[INDOLOGY] The term vakharī

Jim Ryan jim_ryan at comcast.net
Sun Oct 24 00:11:47 UTC 2021


I’m curious about the term Vaikharī for articulated speech. In the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies volume on the Grammarians, judging from the index, it seems this term was first used  by Bhartṛhari (at least in a grammatical context.) V. S. Apte cites the Mallinatha commentary on Kumārasaṃbhava for an authoritative reference of the word, but that is quite late (15th century.) Firstly, are there instances of this word used with any frequency before Bhartṛhari? Secondly, the lexicons give no good verbal root or root word for it. I note that the word vaikṛtī as “alteration” has a similar shape (and wouldn’t fit badly in the “articulated speech” category of Vāc), but I’m presuming that the word  vaikharī is not a Prakrit-derived form.  So… where and how do we get to this important term in language theory in India, which seems unrelated to any other common root or word?

Jim Ryan
Asian Philosophies and Cultures (Emeritus)
California Institute of Integral Studies
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