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अनर्थकम् nAs

Today we will look at the form अनर्थकम्  nAs from श्रीमद्-वाल्मीकि-रामायणम् 6.15.2.

बृहस्पतेस्तुल्यमतेर्वचस्तन्निशम्य यत्नेन विभीषणस्य । ततो महात्मा वचनं बभाषे तत्रेन्द्रजिन्नैर्‌ऋतयूथमुख्यः ।। ६-१५-१ ।।
किं नाम ते तात कनिष्ठ वाक्यमनर्थकं वै बहुभीतवच्च । अस्मिन् कुले योऽपि भवेन्न जातः सोऽपीदृशं नैव वदेन्न कुर्यात् ।। ६-१५-२ ।।

Gita Press translation – Listening with restraint the foregoing speech of Vibhīṣaṇa, who was equal in wisdom to Sage Bṛhaspati (the preceptor of gods), the high-spirited Indrajit, the leader of ogre hordes, forthwith spoke as follows on that occasion: – (1) “Why on earth should you actually utter meaningless words like one who is greatly alarmed, O youngest uncle? Even he who is not born in this race (of Pulastya) would not utter such words or do such a thing (as is suggested by you) (2).

(1) अविद्यमानोऽर्थो यस्य तत् = अनर्थकं (वाक्यम्) = A meaningless statement.

(2) अविद्यमान सुँ + अर्थ सुँ । 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) The adjective ‘अविद्यमान सुँ’ 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: ‘अविद्यमान सुँ + अर्थ सुँ’ gets the designation प्रातिपदिकम्‌ by 1-2-46 कृत्तद्धितसमासाश्च। This allows 2-4-71 to apply in the next step.

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

(5) अ + अर्थ । By वार्तिकम् (under 2-2-24 अनेकमन्यपदार्थे) नञोऽस्त्यर्थानां वाच्यो वा चोत्तरपदलोपः – A compound पदम् in which the negation particle नञ् is followed by a उत्तर-पदम् (final member) that denotes the sense of ‘exists’ optionally drops this उत्तर-पदम् when it combines with another पदम् to yield a बहुव्रीहि: compound.
Note: Compounding is already prescribed by the सूत्रम् 2-2-24 itself. It is only for the elision of the उत्तरपदम् (of the compound पूर्वपदम्) that this वार्तिकम् is necessary.

(6) अ + नुँट् अर्थ । By 6-3-74 तस्मान्नुडचि – When preceded by the particle नञ्‌ whose letter ‘न्’ has been elided (by the prior सूत्रम् 6-3-73 नलोपो नञः), a final member (of a compound) which begins with a vowel takes the augment नुँट्।
Note: As per the परिभाषा ‘उभयनिर्देशे पञ्चमीनिर्देशो बलीयान्’ the fifth case affix used in तस्मात् has greater force than the seventh case affix used in अचि। Hence the operation (of attaching the augment नुँट्) takes place on the उत्तरपदम् and not on the particle नञ्‌।
Note: As per the परिभाषा-सूत्रम् 1-1-46 आद्यन्तौ टकितौ the augment नुँट् attaches at the beginning of the final member (of a compound) which begins with a vowel.

(7) अ + न् अर्थ । अनुबन्ध-लोपः by 1-3-2 उपदेशेऽजनुनासिक इत्, 1-3-3 हलन्त्यम् and 1-3-9 तस्य लोपः।

= अनर्थ ।

(8) अनर्थ + कप् । By the गण-सूत्रम् (in the उरःप्रभृतिगण: (ref. 5-4-151) of the गणपाठ:) अर्थान्नञ: – Following a बहुव्रीहि: compound which has the negation particle ‘नञ्’ as its prior member and ‘अर्थ’ as its final member the तद्धित: affix कप्‌ is prescribed and this affix becomes the ending member of the compound.

(9) अनर्थ + क । अनुबन्ध-लोपः by 1-3-3 हलन्त्यम् and 1-3-9 तस्य लोपः।

= अनर्थक ।

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

The विवक्षा is द्वितीया-एकवचनम्।

(10) अनर्थक + अम् । By 4-1-2 स्वौजसमौट्छष्टाभ्याम्भिस्ङेभ्याम्भ्यस्ङसिभ्याम्भ्यस्ङसोसाम्ङ्योस्सुप्‌।

(11) अनर्थक + अम् । By 7-1-24 अतोऽम् – The affixes ‘सुँ’ and ‘अम्’ that follow a neuter अङ्गम् ending in the short vowel ‘अ’ take ‘अम्’ as their replacement. Note: 7-1-24 is required here to prevent 7-1-23 स्वमोर्नपुंसकात्‌ from applying.
1-3-4 न विभक्तौ तुस्माः prevents the ending letter ‘म्’ of the affix ‘अम्’ from getting इत्-सञ्ज्ञा।

(12) अनर्थकम् । 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. Commenting on the गण-सूत्रम् (in the उरःप्रभृतिगण: (ref. 5-4-151) of the गणपाठ:) अर्थान्नञ: (used in step 8) the सिद्धान्तकौमुदी says – नञ: किम्? अपार्थम्। अपार्थकम्। Please explain.

2. In the verses can you spot a compound in which the पूर्व-पदम् (first member) has taken पुंवद्भाव: (a masculine-like form)?

3. Where has the सूत्रम् 3-3-90 यजयाचयतविच्छप्रच्छरक्षो नङ् been used in the verses?

4. Which कृत् affix is used to construct the प्रातिपदिकम् ‘विभीषण’ (used in the form विभीषणस्य (पुंलिङ्गे षष्ठी-एकवचनम्) in the verses)?

5. Which वार्त्तिकम् may be used to justify the use of a third case affix in the form यत्नेन in the verses?

6. How would you say this in Sanskrit?
“One should not speak useless words.”

Easy questions:

1. Which सूत्रम् prescribes the substitution ‘ए’ in the form बभाषे?

2. Where has the सूत्रम् 6-4-109 ये च been used in the verses?

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