[INDOLOGY] The term vakharī

Jim Ryan jim_ryan at comcast.net
Tue Oct 26 17:54:30 UTC 2021


I wrote to Andrew Ollett (U. Of Chicago) regarding  “vaikharī” in Prakrit. He replied as below. I got his permission to post his reply as it adds to the discussion (and may in fact show that we might not be able to track the proper history of this word with current knowledge.)


Dear Jim (if I may),

I saw the discussion on INDOLOGY but didn't have too much to add. Mayrhofer interprets it, sensibly, as if it had come from a hypothetical Middle Indic form (I don't say "Prakrit" for reasons that will become clear) *vi-kṣarati, which is also the etymology of the Hindi word bikharnā "scatter." The Pāiyasaddamahaṇṇava <https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdsal.uchicago.edu%2Fdictionaries%2Fsheth%2F&data=04%7C01%7Cjryan%40ciis.edu%7Ca5bf7e180e1048c9f82308d998a58739%7C34d667e31c5d4101b901e5d9fd8d69d9%7C0%7C0%7C637708658969521889%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=uMi946zgBY9cYLnoHkGauScJiAFFrP%2FU17lVDxs0DJo%3D&reserved=0>, an early dictionary of Prakrit, does give vikkhara- as a verbal stem, meaning to "scatter" or "spread," attested apparently in the Uvāṅgadasāo, an early Jain text. But in fact the usual "Prakrit" form of the root that appears in Sanskrit as *kṣar is jhar-. In fact, in the Prakrit texts I have (i.e., literary Prakrit, produced between the second and the twelfth centuries), I find neither vikkhara- or vijjhara-. While we're at it, an origin from *vikr̥ta- might be entertained as well.

None of this, in any case, would explain why Bhartr̥hari should have chosen to use a Middle Indic form, or a form derived from Middle Indic, for a major element of his theory, especially when there was a Sanskrit term easily to hand. I know of no citations of vaikharī or similar words (*vēkharī, *vekkharī, *vaïkharī, *veharī, *vikkharī*, etc.) in Prakrit.

I hope this helps, although I suspect it won't!


> On Oct 24, 2021, at 6:38 AM, Rolf Heinrich Koch via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Yes, it has a Prakrit origin as Madhev suspects. See
> Mayrhofer, A Concise Etymological Sanskrit Dictionary, vol 3,p. 267
> "vaikharī f. Name eines best. Lautes / name of a particular sound (Up., u.a.): nach Wright, NCSL 24 falsch sanskritisiertes Patronym. von mi. *vikkhara- < ai. viksarä- m. „Abfluß44 (AV), „Beiname Visnus44 (ep.,u.a.)".
> Heiner
> Am 24.10.2021 um 02:11 schrieb Jim Ryan via INDOLOGY:
>> Hi,
>> 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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> -- 
> Dr. Rolf Heinrich Koch
> www.rolfheinrichkoch.wordpress.com <http://www.rolfheinrichkoch.wordpress.com/>
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