Sanskrit: तपस्विन आयुषि गते तस्यात्मा बालस्य तन्वां जातम्.

marrish

Senior Member
اُردو Urdu
Dear Sanskrit knowers,

What do you make out of this sentence:

तपस्विन आयुषि गते तस्यात्मा बालस्य तन्वां जातम् tapasvina āyuṣi gate tasyātmā bālasya tanvāṃ jātam.

Is this sentence correct? I was asked to translate it as an exercise but I don't understand the behaviour of the last word.
 
  • Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    For what it's worth, my own progress on this sentence is:

    tapasvina < tapasvinas: GEN SG "poor, wretched"
    āyuṣi: LOC SG, NEUT "life, health"
    gate: PPP. LOC SG, NEUT "gone, dead"
    tasyā < tasya: "his"
    ``tmā < ātmā: NOM SG, MASC "breath, soul"
    bālasya: GEN SG, MASC "boy"
    tanvāṃ < tanvām: LOC SG, FEM "body, person, self"
    jātam: PPP. (presumably: ACC SG, MASC, also possibly: NOM/ACC/VOC SG, NEUT) "born"

    Taking āyuṣi gate as a locative absolute we get - in slightly clunky English, but preserving the original grammar:

    "When the life of the pauper was gone, his soul was born in the body of a boy."

    [When] the life of the pauper (tapasvina āyuṣi) was gone (gate), his soul (tasyātmā) was born (jātam) in the body of a boy (bālasya tanvām).

    Well done Au101, go and have a biscuit... Except: We obviously have the problem marrish has highlighted for us with this analysis, in that jātam, if MASC, is in the ACC SG and is not in agreement with ātman. There are no neuter nouns in this sentence it could be agreeing with. Were jāta- to agree with ātmā I would have expected jātas/jātaḥ.

    Anyone able to spot what we're missing, or is marrish correct to suggest it's a mistake?
     
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    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    I agree, it looks wrong. We'd expect "jātaḥ".

    Just a small addendum to Au101's interpretation: I believe the most common meaning of "tapasvin-" is an "ascetic".
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Having checked the resources I came to know that there are past intransitive passive participles which are always used in neuter singular. Perhaps it is the case here?
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Having checked the resources I came to know that there are past intransitive passive participles which are always used in neuter singular. Perhaps it is the case here?

    You mean, of the "tena hasitam"-type? Note that the subject in such cases goes into instrumental case. Or, if you are talking about something else, please quote some examples from your sources. :)
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    There are yes, an astute observation, but such participles are, well, intransitive, whereas here we have a transitive verb with an explicit subject.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, I meant 'tena hasitam' type but forgot that there is a subject in nominative in the sentence with a transitive verb. It can't add up, I see now.
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Wait a second. "jāta-" from the root, "jan-", is very much intransitive. Think about the active voice present tense - "jāyate". You cannot add an accusative object to that. It's just that some intransitive past participles have active meaning - notably the movement verbs, but also "jan-" > "jāta-". If you want to add an object and say "to give birth to something/someone", then you have to use the causative form, "janayati" and its PP "janita-", which - as for all transitive verbs - has a passive meaning.

    Just to illustrate the point with examples:

    For the causative (by definition transitive):
    Active Present: ताम्‌ ब्रह्मा जनयति (Brahmā creates/gives shape to her; Brahmā causes her to be born.)
    Passive Past: सा ब्रह्मणा जनिता (She was created/given shape to by Brahmā; She was caused to be born by Brahmā.)

    But for the primary root (in this case, intransitive):
    Active Present: सा मातुः जायते (She gets born of a mother)
    Active Past: सा मातुः जाता (She was/got born of a mother)

    There is a usage which may look deceptively like a transitive passive past:
    सा तपसा जाता (She was born through penance/austerity/religious observance)
    But it is clear that "tapasā" here is not an oblique subject (अनुक्तः कर्ता) of a passive transitive verb, but is just an instrument in instrumental case, when we look at the corresponding active voice, which in present tense would be:
    सा तपसा जायते (She is born/begotten through penance/...)
    There is no ताम्‌ तपः जायते, which would be the active form otherwise.

    ---

    It's a bit confusing because the English verb "to be born" is morphologically passive of the transitive verb "bear", but it corresponds to an active intransitive verb "jan-" in Sanskrit. Think of French "naître" (which is also a bit confusing, as it builds its passé composé with être) or Urdu "paidā honā", etc. for a better parallel.
     
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    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Just for completeness, the neuter singular of the PP is also used, especially in poetry as a verbal noun in the abstract sense of the verb (same as the -ana form for most verbs). So, "jātam" may arguably also mean birth or being born, though I don't think even that makes much sense in our present context.
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Yeah, you're quite right, the terminology's getting a bit mixed up. Jan- is intransitive here, of course, it has no direct object. The soul was not born the body of the boy, it was born in - locative case, oblique argument. But the sentence has a subject. The 'tena hasitam' construction is used where the sentence has no subject. Since the verb is intransitive there is no patient or other role which fills the direct object position in the active sentence to elevate to the subject in the passive construction. Neither in Sanskrit nor English does one laugh the joke. You laugh at the joke. Thus we have: "Laughing was done by him," in clunky English. No subject. Nothing was laughed. It is not 'the laughter was laughed by him', it is just "laughing was done by him" - i.e., "he laughed." But here, the clause has a subject, it is the soul. The soul is born. The clause has a subject. The verb does not have an agent, there is nothing in the instrumental that is doing the birthing. It is not the soul was born in the body of the boy by the midwife, or by God, or something like this. However, our sentence has a subject and so the participle must agree with it, for it is the soul that was born. cf. phalāni khāditāni.
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Hi, I was just wondering if I could ask if you know where this sentence comes from? Do you think it's been made up for the purposes of the exercise, or could it have come from an actual text?
     
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