The History of the Bengali Language/Lecture 10
HOW CHHĀNDASA IS RELATED TO LATER ARYAN SPEECHES.
Chhāndasa, i.e., the Vedic language of old, has been spoken of in these lectures, by implication generally, as the source-head from which the Indian Aryan speeches of all times and of all provinces have evolved. I am aware, some noted European names are associated with theories, which run counter to this proposition or assumption; but as those theories rest wholly upon the authority of noted names, and not on facts which can be handled and discussed, no one can possibly combat them: facts, I have adduced before, I adduce presently in this lecture, and I shall have to adduce in subsequent lectures, should all be considered together, to test the correctness of my proposition. I have stated in some detail, of the influence of the speakers of non-Aryan tongues, to explain various deviations from the norm; I shall try to show in this, as well as in another subsequent lecture, how in a prākṛta or natural way, many Prākṛtas or provincial vernaculars arose from Chhāndasa, and how the ever-progressing Prākṛita speeches went on modifying and being in turn modified by the literary language of curious genesis, which has come to be designated as Sanskrit. It will be seen, how failing to notice the influence of a mixed people, in the matter of formation of the Prākṛta speeches, and how failing to observe the influence, which could not but be exercised by the living vernaculars, upon an artificially set-up literary language, some philologists (Dr. C. C. Ullenbeck, whose words I presently quote, is one of them) have asserted that "the Sanskrit dialect of middle country descends from some other old Indian dialects than the dialect met with in the Vedas." As to this part of our proposition, that the growth of various Prākṛtas has been partly due to diverse ethnic influences, a good deal has already been said, and something more will have to be said later on; I may however notice here, what Mr. A. H. Keane has observed, regarding the cause of wide diversity existing among the speeches of various groups of Aryan origin (both Asiatic and European), after considering all the groups on a comparative table at p. 412 of his Ethnology. His words are: "The profound disintegration which is shown in this table and which is immeasurably greater than in the Semitic family, is mainly due to the spread of Aryan speech amongst non-Aryan peoples by whom its phonetic system and grammatical structure were diversely modified." That for the very reason, the Chhāndasa speech in its turn, has transformed itself into various dialects in different provinces of Northern India, is what has all along been emphasized.
As in all sober and serious investigations into the causes of phenomena, we have to determine the natural causes and not their supernatural seemings, we have to push on in the matter of our enquiry an intensive study of actual facts, and should not seek to explain things by what might have dropped from the skies—by importing some imaginary patois-speaking hordes from elsewhere. If even the explanation, we offer, prove inadequate, there will not be any justification in setting up the figments of our imagination in the name of theories, to solve our difficulties.
We have to first direct our attention to the character of the language of the Vedas, called Chhāndasa. I use the word Veda in a very restricted sense here; in this restricted sense the word Veda, indicates the mantra literature, preserved in the four Saṁhitās, viz., the Sāman, the Ṛk, the Atharvan, and the Yajur. The very term Saṁhitā clearly signifies, that the Mantras or hymns and prayers as were extant (no matter whether in writing or in the memory of some priestly families) at the date of the compilation, were compiled either exhaustively or by making a selection of them in the books named above. We can very unmistakably see, from the arrangement of the contents of the Saṁhitās, and from what has been said of the Vedas in the old time works relating to them, that different ritual purposes led to the compilation of different Saṁhitās.
It is to be noted however, on the one hand, that the old orthodox works from which the purpose of compiling the Vedic mantras can be gathered, show by their suggestions and discussion regarding the Vedic vocabulary and the Vedic Grammar, that at the date of the compilation of the Saṁhitās, the mantras of varying times (i.e., both old and new) were old and archaic enough to the compilers; on the other hand, we have to notice, that though many mantras are much removed in time from one another, the language of the Vedic Saṁhitās may be declared to be one and the same. What Whitney has said by comparing the oldest and the latest linguistic forms occurring in the Vedas, may be profitably quoted here, in support of the latter statement; the scholar writes in his well-known Sanskrit Grammar, that "the language of the অথর্ব্ববেদ though distinctly less antique than that of the Rigveda, is nevertheless truly Vedic. The students should do well to study Professor Macdonnell's excellent work on the Vedic Grammar to learn aright the character of the Chhāndasa speech, and to see clearly how the language even of the oldest Brāhmaṇa literature differs from the Vedic. I can therefore say, that since the compilers of the Vedas got together the then extant hymns and prayers, no matter whether they had been composed at a very early date or at a comparatively recent time, it cannot be asserted with any degree of propriety, that any portion of the contents of a Saṁhitā, is a later addition or interpolation in that Saṁhitā. The language of the mantras, new or old, was old to the compilers, and lateness in the matter of composition, did not or rather could not detract from the religious merit of any mantra. The western scholars, I have stated before, have set forth distinctly, what elements are old and what are new in the Vedic language. The contents of the Vedic Saṁhitās may now be arranged in a rough chronological order on the basis of linguistic evidence. The light furnished by this research, enables us to make this important discovery, that even in the earliest known times, the Aryans of India spoke various dialects of one common speech, and that the mantras were composed in a standard central language, which as a literary language dominated all the provincial dialects, and at times helped the fusion of those dialects. I use the word 'literary' very advisedly, and propose to explain the significance of it later on. The facts which warrant us in arriving at this conclusion, that even the earliest Vedic mantras point to the currency of many dialects in ancient India, cannot be very fully and fitly discussed here, but as we have to build a good deal on the basis of this proposition, some examples should be adduced to prove its soundness. As of the essential factors which determine a language, the pronouns have a high value, let me put forward here very briefly, the evidence which the personal pronouns tender in this direction.
Prof. A. A. Macdonell has observed with his usual scholarly acuteness in his monumental work on the Vedic Grammar, that the personal pronouns seem to be derived from several roots or combinations of roots, as they are specially anomalous in inflexion. An analysis of the pronouns will perhaps justify us in striking a less uncertain sound.
অস্ (অস্মদ্) and যুস্ (যুস্মদ্) are accepted by all the old grammarians as the basic words for the pronouns of the 1st and 2nd person respectively. I need hardly point out, that the very অস্ and যুস্ occur in many formations in the declension of pronouns of the 1st and 2nd person respectively. It has to be noted that the personal pronouns in the nominative case take অম্ like a suffix (cf. তু + অম্ = ত্বম্ and also the অম্ endings in dual and plural), and this অম্ in like manner occurs in the Nominative Singular of the Demonstrative অয়ম্ and the Reflexive স্বয়ং. I do not feel inclined to accept the suggestion that this case-differentiating অম্ came from the Dravidians who affix অম্ to nouns of all classes, though the close proximity of the Dravidians to the Aryans of the earliest time cannot be very reasonably denied. That অস্ and যুস্ are reducible to অঃ and য়ুঃ in Sanskrit, need not be stated. That the Visarjaniya of অঃ develops the simple aspirate of হ in pronunciation, is also very clear. We can see, that denuded of the appendage অম্, অহম্ stands as অহ্. We may note in passing that this অহ্ corresponds with Ich of German, I of English, Io of Italian, or rather Ego of Latin and Egon of Greek. অহ্ however, does not appear to have been the only form in the Nom. Singular; a pronoun either of simple ম basis or in the form of a মি is strongly supposed to have been a form, in use in a dialect when অহ্ was current in another dialect, for in the first place a মি is found agglutinated with the Parasmaipadi verbs in the first person singular, and in the second place the singular forms মা, মাম্ (মা + অম্), ময়া, মদ্, মে, and ময়ি point to a simple ম base with which etymologically they must be connected. That no ম can be traced either to অহ্ or অস্ is pretty clear. Moreover such a Vedic form as মাবন্ত (like me, cf. ত্বাবন্ত like you) shows that মা was treated as a stem, i.e., a word unchanged in form in the process of declension. While considering the early fossils of the pronouns of the 1st person, we have to notice that besides তু, য়ুস্ is a form of the pronoun of the 2nd person, though the latter form occurs only in dual and plural.
For further fossils let us analyze the interesting dual forms of the personal pronouns. In the language of the early Samhitās, we get বাম্ as the dual form of অস্ and this very বাম্ is the accusative dual of তু or যুস্. The form আবাম is a very late form, occurring not earlier than the time of the ঐতরেয় ব্রাহ্মণ, while the শতপথ ব্রাহ্মণ gives perhaps the earlier form আবম্. We know that বস্ occurs as a plural form of the personal pronoun of the 2nd person and নস্ as a plural form of the personal pronoun of the 1st person. The dual বাম্ appears pretty distinctly as the combination of ব + অ + অম্ to signify 'you and I' together. Perhaps to avoid confusion, আ of অস্ was further prefixed to বাম্ to signify the 1st person, while additional য়ু was prefixed to signify the second person in creating the forms আবাম্ and য়ুবাম্. In the plural form বয়ম্, we only notice the lengthening of the penultimate vowel sound with a stress to denote plurality as if by the primitive case-denoting gesture or modulation of voice. This ব্ or rather বস্ and নস্ no doubt occur as plural forms only here in India as well as in other Aryan speeches elsewhere; but we find in India নৌ as a dual and ব in conjunction with অ of অস্ in some dual formations. As নৌ can be detected as a comparatively later time formation, I am strongly inclined to suppose by looking to the use of নস্ and বস্ in the Vedic language, that নস্ of the 1st person and বস্ of the 2nd, were such very early forms in an Aryan dialect as denoted all numbers and cases alike, and their various significations could only be gathered from such accents of the speakers as are allied to primitive case and number-denoting gestures. In this connection I just refer to the personal pronoun of the 1st person in use in Dravidian tongues which has only seemingly the 'ন' stem. I refer to this fact to show that there is no connection or affinity of Aryan ন with the Dravidian ন; I should point out that নী of Tamil and নে of Telegu (as in নেনু or নেমু) which signify 'I,' are based not on ন, but on অ, as the early Dravidian forms show.
We thus see, that অস্, নস্ and a pronoun of ম stem for the pronouns of the 1st person, and তু, বস্, and য়ুস্ for the pronouns of the 2nd person were once in use in pre-Vedic days. The remarks of Joseph Wright as recorded in his Comparative Grammar of the Greek language, are no doubt correct that many forms of one single pronoun may come into existence in one and the same dialect, and that by virtue of different sort of accent on different forms of a pronoun, one form may represent one case and another, the other; but when altogether different forms occur, it is reasonable to hold, that they come from different dialects, since looking to the history of different languages and to human psychology, we have to admit that to express a common or familiar or oft-occurring idea, more than one word does not become current in a dialect. Ethnology discovers to us that the Aryans were not a homogeneous people, but as forming a culture group, they were composed of various ethnic elements; I think what we have discussed confirms the proposition of Ethnology.
Just another fact regarding the lost forms of pronouns. I have spoken of the verbal suffix মি as a fossil of a personal pronoun of the 1st person; let us now inquire into the origin of সি of the second person as in করোসি, and of তি of the 3rd person as in করোতি. As for তি we can trace the origin to তদ্ stem which is virtually but a simple ত, for excepting in the Nominative Singular the stem ত does not lose its identity. Adverting to the cases of মি and তি, it may be naturally supposed, that সি of the 2nd Person Sing. was not an arbitrary symbol at starting, but that সি must have been originally connected with a stem of the personal pronoun of the second person. I am not competent to say if the German form "sich" lends some support to this view. Referring to the history of some Greek suffixes, Joseph Wright has rightly remarked, that though little is known of the origin of numerous suffixes, it may be reasonably supposed that those suffixes had originally an independent meaning and that in some cases they were independent words. A word of caution, however is needed here: some symbols or endings to denote case, or number, or person, as simple আ or ই or এ for instance may be reasonably supposed to have originated from primitive gestures and modulations of voice, and not from words conveying independent meaning. I may add that the Dravidian pronouns অ, ই, এ and উ as well as the Aryan অ of অস্ and য়ু of য়ুস্ might have originated from mere gestures accompanying sounds in primitive days.
We have not discussed words and forms of various classes, but all the same our brief discussion leads us to hold, that long before the dissemination or dispersion of Aryan speech or speeches in Europe, the Aryans developed a central dominating language, amid a good number of dialects of theirs. This dominating language seems to have attained such a perfection in the dim past, as characterizes a literary language,—even though letters or art of writing did not come into existence. I just cite two examples, in addition to what has already been stated, to explain what I mean by the literary character of the pre-Vedic language. Such natural lispings or utterances of children, as have been the roots of words for father and mother in many languages of the world, as Bā, Ābbā, Pā, Āmmā, Mā, etc., are found in well shaped forms in all Aryan speeches, and the forms পিতর্ and মাতর্ framed by a generalized grammatical rule, are found grouped with other relation-indicating words, such as ভ্রাতর্, and দুহিতর্. For the next example, I refer to the tense system; on the evidence of tense system of old Greek as agreeing with those of Vedic, we may hold that the pre-Vedic language attained a high literary character.
I have thrown out suggestions, as to what was in all probability, the position and character of the Aryan language in pre-Vedic days. It goes however without saying that the Chhāndasa language as disclosed by the early Vedic Saṁhitās, is a very rich and well-developed literary speech. It has to be borne in mind, in this connection, that inspite of the unifying influence of a central literary language, the provincial dialects do not all necessarily die out, and they may at times continue to live with full vigour, getting fresh lease of life under some changed conditions. That the Vedic language became in course of time purely hieratic, because of the sacredness of the mantras, and was not, or rather could not therefore be allowed to be changed with the changing conditions of time, can be well established by the evidence of the Vedic Grammarians. Every language is bound to be transformed into a new and a newer form with the progress of time, but if for any reason any particular class of a people seek to keep the obsolescent speech intact, the old speech becomes the special property of the particular class, and ceases to be the language of the people. Moreover, when a people loses its homogeneity, or when class differences occur because of cultural difference, and as a compensating measure a wide mass education through the standard literary language is not adopted, provincial dialects grow with great vigour, and no class, howsoever influential, can keep the literary speech alive. We notice a gap between the language of the Vedas, and that of the Brāhmaṇas, and a wider gap between the language of the Brāhmaṇas and the language which may very fitly be designated as Sanskṛta, to signify its character as dressed up, polished or perfected. That these gaps have to be explained by circumstances broadly indicated above, will be discussed presently.
Our discussion will no doubt be extremely brief for the subject; but all the same we have to take all the salient points into consideration step by step. First of all we have to notice, that Chhāndasa discloses the characteristics of a living language. That the artificial rigid rules of Sandhi or euphonic combination were not in force in Chhāndasa, and that a regular and thoroughgoing accent-system existed in the speech, have been shown in some previous lectures. That we are required to read Sanskrit verses (which are wholly quantitative) by raising or lowering our voice according to the unalterably fixed vowel sounds as long or short, and not according to word accent or phrasal accent, has also been noticed before, to show the artificiality of Sanskrit, from accent point of view. As it is impossible for a real human speech to be without an accent system of its own, so is it that a living speech must undergo to some extent, what is called phonetic decay. I proceed to show that the phenomenon of phonetic decay, which can be fitly translated in our Vernacular by the term Apabhraṇśa, is distinctly noticeable in Chhāndasa. Shades of Prākṛta grammarians! What a heterodoxy it is to notice apabhraṇśa in the holy speech of the Riṣis!
Before giving some examples of loss of letters in the Vedic words, we may remark that during the Vetlic days (specially the later Vedic days) the speakers did not very much tolerate initial conjunct mutes; that iu the Dravidian language Tamil, such a thing is not tolerated as a rule has been distinctly stated in a previous lecture. The examples of loss of vowels and of change of sounds cannot be taken up for discussion, as that task involves detailed exposition of the Vedic morphology. I have already spoken of the reduction of many dentals into cerebrals and of the growth of such forms as বিকট from বিকৃত and প্রকট from প্রকৃত. I give here below, first some examples of loss of consonants, and then some examples relating to general phonetic decay, as the history of the forms for numerals indicates. (1) We get Kambhana for Skambhana in many passages in the Ṛgveda, though Skambhana is not extinct; (2) Ścandra (brilliant) occurs no doubt in many passages, but candra (brilliant) is generally met with; the word candramas derived from it, is the only form to signify moon; (3) and (4) along with স্তনয়িত্নু, (from স্তন thunder) and স্তায়ু (thief from stena) we get tanayitnu and tāyu; (5) we get the earlier form stṛ as well as the later form tṛ for star; the feminine form স্ত্রী (wife, one who shines in the house) retains the original stem; (6) we notice the loss of initial consonant in তুরীয় (fourth) derived from the word চতুর. Such examples of decay as have been rightly inferred by Prof. Macdonell from the words of cognate languages, are purposely left unnoticed in this lecture.
Numerals.—In the history of the growth of many numeral forms, as discussed hereunder, all such losses will be noticed as are characteristic of downright apabhraṇśa words of the Prākṛta grammarians. In the compound cardinals of genuine early formations, we should notice that দ্ব which develops into দ্বা in euphonic combination, indicates two, while দ্বি signifies 'twice' and ত্রয়ঃ and চতুর signify 'three' and 'four' respectively, while ত্রি and চত্বার signify 'three times' and 'four times' respectively; দ্বাদশ (two + ten), ত্রয়োদশ (three + ten) and চতুর্দ্দশ (four + ten) may be contrasted with the forms analysed below. (1) In the formation of the word বিংশ we get দ্বি + দশ; there has first been the loss of initial দ, and then we notice that to compensate for the loss of দ of দশ, a long sound comes in, which is represented by অনুসার; that a nasal naturally develops at times in making a sound long, has been fully discussed in the 6th Lecture. As to the decade indicating তি which occurs unchanged as final in বিংশতি, ষষ্ঠি, সপ্ততি etc., and in a changed form in ত্রিংশৎ, চত্বারিংশৎ, and পঞ্চাশৎ, some remarks will presently follow. I may remark by the way, that in the formation of বীসতি in Pali, the loss of অনুস্বার has been made up for by the দীর্ঘ ঈ. (2) In the formation of অশীতি (অষ্ট or অষ্টা + দশ + তি) we notice the loss of the second and the 3rd syllables, and the penultimate is conjoined to the long vowel ঈ. (3) In the formation of ষোড়শ (ষষ্ + দশ) the compensating long ও and the development of cerebral sound ড় may be explained by সন্ধি rules partly. (4) The history of decade indicating 'তি' is shrouded in mystery. When we compare, for example বিংশতি with Venti of Italian, we may say that the latter form is merely a reduced form of the former, but when we take the history of 'ty'-ending of twenty, for example, our difficulty increases; the word twenty is derived from twain (old masculine form of two) shortened form of twegen, + tig; the last component tig is from Gothic tigjus = ten. Here we see that 'ty' represents the number ten; if we suppose that our তি had such a history to become naturally a decade indicating suffix, we must admit that in the formation of Vedic Compound-Cardinals an additional or unnecessary suffix was added. In Vedic Compound Cardinals Saṣṭi (ষষ্ + তি), Saptati and Navati, 'multiplication by ten' is indicated by 'তি' alone; if these three be really the earliest forms, 'তি' may be regarded as a fossil of a word for ten as might have been current in one dialect of the Aryan language beside দশ of another.
Though our illustrative examples have been a few only, we think we cannot fail to see from the examples of some pronominal forms and from the history of some words, that Chhāndasa was subject to the processes of dialectic regeneration and phonetic decay, processes to which all living languages have always been and ever will be subject. I mention over again, that by its regular and thoroughgoing accent system, Chāndasa discloses the character of a living speech.
I have said that we do not know when the Vedic Mantras were compiled as Samhitās. We do not also know what became the form of the language of the people, when the Mantras having been an object of special preserving care of the priestly class, a hiyeratic speech had to be necessarily maintained, as Latin was once maintained in Italy, to express religious thoughts with such purity of speech as the gods were supposed to demand. That a long time intervened between the time when the Vedic language was current and the time when a scholastic revival took place can be inferred from lots of statements occurring in the Brāhmaṇas. The fanciful history we get of the Vedic Mantras, the manner in which the Mantras have been explained and grammatical and accentual peculiarities of the Vedic language have been discussed, warrant us in holding that the earliest Brāhmaṇa must be much removed in time from the latest Vedic Mantra. The propositions in the Brāhmaṇic literature, that the Vedic forms should never be deviated from, and the proper accent of the Vedic words, should be carefully studied and learnt, very distinctly show, that for religious purposes a hiyeratic speech was artificially maintained, on the Vedic lines. I am going to adduce many facts in support of my position in the course of this lecture, but the facts noted above justify us in holding tentatively, that when the Samhitās were compiled with the Mantras of varying times, the grammarians of the priestly class studied the language of the holy works with an astonishing scientific accuracy and framed artificial generalized rules to make some heterogeneous elements look like one homogeneous whole. This is why various shades of meaning of many forms merged into a dead unity in the artificial language adopted by the priests in writing on the subject of the Vedas.
As to the true nature of successive changes (I purposely use the word successive and not progressive) noticeable in the polished literary speech or speeches from the post-Vedic days onward, as differing essentially in character from what may be noticed in a living language in its course through ages, a deal will have to be stated presently; as a preliminary step, I offer my observations, as to why it could be possible for the Brāhmaṇa and the cognate literature produced at different times to present essentially one and the same language. It is a familiar phenomenon, that even to-day our high class Pandits imitate very closely and wonderfully not only the ancient language, but also the style of some ancient works when dealing with them, or when writing something new after those ancient works. For a disquisition, or dissertation on the subject of নীতি or polity for example, scholars of a very late time have been noticed to have adopted the form and style of the old time Sūtras: such a work of a very late time (not earlier than the 6th century A.D.) as the গণেশাথর্বশীর্ষ will be found executed in the style of and partly in the language of the ancient Brāhmaṇas.
I cannot say when the term laukika as occurs in Pānini's grammar came into use to designate the hiyeratic language of post-Vedic days; in all likelihood it was long after the time of Gautama Buddha, since that sage who was undoubtedly a great siṣṭa person, did not know the term as my reference to the Vinaya Piṭaka (Cullalvagga V. 33. 1) will clearly prove. Two Brāhman disciples of the veritable Śiṣṭa class who avoided speaking the vulgar speech of the time and spoke the speech which was then associated with culture and prosperity in life requested their master that his words or teachings might be allowed to be recorded in the language used by the cultured Brāhmaṇs, viz., the Chāndasa (ছন্দসো আরোপেম are the words in the text) and should not be allowed to be vulgarized by being recorded in the current speech of the people (সকায় নিরূত্তিয়া are the words in the text). The celebrated orthodox commentator of the Vinaya text rightly interprets the polite language by the Sanskṛta language of the Vedas, and explains সকনিরুত্তি as মগধবোহারো i.e., the language then current in the Magadha Country. The whole of this important text is given in the foot-note below for reference.
We have to first notice, that if the polished respectable literary language of the time were known by the name laukika as distinguished from the obsolete Chhāndasa,and his learned Brāhmaṇ disciples were sure to use the term laukika, for it was the Classical Laukika of the Brāhmaṇa literature as distinguished from the real Vedic language, which came into vogue in those days as the fit vehicle for all serious thought.
We have to consider, in the second place, that if the hieratic language in which holy thoughts relating to the Vedas were being expressed, were regarded as altogether different from Chāndasa, the literature relating to the Vedas, would have much suffered in the estimation of the people. The language in question, we must therefore hold, was worked out on the Chāndasa lines, when Chāndasa became altogether an obsolete speech; this is why, in spite of very close imitation, this language differs from Chāndasa in many essential particulars. I proceed presently to take note of some of the important characteristics of this hieratic language. What I specially emphasize upon here is that in the days of Gautama Budha there was at least in the Magadha eruntry a living vulgar speech, called মগধ বোহার by Buddha Ghosha and there was by the side of the dialect (or many other dialects) one literary language which still then claimed the name ছান্দস.
It is now agreed, on all hands, on reference to the rules for লৌকিক in পাণিনি's Grammar, that generally speaking the language of the Brāhmanas can be designated as laukika. We do not exactly know when the term laukika, came into use, but we may infer on reference to the import of the term, that when secular literature composed in the hieratic language, forced itself to the recognition of the orthodox class, the term laukika, as distinguished from Chāndasa became the name of the fashionable literary language. We do not also know when the term সংস্কৃত was brought into use as a substitute for লৌকিক, but it is an undoubted fact that the grammatical rules for লৌকিক as occur in পাণিনি as well as in the মহাভাষ্য of the 2nd Century B.C., are essentially the rules of standard Sanskrit Grammar of later days. We find that what is called লৌকিক at one time and সংস্কৃত at another, is closely related etymologically with the Chāndasa language; at the same time it must be observed, that even in early times, the Classical Sanskrit or the Laukika language of Panini so very materially differed from the Vedic or Chāndasa speech, that a fresh set of rules had to be framed to give the Classical Sanskrit a well-defined individuality. We should not here fail to notice that those orthodox Grammarians who gave to লৌকিক the name সংস্কৃত, were perfectly aware of the character of the language as a polished, dressed-up and perfected speech. The Vedic has all along been, from Panini, downwards, the object of veneration, as an ideal language and consequently the polish or perfection referred to above, could not be given to the Vedic for the formation of a laukika in the sinful days; that a polish was given to the vulgar speeches or dialects of natural growth will be abundantly clear from the remarks of the Grammarians themselves.
In the grammatical work of Panini (which will never fail to extort a high tribute of wonder and respect) and in its learned commentories, we meet with this definite statement that the forgotten things of the Chāndasa speech should be diligently resuscitated while things occurring in the popular speeches should be studiously eschewed to save one's soul from being contaminated by sin. It has been stated under a sūtra, that the enemies of the cultured Aryas met with defeat and discomfiture for having uttered their barbarous apabhraṇsa word হেলয়; we get also one statement of emphatic expression that to know the Vedic words is to acquire religious merit, while to know the popular or vulgar speech is to commit sin. Writes the author of the Mahābhāṣya যথৈবহি শব্দ জ্ঞানে ( Vedic words) ধর্ম্ম এবং অপশব্দ জ্ঞানেঽপ্যধর্ম্মঃ, অথবা ভূয়ানধর্ম্মং প্রাপ্নোতি etc, etc.
In his tirades against the popular speeches, Patanjali gives us materials to find out that many provincial dialecs were current during his time. That the pure Vedic words were very limited in number while the vile words were very many, has been thus expressed ভুয়াংসোঽপশব্দা অল্পীয়াংসঃ শব্দাঃ একৈকস্যহি শব্দস্য বহবোপভ্রংশাঃ; তদ্যথা গৌরিত্যস্য শব্দস্য গাবী গোনী গোতা গোপোতলিকেত্যেবমাদয়ো বহবোঽপভ্রংশাঃ৷
We meet with গোণী and its plural গোণা in the standard Prākṛta called পালি, and meet also sparingly with the form গাধী in a প্রাকৃত dialect which though despised by the sages assumed the form গাভী in the classical Sanskrit itself at a later time. We can very well see that in the second century B.C., many Prākṛta dialects flourished in N. India. No doubt for the evidence of this fact we have other definite records but I make the sage পতঞ্জলি to give evidence on the point, to serve a special purpose I have in view. I have to show that the sages and শিষ্ট's made an infructuous attempt to rule the dialects which were rolling on all around like the waves of the sea by taking a boat of literary language on the waves, not seeing that the boat itself was bound to be tossed about and the waves were not to be dominated. It is interesting that the sage Patanjali knew other forms of Prākṛta than what we learn not only in the Bhudhistic works but also in the Aśoka inscriptions. It has been mentioned that for the usual standard word of গম্ origin হম্মতি was in use in সৌরাষ্ট্র and রংহতি in the North-Western India. We may note that রঙ্গুছি (is crawling) is the Oriya form which has, come on somehow or other, as a further অপভ্রংশ of রংহতি, and 'রংহ' by itself came into use in later Sanskrit in a secondary or tertiary sense; again though 'হম্ম' of হম্মতি is not now in use either in Surat or in any part of Western or Northern India, the direct descendant হম্ম (to crawl) on all fours may be unmistakably identified with our Bengali হামা as in হামা দেওয়া.
The existence of various provincial Prākṛta dialects by the side of the old laukika or classical Sanskrit is not denied by the scholars; but some want us to accept the proposition that the Classical Sanskrit evolved naturally from the Vedic speech and the Prākṛta dialects were formed by corrupting the Sanskrit language. The facts which are principally adduced in support of the proposition are: (1) All the past-indicating forms, viz., লিট্, লঙ্ and লুঙ্ are in use in Sanskrit while there is principally but one generalised past form of finite verbs in the Prākṛtas old and new. (2) The dual form unknown in the Prākṛtas is fully maintained in Sanskrit. (3) The Prākṛtas of a very late date are more Sanskritic than the earlier ones and as such these late time Prākṛtas cannot be said to have descended from the older Prākṛtas. I proceed to examine all these points which stand against my proposition.
The variety of Past Forms—It is true that all the systems of past tense are set forth in the Sanskrit Grammars, old and new, but is it true that in their use in literature the time systems represent their value correctly? Can it be denied, as was pointed out long ago by Whitney, that in the Brāhmaṇas, the distinction of tense value between perfect and imperfect is almost altogether lost, as in the later Sanskrit language? It is given, no doubt in the Grammatical works, that the perfect is to be used in the narration of facts not witnessed by the narrator, but Whitney has rightly remarked that there is no evidence of its being either exclusively or distinctively so employed in the literature. That in the Vedas, the case is quite different, may be seen on reference to Macdonell's Vedic Grammar. It is to be noted that all the varieties of the Aorist, as occur in the Vedas, have been bound together in the Post-Vedic times, and have been made into one system. In the Classical Sanskrit, the Aorist forms are only preterites and are freely exchangable with imperfects and perfects. Whitney remarks, after collecting examples, that the aorist of the Classical Sanskrit is simply a preterite, equivalent to the imperfect and perfect, and frequently co-ordinated with them. It is a significant thing to note that adverting to a particular use of the Aorist in the Vedas (though that use is not exclusive in the Vedas) a definite generalized rule was framed for the use of the Aorist as is disclosed by the Brāhmaṇa literature; the use of Aorist as a tense of narration is very closely observed in the language of the Brāhmaṇas, the Upanishads and the Sūtras of early time. I have already remarked that to create a hieratic language on the Vedic lines, generalized rules were framed and thereby the naturally developed heterogenuous elements were reduced to a state of homogeneity. Indiscriminate use of the past systems distinctly shows that the past systems in their variety were only maintained in grammar to make the hieratic language look respectable when in reality, the classical language had no natural link to bind itself with the Vedic language. It has to be specially and particularly noted that লিট্, লঙ্ and লুঙ্ forms do not only exist in the early পালি forms but their use in Pali, unlike what we have noted just now in the Brāhmaṇa literature is much after the Vedic use: the supposed irregularities in the Vedic speech, have been artificially avoided in the Brāhmaṇa literature by framing some generalized rules. Again the simplified past system of the later Prākṛtas, shows what naturally came into use in the country in the প্রাকৃত speech, in contrast with the unmeaning retention of various obsolete systems in Classical Sanskrit, in its unnatural attempt to get away from the natural state of things. It is notorious that the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata in all its parts, abound with examples of indiscriminate use of various past forms in one and the same sense; it is not in the late time literature alone that we get বৈবস্বত মনুর্নাম……আসীৎ, etc., along with বভূব রাজা কিলকার্ত্তবীর্য্য; but we get আসীৎ রাজা নলোনাম, etc., by the side of পূরা বভুব, etc ……in the মহাভারত.
We notice that for the mode of expression "I have done" or "It has been done," participle forms came into use in the Prākṛta and even long before the time of পতঞ্জলি, the form was being freely used to indicate that sense in the Classical language; it could not but be so, as the writers of the Classical language, possessed the very mind and thought of the speakers of the vulgar tongue. To assert that the use of finite verbs in their special past form, where participle form was in current use, should not be regarded obsolete, the author of the মহাভাষ্য has cited some examples which are very often quoted. The examples show that for তের, চক্র, পেচ, the forms তীর্ণাঃ, কৃতবন্তঃ and পক্কবন্তঃ were in use. However much the শিষ্ট people kept themselves aloof, they could not possibly create a narrow little world of theirs but had to hold conversation at least with their wives, who could not but speak the vulgar tongue, being always in close touch with the neighbours; howsoever easy it might be for the sons of the শিষ্টs to learn their শিষ্ট speech, they could not lisp in Classical Sanskrit, when in the arms of their nurses. The influence of the real language of the people could never be kept off by setting up a barrier-wall of culture.
Pronunciation.—Not only in the matter of the use of tenses, but in other matters as well, the শিষ্টs imported the peculiarities of the vulgar speeches in their holy literature; being men of the society, the শিষ্টs imbibed the altered pronunciation of the common people, and thus unawares deviated from the Vedic norm: we notice in the very ব্রাহ্মণs how in some cases the বিসর্জ্জনীয় has been disregarded, ন has been reduced to ণ, and ঈ has been reduced to ই. That in the matter of general accent, the শিষ্টs do not disclose a regular accent system but only uphold the Vedic recent for the words of the Vedic mantras alone, by a study of the Vedic accents, cannot be illustrated in this brief review.
Dual.—A dual in addition to a plural was no doubt a commonly accepted form in the pre-Vedic days, for the classical Aryan languages of Europe disclose some almost effete dual forms. To express two together as a pair, is a familiar mode of thought exhibited by all peoples all over the world, but to retain a regular dual system, does not appear to be a normal inclination in man, in any part of the globe. I am inclined to think, that the formation of dual, was in the case of some people, the first step towards expressing a general plural number; but when a regular plural was reached, the earlier form in this grade of evolution, either died out or was retained only for very occasional use. It is not unlikely, that dual was a regular plural form in the dialect of one section of the culture group of the Aryans, and at the fusion of dialects in the growth of one generalized common speech, the non-regular plural (i.e., the dual) forms stuck to the language as dual, but for practical purposes, the dual was only restricted in use, in expressing the special thought relating to a pair. That in the Vedic language, the dual has this sort of restricted use, cannot be very much doubted. What has been observed by the Vedic scholars in this matter, has been fitly expressed by Whitney in the following words: "The dual is (with only very rare and sporadic exceptions) used strictly in all cases, where two objects are logically indicated, whether directly or by combination of two individuals. Dr. Bloomfield has very rightly observed, that while the employment of the dual is generally strict in the truly post-Vedic language, the plural is often used instead of the dual of natural pairs in the archaic parts of the Ṛgveda. It is because of natural disinclination, that the dual system was not maintained in the European languages of Aryan origin, and it was owing to this naturalness of thought, that a regular dual system was falling into disuse in the living Vedic speech; the dual system could not survive into the Prākṛtas, because the Aryan people of India ceased to have the sort of thought in their mind, which either generates or cherishes such a system in addition to plural system. We may consequently assert, that the co-existence of the dual forms with the plural forms, and the maintenance of the dual forms, not as worn-out unnecessary survivals, but as forms having meaning and use, point to a fixed literary character or rather to an unnatural artificial character of the post-Vedic language as well as of the classical Sanskrit. In their zeal to perpetuate the purity of the Vedic speech, the শিষ্টs out-Heroded Herod, in maintaining a rigid dual system.
Why the Prākṛtas of rather a very late date, are more Sanskritic than their early predecessors, should now be explained. Had it not been for the religious activities of the Buddhists and the Jains, what we can know of some old time Prākṛtas, would have been out of our reach. For reasons I shall state in a subsequent lecture, these Prākṛtas were standardized, and became the sacred language of some religious sects; even though new Prākṛta speeches came actually into being, the sectarian religious works were composed during those later times, in the earlier obsolete Prākṛtas. Consequently, a general continuity of the Prākṛta speeches in their transformation through ages, cannot very easily be traced in literature. Properly speaking, no general secular literature existed in the provincial dialects, to give models of language to the Prākṛta-speaking people of successive generations. The people continued to speak in their Prākṛta speeches, but serious literature was always being composed by the learned in Sanskrit. When, therefore any good or elevated thought had to be expressed in a public document for universal use, in any Prākṛta dialect, a great want was felt in getting adequate terms in the current speech of the people. Sanskrit words were therefore laid under contribution, from the current literary works. This is why during the early literary activities in all our Vernaculars, we notice the influence of Sanskrit upon the Vernaculars. We should not, at the same time, fail to notice, that the Prākṛta or vernacular-speaking people of all times, have maintained the non-Sanskritic structure of their speech. It is by Grammar principally, and not by Vocabulary, that the character of a speech is to be judged; if we do so, we will find that the genetic affinities between the Prākṛtas of early and late times, will be clearly noticeable. As the subject will be specially delineated in another lecture, no further remarks need be added here.
That the classical Sanskrit has been through all times greatly influenced by the Prākṛtas, has been shown by a few examples only; a further consideration of the subject is necessary. The শিষ্টs who could not but belong to the dialect-speaking people, could not but use the Prākṛta forms (though unawares) in their Sanskrit composition. I adduce below some examples to show how this was done. I cannot however resist the temptation of quoting here the words of Dr. Skeat, which are applicable to the শিষ্টs of ail countries and times: "The speaker of the 'standard' language is frequently tempted to consider himself as the dialect-speaker's superior, unless he has already acquired some elementary knowledge of the value of the science of language, or has sufficient common sense to be desirous of learning to understand that which for the moment lies beyond him."
First of all I notice, that as after framing some artificial general rules, the শিষ্টs were forced to explain away some naturally developed Vedic words, by setting them down as cases of আর্ষ license, so in respect of some Prākṛta or Deśi words assimilated by them unawares in the Sanskrit language, the śiṣṭas invented the nipātana rule, considering perhaps what was but a natural growth, to be due to vagaries or freaks of nature.
That there was a scholastic revival in building up Sanskrit, and that the popular dialects (which could not but have been the property of the শিষ্টs) had to be polished from time to time, to make sanskṛita of them, will be partly demonstrated by the following examples. The examples are given in an alphabetical order and not in what may be called chronological order; the remarks against them will however show in some cases, when they were introduced from the Prākṛtas into the holy speech.
(1) অধঃ means no doubt the lower part as adjective or adverb. It is interesting to note, that in the popular speech, অধর the first component of the compound word অধরোষ্ঠ came to designate the lower lip; this অধর was taken into the classical Sanskrit without any question.
(2) উপর.—In Vedic denotes lower; but by false analogy of other words connected with the উপসর্গ 'উ' it was made by the শিষ্টs, themselves to convey exactly the opposite meaning.
(3) একাৎ-ন.—How in the early Brāhmaṇa language this round-about and clumsy expression took the place of Vedic নব (nine, pronounced as ন-উ-অ) of the cardinal compounds নবদশ (nineteen) নববিংশতি (twenty-nine) and so forth to নবনবতি (ninety-nine), is not clear. The earliest Prākṛta has ঊন which may be formed by metathysis from ন-উ-অ; it is not likely that একাৎ-ন was reduced to ঊন. I think ঊন being un-orthodox, the new expression was coined, when নব fell into disuse, and ঊন was wrongly supposed to be something like একাৎ-ন because of its final ন.
(4) কর্ম্মার.—in Vedic it means the smith; কম্মার is the natural Prākṛta form of it, from which the vernacular কামার has come out. The purists, in ignorance of Vedic form polished the prākṛta form in analogy of other words, by adding কার indicating doing to কর্ম্ম, to form কর্ম্মকার.
(5) The word গ্না signified a married lady and a goddess in the early speech, and so who was not a গ্না, i.e., who was not lady-like was ন-গ্না; thus মহানগ্নী came to signify a বিশ্যা (viśya) or courtesan. The shamelessness of a courtesan gave the significance naked to the word. So by its derivation neither গ্না nor নগ্না was a feminine form of any masculine word; but not knowing the character of the word, the word নগ্ন was created as the original masculine form, even in the Brāhmaṇa literature. I must also note, that from the original meaning of the word গ্না, a married woman, the word নগ্না also came into use to signify an unmarried girl; in this meaning of the word the age of the girl could not be and cannot be read. The Vedic rule having come down by tradition, it was prescribed in the ideal form of marriage, that one who was not married to another, was to be taken as wife. The commentators, in the teeth of the fact that the ceremonials recorded in the Gṛhyasutras, relate to the marriage of girls of mature age, interpret the word নগ্না as a girl walking about without covering her shame. The Philologists should take care not to equate nude with নগ্ন because of the lateness of its formation.
(6) দম্পতি.—In Vedic means master of the house (দম house + পতি). Exactly when দম (i.e., গৃহ) coming to signify গৃহিনী, the meaning changed in a popular dialect, is not known ; দম্পতি with its Prākṛta variant জম্পতি (cf., জসপুর for দশপুর, বৈজনাথ for বৈদ্যনাথ, etc.) came no doubt into use in Sanskrit, as the false Sanskrit derivation shows. In ignorance of Vedic form, the Prākṛta forms were explained and reconciled in Grammar by a false rule, which gives us জায়া + পতি = জম্পতি and দম্পতি. That the phonetic change of দ into জ is noticeable in the Vedic itself, may be illustrated by one example: we get জ্যোতি as a changed form of দ্যুতি in the Vedic; জ্যোতিস্ however became in the Vedic a new stem to signify a meaning different from but allied to দ্যুতি.
(7) নাপিত.—The word is unknown in the Vedic speech; the word for it was বপ্তা (vaptā). The barber on some ceremonial occasions had the duty of cleansing the body of a man and so he was called in the Māgadhi Prākṛta or Pāli a নহাপিত; this নহাপিত is the causative form of নাহা derived from the root স্না. The purists in the analogy of other words, made নহাপিত a নাপিত, and thought they are not using a vulgar word in the place of the orthodox Vedic word. The word occurs in the Brāhmaṇa language.
(8) ভগবান.—When a generalised rule relating to বৎ-প্রত্যয় was framed in Sanskrit, and Pāli words with বা final were thought by a false analogy to be the words of বৎ origin, the word ভগবা was reduced to ভগবান্; then again to meet a difficulty the Vedic vocative form ভগব had to be declared as an ārṣa license.
(9) মাতুল.—No word for maternal uncle is traceable in the Vedic; Macdonell very rightly infers that this word was presumably a dialectic form which made its way into Sanskrit. In Sūtra literature, it is মাতুল which was no doubt taken from the popular speech. The popular word was wrongly sought to be derived from a Vedic stem, and as such মাতুল was imagined to be a vaiiant of মাতুর, and then the curious word মাতুর্ভ্রাতা was coined as the supposed original word in the Maitrāyaṇi Samhitā.
(10) মন্মথ.—I have shown in a previous lecture that this purely Prākṛta word was adopted on account of long use in the Classical Sanskrit, but failing to derive it properly from মনস্ o£ Sanskrit (which was only মন in Prākṛta), a rule of exception was invented for its justification.
(11) বিধবা.—In the Vedic speech বিধু means 'alone' and বিধু with the feminine suffix আ became বিধবা (a widow); there was no ধব in the Vedic speech to dominate this বিধবা and we get a Vidova in Italian, for example without any masculine form for it. As বি (vi) was wrongly thought to be the initial উপসর্গ, বিধবা was derived as a woman who lost her never existent ধব; ধব is a pseudo-Sanskrit word. (12) বিশ্যা, a courtesan, signified in derivation a woman who was accessible to the Vis or the Aryan people in general. When the corrupt Prākṛta form Vissā was purified, an imaginary origin of the word was sought in the dress, etc., of the displayer of beauty, and hence Veśya (from Veśa), was used as the correct form. (13) শুতুদ্রী of Vedic use was made a শতদ্রু by imagining a hundred streamlets for the river.
(14) সরল—signifies 'a species of pine tree' as well as 'straight.' The original Vedic for the class of the pine tree is শরল (the tree which is straight like a শর); the word সরল occurs in the Brāhmaṇa literature after the pronunciation of the common people.
It is notorious that the Classical Sanskrit has swelled with words of Prākṛta and Deśi origin; as these words are interesting for many reasons, I give a small number of them in an appendix to help the students to study the matter separately.
I cannot possibly dilate upon the subject any further. We may very well hold, that the non-existence of dual and the currency of a simplified past system in the Prākṛtas, argue in favour of the natural growth of the Prākṛtas. That the early Prākṛta or Pāli, retains many archaic Vedic forms, as are unknown in Sanskrit, is admitted by all scholars; this point of structural unity of early Pāli with the Vedic, will be very briefly noticed in the subsequent lecture. I now proceed to notice a fact, which will show (though perhaps faintly) that a continuity of the Vedic was maintained through many Prākṛta dialects, which have now died out without leaving any literary evidence of their existence.
It is a striking phenomenon, that we have stored up many words in our vernacular which are met with in the oldest known Vedic speech only, and which were not in use in Sanskrit, which is wrongly regarded as a direct and pure offspring of the Vedic language. I do not claim to be exhaustive, but I should think that the list I append here, is not a very short one. (1) অঙ্কী and অঙ্কুশী correspond in meaning exactly with আঁকুশী—in ignorance of the origin, the wrong derivation আ + কর্ষ has been imagined. The word অঙ্কুশ is a separate word altogether. (2) The Vedic word অমলা is used by us in the form আমলা; আমলক became a pedant word even in the days of the early উপনিষদs and the word আমলকী derived from it, is used in our high flown language. (3) আণ্ডা is an egg as well as a fœtus in the womb. The Sanskrit form অণ্ড is a later form derived from আণ্ডা. Considering it a Prākṛta word, the শিষ্টs dropped the final আ, as non-feminine forms with আ final could not be adopted. (4) আদার—The pungent juice of it became once the substitute for সোমরস. Our আদা is closer to the early word in form; the Sanskrit word আর্দ্রক is only a pedantic form. (5) আশা—means side in the Vedic speech; in that sense we use the word in the phrase আশে পাশে. The word is in use in Sanskrit in a secondary meaning indicating direction. (6) এনা—means like this; from this comes our now poetic word হেন. (7) ওদতী to be wet with dew; ওদা signifying wet was in general use in old Bengali, and is still in use in the district of Bankura and in Orissa in that sense. (8) কুদী and কুডী jujube; the Bengali form is কুল and the Oriya form is কুলী. (9) কুশর a sort of reed; this word is in use in Eastern as well as in Northern Bengal to mean sugarcane; in this very sense the word is in use in Eastern Māgadhi and in Oriya of the district of Sambalpur, while in the intervening tracts of Bengal the word আখ from ইক্ষু is in use; the form is আখু in Orissa proper. The word কশার as in কশার বন to indicate cluster of reeds, is however in use in Central Bengal. (10) We get in the Ṛgveda the interjection বট্ (truly) and বত (alas); our বটে (truly) comes from the earlier Bengali form বট as in "কে বট হে." It is not correct that this word comes from বর্ত্ত to stay or exist; the Western Bhojpuri বট from বর্ত্ত is not in use in Eastern Māgadhi, nor there is any verb in Bengali or Oriya which is even remotely connected with বট. (11) ভর্ভরা, a Vedic interjection, which signifies confusion of thought; ভেবড়ে যাওয়া conveys exactly the same meaning. (12) বয়া, the aerial root of a tree. The aerial root of the Peepul tree (বট) is called বয়া in many parts of Bengal. (13) বশা, a calf almost mature enough to become a cow; in this very sense the word is in use in the district of Sambalpur, where it is pronounced as বছা. The word is in use in the Bengali-speaking district of Purulia. (14) বাশী occurs also in Pāli and our বাশ is exactly the instrument which is used by the carpenters. (15) শিম্বল—its synonym শাল্মলী is in use in Sanskrit, while our শিমুল comes directly from শিম্বল through the medium of Pāli. (16) স্কম্ভ (not স্তম্ভ which is a separate word, and from which we have got থাম a pillar) has its অপভ্রংশ form খাম্বা or খাম in Bengali; it signifies a prop and so is closely related to স্তম্ভ in meaning.
I speak of a few other words in this connection, though to illustrate a different phenomenon. The words গাত্র (limb), দাত্র (knife), etc., of the Vedic, were formed with the suffix ত্র, and as such the words গা and দা, as original words, may be supposed to have existed in an once-existing dialect. Coming through Sanskrit, 'গাত্র' has been reduced to গতর্ in some vernaculars, but গা and দা seem to have come to us like the words just set forth in the above list, through some provincial dialects, of which no trace can now be obtained. As not altogether irrelevant, I cite the history of another word here. The word 'কপাল' indicating skull or skull-bone, though of pure Vedic origin, was regarded as unfit to be uttered by the holy people (at least in Patanjali's time), on account of its gruesome association; the euphemistic term ভগাল was recommended for substitution. We know, however, that the fate of কপাল was not doomed in Sanskrit, but it is curious that this euphemistic word ভগাল had the ill-luck of earning for itself the very unpleasant idea, which it was intended to dispel; the slightly-changed form of ভগাল as ভাগাড় denotes in Bengali, the place where dead animals are allowed to rot and the bones of the animals bleach in the sun.
From the cumulative evidence it is rather clear that the literary Vedic speech stood in a close relationship with many provincial dialects, some of which at least continued through all ages, to live to be transformed into later vernaculars, and that the Classical Sanskrit, on the other hand, came into existence as an artificial language.
We have shown to a certain extent, that Laukika or Sanskrit was sought at first to be kept in close unity with the Vedic, but as a matter of fact this language could not maintain any continuity with the Vedic, and with the progress of time, it went on drawing largely upon the Prākṛta dialects. Facts have also been adduced, to show or rather to suggest, why most of the important links in the chain of evolution of the Prākṛta dialects, leading up to our modern vernaculars, are missing or rather irrevocably perished.
- I have nothing to do with the theory of Aryan migration, nor with the hypothetical parent tongue of the no-called Indo-Germans, as I have to study the speeches as actually developed on Indian soil. The unscientific theory of the philologists who may be said to be represented by Brugmann, regarding the imaginary old pronouns of a supposed old language, may be left out of consideration, as we are concerned here with the forms of which actual evidence may be collected. The Dodo birds of nasal sonants of an unknowable people may be allowed to remain in the fancy museum of the philologists, for we have to deal with the actual fossils as may be found imbedded here in India.
- Apabhraṇśa, in its proposed use requires an explanation. Very arbitrarily, this term which literally means decay or rather phonetic decay, has been made to denote a class of Prākṛta speech of no definitely distinctive character. As all the Prākṛta dialects grew by varying from the norm (no matter what that norm is), and as no standard Prākṛta can really be set up without resorting to an artificial and unscientific method, the term Apabhraṇśa cannot be misused to designate a particular class of Prākṛta speech. We cannot forget that all our provincial vernaculars have always been called Prākṛta by the Hindu scholars. Consequently the word Apabhraṇśa may be fitly used in its literal sense to indicate phonetic decay.
- তেন খো পন সময়েন য়মেলুতেকুলা নাম ভিক্খু দ্বে ভাতিকা হোন্তি ব্রাহ্মণজাতিকা কল্যানবাচা কল্যাণ বাক্করণা৷ তে যেন ভগবা, তেন উপসংকমিংসু; উপসংকমিত্বা ভগবন্তম্ অভিবাদেত্বা একমন্তম্ নিসীদিংসু; একমন্তম্ নিসিন্না, খো তে ভিক্খূ ভগবন্তম্ এতদ্ অবোচুম্: এতরহি ভন্তে ভিক্খূ নানা নামা, নানা গোত্তা নানাজচ্চা নানাকুলা পব্বজিতা; তে সকায় নিরুত্তিয়া বুদ্ধবচনম্ দূসেন্তি; হন্দ ময়ং ভন্তে বুদ্ধবচনম্ ছন্দসো আরোপেমাতি৷ [Then Buddha says,.........ন ভিক্খবে বুদ্ধবচনম্ ছন্দসো আরোপেতব্বম্] The commentary has:—ছন্দসো, etc.,... = বেদম্ বিয় সক্কত ভাসায় etc., সকায় নিরুত্তিয়া = [In the] মগধ বোহারো৷
N.B.—It should be noted that though there is mention of ordinary ভিক্খুs to have been recruited from various sections it has not been said that the teaching were being put in various speeches; for, in the first place we get the instrumental singular of নিরুত্তি and in the second place we do not get 'সকায় সকায়' to indicate as usual 'everybody's own'; as the commentator gives only মগধ বোহারো for the নিরুত্তিয় dialect in question, the word সকায় should bo carefully judged for its proper significance.
Only a few Sanskrit or rather pseudo-Sanskrit words are listed below, just to show the influence of Prākṛtas of all times, upon the language which is said to have kept itself aloof from the Prākṛtas.
N.B.—খুলি as of মাতার খুলি should not be confounded with খোলা which is a synonym of খাপ্রা; from কোষ we have got both খোসা as well as খোলা; from কোষ we have got খোল besides খোলা. This খোল again is not identical either with খোল derived from খণ to excavate, or with খোল to loosen, derived from স্খল.
(6) চটুল—from চতুর. Very likely from চতুর (clever) we also got চউর and this word came to signify a clever thief, and thus the Sanskrit words চোর and চোর were formed. Prof. D. R. Bhandarkar thinks that the Sanskrit word চোর comes from the tribal name চোল or চোড়.