Re: [INDOLOGY] Translation of yaṣṭihastaya

Dragomir Dimitrov dimitrov at
Sat Oct 29 17:05:14 UTC 2016

Dear Harry,

as several colleagues have already tried to make it clear in earlier posts on 
this list, it is not Monier-Williams, but Otto von Böhtlingk who is to be 
credited for such dictionary entries as the one concerning yaṣṭi which you are 
referring to.

In his monumental "Sanskrit-Wörterbuch" (1855–1875; co-authored with 
Rudolph Roth) Böhtlingk has written the following on yaṣṭi: "f. nom. act. von 
1. yaj P. 3,3,110, Sch. wohl fehlerhaft für iṣṭi." (PW, vol. 6, p. 95a, s.v. yaṣṭi 
2). In his unsurpassed "Sanskrit-Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung" 
(1879–1889) Böhtlingk kept this entry revising and abridging somewhat his 
earlier explanation: "f. Nom. act. von 1. yaj. Richtig iṣṭi." (pw, vol. 5, 134a, 
s.v. yaṣṭi 2). In the first edition of Monier-Williams's dictionary (published in 
1872) its compiler simply translated Böhtlingk's explanation which he found 
in the newly published volume six of PW, skipping thereby one part of the 
information (in particular the details concerning Pāṇini's sūtra): "sacrificing, 
(perhaps incorrect for 3. ishṭi.)" (MW, p. 804b, s.v. yashṭi 1). In the second 
edition of Monier-Williams's dictionary (published in 1899) we read 
"sacrificing, Pāṇ. iii. 3, 110, Sch. (prob. w. r. for ishṭi)" (mw, p. 840c, s.v. 
yashṭi 1). From this explanation and from the history of the dictionary itself 
as reflected in its introduction it can be assumed that it was Carl Cappeller 
who added the note on Pāṇ. 3.3.110 after consulting the entry in PW which 
he knew certainly very well. In this sense Monier-Williams has said nothing 
about yaṣṭi and probably had no idea which commentator on Pāṇini Böhtlingk 
has been referring to.

I suspect that Böhtlingk had in mind a passage which he had published 
himself in his edition of Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī (published in 1839; Böhtlingk was 
24 years old at that time!). At the end of the commentary on Pāṇ. 3.3.110 
we read there: "... kāṃ yaṣṭim ityādi" (Pânini's acht Bücher grammatischer 
Regeln. Vol. 1, p. 173). In the "Einleitung" added at the beginning of the 
second volume of this edition (published in 1840) Böhtlingk has provided 
information about the Calcutta commentary on the Aṣṭādhyāyī on which his 
own edition was based. I don't have it at hand to check, but I suppose that 
the same text is to be read in this modern commentary began by 
Dharanīdhara and completed by Kāśīnātha at the suggestion of Colebrooke in 
1809 (see vol. 2, pp. xxxvii–xxxviii of Böhtlingk’s edition).

All the best,
Dragomir Dimitrov

   Dr. habil. Dragomir Dimitrov
   Indologie und Tibetologie
   Philipps-Universität Marburg
   Deutschhausstr. 12
   D-35032 Marburg
   Tel.: +49 6421 28 24640, +49 178 9190340
   E-mail: dimitrov at

> Thank you to Corinna Wessels-Mevissen and Nivedita Rout who replied
> off-list.
> Harry Spier
> On Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 8:22 PM, Harry Spier
> <hspier.muktabodha at> wrote:
>     Dear list members:
>     A gāyatrī mantra mantra to Vāyu is:
>     sarvaprāṇāya vidmahe
>     yaṣṭihastāya dhīmahi
>     tan no vāyuḥpracodayāt
>     I've seen a translation of yaṣṭihastāya as "holding the mace"
>     but are statues or pictoral representations of Vāyu, and if so
>     with a mace? but Monier-Williams also has a meaning of yaṣṭi
>     as "sacrificing" which he says comes from a commentator on Panini
>     3-3-110 . By any chance could someone point out the commentator
>     and point me to the passage MW refers to. Also based on that
>     definition of yaṣṭi does a translation of yaṣṭihastāya as
>     "to the one who sacrifices with his hands" make sense. refering to
>     the wind fanning the flames of the sacrifice. Thanks, Harry Spier

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