The History of the Bengali Language/Lecture 11
Pāli and other old Prākṛtas.
Prākṛta defined.—Sanskrit as a hieratic language, occupies naturally a position of very high honour. It is no wonder therefore, that our old Prākṛta grammarians regarded it in their fancy, to be the very speech, in its original purity, which the gods and holy men spoke at the very dawn of human creation. Some Prākṛta grammarians have formulated (no doubt very wrongly) that Sanskrit is in the state of প্রকৃতি or natural purity, while, the provincial dialects alone disclosed বিকৃতি or corruption of the original প্রকৃতি, by deviating from the norm of Sanskrit. This is how these grammarians have sought to explain the term Prākṛta, though the word প্রকৃতি cannot be shown to have been in use at any time, to signify a speech, holy or unholy. Prakṛti no doubt signifies nature, but in its secondary signification as 'subjects' or 'common people' or 'people in general,' the word is in very common use in our literature of all times. Prākṛta, in its signification as a speech, seems therefore to be associated with prakṛti or the common people. No matter what the derivation may be, it is undoubted, that the term Prākṛta has always denoted the current speech of the people in general, in contradistinction with the cultivated literary speech of the learned. It is significant that our provincial vernaculars of to-day, are called by the orthodox Pandits as so many Prākṛta speeches. No one can fail to notice, that the early poets of Bengal as well as of Orissa have designated the language of their effusions as Prākṛta. It is therefore admitted in a manner on all hands, that Prākṛta is the speech, in which the babies commence to lisp and which the people very naturally learn untaught. The oriental scholars of Europe however, make a sharp distinction now between the modern vernaculars and the obsolete Prākṛtas, to secure some definiteness in the matter of classification. In this classification, the scholars have followed those Prākṛta grammarians, who have appropriated the name prākṛta for an artificial standard literary speech, and have given the term অপভ্রংশ, to the vernacular speeches of their time; I should notice in this connection, that Apabhranśa as reported by the grammarians is also an unreal apabhranśa speech. That the term apabhranśa should now only be used to denote phonetic decay, has been my suggestion in the foregoing lecture. We have to again notice with reference to the use of the term prākṛta by the modern scholars, that where a prākṛta ends and a vernacular begins, is not at all easy to determine and demarcate; it will not help us in the matter of classification, nay it will create anomaly and confusion, if the obsolete forms of our present day vernaculars be all designated as prākṛtas. If the term prākṛta be applied to signify those remote forbears of the modern vernaculars of Northern India, as may not be quite directly traced to be such forbears, a workable definition may be obtained. Practically speaking, this definition does not militate against the current definition of the scholars. I need hardly point out, that by the phrase 'remote forbear' in this definition, I do not refer either to Chhāndasa, which is the source-head of all our Aryan speeches, or to Classical Sanskrit, which has made from time to time some contributions to the Aryan Vernaculars.
Pāli defined.—Pāli, I have all along designated as an early Māgadhi prākṛta, on the authority of Buddha Ghoṣa, who has called it 'Magadha Bohāra.' The capital town of the Magadha country, we know from the phonetic representation of it in Greek as Palibothra, was once called পালিপুত্রো or পালিপুত্তো; the name Pāli, as a place name, is still in existence in Behar. I think that the people of Ceylon gave the name Pāli to the prākṛta speech in question, as the Buddhist canonical works were obtained by them in the Pāliputto country. Now that we see, that the word Pāṭaliputra could be, or rather was in reality reduced to the form Pāliputto, the objection that the term Pāli cannot come out of Pāṭali, will not be seriously urged. It will certainly be admitted, that the meanings given to the word Pāli by the Siṁhalese, are wholly unknown in the literature of India; once the Siṁhalese gave the name Pāli to the language of the canonical works, the secondary or tertiary meaning of the term could easily come into use in Ceylon.
Since Pāli has never been in use in India, as a term to denote either Prākṛta in general or any special Prākṛta in particular, Prākṛta should be the legitimate name for the language in question; if the Prākṛta of the Tripiṭakas be given a special name, the students of the Prākṛta speeches will be led into the wrong notion, that in the matter of origin and general character, Pāli differs widely and essentially from the other Prākṛtas. To use the word Pāli to signify "Buddhistic Prākṛta," is equally misleading; for the prākṛta in question was not during its currency, the speech of the Buddhists alone. In their canonical works the Buddhists have preserved a class of Prākṛta and the Jainas another; we are not on that account justified to designate those Prākṛtas by the names of those religious sects. I should also notice here another suggestion regarding the origin of the term Pāli: it is urged by some, on the strength of the supposition, that the speeches of the common people were not much in current in urban tracts, that the word Pāli may be a decayed form of the non-Aryan term Palli (পল্লী = village). Certainly phonology does not offer any difficulty in the matter of this etymology, but facts of history do not support this proposition. In the first place, it cannot be proved that the people of the rural tracts differed widely from the people of the urban tracts, in the matter of speech. In the second place, the word Pāli cannot be proved to have ever been in use in India, to denote a speech, and consequently it will not be correct to suppose that the people of Ceylon coined the term, by making historical investigation regarding the rural origin of the speech of their canonical works. I must however mention here, a hitherto unnoticed fact, which may be urged with some force in support of the theory. To speak in praise of the speech in which the গাথাশপ্তশতি has been composed, the author has designated the language by the name 'পাড়অ' in the 2nd verse of the work. The commentator has explained the term 'পাড়অ' by প্রাকৃত very correctly, but he has not given us the derivation of the word. The word looks like an apabhranśa of the word পল্লী, since পাড়া of modern vernaculars can easily be derived from পল্লী. But as this solitary use of a comparatively later time cannot be connected with a cognate word of idiomatic use of earlier times, Pāli, as an Indian name for a প্রাকৃত, cannot be accepted. Again it is difficult to say, how far the word পাড়অ for প্রাকৃত is a genuine অপভ্রংশ form of a particular time; that we meet with fanciful corruptions of Sanskrit terms in the literary prākṛtas, will be specially discussed afterwards. পাউঅ, and পাউদ are two terms for প্রাকৃত which occur in the কর্পূরমঞ্জরী; in this case it is rather certain that the terms were coined to maintain the character of the prākṛtas as given in some Prākṛta Grammars. I do not propose to do away with the term Pāli, which denotes a particular class of Prākṛta of the olden time, but I discuss the question to remove the wrong notions which this term, as well as the term prākṛta may generate, regarding the origin, position, and value of the obsolete speeches of India.
The Character of Pāli.—I have tried to show in the previous lecture, that if we look into the evidence furnished by a comparative study of the early and later forms of Vedic speech, and if again we compare the Vedic speech as a whole, with Classical Sanskrit, we are led to the conclusion, that the old Grammarians seized on the salient features of the Vedic speech, and moulded them into one harmonious whole, to create a hieratic language. I have moreover set forth some facts, which make it probable, that even when Chhāndasa continued to be a living literary language, some provincial vernaculars (though derived originally from Chhāndasa) co-existed with Chhāndasa as closely related dialects. One fact indeed can never be doubted, that when the priestly class was busy in reviving, or in maintaining the purity of the Chhāndasa speech, the Aryan people in general spoke one form or another of the Aryan speech, which must be designated as Prākṛta. How far Pāli is removed from a Prākṛta speech, which co-existed with, or succeeded immediately to the latest phase of the Chhāndasa speech, is perhaps impossible to determine now, but that the early Pāli may be regarded to be closely allied to Chhāndasa, is admitted by all scholars.
I have pointed out in the previous lecture, that by unmeaning retention of the dual forms and of the tense systems of Chhāndasa, Classical Sanskrit reveals its own artificial character, while the structure of the Pāli language, discloses a natural modification or change of the early Aryan language. To show that how in some other points, Pāli retains to some extent the morphological structure of the Vedic speech, I refer here to some scholaily remarks of V. Fausboll, as appear in his preface to "Sutta Nipāta" (S. B. E., Vol. IX). He has shown with reference to the oldest portions of the Sutta Nipāta, that those richer forms of Vedic language which we find wanting in the Classical Sanskrit, were in use in the oldest Pāli. The great scholar has pointed out, that we meet with in Pāli, "the fuller Vedic forms of nouns and verbs in the plural, the shorter Vedic plurals, and the instrumental singular of nouns, Vedic infinitives, and many other Vedic forms and words."
The position of Sanskrit as a literary language, in its relation with Chhāndasa on the one side, and with the Prākṛta speeches on the other, has been discussed in several lectures from various view points. The relation of Pāli however, with several provincial Prākṛtas of the Post-Mauriyan times, is not easy to determine. I discuss some facts which show how this investigation is involved in difficulties: (1) Pāli was retained and used as a literary language by the Buddhists when it actually became an obsolete speech; (2) Sanskrit, though an artificial literary language ceased, at one time, to be a purely hieratic speech, and having become the vehicle of thought of all men, dealing with different branches of knowledge, it exercised such an influence in the country, that the living speeches which succeeded Pali, could not become respectable enough to leave literary monuments for us; (3) To ensure intelligibility in all provinces of India, the Prākṛta books (very limited in number), were composed in such an unreal generalized form, as does not help us to reconstruct the living speeches of old days. I notice the significance of all the points briefly below.
Pāli, a literary speech.—We clearly see, why Gotama Buddha insisted upon getting his teachings recorded in the vernacular of his time. What he aimed at however, was not secured, when without following the spirit of his words, his disciples stuck to the speech of his time in their literary composition, when the speech in question became obsolete, and as such uninteresting and repulsive to the non-Buddhistic people. Even to the ordinary Buddhistic people of mundane thoughts and worldly aspirations, this literature which was severely religious, could not be attractive; despite their deep veneration for their Śāstra, the people in general, who as a matter of course wanted to enjoy life, left the dull works of holy character to the care and custody of a small number of religious teachers. The language of the Aśoka inscriptions and references to (অপশব্দ) apaśabdas by Patanjali, distinctly show that the Pāli speech of Buddha's time was being changed with the progress of time, and various provincial dialects came into existence in the 2nd Century B.C.; yet it is a fact, that the author of the Milinda panha tried his best to write in the language of the Buddhistic canonical works. Changes effected by time are distinctly noticeable in the Pāli canonical works themselves, even though a general standard was set up for the language. No doubt the old Pāli of Buddha's days was being transformed into new and newer dialects, but the old-time Pāli failed to become a living heritage with the speakers of the newly-transformed speeches. In that the literary Sanskrit in its broader and more catholic character was being enriched every day by the composition of interesting and entertaining secular literature of various genre, the influence of Sanskrit became more potent and abiding, upon the laymen of letters all throughout the country. True it is that the author of Sanskrit works, who lived, moved and had their being in the living atmosphere of the Prākṛta speeches of their days, introduced various Prākṛta forms in Sanskrit, but the speakers of the Prākṛta tongues, could not but draw upon Sanskrit for want of a living literary tradition of the Prākṛtas, when they sought from time to time to enrich their dialects.
It became impossible in those days to write in any particular vernacular of the province which might be intelligible to the people of all the provinces. The Buddhistic writers, who wanted to adhere to the Prākṛta speech, but found Pāli could not be made intelligible even in the Magadha country, mixed up Sanskrit forms with some অপভ্রংশ forms common to many provinces, and thereby created a curious hybrid language, which has acquired the designation, the Gāthā language. It was to ensure universal intelligibility that an artificial literary Prākṛta was set up, and it is the artificial Prākṛta, which is generally met with, in the old Prākṛta works. These Prākṛta works do not give us the real vernaculars of the past time, and so we cannot directly trace the evolution of our modern vernaculars through the speeches preserved in those works.
It is perfectly certain that the language of the Aśoka inscriptions is not artificial; but one thing strikes us very much, that there are many words in these inscriptions, which are more Sanskritic in form than the words occurring in Buddhistic canonical works. I am strongly inclined to think, that some words in the inscriptions were made purposely Sanskritic to make the edicts thoroughly intelligible at places far away from Magadha. If we compare the Pāli language of Buddha's days, as preserved in the canonical works, with the contemporary classical Sanskrit of the Brāhmaṇa literature, we may notice, that the latter artificial language cannot be said to be only the literary form of the former; but the classical Sanskrit of the 3rd Century B. C, can be easily set down as the literary form of the language of the inscriptions. Mr. F. W. Thomas very rightly observes, in his paper published in the J. R. A. S. 1904 (p. 461), that "It is not too much to say that in modern English both spoken and written, we find greater deviations from the norm, than what may be observed between classical Sanskrit and the language of the edicts of Aśoka." The learned orientalist has further asserted, that if the text of the Pāli inscriptions of Aśoka's time and the literal translation of those texts in Sanskrit were placed side by side, one would find only such differences in pronunciation, etc., as always exist between the literary and spoken forms of the same dialect. I need not halt to explain this phenomenon, for I have already stated, how with the progress of time, Sanskrit was being modified by Prākṛta, and how Prākṛta was being influenced by Sanskrit.
How, stage by stage the Māgadhi language underwent successive changes for one thousand years after the time of Aśoka, cannot be very easily determined, for reasons already suggested; I may however add this observation, that it will be very unsafe to judge the Māgadhi language by the language of the inscriptions of later times, since it appears, that at one time it became a fashion, even in far off Southern India, to use the Māgadhi language in inscriptions. I am not concerned with the question of introduction of Māgadhi language into Peninsular India, nor have I to trace the influence of it on the languages of Western India. How the Māgadhi language was shaped in the province of Magadha itself, and how and in what form it got into Bengal, are questions which should be relevantly discussed. How the old Māgadhi Prākṛta or Pāli is related to what is called the Jaina Prākṛta, is a subject of very high importance for inquiry; it is also necessary to discuss the character of the speech which has been called Māgadhi by the Prākṛta Grammarians; but before I take up these questions for discussion, I proceed to examine if we can trace the blood of old Pāli itself (unstrained through the transformed Prākṛtas of subsequent times) in the veins of our Bengali language. It may be repeated here, what has been shown before, that the province of Magadha-cum-gauḍa always overflowed itself into Bengal, till the end of the 10th Century A.D.
I have noted in previous lectures, that in the matter of accent, there is much agreement between Pāli and Bengali. I doubt not this will be admitted to be a factor of much importance in a language. We should also remember in this connection, Mr. Pischell's weighty observation, that Vedic accent and stress survived in Pāli. The importance of the matter urges me to repeat one or two facts in this connection over again.
That because of the old time accent on the first syllables, the words অৎথি (অস্তি), প্পসন্ন, (প্রসন্ন), বক্খ (বক্ষ), etc., have been reduced to আছি (not অছি as in Oriya and Maithili), পের্সন্ন (not পর্সন্ of other provinces), বুক্ pronounced as বূক্ (not বুকু as in Oriya), etc., in Bengali, can be clearly seen; that the pronunciation of ধম্মো, কম্মো, etc., of the old days has only been retained in Bengal, and that the forms ধরম্, করম্, etc., have only been recently borrowed in a class of artificial poetry, cannot be denied. However, I give below a list of words which have come to Bengali perhaps direct from Pāli, for they are not met with in the Prākṛtas of later days.
(1) অট্ঠি = আঁটি, stone of a fruit,—we do not get either আঁটি or any word derived from অস্থি in use in other dialects to indicate this meaning. (2) অথচ and অপিচ,—these words signify 'and' or 'still more' in Sanskrit; the meaning 'nevertheless' as they signify in Pāli, is only found in Bengali in the use of অথচ. In Oriya, this word, with its Pāli or Bengali meaning, has only very recently been borrowed. (3) অ-ফাসুক (seems to be Desi word and not an Apabhraṁśa) means indisposition or illness, Bengali অসুক বিসুক or simple অসুক does not seem to be derived from সুখ, happiness, for the idea of illness is not expressed with reference to the feeling of happiness; I think ফাসুক is the originator of the Bengali word. (4) ইতি—stands at the end of a speech, or section to denote "this is what it is"; this use of ইতি at the end of a composition, became once a mere form in Bengali, and subsequently from its position in a sentence, it acquired the meaning "the end"—in which sense, it is now in use. This ইতি does not occur in other dialects; in Oriya for example, the word indicating "finish" or "the end," as occurs at the end of an epistle is শুভ. (5) উন্হ ('hot,' উষ্ণ), উন্হন (the act of heating), [উম্ or rather ওম্ signifies warmth in Bengali] Bengali উনন্ (oven) comes from it though উদ্ধন is the word we get in Pāli for oven. (6) উপাহন (by metathysis from উপানহ shoe; the নহ ending again represents earlier নদ্ধ), the Oriya form is পন্হাই, which was in use in old Bengali. (7) ওর signifies 'this side,' but ওরপার signifies both the banks of a river and also the far-off bank of a river; only in old Bengali, we get this word in such a phrase as ওরনাই indicating কুলনাই, i.e., the other bank—cannot be reached, i.e., endless. (8) কুৎথ = old Bengali কুত্থ, modern কোথা where. (9) কবল (as in Sanskrit) a mouthful to be swallowed; only in Bengali, there is the Apabhraṁśa form of it in use which is খাবল. (10) কসট (from সকট = bad, vile, by metathysis) indicates a thing of bad or insipid taste; Bengali কসাটে, of insipid taste is from this word; the word কষায় of Sanskrit is of comparatively later date, and so it is a Sanskritization of a Pāli word; the readers should not confound this with Sanskrit কষ্ which exists in the word কষণ signifying unripe (distinguish this also from কষ্, to touch or to injure); from কষ্, unripe, we get the Oriya word কসি, unripe, and this old form কসি unripe is in use in Bengali, in the shape of কচি. (11) গোণা (cows in plural)—in this form, the word travelled to Ceylon from old Bengal, our গরু is from গ-উ, where উ has been changed to রু. (12) ঘত or ঘ্রত (ghee). It is curious that following the traditional spelling, the rude villagers of Bengal still write ঘ্রত and not ঘৃত, when they make an attempt at dignified spelling. (13) চুল exactly signifying hair, as in Bengali; this word is found at one or two places in the Jātaka stories, bearing evidently marks of lateness. (14) চঙ্গোট, a bamboo basket = Bengali চাঙ্গাড়ি and Oriya চাঙ্গোড়ি. (15) চাটি—a pot or a vessel, is found exactly in this sense in Oriya; that it was in use in old Bengali can be detected in the modern Bengali phrase চাটি বাটি as in চাটি বাটি তুলে চলে যাওয়া (to leave a place by carrying away all pots and pans). (16) ছবি—(a skin disease; the Oriya form ছোই signifying the same meaning is similar to Pāli, as the final ই is equivalent to the final vi (বি) of the Pāli word; the Bengali word derived from it is ছলি. (17) জাগু (rice gruel—originally barley-gruel জবাগু) equal to Bengali জাউ. (18) জহ excessive, is in use in Oriya and was in use in old Bengali; its real origin is from হা to leave, which gives rise to the form জহাতি—'something in excess that had to be thrown away' was the idea at the root. (19) দহ, a pool, is from দর্হ, which is formed by metathysis from হ্রদ; we use the word দহ as in Pāli but the Oriya form is দর্হ. (20) দুম from Sanskrit দ্রম; in many parts of Bengal, little pieces of wood or say the internode portion of sugarcane is called দু-ম or ডুমা. (21) নেলা (pure, innocent or inoffensive); Buddhaghosa gives the derivation of it in his commentary on the Dīgha Nikāya—'এলা' বুচ্চতি দোসো; ন অস্সা এলন্তি নেলা; a goodnatured innocent man is always regarded as a fool or an insane, and so we get the word in our Bengali phrase নেলা ক্ষেপা to indicate a fellow without common sense and so also the word নেলা by itself conveys the same meaning in the Oriya speech of Sambalpur. (22) পাচন-যট্ঠি Bengali পাচন-বাড়ি. (23) নিবেসন (from Sanskrit নি + বেশ্ম house) the vulgar people ask of the নিবেশ of a man to inquire where he hails from or where he lives, but wrongly considering the form to be incorrect, we have substituted নিবাস for it. (24) পলি-পথ a muddy road; the first portion of the compound পলি indicating mud is in use in Bengali in the case of sediment thrown by streams of water. (25) পেক্খুণ, the feather of a peacock; our word পেকম্ as in পেকম্ ধরা, blandishing the wings by a peacock, comes from the word. (26) মহল্লিক signifies old; hence the. word conveyed the meaning 'wise' in later times; in Orissa, the state councillors were called 'mallikas' and one particular State, once governed by eight malliks, still bears the name আটমল্লিক; this word as surname is in use in Bengal and Orissa. (27) লঞ্চ bribe; the Oriya word লাঞ্চ still bears the same meaning, but I do not know if it was in use in Bengal; my information, that it is in use in Purulia, has not been confirmed. (28) বণ্ট (from বৃন্ত), a peduncle = Bengali বোঁটা. (29) বিচিকিচ্ছা doubt or rather an impious doubt regarding the truths of religion; hence what is bad or undesirable; Bengali বিজিকিচ্ছি is equivalent to it in form and in secondary meaning. (30) সুশান (from শ্মশান) = Bengali শশান,—because of this derivation, no nasal sound is attached to the first 'শ.' (31) হরণী is the passage that is made in the river for a boat by removing the sand; the passage was perhaps chalked out by dragging the boat itself; in this meaning the word is used in the district of Sambalpur and that very use was current in old Bengali. (32) হেট্টা under, beneath; Bengali হেঁট, as in মাথা হেঁট করা, comes from it.
We have to look very carefully into the deep significance of what has been illustrated above. Even though we fail to get definite literary evidence of successive changes which Pāli underwent on the soil of its birth in the course of a thousand years or more, we cannot but admit, that change did occur, and the older forms faded imperceptibly into new and newer forms. On reference to the Jaina Prākṛta and to the Prākṛtas either noticed in the Prākṛta Grammars or preserved in some works of poetry and drama, we may notice, that the old Pāli forms and Pāli pronunciation were very much changed in later times; yet it is a fact that the method of Pāli pronunciation and many Pāli words and phrases, unknown to the later Prākṛtas (with which Bengali must have been directly connected), stick to Bengali. This shews very unmistakably, that a genuine genetic bond of affinity exist between Pāli and Bengali; the people who had originally Pāli for their language, could only retain the obsolete things as so many survivals, in course of successive transformation of their speech. We are at times led to form wrong notions regarding the origin of Bengali, by looking to the non-Prākṛtic or rather the Sanskritic form of many Bengali expressions; we forget that for reasons stated more than once before, there has been purposeful sanskritization of Bengali as well as of other vernaculars from time to time. Owing to intermittent Sanskrit renaissance, a very large number of Bengali words are now so dressed up, that their real pedigree cannot be easily determined; that our তৎসম words, চ্যূত, মধু, হৃদয়, etc., were once চুক্ব, মহু, হিঅঅ etc., may be easily seen, on reference to some common expressions as ভূলচুক, মৌচাক, and হিয়া. I have stated before, that it is because of this sort of sanskritization, that the Prākṛtas are more in অপভ্রংশ form than the modern vernaculars. We should notice moreover that in the outlying tracts of Bengal, many words and grammatical forms of Pāli and of later Prākṛtas are still retained; in the district of Rungpur, for example, the word ইসি for ঋষি, দুতীয় for দ্বিতীয়, পধান for প্রধান, etc., and such a grammatical form as the formation of nominative by 'এ' are in full use. It is also noticeable that many archaic forms which were in use in Prākṛta, and are now in use in Rungpur, are in general agreement with the Oriya words; কোট্ঠে, where (Oriya কেঁউঠি, Marathi কোঠে), এট্ঠে, here (Oriya এইঠি). মাঊসি (for মাসি), পিউসি (for পিসি), শ্বাসু (for শ্বাশুড়ি), চাঁদিয়া (bald headed), টেংনা (for টেংরা fish), are some examples.
In spite of the prevalence of Pāli words and Pāli forms in Bengali, some are doubtful if Bengali actually originated from Pāli and its later successors, as looking into the morphological structure of the above speeches, they find পালি, a highly inflexional language, and Bengali as mainly agglutinative, like the Dravidian speeches. We must now all learn that reversion from inflectional to agglutinating has been observed in many European and Indian languages. How by the mere process of phonetic decay, an inflectional or agglutinating speech may be reduced to what is called monosyllabic or isolating, has also been very scientifically demonstrated in the case of the Chinese language. The old theory of gradation from isolating to inflectional has been found utterly untenable. To account for the agglutinating character of our speech, we need not import a Dravidian influence, though in other matters such an influence upon the Bengali language cannot be denied, or rather has been fully admitted. We should bear in mind that all the modern Sanskritic speeches of the Gauḍian group are mainly agglutinating. Certainly, no one can possibly deny the potent factor of non-Aryan influence in the matter of the formation of provincial dialects, but it will be too much to assert that the contact with the savage races alone had, on the Aryans, the effect of breaking down their rigid inflectional system, and of causing the Aryans to substitute, for case-endings in nouns and verbs, distinct particles and auxiliaries.
Origin of a class of long-winded সমাস compounds.—Let us take account of one simple case which illustrates how a tendency to agglutinate words arose, and a class of long-winded samāsa compounds came into being in Sanskrit composition. It will be observed in the Prākṛta prose, that nouns or objectives in apposition in a sentence are not usually linked together by conjunctions. This style of composition was no doubt after the general style of ordinary conversation, in which not only the copulative but the disjunctive conjunction as well is at times dispensed with. Let me illustrate by example this conversation style, as still obtains in Bengal.
- Q.—বাজারে কি কি কিন্লে?
- A.—আম কিনেছি, কাঁঠাল কিনেছি, দুধ কিনেছি৷
- Q.—তোমরা সকলে ভাল আছ?
- A.—আমি ভাল আছি, বাবার শরীর মন্দ নয়, [here তবে—but—is seldom used] মার একটু অসুখ৷
The authors who had the Prākṛtas of their time for their real speech, did not like to put in such a conjunctive conjunction as চ in their elegant Sanskrit composition, as that would not make the sentence sweet-sounding to their ears, trained to regard the Prākṛta method as sweet and agreeable; to compensate for the loss of চ, long samāsa chains were forged which in their natural sonorousness heightened the effect of the style.
Jaina Prākṛta.—I have stated that the links which bind Pāli with modern vernaculars are almost missing; the Prākṛta, which we meet with in the Jaina works, is in my opinion, a real link in the chain. I should not proceed seriously to controvert such a queer opinion that the Jaina Prākṛta is Mahārāṣṭri; I shall show presently that not only the term Mahārāṣṭri, but other terms as well as have been used by the Prākṛta grammarians to classify the Prākṛta speeches, are misleading. This Jaina Prākṛta discloses many characteristics of a real speech, and it is almost doubtless that it was once a vernacular in the land of Mahabir's birth, but when did this language flourish, has not been satisfactorily determined. The very fact that many forms occurring in this speech, cannot be explained by the rules formulated by Vararuchi, urges us to believe, that unlike the Prākṛtas of the grammarians and the dramatists, which were no real spoken vernaculars, but were essentially literary fictions founded on the vernaculars, the language in question, was once a living speech in some parts of the province of Behar. This speech is no doubt highly important; but it is regrettable, that in proportion to its importance, the material available at present is rather scanty. It must be mentioned however, that minds of scholars are not free from doubt, as to the thorough correctness of the Prākṛta texts of the Jaina canonical works, hitherto published. The Jaina scriptures, which have been critically edited, are only a few in number; it has been rightly observed by Dr. Barnett that this language "is a rich mine for the seekers of philological treasures." The learned author remarks, that as long as the whole of the Jaina scriptures have not been critically edited, many dark pages of the history of the ancient and modern Indian languages and literature will not be illumined. Dr. Barnett says that "neither the political nor the literary nor the religious history of India, can ever be written until an exact study has been made" of the Jaina scriptures composed in this Māgadhi Prākṛta. What has been opined with reference to the history of India in general, is specially and particularly true regarding the history of Bengal in all its aspects. We generally speak of the Buddhistic influence in Bengal, but it will be very soon recognized that the influence of the Jainas in this country, has been of far greater importance and consequence. This is not the subject which I can deal with here, but I doubt not that our Bengali scholars will direct their serious attention to this matter of great moment.
As far as it has been ascertained, even the oldest portion of the Jaina scriptures did not come into existence, in the form in which it is now obtained, earlier than the last half of the 5th century A.D.; consequently, to be on the safe side, we may hold that the language which the Jaina canonical works present, is the Eastern Māgadhi Prākṛta of a time, not later than the 6th century A.D. Be they Jaina inscriptions or not the Khaṇḍagiri Inscriptions of Khāravel give us the Māgadhi language of the second century B.C. But as this language differs only slightly from Canonical Pāli, and as it differs on the other hand, very greatly from the Jaina Prākṛta, this inscription language cannot be considered to be a link in the chain of evolution of this so-called Jaina Prākṛta. As the time of the Kuśana kings has not yet been satisfactorily established, it is difficult to assign dates to the Mathurā inscriptions of the Jainas, which have been preserved by being transcribed in Sir A. Cunningham's Archæological Survey Reports (vide ibid, Vols. III and XX). It is curious that the language of the Mathurā inscriptions does not much differ from the language of the second century B.C.; but as the texts of the Mathurā inscriptions contain only a small number of sentences, we should refrain from offering any remarks regarding the character of the language of the texts. This is however very clear and definite, that the language of the Jaina canonical works differs very widely from the aforesaid inscription language either of the second century B.C. or of the second century A.D. Looking to all these circumstances, we are inclined to think that, the canonical works of the Jainas disclose the speech, which was current in some Eastern parts of Behar, some time between the third and the 6th century A.D. In the Mathurā inscriptions of Kuśana time, we get, for example, the same nominative case endings as we meet with in the Aśoka inscriptions and Khāravela inscriptions, but the nominative case ending in the canonical works under review is এ (e); Mahāvīra Bardhamāna is always Mahāvīre. Bardhamāne. A critical consideration of this প্রাকৃত should be a subject for separate study. We may notice here only those points which are in agreement with Bengali. (1) We know that অ and য় have the same sound value in Bengali; even in Oriya 'য' is pronouced as ই-অ; in the Jaina Prākṛta, 'অ' which is the particle to signify 'and' (= ও of Bengali) and which appears exactly in the form of অ in the 'সেতুবন্ধ' and the 'গৌড়বহো' occurs indiscriminately as 'অ' or 'য়'; this shows the sound value of 'য' in the Māgadhi. In Bengali it is a peculiarity that when য is the initial letter, it is sounded as 'জ' and is uttered as 'অ' when it is a medial; we find, for instance in the Aṇuttarovavāiya Dasāo, that 'জ' is the initial of the word জালি (a name), while 'য' occurs as medial in spelling the name উপযালি. (2) The letter ঐ discloses the Bengali pronunciation, as ঐরাবত has been very often spelt as অইরাবত. It is no doubt true that in all Prākṛtas, ঐ occurs as অই but as ঐ is also at times met with, as for instance in the Khāravela inscriptions, as 'ঐল,' this point has been noted here. (3) The form for দ্বিতীয় is at times দুচ্চ and at times দুত্ত; in the pronunciation of some words in Eastern Bengal, as well as in Jessore, we detect the use of the early form of দুত্ত, for example the ceremony of consummation of marriage is called দুতু-ব্বিয়ে, the loss of one 'ত' of the final ত্ত of the word দুত্ত is indicated by the doubling of ব of ব্বিয়ে; as to দুচ্চ, the Bengali form দোজ as in দোজবর may be noted. (4) It is exactly চোদ্দ (and not চউদ্দ) that occurs in this Prākṛta to denote fourteen; this form of pronunciation is wholly peculiar to Bengali. (5) I have just noted above that the nominative case ending is এ, it may be noticed, that in the provincialism of Rungpur, this case-ending is strictly maintained, and in the standard Bengali this case-denoting suffix has not been done away with. স became সো in Pāli and this সো occurs in the form of সে as is current in Bengali and Oriya. (6) The Vedic adverb কতি (how much) is not wholly extinct in this প্রাকৃত, but we get also the additional form কয়, which is just equivalent to কত and is in use in Bengali. (7) To denote 'which' or 'what' (though not 'who' as in Bengali), we meet with 'কে'; কি for কিম্ occurs with the adjunct অ as কিঅ. (8) I notice here one case-forming particle which is of much interest and importance. Not knowing the origin of our instrumental case-ending দিয়া, an imaginary দ্বারা was brought in by some Pandits as its originator. We get the particle 'দে' in this speech which is exactly equivalent to our obsolete 'দি' (still in use in Rungpur) and modern 'দিয়া.' This দে also occurs in the form of ডে; the passage which stands as জালি……বিমান পত্থডে (দে) উদ্ধম দূরম বিবয়িত্বা বিজয়ে বিমানে দেবওয়ে উববন্নে, means that Jāli, after passing through the bimānapatha went to the higher world, etc. The pandits, who accuse the old Bengali poets for using the word 'বিমান,' deviating from its Sanskrit meaning, should take note of the Prākṛta use of it in this text. (9) The আছ ending of a verb, to signify past tense (or more properly present perfect) may be noted in such a form as 'কিচ্ছা' (did or has done); 'ল' as additional ending does not appear, but if this is added, the modern Bengali present perfect form is fully obtained; there is another form for the present perfect which takes 'ই' (as হোই) and not 'ছ' as the ending. 'কিচ্ছা' also became 'করিয়চ্ছা' later on and both 'করিয়চ্ছা' and 'হোই' stand as 'করিয়াছিল,' and 'হইল' in modern Bengali.
I just notice three words which clear up the history of those Bengali words which are regarded as, Deśī. (10) 'কল' as the word for peas has been mentioned along with the name of lentils 'মুগ' and 'মাস'; our modern word is 'মটর,' but we have not lost the word as the pod of it is still called কড়াইসুঁটি; in North Bengal, in East Bengal, as well as in Jessore, the name 'কলই' for peas is still in use. (11) 'করিল্ল' signifies the sprout or shoot of a plant; 'কোঁড়া' or 'কোঁড়ক' (as বাঁশের কোঁড়ক) is now in use; in the District of Sambalpur, the bamboo sprout, which is used as vegetable is called কর্ডি, or কড্ডি or কর্লি. (12) The origin of the word is unknown, but it is curious to note that the word 'কড়িপত্ত' signifies 'foot' in this Prākṛta, while 'কর-পত্ত' signifies the 'hand' or 'the palm of the hand'; I am inclined to think that 'কড়ে-আঙ্গুল' originally signified toe in Bengali, but now only a particular toe is meant by it; the Dravidian করিকল্ or bad foot shows that কল্ which is easily transformed into কড indicates Foot. It is very interesting that not only in Jaina Prākṛta but in Jaina Sanskrit works also several Prākṛta words occur which in their old meaning and almost in their old form, are in use in Bengali only. For example (13):—কিল কিত দ্বার (in Jaina Sanskrit form) = খিড়ক্কি দুআর (Jaina Prākṛta form) signifies exactly "Back door" as in Bengali, খিড়্কি দুআর. (14) উজ্ঝিকা (both in Jaina Sanskrit and Prākṛta) = Housemaid and specially the kitchen maid who throws away the offal or other উজ্ঝিত matter; the first syllable উ and the otiose ক final, having been dropped, the word is in use in Bengali only as ঝি to denote maid servant. This form should not be confounded with ঝি or ঝিউড়ি derived from ধি (দুহিতা =ধিতা = ধি =ঝি). (15) The Bengali word হের, to see (now in poetic use only; fully in use in Assam), occurs even in Jaina Sanskrit in the form হেরয়িত্বা, on seeing.
I think a short interesting article may be written on the peculiarity or rather the speciality of the names of men and women of Bengal. It is no doubt a speciality in Bengal that though the real portion of the name of a man does not require any additional word, such words, as চন্দ্র, নাথ, etc., are added to the names, but it is not on account of this alone, that the Bengali names indicate the nationality of the men bearing the names to the people of other provinces. 'নাথ' as an addition to the names of the Jain Tirthankars and চন্দ্র as a part of the old Māgadhi names, as well as the names themselves bear a sort of provincial peculiarity; and this may be illustrated in a separate paper as I have suggested. Though we cannot judge the nationality of men of old times by the form of their names alone, the peculiarity of Bengali names may be studied to see if men, having such names ভুসুকু, কাহ্নূ, can be supposed to have flourished in Bengal. I note here a few old time Māgadhi names of women which are popular in Bengal; they are 'মুত্তা' (মুক্তা) পুট্টিমা (পুষ্টিমতি); সামা, সোনা, খেমা, and চাঁপা; the second name পুট্টিমা is current in Bengal alone in the shape of 'পুঁটি.' অভয়চন্দ্র, আদিনাথ, তারকনাথ, পরেশনাথ, (and not পারশ), etc., are some special male names of Bengal. We have got such a name ষষ্টী but such তিথি names for men and women as দুতিয়া (m), দশমী (f), একাদশিয়া (m) and ওঁয়াসী (fem.) are unknown in Bengal. Such names as বইজনাথ, বাজি (contraction of সত্যবাদী), বিষ্কেসন্, ধনুর্জ্জয়, চমরু, চক্রধর, হনুমন্ত, বিভীষণ, etc., are never met with in Bengal.