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बहुसवम् mAs

Today we will look at the form बहुसवम्  mAs from श्रीमद्भागवतम् 4.12.14.

षट्त्रिंशद्वर्षसाहस्रं शशास क्षितिमण्डलम् । भोगैः पुण्यक्षयं कुर्वन्नभोगैरशुभक्षयम् ।। ४-१२-१३ ।।
एवं बहुसवं कालं महात्माविचलेन्द्रियः । त्रिवर्गौपयिकं नीत्वा पुत्रायादान्नृपासनम् ।। ४-१२-१४ ।।

भोगैरैश्वर्यादिभिः । अभोगैर्यज्ञाद्यनुष्ठानैः ।। १३ ।। बहवः सवा यागाः संवत्सरा वा यस्मिंस्तं कालं त्रिवर्गसाधकं नीत्वा । अविचलानि संयतानीन्द्रियाणि यस्य ।। १४ ।।

Gita Press translation – Exhausting (the stock of) his merit through luxuries (permitted by the Śāstras) and neutralizing evil by practicing self-denial (in the form of charity and the performance of sacrifices etc.), he ruled over the terrestrial globe for thirty-six thousand years (the span of life of a god) (13). Having thus spent a long period as a means to (the attainment of) the three objects of human pursuit, (viz., religious merit, worldly prosperity and sensuous enjoyment) with his senses fully controlled, the high-souled Dhruva (eventually) made over the throne to his son (Utkala) (14).

(1) बहवो सवा यस्मिन् स: (काल:) – that (time period) in which there were many sacrificial performances or many years. Hence it means a long time period.

अलौकिक-विग्रह: –
(2) बहु जस् + सव जस् । By 2-2-24 अनेकमन्यपदार्थे – Two or more terms having the designation पदम् and ending in the nominative case may optionally compound to yield a बहुव्रीहि: compound provided the terms are employed to denote the sense of another पदम् (which is not part of the compound.)

(3) By 1-2-43 प्रथमानिर्दिष्टं समास उपसर्जनम् – the term ‘बहु जस्’ as well as ‘सव जस्’ gets the designation उपसर्जनम् because in the सूत्रम् 2-2-24 अनेकमन्यपदार्थे (which prescribes the compounding) the term अनेकम् ends in the nominative case. And hence 2-2-30 cannot help us in deciding which term to place in the prior position in the compound.

The adjective ‘बहु जस्’ is placed in the prior position in the compound as per the सूत्रम् 2-2-35 सप्तमीविशेषणे बहुव्रीहौ – In a बहुव्रीहि: compound the पदम् which ends in a seventh case affix or is an adjective takes the prior position.
Note: ‘बहु जस् + सव जस्’ gets the designation प्रातिपदिकम्‌ by 1-2-46 कृत्तद्धितसमासाश्च। This allows 2-4-71 to apply in the next step.

(4) बहुसव । By 2-4-71 सुपो धातुप्रातिपदिकयोः – A सुँप् affix takes a लुक् elision when it is a part of a धातुः or a प्रातिपदिकम्।

The gender of a बहुव्रीहि: compound matches that of which it qualifies. In the present example ‘काल’ is being qualified. Hence we assign the masculine gender to the compound प्रातिपदिकम् ‘बहुसव’। It declines like राम-शब्द:।

The विवक्षा is द्वितीया-एकवचनम्।

(5) बहुसव + अम् । By 4-1-2 स्वौजसमौट्छष्टाभ्याम्भिस्ङेभ्याम्भ्यस्ङसिभ्याम्भ्यस्ङसोसाम्ङ्योस्सुप्‌।
Note: 1-3-4 न विभक्तौ तुस्माः prevents the ending letter ‘म्’ of the affix ‘अम्’ from getting इत्-सञ्ज्ञा।

See question 3.

(6) बहुसवम् । By 6-1-107 अमि पूर्वः – In place of a preceding अक् letter and the following vowel (अच्) belonging to the affix ‘अम्’ there is a single substitute of that preceding अक् letter.


1. Which other compounds (besides बहुसवम्) used in the verses are बहुव्रीहि: compounds?

2. Can you spot a बहुव्रीहि: compound in verses 10-16 of Chapter Five of the गीता?

3. Which सूत्रम् justifies the use of a second case affix in the form बहुसवम्?

4. Where has the सूत्रम् 2-3-13 चतुर्थी सम्प्रदाने been used in the verses?

5. How many times has the negation particle नञ् been used in the verses?

6. How would you say this in Sanskrit?
“I lived in India for a period of many years.”

Easy questions:

1. In which word in the verses has लिँट् been used?

2. Which सूत्रम् prescribes the लुक् elision of the affix सिँच् in the form अदात्?

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