For the sandhi in the Vedas and Aranyakas which of the following is more correct (i.e. t-s or th-s):

स॒र्वेऽस्मात्स्यन्द॑न्ते॒ sa̱rve'smātsyanda̍nte̱

स॒र्वेऽस्माथ्स्यन्द॑न्ते॒ sa̱rve'smāthsyanda̍nte̱

This example is from the Mahanarayana Upanishad section 12.3 (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.12.3).

The first example is from Mahanarayanopanishad by Swami Vimalananda, p125. The second is from Mantra Pushpam by the Ramakrishna Math, p41.

You guys were so helpful in my previous question regarding visarga sandhi, I'm assuming that the answer here is simliar in that both may be correct and the second is more of a South-Indian style, but I wanted to make sure. I'm afraid I couldn't find this in any of the grammars because I'm not sure what the original words would have been (before the sandhi).

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    I won't post an answer because I don't know anything about Vedic Sanskrit (only Classical Sanskrit), but just a note: the consonants don't differ in South India in general. Instead, what you may be seeing is that the informal English transcription tends to use "th" for त् rather than "t" as in North India. (North Indians use 't' for ट् and त् , and 'th' for ठ् and थ्, leading to ambiguity on whether ट् or त् is meant. South Indians use 't' for ट् and 'th' for त् ; the mahaprāṇas ठ् and थ् being relatively rare: they too might be represented by 'th'.) – ShreevatsaR Mar 2 '14 at 16:56
  • Thanks ShreevatsaR, that's really helpful. I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to use the former, it's good to hear that confirmation from you. – Pand8a Mar 3 '14 at 6:55

There is a reason for the appearance of थ् next to त्. This occurrence is not restricted to mantras and can also be applied in spoken sanskrit (लौकिकसंस्कृतम्). If you look up Panini's sutra 8-3-28 ङ्णोः कुक्टुक् शरि, there is a vartikam (addendum) which goes like this: चयो द्वितीयाः शरि पौष्करसादेरिति वाच्यम् Firstly, let us understand what is being prescribed by 8-3-28 ङ्णोः कुक्टुक् शरि

The letters ङ् and ण् optionally get कुँक् and टुँक् as augments respectively, as शर् follows. For example, consider the words

प्राङ् + षष्ठः

By applying 8-3-28, ङ् gets the आगमः (augment) क्

प्राङ्क् + षष्ठः

When क् and ष् combine, we get a संयुक्ताक्षरः (conjunct consonant) called क्ष


The vartikam चयो द्वितीयाः शरि पौष्करसादेरिति वाच्यम् says that each of the letters चय् (च ट त क प) should be replaced by their corresponding second letters (छ ठ थ ख फ) as शर् follows. This replacement is accepted by a teacher named पौष्करसादिः, a grammarian prior to Panini. Hence the replacement should be considered optional. Applying this vartikam to the above example yields

प्राङ्ख् षष्ठः

Looking at one mantra snippet posted example by Pand8a, all conditions to apply the vartikam are fulfilled here since त् is one of the letters in चय् and it is preceded by स्, which is one of शर् (श ष स) Therefore,

अस्मात् + स्यन्दते


अस्माथ् + स्यन्दते

If you pay close attention to vedic chanting (by learned scholars), you will notice that they always honor this rule, albeit sometimes not knowing of its existence.

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  • Thank you very much for this linuxfan, I really appreciate you taking the time to type all that out. My Sanskrit has become a little rusty in the last year, just to clarify, when you said: 'If you pay close attention to vedic chanting (by learned scholars), you will notice that they always honor this rule, albeit sometimes not knowing of its existence' I presume you mean that they always or usually pronounce it: अस्माथ् + स्यन्दते? – Pand8a Apr 27 '15 at 6:38
  • Also, if you wouldn't mind, could you take a look at my other question which looks at a similar example of sandhi: रुद्रः सन्महो vs रुद्रस्सन्महो linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/4842/… ? No need to do the same amount of work you did here, just a simple statement/explanation of which would be the more common or correct usage in vedic chanting e.g. in the chanting of the Rudram (where this sandhi also occurs). – Pand8a Apr 27 '15 at 6:43
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    Added a comment there. – linuxfan Apr 27 '15 at 14:58
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    @Pand8a Yes, vedic scholars, or even folks who learn to chant correctly, pronounce अस्माथ् + स्यन्दते In the taittiriya upanishad, there is a sentence that goes like this: सोऽश्नुते सर्वान् कामान् सः Even here, the correct pronunciation will be कामान् थ्सः – linuxfan Apr 27 '15 at 18:30

The sandhi here is: सर्वे (all)+ अस्मात् (from this) + स्यन्दन्ते (flow) . The continuation of this verse is स॒र्वेऽस्मात्स्यन्द॑न्ते॒ सिन्धव: सर्वारूपा: ।

This translates to: 'All kinds of rivers flow from this.' अस्मात् is the singular ablative form of the masculine demonstrative pronoun 'एतद् '. Which is appropriate because in this sentence, the pronoun 'this' is the source of the rivers that flow away from it.

Therefore, the answer to your question is- The correct letter here is 'त् 'and not 'थ्' .

Sources: Complete verse http://estudantedavedanta.net/ Dictionary: http://spokensanskrit.de/

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  • Thank you for this Ritu. Do you know why some books like the Mantra Pushpam by Ramakrishna Math use 'th' in the sandhi here? It's not a simple one-off mistake as wherever this particular sandhi occurs they use it. Another version that does the same: sanskritweb.net/yajurveda/ta-comb.pdf p347 (10-12 half way through the paragraph). Notice, also, at the beginning of this verse how some versions use the sandhi 'ss' as in atassamudraa, while others use 'H s' as in ataH samudraa, I'm assuming this is a difference between South and North/West Indian style. – Pand8a Dec 15 '14 at 7:01
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    'ss' is the sandhi form of visarga 'h' + 's'. But 'ss' and 'h' + 's' are both valid. I do not have any other examples of त् + स that result in थ . It does not sound very intuitive either. I do know a common similar sandhi: तत् + सत् = तत्सत् or a less common form 'तस्सत्'. – hungryKoala Dec 16 '14 at 4:06
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    As for the reason why the other forms exist in this text, I don't know it. Even though there are strict rules for grammar and pronunciations in Sanskrit, sandhi seems to have been born out of the need for the ease of speaking. It's more of an intuitive technique, so variations are bound to exist. Purists stick to the rules and others create their style. I'm from Maharashtra but to my knowledge this particular case is not a typical North/ South phonetic difference. I found this link to be a reliable reference on the topic of sandhi. arshakulam.org/pdf/sanskrit/sandhihandbook.pdf – hungryKoala Dec 16 '14 at 4:18
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    @Ritu please see my note below. The usage with थ्+स् is grammatically correct. Also, अस्मात् is the ablative of इदम्, not एतद् – linuxfan Apr 23 '15 at 0:06

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