Avyayāni - Indeclinables

That which does not undergo declension is called an indeclinable. An indeclinable does not vary in terms of gender, case or number. Declension basically means variation.

Thus, it is stated –

सदृशं त्रिषु लिङ्गेषु सर्वासु च विभक्तिषु |

                                  वचनेषु च सर्वेषु यन्न व्येति तदव्ययम् ||

                                    sadṛśaṃ triṣu liṅgeṣu sarvāsu ca vibhaktiṣu,

                               vacaneṣu ca sarveṣu yanna vyeti tadavyayam .

"That which remains the same in all three genders and all the cases, and does not change even in numbers, is called an avyaya or an indeclinable".

The indeclinables can be in the form of a compound, or words ending in secondary suffixes or indeclinable by themselves. Examples -

Indeclinable compound words - adhihari, madhyemārgam, āpādacūḍam, etc.

Indeclinables ending in secondary suffixes - sarvadā, sarvatra, sarvathā, alpaśaḥ etc. Some of these have come to be recognised as independent in due course and are listed in various categories of independent indeclinables.

Independent indeclinables - svar, ca, pra, api etc.

The independent indeclinables are listed below in the order of their classification as the prādis, gatis, svarādis and cādis.

The Prādi Indeclinables-

1.Pra - This indeclinable is used in the sense of 'in front of'or 'forward', 'excessive','power', ' 'devoid of', 'supreme' etc.Respective examples are - ’pragatiḥ’, meaning 'moving forward; ' prabalaḥ', ’pramattaḥ’, ’pracaṇḍaḥ’, ’praśastaḥ’, 'prakopanam' etc in the sense of ' excessive ' as well as 'powerful'; ’praparṇaḥ’ or ’prapatitaparṇaḥ’ meaning 'that from which leaves have fallen off' i.e. 'devoid of' leaves'; ’prācāryaḥ’ - Supreme preceptor.

2.Parā - used for ' might', contrary sense of whatever the word to which it is added, means, and for the sense of 'separation'.

Might - parākramaḥ -might, valour

contrary meaning - parājayaḥ - defeat, opposite of ’jayaḥ’ - victory

sense of separation - ' parāgataḥ’, ’parāstaḥ’,'went away' ie., was 'separated' from a person or place.

3.Apa - This is used to denote the sense of ' separation', 'deficiency', 'absence' etc

Separation - apagacchati, apāsanam - the sense of 'to remove' or 'to separate from' is inherent in these.

deficit - apavadati, apaśabdaḥ - here, there is the sense of being 'deficient' in propriety of speech.

absence - apabhayam, apakalmaṣam - absence of fear, blemish

4.Sam -Simultaneity or togetherness, excess, refinement, proximity

Simultaneity -saṅgamaḥ, sambhāṣaṇam - Simultaneous presence,(coming together) simultaneous speech(speaking together)

Excess - santoṣaḥ; santāpaḥ - excessive happiness; sorrow

Refinement - saṃskaroti - refines

Proximity - samakṣam - in front of, near

5.Anu - in the sense of 'after' , also 'every'

After - anugacchati, anubadhnāti -'goes after', 'follows'

every - anunimiṣam, anvaham - every minute, every day

6. ā - the opposite meaning of whatever it is added to, as also in the sense of 'limit', 'Scanty, somewhat', 'full' etc

opposite meaning - āgacchati, ānayati 'comes' as opposed to 'goes'; 'brings' as opposed to 'takes away'.

limit ( exclusive as well as inclusive)- āmaraṇam 'till' death, ābālam 'upto and including' the child'

'Scanty, somewhat', - āpāṇḍūram - 'somewhat ' pale

'full' - ācchādanam - 'full' covering.

7.vi - in the senses of 'separation', 'opposite', 'absence', 'excess', 'different' or varied etc

separation - vikarṣaṇam - to pull'away', separate

opposite sense - vikrayaḥ - 'sale', as opposed to 'purchase'

Absence - vimalaḥ, vijanaḥ - absence of dirt, absence of people

excessive - vidhvaṃsanam - excessive destruction

varied - vividham, vicitram - varied, variegated

8.nis , nir - 'devoid of', 'away from', 'fully'

devoid of - nirarthaḥ, niśśabdaḥ - devoid of meaning, devoid of sound

away from - nirgamanam, niṣkramaṇam- to go 'away'

fully, completely - nirmārjanam, nirvahaṇam- to 'fully' clear, to 'do completely'

9. dus, dur - 'difficult', 'deficient'

deficiency - duśśakunaḥ - bad omen - deficient in goodness

difficult - durlabhaḥ, duṣkaraḥ, dussahaḥ -'difficult' to get,to do,to endure

10. prati - 'face to face', 'encounter', 'adversorial' etc.

'facing' - pratyagni - face to face with fire

adversorial - pratināyakaḥ, pratikriyā, prativacanam - Adversory, retaliation, retort

11.su - supreme, beauty, easy, very etc.

Supreme- sugandhaḥ, sucintitam - supreme aroma, supremely thought over

beauty - sukeśinī, sulocanā - beautiful-haired, beautiful-eyed

easy- sukaraḥ, sulabhaḥ - easily done, easily acquired

very - sudīrghaḥ - very long

12. pari - nearness, excess

Nearness - paricārakaḥ - servant, who remains near, i.e., at one's beck and call

parivarttanam - to change - make difference near one

Excess - paritāpaḥ, paritoṣaḥ - excessive sorrow, excessive happiness

13. api - This is a prefix which is used mainly in the Vaidika lore and is rarely found in clssical Sanskrit. Even when in use, the akāra of api is normally dropped.

apidhānam or pidhānam ; apihitam, pihitam - to close

avagāhya, vagāhya

14. abhi -lit. in front of eyes - face to face, also excess

abhigacchati, abhimukham - comes face to face - encounter, accosts

Excess - abhiṣecanam, abhijātaḥ, abhimānaḥ, abhinavaḥ, abhikampanam

excessive sprinkling, born in family of excessive stature, excessive pride, excessively fresh, excessive tremor

15. ni - Excess

nipatati, nikṣipati, nikaraḥ, nigrahaḥ, nirodhaḥ, niyojayati, nikṛtiḥ, nigūḍham

16.upa

upakramaḥ, upakāraḥ, upaviśati, upagacchati, upakaṇṭham, upaśaradam, upahāraḥ, uparamaḥ, uparataḥ, upacāraḥ, upaskarutiaḥ, upagrahaḥ, upādhyakṣaḥ

17. ava - avadhāraṇam, avajñā, avataraṇam, avagāhaḥ

18. ati - atikramaḥ, atimānuśaḥ, atikrūram

19. ut - utpatati, unmukhaḥ, utpannam, uddharati, utsṛjati, udgataprāṇaḥ

20. adhi - adhivasati, adhikeralam, adhikṛtya, adhiruhya, adhirājaḥ, adhidevatā, adhikāraḥ

The Svarādi Indeclinables -

1.svar - svargaḥ - heaven

2. antar - antarbhavati - to be included in

3. prātar - prātaḥ - morning

4.punar - punargacchati - goes again

5. uccais - uccairvadati - talks loudly - in a 'high' tone

6. nīcais - nīcaissravati- flows 'low' - downwards

7. shanais - shanairvadat - talks slowly

8. ārād - gṛhādārād - near the house

9. yugapad - sūryacandrau yugapatsaṃdṛśyete- the Sun and Moon are seen simultaneously.

10. pṛthak - pṛthagrūpam - different form

11. hyaḥ - hyaḥ ravivāraḥ - Sunday yesterday

12. śvaḥ - śvaḥ maṅgalavāraḥ - Tuesday tomorrow

13. divā - divā paśyati nolūkaḥ - Owl does not see during daytime

14. rātrau - rātrau kathākeliḥ - story-telling programme at night

15. sāyam - sāyaṃ sūryāstamayaḥ/ astamanam/ astam aniti

          - Sun sets in the evening

16. ciram - ciraṃ maṅgalaṃ bhūyāt - may Auspiciousness be there for long

17. manāk - manāk bhāṣaṇam - ShortSpeech

18. īṣat - īṣadrodanam - crying a little

19. joṣam - joṣamāste -stays silent

20. tūṣṇīm - tūṣṇīṃ tiṣṭhati - sits silently

21. samayā - vidyālayaṃ samayā krīḍāṅgaṇaṃ varttate - playground is to the two sides of the school

22. bahiḥ - vanādbahiḥ mṛgāḥ na gacchanti - animals do not move out of the forest

23. adhas - vṛkṣasya adhaḥ tṛṇāni santi - there is grass underneath the tree

24. svayam - svayaṃ coditaḥ - self- inspired

25. mṛṣā - mṛṣābhāṣaṇam māstu - let there be no lies uttered

26. naktam - naktaṃ svāpaḥ- Slumber at night

27. na - vidyā na corahāryā - Learning is not stealable.

28. hetau - adharmahetau daṇḍayati - punishes due to unrighteousness.

29. sāmi - sāmipītam - half-drunk (or half-yellow)

30 . vat - rāmādivadvarttitavyaṃ na rāvaṇādivat - Must act like Rāma etc and not like Rāvaṇa etc.

31a)antarā/ antareṇa - tvāṃ māṃ ca antarā/ antareṇa pustakaṃ varttate , gopikāṃ gopikām antarā/ antareṇa mādhavaḥ. - There is a book between you and me, Mādhava is between one gopikā and the other,

31 b) antarā/ antareṇa -jalam antarā/ antareṇa jīvanam aśakyam - Life s impossible without water

31 c) or 32. antarā/ antareṇa - māmantarā/ antareṇa saḥ kimapṛcchat? - what did he ask about me ?

33/32 . sahasā - sahasā vidadhīta na kriyām - Do not act in haste

33/ 34 . vinā - vāyuṃ/ vāyunā vinā kathaṃ jīvasi ? How do you live without air ?

34/35. nānā - nānā nārīṃ niṣphalaṃ kuṭumbam - Without a woman, a family is useless

35/36 . svasti - svastyastu te - May well-being be yours !

36/37. svadhā - pitṛbhyaḥ svadhā - May oblations be to the manes !

37/38. alam - tRuptyai alam - enough to be satisfied with !

38/39.vaṣaṭ- indrāya vaṣaṭ - praise be to Indra !

39/40 . svāhā - agnaye svāhā - Offerings be to Agni !

40/41. asti - himālayo bhāratadeśasya uttarabhāge asti - Himaalaya is in the Northern side of India

41/42. purā - purā kavīnāṃ gaṇanāprasaṅge - In times of yore, during the enumeration of poets...

42/43. mithaḥ - mithaḥ bhāṣaṇam - mutually speaking...

43/44. saha/samam/sārdham/sākam - mitreṇa saha/ samam/sārdham/sākam gacchati - goes along with friend ( can be expressed just with the Instrumental case also, even without using any of the words denoting 'along with' - mitreṇa gacchati)

The Cādi Indeclinables –

  1. ca - in the senses of samuccaya, anvācaya, samāhāra and itaretarayoga

conjunction or copulation, connecting subordinate fact with principal, collective combination and mutual connection

samuccaya - Ishvaram guruM ca bhajasva - worship God and Guru

anvācaya - bhikṣāmata gāṃ cānaya - Fetch the cow as you go for alms

Itaretarayoga - Rāmaśca Kṛṣṇaśca - Rāma as well as Kṛṣṇa

samāhāra - pāṇī ca pādau ca - hands and feet

2.     vā - satyam vā mithyā vā - either truth or falsehood

3.     ha - Indro devarāja ha - indra, verily the lordof the gods

4.     eva - satyameva jayate - Truth only triumphs

5.   evam - evamavadat - spoke thus

6.    noonam - noonam vRuShTirbhavet - surely it will rain

7.    shashvat - śaśvat maṅgalaṃ bhūyāt - May Auspiciousness accrue ever always

8.    cet - Speak if Truth

9.    hanta - hanta! vidhivilāsaḥ - Alas! The play of Providence!

10. mākim - krīḍāṅgaṇe mākim śataṃ janāḥ krīḍanti - About a hundred people are    

      playing on the play- field

11. māṅ (mā) - mā vada mā gamaḥ - Do not speak, do not go

12. nañ - (na) - na satyam asatyam, naikam, nagaḥ - Not truth - untruth, not one -two or

   more, does not move – Mountain

13. kila - Prasiddhaarthe - in the sense of "well- known" - CandraH taaraapatiH kila ? Is it

   not well- known that the Moon is the lord of the Stars?

14. sma - denoting Past tense - vadati sma – told

15. purā - In the sense of remote past as well as future - purā mahābalirnāma rājā āsīt

(remote past) purā gacchati (future)

16. dhik - dhig anṛtabhāṣiṇam - Fie upon the liar !

17. aho - aho īśvaravilāsaḥ - Wonderful, the ways of god !

18. khalu - vijayaḥ udyamaśīlānām khalu ? - Surely, victory belongs to the Industrious?

19. mṛdhā - jalpanaṃ mṛdhā

20. na hi - nahi nahi rakṣati ḍukṛñ karaṇe - It does not does not indeed, help to learn

     just Grammar !

21. kutra - vāsasthalaṃ kutra? - Where is the place of stay ?

22. kutaḥ - amitrasya kutaḥ sukham ? - Oh where, from where will happiness be to the

     Friendless One ?

     kutaḥ āyāti ? - From where does s/he come?

Adverbial Indeclinables

akasmāt - akasmāt vṛśṭirabhavat - It rained suddenly

agrataḥ / agre - vṛkṣasyaagrataḥ phalaṃ patati - the fruit falls to the front of the tree

prāsādsya agre kākaḥ tiṣṭhati - crow sits on top of the mansion

aciram/acirāt/ acireṇa/acirāya -sa aciram/ acireṇa /acirāya /acirād evāgamiṣyati - He will come before long

aciram/ acireṇa /acirāya /acirāt kāryaṃ kuru - Do the work without delay

ajasram - mandirādajasraṃ nāmasaṅkīrttanaṃ śrūyate - chanting of the Divine name is heard continuously from the temple.

ataḥ - mama śirovedanā asti ataḥ adya nāgamiṣyāmi - I will not come today since I have a headache

atīva - Candraḥ paurṇamyām atīva śobhate - The Moon is very splendrous on the Full Moon night

atra - atra jalaṃ nāsti - There is no water here

atha - atha kim kaaryam ? - So, what to be done ?

atha kim - ekah - devaalayaM gacChaavaH; aparaH - atha kim?

                        A man - We'll go to Temple; Another - Why not ?

adya - adya Ravivāraḥ - It is Sunday today

adyatve - adyatve mahānadyo'pi śuṣkāḥ - Nowadays, even Great Rivers are dried up

adhaḥ/ adhastāt - vṛkṣasya adhaḥ/ adhastāt dhenuḥ carati - The cow grazes under the tree.

adhunā - adhunā yānam āgamiṣyati - The vehicle will come now

aniśam - ghaṇṭānādaḥ aniśam śrūyate - The sound of bell is heard all the time

antaḥ - siṃhaḥ guhāyāḥ antaḥ svapiti - The lion sleeps inside the cave

āśu - bhikṣukaḥbhikṣām prāpya āśu nirgatavān,āśubhāṣaṇaṃ pāṇḍityalakṣaṇam

- The beggar, having got the alms, hurried away, Quick(spontaneous) Speech is a sign of Scholarship

itastataḥ - mṛgāḥ vane itastataḥ bhramanti - animals wander here and there in the forest

itaḥ- itaḥ mā gaccha - Do not go from here

ittham - itthaṃ vrataṃ dhārayato rājñaḥ ekaviṃśatirdinānyatītāni-With the king thus observing the vows, twentyone days elapsed

idānīm - idānīm ahaṃ paṭhiṣyāmi - I shall now proceed to study

iha - iha sarve toṣeṇa vasanti - here everybody lives happily

ekatra -janā nagare ekatra sammilanti - people assemble at one place in the town

ekadā - ekadā bharataḥ bhāratam apālayat- Once upon a ime, Bharata protected Bhārata

eva - bālāḥ mātrā nirdiṣṭam eva prāyaḥ kurvanti - Children generally do only as instructed by the Mother

evam - bālikā gāyati , evameva śuko'pi - the little girl sings, so does the parrot

katham - kathaṃ vayaṃ satyaṃ pālayema ? How do we maintain the Truth?

kathañcana / kathañcit - yuvakaḥ kathañcana / kathañcit vṛkṣam ārohati The lad somehow climbs the tree

kathamapi - rājā kathamapi ślokaṃ hṛdisthamakarot - the king somehow by- hearted the verse

kadā - pitā kadā āgamiṣyati ? When will father come ?

kadācit - kadācid vṛṣṭiḥ bhavet - it may sometimes rain

Conjunctive Indeclinables

atha - maṅgalānantarārambhapraśnakārtsnyeṣvatho atha - In the senses of Auspicious Invocation, thereafter, Commencement, Query, complete inclusion

atha yogānuśāsanam - auspicious invocation

athāto brahmajijñāsā - thereafter, the inquiry into Brahma

atmā nityaḥ atha anityaḥ ? Is Atman eternal or ephemeral? Query

pitṝnatha pitāmahān - the fathers as well as fore-fathers - inclusion

iti - ’tavājñām pālayāmi ’ iti sa māmuvāca -' I will obey your order' he told me thus

vaktuṃ sukaraṃ karttuṃ duṣkaram iti āptavacanam - 'Easier said than done', thus goes tha saying

kim - ki tena durmantriā? ki tayā bālikayā?- What of that wicked Minister ? What of that little girl ?

kimapi - kimapi kamanīyaṃ vapuridam - Inexplicably attractive is this form !

kimartham - kimartho'yaṃ yatnaḥ ? What for is this effort ?

kimiva- kimiva hi madhurāṇām maṇḍanaṃ nākṛtīnām? - What indeed, is not an embellishment to a beautiful form ?

kim vā - kiṃ vā śakuntaletyasya māturākhyā ? Is it that his mother's name is Shakuntalā?

kimu - yauvanaṃ dhanasampattiḥ prabhutvamavivekitā ,

            ekaikamapyanarthāya kimu yatra catuṣṭayam ?

youth, affluence, power, indiscretion - each one singly is a cause of disaster, what then to speak of where all four are together ?

cet - sukhārthī cettyajedvidyāṃ vidyārthī cettyajetsukham. If one yearns for comforts, one may give up Learning and if one longs for Learning, one may give up comforts

sarvaṃ vimṛśya karttavyaṃ nocet paścāttāpaṃ vrajiṣyasi - Everything should be done after much consideration, otherwise, you will have to regret

tu - sampatsakhā, daridratā tu kṛcchram - Prosperity is friend, penury, however, is disaster. neelaakaashastu sundaraH. Azure sky, however, is beautiful. miṣṭhaṃ payo miṣṭhataraṃ tu dugdham. Water is sweet, but sweeter is Milk. bhīmastu pāṇḍavānāṃ raudraḥ. It is, but Bhīma who is the fiercest of the Pāṇḍavas.

Some pairs of Indeclinables, such as yathā- tathā, yāvat-tāvat, yadā- tadā, yadi-tarhi, yatra- tatra etc, are used for connecting two sentences. Examples for familiarisation of their usage are as follows –

Connective Indeclinables -

yadā- tadā - yadā siṃhaḥ āgacchati tadā mṛgā dhāvanti - When the lion shows up then the animals flee

yadā varṣā ārabhate tadā vanitā chatram udghāṭayati - When it begins to rain then the lady unfolds the umbrella

yadā meghā varṣanti tadā mayūrā nandanti- When the clouds pour, then the peacocks delight

yadi -tarhi - yadi aarogyam icChati tarhi vyaayaamaM karotu - if s/he desires good health, then let her/him do exercise

yadi samyak paṭhiṣyati tarhi vijayī bhaviṣyati - If he studies well then he will be successful

yathā - tathā - yathā aśvaḥ dhāvati tathā bālikā dhāvati - just as the horse gallops, so does the little girl run; yathā suhṛdupadiśati tathā purāṇānyupadiśanti .

yāvat - tāvat - yāvannidhidarśanaṃ tāvatkhananam- Digging until the treasure is sighted

            yāvattvaṃ likhasi tāvadahamupaviśāmi - I shall sit until you finish writing.

yadā -kadā - ahaṃ yadā kadā upavanaṃ gacchām - I go to the park now and then .

mātāmahī yadā kadā purāṇaṃ paṭhati- Grandmother reads out PuraaNa now and then.

yatra - tatra - yatra yatra madhu tatra tatra madhumakṣikā - Wherever there is nectar, there all throng the bees. yatra mālinyaṃ tatra durgandhaḥ - Where there is filth, there is stench.

yadyapi - tathāpi -‍yadyapi sa bhiṣagvarastathāpi sa niṣkaruṇaḥ Although he is an excellent Doctor, he knows no compassion

yadyapi vibhīṣaṇo rākṣasastathāpi sa viṣṇubhaktaḥ - Although Vibhīṣaṇawas a demon, he was a great devotee of Viṣṇu

yadyapi bahu nādhīṣe tahāpi paṭha putra vyākaraṇam - Although you may not read much, Son, even then, be sure to study Grammar.

In sentences, to distinguish the prior and/or posterior action to the principal action, some primary suffixes such as ktvā, lyap and tumun are added to the subordinate verb. The words ending in these suffixes also become indeclinables.

Indeclinables ending in Primary Suffixes -

The verb denoting the action prior to the principal one gets ktvā or lyap depending on whether it is preceded by a prefix. The verb of posterior action takes the tumun suffix. Eg.-

mandiraṃ gatvā devapūjāṃ karoti- having gone to the temple, s/he propitiates the gods.

bālaḥ kṣīraṃ pātuṃ mahānasaṃ prāviśat - The child entered the kitchen so as to drink milk

These suffixes are added to the subordinate verbs denoting actions which are performed by the same agent who does the main action -

vatsaḥ dhenumupagamya kṣīraṃ pibati - the calf, having approached the cow, drinks milk.Here the actions of approaching and drinking are both performed by the calf.

More examples of indeclinables ending in ktvā (indeclinable Past Participles) - dhenuḥ tṛṇaṃ caritvā jalaṃ pibati

- The cow, having grazed, drinks water.

gṛhaṃ gatvā pāṭḥaṃ paṭhati- Having gone home, reads lessons

chātraḥ guruṃ natvā kakṣyāṃ praviśati . Student, having bowed to the Teacher, enters the classroom.

Examples of indeclinable Past Participles ending in lyap -

kaviḥ kavitāṃ vilikhya prakāśakāya dadāti - Poet, having composed poem, gives it to the publisher.

yogī harināma sañjapya tiṣṭhati - Yogi sits chanting the name of Hari

putraḥ mātaramanugamya modakhaṃ pṛcchati - Son, having neared Mother, asks for sweets.

Examples of Indeclinables ending in tumun(Infinitive ) -

saḥ karma karttumicchati - He wishes to do work

ahaṃ saṃskṛtena vaktumicchāmi - I wish to speak in Sanskrit

śiśuḥ kathām śrotumicchati - Child wishes to hear stories.

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