[Advaita-l] Svarita TP Rules

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Thu Feb 12 22:12:05 CST 2009

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Useful reference:


Translation of TP (TaittirIya prAtishAkhya) with notes by Whitney
available in full for free download.

Relevant core sUtras (1.38-1.41)

1. uccairudAttaH
2. nIcairanudaataH
3. samAhAraH svaritaH

There are 7 further sUtras talking about svaritas (1.42-1.47). There
are 2 major views and some "sub-views"

View 1: 1.41 gives the option that in case of enclitic svarita (i.e.,
following udAtta) the first half is at a higher tone than udAtta. The
question then is about the remainder. There are 2 sub-views: 1.42 says
that the remainder is the same tone as the udAtta, 1.44 disagrees and
says the remainder is slightly lower than the udAtta.

Notes on view 1: Note that the current tradition of svarita the
*entire syllable* (vowel + consonant) is at a higher tone than the
udAtta in case of the hrasva svarita. In case of the dIrgha svarita,
the first half is the same tone as udAtta and the latter is at a
higher tone than the udAtta! Clearly there is no correspondence
between View 1 and the current practice, Current practice completely
violates the rule describing the change of tone *within* the syllable
postulated by view 1 in the case of the hrasva svarita. In case of the
dIrgha svarita, it turns the prAtishAkhya theory on its head. Note
that all the prAtishAkhya allows under view 1 is that the the first
half of the syllable (only for enclitic) is higher than udAtta.
Current practice actually approximately doubles the time interval of
recitation, but doubles only the vowel if the dirgha svarita is not on
a pure vya~njana. It is the latter half which is recited at a higher
tone! Example: svAhA(A), where the last A is at a higher tone is the
current practice. Rule 1 at most allows svA(ha)a as in 1.42 or
sva(ha)a_ as in 1.44, where the ( ) denotes higher tone and _ denotes
lower tone than udAtta.

View 2: is given in rule 1.46 which says AdiH asyoH udAttasamaH seShaH
anudAtta-samaH - iti AchAryAH . Simple enough. Asserts that the
beginning is the same as udAtta and the end is same as anudAtta. Note
that here also there is a change of tone within the syllable which has
the svarita.

Now the tribhAShya ratna - the oldest commentary available - says that
this is the accepted view and the views from 1.42-45 are not
acceptable  - iti Arabhya-abhihite vikalpa-jAle sUtram etad eva iShTam
(from book in Sanskrit edited by Shama Sastri and Rangacharya -
available from MLBD). I.e., in the views set forth 1.46 is the
acceptable view. We can see what was acceptable to the bhAShyakAra and
what he categorized as pUrvapaxa. In any case even the views not
acceptable to him have absolutely no connection with the current
practice. Staal in his "Nambudiri Veda Recitation" does mention these
sUtras as a "pre-cursor" to current practice. Needless to say, I won't
pass any comment on this, but I will mention that the Nambudiri Yajur
recitation follows quite different rules for svarita pronunciation,
which do not match up with the TP either.

Further there are no sUtras delineating the differences between hrasva
and dirgha svaritas.


1. Whatever views are described in the prAtishAkhya, all of them
require a change of the tone of the syllable *within* the syllable
which is accented as svarita - essentially high to low. The quibble is
merely what is high and low relative to the udAtta,
2. This is completely violated by the hrasva svarita and is turned on
it's head by the dIrgha svarita with further violation of lengthening
the interval of recitation.
3. There is no difference between hrasva and dIrgha svaritas.

Just in case, please note that the anudAtta following a svarita
becomes pracaya and is actually slightly (ever so slightly) higher
than udAtta in current practice. There is no microscopic,
un-noticeable change at the end of a svarita, there is actually a
microscopic pause due to the change in accents from high to low.

VTW, the same rule 1.46 is supported by the R^ig and atharva
prAtishAkhyas. More later.


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