धातु - dhātu

W. D. Whitney, The roots

This work is intended especially as a Supplement to my Sanskrit Grammar (Leipzig, 1879), giving, with a fulness of detail that was not then practicable, nor admissible as part of the grammar itself, all the quotable roots of the language, with the tense and conjugation-systems made from them, and with the noun and adjective (infinitival and participial) formations that attach themselves most closely to the verb; and further, with the other derivative noun and adjective-stems usually classed as primary: since these also are needed, if one would have a comprehensive view of the value of a given root in the language. And everything given is dated, with such accuracy as the information thus far in hand allows - whether found in the language throughout its whole history, or limited to a certain period.

My leading authority has necessarily been that magnificent thesaurus of authentic information respecting the Sanskrit language of every period , the great St. Petersburg Lexicon of Bohtlingk and Roth. This I have gone carefully over , excerpting all the material needed for my purpose. So far , indeed , as concerns the epic and classical literature, the Lexicon has been almost my sole source, since my own collections, for verification or of additional material , though not wholly wanting·, have yet been altogether insignificant as compared with it. But in the older language, of Veda and Brāhmaṇa and Upaniṣad and Sūtra, I have done much more independent work. I have, namely, gone over all the text of the earlier period accessible to me, including (by the kindness of Professor Weber) the as yet unpublished Kāuṣītaki-Brāhmaṇa and Kāṭhaka, and (by the kindness of the late Dr. Burnell) the immense Jāiminīya or Talavakāra- Brāhmaṇa , which has as yet hardly been accessible to any one else; and from them I have excerpted all the noteworthy verbal forms and (less completely) the primary derivatives; thus verifying and occasionally correcting the material of the Lexicon, supplying chance omissions, and especially filling in not a few details which it had not lain in the design of that work to present in their entirety.

As a matter of course, no such work as the present can pretend to completeness, especially at its first appearance. The only important texts of which we have exhaustive verbal indexes are the Ṛg-Veda and the Atharva-Veda, nor is it known that any other is in preparation: and only where such indexes exist can the inclusion of all that a text contains be assured. But I trust it will be found that the measure of completeness here attained is in general proportioned to the importance of the material: that it is the more indifferent forms and derivatives which , having been passed over hy the Lexicon, have escaped my gleaning also. I expect to continue the work of verification and addition, and to make an eventual future edition perceptibly nearer to perfection in its details, and possessing such improvements in plan as my own experience and the criticisms of others may suggest. It is unnecessary to add that corrections and aclditious of any kind will be welcomed by me, and duly acknowledged.

Of the verb-forms which, though not yet found - and, for the most part, destined never to be found - in recorded use, are prescribed or authorized by the Hindu grammarians, a liberal presentation is made under the different roots: such material being always distinguished from the other by being put in square brackets. It is in no part given at first hand, but only as reported by Western authorities: the Lexicon , Westergaard’s Radices , and the various European grammars: all of these supplement rather than contradict one another: and any occasional disagreement among them is passed over, as relating to a matter of too little consequence to be worth reporting.

The periods in the life of the language which are acknowledged and distinguished by appropriate notation are six: the Veda (marked with v. ) , the Brabmarya (with b. ), the earlier or more genuine Upaniṣads (with u. ), the Sūtras (with s. ), the epics, Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa (with e. ), and the classical or common Sanskrit (with c. ). This classification, however, is by no means an absolute one, and calls for certain explanations and limitations, as follows.

Under ‘Veda’ (v. ) are included only the indexed texts of the Ṛg-Veda, Sāma-Veda, and Atharva-Veda. In strictness, certain passages of the Atharva-Veda should have been excluded, as being in prose and Brāhmaṇa-like; and, what is of much more importance , the older and better part of the mantra-material in the various saṁhitā’s of the Yajur-Veda, in the Brāhmatṇas, and even in the Sūtras, is quite as good Veda as most of the Atharvan, some of it even as parts of the Rik. In the present condition of things, however, it did not seem to me practicable to draw the division-line otherwise than in the partly arbitrary way in “hich I have drawn it. When the mantra-material is collected from all places and compared (as it by all means ought soon to be), it will be possible to use the term ‘Veda’ in a more exact sense, both inclusively and exclusively - though between what is genuinely old and what is in an artificially antique style a definite separation will probably never admit of being made.

It is further to be stated that in the following lists nothing is intended to be marked with simple v. , as ‘Vedic’, that does not occur in the Ṛg-Veda; what is not Ṛg-Vedic, though it may be found in both the other collections, is marked av. , or sv. , or both, as the case may be. On the other hand, if anything occurring only in the Ṛk among the three Vedas is found also in later periods, the fact that it does not chance to be met with in the Atharvan or Sāman is too unimportant to notice, and (save perhaps in exceptional cases) it is marked v.b.  or the like.

Between Brāhmaṇa, Āraṇyaka, and Upaniṣad, again, the line of division is an evanescent one, and perhaps hardly worth the attempt at drawing. But I have followed the method of distinguishing by a u. the small number of these treatises that have an existence separate from Brāhmaṇa or Āraṇyaka, while not distinguishing the two latter from one another. The sign u. is the one of least importance and least frequency in the system adopted.

The division of Sūtras (s. ) is a plainer one , except so far as these treatises contain mantra-material in their quoted verses (as already intimated ) - and brāhmaṇa-material also in their quoted formulas. The proper language of the Sūtras themselves is a true continuator of that of the Brāhmaṇas.

As epic (e. ) are reckoned only the two great poems, the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana. And in these it has, of course, been impossible to distinguish between the older and the more recent parts: although, beyond a question, a considerable part of both is in no manner distinguishahle from the general later literature, except by a degree of archaizing neglect of the trict requirements of the native grammar.

Everything else that is Sanskrit falls under the head of classical (c. ), or of the language as written under the domination of the native system of grammar. Here the only subdivision which one is tempted to make is to mark separately those forms and words which are found used only in the commentaries, and which are therefore open to a heightened suspicion of artificiality: but this I have not trieel to do.

A plus-sign (+) indicates that the given formation is found to occur from the specified period onward , even to the latest or classical period.

Instead of a period , an individual text is sometimes referred to - yet not upon any very definite and consistent plan (except in the case of the Vedas , as explained above). A ‘superior ‘ figure (e. g. rv1. ) indicates the number of times a word or form has been met with - yet this, again, only in exceptional instances, and not in the case of every unique or very rare occurrence.

So far as the present- system is concerned , only so many specimen-forms are given as suffice to illustrate the mode of formation. It would have been space and time thrown away to instance in each case the various sub-formations - modes, participles, imperfect - that occur, since one form implies clearly enough the possible existence of the rest. The form taken as representative specimen is ordinarily the 3d singular, as being often more characteristic than the 1st; and that person is even occasionally given when, in verbs of infrequent use, it is not itself actually quotable. Irregular or exceptional forms, whether of the earlier or of the later language, are then added in parenthesis. Everywhere, an appended ‘etc.’ means that other forms of the same make occur : yet I find on review that I have not used this sign consistently, and its absence must not be taken always as indicating more than that the variety of forms quotable is comparatively small. The various modes of present-formation are intended to be given in the order of their relative regularity or frequency: to each is prefixed in brackets the number belonging to it in the order of the conjugation-classes as given by the Hindu grammarians - since, however meaningless and unworthy of retention this may be, it is still widely used, not only in the grammars, but even by general writers on language.

In the other tense-systems, while in the main the same method is followed , the intention nevertheless is to give , on account of their greater infrequency and irregularity, a conspectus of the various tense and mode - formations from the same stem (not, of course , the participles , except for the aorist). Thus , for example , no quotable precative, either active or middle, is designedly omitted under the aorist to which it belongs; nor any quotable conditional under the first future ; nor any pluperfect under the perfect. Moreover, in view of the rarity of the 2d sing. perfect active, and the useless prolixity of the native rules as to its formation, every example of it is given that has been found to occur. The order in which the aorists are presented is the systematic one, without reference to their frequency of use.

Among the verbal adjectives and nouns are included as belonging to the verbal conjugation only the passive participle , the infinitives, and the gerunds (along with that in -am, the distinction of which from an ordinary adverbially used accusative is not always easy to draw); the gerundives are quite too loosely attached to the conjugation-system to be worth treating as a part of it, and they are accordingly relegated to the list of derivatives.

Of the secondary or derivative conjugations , only examples enough are given to show the form of the stem - unless, indeed, some unusual or irregular forms are met with, in which case they are duly noted. To cite, for example, the innumerable futures and verbals of the causative conjugation , or even its perfects , all of them made upon precisely the same pattern, would have been wholly useless. The causative aorists, however, since they are made directly from the root, are of course put along with the other aorists, save in the exceptional cases where they actually come from the causative stem (as atiṣṭhipat, bībhiṣas, etc.). All the tertiary conjugations, not omitting even the common causative passives (any others are quite rare), are noted so far as found.

In the lists of derivatives are given not only those of genuinely primary character, but also those which have come to assume a primary aspect in the language, even though of incontestably secondary origin: such as the gerundives in -tavya and Vedic -tva (from -tu) , and -anīya (from -ana), the nomina agentis in -in, and the various formations in ya (among which hardly any, if any, are really primary). These are in general placed next after the forms from which they are presumably derived. Apart from this, the order of arrangement intended to be pursued is in the main the alphabetic order of the suffixes, the radical stems or those without suffix standing at the head: but such an arrangement could not be very strictly carried out, nor does any particular importance belong to it, considering how easily the columns may be glanced over to verify the presence or absence of any given formation: and some inconsistencies will doubtless be found. Reduplicated stems are put after the others , and last of all the quasi-primitive formations from (secondary, or rarely primary or tertiary) conjugation-stems. Notation of the period of occurrence is made in the same way as for the verb-forms. A hyphen put before a stem indicates that it has not been found quotable otherwise than as posterior member of a compound ; one following a stem (much more rarely) shows it to occur only as prior member of a compound, or in derivative stems or in denominative conjugation.

Throughout the whole work, accent-signs are applied only where the word is found actually so marked in accentuated texts.

It is, of course, impossible to draw the line everywhere between the derivatives of a root and words that do not belong to it; since etymology is from beginning to end a matter of balancing probabilities: and thick-set with uncertainties and chances of error. It has been my intention to err rather upon the side of liberality of inclusion than the opposite - and certainly I have in not a few cases put under certain roots words as to whose connection with those roots I have great misgivings: but doubtless also there are words omitted, by oversight or by failure of judgment, which ought to have been included. All such errors, it is hoped, will be viewed with a reasonable degree of indulgence, considering the novelty and the extreme laboriousness of the undertaking. Its main intent is to furnish the means of examining in their chronologic entirety the groups of words and forms that cluster about the so-called roots in Sanskrit, that they may be studied, and have their relations determined, with more complete understanding: and that intent will be gained in spite of minor omissions and inaccuracies. Regarding it as primarily an assemblage of materials for study, I have not hastened to anticipate the results of comparison by penetrating behind the aspect of things as shown in the Sanskrit language itself, or to reduce the materials to an Indo-European basis and form of statement. A few intimations as to the more obviously probable connections of certain roots are given in brief notes at the end of exposition of forms and derivatives.

The representative form of the roots is naturally that adopted in the grammar to which this work is a supplement. Although loath to differ from the Petersburg lexicon upon such a point, I cannot regret having adopted the instead of the ar or ra-form (e. g. kṛ, kṛp. instead of kar, krap) of the many roots exhibiting both elements in their forms and derivatives. So long as we speak of the Sanskrit root vid, and not ved, so long, it seems to follow that we ought to speak of the root vṛt, and not vart, whatever may be the Indo-European value of the root in the one case or in the other. The meanings added after the roots by no means claim to be exhaustive: they are in general intended only to identify the root.

As a matter of course, not a few matters of doubtful classification present themselves in connection with the verb-forms, of which the scope of the work does not allow a discussion. Such are here and there noted by a question-mark. The classes of forms that contain the most puzzling problems are the reduplicated ones , and the present stems ending in ya: upon these no new light has been thrown since the publication of the author’s Grammar, in which the difficulty of their treatment was noticed.

In the indexes of stems given at the end of the volume, a classification is adopted which is intended to facilitate the historical comprehension of the language, by distinguishing what belongs respectively to its older and to its later periods from that which forms a part of it throughout its whole history. It may be added that the manuscript left the author’s hands complete in July, 1884: the delay in its appearance is owing to his distance from the place of printing and publication.

I desire to express my obligation to Professor Lanman for kindly aiding the accuracy of the work by giving the proof-sheets an additional revision.

New Haven, July, 1885.

W. D. W.