History use and etymology of dhImahi

Harry Spier harryspier at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 22 21:13:35 UTC 1999

Dear list members,

The sanskrit word dhImahi (well known of course from the Gayatri mantras)is
listed by Whitney in his "Roots, Verb-Forms and Primary Derivatives of the
Sanskrit Language" under the root "dhI, dhIdhI, 'think'" as a lone entry
under class II present tense (dating from the Brahmana period). i.e. "Pres.
[2.] dhImahi B.+ --".  He remarks at the end of the entry "The form dhImahi
belongs here only as thus used later, with a false apprehension of its
proper meaning."  Whitney also lists adhImahi dhImahi and dhImahe under the
root "dhA, dadh, 'put'" among his aorist forms (as appearing in the Vedas).
Also under section 837 b. of his grammar he lists dhImahi as optative form
but remarks "...and probably from A roots,...dhImahi (which might also be
augmentless indicative since adhImahi and adhItAm also occur).".

(Quotes from M-W) are from on-line dictionary from U. of Koeln)
Monier-Williams under entry: "dhI to perceive, think,reflect desire..." says
"...the forms dhImahi and adhAyi belong rather to 1. dhA". M-W lists
adhImahi dhImahi and dhImahe under the entry for root dhA.  He lists both
meanings(among others) there of "to put" and "to direct the mind or

Can someone tell me:

1. Did dhImahi at some point change its meaning in its later use?  And was
this due to a "misapprehension in its meaning" and if so what was the
misapprehension and what was its original meaning?

2. Is Whitney indicating that dhImahi is used as a present tense without an
optative or injunctive sense?

Thanks in advance

Harry Spier

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