Grammar. Philosophy and Epistemology

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Thu Oct 12 15:42:46 UTC 2006

What Madhav is saying is that the pazya- and dRz- don't have any 
semantically significant distinction.  Their distribution in language 
usage is governed by the *formal* requirements of grammatical suppletion, 
not by semantic significance.  Madhav certainly isn't dismissing a 
connection between grammar and philosophy!  The pazya- / dRz forms are 
mutually-exclusive formal alternates, whose occurrence depends on formal 
grammatical conditions, not on semantic context.

The Paninian rule that bears on this is 7.3.78, which rules that "pazya" 
replaces "dRzi" when followed by a suffix with the marker "z".  There is 
no suggestion here of any semantic trigger to the rule: the trigger is 
purely formal.

In strictly Paninian terms (and vaiyakaranas, please correct me if I'm 
wrong) there is no dhatu "paz" meaning "see", but only "dRz".

So, it would be wrong to say that pazyati means "he sees" in contrast to, 
say, tasya darzanam vartate, "he has [profound] vision or insight".  The 
statements are semantically identical.  Both phonetic forms can signify a 
range of "see" acts, determined by the sentences they occur in. 
Historical lexicographical study on these terms as embodied in the 
standard dictionaries also does not support a difference.

There's a reasonable summary on grammatical suppletion at
(I'm constantly surprised by Wikipedia.)


On Thu, 12 Oct 2006, Harsha Dehejia wrote:

> Freinds:
> While I respectfully agree with Madhav Despande's grammatical exposition of 
> Sanskrit terms pazya and dRz I am not totally convinced that one can totally 
> dismiss the connection between grammar and philosophy.
> Pazya means to see and drz is vision or insight. Seeing does not 
> automatically lead to vision, it requires contemplation.
> Sanskrit grammar is naunced with many implications.
> Regards.
> Harsha
> Harsha V. Dehejia
> Professor of Indian Studies, Carleton University
> Ottawa, ON. Canada.
>> From: "Deshpande, Madhav" <mmdesh at UMICH.EDU>
>> Reply-To: Indology <INDOLOGY at>
>> To: INDOLOGY at
>> Subject: Re: Indian epistemic terms
>> Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 19:36:05 -0400
>> Dear Harsha,
>>      'pazya' and 'dRz' have a suppletive relationship in Sanskrit like'go' 
>> and 'went' in English.  Both 'pazya' and 'dRz' taken separately have 
>> incomplete paradigms, but in the actual usage of the language, these two 
>> roots complement each other.  So the passive form corresponding to pazyati 
>> is dRzyate, and so on.  The Rgvedic passage uta tvaH pazyan na dadarza 
>> vAcam uta tvaH zRNvan na zRNoty enAm exhibits this suppletive behavior.
>> Madhav M. Deshpande
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Indology on behalf of Harsha Dehejia
>> Sent: Wed 10/11/2006 5:08 PM
>> To: INDOLOGY at
>> Subject: Re: Indian epistemic terms
>> Friends:
>> An important concept that is overlooked by epistemologists is that of
>> DRISHTI or visual knowledge.
>> While PASHYATI is a verb there is no verb like DRASHYATI. This is  the
>> beginning of an inquiry into visual knowledge.
>> I am trying to develop this concept further.
>> Regareds.
>> Harsha
>> Harsha V. Dehejia
>> Professor of Indian Studies, College of Humanities
>> Carleton University, Ottawa, ON. Canada.

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