[Advaita-l] Gayatri mantra

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 12 06:26:59 CDT 2011

Sri Sunil Bhattacharya wrote:
But the million dollar question is did Panini make any retrospective corrections in the Vedic texts to fall in line with his Vyakarana. In my opinion the Vedic Sanskrit was beyond the scope of panini, though Panini derived help from that it formulating his grammar. Now my worry is whether we should or should not apply Panini's grammar very strictly for interpreting the Gayatri mantra. I shall be grateful if the learned and experienced  Sanskrit scholars in the forum throw light on this aspect.
------- My reply ------------
Panini's vyakarana is a vedanga. It is an anga because it helps to protect and understand Veda better and to apply that knowledge. For those who seek a pramaana for the above statement, please see the PaspaSaahnikam in the Vyaakaranamahaabhaashya written by Patanjali. It starts with the sentence "atha SabdaanuSaasanam", followed by the question (after discussing 'atha'): keshaam Sabdaanaam? The answer is given: "laukikanaam vaidikanaam ca".
Panini cannot make any changes in Vedas retrospectively, and he did not. What is the pramaana? One's teacher and the Vedas themselves. Vedas abound in non-Paninian usages. They are expalined by the praatiSaakhyas. Both grammar and praatiSaakhyas apply to Vedas, which explains why we meet with some un-Paninian usages in Vedas.
To know the meaning of a word, we need Niruktam in addition to vyaakaranam. Gayatri mantra has been interpreted by many great people using those two and we do not need to do it afresh.
N. Siva Senani 

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