Sanskrit Grammar/Chapter XII

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Sanskrit Grammar by William Dwight Whitney
Chapter XII: The Future-Systems

931. The verb has two futures, of very different age and character. The one has for tense-sign a sibilant followed by य ya, and is an inheritance from the time of Indo-European unity. The other is a periphrastic formation, made by appending an auxiliary verb to a derivative noun of agency, and it is a recent addition to the verb-system; its beginnings only are met with in the earliest language. The former may be called the s-future (or the old future, or simply the future); the latter may be distinguished as the periphrastic future.
I. The s-future.

932. The tense-sign of this future is the syllable स्य syá, added to the root either directly or by an auxiliary vowel इ i (in the latter case becoming इष्य iṣyá). The root has the guṇa-strengthening. Thus, from √दा give is formed the future tense-stem दास्य dāsyá; from √इ i go, the stem एष्य eṣyá; from √दुह् duh milk, the stem धोक्ष्य dhokṣyá; from √भू bhū be, the stem भविष्य bhaviṣyá; from √ऋध् ṛdh thrive, the stem अर्धिष्य ardhiṣyá; and so on.

a. But from √jīv live the stem is jīviṣyá, from √ukṣ sprinkle it is ukṣiṣyá, and so on (240).

b. There are hardly any Vedic cases of resolution of the tense-sign sya into sia; RV. has kṣeṣiántas once.

933. This tense-stem is then inflected precisely like a present-stem ending in अ a (second general conjugation: 733 a). We may take as models of inflection the future of √दा give, and that of √कृ kṛ make. Thus:

active. middle.
s. d. p. s. d. p.
1 दास्यामि
2 दास्यसि
3 दास्यति
1 करिष्यामि
etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

a. In the epics are found occasional cases of 1st du. and pl. in va and ma: e. g. raṁsyāva (R.), bhakṣayiṣyāva (causative: MBh.); eṣyāma (MBh.), vatsyāma (R.).

934. With regard to the use or non-use of the auxiliary vowel i before the sibilant, there is a degree of general accordance between this tense and the other future and the desiderative; but it is by no means absolute, nor are any definite rules to be laid down with regard to it (and so much the less, because of the infrequency of the two latter formations in actual use): between this and the aorist (s- aorist on the one side, or iṣ-aorist on the other), any correspondence is still less traceable. Practically, it is necessary to learn, as a matter of usage, how any given root makes these various parts of its conjugational system.

935. Below is added a statement of the usage, as regards the auxiliary vowel, of all the roots found quotable — for the most part, in the form of a specification of those which add the tense-sign directly to the root; in brackets are further mentioned the other roots which according to the grammarians also refuse the auxiliary vowel.

a. Of roots ending in vowels, the great majority (excepting those in ) take no i. Thus, all in ā (numerous, and unnecessary to specify: but compare c below); those in i, as kṣi possess, ci gather, ci note, mi, si or bind (siṣya), hi; from i, kṣi destroy, and ji occur forms of both classes; çri [and çvi] has i; — those in ī, as krī, bhī, mī, vlī; but çī lie and have both forms [and ḍī takes i]; — those in u, as cyu, dru, plu, çru, hu; but su press out and stu have both forms [and kṣu, kṣṇu, nu, yu, ru, snu take i]; — of those in ū, dhū and bhū take i; sū has both forms. But all in (numerous, and unnecessary to specify) take i [those in changeable , for so-called -roots (242), are said by the grammarians to take either i or ī; no ī-forms, however, are quotable].

b. Of roots ending in mutes, about half add the tense-sign directly. Thus, of roots ending in gutturals, çak; — in palatals: in c, pac, muc, ric, vac, vic, vraçc, sic (but yāc takes i); in ch, prach; in j, bhañj, mṛj (mārkṣya and mrakṣya), yaj, bhuj, yuj, vṛj, sṛj [also bhrajj, rañj, sañj, svañj, nij, ruj], while tyaj, bhaj, and majj (man̄kṣya and majjiṣya) have both forms, and vij (vijiṣya and vejiṣya) and vraj take i; — in dentals: in t, kṛt cut and vṛt [also cṛt and nṛt] make both forms; in d, ad, pad, çad fall, skand, syand, chid, bhid, vid find, nud [also had, khid, svid, kṣud, tud]; while sad (satsya and sīdiṣya) and vid know make both forms [also chṛd and tṛd], and vad has i; in dh, vyadh (vetsya), rādh, sidh succeed, budh, yudh, rudh, vṛdh. [also sādh, krudh, kṣudh, çudh], and bandh and sidh repel have both forms; in n, tan, while man and han have both forms; — in labials: in p, āp, kṣip, gup, tṛp, sṛp (srapsya and sarpsya) [also çap, lip, lup], while tap, vap, svap, dṛp, and kḷp have both forms; in bh, yabh and rabh, labh having both forms; in m, ram, while kram, kṣam, nam, and yam make both forms.

c. Of the roots reckoned by the grammarians as ending in semivowels (761 d–g) all take i. And or vi weave, vyā or envelop, and hvā or call take a y-form, as in their present-system, to which then i is added: thus, vayiṣya, vyayiṣya, hvayiṣya (but also hvāsya).

d. Of roots ending in spirants, the minority (about a third) are without the auxiliary vowel. They are: roots in ç, diç, viç, dṛç (drakṣya), spṛç (sprakṣya) [also daṅç, riç, liç, kruç, mṛç], while naç be lost has both forms (nan̄kṣya and naçiṣya); in ṣ, piṣ, viṣ, çiṣ [also tviṣ, dviṣ, çliṣ, tuṣ, duṣ, puṣ, çuṣ], while kṛṣ has both forms (krakṣya and karṣiṣya); — in s, vas shine, vas clothe [also ghas], while vas dwell has both forms; — in h, mih, duh, druh [also nah, dih, lih], while dah, vah, sah, and ruh have both forms.

e. In the older language, a majority (about five ninths) of simple roots add the sya without auxiliary i; of the futures occurring in the later language only, nearly three quarters have the i, this being generally taken by any root of late origin and derivative character — as it is also uniformly taken in secondary conjugation (1019, 1036, 1050, 1068).

936. As the root is strengthened to form the stem of this future, so, of a root that has a stronger and a weaker form, the stronger form is used: thus, from √bandh or badh bind, bhantsya or bandhiṣya.

a. By an irregular strengthening, nan̄kṣya (beside naçiṣya) is made from √naç be lost, and man̄kṣya (beside majjiṣya) from √majj sink.

b. But a few roots make future-stems in the later language without strengthening: thus, likhiṣya, miliṣya (also TS.), vijiṣya (also vejiṣya), siṣya (√ or si), sūṣya (939 b), sphuṭiṣya; and √vyadh makes vetsya from the weaker form vidh.

c. The ÇB. has once the monstrous form açnuviṣyāmahe, made upon the present-stem açnu (697) of √ attain. And the later language makes sīdiṣya and jahiṣya from the present-stems of √sad and √. Compare further hvayiṣya etc., 935 c. Also khyāyiṣya from √khyā (beside khyāsya) appears to be of similar character.

d. A number of roots with medial strengthen it to ra (241): thus, krakṣya, trapaya, drapaya, drakṣya, mrakṣya (beside mārkṣya), sprakṣya, srakṣya, srapsya (beside sarpsya), and mradiṣya (beside mardiṣya); and √kḷp forms klapsya (beside kalpiṣya).

e. The root grah (also its doublet glah) takes ī instead of i, as it does also in the aorist and elsewhere.

937. This future is comparatively rare in the oldest language — in part, apparently, because the uses of a future are to a large extent answered by subjunctive forms — but becomes more and more common later. Thus, the RV. has only seventeen occurrences of personal forms, from nine different roots (with participles from six additional roots); the AV. has fifty occurrences, from twenty-five roots (with participles from seven more); but the TS. has occurrences (personal forms and participles together) from over sixty roots; and forms from more than a hundred and fifty roots are quotable from the older texts.

Modes of the s-future.

938. Mode-forms of the future are of the utmost rarity. The only example in the older language is kariṣyā́s, 2d sing. subj. act., occurring once (or twice) in RV. (AB. has once notsyāvahāi, and GB. has eṣyāmahāi, taṅsyāmahāi, sthāsyāmahāi, but they are doubtless false readings for -he. Two or three optative forms are found in the epics: thus, dhakṣyet and maṅsyeran (MBh.), and drakṣyeta (R.); also an imperative patsyantu (Har.). And several 2d pl. mid. in dhvam are quotable from the epics: thus, vetsyadhvam, saviṣyadhvam, and (the causative) kālayiṣyadhvam (PB.) and jīvayiṣyadhvam (MBh.: and one text has mokṣyadhvam at i. 133. 13, where the other reads mokṣayadhvam), and bhaviṣyadhvam (MBh. R.): it is a matter of question whether these are to be accounted a real imperative formation, or an epic substitution of secondary for primary endings (compare 542 a).

Participles of the s-future.

939. Participles are made from the future-stem precisely as from a present-stem in अ a: namely, by adding in the active the ending न्त् nt, in the middle the ending मान māna; the accent remains upon the stem. Thus, from the verbs instanced above, दास्यन्त् dāsyánt and दास्यमान dāsyámāna, करिष्यन्त् kariṣyánt and करिष्यमाण kariṣyámāṇa.

a. According to the grammarians, the feminine of the active participle is made either in ántī or in atī́; but only the former has been noted as occurring in the older language, and the latter is everywhere extremely rare: see above, 449 e,f.

b. In RV. occurs once sū́ṣyantī, from √, with anomalous accentuation.

Preterit of the s-future: Conditional.

940. From the future-stem is made an augment-preterit, by prefixing the augment and adding the secondary endings, in precisely the same manner as an imperfect from a present-stem in अ a. This preterit is called the conditional.

a. It stands related to the future, in form and meaning, as the French conditional aurais to the future aurai, or as the English would have to will have — nearly as the German würde haben to werde haben.

b. Thus, from the roots already instanced:

active. middle.
s. d. p. s. d. p.
1 अदास्यम्
2 अदास्यस्
3 अदास्यत्
1 अकरिष्यम्
etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

941. The conditional is the rarest of all the forms of the Sanskrit verb. The RV. has but a single example, ábhariṣyat was going to carry off, and none of the Vedic texts furnishes another. In the Brāhmaṇas it is hardly more common — except in ÇB., where it is met with more than fifty times. Nor does it, like the future, become more frequent later: not an example occurs in Nala, Bhagavad-Gītā, or Hitopadeça; only one in Manu; and two in Çakuntalā. In the whole MBh. (Holtzmann) it is found about twenty-five times, from thirteen roots. The middle forms are extremely few.

II. The Periphrastic Future.

942. a. This formation contains only a single indicative active tense (or also middle: see 947), without modes, or participle, or preterit.

b. It consists in a derivative nomen agentis, having the value of a future active participle, and used, either with or without an accompanying auxiliary, in the office of a verbal tense with future meaning.

943. The noun is formed by the suffix तृ tṛ (or तर् tar); and this (as in its other than verbal uses: see 1182) is added to the root either directly or with a preceding auxiliary vowel इ i, the root itself being strengthened by guṇa, but the accent resting on the suffix: thus, दातृ dātṛ́ from √दा give; कर्तृ kartṛ́ from √कृ kṛ make; भवितृ bhavitṛ́ from √भू bhū be.

a. As regards the presence or absence of the vowel i, the usage is said by the grammarians to be generally the same as in the s-future from the same root (above, 935). The most important exception is that the roots in take no i: thus, kartṛ (against kariṣya); roots han and gam show the same difference; while vṛt, vṛdh, and syand have i here, though not in the s-future. The few forms which occur in the older language agree with these statements.

944. In the third persons, the nom. masc. of the noun, in the three numbers respectively (373), is used without auxiliary: thus, मविता bhavitā́ he or she or it will be; मवितारौ bhavitā́rāu both will be; मवितारस् bhavitā́ras they will be. In the other persons, the first and second persons present of √अस् as be (636) are used as auxiliary; and they are combined, in all numbers, with the singular nom. masc. of the noun.

a. Thus, from √दा give:

s. d. p.
1 दातास्मि
2 दातासि
3 दाता

b. Occasionally, in the epics and later (almost never in the older language), the norm of the tense as given above is in various respects departed from: thus, by use of the auxiliary in the 3d person also; by its omission in the 1st or 2d person; by inversion of the order of noun and auxiliary; by interposition of other words between them; by use of a dual or plural nom. with the auxiliary; and by use of a feminine form of the noun. Examples are: vaktā ’sti (MBh.) he will speak; nihantā (MBh.) I shall or thou wilt strike down, yoddhā ’ham (R.) I shall fight, ahaṁ draṣṭā (MBh.) I shall see, kartā ’haṁ te (BhP.) I will do for thee, tvam bhavitā (MBh. Megh.) thou wilt be; asmi gantā (MBh.) I shall go; pratigrahītā tām asmi (MBh.) I will receive her, hantā tvam asi (MBh.) thou wilt slay; kartārāu svaḥ (MBh.) we two shall do; draṣṭry asmi (MBh.) I (f.) shall see, udbhavitrī (Nāiṣ.) she will increase, gantrī (Y.) she will go. AB. has once sotā as 2d sing., thou wilt press; JUB. makes the combination çmaçānāni bhavitāras the cemeteries will be.

c. An optative of the auxiliary appears to be once used, in yoddhā syām I would fight (R. i. 22. 25 Peterson; but the Bombay edition reads yoddhuṁ yāsyāmi).

945. The accent in these combinations, as in all the ordinary cases of collocation of a verb with a preceding predicate noun or adjective (592), is on the noun itself; and, unlike all the true verbal forms, the combination retains its accent everywhere even in an independent clause: thus, tárhi vā́ atināṣṭró bhavitā́smi (ÇB.) then I shall be out of danger (where bhaviṣyāmi, if used, would be accentless). Whether in a dependent clause the auxiliary verb would take an accent (595), and whether, if so, at the expense of the accent of the noun (as in the case of a preposition compounded with a verb-form: 1083b), we are without the means of determining.

940. In the Veda, the nomina agentis in tṛ or tar, like various other derivative nouns (271), but with especial frequency, are used in participial construction, governing the accusative if they come from roots whose verbal forms do so (1182). Often, also, they are used predicatively, with or without accompanying copula; yet without any implication of time; they are not the beginnings, but only the forerunners, of a new tense-formation. Generally, when they have a participial value, the root-syllable (or a prefix preceding it) has the accent. The tense-use begins, but rather sparingly, in the Brāhmaṇas (from which about thirty forms are quotable); and it grows more common later, though the periphrastic future is nowhere nearly so frequent as the s-future (it is quotable later from about thirty additional roots).

947. a. A few isolated attempts are made in the Brāhmaṇas to form by analogy middle persons to this future, with endings corresponding after the usual fashion to those of the active persons. Thus, TS. has once prayoktā́se I will apply (standing related to prayoktāsmi as, for example, çāse to çāsmi); ÇB. has çayitā́se thou shalt lie (similarly related to çayitāsi); and TB. has yaṣṭā́smahe we will make offering. But in TA. is found (i. 11) yaṣṭā́he as 1st sing., showing a phonetic correspondence of a problematic character, not elsewhere met with in the language.

b. On the basis of such tentative formations as these, the native grammarians set up a complete middle inflection for the periphrastic future, as follows:

s. d. p.
1 dātā́he dātā́svahe dātā́smahe
2 dātā́se dātā́sāthe dātā́dhve
3 dātā́ dātā́rau dātā́ras

c. Only a single example of such a middle has been brought to light in the later language, namely (the causative) darçayitāhe (Nāiṣ.).

Uses of the Futures and Conditional.
948. As the s-future is the commoner, so also it is the one more indefinitely used. It expresses in general what is going to take place at some time to come — but often, as in other languages, adding on the one hand an implication of will or intention, or on the other hand that of promise or threatening.

a. A few examples are: varṣiṣyáty āiṣámaḥ parjányo vṛ́ṣṭimān bhaviṣyati (ÇB.) it is going to rain; Parjanya is going to be rich in rain this year; yás tán ná véda kím ṛcā́ kariṣyati (RV.) whoever does not know that, what will he do with verse? ā́ vāí vayám agnī́ dhāsyāmahé ‘tha yūyáṁ kíṁ kariṣyatha (ÇB.) we are going to build the two fires; then what will you do? tám índro ‘bhyā́dudrāva haniṣyán (ÇB.) him Indra ran at, intending to slay; yády evā́ kariṣyátha sākáṁ devāír yajñíyāso bhaviṣyatha (RV.) if ye will do thus, ye shall be worthy of the sacrifice along with the gods; dántās te çatsyanti (AV.) thy teeth will fall out; ná mariṣyasi mā́ bibheḥ (AV.) thou shalt not die; be not afraid; brūhi kva yāsyasi (MBh.) tell us; where are you going to go? yadi mām pratyākhyāsyasi viṣam āsthāsye (MBh.) if you shall reject me, I will resort to poison. As in other languages, the tense is also sometimes used for the expression of a conjecture or presumption: thus: ko ‘yaṁ devo gandharvo vā bhaviṣyati (MBh.) who is this? he is doubtless a god, or a Gandharva; adya svapsyanti (MBh.) they must be sleeping now.

b. The spheres of future and desiderative border upon one another, and the one is sometimes met with where the other might be expected. Examples of the future taken in a quasi-desiderative sense are as follows: yád dāçúṣe bhadráṁ kariṣyási távé ’t tát satyám (RV.) what favor thou willest to bestow on thy worshiper, that of thee becometh actual (is surely brought about); yáthā ’nyád vadiṣyánt sò ‘nyád vádet (ÇB.) as if, intending to say one thing, one were to say another.

949. The periphrastic future is defined by the grammarians as expressing something to be done at a definite time to come. And this, though but faintly traceable in later use, is a distinct characteristic of the formation in the language where it first makes its appearance. It is especially often used along with çvás tomorrow.

a. A few examples are: adyá varṣiṣyati...çvó vraṣṭā́ (MS.) it is going to rain today; it will rain tomorrow; yatarān vā ime çvaḥ kamitāras te jetāras (K.) whichever of the two parties these shall choose tomorrow, they will conquer; prātár yaṣṭā́smahe (TB.) we shall sacrifice tomorrow morning; ityahé vaḥ paktā̀smi (ÇB.) on such and such a day I will cook for you; tán ma ékāṁ rā́trim ánte çayitā́se jātá u te ‘yáṁ tárhi putró bhavitā́ (ÇB.) then you shall lie with me one night, and at that time this son of yours will be born. In other cases, this definiteness of time is wanting, but an emphasis, as of special certainty, seems perhaps to belong to the form: thus, bibhṛhí mā pārayiṣyā́mi tvé ’ti: kásmān mā pārayiṣyasī́ ’ty āughá imā́ḥ sárvāḥ prajā́ nirvoḍhā́, tátas tvā pārayitā̀smī́ ’ti (ÇB.) support me and I will save you, said it. From what will you save me? said he. A flood is going to carry off all these creatures; from that I will save you, said it; paridevayāṁ cakrire mahac chokabhayam prāptāsmaḥ (GB.) they set up a lamentation: "we are going to meet with great pain and dread"; yaje ‘yakṣi yaṣṭāhe ca (TA.) I sacrifice, I have sacrificed, and I shall sacrifice. In yet other cases, in the older language even, and yet more in the later, this future appears to be equivalent to the other: thus, prajāyām enaṁ vijñātāsmo yadi vidvān vā juhoty avidvān vā (AB.) in his children we shall know him, whether he is one that sacrifices with knowledge or without knowledge; vaktāsmo vā idaṁ devebhyaḥ (AB.) we shall tell this to the gods; yadi svārtho mamā ’pi bhavitā tata evaṁ svārthaṁ kariṣyāmi (MBh.) if later my own affair shall come up, then I will attend to my own affair; kathaṁ tu bhavitāsy eka iti tvāṁ nṛpa çocimi (MBh.) but how will you get along alone? that, O king, is the cause of my grief about you.

950. The conditional would seem to be most originally and properly used to signify that something was going to be done. And this value it has in its only Vedic occurrence, and occasionally elsewhere. But usually it has the sense ordinarily called "conditional"; and in the great majority of its occurrences it is found (like the subjunctive and the optative, when used with the same value) in both clauses of a conditional sentence.

a. Thus, yó vṛtrā́ya sínam átrā́ ’bhariṣyat prá táṁ jánitrī vidúṣa uvāca (RV.) him, who was going here to carry off Vritra's wealth, his mother proclaimed to the knowing one; çatāyuṁ gām akariṣyam (AB.) I was going to make (should have made) the cow live a hundred years (in other versions of the same story is added the other clause, in which the conditional has a value more removed from its original: thus, in GB., if you, villain, had not stopped [prā́grahīṣyaḥ] my mouth); táta evā̀ ’sya bhayáṁ vī̀ ’yāya kásmād dhy ábheṣyad dvitī́yād vāí bhayám bhavati (ÇB.) thereupon his fear departed; for of whom was he to be afraid? occasion of fear arises from a second person; útpapāta ciráṁ tán mene yád vā́saḥ paryádhāsyata (ÇB.) he leaped up; he thought it long that he should put on a garment; sá tád evá nā́ ’vindat prajā́patir yátrā́ ’hoṣyat (MS.) Prajāpati, verily, did not then find where he was to (should) sacrifice; evaṁ cen nā ’vakṣyo mūrdhā te vyapatiṣyat (GB.) if you should not speak thus, your head would fly off; sá yád dhāi ’tā́vad evā́ ’bhaviṣyad yā́vatyo hāi ’vā́ ’gre prajā́ḥ sṛṣṭā́s tā́vatyo hāi ’vā̀ ’bhaviṣyan ná prā̀ ’janiṣyanta (ÇB.) if he had been only so much, there would have been only so many living creatures as were created at first; they would have had no progeny; kiṁ vā ’bhaviṣyad aruṇas tamasāṁ vibhettā taṁ cet sahasrakiraṇo dhuri nā ’kariṣyat (Ç.) would the Dawn, forsooth, be the scatterer of the darkness, if the thousand-rayed one did not set her on the front of his chariot?