBh.) may your worship do the favor, enam bhavān abhirakṣatāt (DKC.) let your excellency protect him.

c. According to the native grammarians, the imperative in tāt is to be used with a benedictive implication. No instance of such use appears to be quotable.

d. In a certain passage repeated several times in different Brāhmaṇas and Sūtras, and containing a number of forms in tāt used as 2d pl., vārayadhvāt is read instead of vārayatāt in some of the texts (K. AB. AÇS. ÇÇS.). No other occurrence of the ending dhvāt has been anywhere noted.
Uses of the Modes.

572. Of the three modes, the imperative is the one most distinct and limited in office, and most unchanged in use throughout the whole history of the language. It signifies a command or injunction — an attempt at the exercise of the speaker's will upon some one or something outside of himself.

a. This, however (in Sanskrit as in other languages), is by no means always of the same force; the command shades off into a demand, an exhortation, an entreaty, an expression of earnest desire. The imperative also sometimes signifies an assumption or concession; and occasionally, by pregnant construction, it becomes the expression of something conditional or contingent; but it does not acquire any regular use in dependent-clause-making.

b. The imperative is now and then used in an interrogative sentence: thus, bravīhi ko ‘dyāi ’va mayā viyujyatām (R.) speak! who shall now be separated by me? katham ete guṇavantaḥ kriyantām (H.) how are they to be made virtuous? kasmāi piṇḍaḥ pradīyatām (Vet.) to whom shall the offering be given?

573. The optative appears to have as its primary office the expression of wish or desire; in the oldest language, its prevailing use in independent clauses is that to which the name "optative" properly belongs.

a. But the expression of desire, on the one hand, passes naturally over into that of request or entreaty, so that the optative becomes a softened imperative; and, on the other hand, it comes to signify what is generally desirable or proper, what should or ought to be, and so becomes the mode of prescription; or, yet again, it is weakened into signifying what may or can be, what is likely or usual, and so becomes at last a softened statement of what is.

b. Further, the optative in dependent clauses, with relative pronouns and conjunctions, becomes a regular means of expression of the conditional and contingent, in a wide and increasing variety of uses.

c. The so-called precative forms (567) are ordinarily used in the proper optative sense. But in the later language they are occasionally met with in the other uses of the optative: thus, na hi prapaçyāmi mamā ’panudyād yac chokam (Bh G.) for I do not perceive what should dispel my grief; yad bhūyāsur vibhūtayaḥ (BhP.) that there should be changes. Also rarely with : see 579 b.

574. The subjunctive, as has been pointed out, becomes nearly extinct at an early period in the history of the language; there are left of it in classical usage only two relics: the use of its first persons in an imperative sense, or to signify a necessity or obligation resting on the speaker, or a peremptory intention on his part; and the use of unaugmented forms (579), with the negative particle मा mā́, in a prohibitive or negative imperative sense.

a. And the general value of the subjunctive from the beginning was what these relics would seem to indicate; its fundamental meaning is perhaps that of requisition, less peremptory than the imperative, more so than the optative. But this meaning is liable to the same modifications and transitions with that of the optative; and subjunctive and optative run closely parallel with one another in the oldest language in their use in independent clauses, and are hardly distinguishable in dependent. And instead of their being (as in Greek) both maintained in use, and endowed with nicer and more distinctive values, the subjunctive gradually disappears, and the optative assumes alone the offices formerly shared by both.

575. The difference, then, between imperative and subjunctive and optative, in their fundamental and most characteristic uses, is one of degree: command, requisition, wish; and no sharp line of division exists between them; they are more or less exchangeable with one another, and combinable in coördinate clauses.

a. Thus, in AV., we have in impv.: çatáṁ jīva çarádaḥ do thou live a hundred autumns; ubhāú tāú jīvatāṁ jarádaṣṭī let them both live to attain old age; — in subj., adyá jīvāni let me live this day; çatáṁ jīvāti çarádaḥ he shall live a hundred autumns; — in opt., jī́vema çarádāṁ çatā́ni may we live hundreds of autumns; sárvam ā́yur jīvyāsam (prec.) I would fain live out my whole term of life. Here the modes would be interchangeable with a hardly perceptible change of meaning.

b. Examples, again, of different modes in coördinate construction are: iyám agne nā́rī pátiṁ videṣṭa ... súvānā putrā́n máhiṣī bhavāti gatvā́ pátiṁ subhágā ví rājatu (AV.) may this woman, O Agni! find a spouse; giving birth to sons she shall become a chieftainess; having attained a spouse let her rule in happiness; gopāyá naḥ svastáye prabúdhe naḥ púnar dadaḥ (TS.) watch over us for our welfare; grant unto us to wake again; syā́n naḥ sūnúḥ ... sā́ te sumatír bhūtv asmé (RV.) may there be to us a son; let that favor of thine be ours. It is not very seldom the case that versions of the same passage in different texts show different modes as various readings.

c. There is, in fact, nothing in the earliest employment of these modes to prove that they might not all be specialized uses of forms originally equivalent — having, for instance, a general future meaning.

576. As examples of the less characteristic use of subjunctive and optative in the older language, in independent clauses, may be quoted the following: ā́ ghā tā́ gacchān úttarā yugā́ni (RV.) those later ages will doubtless come; yád ... na marā íti mányase (RV.) if thou thinkest "I shall not die"; ná tā́ naçanti ná dabhāti táskaraḥ (RV.) they do not become lost; no thief can harm them; kásmāi devā́ya havíṣā vidhema (RV.) to what god shall we offer oblation? agnínā rayím açnavat ... divé-dive (RV.) by Agni one may gain wealth every day; utāí ’nām brahmáṇe dadyāt táthā syonā́ çivā́ syāt (AV.) one should give her, however, to a Brahman; in that case she will be propitious and favorable; áhar-ahar dadyāt (ÇB.) one should give every day.

577. The uses of the optative in the later language are of the utmost variety, covering the whole field occupied jointly by the two modes in earlier time. A few examples from a single text (MBh.) will be enough to illustrate them: ucchiṣṭaṁ nāi ’va bhuñjīyaṁ na kuryām pādadhāvanam I will not eat of the remnant of the sacrifice, I will not perform the foot-lavation; jñātīn vrajet let her go to her relatives; nāi ’vaṁ sā karhicit kuryāt she should not act thus at any time; kathaṁ vidyāṁ nalaṁ nṛpam how can I know king Nala? utsarge saṁçayaḥ syāt tu vindetā ’pi sukhaṁ kvacit but in case of her abandonment there may be a chance; she may also find happiness somewhere; kathaṁ vāso vikarteyaṁ na ca budhyeta me priyā how can I cut off the garment and my beloved not wake?

578. The later use of the first persons subjunctive as so-called imperative involves no change of construction from former time, but only restriction to a single kind of use: thus, dīvyāva let us two play; kiṁ karavāṇi te what shall I do for thee?

579. The imperative negative, or prohibitive, is from the earliest period of the language regularly and usually expressed by the particle mā́ with an augmentless past form, prevailingly aorist.

a. Thus, prá pata mé ’há raṁsthāḥ (AV.) fly away, do not stay here; dviṣáṅç ca máhyaṁ radhyatu mā́ cā ’háṁ dviṣaté radham (AV.) both let my foe be subject to me, and let me not be subject to my foe; urv àçyām ábhayaṁ jyótir indra mā́ no dīrghā́ abhí naçan tamisrā́ḥ (RV.) I would win broad fearless light, O Indra; let not the long darknesses come upon us; mā́ na ā́yuḥ prá moṣīḥ (RV.) do not steal away our life; samāçvasihi mā çucaḥ (MBh.) be comforted; do not grieve; mā bhāiṣīḥ or bhāiḥ (MBh. R.) do not be afraid; mā bhūt kālasya paryayaḥ (R.) let not a change of time take place. Examples with the imperfect are: mā́ bibher ná mariṣyasi (RV.) do not fear; thou wilt not die; mā́ smāi ’tā́nt sákhīn kuruthāḥ (AV.) do not make friends of them; mā putram anutapyathāḥ (MBh.) do not sorrow for thy son. The relation of the imperfect to the aorist construction, in point of frequency, is in RV. about as one to five, in AV. still less, or about one to six; and though instances of the imperfect are quotable from all the older texts, they are exceptional and infrequent; while in the epics and later they become extremely rare.

b. A single optative, bhujema, is used prohibitively with mā́ in RV.; the older language presents no other example, and the construction is very rare also later. In an example or two, also, the precative (bhūyāt, R. Pañc.) follows .

c. The RV. has once apparently mā́ with an imperative; but the passage is probably corrupt. No other such case is met with in the older language (unless sṛpa. TA. i. 14; doubtless a bad reading for sṛpas); but in the epics and later the construction begins to appear, and becomes an ordinary form of prohibition: thus, mā prayacche ”çvare dhanam (H.) do not bestow wealth on a lord; sakhi māi ’vaṁ vada (Vet.) friend, do not speak thus.

d. The ÇB. (xi. 5. 1 1) appears to offer a single example of a true subjunctive with mā, ní padyāsāi; there is perhaps something wrong about the reading.

e. In the epics and later, an aorist form not deprived of augment is occasionally met with after : thus, mā tvāṁ kālo ‘tyagāt (MBh.) let not the time pass thee; mā vālipatham anv agāḥ (R.) do not follow Vāli's road. But the same anomaly occurs also two or three times in the older language: thus, vyàpaptat (ÇB.), agās (TA.), anaçat (KS.).

580. But the use also of the optative with not in a prohibitive sense appears in the Veda, and becomes later a familiar construction: thus, ná riṣyema kadā́ caná (RV.) may we suffer no harm at any time; ná cā ’tisṛjén ná juhuyāt (AV.) and if he do not grant permission, let him not sacrifice; tád u táthā ná kuryāt (ÇB.) but he must not do that so; na divā çayīta (ÇGS.) let him not sleep by day; na tvāṁ vidyur janāḥ (MBh.) let not people know thee. This in the later language is the correlative of the prescriptive optative, and both are extremely common; so that in a text of prescriptive character the optative forms may come to outnumber the indicative and imperative together (as is the case, for example, in Manu).

581. In all dependent constructions, it is still harder even in the oldest language to establish a definite distinction between subjunctive and optative; a method of use of either is scarcely to be found to which the other does not furnish a practical equivalent — and then, in the later language, such uses are represented by the optative alone. A few examples will be sufficient to illustrate this:

a. After relative pronouns and conjunctions in general: yā́ vyūṣúr yā́ç ca nūnáṁ vyucchā́n (RV.) which have shone forth [hitherto], and which shall hereafter shine forth; yó ‘to jā́yātā asmā́kaṁ sá éko ‘sat (TS.) whoever shall be born of her, let him be one of us; yó vāí tā́n vidyā́t pratyákṣaṁ sá brahmā́ véditā syāt (AV.) whoever shall know them face to face, he may pass for a knowing priest; putrā́ṇāṁ ... jātā́nāṁ janáyāç ca yā́n (AV.) of sons born and whom thou mayest bear; yásya ... átithir gṛhā́n āgácchet (AV.) to whosesoever house he may come as guest; yatamáthā kāmáyeta táthā kuryāt (ÇB.) in whatever way he may choose, so may he do it; yárhi hótā yájamānasya nā́ma gṛhṇīyā́t tárhi brūyāt (TS.) when the sacrificing priest shall name the name of the offerer, then he may speak; svarūpaṁ yadā draṣṭum icchethāḥ (MBh.) when thou shalt desire to see thine own form.

b. In more distinctly conditional constructions: yájāma devā́n yádi çaknávāma (RV.) we will offer to the gods if we shall be able; yád agne syā́m aháṁ tváṁ tváṁ vā ghā syā́ aháṁ syúṣ ṭe satyā́ ihā́ ”çíṣaḥ (RV.) if I were thou, Agni, or if thou wert I, thy wishes should be realized on the spot; yó dyā́m atisárpāt parástān ná sá mucyātāi váruṇasya rā́jñaḥ (AV.) though one steal far away beyond the sky, he shall not escape king Varuna; yád ánāçvān upaváset kṣódhukaḥ syād yád açnīyā́d rudrò ‘sya paçū́n abhí manyeta (TS.) if he should continue without eating, he would starve; if he should eat, Rudra would attack his cattle; prārthayed yadi māṁ kaçcid daṇḍyaḥ sa me pumān bhavet (MBh.) if any man soever should desire me, he should suffer punishment. These and the like constructions, with the optative, are very common in the Brāhmaṇas and later.

c. In final clauses: yáthā ’háṁ çatruhó ‘sāni (AV.) that I may be a slayer of my enemies; gṛṇānā́ yáthā píbātho ándhaḥ (RV.) that being praised with song ye may drink the draught; urāú yáthā táva çárman mádema (RV.) in order that we rejoice in thy wide protection; úpa jānīta yáthe ‘yám púnar āgácchet (ÇB.) contrive that she come back again; kṛpāṁ kuryād yathā mayi (MBh.) so that he may take pity on me. This is in the Veda one of the most frequent uses of the subjunctive; and in its correlative negative form, with néd in order that not or lest (always followed by an accented verb), it continues not rare in the Brāhmaṇas.

d. The indicative is also very commonly used in final clauses after yathā: thus, yáthā ’yáṁ púruṣo ‘ntárikṣam anucárati (ÇB.) in order that this man may traverse the atmosphere; yathā na vighnaḥ kriyate (R.) so that no hindrance may arise; yathā ’yaṁ naçyati tathā vidheyam (H.) it must be so managed that he perish.

e. With the conditional use of subjunctive and optative is farther to be compared that of the so-called conditional tense: see below, 950.

f. As is indicated by many of the examples given above, it is usual in a conditional sentence, containing protasis and apodosis, to employ always the same mode, whether subjunctive or optative (or conditional), in each of the two clauses. For the older language, this is a rule well-nigh or quite without exception.

582. No distinction of meaning has been established between the modes of the present-system and those (in the older language) of the perfect and aorist-systems.


583. Participles, active and middle, are made from all the tense-stems — except the periphrastic future, and, in the later language, the aorist (and aorist participles are rare from the beginning).

a. The participles unconnected with the tense-systems are treated in chap. XIII. (952 ff.).

584. The general participial endings are अन्त् ant (weak form अत् at; fem. अन्ती antī or अती atī: see above, 449) for the active, and आन āna (fem. आना ānā) for the middle. But —

a. After a tense-stem ending in a, the active participial suffix is virtually nt, one of the two a's being lost in the combination of stem-final and suffix.

b. After a tense-stem ending in a, the middle participial suffix is māna instead of āna. But there are occasional exceptions to the rule as to the use of māna and āna respectively, which will be pointed out in connection with the various formations below. Such exceptions are especially frequent in the causative: see 1043 f.

c. The perfect has in the active the peculiar suffix vāṅs (weakest form uṣ, middle form vat; fem, uṣī: see, for the inflection of this participle, above, 458 ff.).

d. For details, as to form of stem etc., and for special exceptions, see the following chapters.


585. The augment is a short अ a, prefixed to a tense-stem — and, if the latter begin with a vowel, combining with that vowel irregularly into the heavier or vṛddhi diphthong (136 a). It is always (without any exception) the accented element in the verbal form of which it makes a part.

a. In the Veda, the augment is in a few forms long ā: thus, ā́naṭ, ā́var, āvṛṇi, ā́vṛṇak, āvidhyat, āyunak, ā́yukta, ā́yukṣātām, ā́riṇak, ā́rāik and yás ta ā́vidhat, RV. ii. 1. 7, 9?).

586. The augment is a sign of past time. And an augment-preterit is made from each of the tense-stems from which the system of conjugation is derived: namely, the imperfect, from the present-stem; the pluperfect (in the Veda only), from the perfect-stem; the conditional, from the future-stem; while in the aorist such a preterit stands without any corresponding present indicative.

587. In the early language, especially in the RV., the occurrence of forms identical with those of augment-tenses save for the lack of an augment is quite frequent. Such forms lose in general, along with the augment, the specific character of the tenses to which they belong; and they are then employed in part non-modally, with either a present or a past sense; and in part modally, with either a subjunctive or an optative sense — especially often and regularly after prohibitive (579); and this last mentioned use comes down also into the later language.

a. In RV., the augmentless forms are more than half as common as the augmented (about 2000 and 3300), and are made from the present, perfect, and aorist-systems, but considerably over half from the aorist. Their non-modal and modal uses are of nearly equal frequency. The tense value of the non-modally used forms is more often past than present. Of the modally used forms, nearly a third are construed with prohibitive; the rest have twice as often an optative as a proper subjunctive value.

b. In AV., the numerical relations are very different. The augmentless forms are less than a third as many as the augmented (about 475 to 1450), and are prevailingly (more than four fifths) aoristic. The non-modal uses are only a tenth of the modal. Of the modally used forms, about four fifths are construed with prohibitive; the rest are chiefly optative in value. Then, in the language of the Brāhmaṇas (not including the mantra-material which they contain), the loss of augment is, save in occasional sporadic cases, restricted to the prohibitive construction with ; and the same continues to be the case later.

c. The accentuation of the augmentless forms is throughout in accordance with that of unaugmented tenses of similar formation. Examples will be given below, under the various tenses.

d. Besides the augmentless aorist-forms with prohibitive, there are also found occasionally in the later language augmentless imperfect-forms (very rarely aorist-forms), which have the same value as if they were augmented, and are for the most part examples of metrical license. They are especially frequent in the epics (whence some scores of them are quotable).

588. The derivation of conjugational and declensional stems from roots by reduplication, either alone or along with other formative elements, has been already spoken of (259), and the formations in which reduplication appears have been specified: they are, in primary verb-inflection, the present (of a certain class of verbs), the perfect (of nearly all), and the aorist (of a large number); and the intensive and desiderative secondary conjugations contain in their stems the same element.

589. The general principle of reduplication is the prefixion to a root of a part of itself repeated — if it begin with consonants, the initial consonant and the vowel; if it begin with a vowel, that vowel, either alone or with a following consonant. The varieties of detail, however, are very considerable. Thus, especially, as regards the vowel, which in present and perfect and desiderative is regularly shorter and lighter in the reduplication than in the root-syllable, in aorist is longer, and in intensive is strengthened. The differences as regards an initial consonant are less, and chiefly confined to the intensive; for the others, certain general rules may be here stated, all further details being left to be given in connection with the account of the separate formations.

590. The consonant of the reduplicating syllable is in general the first consonant of the root: thus, पप्रछ् paprach from √प्रछ् prach; शिश्रि çiçri from √श्रि çri; बुबुध् bubudh from √बुध्. But —

a. A non-aspirate is substituted in reduplication for an aspirate: thus, दधा dadhā from √धा; बिभृ bibhṛ from √भृ bhṛ.

b. A palatal is substituted for a guttural or for ह् h: thus, चकृ cakṛ from √कृ kṛ ; चिखिद् cikhid from √खिद् khid; जग्रभ् jagrabh from √ग्रभ् grabh; जहृ jahṛ from √हृ hṛ.

c. The occasional reversion, on the other hand, of a palatal in the radical syllable to guttural form has been noticed above (216 l).

d. Of two initial consonants, the second, if it be a non-nasal mute preceded by a sibilant, is repeated instead of the first: thus, तस्तृ tasṭr from √स्तृ stṛ; तस्था tasthā from √स्था sthā; चस्कन्द् caskand from √स्कन्द् skand; चस्खल् caskhal from √स्खल् skhal; चुश्चुत् cuçcut from √श्चुत् çcut; पस्पृध् paspṛdh from √स्पृध् spṛdh; पुस्फुट् pusphuṭ from √स्फुट् sphuṭ: — but सस्ना sasnā from √स्ना snā; सस्मृ sasmṛ from √स्मृ smṛ; सुस्रु susru from √स्रु sru; शिश्लिष् çiçliṣ from √श्लिष् çliṣ.

Accent of the Verb.

591. The statements which have been made above, and those which will be made below, as to the accent of verbal forms, apply to those cases in which the verb is actually accented.

a. But, according to the grammarians, and according to the invariable practice in accentuated texts, the verb is in the majority of its occurrences unaccented or toneless.

b. That is to say, of course, the verb in its proper forms, its personal or so-called finite forms. The verbal nouns and adjectives, or the infinitives and participles, are subject to precisely the same laws of accent as other nouns and adjectives.

592. The general rule, covering most of the cases, is this: The verb in an independent clause is unaccented, unless it stand at the beginning of the clause — or also, in metrical text, at the beginning of a pāda.

a. For the accent of the verb, as well as for that of the vocative case (above, 314 c), the beginning of a pāda counts as that of a sentence, whatever be the logical connection of the pāda with what precedes it.

b. Examples of the unaccented verb are: agním īḍe puróhitam Agni I praise, the house-priest; sá íd devéṣu gacchati that, truly, goes to the gods; ágne sūpāyanó bhava O Agni, be easy of access; idám indra çṛṇuhi somapa this, O Indra, soma-drinker, hear; námas te rudra kṛṇmaḥ homage to thee, Rudra, we offer; yájamānasya paçū́n pāhi the sacrificer's cattle protect thou.

c. Hence, there are two principal situations in which the verb retains its accent:

593. First, the verb is accented when it stands at the beginning of a clause — or, in verse, of a pāda.

a. Examples of the verb accented at the head of the sentence are, in prose, çúndhadhvaṁ dāívyāya kármaṇe be pure for the divine ceremony; āpnótī ’máṁ lokám he wins this world; in verse, where the head of the sentence is also that of the pāda, syā́mé ’d índrasya çármaṇi may we be in Indra's protection; darçáya mā yātudhā́nān show me the sorcerers; gámad vā́jebhir ā́ sá naḥ may he come with good things to us; — in verse, where the head of the clause is within the pāda, téṣām pāhi çrudhī́ hávam drink of them, hear our call; sástu mātā́ sástu pitā́ sástu çvā́ sástu viçpátiḥ let the mother sleep, let the father sleep, let the dog sleep, let the master sleep; víçvakarman námas te pāhy àsmā́n Viçvakarman, homage to thee; protect us! yuvā́m ... rā́jña ūce duhitā́ pṛcché vāṁ narā the king's daughter said to you "I pray you, ye men"; vayáṁ te váya indra viddhí ṣu ṇaḥ prá bharāmahe we offer thee, Indra, strengthening; take note of us.

b. Examples of the verb accented at the head of the pāda when this is not the head of the sentence are: áthā te ántamānāṁ vidyā́ma sumatīnā́m so may we enjoy thy most intimate favors; dhātā́ ’syā́ agrúvāi pátiṁ dádhātu pratikāmyàm Dhātar bestow upon this girl a husband according to her wish; yātudhānasya somapa jahí prajā́m slay, Soma-drinker, the progeny of the sorcerer.

594. Certain special cases under this head are as follows:

a. As a vocative forms no syntactical part of the sentence to which it is attached, but is only an external appendage to it, a verb following an initial vocative, or more than one, is accented, as if it were itself initial in the clause or pāda: thus, ā́çrutkarṇa çrudhī́ hávam O thou of listening ears, hear our call! sī́te vándāmahe tvā O Sītā, we reverence thee; víçve devā vásavo rákṣate ’mám all ye gods, ye Vasus, protect this man; utā́ ”gaç cakrúṣaṁ devā dévā jīváyathā púnaḥ likewise him, O gods, who has committed crime, ye gods, ye make to live again.

b. If more than one verb follow a word or words syntactically connected with them all, only the first loses its accent, the others being treated as if they were initial verbs in separate clauses, with the same adjuncts understood: thus, taráṇir íj jayati kṣéti púṣyati successful he conquers, rules, thrives; amítrān ... párāca indra prá mṛṇā jahī́ ca our foes, Indra, drive far away and slay; asmábhyaṁ jeṣi yótsi ca for us conquer and fight; ágnīṣomā havíṣaḥ prásthitasya vītáṁ háryataṁ vṛṣaṇā juṣéthām O Agni and Soma, of the oblation set forth partake, enjoy, ye mighty ones, take pleasure.

c. In like manner (but much less often), an adjunct, as subject or object, standing between two verbs and logically belonging to both, is reckoned to the first alone, and the second has the initial accent: thus, jahí prajā́ṁ náyasva ca slay the progeny, and bring [it] hither; çṛṇótu naḥ subhágā bódhatu tmánā may the blessed one hear us, [and may she] kindly regard [us].

d. It has even come to be a formal rule that a verb immediately following another verb is accented: thus, sá yá etám evám upā́ste pūryáte prajáyā paçúbhiḥ (ÇB.) whoever worships him thus is filled with offspring and cattle.

595. Second, the verb is accented, whatever its position, in a dependent clause.

a. The dependency of a clause is in the very great majority of cases conditioned by the relative pronoun ya, or one of its derivatives or compounds. Thus: yáṁ yajñám paribhū́r ási what offering thou protectest; ó té yanti yé aparī́ṣu páçyān they are coming who shall behold her hereafter; sahá yán me ásti téna along with that which is mine; yátra naḥ pū́rve pitáraḥ pareyúḥ whither our fathers of old departed; adyā́ murīya yádi yātudhā́no ásmi let me die on the spot, if I am a sorcerer; yáthā́ ’hāny anupūrvám bhávanti as days follow one another in order; yā́vad idám bhúvanaṁ víçvam ásti how great this whole creation is; yátkāmās te juhumás tán no astu what desiring we sacrifice to thee, let that become ours; yatamás títṛpsāt whichever one desires to enjoy.

b. The presence of a relative word in the sentence does not, of course, accent the verb, unless this is really the predicate of a dependent clause: thus, ápa tyé tāyávo yathā yanti they make off like thieves (as thieves do); yát sthā́ jágac ca rejate whatever [is] immovable and movable trembles; yathākā́maṁ ní padyate he lies down at his pleasure.

c. The particle ca when it means if, and céd (ca+id) if, give an accent to the verb: thus, brahmā́ céd dhástam ágrahīt if a Brahman has grasped her hand; tváṁ ca soma no váço jīvā́tuṁ ná marāmahe if thou, Soma, willest us to live, we shall not die; ā́ ca gácchān mitrám enā dadhāma if he will come here, we will make friends with him.

d. There are a very few passages in which the logical dependence of a clause containing no subordinating word appears to give the verb its accent: thus, sám áçvaparṇāç cáranti no náro ‘smā́kam indra rathíno jayantu when our men, horse-winged, come into conflict, let the chariot-fighters of our side, O Indra, win the victory. Rarely, too, an imperative so following another imperative that its action may seem a consequence of the latter's is accented: thus, tū́yam ā́ gahi káṇveṣu sú sácā píba come hither quickly; drink along with the Kanvas (i. e. in order to drink).

e. A few other particles give the verb an accent, in virtue of a slight subordinating force belonging to them: thus, especially (with its negation nahí), which in its fullest value means for, but shades off from that into a mere asseverative sense; the verb or verbs connected with it are always accented: thus, ví té muñcantāṁ vimúco hí sánti let them release him, for they are releasers; yác cid dhí ... anāçastā́ iva smási if we, forsooth, are as it were unrenowned; — also néd (ná+íd), meaning lest, that not: thus, nét tvā tápāti sū́ro arcíṣā that the sun may not burn thee with his beam; virā́jaṁ néd vicchinádānī́ ’ti saying to himself, "lest I cut off the virāj" (such cases are frequent in the Brāhmaṇas); — and the interrogative kuvíd whether? thus, ukthébhiḥ kuvíd āgamát will he come hither for our praises?

596. But further, the verb of a prior clause is not infrequently accented in antithetical construction.

a. Sometimes, the relation of the two clauses is readily capable of being regarded as that of protasis and apodosis; but often, also, such a relation is very indistinct; and the cases of antithesis shade off into those of ordinary coördination, the line between them appearing to be rather arbitrarily drawn.

b. In many cases, the antithesis is made distincter by the presence in the two clauses of correlative words, especially anyaanya, ekaeka, , caca: thus, prá-prā ’nyé yánti páry anyá āsate some go on and on, others sit about (as if it were while some go etc.); úd vā siñcádhvam úpa vā pṛṇadhvam either pour out, or fill up; sáṁ ce ’dhyásvā ’gne prá ca vardhaye ’mám both do thou thyself become kindled, Agni, and do thou increase this person. But it is also made without such help: thus, prā́ ’jātāḥ prajā́ janáyati pári prájātā gṛhṇāti the unborn progeny he generates, the born he embraces; ápa yusmád ákramīn nā́ ’smā́n upā́vartate [though] she has gone away from you, she does not come to us; nā́ ’ndhò ‘dhvaryúr bhávati ná yajñáṁ rákṣāṅsi ghnanti the priest does not become blind, the demons do not destroy the sacrifice; kéna sómā gṛhyánte kéna hūyante by whom [on the one hand] are the somas dipped out? by whom [on the other hand] are they offered?

597. Where the verb would be the same in the two antithetical clauses, it is not infrequently omitted in the second: thus, beside complete expressions like urvī́ cā́ ’si vásvī cā ’si both thou art broad and thou art good, occur, much oftener, incomplete ones like agnír amúṣmiṅ loká ā́sīd yamò ‘smín Agni was in yonder world, Yama [was] in this; asthnā́ ’nyā́ḥ prajā́ḥ pratitíṣṭhanti māṅsénā ’nyāḥ by bone some creatures stand firm, by flesh others; dvipā́c ca sárvaṁ no rákṣa cátuṣpād yác ca naḥ svám both protect everything of ours that is biped, and also whatever that is quadruped belongs to us.

a. Accentuation of the verb in the former of two antithetical clauses is a rule more strictly followed in the Brāhmaṇas than in the Veda, and least strictly in the RV.: thus, in RV., abhí dyā́m mahinā́ bhuvam (not bhúvam) abhī̀ ’mām pṛthivī́m mahī́m I am superior to the sky in greatness, also to this great earth; and even índro vidur án̄girasaç ca ghorā́ḥ Indra knows, and the terrible Angirases.

598. There are certain more or less doubtful cases in which a verb-form is perhaps accented for emphasis.

a. Thus, sporadically before caná in any wise, and in connection with asseverative particles, as kíla, an̄gá, evá, and (in ÇB., regularly) hánta: thus, hánte ’mā́m pṛthivī́ṁ vibhájāmahāi come on! let us share up this earth.