[Advaita-l] A help required regarding some Sanskrit words

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed May 5 14:17:23 CDT 2010

> Long ago I was told that निष्ठा is नितरां स्थितिः .
> What would you suggest the meaning of निरुक्तम् to be?
> Some more possibilities, subject to someone's correction, are:
> निःशेषं उक्तम्, निर्धार्य उक्तं, निर्णीय उक्तं, निःशङ्कमुक्तम्, etc. From
> the rule you have provided, निः and नि, I think the latter is ruled out for
> निरुक्तम्, for, it looks like there is निर् here.

The prefix nis (variants as per sandhi would be niH as in niHSreyasa,
nir as in nirmala, nish as in nishprapanca, or nI as in nIrasa) can carry
either a direct negative meaning or of strengthening the sense via an
indirect application of the negative. Among the examples quoted here,
nirmala (faultless, that in which there is no fault), nishprapanca (that
in which there is no modification) and  nIrasa (that in which there is
no essence) exemplify the application of the negative sense directly
to the word stem to which the prefix nis- is added.

The word niHSreyasa is never used to mean "that in which there is no
Sreyas". Rather, it meansthe best, "that than which there is no better".
This exemplifies the situation where the negative meaning is not applied
directly to the word-stem to which the prefix nis- is added, but to its
hypothetical counter-positive. It is like the English usage of prefix in-
in words like 'invaluable', or suffix -less in words like 'priceless'. What
seems like a negative modification of the word stem thus strengthens
the sense that is sought to be conveyed. nirukta falls under this second
usage and should mean "well said", as opposed to anukta (not said) or
durukta (ill-said).




ps. There are many places in the mahAbhArata where yudhishThira takes
the prefix dus- in the name duryodhana in a similar sense of strengthening,
then explicitly converts it to the precisely opposite prefix su-, and calls his
cousin suyodhana!
The New Busy is not the too busy. Combine all your e-mail accounts with Hotmail.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list