Panini, also "saakalya"

Fri Oct 20 02:31:44 UTC 1995

As Madhav Deshpande has pointed out, there is a connection between the
S'aakala and the Aitareyins: actually it is already Ait. Brahmana 3.43 
that mentions them. 

The interesting points, however, are 

(1) -- as has been well known, more or less since A. Weber in c. 1850,   -- 
tha the older parts of AitBr (books 1-5) are WESTERN  ---       
(from the Kuruksetra/ E. Panjab areas, and thus, presumably connected 
with the much later attested town of S'akala = Greek Saggala [pron. Sangala] of 
Alexander's time; there were no towns in Vedic times..., and that 

(2) the later books (AitBr 6-8) are EASTERN, from Bihar:

precisely where S'atapatha Br. locates Yajnavalkya and S'aakalya at the 
"court" of Janamejaya of Videha ( ~ Mithila). This (vidagdha!) S'aakalya 
of teh late Brahmana period should be identified, as has long been thought, 
with the grammarian S' who composed the Padapatha of the Rgveda -- the 
same S' who is mentioned by Panini as an (eastern) grammarian. 

In fact, the grammatical features of the Padapatha fit EASTERN 
characteristics, not the western ones (of the original Panjab home of 
the S'akala tribe/clan/people). For this and the move eastwards, see my 
study : 
Tracing the Vedic dialects, in: C. Caillat (ed.), Dialectes dans les 
litteratures  indo-aryennes, Paris 1989, p. 97-264. 

(3) As for Panini, his north-western home at Salatura has been known for 
a long time. When teaching, such as in this year's Panini class, I always 
joke that he was Afghani (remembering the fight, in the seventies, between 
Nepalese and Indian Buddhists about the 'nationality' of the Buddha: 
they finally agreed that B. was *born* in Nepal and that he *taught* in 
India... NB: the present boundary dates only from c. 1860 ...)

Of course, there are many indications of Panini's homeland in his bhaashaa: 
like the knowledge of the designation of the Kings of the Kambojas (in  
pre-Persian? times), the names of citizens of Varnu (modern Bannu in E. 
Afghanistan) etc, etc. <<NB: V.S. Agrawal's "India as known to Panini" and 
therefore, Schwartzberg's Hist. Atlas, are not reliable: they confuse the 
evidence from Panini's grammar with that from the enlarged Dhatu- and 
Ganapatha and with that from Katyayana and Patanjali! -- all much later, 
of course.>>

More important perhaps, especially for an eveluation of the importance 
of the NW as his home and the high status of "northern speech" in 
later Vedic texts (Kausitaki Br.7.6), is the fact that Pan. taught archaic 
features, such as the VEDIC ACCENTS, as normal parts of his language (and 
even used them as parts of his META-LANGUAGE in his grammar) --  and that 
he also has many archaic forms (such as certain precatives: K. Hoffmann, 
Aufsatze zur Indo-Iranistik, Wiesbaden 1975-76) forms which are older 
than even those in the Rgveda: as always, the NW is archaic. In 
Kohistan, you call call, even nowadays, your favorite people: 

s'unas putra!  

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