VAEDIC LANGUAGE DOES NOT HAVE ANY GRAMMAR
Case and Case-Endings – 2
SHRII PRABHAT RANJAN SARKAR
11 September 1983, Calcutta, INDIA
I have already discussed the second case to some extent.
Now let us see how far it is meaningful to link the second case with the accusative.
Let us also see to what extent the second case has a right to its claim to be a separate case.
Rám bhát khácche [Ram is eating rice] – as far as case goes both Rám and bhát are in the first case but bhát is accusative.
We do not say bhátke khácche; we say bhát khacche.
In the active voice there is a direct syntactic relationship between the subject and the verb; thus the subject has to be present.
The existence of the subject remains substantiated without the presence of an object but without the subject the existence of the object cannot be substantiated.
In the passive voice and the impersonal voice the syntactic relationship between subject and object is indirect. For example, ámár dvárá dekha hayeche [It has been seen by me].
It is for this reason that the first case has been placed first in the sentence.
Now the question arises, why does the first case-ending precede the second case-ending?
Why is the second case-ending not first?
This same question can be asked of the alphabet. Why does the letter a come before the letter á in the list of vowels?
Similarly, why does ka come before kha among the consonants?
The reason is that a is the acoustic root of creation.
Because a is the first sound in the creation it has been placed at the beginning of the alphabet.
If two a’s are joined together then they become á.
It is not enough that they are placed one after the other; they have to be joined together.
In the case of the consonants, ka is an unaspirated letter.
When ha is added to ka it creates the aspirated letter kha.
Children and less-educated adults feel difficulty pronouncing the aspirated letters such as kha, gha, cha, etc.
One reason is that the unaspirated letter is placed before its concerning aspirate.
Another is that in the error-filled language the aspirates are, for all practical purposes, not pronounced.
For example, kháiyá jáo is pronounced káiyá jáo.
In other words, in this case the aspirate is pronounced as an unaspirated letter.
Among the twelve dialects of Bengali, there are four in which one can say that there is, for all intents and purposes, no pronunciation of the aspirates.
In two dialects there is partial pronunciation and in the remaining dialects they are pronounced. But this is not to say that they are always pronounced in those dialects.
For instance, there is proper pronunciation of the aspirates in Calcutta Bengali, but we only actually pronounce them when they come at the beginning of a word.
Elsewhere we write them as aspirates and we think of them as aspirates but we pronounce them the same as their related non-aspirates. We write chele and we consciously pronounce the cha as an aspirate but when we write mách we consciously pronounce the word as mác.
Similarly, we consciously say karci for karchi and jácci for jácchi. Though we are aware of the pronunciation and knowingly pronounce the unaspirated letter in place of the aspirate, nevertheless it remains altogether undesirable to spell it with the unaspirated letter in such instances.
Some writers spell it this way but by doing so they are introducing a disorder into the language which is harmful for students.
Similarly, we pronounce kát́ instead of kát́h, deki instead of dekhi, and katá instead of kathá. If I say it that way, should I spell it that way also? Absolutely not!
Generally speaking, in Rarhi Bengali and Shersháhvádiyá Bengali (Malda – Murshidabad) the aspirates are fully pronounced throughout.
Whenever a certain maternal uncle of mine from Calcutta saw me he would ask: Keman ácis khoká? [How are you, my boy?] I used to reply: Bhála áci, mámábábu [I am fine, uncle.].
Another maternal uncle of mine from Berhampore used to ask me: Keman áchis, khoká? and I used to answer bhála áchi.
When I would meet a certain cousin of mine he would ask: Keman áshas? and I used to answer vála ashi.
As with the aspirated and unaspirated letters, the common people often mix up the pronunciation of antahstha letters and vargiiya letters, putting the antahstha letter first and the vargiiya after, especially if it is a two-syllable word that contains á. For example, se láph diyeche [He has jumped].
Here la is an antahstha letter and pha is a vargiiyá letter. From time to time uneducated people in certain areas reverse the letters while pronouncing the word and say hyá, ed́á phál dishe.
Similarly they exchange a preceding vargiiya letter with the following one because the latter vargiiya letters leave a strong impression on the tongue while pronouncing them. For example, instead of saying d́ekci we say decki. We call báksa báska. Riksha becomes riská. In Magahii they say ámdii hathii instead of ádmii hathii.
The word ádmii is originally Semitic.
The letter ka prepresents saḿvrttibodhicitta, that is, ka is a physical transplantation of psychic idea, thus it occupies the first position in the list of consonants. Ka is káryyabrahma.
Anyhow I was speaking about case. The nominative case is a fully developed case. No sentence can exist without a subject while it can exist without an object. Thus, as far as case goes, the nominative comes first and the accusative follows it. For example, “I am going”. This sentence has the nominative but not the accusative. This can work with an intransitive verb.
In olden times people used to form words based on sounds (sound-imitative words are formed in this way). Then, when different cases were made, they no longer used the original words.
The life of people in those days was centred around their clans.
Their oral language was very undeveloped. At most they learned to say a few words, thus their vocabulary was quite limited.
Under pressure for survival the different clans used to fight with each other.
In that backward age they used to call their own clan or group asmad and the other clan or group jusmad. Then gradually, while adjusting to the changes in language, the number of cases increased.
After the nominative case came the accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, locative and vocative cases.
Slowly, along with the cases the case-endings also became separate.
The first case-ending form of the nominative remained very close to the original root word.
The second case-ending accusative became a little further removed, and the third even more so. In this way, moving further and further away, the vocative case finally returned to the first case-ending word form.
The difference is that the vocative is not a genuine case because it is not directly connected with the verb.
Of course it is certainly connected indirectly and in certain special cases directly. For example, bho ráma, mám uddhara or dádá go, ekt́u egiye eso [O brother, come forward a bit].
However, whether the vocative case be direct or indirect, most of the time it remains connected with the imperative.
Now the question arises, how did this vocative case come into existence? In the old forested or sparsely populated areas there was often a need to call someone from far away.
The vocative case was formed from this call. Say, for example, someone’s name is Ratneshvar. If we try call them from far away by lengthening the closed syllable shvar in the name Ratneshvar it presents difficulties; thus the sound was shortened to an open syllable – Ratneshvá. Shá is an open syllable. Of course, in Bengali many people do not want to accept the vocative case as a separate case.
At any rate, the closely related nominative which came from the original word asmad was aham.
Thereafter, according to number and case, subsequent words gradually became further removed from the original word or case. For example, the singular aham gradually became ávám in dvivacana [dual number] and vayam in the plural.
(1) Here ávám and vayam, which came from aham, are even further removed from the original word asmad. The accusatives – mám, má; ávám, nao; asman, nah – became even further removed.
In this way a need was felt for the different cases and for this reason separate case-endings came into existence.
Now let us move on to the second case. It is said that if the accusative case is to be preserved then the second case-ending must be retained.
Some languages have a separate form for the second case while in some languages its function is accomplished with the help of an indeclinable to indicate the second case, sometimes fully and sometimes partially.
It should be pointed out that in Sanskrit, there is a separate form for the second case.
All languages have the accusative but not all languages have a separate form for the second case.
Some languages have a different means for recognizing the accusative case. If the second case-ending is used for the accusative then it facilitates understanding of the language. For example, if I say Rám bhátke khácche, [Ram is eating rice] then, due to the presence of sign indicating the second case [ke] attached to bhát, there is no difficulty in understanding the meaning of the sentence, that Ram is eating the rice rather than the rice eating Ram.
Of course, we can also understand who is eating whom from the meaning of the sentence. English does not have a separate case-ending for the accusative. The indeclinable “to” indicating the accusative accomplishes the task. However “to” is not always used with the accusative.
The Sanskrit aham is nominative and the accusative is mám, not ahamam or asmadam. Mám is a second case-ending word.
In Sanskrit there is no connection between aham and mám. The English word for aham is “I”. In English ámáke is “to me”, not “to I”.
As in Sanskrit, the word “me” is very far removed from the original word. It is also a separate form of the second case. There is no connection between “I” and “me”. “Me” is a new word.
Had aham been the first case in Sanskrit and ahamam the second case, then there would have been a connection between the two words. However the second case became mám, ávám, asman.
For this reason Sanskrit is a little difficult to learn. Bengali is easy by comparison.
The Sanskrit language is bound by the dos and don’ts of grammar; thus in order to learn the language one has to learn the rules of grammar as well. Bengali is much easier in that respect.
In Bengali ámi is used in the first case and ámáke (that is, ámi-ke) in the second. In Hindi and Urdu maen is used in the first case and although maenko would be straightforward and simple if it were used in the second, mujhko is used instead. Thus Hindi is relatively harder to learn than Bengali.
The Sanskrit second case mám is má in the Vedic language.
In Sanskrit ávám is used, in Vedic nao; in Sanskrit asman and in Vedic nah. The Sanskrit word má has three meanings: “tongue”, “to me” and “no” (negation).
From this comes the Bengali word máná. Máná karechen means ná-ná karechen [they have prohibited]. In Hindi we say maná kiye. The Hindi maná is spelled without the long “a” [á] but in fact it should be spelled with á, that is, the word is not maná but máná.
Earlier I said that the Vedic word má means “to me”. It bears no relation to the word asmad.
The Vedic nao means “to the two of us”.
Nah means “to us”.
In Sanskrit the visarga equals s (with hasanta) equals r (with hasanata) equals h (with hasanta). That is, nah and nas are the same thing.
The word nas is used in Russian.
In French the word vous and nous are pronounced bhu and nu respectively. Of course in French the final “s” is silent.
Anyhow, if we say jyotih in Sanskrit it can be pronounced in three ways – jyotis, jyotir and jyotih.
According to the rules of Sanskrit, if a vowel follows a visarga then the visarga is dropped, however if it is followed by a consonant then it is not dropped. For example, if one says jyotihke ballum then it is spelled with the visarga but jyoti + indra becomes jyotirindra because it is a compound word.
At any rate, although the second case-ending is found in Sanskrit., in Bengali there is often no linguistic sign to indicate the second case. For example, Rám bhát khacche [Ram is eating rice]. Of course in Rarhi Bengali they still say mui gharake jechi [I am going home] and in Oriya they say mu gharaku jibi.
After this comes the third case. It is said that the third case is the instrumental case. The instrumental has been accepted as a separate case in all of the world’s developed languages.
In Sanskrit the instrumental case is the third case because it is directly linked to the verb in the active voice. It is indirectly linked in the passive and impersonal voices. Thus it has to be accepted, otherwise there will be no sentence.
In Sanskrit the third case is fixed for the instrumental but in Bengali, Hindi and other Indian languages there is no fixed case for the instrumental, nor does it have any separate form. In Bengali the instrumental indeclinable dvárá is used after the sixth case-ending to form the third case.
For example, ámár dvárá ei káj habe ná [This work will not be done by me]; in Hindi mere dvárá is used, or even more idiomatically mujhse. For example, mujhse yah kám nahii ho páegá. Here mujhse is the ablative form. It is an idiomatic expression of Hindi.
The instrumental case exists in Bengali but there is no separate form for the third case. Furthermore, the instrumental is often formed by using an instrumental verb after the second case-ending.
For example, Ámáke diye ei káj habe ná. The third case is formed in English in the same way by using an instrumental indeclinable. In English the prepositions “by” and “with” are used. The preposition “by” is used to show a direct link with the verb and the preposition “with” to show an indirect link. For example, “The room has been cleaned by Sita with the help of a broom”. Nowadays one sees confusion in the use of these two. Most likely it is not being taught properly in the schools and colleges. In some places it seems that the error persists.
In Sanskrit in all such cases a suffix has been fixed for the original subject and for the secondary or minor subject.
In the case of the principal subject, the suffix śak is affixed to the verbal root and for the secondary subject the suffix ńak is added to the verbal root to form the adjective. For example, Dhopá raung diye kápaŕ chopácche [The washerman is staining the clothes with dye].
(2) The Sanskrit for dhopá [washerman] is rajaka or sabhásundara, just as the Sanskrit for nápit [barber] is parámáńika or narasundara. Dhopá or rajaka is the principal subject, thus the suffix śak is added to the verbal root ranj to form the word rajaka, that is, “one who dyes clothes”. If the suffix ńak is added to the verbal root ranj then it forms the word raiṋjaka, that is, “an object with which something is dyed” or “the dye which has been bought from the market”.
Here there is a similarity between English and Sanskrit. Just as Sanskrit has different suffixes for the principal and the secondary subject, similarly in English there are separate prepositions for the same reason.
Since English does not have a separate form for the third case as Sanskrit does, this is accomplished by the prepositions “by” and “with”.
The third case form for the word asmad is mayá. This is very far removed from the first case form aham, so it is a new form. Thus just because one knows the original word in Sanskrit, it does not mean that one can know what the third case form will be.
The third case form will have to be learned and remembered separately, especially in the case of pronouns. In French the situation is somewhat similar to Sanskrit.
In Bengali and most Indian languages there is no separate form for the third case. However, needless to say, the instrumental case certainly exists. In Sanskrit the word karańa [instrumental, cause] used to be used to indicate the idea that governmental laws were linked with action. Certainly this is the fundamental principle in the instrumental case.
Thus in Ancient India and during the Buddhist era as well, those who were closely connected to government paperwork were called karańa. Karańa means Káyashta (sadbaoddha-karańa-káyattha-t́hakkura) [one of the principal castes].
In Sanskrit the third case is not only instrumental. Adhvakálábhyám apavarge. That is, the third case is used for apavarga.(3) Manuś rástáy cale – care ná [Man walks in the road, he doesn’t graze]. The verb carati is used to mean “move while eating”, not calati. A person walks but a cow grazes. In Hindi gáy cartii hae. In Bhojpuri gáy caratiiyá. However, if a person eats while walking then in that case it is not unreasonable to use the word carche although it is not done. Some of us eat cánácur or jhálmuŕi or peanuts when we are walking, do we not? However if someone says that we are grazing [carchi] then our self-respect will suffer a blow. How can we keep our self-respect like that!
In Sanskrit, if one holds to a specific path, moves along it, finishes the work and reaps its fruits as well, then the third case-ending is used to indicate this. It is the instrumental case. In Bengali the seventh case is used in this situation and the case will also be the locative case. For example, se pathe khete khete jácche o ek ghańt́áy se khele [He is eating while going down the road and in one hour he ate it.]. Here pathe and ghańt́áy are in the seventh case.
In Sanskrit there are three kinds of locatives – káládhikarańa, bhávádhikarańa and ádhárádhikarańa [the locatives of time, idea and base]. Many do not accept káládhikarańa in Bengali but it must be accepted.
In what we have been discussing till this point it has been shown, first of all, that in Sanskrit the third case means the instrumental but in Bengali and many Indian languages the third case does not have a separate form. Secondly, in English the instrumental indeclinables “by” and “with” are used for this purpose. However in this regard one must take into account the four English moods; in addition one will have to consider case and case-ending. The English synonym for káraka is “case” and the English synonym for káraka-vibhakti is “case-ending”. Mood shares the same properties as case. The indicative, imperative, subjunctive and infinitive moods are related to case. Take, for example, “to walk is a good exercise”. Here “to walk” is used as the nominative. There is no synonymous or equivalent word for mood in the Indian languages. Nor is there one in the Latin-derived languages.
The next subject for discussion is the dative case. It is said that the dative case [sampradána káraka] is the fourth case. Sam-pra-dá+anat́ is the derivation of sampradána. In ancient times when the sages used to offer sacrifices they used to keep a standing offering intended for the gods along with their worship. To offer something permanently in this way is called sampradána. The dative case does not have any value as a case.
Of course, in Sanskrit it has some value but not in any other modern language. At least in the two hundred or so languages I am talking about there is no such case as the dative case. Since there is no case there is also no separate case-ending or case indicator.
In Sanskrit the dative case has its own form or case-ending. If I say dhopáke kápaŕ dilum [I gave the washerman clothes] or bhikhárike kápaŕ dilum [I gave the beggar clothes] the difference between the two is that what I give to the washerman will be returned, that is, that giving is temporary, but what I give the beggar is permanent. For this reason the washerman will be in the second case in Sanskrit – rajakam – but the beggar will be in the fourth case – bhikśukáya.
In Sanskrit this change is a change from the accusative case to the dative case, but in Bengali there is no such difference or change. In Bengali if one says diye dilum or dán karlum then it is understood that the giving is permanent so no need is felt there for the dative case.
Hindi is quite similar to Bengali in this regard. In Hindi ko is used to indicate the accusative case and it is also used for the dative case. This is not only true of Hindi or Urdu and Bengali; there is no such thing as the dative case in any Indian language. Students have been burdened with an extra grammatical load for no good reason. Something completely needless, extraneous and superfluous has been maintained in the grammar. It has no separate existence nor any separate case-ending.
In Sanskrit rámáya, naráya and so on are used to indicate the dative case.
In Sanskrit mahyam is used as the fourth case dative for the word asmad; it bears no relation to the original word. In Hindi and Urdu mujhko or mujhe is used for the dative. Neither one is fourth case. Mujhko is the second case and mujhe is the seventh.
In Sanskrit the fourth case is also used to mean “for”, for example, “namaskar for Shiva” – Shiváya namah. Here Shiva is put in the fourth case to mean “for Shiva”. The case indicator áya has been added. In Sanskrit the fourth case forms are une, bhyám, bhyas, but in Bengali or any other Indian language there is no separate form for the fourth case. In Bengali the fourth case is formed by adding the indeclinables janya, nimitta, lági, lege, lágiyá, etc. Similarly in Angika lelii, lá are added, in Maethilii lel, in Magahii lági, in Bhojpuri lá, vade, lági, khátir, in Oriya páni, and so on. In other words, all use an indeclinable denoting “for” along with the root word for the sixth case. For example, Tomá lági jege achi divánishi [I stay awake for you day and night].
In Sanskrit also the form used in the fourth case is very far removed from the original word. For example, asmad – mahyam.
Clearly we can say that while the dative case deserves to be preserved in Sanskrit, there is no need for it in any other language.
Kabir has said: Saḿskrta kúpodaka, bhákhá vahatá niira.
That is, the Sanskrit language is blocked like the water of a well but the mother tongue is like the flowing water of a river.
Sanskrit is like a sitar with its frets fixed while the people’s language is like a violin without fixed frets – if you can stop the strings, though, it sounds very melodious.
That which is mastered by continued arduous practice is called dhrupada.
The Sanskrit language has been bound by the composition of grammar. For this reason the Sanskrit language is called dhrupadii language.
Other dhrupadii languages of this kind are old Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, old Greek and Pali.
The Vedic language does not have any grammar, thus in this sense Vedic is not a dhrupadii language.
A certain type of music is also called dhrupadii. Some people mistakenly think that dhrupadii music refers perhaps to a special raga or raginii or a composition in that raga, but this is not the case.
Dhrupada is a certain type of method or style where the music is fixed in a certain scale. This method or style differed from place to place.
For example, in Agra, Jaonpur, Lucknow, Gwalior, Varanasi, Betiah, Vishnupur, and so on, each music found expression in its own style.
And from each of these distinctive styles arose a separate Gharańa [a particular style or school]. But it is necessary to mention that all of these Gharańas, being confined to a particular ordering of the steps of the scale, gradually came to the point of dying out. Their condition became like that of women wearing the veil.
The music became thirsty and anxious for the slightest respite, to breathe a little open air [háoyá]. Incidentally, the word háoyá is a Turkish word.
In order to reform the Turkish alphabet and spelling, Kemal Pasha (Kemal Atatürk) introduced Roman script.
Similarly, in order to reform the rule-bound style of music and in the hopes of breathing a little open air, there was an effort in the Mughal court to breathe some life into dhrupadii music. In this case, although the correct scale was maintained, freedom was given to the vocals to go here and there. This facility or opportunity was thus the music’s kheyál. This kheyál dhrupadii saved the music from the hands of monotony.
Dhrupadii music was cultivated in the Vishnupurii Gharańa of Bengal but it did not create its own kheyál. Bengali music hardly ever used to be sung in dhrupadii style hence in that respect Bengali music was already somewhat free from this kind of monotony. It was for this reason, of course, that the need for kheyál was not felt in Bengali music.
When saḿgiita (the combined name for instrumental music, vocal music and dance is saḿgiita) is not bound fast by the scale, that is, when the singer enjoys sufficient freedom in their vocals, when the dancers can direct their steps to some extent according to their own wishes, when the musicians enjoy a certain freedom with the metre while playing, then this kind of saḿgiita, that is, dance, vocals and instrumental music, can be called folk song, folk music and folk dance. However this does not mean that this folk music will always remain classified as folk music.
When it becomes bound by certain rules it will also rise to the level of dhrupadii, as has happened with Manipurii dance. This rising to the level of dhrupadii has two sides to it.
On the one hand, when folk music rises to the level of dhrupadii it gains a certain respect, a certain prestige.
On the other hand, this respect and prestige prevent it from moving ahead on its path. The flowing river full of vitality gets transformed into a swamp choked with water hyacinths – the sun of its fortune sinks forever into the mud and mire.