thompson at jlc.net thompson at jlc.net
Fri Dec 13 23:46:49 UTC 1996

This is what Thieme says on p. 617 [Kl. Schriften]:

"PANini's grammar is not concerned with describing features of speech
usage, but with defining abstract procedures of 'formation'; it is not a
description of Sanskrit speech, but an argument that is meant to show that
most speech-units [zabda] of the sacred language are built up [saMskRta]
from simpler elements..."

"Not explicitly, but by distinct implication, PANini restores the
etymological meaning of saMskR 'build up".  The 'ornate, ritually pure'
[saMskRta] speech is shown by his 'formation' [vyAkaraNa] to be saMskRta in
the word's bold sense: 'built up [from elements through definable
procedures'.  In this sense saMskR is used by YAska, Nir. 2.1, when he
demands of the etymologist [nairuktika], in contradistinction to the
grammarian [vaiyAkaraNa], that, in explaining difficult, doubtful words
'shuld not heed the [correct word-] formation [as taught b PANini]: na
saMskAram Adriyeta..."

...and, finally and most clearly, by Patanjali [I p.39 1.18] saMskRtya
saMskRtya padAny utsRjyante 'the [finished] words [of Sanskrit] are
produced [in speech] after being formed [in the way defined by PANini's
rules] each individually...."

So, while I may have been wrong to attribute the use of the term saMskRta
[in reference to a language] directly to PANini, I think that the gist of
Thieme's argument here is that this usage might be inferred, "by distinct
implcation", in PANini.

Thieme may or may not be right about this [I will yield to George Cardona
on that question].  But I don't think that my inference is totally
unreasonable.  Perhaps it would be more correct to say that this usage can
be attributed unambiguously to Patanjali, if not directly to PANini

In any case, perhaps George Cardona would agree that term saMskRta was not
used to refer to a language until after the Vedic period [which is the
point that I wished to make].

Thanks for the correction,
George Thompson

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