Shiva sutras

Subrahmanian, Sundararaman V [IT] sundararaman.v.subrahmanian at CITIGROUP.COM
Wed Jul 10 09:11:30 CDT 2002

nR^ttAvasAne naTarAjarAjaH nanAda DakkAm navapanchavAram  |
uddhartu kAmassanakAdi siddhAn etadvimarSe SivasUtrajAlam  ||

nR^tta = dance
avasAna = end
naTarAja rAjaH = Lord of dance
nanAda = sounded
DakkAm = damaru
nava pancha = nine and five = fourteen
vAram = times
kAma = for the sake of / with the desire to
uddhartu = upliftment
sanakAdi = sanaka etc
siddhAn = sages
etat = this
jAlam = web (of)
shiva sUtra = sUtras of Lord Shiva
vimarshe = (I) examine

At the end of the cosmic dance Lord Shiva the Lord of dance, sounded his
damaru fourteen times.  For the sake of the upliftment of sages like sanaka.
I wish to examine this web of Siva sUtras.


The best part about it this sUtras is that, pANini had to have the entire
set of pratyAhara sUtras (mentioned below by Sri Jaladhar) ready before he
could have constructed the rest of the 3000+ sUtras.  At the same time, the
arrangement of the alphabets in these 14 sUtras should take into account
their intended usage in the rest of the 3000+ sUtras.

Example:  In ikoyaNachi (mentioned below), he needs pratyAharas ik, yaN and
ach.  The way the letters are arranged in the 14 sUtras this is possible.
So without knowing all the sUtras ahead of time, he could not have come up
with the 14 arrangements of letters.  And without the arrangement of letters
he could not have come up with the sUtras.

May be did some kind of bootstrapping... (like writing C complier in C)

But the better explanation which I have resorted to is that it was obtained
by the Grace of the Lord.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jaldhar H. Vyas [mailto:jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 9:18 AM
Subject: Shiva sutras

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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