Learning Sanskrit by a fresh approach – Lesson 8

Learning Sanskrit by a fresh approach – Lesson 8

Here is an interesting सुभाषितम् very onomatopoetically composed. Also it displays the flight of imagination of the poet. He leaves it to the reader to draw the moral.

रात्रिर्गमिष्यति भविष्यति सुप्रभातम् ।
भास्वानुदेष्यति हसिष्यति पंकजश्रीः ।
इत्थं विचारयति कोषगते द्विरेफे ।
हा हन्त हन्त नलिनीं गज उज्जहार ॥

Let us start with our study – phrase by phrase, word by word.

रात्रिर्गमिष्यति = रात्रि: गमिष्यति

रात्रि: = Night
गमिष्यति = will pass


भविष्यति = will be or will become
सुप्रभातम् = good morning

भास्वानुदेष्यति = भास्वान् उदेष्यति

भास्वान् = one who has splendour; sun भाः + वत्
भाः = splendour
त् A Suffix which helps to make a derived noun, meaning “having”. Here भाः + वत् becomes a derived noun, with meaning “having splendour” One common place example is the word भगवान्
उदेष्यति = will rise

हसिष्यति पंकजश्रीः

हसिष्यति = will smile


पंकज = पंके जायते इति पंकजम्

पंक = mud
पंके = in mud

ज = जायते = is born; grows

ज is a sufffix which is used to render a meaning “born of” or “born at” or “is born”

पंकजम् = that which grows in mud = lotus
श्रीः = glory

पंकजश्रीः = पंकजस्य श्रीः, षष्ठी तत्पुरुष समास glory of lotus

इत्थं विचारयति कोषगते द्विरेफे

इत्थं = thus
विचारयति = thinking; विचारयति is masculine, seventh case singular of विचारयन् a present active participle, derived from the causative of the verb वि + चर्

कोषगत: = कोषे गत:, सप्तमी तत्पुरुष समास
कोषे = into the treasure, into the bosom
गत: = gone This is masculine first case singular of the past passive participle of root verb म्
कोषगते = having gone into the treasure


द्विरेफ: = द्वौ रेफौ यस्य सः, बहुव्रीही समास
द्वौ = two
रेफौ = I struggled with the meaning of रेफ One would not find it in a dictionary. It was very kind of Mr. P. G. Kulkarni and Mr. Krishnanad Mankikar to explain that द्विरेफ means a black bee. Sanskrit word which can be found in a dictionary is भ्रमरः As can be seen, this word has two ‘र’-s in it. रेफ means this ‘र’-कार ! So, द्विरेफ means “one, who has two ‘र’-कार-s n its name ! Ooph ! Poetry even in coining a new word !

This phrase इत्थं विचारयति कोषगते द्विरेफे merits special attention. Three words विचारयति कोषगते द्विरेफे are all in seventh case सप्तमी. This style of composition makes the phrase, a sub-clause. The meaning of these words is not to be taken by their meaning in seventh case.

This style of composing a clause is called in Sanskrit grammar as सति सप्तमी. Here

सति suggests locative case of verbal derivative क. व. धा. वि. (= कर्तरी वर्तमानकालवाचकम् धातुसाधितम् विशेषणम्) e.g. विचारयति and

सप्तमी suggests locative case of corresponding subject of that verb, e.g. द्विरेफे

Here we have कोषगते also in सप्तमी because it is the adjective of द्विरेफे.

As a phrase, the meaning becomes, “(as) the black bee had gone into the bosom and was thinking..” or “(as) the bee, which had gone into the bosom, was thinking..”


हा हन्त हन्त नलिनीं गज उज्जहार


हा हन्त हन्त = interjection, mostly to express sadness, or meaning “alas !”
नलिनीं = नलिनीम् Second case singular of नलिनी meaning “lotus”, rather “a full-grown lotus”
गज उज्जहार = गज: उज्जहार

गज: = elephant

उज्जहार = uprooted, This is declension in past tense, third person, singular of root verb उत् +  हृ meaning “to uproot”

The overall meaning becomes –

As the bee, which had gone into the bosom (of a lotus), was thinking…
“..night will pass and good morning will dawn,
sun will rise and glory of (this) lotus will smile..”
Oh God ! an elephant uprooted the lotus !!

Moral ?

Never think that things will work out the way you would like. The bee possibly thought that it will have all the time of passing of night until sunrise and opening of the petals of the lotus, all that time, to enjoy the nectar at the bosom of the lotus to its heart’s content. But alas, an elephant came along and uprooted the lotus itself !!
Man proposes, God disposes !!
Never do over-indulgence; always take risk-factors also into account.
Thanks again to Mr. Kulkarni for adding also an explanation, that “the bee could have bored its way out. But it was more thoughtful not to hurt the lotus. Behaviour of the elephant was rough, not so considerate as of the bee.”
However, I also read a comment, that the elephant uprooted the lotus to offer it to Goddess LakShmee !
Uhmmm …! The poet sets people to start thinking further, right ?

I had another idea also in mind, in taking up this सुभाषितम्. In these four lines we have गमिष्यति, भविष्यति, उदेष्यति, हसिष्यति, विचारयति, गते, उज्जहार all verb-forms – either declensions or participles. Even the suffix ज in पंकज has a derivation from a verb.

Of these गमिष्यति, भविष्यति, उदेष्यति, हसिष्यति are all declensions in future tense, third person, singular of different root verbs म्, भू, त्, स्

विचारयति is masculine, seventh case singular of विचारयन् a present active participle, derived from the causative of the verb वि + चर्

गते is masculine, seventh case, singular of past passive participle गत of root verb म्

उज्जहार is declension in past tense, third person, singular of root verb उत् +  हृ

Verbs in Sanskrit become a subject of interesting, but very comprehensive study. It is possibly no exaggeration to say that Sanskrit owes much of its charm for how one can play around with verbs ! Prominently,

1. A root verb is called as धातु
2. Verbs in Sanskrit are of ten classes called as गण
3. Some verbs may belong to more than one गण-s
4. The patterns of declension are of two types, called as परस्मैपदी  and आत्मनेपदी
5. When a धातु has declension of both patterns परस्मैपदी and  आत्मनेपदी it is called as उभयपदी
6. Declensions of verbs are influenced by tense or mood, person and number
7. There are ten tenses and moods –

(For ease of understanding given below for each type is third person singular form of the verb भू)
the tenses are seven

Present Tense वर्तमाने लट्
Three types of Past Tense भूते

लुङ् called as “Aorist” by grammarians. This is not in common use. Example is अभूत्
लङ् (अनद्यतनः भूतकालः) e.g. अभवत्
लिट् (परोक्षभूतकालः) e.g. बभूव

Three types of Future Tense भविष्यतः

लुट् e.g. भविष्यति
लृट् e.g. भविता
लृङ् e.g. अभविष्यत्

and the moods are three

Imperative Mood वेदे लोट् Imperative mood is for giving an order, e.g. भवतु
Mood typically indicated by “should” in English विधौ लिङ् e.g. भवेत्
Mood of benedictions, benevolent wishes and blessings as indicated by “May God bless you” in English आशिषे लेट् e.g. भूयात्

8. There are three persons – first person (I, we) second person (you), third person (he-she-it, they)
9. Numbers are three – singular, dual, plural
In the dictionary, one will usually find a verb identified as follows –
धातु: गण: पदम् वर्त. तृ. पु. एक. क. भू. धा. वि.
1 म् 1 प. गच्छति गत
2 भू 1 उ. भवति भूत
3 त् + इ 2 उ. उदेति-ते उदेषित
4 स् 1 प. हसति हसित
5 वि + चर् (प्रयोजक) 1 प. विचारयति विचारित
6 त् +  हृ 1 उ. उद्धरति-ते उद्धृत

In the above table

प. = परस्मैपदी
उ. = उभयपदी
वर्त. तृ. पु. एक. = वर्तमाने तृतीय-पुरुषीयम् एकवचनम्

क. भू. धा. वि. = कर्मणि-भूतकालवाचकम् धातुसाधितम् विशेषणम्

There are many adjectival and adverbial derivatives obtained from verbs.
1. Past passive participles such as गत
2. Present active participles such as विचारयन्
3. Adjectives obtained from verbs धातुसाधित विशेषण by using suffixes य तव्य अनीय
4. Infinitive obtained by using suffix तुम्
5. Adverbial derivatives obtained by using suffix त्वा e.g. गत्वा means “upon going”

In Sanskrit, words are formed

1. by declension of nouns, pronouns and adjectives influenced by gender, case and number 

2. by declension of verbal roots influenced by tense or mood. voice, causative, person and number
3. by declension of adjectival derivatives obtained from verbs
And there are of course the
4. indeclinables – among them adverbs, conjunctions and interjections
5. adverbial derivatives obtained from verbs, which also are indeclinables.
For doing word-by-word study we can use five structures to present a study of words of these five types.

For example we can see a presentation of words in this सुभाषितम् in the following manner.

शब्द: शब्दस्य  जाति: मूलशब्द: लिंगम् विभक्ति: वचनम् शब्दार्थ:
रात्रि: सामान्यनाम रात्रि स्त्री. प्रथमा एक. night
शब्द: शब्दस्य  जाति: मूलधातु: गण: पदम् प्रयोजकेन ? प्रयोग: काल: वा अर्थ: वा पुरुष: वचनम् शब्दार्थ:
गमिष्यति क्रियापदम् म् 1 प. कर्तरी लुट्’-भविष्यकाल: तृतीय: एक. will go, will pass
शब्द: शब्दस्य  जाति: शब्दार्थ:
इत्थम् अव्ययम् In this manner, thus
शब्द: शब्दस्य  जाति: मूलशब्द: मूलधातु: गण: पदम् प्रयोजकेन ? प्रयोग: काल: वा अर्थ: वा लिंगम् विभक्ति: वचनम् शब्दार्थ:
विचारयति क. व. धा. वि. विचारयन् वि + चर् 1 प. म् = Yes कर्तरी वर्तमान पु. सप्तमी एक. when thinking

In the table for विचारयति please note क. व. धा. वि.कर्तरी वर्तमानकालवाचकम् धातुसाधितम् विशेषणम्

Wow! We already have structures for four of the five types of words in Sanskrit !
And what a study !
Do not these structures give a very satisfactory and confidant feeling that “well, the सुभाषितम् is really thoroughly understood !” ?
As an exercise, you can compile a study of all the other words !
शुभमस्तु |


4 thoughts on “Learning Sanskrit by a fresh approach – Lesson 8

  1. Namaste Sir,

    Very very interesting articles, slokas and interpretations. Hats off to your hard work and desire to make samskrta pathanam easy. Please keep posting. It benefits a lot samskrta bhasha lovers all over the globe.

    jayatu samskrtam


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s