[INDOLOGY] Sanskrit sandhi and pronounciation

Harry Spier vasishtha.spier at gmail.com
Fri Aug 5 00:26:20 UTC 2022

First, thank you for the many clear english and other languages sandhi
examples.  I don't know how you all answer so quickly and with perfect
spelling.  Presumably from years of typing up lectures or answering
students emails..

Secondly, I want to explain to my  sanskrit chanting but non-sanskrit
knowing, non-linguistic audience how and why in the different mantras the
word *namaḥ* is spelled and pronounced differently. Its easy to explain how
*namaḥ* becomes *namas* in the phrase *namas te .*
But with the other pronounciations there are some complications to explain.

*namaḥ śivāya* is overwhelmingly written *namaḥ śivāya* and rarely as *namaś
śivāya* or  *namaśśivāya .* In GRETIL there is  *namaḥ śivāya *193
times, *namaś
śivāya* 8 times, and  *namaśśivāya* 0 times. But I've only heard the
written  *namaḥ śivāya* chanted as  *nama śivāya *and never as
*namaha śivāya* (i.e. with the visarga pronounced).. I had always assumed
that what was happening was that the written  *namaḥ śivāya *was being
chanted as if it was the sandhi transformed *namaśśivāya* .

How do Indians pronounce *namaḥ śivāya* when they chant it in a hymn or in
a mantra?

2) Is there a way to explain the process how *namaḥ nārāyaṇāya *becomes *namo
nārāyaṇāya*  that would be understandable to someone who wasn't a linguist
or a sanskritist. An explanation that would be understandable, but  deeper
than just stating the rule: *aḥ* becomes *o* before voiced consonants.

 Thanks again,
Harry Spier
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