Shiva sutras

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jul 10 08:18:24 CDT 2002

There are two works called Shivasutras.  One is one of the foundational
texts of Kashmiri Shaivism, the other is part of the vyakarana (grammar.)
which is what I think the previous posters were refering to.  To this day,
this is the first thing students of Sanskrit learn in Vyakarana.They are
also known as pratyahara (symbolic) sutras as Ken mentioned.  The name
Shiva or Maheshvara sutras coms from the tradition that Panini heard them
from the sounds of Shiva Bhagavans' damaru (drum.)  The 14 sutras are (in
ITRANS format):

aiuN | R^iL^ik | eo~N | aiauch | hayavaraT | laN | ~nama~NaNanam | jabha~n |
ghaDhadhaSh | jabagaDadash | khaphaChaThathachaTatav | kapay | shaShasar |
hal ||

Sounds like gibberish right?  Actually they are a clever rearrangement of
the alphabet.  The letter at the end of each sutra is called an it.  A
letter followed by an it specifies all the letters in between.  For
instance, aN represents a, i, and u. ak represents a, i, u, R^i, and L^i.
This enables grammatical rules to be specified in a concise, algebraic

Heres an example.  In Sanskrit words can merge together in a process
called sandhi.  E.g. devi + uvAcha = devyuvAcha ("Devi said.")  In the
western method of learning Sanskrit, you just have to memorize a table of
the different letter combinations.  Panini simply says:

iko yaN achi |

"ik is replaced by yaN when ach follows"

In other words, ik (i, u, R^i, L^i) is replaced by yaN (ya, va, ra, la) if
a vowel (ach or a, i, u, L^i, R^i, e, o, ai, au) follows.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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