Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Tue Sep 14 12:51:55 UTC 2021

Hello Jan,

     Your circumstantial inference about the commercial background of
Pāṇini may be close to reality, and yet I don't see any awareness of it
among the grammarians from Kātyāyana to Nāgeśa, and so I would not suspect
any deliberate effort to hide this background. Historically, Brahmins have
been engaged in various occupations including commercial, political,
administrative and agricultural. However, the theoretical role of the
Brahmin is always seen in his "Brahmanical" activities.


Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies
Adjunct Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India

[Residence: Campbell, California, USA]

On Tue, Sep 14, 2021 at 4:42 AM Jan E.M. Houben via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear Jim,
> The suffix added last in the progressive formation (prakriyā) of the name
> 'Pāṇini' is in fact the taddhita suffix iÑ (AA 4.1.95 aTa iÑ), so there is
> no reason to take the word as a neuter noun.
> Another example would be dáaśa-rath-i in the sense of ‘descendant of
> dáśa-ratha-’, one of the epithets of Rāma.
> From the point of view of *later* Brahminical culture, Pāṇini's name could
> suggests some uneasiness with his lineage.
> If we analyse further to find the underlying root in Pāṇini's name we may
> find it in
> √paṇ : DhP 466 páṇA vyavahāre stutau ca (| 467 pánA ca ; [Mādhavīya-DhV :
> pṛthagnirdeśāt stutāv ity anenaivāyaṁ sambadhyate > pánA stutau]).
> Next, one of the numerous primary suffixes -a is added:
> páṇ-a- (m.) √paṇ + some primary suffix -a.
> Which of the several primary suffixes -a/-á suffixes in Pāṇini?
> An (unaccented)-a suffix seems in any case more likely than an –á suffix,
> if we assume it is an action noun : ‘barter, trade’ (together with prapaṇa
> (AVŚ prapaṇá), apparently used in this sense in AVP 19.49 etc.
> Only then we get páṇ-a- + inI (in the sense of matUP, AA 5.2.94 etc. ).
> The milieu of Pāṇini's family would seem to be commercial, which perhaps
> in his time was not in conflict or contradiction with the local,
> north-western Brahminical culture.
> The detailed interest shown in the AA for calculation and commercial items
> and conditions including taxes among the 'easterners', further confirm
> Pāṇini's link with trading communities.
> The fact that we find a clear derivation of his name only somewhat tucked
> away in, as far as grammatical sources are concerned, KaiyaTa's commentary
> and the ones given in Prakriyaa-kaumudii commentaries cited by Victor
> further illustrates the somewhat uneasiness (for later Brahmins) with the
> cultural implications of a straightforward derivation of Pāṇini's name.
> All best,
> Jan Houben
> On Sun, 12 Sept 2021 at 20:01, Jim Ryan via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm curious if there are any creative etymologies or mythological
>> explanations for the name “Pāṇini.” I don’t recall encountering any over
>> the years. The word itself seems to be neuter in gender (if we assume an
>> “in” suffix) and therefore somewhat unusual in designating a person.
>> Jim Ryan
>> Asian Philosophies and Cultures (Emeritus)
>> California Institute of Integral Studies
>> 1453 Mission St.
>> San Francisco, CA 94103
>> _______________________________________________
>> INDOLOGY mailing list
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> --
> *Jan E.M. Houben*
> Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology
> *Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*
> École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)
> *Sciences historiques et philologiques *
> Groupe de recherches en études indiennes (EA 2120)
> *johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*
> *https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben
> <https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben>*
> *https://www.classicalindia.info* <https://www.classicalindia.info>
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