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yajvan
23 March 2011, 04:06 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté


saṁdhi rules - using the avagraha mark

There is a mantra sound called so'ham. It is said this word comes to us via the grammatical rules of saṁdhi¹ or when sounds come together.
I wish to offer what I do understand, but ask questions of what I do not comprehend.

This word-sound so'ham comes from of saḥ + ahaṁ. How does this occur? This so'ham looks like this सोऽहं in saṃskṛtam ( or saṃskṛtā).
The rule is that of an exception to the basic saṁdhi rule:
A basic rule of saṁdhi
When two 'a's come together long (dīrgha) or short (hrasva ) doesn't matter, then we end up with a long a sound ā.
So we can write the rule like this:

a + a = ā
a + ā = ā
ā +a = ā
ā + ā = āThe exception to the rule
It says when 'e' or 'o' is followed by an 'a' , the 'a' is replaced by avagraha. What is this avagraha ? Consider It an apostrophe or '
In the word so'haṁ = सोऽहं - note the symbol that looks like an 'S' ... that is the avagraha mark, or apostrophe. So the rule may be written like this:

e + a = e'
o + a = o'.Now this says : when an 'e' or an 'o' is followed followed by a short 'a' (this is called hrasva¹) then that letter 'a' at the beginning of the following word is omitted¹ and replaced with avagraha or apostrophe.

Let's apply the rule
In the case of saḥ + ahaṁ we first drop the 'ḥ' before attaching these two words to begin the process ( not part of the rule, but we will address that later). We now have sa + ahaṁ.

Here is where my brain cramp begins:
If we started with so + ahaṁ I can easily apply the rule just offered o + a = o' and end up with so'haṁ as the 'a' in ahaṁ has been dropped.
Yet we are not starting in that condition. We are starting with sa + ahaṁ.

In this case the rules of saṁdhi say the following:
When two 'a's come together long (dīrgha ) or short (hrasva ) doesn't matter, then we end up with a long a sound ā. Hence sa + ahaṁ should equal sāhaṁ.

Can anyone offer an insight as how we end up with so'haṁ ?


praṇām

words

saṃdhi , some write sandhi - In general, containing a conjunction or transition from one sound to another .
More specifically according to the Monier-Williams Saṃskṛt Dictionary, saṃdhi is a junction of final and initial letters in grammar
hrasva = dwarfish, small; as opposed to dīrgha or a long a or ā
Omitted = elision = the omission of a vowel, consonant, or syllable in pronunciation.

yajvan
25 March 2011, 06:04 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté



Here is where my brain cramp begins:
If we started with so + ahaṁ I can easily apply the rule just offered o + a = o' and end up with so'haṁ as the 'a' in ahaṁ has been dropped.
Yet we are not starting in that condition. We are starting with sa + ahaṁ. In this case the rules of saṁdhi say the following:
When two 'a's come together long (dīrgha ) or short (hrasva ) doesn't matter, then we end up with a long a sound ā. Hence sa + ahaṁ should equal sāhaṁ
Here is one view on this matter ... this is my conjecture and I look for corrections and ideas that will clarify the subject and the rules that should apply.

In saṃskṛtam or devanāgarī there are the primary vowels a, i and u. There are also the compound vowels e, ai, o and au - the 11th , 12th, 13th, and 14th vowels in devanāgarī script. Upon inspection of these compound vowels we note the following:

e ए - this 'e' sound occurs when 'a' is sounded through the 'i' mouthed position ( try it, it works!)
This 'e' sound can be found in eight ; some prefer the sound in play
ai ऐ - occurs when this 'e' sound is combined with 'a'.
This 'ai' sound can be found in aisle or in air - some think the sound in pie.
o ओ - when 'a' is sounded through 'u', then 'o' occurs
This 'o' sound can be found in toe or in owe or awe
au औ - when 'a' is sounded with 'o' then au occurs
This 'au' sound can be found in down or in houndSee the connection or relationship with o and au in the last two points? This is where I think the answer resides.
It's said so'ham comes from of saḥ + ahaṁ and finally ends up in so + ahaṁ = so'haṁ by the rules mentioned in post 1 above if you wish to review.
Yet if we look at it a bit differently, like this, sauḥ + ahaṁ this may tell us (me) something:

o ओ - when a is sounded through u, then o occurs.
Note that au exists and from that 'o' arises. Then I would have so + ahaṁ and can apply the rules in post 1 above.But one must ask, why would one think saḥ is potentially sauḥ ? For a few reasons:

This sound sauḥ is one of the most revered mantra's one may find.
It is called out (step by step) in the Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa and called amṛtabīja.
It is built upon what is called the 3rd brahma (tṛtīyam brahma) or 'sa'.
If one was enthusiastic about this knowledge and wished to review this , you can find it here at this HDF post:
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3808&highlight=sau%26%237717%3B (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3808&highlight=sau%26%237717%3B)

When o ओ sounded through u, then o occurs , then this sauḥ beomes 'so' for ease of pronuncation as to connect with ahaṁ properly.
Those are my views ... perhaps others will be able to offer another idea.

praṇām