Grammar. Philosophy and Epistemology

Ashok Aklujkar aklujkar at INTERCHANGE.UBC.CA
Sat Oct 14 08:00:10 UTC 2006

1. A suppletive relationship does not come about unless the meanings of the
two roots overlap and have potential to complement each other.

2. In a language naturally used, perfect synonymity is rare if not absent.

3. Both pa;s (in its earlier form spa;s) and d.r;s go back to a period in
which what we call Sanskrit is unlikely not to have a natural use (cf.
Mayrhofer KEWA pp. II.61, 240; EWA p. I.704-706, p. II.107-108). In other
words, the two roots must originally have similar/relatable but not
identical meanings.

4. The issue, therefore, should not be whether the two roots had different
connotations but what those connotations were and whether we can determine
them with reasonable certainty.

5. Even if we were able to determine the connotations for the earliest
accessible period it does not follow that the same connotations would hold
for the later period(s). Independent or further connotation development
cannot be ruled out. (Implication: One will need to establish separately
that words such as d.r.s.ti, dar;sana etc.connote 'vision, a seeing
resulting from meditation, insight' AND to determine whether such a
connotation forms a continuity with the earlier connotation.)

6. From the evidence recorded in Mayrhofer and from what I felt in the case
of two uses in addition to the uta tva.h pa;syan use already cited, it seems
that the original or earliest determinable connotational difference between
d.r;s and pa;s could be identified in one or more of the following ways:
    (a) in d.r;s, the object is assumed to take the initiative (i.e., d.r;s,
originally, is more like English "appear"), whereas in pa;s the initiative
is presupposed to rest with the subject/agent.
    (b) pa;s implies 'intent, deliberateness or conscious use of the faculty
of seeing,' whereas d.r;s has no such implication; its meaning borders on
that of happenstance; cf. "spy" as related to pa;s/spa;s.
    (c) pa;s incorporates an element of clarity or vividness; d.r;s does not
and is, therefore, required to depend on the context if the element of
clarity or vividness is to be conveyed; cf. spa.s.ta, which is historically
the past passive participle of pa;s/spa;s. Possibly the name Paspa;saa of
the first chapter in Pata;njali's Mahaabhaa.sya which is an intensive
formation from pa;s/spa;s also conveys clarification as the intent.

7. The two additional uses I have mentioned above are these:
    (a) An almost perfectly contrastive pair is supplied by the expressions
asuurya.mpa;sya 'one who does not see (even) the Sun, one who does not
appear in public' and mantrad.r;s 'one who sees a mantra.' The former is
found applied to women in a ruler's harem. They are so well-protected or
concerned with chastity that they never step out of their quarters and see
the Sun. In the case of the latter, it should be noted that the seeing of
mantras has frequently been spoken of as happening unexpectedly, or in odd
places, or as a temporary state (suggesting inexhaustive grasping); cf. the
stories in B.rhad-devataa.
    (b) A part of Bhart.r-hari's Brahma-kaa.n.da verse 5 has the following
explanation in the V.rtti: yaa.m suuk.smaa.m nityaam atiindriyaa.m vaacam
.r.saya.h mantrad.r;sa.h pa;syanti ... Here,
it is unlikely that the three roots saak.saat-k.r, d.r;s and pa;s would mean
exactly the same thing. For the latter two, a meaning like 'As the seers see
the mantras, they spot/perceive with clarity/certainty the subtle, permanent
and sense-transcending Vaac" seems more probable.

8. Others may be able to suggest better identifications of the connotational
difference between d.r;s and pa;s. My main intention is not to argue for
only a certain connotational difference but to object to proceeding on the
assumption that there is no connotational difference. The entries in
Mayrhofer establish that the issue under discussion has already received
much scholarly attention.

9. The same entries also establish that the suppletion of d.r;s and pa;s is
not as neat as some of the earlier postings may lead one to believe. Perfect
paspa;se and Aorist aspa.s.ta are said to be attested.

ashok aklujkar

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