Panini inquiry : Some Suggestions

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Fri Apr 13 13:50:02 UTC 2001

on 4/12/01 9:12 PM, Steve Farmer at saf at wrote:

> Correcting an obvious error in my original inquiry:
> I have a question for those on the List knowledgeable about
> Panini. They are invited to respond on or off-List, as they see fit.
> Does any evidence suggest that any of the ten named early
> grammarians mentioned in the _Astadhyayi_ came from the NW?
> Alternately, is there any other good evidence in the text of an
> extended NW school of grammar that existed before the
> _Astadhyayi_ was composed or compiled? My question isn't affected
> by the current heated controversy over whether the_Astadhyayi_ is
> an integral text (composed by "Panini" in the NW) or a heavily
> stratified text simply redacted in the region.
> Please note that in asking this I know the general comments about
> "northern" and "eastern" grammarians in the _Astadhyayi_; am
> aware of the existence of eastern figures among the ten earlier
> grammarians named in the text; and am aware as well that certain
> eastern traditions (e.g., the White Yajurveda, the Taittiriya
> Samhita's Brahmana portions) were apparently not known to
> the author or compilers of the work.
> My interest is in suggestion that traditional locations of the
> (presumably) historical Panini in the NW aren't accidental, but
> that Gandhara was associated from an early date (e.g., early
> Achaemenid times) with a strong grammatical tradition. I am not
> interested here in later Buddhist or Puranic testimonies about
> learned traditions in the region, with which I am already
> familiar.
> Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!
> S. Farmer

I am not sure it is possible to say with any confidence that any of the
grammarians referred to by Panini are from the NW region.  About the NW
region as the origin of grammatical thinking, I am not sure how one would go
about proving such a proposition.  In a forthcoming article by William
Malandra of University of Minnesota (in a volume that I am editing), he has
shown that there were Padapaa.tha like developments in the Avestan tradition
at some point.  The similarity, especially in splitting compounds, is so
remarkable, that this does seem to suggest a possible shared environment of
academic efforts in the NW region, a contact point for the Iranian and the
Vedic traditions.  Among the names of teachers cited by Panini,
Pau.skarasaadi (connected with Pu.skara?) and Zaakalya (connected with
Saagala, Sialkot?) may possibly be from the NW region.  It would be
interesting to see if the linguistic phenomena attributed to them have any
detectable NW linguistic features.  Best,

                                            Madhav Deshpande

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