[INDOLOGY] Non-standard sandhi

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Wed Mar 20 15:37:10 EDT 2019


Dear Martin,
the domain in which you are specializing is fascinating and some
rudimentary knowledge of it is useful, even indispensable, for art
historians and for other Sanskritic śāstras including kāvya -- should hence
evoke a more than lukewarm interest of Indologists and readers of this
list...

I am happy that at least you consider my "analysis of [your] translation"
to be "absolutely correct" -- and it is this analysis which allows me to
indicate more precisely where I am still not convinced.
It is indeed "the nub" of my argument to take "*sahita asya* to
represent *sahitaḥ
asya* rather than *sahite asya*" because the latter option, as we have
seen, leads nowhere except for turning an author elsewhere eager to
communicate meaning accessible to 99 percent of his contemporaneous public,
into an obscurantist who can only be fathomed by 1 percent -- plus a whole
tribe of philologists centuries later who are ready to accept suddenly, ad
hoc, a Vedic sandhi, etc., in what otherwise seems to be a śāstric text in
impeccable classical Sanskrit.

Next, trying to think in line with your argument and in the wider context
of your interpretation, what could be the syntax of the verse?

Apparently there are two options separated by vā. The expression yadgṛhe
asks for a corresponding term, in the first option tatra, in the second
option, I would suggest, tena (gṛhena, rather than, in your interpretation,
janmalagnapatinā). Both options lead to the same result: asya ... labdhis.
If tatra and tena go with yadgṛhe, asya probably does *not* refer to
yadgṛhe -- here I would modify my previous suggestion: could it go
with janmalagnapatir? Could the janmalagnapatir, the lord of the first
house, have something to do with the own body and hence with aṅgasukham?
Then, if both options lead to the same result, what could be the precise
*difference* between them? In the first, the janmalagnapati is said to be
uttamavīrya, and the house where he resides is (positively) aspected --
whether tatra ... dṛṣṭe is a locative absolute or whether it is in direct
concord to yadgṛhe. In the second, in my suggested reading, he is not
necessarily uttamavīrya, but at least sahita with "that", i.e. with that
house. MW 1095 col. 1 gives "(in astron.) in conjunction with (instr. or
comp.)" for sahita. In western astrology, "in conjunction with" is always a
matter of plus or minus 2-3 degrees, so that a planet can be in conjunction
with another planet or even a house even if it is not squarely coinciding
or residing in it, even if it is just outside that house: possibly Indian
astrology is here more black and white, as it is also less interested in
psychological character structure etc. (as the Dutch school of
psychological astrology of Th.J.J. Ram and A.E. Thierens, the latter
predicted in 1911 the existence of Pluto before it was astronomically
perceived, and also predicted it does not have the fullfledged
characteristics of a planet), but in predicting concrete events such as
accidents, death, loss, economic success, etc.

These are just some thoughts on your interesting problem: yad rocate tad
grāhyaṁ, yan na rocate tat tyājyam...

Jan Houben

On Wed, 20 Mar 2019 at 09:13, Martin Gansten <martingansten at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Thank you for your suggestion and interest, Jan. It is very refreshing to
> be allowed to discuss the technical meaning of Sanskrit astrological texts
> for once.
>
> Your analysis of my translation is absolutely correct. However, I cannot
> help wondering how you know that the author 'KNEW that 99 percent of his
> contemporaneous readers' would understand *sahita asya* to represent *sahitaḥ
> asya* rather than *sahite asya* (for that, as I understand it, is the nub
> of your argument). But even granting for the sake of argument that this
> should be so, the sense of the verse still requires, in my view, that we
> side with the 1 percent.
>
> Your suggested translation has the ruler of the ascendant:
>
> there (tatra) [in that house, positively] aspected, or if [the ruler...]
> is (if not placed in that house, at least) joined (sahita[ḥ]) with it
> (tena) [with the house],
>
>
> That is a rather long translation of six short words (tatra ca dṛṣṭe |
> tena vā sahita[ḥ]), and it has the presumed logical subject of the clause
> jumping from the earlier nominative (-patiḥ) to the locative (dṛṣṭe) and
> back again (sahitaḥ). More importantly, though, it conveys no real meaning,
> for a planet being joined with a house means nothing more or less than the
> planet occupying the house. This is a matter not only of established
> meaning (rūḍhi), but of lack of alternatives: what else could it mean? So I
> cannot agree with your suggestion.
>
> Phrases meaning 'joined or aspected by' (often in compounds like
> yutekṣita, dṛṣṭayuk, etc.) are extremely common in astrological texts; the
> two typically go together and refer to the same subject (which may be a
> house, a planet, or some other point in the horoscope). To give just one
> example, consider the following stanza from the same work and chapter
> (12.47):
>
> sute savīrye *śubhayuṅnirīkṣite* suteśvare kendragate balānvite |
> tathaiva sāde sutasaukhyam īritaṃ sutātyayaḥ syād viparītage tathā ||
>
> 'If the fifth house is strong, *joined or aspected by benefics*; if the
> ruler of the fifth house, endowed with strength, occupies an angle; and if
> the lot likewise [is strong and benefic], happiness from children is
> declared [as the result]. Likewise, if [all are] conversely situated, the
> death of a child will occur.'
>
> It thus seems more natural to me to take the *sahita* in *dṛṣṭe ...
> sahita asya* to represent *sahite *(agreeing with *dṛṣṭe*) than *sahitaḥ*,
> even if we could find a translation to make sense of the latter alternative.
>
> Best wishes,
> Martin
>
>
> Den 2019-03-20 kl. 00:12, skrev Jan E.M. Houben:
>
> HOWEVER, if we accept the verse without emendation, should not we read it
> in the way the author KNEW that 99 percent of his contemporaneous readers
> would read it?
>
>
> The verse you quoted:
>
>
>
> janmalagnapatir uttamavīryo yadgṛhe januṣi tatra ca dṛṣṭe |
> tena vā *sahita asya* ca labdhis tad yathāṅgasukham abdatanau syāt ||
>
> The translation you proposed (I supply the words on which each part is
> based, if I understand your analysis and interpretation correctly):
>
> ***
>
> As the meaning is quite technical, I give my translation:
>
> 'If the house in which (yadgṛhe) the ruler of the ascendant of the
> nativity (janmalagnapatir) is [placed] with excellent strength
> (uttamavīryo) in the nativity is aspected (tatra ... dṛṣṭe) or (vā) joined
> by that [ruler] (tena ... *sahite*), [there is] attainment (labdhis) of
> [the matter signified by] that [house] (asya): for example (tad yathā), [if
> it is placed] in the ascendant of the year (abdatanau), there will be
> (syāt) be pleasures of the body (aṅgasukham).'
>
> ***
>
>
>
> Now, reading the verse – if specialists familiar with the text agree there
> is no reason to propose any ad hoc emendation – with similar conceptual
> interpretations BUT in the way the author KNEW that 99 percent of his
> contemporaneous readers would read it (and paying more attention to the two
> *ca*’s, and letting both *tatra* and *tena* refer anaphorically to *yadg*
> *ṛ**he*) we get something that perhaps amounts to the same but is based
> on a different *anvaya*... :
>
>
>
> If in a house *(yadgṛhe)* in a nativity (januṣi) the ruler of the
> ascendant of the nativity (janmalagnapatir) is having excellent strength,
> *and* *[ca, extending the noun phrase] *is there *(tatra)* [in that
> house, positively] aspected, or if [the ruler...] is (if not placed in that
> house, at least) joined (*sahita**[ḥ]*) with it *(tena)* [with the
> house], then *also [ca, perhaps referring to a statement in a previous
> verse, other conditions favouring labdhis?]* [there is] attainment of
> [the matter signified by] that [house] (asya): for example (tad yathā), [if
> it is placed] in the ascendant of the year (abdatanau), there will be
> (syāt) pleasures of the body (aṅgasukham).
>
>
> Bottom line: the use of square (and round) brackets is very much required
> when analysing Sanskrit especially in scientific or philosophical arguments
> -- as in the publication by Vincent Eltschinger, John Taber, Michael
> Torsten Much, Isabelle Ratié on *Dharmakīrti’s Theory of Exclusion* recently
> announced for "those among you who are still happy with square brackets".
>
>
> Best,
>
> Jan Houben
>
>
>
> On Sun, 17 Mar 2019 at 20:11, Martin Gansten via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>
>> I have a question for the vaiyākaraṇas among us (who may find it very
>> basic, in which case I apologize in advance):
>>
>> In the *Tājikayogasudhānidhi *of Yādavasūri (fl. possibly early 17th
>> century, possibly in or near Gujarat) there occurs the following stanza
>> (12.15), the form of which is corroborated by several independent witnesses:
>>
>> janmalagnapatir uttamavīryo yadgṛhe januṣi tatra ca dṛṣṭe |
>> tena vā *sahita asya* ca labdhis tad yathāṅgasukham abdatanau syāt ||
>>
>> (As the meaning is quite technical, I give my translation: 'If the house
>> in which the ruler of the ascendant of the nativity is [placed] with
>> excellent strength in the nativity is aspected or joined by that [ruler,
>> there is] attainment of [the matter signified by] that [house]: for
>> example, [if it is placed] in the ascendant of the year, there will be
>> pleasures of the body.')
>>
>> From the context, the underlined phrase clearly stands for sahite + asya,
>> with e > a. While this is standard sandhi before other vowels, I have never
>> come across it before a. Is there a traditional rule that allows for  this?
>>
>> Best wishes,
>> Martin Gansten
>>
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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, PSL - Université Paris)
>
> *Sciences historiques et philologiques *
>
> 54, rue Saint-Jacques, CS 20525 – 75005 Paris
>
> *johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr <johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr>*
>
> *johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*
>
> *https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben
> <https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben>*
>
>
>

-- 

*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, PSL - Université Paris)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques, CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

*johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr <johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr>*

*johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*

*https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben
<https://ephe-sorbonne.academia.edu/JanEMHouben>*
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