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Rishi Panini

Rishi Panini
  • Paṇini (4th century BCE or “6th to 5th century BCE”) was an ancient Sanskrit grammarian, and a revered scholar in ancient India.
  • Considered the father of linguistics, Paṇini likely lived in the northwest Indian subcontinent during the Mahajanapada era.
  • He is said to have been born in Shalatula of ancient Gandhara, a small town at the junction of the Indus and Kabul rivers,Pakistan.
  • Pāṇini is known for his text Ashtadhyayi, a sutra-style treatise on Sanskrit grammar,3,959 “verses” or rules on linguistics syntax and semantics “eight chapters” which is the foundational text of the Vyākaraṇa branch of the Vedanga.
  • His formalization of language seems to have been influential in the formalization of dance and music by Bharata Muni. His ideas influenced and attracted commentaries from scholars of other Indian religions such as Buddhism.
  • The Aṣṭadhyayi  is the central part of Pāṇini’s grammar, and by far the most complex.
  • The text takes material from lexical lists as input and describes algorithms to be applied to them for the generation of well-formed words.
  • It is highly systematised and technical. Inherent in its approach are the concepts of the phoneme, the morpheme and the root.
  • The Aṣṭadhyayi was not the first description of Sanskrit grammar, but it is the earliest that has survived in full. The Aṣṭadhyayi ī became the foundation of Vyākaraṇa, a Vedanga.
    Pāṇini made use of a technical metalanguage consisting of a syntax, morphology and lexicon.
  • The Aṣṭadhyayi consists of 3,959 sutras or “aphoristic threads” in eight chapters, which are each subdivided into four sections or padas (padaḥ). This text attracted a famous and one of the most ancient Bhasya (commentary) called the Mahabhasya.
  • The Shiva Sutras or Mahesvara Sutraṇi are fourteen verses that organize the phonemes of Sanskrit as referred to in the Aṣṭadhyayi of Paṇini, the foundational text of Sanskrit grammar.
  • Within the tradition they are known as the Akṣarasamamnaya, “recitation of phonemes,” but they are popularly known as the Shiva Sutras because they are said to have been revealed to Pāṇini by Shiva.
  • After Ashtadyayi, the Mahabhashya is the next authoritative work on Sanskrit grammar. With Patanjali the Sanskrit grammar reached its peak and the linguistic science got its definate form.
  • There were many Vaiyaakaranaas who were not only linguists but also grammarians before and after sage Panini.
  • Sage Panini himself refers about 16 of them. Panini refers to 16 schools of tradition which is different from that of the 9 grammatical traditions mentioned by Valmiki in the Ramayana.
  • The first two sutras are as follows
    Vrddhiradaich (वृद्धिरादैच् । १।१।१)
    Adeingunah (अदेङ्गुणः । १।१।२)
  • The two sutras consist of a list of phonemes, followed by a technical term; the final interpretation of the two sūtras above is thus:
  • 1.1.1: {ā, ai, au} are called vṛ́ddhi.
  •  1.1.2: {a, e, o} are called guṇa.