View Full Version : Sanskrit translation

02 November 2014, 04:11 PM
Namaste and hello,

I am trying to find a literal translation for a word in Book 9, Hymn XLII of the Veda. I'm specifically interested in whether the word is plural or singular.

In the Hebrew Bible the word "Elohim" is understood to be plural and means "Gods" - however it is translated as singular "God".

I'm wondering if the Sanskrit pronoun used for Soma is singular or plural. (I've highlighted the words of interest.)


1. ENGENDERING the Sun in floods, engendering heaven's lights, green-hued,
Robed in the waters and the milk,
2 According to primeval plan this Soma, with his stream, effused
Flows purely on, a God for Gods.
3 For him victorious, waxen great, the juices with a thousand powers
Are purified for winning spoil.
4 Shedding the ancient fluid he is poured into the cleansing sieve:
He, thundering, hath produced the Gods.
5 Soma, while purifying, sends hither all things to be desired,
He sends the Gods who strengthen Law.
6 Soma, effused, pour on us wealth in kine, in heroes, steeds, and spoil,
Send us abundant store of food.

Rig Veda Book 9 Hymn 42

जनयन रोचना दिवो जनयन्नप्सु सूर्यम |
वसानो गा अपोहरिः ||
एष परत्नेन मन्मना देवो देवेभ्यस परि |
धारया पवते सुतः ||
वाव्र्धानाय तूर्वये पवन्ते वाजसातये |
सोमाः सहस्रपाजसः ||
दुहानः परत्नमित पयः पवित्रे परि षिच्यते |
करन्दन देवानजीजनत ||
अभि विश्वानि वार्याभि देवान रताव्र्धः |
सोमः पुनानोर्षति ||
गोमन नः सोम वीरवदश्वावद वाजवत सुतः |
पवस्व बर्हतीरिषः ||
janayan rocanā divo janayannapsu sūryam |
vasāno ghā apohariḥ ||
eṣa pratnena manmanā devo devebhyas pari |
dhārayā pavate sutaḥ ||
vāvṛdhānāya tūrvaye pavante vājasātaye |
somāḥ sahasrapājasaḥ ||
duhānaḥ pratnamit payaḥ pavitre pari ṣicyate |
krandan devānajījanat ||
abhi viśvāni vāryābhi devān ṛtāvṛdhaḥ |
somaḥ punānoarṣati ||
ghoman naḥ soma vīravadaśvāvad vājavat sutaḥ |
pavasva bṛhatīriṣaḥ ||

Kalicharan Tuvij
03 November 2014, 09:57 AM

soma = soma (singular)
somA = soma (plural)

So, as you can see, somA is used only once in the hymn. Mostly, therefore it is singular number (also supported by verb-forms, pronoun-forms: e.g., devo devebhyas = "a god even among the gods"/ "first among the gods").

Sanskrit allows even the dual,
somau = soma (dual)
which also has a fundamentally distinct meaning.

The three numbers exist for any Sanskrit noun. I think they denote singular, dual and plural povs of the same word/ concept.

06 November 2014, 06:53 PM
hariḥ oṁ

दुहानःपरत्नमितपयःपवित्रेपरिषिच्यत |

transliteration of the śloka above...

janayana rocanā divo janayannapsu sūryama |
vasāno gā apohariḥ ||
eṣa paratnena manmanā devo devebhyasa pari |
dhārayā pavate sutaḥ ||
vāvrdhānāya tūrvaye pavante vājasātaye |
somāḥ sahasrapājasaḥ ||
duhānaḥ paratnamita payaḥ pavitre pari ṣicyate |
karandana devānajījanata ||
abhi viśvāni vāryābhi devāna ratāvrdhaḥ |
somaḥ punānorṣati ||
gomana naḥ soma vīravadaśvāvada vājavata sutaḥ |
pavasva barhatīriṣaḥ ||

Let me see if I can add any value to the conversation and offer how I have been taught regarding this application (note that I too am the student learning the proper use of saṃskṛtam and devanāgarī script).

The conversation is about the declension (inflection) of words. That is addressing masculine, feminine or neuter words. Making the word singular, dual, or plural and considering their case conditions. There are 8 types of cases that can be applied when one is working with nouns, pronouns, or for that matter numerals, in a sentence. I will not list out the 8, but one can find this on-line.

So with that said, let’s consider the raw materials first. When we have a word with no inflection added ( other than neuter for this conversation) it is considered prātipadika¹ or uninflected.

If I write śiva or soma as shown it is in the prātipadika format. Yet if we wish to write it in the singular + nominative case ( for nouns ending in ‘a’) we have the following:

somaḥif I wish to write it in the plural + nominative case ( for nouns ending in ‘a’) we have the following:

somāḥFor each of the 8 cases the rules¹ are different as the endings will be different.

Since I used the term nominative case I am obligated by the guidelines of HDF to define this term or condition. Simply put it is the subject of the sentence that is in question; it is the subject that is doing something indicated by the verb of the sentence.

So, is there another use for śiva or soma in the prātipadika condition that can be used with no additional inflection added ? Sure. That is the vocative case¹. That is, the means of ~ directly accessing~ or direcly addressing the person e.g. yajvan! come here.

Many times we see this along with Oh as in O'soma bring me wealth! O'śiva bring me protection! The pickle here is the prātipadika form is not used for all nouns. It works well for nouns ending in 'a'.

Does this oh or ho! need to be there ? No . It can be as simple as śiva protect me ! Note this 'oh' is हे in saṃskṛt and in transliteration it is 'he'. Some say it is the sound 'ho!' ; officially called a vocative particle.

Also – what then is this ḥ ? It is called visarga¹ (ḥ) or visarjanīya. In saṃskṛt it is written as a colon or : This is not the same 'h' that is written like this ह or ha.

If one looks at the original śloka shown above, you will see this visarga written as :
Let me copy and paste one line here and show this visarga (ḥ) as :
वसानोगाअपोहरिः ||

iti śivaṁ (accusative case... and ṁ = anusvāra¹ )


prātipadika the crude form or base of a noun , a noun in its uninflected state.
vocative case - A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the person being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence i.e. directly accessing
Rules - all this is outlined in pāniṇi-ji's work called aṣṭādhyāyī, meaning 'eight chapters' ; He laid down about 3,900 rules for all of classical ( vs. vedic) saṃskṛt grammar. Here are some examples -http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=7224 (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=7224)
more on visarga (ḥ) here: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=6536&highlight=visarga
anusvāra - the ~after-sound~ ; the nasal sound which is marked by a dot above the line , and which always belongs to a preceding vowel
one last idea for consideration… Let’s say you wish to to say I bow to soma. This is considered the dative case condition. It would be written as follows namaḥ somāya
The dative case means ‘for’ or ‘to’ – hence one is bowing (namaḥ) ‘to’ somāya. And this somāya is how it is declined ( inflected) in this case.
Note the proper way that namaḥ is written that includes visarga (ḥ) and the case ending of soma in its prātipadika condition now is declined as somāya.