[Advaita-l] 'khsha' kAra in yajurveda saMhita maNtra-s

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Aug 30 02:33:29 CDT 2013

Thank you Sri Anand ji, for a very informative post.  Considering your
final part, is it then improper to write मीनाक्षी while the correct form,
going by the pronunciation, will have to be मीनाख्षी ? Do we see such forms
in popular literature, leaving alone the veda-print forms?  साक्षी will be
साख्षी and पक्षः will be पख्षः ?


On Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com>wrote:

> There seems to be a basic pronunciation problem relating to the
> pronunciation of "sha"  and "Sha" at the root of Shri Bhaskar's question.
> Let me explain. The first 25 consonants ka through ma are called sparsha.
> These 25 consonants are further divided into 5 groups of 5 each based on
> the the mouth position, namely the guttarals (kaNThya), palatals (tAlavya),
> cerebrals (mUrdhanya), dentals (dantya), and labials (oShThya). For
> example, the ka-varga (of 5 consonants consisting of ka, kha, etc.) is
> called kaNthya because it is governed by the taittirIya prAtishAkhya rule
> -  hanUmUlena jihvAmUlena kavarge sparshayati (2.35). In producing the
> ka-varga sounds, one causes the contact between the root of the jaw and the
> root of the tongue. This place where the sounds are generated corresponds
> to the back of mouth where it meets the throat. The ca-varga is called
> tAlavya because of the rule- tAlau jihvAmadhyena cavarge (2.36). In this
> case, the middle of the tongue makes contact with the palate. The Ta-varga
> is called mUrdhanya because of the rule - jihvAgreNa pariveShTya mUrdhani
> Tavarge (2.37). Here, the sound is produced in the cerebrum while the
> tongue is rolled back and turning upwards. The next rule jihvAgreNa tavarge
> dantamUleShu (2.38) specifies that the ta-varga sounds are produced by the
> tip of the tongue in contact with the base of the teeth, and hence the name
> dentals (dantya). Finally, the rule oShThAbhyAM pavarge (2.39) shows that
> the pa-varga sounds are produced by the lips, and hence the name labials
> (oShThya).
> What about the semivowels (ya, ra, la, va) and sibilants, sha, Sha, sa, and
> the aspirate h? The semivowels, ya, ra, la and va (antasthAH) have special
> rules in the taittirIya prAtishAkhya although they are usually classified
> respectively under the palatals, cerebrals, dentals, and labials. The
> sibilants sha, Sha, sa, and the aspirate ha, as well as two other letters
> called the jihvAmUlIya and upadhmAnIya are together called UShmANaH. The
> taittirIya prAtishAkhya does not give special rules for the production of
> sounds of these letters but specifies that the same rules as for the five
> classes above apply.
> The relevant rules are sparshasthAneShUShmANa AnupUrvyeNa (2.44) and the
> following rule 2.45 karaNamadhyaM tu vivRtam. The sounds for the UShmANa
> letters are, in order, produced using the respective rule for the sparsha
> letters but the organs of production of sound are open (vivRta). . This
> means "sha" is produced in a manner similar to the palatals (cha-varga)
> while "Sha" is produced in a manner similar to the cerebrals (Ta-varga).
> However, in producing the "sha" and "Sha" sounds the mouth is more open.
> Both "sha" and "Sha" are hissing sounds, caused by the vocal stream of
> breath passing through the teeth. If correctly pronounced "sha" sounds like
> the sh sound in "sure" or "sugar, whereas "Sha" sounds like the sh sound in
> "dish". Clearly, "sha" and "Sha" sounds are produced in different parts of
> the mouth. Finally, the "ha" sound is produced in the throat by the rule
> kaNThasthAnau hakAravisarjanIyau (2.46).
> What is important to note is that "sha" and "Sha" sounds are different,
> since the originating places of their sounds are different. "sha" and "Sha"
> have to be pronounced differently. However, the unfortunate situation is
> that "Sha" is incorrectly pronounced by many as "sha" while chanting Vedic
> and other mantras and in spoken Sanskrit, as well as in other Indian
> languages. For example, it is common to hear "dosha" instead of the correct
> form "doSha", "ushA" instead of the correct form "uShA", "shaShTi" instead
> of the correct form "ShaShTi", etc.
> As far as the pronounciation of "kSha" is concerned, we must note that it
> can be correctly pronounced if the "Sha" sound is correctly produced! If
> that is the case, "kSha" will sound only like "khSha". There is no other
> way to pronounce it. Since the sibilant "Sha" is a aspirated, i.e a
> mahAprANa sound and also open, it combines with the preceding "k" sound,
> producing the aspirated "kh" rather than "k".
> Anand
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