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Vyakarana - Panini & Non Panini

Vyakarana or grammar formed an integral part of bhashika or language studies, which form early times held an important place in hindu education says A.A. Macdonell.

The Sanskrit grammarians were the first to analyze word-forms, to recognize the difference between root and suffix, to determine the functions of suffixes, and on the whole to elaborate a grammatical system so accurate and complete as to be unparalled in any other country.

The greatest of the grammarians was Panini, but there is evidence that he only represented the maturation of a long line of Sanskrit grammarians. His masterpiece is the Ashtadhyayi, 'eight chapters', also known as the Paniniyam, which introduced, as it were, the post-vedic age and set the linguistic standard of classical Sanskrit, effectively stabilizing the language. It is most notable of all works on vyakarana or grammar.

Panini's Ashtadhyayi consists of nearly 4,000 sutras or aphorisms, each of two or three words only. These embody grammatical rules written in a kind of shorthand or algebra-like code, employing single letters or syllables to indicate the names of cases, moods, persons and tenses, which makes his work extremely difficult to follow without intensive study and a full commentary. As a result of this systematization of the language it came to be known from Panini's time as Sanskrit (Samskrita, `elaborated) and the pharase Iti-Panini"thus, according to Panini', was an authorititave preamble for centuries after.

It is to be remembered that the norm laid down by Panini was for the language spoken in higher circles of contemporary society, and did not necessarily confirm in all respects to any extant texts. But the standard established by him permanently influenced all subsequent Sanskrit writing. Panini's treatise is the earliest extant grammar in any language, the earliest scientific grammar in the world, and one of the greatest even written.

Among the grammarians cited by Panini, whose works he most probably consulted were Shakatayana, of probable shaka origin, who is quoted by Uaska, and a fragment

of whose work has been discovered, says Panini, 'All grammarians rank next to shakatayana'. Shakalya, who may also have been a shaka, was a grammarian, etymologist, theologian, founder of a schools of vedic studies, and, according to tradition, contemporary of yajnavalkya by whom he was crushingly defeated in debate.

Katyayana is generally identified with vararuchi, poet and grammarian who was one of the nine gems of the court of vikramaditya.

One patanjali was the author of Mahabhashya (Great Commentary) on the grammar of Panini.