Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Jun 1 22:21:13 CDT 2000

On Fri, 26 May 2000, Ram Chandran wrote:

> Hari Om;
> Let me add some additional points regarding the terminology, Advaita.
> Panini's Sanskrit grammatical structure is mathematically precise and has
> been recognized most suitable for computer language structure.

Speaking as someone who has studied both computer science and vyakarana, I
have to say this is not true though for some reason many Indians
seem to believe it.

Computers can easily handle any Human language, Panini was aiming at a
much lower bandwidth device--the human brain.  The reason for the precise
logic and economy of expression of the sutras is that they are meant to be

> For computer
> computations, binary notations are critical and Sanskrit grammatical
> structure has a built in (natural) binary notation.  Look the following
> pairs of mutually exclusive words:
> Dharma  -  Adharma
> Satyam     -   Asatyam
> Suddham  -  Asuddham
> Nithi      -  Anithi
> Nyayam   -  Anyayam
> Dairyam   -  Adairyam
> etc., etc.,

Look at the following sets of words

possible       impossible
attractive     unattractive
edible         inedible

forming words by negation is hardly a unique feature of Sanskrit.  In fact
I'd be surprised if there were any language that _didn't_ do this.

> We can know everything that we want to know about Dharma by eliminating
> ‘Adharma' We can establish Dharma by abolishing Adharma and vice-versa
> establish Adharma by not observing Dharma! The structure is mathematically
> precise without any ambiguities.  A similar statement is possible with
> respect to Satyam, Suddham, Nithi, Nyayam, Dairyam, etc.
> Now let us get back to the word -  Advaitam.
> The associated pair of words are: Dvaitam and Advaitam.  These two are
> mutually exclusive terms and we eliminate Dvaitam then Advaitam is
> established.  More effectively, if we establish Advaitam, we can eliminate
> Dvaitam.   In conclusion, I believe that Advaitam is a better representation
> than Ekatam.

Advaita and Dvaita are just adjectives.  By themselves they are
meaningless.  As the current discussion on Buddhism shows, being
"Advaitam" isn't enough. Same for Ekta.  The key question is _what_ is
"not-two" or what is "one"?  If we look at all the clever people who have
expended such effort into answering these questions we can see that they
do not avail of simplistic answers.

> Note: Panini's grammatical structure is well recognized by the scientists
> who work in the area of Artificial Intelligence.  A number of journal
> articles have referenced Panini' grammatical structure and its relevance for
> computer algorithms.

I can understand why a computer scientist would appreciate the logic of
Panini (Thats how I got interested in Sanskrit) but they would be sadly
mistaken if they thought it would help with "artificial intelligence" at
all. The sutras address syntax which is fairly easy for a computer-even
for a messy unsystematic language like English.  The "intelligence" part
of artificial intelligence is in semantics and that the sutras hardly deal

Unfortunately a big problem in Indian society these day is people like to
sit around and congratulate themselves on how ancient and profound their
culture is but they don't want to take the trouble to actually learn what
it is saying!

Let's show respect to Panini and the other great scientists of our culture
by learning and passing on their wisdom.  Here's a little taste of what
vyakarana is all about.

Although it is a groundbreaking work, the Ashtadhyayi of Panini had
some problems and was refined by his successors.  In the 15th century,
Bhattoji Dikshita rearranged the order of the Sutras and it is his work
the Siddhanta Kaumudi which is the standard work on vyakarana or
grammar.  This was condensed by Varadaraja Bhatta into the Laghu Siddhanta
Kaumudi which is what I have studied.

The key to understanding vyakarana is the 14 pratyahara sutras also known
as Maheshwara sutras because they were created by Shiva Bhagawan.  They
are (in ITRANS notation):

aiuN | R^iL^ik | eo~n | aiauch | hayavaraT | laN | ~nama~NaNanam |
jhabha~n | ghaDhadhash | jabagaDadaSh | khaphaChaThathachaTatav | kapay |
shaShasar | hal ||

Sounds like gibberish right?  Well the sutra "halo'ntyam"  explains that
the last letter of each Maheshwara sutra is an "it" or indicatory letter.
The sutra "Adirantyena saheta" means that the first letter of each sutra
upto the it stands for all the letters in between.  For example one of the
basic rule of sandhi or conjunction for vowels is summed up in the sutra
"iko yaN achi"  This means when ik follows ach it is replaced by yaN.

ik == i,u,R^i,L^i
yaN == ya,va,ra,la
ach == a,i,u,R^i,L^i,e,o,ai,au

or in other words if i,u,R^i,L^i comes after a vowel, it is replaced by
ya,va,ra,la respectively.  E.g.: madhu + ari = madhvari ("The enemy of
[the Asura] Madhu" i.e. Vishnu Bhagawan)

See how much more compact the sutra is?  By learning about 750 sutras like
this one can master almost the entire Sanskrit language.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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