Any suggestions!

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Jan 24 04:04:23 UTC 2002

I think none of the suggestions made so far really covers the real extent
of the phenomenon.

* It occurs in Madhav's Maharastrian MS (Nagari) of the 1820s.

* but similar things happen in South Indian MSS (for phonetically reasons,
it is said)

* however, the same phenomenon can already be seen in a Maitrayani Samhita
MS of c. 1566 (the oldest available, from Gujarat)  which has been
adequately described and analyzed by A. Lubotsky, Indo-Iranian Journal 25,
1983, 167-179,  nearly 20 years ago!

(He also uses another old MS that comes from near Nasik, Maharastra; now at
Poona, Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala; and recitation from Nagpur imported
there from Nandurbar/Nasik around 1916).

Importantly, the Maitr. MSS mostly come from Saurastra and to some extent
from N. Maharastra. The tradition of Maitr. recitation (still alive in
1870) is,  just as that of its bearers, the Modha /Pancoli Br., a local one
of Gujarat which goes back to the Maitraka  (etc.) dynasty of c. 400 CE.

No chance of southern influence on this old tradition, and certainly not on
the  Maitr. MSS from  1550 onwards.

But parallel, as so often, to similar cases in the South :  (as Prof.
Orelskaya reports from her Gujarat and Tanjore MSS; note also, the same
cases, unconnected,  in  Malayalam),  -- though once  could speculate about
the Maratha-Tanjore connection, or the Gujarati Samaveda -Tamil one.


So what do we get? Certainly not calligraphy.  Nor a simple "local feature"
of  "orthography" (such as the long-retained, OLD  Kashmiri  s'ch for cch
(in Vedic AND  Class. texts!).

Rather:  clearly, a strictly regulated phonetic situation, where

* double consonant (esp. before another cons.) is avoided

* media+ media is    written tenuis  + media
(like in Madhav's Ms: zraatdha for zraaddha, batdha for baddha)

but we find  (answer to HH. Hook!)  even     d + y  =  t + y    or k + h

Lokesh Chandra JaimBr  1950: p., xvi sq  (thus based on Malayalam/Grantha
MSS) also has such cases which "outnumber the usual ones".

Lubotsky has already given the proper explanation  20 years ago :

                         implosive before plosive ...

                (and some voiced cons., such as resonant : y, etc. )

Note Lubotsky's description of the first cons. as almost inaudibale on the
tapes (p.,176).


The question still to be answered is this one:

How to write an implosive? Avestan has a character for  an  implosive t.
But Nagari etc. doesn't.  So, the  choice of  t before d is quite logical.

(Of course, the Pratiszakhyas already discuss such 'implosive'  items; long
discussion by Whitney in his AV Prat., see now Madhav's new ed. + transl.+
comm. in HOS  52, 1997).

The interesting point here rather is that *non-Vedic*  MSS also have such


Finally, exceptions like Madhav's one time "prasiddha not prasitdha" are to
be expected under the increasing influence of common North/West Indian
traditions, -- what I call the Poona-Benares axis of the past few centuries.

It has progressively pushed back local, sometimes quite archaic
orthographies (such as in Kashmir, with Upadhmaniya/Jihvamuliya etc.),
which survive now only in some pockets.

The influence of the Poona-Benares  kind of spelling, a real orthography
thus (and "normal" in all our Skt. editions, often AGAINST the MSS), is
progressively seen in Gujarat after c. 1700 and after 1850 even in

>On 1/23/02 5:52 AM, "marina orelskaya" <m_orelskaya at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
>> Sanskrit MS produced in
>> Gujarat about the same time and also with some MSS in
>> Tamilnad (Tanjore and Chennai) transliterated from the
>> Grantha and Telugu scripts into Devanagari .... The peculiarity
>> of writting 'ddha' as 'tdha' and even as 'tddha' (at
>> random) is quite common to all of these. Moreover, the
>> MS from Gujarat has been published by the Maharaja
>> Gaekwad Royal Court in Vadodara by a native of Pune
>> with the same 'tdha' in many places.
>> --- Madhav Deshpande <mmdesh at UMICH.EDU> wrote:
>>> While editing a Sanskrit manuscript produced in the
>>> Marathi area around
>>> 1824 A.D., I find that the copyist consistently
>>> writes sitdham for Skt.
>>> siddham.
Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
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