Panini (was Re: Advaita)

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Fri Jun 2 11:00:21 CDT 2000

On Thu, 1 Jun 2000, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> 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
> memorized.

The URL at is a good
resource of the history of mathematics. Here's what it to say about

The dates given for Panini are pure guesses. Experts give dates in the
4th, 5th and 6th century BC.

Panini was a Sanskrit grammarian who gave a comprehensive and scientific
theory of phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Sanskrit was the classical
literary language of the Indian Hindus.

In a treatise called Astadhyayi Panini distinguishes between the language
of sacred texts and the usual language of communication. Panini gives
formal production rules and definitions to describe Sanskrit grammar. The
construction of sentences, compound nouns etc. is explained as ordered
rules operating on underlying structures in a manner similar to modern

Panini should be thought of as the forerunner of the modern formal
language theory used to specify computer languages. The Backus Normal Form
was discovered independently by John Backus in 1959, but Panini's notation
is equivalent in its power to that of Backus and has many similar

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson


> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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