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Season 11 - Episode 2

The Logic of Noun Cases

10 min - Tutorial
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Anuradha continues to explore the noun cases in Sanskrit, helping us to understand the logic of the eight cases so that we can begin to use them to build sentences.
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Aug 19, 2016
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Namaste dear friends, thus far in the previous episode we looked at how the different nouns combine with each other, how they relate to each other in a sentence and correspond to the different cases. I had done a drawing for you to see how our mind really connects all the different pieces of information in our head to make sense of the world around us. I mentioned about the cases and what I would like to do here is to again help you understand that the logic of these cases is a very natural one. If you understand that logic, it will become very easy for you to use it with the words as we build sentences here after. So here we go.

The Sanskrit word for cases, one of the Sanskrit words is karaka. Another word that is often used is also vibhakti. You might hear of these two words being used in the context of cases when we are talking in the Sanskrit language. I'll just put in the transliteration so that it's easy for you as well. So karaka and vibhakti, vibhakti.

There we go, there we are, so now coming to the logic of the cases. Now if you think of the most fundamental sentence that one can make, it would be something like I am or the man is, things are. Things is the first absolute sentence that one can make, things are, it is. So let's take the word man because we'll work with the masculine and then the feminine, neuter or that's the order normally, we work with the masculine. So the word for the subject, the man is, is karta.

The noun man is the doer of that action. So the Sanskrit word for that is karta, the technical grammatic term to represent the doer or the agent is the nominative and in common usage it is the subject. So we'll put in the word man. Now when the man is, like we have seen with the verb to be, it'll be naraasthi. So initially what we can do is just play with the English and Sanskritize it a little bit so that we can add an unfamiliar idea with a familiar word.

The man will tell you that the man is performing the action, he is the subject of whatever action is going to follow. But we know that in the world it's not that everybody is doing something all the time. Now if the man is there and somebody else is there, that person or that thing can become the object of this person's action. So what we see is that in all cases it's not necessarily that the man is performing an action. Sometimes the man also becomes the object of somebody else's action.

So the girl sees the man. That's a situation that's rather interesting. So the girl sees the man. Now the man is the object of the girl's seeing. So when we put that into Sanskrit, the word man becomes the object which is karma in Sanskrit.

Technically it's the accusative and in simple usage it is the object. And what happens to the man like we had seen of the destination or the object of one's action, it is manum. It gets the um at the end of it. So man becomes manum. Now you have the man and the lady and of course there's chemistry that starts flowing between them.

So they do something with each other. So the third natural situation is that they do something together. That is the instrumental case in Sanskrit or the karana, the instrumental in technical terms and it's the prepositions by or with. So when a man and a woman meet then they do something with each other. Alright, so the with is the third case and that in Sanskrit is the karana.

Technically it's the instrumental case and we would use the prepositions by or with. So with the man etc. So what happens here is it is the man and then we add the preposition or the suffix manena. So with the man, the moment you say manena, the image is somebody is doing something with the man and then we have, so when there is an exchange that takes place, there is something that you give to and get from. The moment there is an exchange.

So the fourth case is when the man is at the receiving end. So because he is the object of the action, remember, so he is at the receiving end first. So it is the sampradhana or technically the dative and that is the receiving or for and that word then becomes mannaiah. So in this exchange, one gives something for the man but because it is an exchange, you also get something from the man. So that is the next case which is apadana.

Technically it's the ablative and the technical translation is it's the source of separation. So from where is the preposition. So it will become man and then manath. So from the man. Now whatever is being either given or taken belongs to somebody.

So here there is something interesting that happens. You see that I have not put in a Sanskrit word there. Now in Sanskrit when they talk of karakas, they don't include the genitive or the belonging to as a karaka. So that is not there but when they talk of vibhakti, they will refer to it as the sixth vibhakti. So depends which term you are using at that point but don't worry your head about it.

What it represents is the belonging to. So whatever you are giving or taking has to belong to that person. So it is off. So manasya. And then we have that whatever belongs to the person has to either be on or in the person somewhere or something around that person.

So this in or on is in Sanskrit known as adhika rana. It is the substratum and that in technical terms is the locative which is represented by the prepositions in or on. So that would be mane and finally you can just notice that that person is there and you can just call out to the person, hey man. That again is not a karaka. So you will see that it is empty as a karaka and in the technical term it is known as the vocative.

I have just written it here in simple terms as calling out or hey. This is Sanskrit word for or rather the little word that comes before the vocative is also hey, it is interesting there. So you have hey, I will put that in Sanskrit, hey, it is really like your English hey man, that is what we have there. All right. So I will just revise that for you once, we have covered the eight cases.

So in the first case it is the subject. So things are the second in the karma, things are the objects of other people's actions. In the third one when you become an object then you start doing something with. In the fourth one you give for and you get from in the fifth. Now what you are giving to or receiving from has to belong to that person.

So it is off, whatever you possess has to be placed somewhere. So it is either in or on and that is our locative and finally you need not have anything necessarily to do. You just recognize the presence of the other, hey man, the vocative. So there we are, hi there, namaste.


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