Lakārāḥ - Conjugational Suffixes

Lakāra, or the letter 'l', to be precise, is an affix added to verbal roots to arrive at verbal forms. This 'l' is of ten kinds distinguished by the different anubandhas and, thus, represents altogether ten Tenses and Moods in which the verbs are conjugated. The ten lakāras are - la, li, lu, lṛṭ, le, lo, la, li, lu, and lṛṅ. Of these, 'le' is found used only in the Vedas and therefore does not form the subject of Classical Sanskrit. However, the liis of two types - the vidhiliand the āśīrli, and so we are once again left with ten. Thus, is it said - lavarttamāne levede bhūte laluliastathā |

vidhyāśio'stu liloau lulṛṭlṛṅ ca bhaviyati ||

That is, the la is used in the sense of the Present, the le only in the Vedas, the la ,lu and li are for the Past, for command and Blessing the li and lo while lu, lṛṭ, lṛṅ are for the Future sense.

The lakāras are added to the transitive roots in the Active and Passive Voice, to represent the different tenses and moods of an action, whereas, to the intransitive roots, they are added in the Active voice and the Impersonal. Of these, six stand for the Tenses and four represent different Moods. Those that represent the Tenses are -

Tenses Third Person Singular form of the root bhū, to be

i la - varttamāne Present Tense bhavati

ii la - anadyatane bhūte Past Imperfect abhavat

iii lu - sāmānyabhūte Aorist abhūt

iv li - paroke (bhūte) Past Perfect babhūva

v lu - anadyatane bhaviyatkāle First future bhavitā

vi lṛṭ - sāmānye bhaviyatkāle Second Future bhaviyati

The Moods are -

i lo - ājñāprārthanādiu Imperative bhavatu

ii vidhili - vidhinimantrāāmantranādiu Potential bhavet

iii āśīrli - āśii Benedictive bhūyāt

iv lṛṅ - kriyātipattau, hetuhetumadbhāve Conditional abhaviyat

There are two ways in which the verbal roots are conjugated in these ten lakāras, - the Parasmaipada and the Atmanepada . The conjugations have Three Persons and three numbers for every root in each Tense and Mood, which results in nine forms of every verb in every Tense/ Mood. These forms are arrived at by substituting the lakāra by nine suffixes each for the Parasmaipada and the Atmanepada conjugation, the substitute suffixes ,thus, summing up to eighteen. These eighteen suffixes are -

the Parasmaipada suffixes the Atmanepada suffixes

tip tas jhi ta ātām jha

sip thas tha thās āthām dhvam

mip vas mas i vahi mahi

The Tianta

These eighteen suffixes are called the Tisuffixes, a name coined by joining the first letter of the first suffix and the last letter of the last. A verbal root combined with any of these suffixes makes for a Tianta, which, like a subanta,is recognised as a pada which alone can be used in a meaningful sentence since the maxim is apadana prayuñjīta -never employ in a sentence, what is not a pada. So theTiantas or the conjugated verbal forms are a very important ingredient in a sentence.

The Tipratyayas along with śitpratyayas ( suffixes of which the ś is designated itand gets dropped) which are enjoined under the head of Dhātu or verbal roots, also get designated as Sārvadhātuka while any other pratyaya that is enjoined after a Dhātu under the head "Dhātu", is called an ārdhadhātuka . These also determine the ultimate conjugational forms of a verbal root since the Sārvadhātukapratyayasbring forth a distinguishing mark called the vikaraacihna in their active conjugation, which the ārdhadhātukas do not.

Although the Tipratyayas are only eighteen in number, nine each for each type of conjugation, these nine are retained only in the lalakāra or the Present Tense, where

also they undergo changes,, and in the other Tenses and Moods, they get altogether substituted by other suffixes. Because of this, in effect, only la, la, loand vidhiliremain Sārvadhātukas and the rest become ārdhadhātukas. When the Sārvadhātuka suffixes follow, the distinguishing mark or vikaraa will be śap for the group of roots beginning with bhū , in the Active Voice.

The following therefore, are the endings that the verbs take in the different conjugations-


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayas

Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd person ti ta anti te ite ante

2nd person si tha tha se ithe dhve

1st person mi va ma i vahe mahe

The roots get 'śap-vikaraa' of which only the 'a' remains. The conjugation, thus, for example will be - root + vikaraa + tip -> bhū + śap (a) + ti -> bho + a+ ti = bhavati.

Similarly for Atmanepada, edh + a + te = edhate.The complete conjugation for the roots bhū &edh in the present tense or lalakāra will be -

bhavati bhavata bhavanti edhate edhete edhante

bhavasi bhavatha bhavatha edhase edhethe edhadhve

bhavāmi bhavāva bhavāma edhe edhāvahe edhāmahe


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd person ttām an ta itām anta

2nd person stam ta thā ithāmdhvam

1st personamva ma ivahi mahi

During conjugation, the Augment ain the beginning, is an additional feature in this tense.

Examples abhavat abhavatām abhavan aidhata aidhetām aidhanta

Roobhū &abhavaabhavatam abhavata aidhathāaidhethām aidhadhvam

Rooedhabhavam abhavāva abhavāma aidhe aidhāvahi aidhāmahi


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayas

Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person tu/tāt tām antu tām itām antām

2ndPerson tāt tam ta sva ithām dhvam

1st Person āni āva āma ai āvahai āmahai

Examples Roobhū & Rooedh

3rd P bhavatu/bhavatāt bhavatām bhavantu edhatām edhetām edhantām

2nd P bhava bhavatam bhavata edhasva edhethām edhadhvam

1st P bhavāni bhavāva bhavāma edhai edhāvahai edhāmahai


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person īt ītām īyu īta īyātām īran

2nd Person ī ītam īta īthā īyāthām īdhvam

1st person īyam īva īvama īya īvahi īmahi

ExamplesRoobhū & Roosaha

Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person bhavet bhavetām bhaveyu saheta saheyātām saheran

2nd Person bhave bhavetam bhaveta sahethā saheyāthām sahedhvam

1st person bhaveyam bhaveva bhavema saheya sahevahi sahemahi

All the above forms are characterised by the distinguishing mark or vikaraa, śap, since the tiin these are sārvadhātuka. The remaining forms, i.e., lu, lṛṭ, lṛṅ, āśīrli, liand luare substituted by ārdhadhātukas and hence, do not get the vikaraa. The Parasmaipada and ātmanepada suffixes for these lakāras after undergoing some changes, and the consequent forms of illustrative roots are given below -


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person tā tārau tāra tā tārau tāra

2nd Person tāsi tāstha tāstha tāse tāsāthe tādhve

1st Person tāsmi tāsva tāsma tāhe tāsvahe tāsmahe

Examples bhavitā bhavitārau bhavitāra edhitā edhitārau edhitāra

roobhū &bhavitāsi bhavitāsthabhavitāstha edhitāse edhitāsāthe edhitādhve

Rooedhbhavitāsmi bhavitāsvabhavitāsmaedhitāhe edhitāsvahe edhitāsmahe


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person syati syata syanti syate syete syante

2nd Person syasi syatha syatha syase syethe syadhve

1st Person syāmi syāva syāma sye syāvahe syāmahe

Examples bhaviyati bhaviyata bhaviyanti edhiyate edhiyete edhiyante

roobhū &bhaviyasi bhaviyathabhaviyatha edhiyase edhiyethe edhiyadhve

Rooedh bhaviyāmi bhaviyāvabhaviyāmaedhiye edhiyāvahe edhiyāmahe


In this, the root gets the augment ajust as in la, the endings are also like lalakāra. The infix is like that of the lṛṭ.

parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person (a)syat (a)syatām (a)syan (a)syata (a)syetām (a)syanta

2nd Person (a)sya (a)syatam (a)syata (a)syathā (a)syethām (a)syadhvam 1st Person (a)syam (a)syāva (a)syāma (a)sye (a)syāvahi (a)syāmahi

Examples abhaviyat abhaviyatām abhaviyan aidhiyata aidhiyetām aidhiyanta

roobhū abhaviyaabhaviyatam abhaviyata aidhiyathāaidhiyethām aidhiyadhvam

&Rooedh abhaviyam abhaviyāva abhaviyāma aidhiye aidhiyāvahi aidhiyāmahi


parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person yāt yāstām yāsu ṣṭa sīyāstām sīran

2nd Person yāstam yāsta sīṣṭā sīyāsthām sīdhvam

1st Person yāsam yāsva yāsma sīya sīvahi sīmahi

Examples bhūyāt bhūyāstām bhūyāsu edhiīṣṭa edhiīyāstām edhiīran

roobhū bhūyābhūyāstam bhūyāsta edhiīṣṭāedhiīyāsthām edhiīdhvam

&Rooedh bhūyāsam bhūyāsva bhūyāsma edhiīya edhiīvahi edhiīmahi


Conjugation in this lakāra is of two kinds - one in which reduplication or dvitva is involved and another in which anuprayoga takes place. In the latter kind, the expressions āmfollowed by the liforms of the roots as, bhūor k(eg.- āmāsa, āmbabhūva or āñcakāra / āñcakre) are used as the endings in accord with the Person and number. Some roots have both types of conjugations while the rest have either the one or the other.

The endings in the former kind are as follows -

parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person a atu u e āte ire

2nd Person tha athu a se āthe dhve

1st Person a va ma e vahe mahe

Examplefor the reduplicative type - roobhū

babhūva babhūvatu babhūvu

babhūvitha babhūvathu babhūva

babhūvababhūviva babhūvima

Examplefor the anuprayoga type - rooedh

edhāmbabhūva edhāmbabhūvatu edhāmbabhūvu

edhāmbabhūvitha edhāmbabhūvathu edhābabhūva

edhābabhūva edhāmbabhūviva edhāmbabhūvima

Similarly, edhāmāsa etc.

Examplefor ātmanepada - rooedh

edhāñcakre edhāñcakrāte edhāñcakrire

edhāñcakṛṣe edhāñcakrāthe edhāñcakṛḍhve

edhāñcakre edhāñcakvahe edhāñcakmahe

Note: Any of the roots as, bhū and kcan be used for anuprayoga with ām. While, as and bhū take their original parasmaipadī form, irrespective of whichever root they are used with, kdhātu, being ubhayapadī, is used in parasmaipadī form with parasmaipadī roots and ātmanepadī form with ātmanepadī roots.

NBChanges have been made above in the liexplanation and examplesand more information has been added than is given in the Sanskrit Version.


Like lalakāra, luis also characterised by aaugment to the root.There are many types of conjugations in luand many different suffixes are added in both parasmaipada and ātmanepada, all of which are not being given here. It is advisable to refer to Siddhāntakaumudī for detailed learning. However, examples of one type each in parasmaipada and ātmanepada are as follows -

parasmaipadapratyayas (after changes) ātmanepadapratyayasSingular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural

3rd Person t tām an ta itām anta

2nd Person s tam ta thā itām dhvam

1st Person am va ma i vahi mahi

Examples abhūt abhūtām abhūvan adikata adiketām adikanta

roobhū abhūabhūtam abhūta adikaadiketām adikadhvam

&Roodiś abhūvam abhūva abhūma adike adikvahi adikmahi

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