The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Different kinds of compounds which is chapter 355 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 355 - Different kinds of compounds

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Skanda said:

1. I shall describe the six kinds of compounds. They are again divided into twentyeight kinds. They are twofold being divided as eternal and non-etemal,those which drop(the suffixes) and those which do not drop.

2-3a. (The following are examples of) eternal (compounds): Kumbhakāraḥ [Kumbhakāra] (a potter), Hemakāraḥ [Hemakāra] (goldsmith) etc. Rājñaḥ pumān or Rājapumān (a person with royal authority). This also is an eternal compound. Kaṣṭaśritaḥ [Kaṣṭaśrita] (kaṣṭena śritaḥ) (joined with difficulty) (is an example of) dropping (the suffix). Kaṇṭhekālaḥ [Kaṇṭhekāla] etc. (kaṇṭhe+kālaḥ) (black-necked) (are examples) for not dropping (the suffix).

3b-7. Tatpuruṣa (Determinative compound) is of eight kinds. The first one is that where the words when compounded with substantives are placed first. This is the first (variety) of Tatpuruṣa. Pūrvaṃ Kāyasya when (the compound is) dissolved (becomes) Purvakāyaḥ [Purvakāya][1] (the upper part of the body), Aparakāyaḥ [Aparakāya] (lower part of the body), Adharottara-kāyakaḥ [Adharottarakāyaka]. (the lower and higher part of the body). Ardhaṃ Kaṇāyāḥ (becomes) Ardhakaṇāḥ (half of a grain). Bhikṣātūryaṃ[2] (begging alms a fourth time)is also of this type(signifying the whole of which they are parts) (optionally placed first). Āpannajīvikaḥ [Āpannajīvika][3] (āpanno jīvikāṃ) is similar (in the second case). Adharāśritaḥ [Adharāśrita] (adharaṃ āśritaḥ—one who has resorted to a lower person). Varṣam-bhogyaḥ. (or) Varṣabhogyaḥ [Varṣabhogya]. (to be enjoyed for a year). (An instance of compounding) with (nouns in) the third case: Dhānyārthaḥ [Dhānyārtha] (Dhānyena arthaḥ) (wealth obtained by means grain). (The noun) would be in the fourth case (when compounded with the word bali): Viṣṇubaliḥ [Viṣṇubali] (Viṣṇave baliḥ). Vṛkabhītiḥ [Vṛkabhīti][4] (Vṛkāt bhītiḥ, fear from a wolf) (is an example for compounding with a noun in) the fifth case. (An example for) sixth case (is) Rājñaḥ pumān (an officer of a king) (becoming) Rājapumān. Similarly (we have) Vṛkṣaphalaṃ [Vṛkṣaphala] (the fruit of a tree). The seventh case (is used in the following): This one (is) Akṣaśauṇḍa[5] (Akṣeṣu śauṇḍaḥ) (skilled in dice). Ahitaḥ (not beneficial) (is an example) for Negative Tatpuruṣa.

8-12. Karmadhāraya (appositioned compound) is sevenfold[6]. Nīlotpala (Nīlaṃ ca tad utpalaṃ ca) etc. are known (to be the examples) for compounding the adjective and the noun it qualifies). (l) The qualifying word is placed first or (2) the word that is qualified is placed afterwards. (Words expressive of the persons or things condemned are placed first): Vaiyākaraṇakhasūciḥ [Vaiyākaraṇakhasūci] (a bad grammarian) (an example for first kind). Śītoṣnaṃ [Śītoṣna] (cold and hot) and Dvīpadaṃ [Dvīpada] (two words) (are examples for the second). (3) Expressive of standard of comparison placed as first member: Śaṅkhapāṇḍara (white as the conch) (śaṅkhaḥ iva pāṇḍaraḥ). (4) The standard of comparison placed as the second member: Puruṣavyāghraḥ [Puruṣavyāghra] (a man like a tiger) (puruṣo vyāghraḥ iva). (5) Words of respect placed first: Guṇavṛddhiḥ [Guṇavṛddhi] dissolved as guṇaḥ iti vṛddhiḥ (elongation). Suhṛd and Subandhu (are examples). (6) The word signifying prominence is placed as the first member (pāda eva padmaṃ = pāda-padmaṃ). Bahuvrīhi (attributive compound) is sevenfold. (The following are examples) for the Bahuvrīhi having two words: ārūḍhabhavano naraḥ (A man who has stepped into a house).

13. These brahmins are about ten (ie., nine or eleven). upadaśāḥ (= daśānāṃ samīpe ye santi te) is (an example of Bahuvrīhi having the) numeral as the second member. (Examples of Bahuvrīhi) having both (the members) as numerals are such as dvitrā (two or three), dvyekatraya (two or one or three) men.

14. The particle saha (may be compounded) when it becomes the first member. The tree has been pulled out together with its root (samūla) (is an example). Those having the characteristic of reciprocity: (a battle in which the warriors fight) seizing each other’s hair, (keśākeśī) fighting one another with nail (nakhānakhī).

15. (A Bahuvrīhi compound may be formed) to denote a direction (in between two directions): dakṣiṇapūrvā (the point of direction in between the south and east). A Dvigu (having a number as the first member in a compound) is said to be twofold. It becomes singular (when denoting an aggregate), ‘having two peaks’ ‘having five roots'. It is possible in many ways.

16. A Dvandva (copulative compound) is twofold itaretarayoga and samāhāra (the members are treated separately, and an aggragete of the things enumerated constituing a complex (idea). (An example for the first is) Rudraviṣṇū (Rudra and Viṣṇu). (An example for the second is) Bherīpaṭaha. (It is always singular.)

17-18. Avyayībhāva (compound consisting of two members, the first of which is, mostly, an indeclinable) is said to be of two kinds. An example for one having a noun as the first member (is): śākasya mātrā (very little vegetable) = śākaprati. An example for one with the first member as an indeclinable (is): upakumbhaṃ [upakumbha] (near a pot) and uparathyaṃ [uparathya] (near a chariot). The compounds are fourfold on account of the prominence (of one member)—that which has the second member prominent and Dvandva, where both (the members) are prominent. Avyayībhāva has the first member prominent and Bahuvrīhi (in which the importance lies) externally.

Footnotes and references:


See Pa, II. 2. 1. They are not strictly Genitive Tatpuruṣa. But called by some as Prathamā Tatpuruṣa.


See Pa. II. 2.3.


See Pa. II. 1. 24.


See Vārttika under Pa. II. 1.37.Pa. II. 1.40.


Pa. II. 1.40.


But it is actually sixfold.

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