As part of the Humanities Lecture Series, Prof. Rama Nath Sharma, Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit, University of Hawaii, USA delivered a lecture on “The Aādhyāyī of Pāini as a System of Rules” on 10th March 2014 in Humanities Auditorium, School of Humanities.


In the lecture, he showed the structure of the Aṣṭādhyāyī and explained the two-fold division of arrangement of rules – one, as per Adhyāya, Pāda and sūtrā, and the other based on “topics” or prakaraṇas. Prof. Sharma explained how the sañjñā sūtrās, or aphorisms which define technical terms, form the “brain” of the text. His central theme was that the traditional pedagogical methods (commentaries etc.) focussed mainly on “lakṣaṇa”, i.e. the aphorisms of grammar, explication of their meaning, and their application in generation; whereas the view of the trinity of munis – Pāṇini, Kātyāyana and Patañjali – was that grammar was descriptive, and hence one has to proceed from the lakya – theṣ language being described – towards the lakṣaṇa – grammar. This approach, Prof. Sharma said, gives a “roadmap” to the Aādhyāyī and makes modelling of the Aādhyāyī using computers logicalṣṭṣṭ and consistent. Questions and answers followed the lecture covering topics dealt with in the lecture and other general topics such as semantic deviance.
Walk through workshop on Aādhyāyī
Prof. Rama Nath Sharma conducted a walk through workshop on Aādhyāyī on 10th and 11th March 2014. He described the concepts of abstract syntactic structure; obligatory domain, controlling domain etc.; reference index; recurrence; and “triggers” which invoke different domains and sūtrās. The takeout of the workshop may be summarised as a roadmap to Asthadhyayi, which maps how “control” is passed in the process of derivation of word-forms. Additionally, lively discussions on padaikavākyatā and vākyaikavākyatā, yathoddeśapaka and kāryakālapaka,ṣṣ difference between Kaumudī and Aādhyāyī etc. clarified the different views. This was the firstṣṭ workshop of its kind conducted by Prof. Sharma. It was found very useful especially for both those who wanted to understand the structure of Aādhyāyī better and for those involved in NLP. Theṣṭ attendees requested that something longer than a workshop, say a short-term course of one to three months, be offered on the same subject.

By Dr. Amba Kulkarni, Head, Department of Sanskrit