Four self-coined Paribhāsas by Hemcandra: A study on their significance and application

Priyam Ashish
Ph.D. candidate
Department of Sanskrit
University of Delhi
Contact No.- 9891580767


The Paribhāṣā texts play a crucial role in Sanskrit grammar. There have been over 500 paribhāṣās written, with 19 independent treatises available. Pāṇini and Vyāḍi are considered to be the founders of these interpretive rules, with Pāṇini writing 48 paribhāṣās and Vyāḍi the first to compile a collection and write a commentary known as Paribhāṣāsūcana. In the tradition of Siddhahaima Vyākaraṇa, two Paribhāṣāvritti exist: Nyāyasaṃgraha by Ācārya Hemahansagani and Nyāyasamuccaya by Vijaylāvaṇyasūri. Hemcandra himself listed 57 paribhāṣās. A large number of paribhāṣā existing in texts of different schools of grammar serving a similar purpose sometimes overlap. The aim of this study is to examine four self-coined metarules (Nyāya) by Hemcandra and their role in the Haima grammatical system.

Keywords: Haima Vyākaraṇa, Paribhāṣā, Nyāyasaṃgraha, Nyāya, Hemcandra


The study of Vyākaraṇa, which was initially a mean (sādhana) to grasp the language, became, by virtue of dealing with the vast subject matter, an objective (sādhya). This study can broadly be divided into three branches:

  1. Śabdasiddhi- formation of words
  2. Śabdārthanirṇaya- determination of sense of the word, and
  3. Śūtrārthanirṇaya- determination of sense of vyākaraṇa rules.

In Sanskrit grammar, the technical term Paribhāṣā has special importance. Without the proper understanding of paribhāṣā, the interpretation, and application of sūtra cannot be fully understood. The word paribhāṣā is derived from the root bhāṣ joining with the prefix pari which gives the meaning ‘a statement which surveys all around’ (paritaḥ bhāṣyate yā sā paribhāṣa). Although, Patañjali in his Mahābhāṣya has not specifically defined paribhāṣā, he compared paribhāṣā with the lamp for the reason that just as the lamp illuminates the surface under its zone, paribhāṣā too elucidates the sūtra which comes under its purview (paribhāṣā punarekdeśastha satī sarvaṃ śāstraṃabhijvalayati pradīpavat). Taking inspiration from Patañjali the latter grammarians defined paribhāṣā accordingly. Puruṣottamadeva in his Laghuparibhāṣavritti has given a simple definition – pari sarvaśāstre upyuktā bhāṣa paribhāṣā. Vaidyanātha Pāyaguṇḍe, a student of celebrated author Nāgeśabhaṭṭa, who also wrote a commentary on Paribhāṣenduśekhar, has defined paribhāṣā as ‘parito vyapṛtāṃ bhāṣāṃ paribhāṣāṃ pracakṣate.’ This definition is widely accepted among grammarians of all schools.

Paribhāṣā serves three purposes:

  1. It helps in the correct interpretation of sūtrās.
  2. It decides the supremacy of the application of a rule, where two sūtrās are in conflict with each other.
  3. It modifies the sense of sūtra for the formation of the correct word.

There are nineteen independent treatises written over paribhāṣā as compiled in Paribhāṣāsaṃgraha of K.V Abhyankar, out of which five texts have been titled Paribhāṣāvritti. There are six Paribhāṣāvritti each representing the school of Śākaṭāyana, Cāndra, Kālāpa, Jainendra, Bhoja, and Haima respectively. Two paribhāṣāvṛtti and one Paribhāṣāpāṭha from Kātantra School and ten from the Pāṇini tradition. The great grammarian Vyāḍi is considered to be the first scholar to have worked over Vyākaraṇa paribhāṣā known as Paribhāṣāsucana. This is also attested by the fact that Vyāḍi is mentioned by the author of Paribhāṣābhāskara in his statement- kecittu vyākhyānato viśeṣpratipattirityādisarvāḥ paribhāṣā vyāḍimunina viracitā ityāhuḥ.[1] Hemcandra provided a compilation of fifty-seven paribhāṣās known as Nyāya at the end of Bṛhadṿrtti on Samarthaḥ padvidhiḥ 4.1.22 sūtra. These fifty-seven paribhāṣās have been selected from earlier paribhāṣā texts and grammatical[2] and general discussions.[3]

  1. Pbh 4: Svarasya Hrasvadīrghaplutāḥ

Purport and implication

The concept of Hrasva and Dīrgha is a fundamental aspect of Sanskrit grammar. However, there can be confusion about the substitution of these sounds, as they can occur both in the place of a vowel and a consonant. To address this issue, the nyāya that Hrasva, Dīrgha, and Pluta substitutes only occur at the place of a vowel has been established. The purpose of this rule is to prevent any confusion that may arise from the absence of clear direction on this matter. For instance, in ‘Sah Śriyā- Saśri kulam’, the ‘I’ hrasva is substituted at the place of ‘Ī’ of ‘Śri’ and not at the place of any consonants, according to the ‘Klibe H 2/4/97’ sūtra. Without this nyāya, the ‘Lṛ’ could have been substituted at the place of ‘T’ of ‘Tat’ due to its proximity, leading to ambiguity. Vijayalavanyasuri has also clarified in his Taraṅga commentary of Nyāyasamuccaya that this nyāya is an independent rule and not an exception (apvāda) of the ‘Ṣaṣṭhyāntasya H 7.4.106’ rule.

Source (Jñāpaka):

The nyāya or rule concerning the operations of Hrasva and dīrgha does not always provide clear indications of the substituendum vowel, or sṭhānin, for which a substitute, or ādeśa, is prescribed. Although these operations are always related to vowels, the original vowel is not mentioned. The absence of the original vowel is the jñāpaka, or indicator, for this nyāya. In contrast, the plutavidhi, or operation relating to prolated, clearly mentions the original vowel for which the substitute is prescribed in sutra ‘sammatyasūyākopakutsaneṣvādyāmantryamādau svareṣvntyaśca plutaḥ H 7.4.89.’ However, some argue that since the sthāni original part is mentioned in rule H 7.4.89, the prolated part is unnecessary in this nyāya. The commentator Hemahansagaṇi counters this objection by explaining that the pluta has been mentioned due to its proximity to Hrasva and Dīrgha, not out of necessity. He further explains, for those grammarians who have not mentioned the (sṭhānin) substituendum in the plutavidhi, the pluta part works as the jñāpaka there.[4]

Historicity of the Nyāya:

The nyāya being discussed is unique to Ācārya Hemacandra’s grammatical system and is not present in any other school of grammar. Specifically, this system does not have any rule that explicitly prohibits the sāvarṇya relationship between a vowel and consonants. Sāvarṇya refers to the quality of homogeneity or sameness between two sounds. In other words, if two sounds share the same quality or characteristic, they are said to be sāvarṇya. On the other hand, the Pāṇinian school of grammar has a rule known as Acaśca P 1.2.28, which orders a vowel substitute in place of a vowel. This rule is similar to the sāvarṇya relationship in that it replaces a vowel with another sound that has the same quality or characteristic. However, the rule does not explicitly prohibit the sāvarṇya relationship, as it is only concerned with the substitution of sounds. To account for this difference, Ācārya Hemacandra coined a paribhāṣā, which is a rule or principle that governs the application of other rules in a given system. This paribhāṣā states that a vowel and a consonant cannot be in sāvarṇya relationship, which is a departure from the Pāṇinian system. However, this nyāya or principle does not find its place in any other school of grammar. Although Nandighosha Vijaya mentions that Bhoja also accepts this as a nyāya or paribhāṣā, a collection of Bhoja’s meta-rules compiled by K.V Abhyankar in his Paribhāṣasaṃgraha does not include this specific nyāya.[5] Thus, this nyāya remains unique to the Siddhahaima grammatical system.

  1. Pbh 18: Tivā śavānubandhena nirdiṣtaṃ yadgaṇen ca

     Ekasvaranimittaṃ ca, pañcaitāni na yaṅlupi.

Purport and implication

This Nyāya specifies that certain grammatical operations related to tiva, śava, anubandha, gaṇa, and ekasvara cannot be applied to yaṅlubanta. The preceeding nyāya, prakṛtigrahaṇe yaṅlubantasyapigrahṇam (N 1.17), states that yaṅlubanta should be included wherever the base (prakṛti) is uttered. However, this nyāya provides an exception to the previous one and states that yaṅlubanta cannot be included in five specific cases, namely: a) an operation as specified by a rule, in which the root is appended with the suffix ‘ti’ or b) where a vikaraṇa ṣav is added to the root or c) where an operation is specified with anubhandha or d) where an operation concerns gaṇa, which is a group of roots or e) an operation in which the word ekasvara is employed.

The author Hemahansagani provides a detailed explanation of this paribhāṣā and explains all the operations with examples from each of the conditions specified. By doing so, he clarifies that yaṅlubanta does not conform to certain rules that apply to other grammatical operations. This nyāya highlights the nuances and exceptions that exist in Sanskrit grammar, and serves as a reminder of the intricate and complex nature of this ancient language.

The nyāya in question discusses operations related to ‘Tiva‘, which can be classified into two types: those concerned with unelided Tiva and those prescribed by elided Tiva. The first type is addressed by the Sūtra ‘Na kavateryaṅah H 4.1.47′, which negates the substitution of ‘ca’ in the place of ‘ka’ in the word ‘kavati’. As a result, the word ‘kokūyate’ is formed instead of ‘kokaviti’. However, since this substitution is conditioned by unelided Tiva, it does not apply in yaṇlubanta, where the word formed is ‘cokviti’. The second type of operation is exemplified by the Sūtra ‘Ṅepibaḥ pīpy H 4.1.33′, which substitutes ‘pīpy’ for ‘pib’ in certain contexts. Specifically, this substitution only takes place at the place of the root ‘pib’, as in the example ‘pibantaṃ prāyukta apīpyat’. In yaṅlubanta, however, the same substitution does not occur when ‘pīpy’ is placed at the root ‘pā’, as in the example ‘pāpataṃ prāyukta apāpayat’.

Concerned with operations related to Śava: The sūtra ‘Nisastapenāsevāyāṃ H 2.3.35′ specifies that the sa of nis should be replaced by ṣa, as in the example Niṣṭapatti. However, this substitution does not occur when the S of Nis is associated with the tap root of yaṅlubanta, as in the word Nistātpīti.

Concerned with Anubandha: The sūtra ‘Gāpāststhāsādamāhākaḥ H 4.3.96′ dictates that E should be substituted for the hāka root. However, this substitution does not happen in the root of yaṅlubanta, as seen in words like heyāt and jahāyāta

The operations concerned with Gaṇa are of three kinds

  1. Concerned with Saṃkhyā: It involves the augmentation of Iṭ in Svapiti by Sūtra ‘Rutpañcakācchidayaḥ H4.88′. However, this augmentation does not take place in Soṣopti because the root svap is yaṅlubanta.
  2. Concerned with the word Ādi: The Aṅ augment by sūtra ‘Lṛdiddyutādipuṣyādeḥ parasmai H4.64” happens in Adyutat but it is negated by this nyāya in Adedyotīd because here the root dyut is yaṅlubanta.
  3. Concerned with Bahuvacana: The sūtra ‘Tergrahādibhyaḥ H4.33’ states that the augment iṭ is placed before Ti suffix of root grah etc, when the suffix Ti is aśit (where is not a mute letter), therefore it is augmented in Bhaṇiti. However, since ‘bambhāṇiṭ’ of yaṅlubanta is concerned with bahuvacana, this augment is not obtained in that word.

The operations concerned with Ekasvaranimitta: they refer to the rules that apply to words with a single vowel sound (Ekasvara). The sūtra ‘Eksvarādanusvāretaḥ H 4.4.56’ is used to negate the Iṭ augment in certain formations. This negation occurs in words like Sāk but not in the yaṅlubanta forms such as Śāśkitaḥ. In the absence of Eksasvara in Śāśkitaḥ, the above-mentioned sutra ‘Eksvarādanusvāretaḥ H 4.4.56’ will not be applicable. However, since the root śāk has only one vowel, it is considered as Ekasvara by the ‘prakṛti grahṇe yaṇlubantasyapi N 1.17’ nyāya. Thus, words like śāśaki are also to be considered as Ekasvara. Therefore, the negation of the Iṭ augment by ‘Eksvarādanusvāretaḥ H 4.4.56’ is applicable in śāśaki as well. However, the application of this nyāya prevents the negation of the Iṭ augment in śāśaki despite the applicability of the sūtra.

Source (Jñāpaka):

The Jñāpaka of the aforementioned nyāya is the principle that governs the distinct operations carried out by the sūtras that pertain to tiva, śava, ekasvaranimitta, anubandha, and gaṇa. These operations are applied differently depending on the nature of the verbal roots. Hemahansagaṇi, the author, highlights that these sūtras are not applicable in yaṇlubanta formations. Hemahansagaṇi also emphasizes that the first and fifth parts of the nyāya are obligatory and must be applied, while the remaining three parts are optional, and can be used based on the context of the verbal roots.[6]

Historicity of the Nyāya:

The absence of this nyāya in earlier paribhāṣā texts of any grammatical school indicates that it was likely developed later. This suggests that the nyāya was not a foundational principle of Sanskrit grammar, but rather a later addition. However, Patanjali, an ancient Indian grammarian and philosopher, provides an elaborate explanation of this nyāya in the Mahābhāṣya on the rule ‘ekācaupdeṣe’anudāttāt P 7.2. nyāya 10.’ This indicates that this nyāya was already in discussion during Patanjali’s time. Despite Nāgeṣa’s rejection of this nyāya, Vijaylavnayasuri, commentator of Nyāyasaṃgraha, believes that it should be accepted because it is consistent with the Mahābhāṣya and is not contradictory to it. Therefore, the nyāya may have been accepted by some grammarians and scholars of the time, while others may have rejected it.

  1. Pbh 45: Yvṛd yvṛdāśrayaṃ ca

Purport and implication

Yvṛd, also known as Samprasāraṇa in Pāṇinian tradition, refers to the substitution of vowels at the place of semi-vowel. Operations dependent on Yvṛd, such as those related to sandhi and vowel lengthening, are considered to be stronger than ordinary operations that are simultaneously applicable. For example, in the formation of the word upaśvi+ktvā, the substitution of yap at the place of ktvā results in upaśvi+yap. The addition of t by the rule ‘Hṛsasvasya taḥ pitkṛti H 4.4.113’ is an ordinary operation, because it is dependent on the end vowel. However, the operation dependent on Yvṛd, which is specified by the rule ‘yajādivaceḥ kiti H 4.1.79’, takes precedence over the ordinary operation. Furthermore, the operation dependent on Yvṛd, which involves lengthening the vowel by ‘dīrghamavo’ntyaṃ H 4.1.103,’ also takes precedence and prohibits the addition of t. As a result, the final form of the word is upaśūya. This example demonstrates how the concept of Samprasāraṇa or Yvṛd are important in understanding the hierarchy of operations in Sanskrit grammar.

Source (Jñāpaka):

Vijaylavanyasuri states that this nyāya works on the basis of the required conditions being similar, and hence there is no need for a jñāpaka (indicator) for this nyāya as per the classical grammarians.[7] However, modern grammarians argue that this nyāya is not necessary since the desired form could be achieved with or without invoking this nyāya. The absence of a jñāpaka does not undermine the significance of this nyāya because it is said that even those Paribhāṣas that are established by a jñāpaka are not universally true.[8] Additionally, this nyāya is also considered an apavāda (exception) of the preceding nyāyaVārṇāt prākṛtaṃ N 1.44.’ In other words, this nyāya allows for certain exceptions or variations in the application of the preceding nyāya. Therefore, even though this nyāya may not be necessary in every case, it still plays a role in clarifying the rules and exceptions in the Siddhahaima grammar.

Historicity of the Nyāya:

The origins of this nyāya can be traced back to the Bhoja grammar, where it had a slightly different form.[9] However, in the Hemchandra grammatical system, the present form of this nyāya was established. This nyāya is not found in any other paribhāṣā work, indicating that it is a unique feature of the Hemchandra grammatical system. In the Pāninian tradition, a similar nyāya called ‘Samprasāraṇaṃ tadās̄rayaṃ ca kāryaṃ’ is found in place of this nyāya. This suggests that the concept behind this nyāya has been discussed by other grammarians as well, albeit in a slightly different form. Overall, the fact that this nyāya has been discussed by multiple grammarians in different contexts indicates its importance and relevance.

  1. Pbh 49: Lopātsvarādeśaḥ

Purport and implication

In both the Siddhahaima and Pāṇianian grammar, the vowel substitution possesses greater force than the lopa substitution. In this context, the term ‘lup’ also conveys the meaning of ‘luk’ because this nyāya is an exception or apavāda to the previous nyāya. In the example provided, the sūtra ‘devatā H 6.2.101′ orders the addition of aṇ at the end of the word ‘śrī devata’sya’. In the formation ‘śrāyaṃ haviḥ’, the elision of is prohibited by the rule ‘avarṇevarṇasya H 7.4.68′. However, the svarādeśa rule by ‘vṛddhiḥ svareṣvāderñṇiti taddhiteḥ H 7.4.1′ takes precedence over the prohibition of elision and elongates the vowel instead.

Source (Jñāpaka):

The jñāpaka of this nyāya is the positioning of vṛddhisūtra ‘vṛddhi svareṣvāderñṇiti taddhiteḥ H 7.4.1’ before ‘avarṇevarṇsaya H 7.4.68.’ In other words, the positioning of the vṛddhisūtra before the avarṇevarṇasya sūtra is to give precedence to the elongation of the vowel over the elision of the vowel. The ‘vṛddhi svareṣvāderñṇiti taddhiteḥ H 7.4.1′ rule deals with the lengthening of a short vowel when it occurs after a syllable containing a long vowel. On the other hand, the ‘avarṇevarṇsaya H 7.4.68’ rule pertains to the merging of consonants in compound words. If the nyāya in question did not exist, then the order of applying certain rules in the formation of words such as “srāyaṃ haviḥ” would have been different. Specifically, the rule ‘vṛddhi svareṣvāderñṇiti taddhiteḥ H 7.4.1’ would have been mentioned later, after the ‘avarṇevarṇasya H 7.4.68’ rule. This highlights the importance of the nyāya in establishing a specific sequence of rules for constructing certain words.

Historicity of the Nyāya:

The nyāya or rule discussed here deals with the priority given to the vṛddhi or vowel elongation rule over the lopa or vowel elision rule. This nyāya is believed to have originated in the Hemcandra grammatical system. However, in the Pāṇinian tradition, the lopa substitution rule is stated before the vṛddhi rule, so this nyāya is not needed in their system. This nyāya is not found in the paribhāṣā gloss of other grammatical schools such as Śāktāyan, Cāndra, and Jainendra, possibly because they also follow the same order of rules.[10] The jñāpaka or indicator of this nyāya is the order of sūtras, with the vṛddhi rule given precedence over the lopa rule due to this nyāya. The absence of this nyāya in other grammatical systems does not necessarily make it insignificant, as it still has value in the Hemcandra grammatical system


In conclusion, the research shows that Ācārya Hemcandrā, in developing the Haima grammatical system, utilized the paribhāṣās from earlier grammatical texts, including those of Bhoja, Vyāḍi, and Śākatāyan, and created four paribhāṣās of his own. The four paribhāṣās have distinct roles in the Siddhahaima grammatical system, with the first aiding in word formation, the second in clarifying the meanings of related sutras, and the third and fourth resolving conflicts between simultaneous rules. Additionally, the research reveals that Hemcandra collected all other nyāya as they were, with some minor changes from earlier grammatical texts. The study provides valuable insight into the originality and structure of the Haima grammatical system, highlighting the significant role played by paribhāṣās in Sanskrit grammar. Overall, the findings of this research contribute to a better understanding of the complex and intricate nature and the historical development of paribhāsās in Sanskrit grammar.


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[1] See Abhyankar K.V (1967), Paribhāṣāsaṃgraha p. 11

[2] Lokaprasiddhāḥ

[3] Sāstre sucitaḥ

[4] See Hemahaṃsagaṇī, Nyāyasaṃgraha

[5] See Abhyankar K.V (1967), Paribhāṣāsaṃgraha p 105-107

[6] See Hemahaṃsagaṇī, Nyāyasaṃgraha

[7] अयं च न्यायः ईदृशलक्ष्यानुरोधादेवावलम्ब्यते, नान्यत् किञ्चानात्र ज्ञापकमिति प्राञ्चः| Vijaysuri, (1954) Nyāyasammucaya

[8] ज्ञापकसिद्धं न सर्वत्र (125) Paribhāṣenduśekhara

[9] See Nandighoshvijaya (1997), Nyāyasamgraha p.124

[10] See Nandighoshvijaya (1997), Nyāyasamgraha p. 131