We discussed the structure of a sentence in Sanskrit with the chart of Subant and Tingant. After which we proceeded to discuss what is a सन्धि Sandhi.
When coming together of two sounds results in something like formation of a third sound, it is called सन्धि. पाणिनि (Panini) in his अष्टाध्यायी (Ashtadhyayi) defines सन्धि in this सूत्र (Sutra) – पर: सन्निकर्ष: संहिता |
संहिता is the terminology used by पाणिनि for सन्धि. In fact, सन्धि is a word that came into usage much later. The meaning of the सूत्र is – The kind of closeness (सन्निकर्ष:) which affects something is called संहिता.
What is पर: in the सूत्र (Sutra)? To understand पर:, let us consider the splitting of a word and the definition of मात्रा (unit of time for the articulation of one syllable).
दधि + अत्र = दध्यत्र
i.e., द् अ ध् इ + अ त् र् अ = द् अ ध् य् अ त् र् अ.
As we can see, इ + अ has resulted in य् + अ. So, when इ is followed by अ, it gets replaced by य. Here we say, that a सन्धि (Sandhi) is taking place. Now, why does this happen?
A vowel by itself or a consonant followed by a vowel is called syllable. A syllable requires a unit of time for its articulation. This unit of time is called मात्रा. The time required to utter the next syllable after uttering the first syllable is half of a मात्रा or अर्धमात्रा. When some syllables come together, the time taken to utter the next syllable is more than अर्धमात्रा. This results in a significant change and such a significant change is called पर:. Like in the case of इ + अ which resulted in य because the time taken from the articulation of इ to the articulation of अ is more than अर्धमात्रा. Hence, a सन्धि has taken place.
It is in such great detail that Panini explains Sandhi.
Link for the online class: http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/2023008-sanskrit-level-1-session-3
~ Learnings from ‘Learning Sanskrit Language and Structure: Theory and Application’ a two-week residential camp at Chinmaya International Foundation from 16th – 30th June 2014.