Vākyaprayogāḥ-Syntax

Sanskrit Sentences can be of three kinds, those in the Active Voice, those in the Passive and those that are impersonal, depending respectively on whether the Subject or the Object is accorded a predominant position or whether the verb is Intransitive. Technically, these three types are known as karttari prayogaḥ, karmaṇi prayogaḥ and bhhāve prayogaḥ. Alternatively, they arecalled karttṛvācyaḥ, karmavācẏaḥ and bhāvavācyaḥ, meaning sentences in which respectively the subject, the object and the idea are directly expressed.

Karttari prayogaḥ - The usage where the karttā or the agent of the action, i.e., the Subject, is given predominance is, obviously, called the karttari prayogaḥ. In such a usage, the word denoting the Subject takes the nominative case suffix, that denoting the object will get the accusative case suffix and the Person and Number of the verb will be in accordance with those of the subject. The conjugation may be of the ātmanepada or the parasmaipada type depending upon the nature of the action and the verbal root. Eg.- bālaḥ pāṭhaṃ paṭhati - the boy reads the lesson - the subject here, is 'the boy'- bālaḥ- in the Nominative case, singular; the object is 'the lesson' - pāṭhaṃ - Accusative singular and the verb is 'reads' - paṭhati - Third person, singular.

The Active Voice is also of three kinds - the Transitive - one where object exists, the Bi- Transitive where Dual-Object exists and the Intransitive where there is no object. These kinds are respectively known as the Sakarmaka, the Dvikarmaka and the Akarmaka. Thus it is said -                   

karttṛkarmakriyāyuktaḥ prayogaḥ syātsakarmakaḥ |

akarmakaḥ karmaśūnyaḥ karmadvandvau dvikarmakaḥ ||

Complete with Subject, Object and Verb,

know that usage as Transitive

Intransitive is Objectless

and two objects mean Bi-Transitive

Verbal roots with the following meanings can be said to be intransitive -

lajjāsattāsthitijāgaraṇaṃ vṛddhikṣayabhayajīvitamaraṇam |

śayanakrīḍārucidīptyarthaṃ dhātugaṇaṃ tamakarmakamāhuḥ ||

Know thee, as intransitive those with these senses

the verbal roots, to be shy or just to be, to stay

To wake, to sleep, to grow, to decay

to fear, to like, to die, or to shine

also to live, or then to play

Examples -

Intransitive - puṣpaṃ vikasati - the flower blooms

Transitive - devo bālaṃ rakṣati-Lord protects the boy

Bi-Transitive - chātraḥ adhyāpakaṃ saṃśayaṃ pṛcchati- Pupil asks Teacher the doubt.

More Examples of Active Voice with transitive verbs:-

śiṣyaḥ vedaṃ śṛṇoti                                                 Disciple listens to the Veda                       

puruṣāḥ āmrāṇi khādanti                                        Men eat mangoes   

sītā kathāṃ vadati                                                    Sītā narrates a story

bālāḥ tārāḥ gaṇayanti                                              Boys count the stars

ahaṃ prātaḥ āpaṇaṃ gacchāmi                            I visit the market in the morning

puttraḥ vaidyaśāstram apaṭhat                               Son studied Medicine

chāttrāḥ puraskārān prāpsyanti                             The students will receive prizes

saḥ sadā īśvaraṃ vandate                                      He always worships God

yūyaṃ vyāyāmaṃ kuruta                                        Do exercise, ye all !

janāḥ mittrāṇi na vismareyuḥ                                 Let people not forget friends

tvam udyamena kīrttiṃ labhasva                           Achieve fame, ye, through hard work !

vayaṃ nadīṃ tarāmaḥ                                             We cross the river

rāmaḥ vane kaṣṭam asahata                                  Rāma endured hardship in the forest

tvaṃ śīghraṃ gṛhaṃ gaccha                                  Reach home quickly, O you !

rājānaḥ dharmaṃ na parityajeyuḥ                      Let the kings not abandon righteousness

ahaṃ śikṣakasya vācamanuvarttiṣye                   I will follow the words of the Teacher

sā vedikāyāṃ nṛttaṃ kuryāt                                    She may perform dance on the stage

devadattaḥ annaṃ pacatu                                      Let Devadatta cook the rice

tantuvāyaḥ paṭamakuruta                                       The weaver made the cloth           

munayaḥ śrīnārāyaṇaṃ stavaiḥ abhajanta          The ascetics served śrīnārāyaṇa                                                                                                   with praises

rāmalakṣmaṇau viśvāmitrasya yajñam arakṣatām         Rāma &Lakṣmaṇa protected the                                                                                       sacrifice of Viśvāmitra

tau vane nūtanakusumāni apaśyatām                  They both saw new flowers in the forest

guravaḥ pratidinaṃ svādhyāyaṃ kurvanti           Preceptors perform self-study everyday

bhavantaḥ viṣayaṃ samyagavagacchantu         You all may please understand the                                                                                               matter clearly.

Examples of Bi-transitive verbs

mātā taṇḍulān odanaṃ pacati                                   Mother cooks meals of the rice-grains

daridrāḥ dhanikān dhanamayācanta                         The poor begged money of the rich

pathikaḥ āpaṇikaṃ mārgamapṛcchat       The travellor asked the way, of the shopkeeper

gopālaḥ gāṃ dugdhaṃ dogdhi                                   The cowherd milked the cow for milk

Rāmaḥ ajam grāmam nayati                                           Rāma takes the goat to the village

Note:- Bi-transitive verbs are verbs governing two objects - one principal and the other secondary. Verbs conveying the sense of the following roots are generally recognized as governing two objects -

duhyācpacdaṇḍrudhipracchiśāsujimathmuṣām |

karmayuksyādakathitaṃ tathā syānnīhṛkṛṣvahām ||

The roots duh,yāc,pac,daṇḍ,rudh,pracch,śās,ji,math and muṣ

otherwise not mentioned by way of any case - relations

may be as the object, as also nī,hṛ,kṛṣ vah

and roots with these senses

It may also be noted that in Passive construction, in the case of the first twelve roots enumerated above, the secondary object is put in the nominative case whereaswith the last four, it is the principal object that is put in the nominative case, the other object in both instances remaining the same as in Active voice.

Karmaṇi prayogaḥ - Passive Voice

In this usage, the object gets predominance. Thereby, the word denoting the object is placed in the Nominative and that representing the Subject is put in the instrumental. The verb follows the object in Person and Number and the conjugation is always in the ātmanepada. Eg. - ’bālaiḥ pāṭhaḥ paṭhyate’ - the lesson is read by the boy - Here, the word for the subject, bāla, takes the third case, that for the object, pāṭha, takes the first case and the verb 'paṭhyate', follows 'pāṭha' in Person and Number and is conjugated in the ātmanepada. The infix 'yak', of which only 'ya' remains is also added to the verb in laṭ, laṅ, loṭ and liṅ lakāras , suc as, paṭh+ya+te=paṭhyate, vand+ya+te=vandyate.

The examples given above for the Active Voice are now shown in the Passive -

śiṣyeṇa vedaḥ śrūyate                                               The Veda is listened to by the disciple

puruṣaiḥ āmrāṇi khādyante                                                           Mangoes are eaten by the men

sītayā kathā ucyate                                                                     The story is narrated by Sītā

bālaiḥ tārāḥ gaṇyante                                                       The stars are counted by the boys

mayā prātaḥ āpaṇaḥ gamyate                      The market is visited by me in the morning putreṇa vaidyaśāstamapaṭhyata                                         Medicine was studied by the son

chātraiḥ puraskārāḥ prāpsyante                       The prizes will be received by the students

tena sadā īśvaraḥ vandyate                                            God is always worshipped by him

yuṣmābhiḥ vyāyāmaḥ kriyatām                                          Let exercise be done by you all!

janaiḥ mitrāṇi na vismaryeran                                Let not friends be forgotten by people !

tvayā udyamena kīrttiḥ labhyatām       May fame be achieved by you through hard work

asmābhiḥ nadī tīryate                                                                      The river is crossed by us

rāmeṇa vane kaṣṭam asahyata                     Hardship was endured by Rāma in the forest

tvayā śīghraṃ gṛhaṃ gamyatām                               May home be reached by you quickly

rājabhiḥ dharmaḥ na parityajyeta             May righteousness not be abandoned by kings

mayā śikṣakasya vāk anuvarttiṣyate               The Teacher's word will be followed by me

tayā vedikāyāṃ nṛttaṃ kriyeta                    May the dance be performed by her on stage

devadattena annaṃ pacyatām                                    Let the rice be cooked by Devadatta

tantuvāyena paṭaḥ akriyata                                                         the cloth was made by the weaver

munibhiḥ śrīnārāyaṇaḥ stavaiḥ abhajyata                          śrīnārāyaṇa was served with praises                                                                               by the asetics

rāmalakṣmaṇābhyāṃ viśvāmitrasya yajñaḥ arakṣyata             Viśvāmitra's sacrifice was                                                                                 protected by Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa

tābhyāṃ vane nūtanakusumāni adṝśyanta          New flowers were seen by them both in                                                                           the forest

gurubhiḥ pratidinaṃ svādhyāyaḥ kriyate                The self-study is performed everyday                                                                                by the preceptors

bhavadbhiḥ viṣayaḥ samyagavagamyatām             Let the matter be please understood                                                                                 clearly by you all

Examples of Bi-transitive verbs

mātrā taṇḍulāḥ odanaṃ pacyante             The rice-grains are cooked into meals                                                                             by mother

daridraiḥ dhanikāḥ dhanamayācyanta     The rich were begged for money

                                                                        by the poor

pathikena āpaṇikaḥ mārgamapṛcchyata  The shop-keeper was asked the way,

                                                                        by the travellor                                 

gopālena gauḥ dugdhaṃ duhyate                        The cow was milked by the cowherd                                                                               for milk

Rāmeṇa ajaḥ grāmam nīyate                     The goat is taken to the village by Rāma

NoteMore information is added in the English version about verbs governing two objects, as well as intransitive verbs, than is given in the Sanskrit version.

Examples of Intransitive verbs

ahaṃ prātaḥ saptahorāparyantaṃ svapimi - I sleep till seven o'clock in the morning

bālakaḥ prātaḥ acirād uttiṣṭhati                                   The child wakes early in the morning

śiśuḥ ajñātavyaktiṃ dṛṣṭvā lajjate                              The baby shies away from the stranger

pustakam atra asti                                                      The book is here

saḥ sahasā jāgartti                                                     He wakes suddenly

The above sentences do not have any object.

Bhāve prayogaḥ - Impersonal

When the idea in the sentence is sought to be given more importance than the subject, the usage becomes Impersonal. This usually pertains to intransitive verbs, and hence, there is no object involved. Like in the Passive Voice, here too, the Subject is accorded the instrumental case but the verb always takes the third Person Singular form. the conjugation is in the ātmanepada and like the Passive, there is the infix 'yak' of which only the 'ya' remains. Eg.- ’puṣpeṇa vikasyate’ - here, the subject 'puṣpa' takes the Instrumental case and the verb 'vikasyate’ is conjugated in the third person singular. There is no object in the sentence.

More Examples

            karttari- Active                                                bhāve - Impersonal

bālakaḥ prātaḥ uttiṣṭhati                                                          bālakena prātaḥ utthīyate

The little boy gets up in the morning                                       It is gotten up in the morning by the                                                                                                   little boy

mātā vilambena svapiti                                                           mātrā vilambena supyate

Mother sleeps late                                                                It is slept late by mother

saḥ kaṭe upaviśati                                                                tena kaṭe upaviśyate

He sits on the mat                                                                The mat is sat on by him

mama puttrī vaidyā bhavati                                                 mama puttryā vaidyayā bhūyate

My daughter is a Doctor                                                      It is been Doctor by my daughter

vṛkṣāt phalāni patanti                                                          vṛkṣāt phalaiḥ patyate

Fruits fall from the tree                                                         It is being fallen by the fruits from                                                                                                  the tree

vane vyāghraḥ uccaiḥ garjati                                             vane vyāghreṇa uccaiḥ garjyate

The tiger growls loudly in the forest                                  it is growled loudly by the tiger in                                                                                                  the forest

abhinetāraḥ vedikāyāṃ nṛtyanti                                         abhinetṛbhiḥ vedikāyāṃ nṛtyate

The actors perform dance on the stage                            Dance is performed by the                                                                                                  actors on the stage                          

te vijayinaḥ bhavanti                                                            taiḥ vijayibhiḥ bhūyate

They are successful                                                             It is being successful by them

tvaṃ śīghraṃ vardhase                                                       tvayā śīghraṃ vṛdhyate

You do grow fast                                                                  Growing is done by you fast

ahamasmin bhavane vasāmi                                             mayāsmin bhavane uṣyate

I live in this building                                                             this building is lived in by me

                                                                                    (It is being lived by me in this building)

bālāḥ krīḍāṅagaṇe krīḍanti                                                bālaiḥ krīḍāṅgaṇe krīḍyate

Boys play in the playground                                   It is being played by the boys in                                                                                                     the playground

                                                                          (The playground is being played in by the boys)

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