Sanskrit: स्वरूपिणी तदा राजन्दर्शयामास तं नृपम्

Au101

Senior Member
England, English (UK)
Another slightly perplexing construction from the Mahābhārata has got me hitting my head against a wall a little bit.

The line in question is, in my edition, the third of three:

एतेन नियमेनासीद्वर्षाण्यष्टादशैव तु ।
पूर्णे त्वष्टादशे वर्षे सावित्री तुष्टिमभ्यगात् ।
स्वरूपिणी तदा राजन्दर्शयामास तं नृपम् ॥ १-१० ॥
अग्निहोत्रात्समुत्थाय हर्षेण महतान्विता ।
उवाच चैनं वरदा वचनं पार्थिवं तदा ॥ १-११ ॥

However, in other editions it may appear as the first of three:

एतेन नियमेनासीद्वर्षाण्यष्टादशैव तु ।
पूर्णे त्वष्टादशे वर्षे सावित्री तुष्टिमभ्यगात् ॥ १-१० ॥
स्वरूपिणी तदा राजन्दर्शयामास तं नृपम् ।
अग्निहोत्रात्समुत्थाय हर्षेण महतान्विता ।
उवाच चैनं वरदा वचनं पार्थिवं तदा ॥ १-११ ॥

The word that interests me is दर्शयामास.

This is clearly a periphrastic perfect formation, 3rd person singular, active as far as I can see and it seems to be a causative form of dṛś-. Dṛś-, of course, means "to see", so the causative means "to show, reveal, manifest".

And here's where things get a little interesting. It's obvious that तं नृपम् "the king" is the person who is being shown something.

So what's the subject? Well, semantically it's clear the subject is Sāvitrī, who, after 18 years of pious acts is finally satisfied.

But what's got me scratching my chin is what is being shown? Well, we can deduce that what's happening is Sāvitrī is revealing herself to the king. But स्वरूपिणी is not in the accusative. It is nominative, agreeing, presumably, with सावित्री. So I looked in the next two verses for an accusative, remembering that other editions break these five lines up in different places. But there is no suitable accusative to be found, and in any case, the gerund समुत्थाय "having risen up" does make me think that the next two lines are logically separate:

After 18 years of piety, Savitri was satisfied.
She appeared before the king in her true form/incarnate:
She (bestower of boons) rose from the sacrificial fire with great happiness and said to the king:

So what's going on grammatically with स्वरूपिणी तदा राजन्दर्शयामास तं नृपम्? My temptation is to take सावित्री in the previous line as subject and स्वरूपिणी as going with it, and then to understand the sentence with an implied आत्मानम्, per Monier-Williams' entry under dṛś-:

Caus. Ā. P. दर्शयति, °ते, AV. &c.;

aor. अदीदृशत्, Br.;

अददर्शत्, Pāṇ. 7-4, 7, to cause to see or be seen, to show a thing (Ā. esp. of something belonging to one's self) or person (P. and Ā. with or scil. आत्मानम्, also one's self), to (acc. AV. iv, 20, 6; ŚBr. &c.; gen. Mn. iv, 59; MBh. &c.; dat. R. ii, 31, 33; Ragh. &c.; instr. after Ā. refl, Pāṇ. 1-4, 53 ; Kāś.);

This would then leave us with something along the lines of:

"At the completion of the eighteenth year, Sāvitrī gained contentment (after 18 years, Sāvitrī was satisfied) and then Sāvitrī incarnate revealed to the king (herself)"

Has anyone got any other thoughts?

It'd be very nice if दर्शयामास were passive and then perhaps we could extract out a meaning of "Her bodily form (subject) was shown to the king (indirect object) (supply by Sāvitrī (agent))", but I don't think it can be, because आस is parasmaipada.
 
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  • Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    It'd be very nice if दर्शयामास were causative and then perhaps we could extract out a meaning of "Her bodily form (subject) was shown to the king (indirect object) (supply by Sāvitrī (agent)), but I don't think it can be because आस is parasmaipada

    Well, दर्शयामास is causative. The primary root दृश्‌ does not form a periphrastic perfect. Even if it did, it would be something like *दृशामास। So, your expectation is fulfilled on that point. Now, the grammarians apparently teach that if the root is in active voice the auxilliaries are also always in the active (चकार, आस, बभूव), but if the root is in middle voice (i.e. corresponding to दर्शयते), auxilliary अस् and भू remain in active but कृ takes middle (चक्रे, आस, बभूव)। On the other hand, if the root is in passive voice (दर्श्यते) then the auxilliaries are always in passive/middle, i.e. चक्रे, आसे, बभूवे। Whitney, here, notes that this last bit about using आसे and बभूवे is practically nonexistent in actual usage. This still leaves the possibility that दर्शयामास could be a causative in the middle voice. Frankly speaking, I would think, using an (ambiguous) middle with a reflexive meaning is probably not a usual thing in the epics, but that seems to be our best bet here.
    In any case, just like you, despite this permitted grammatical jugglery, the sentence sounds incomplete to me without an आत्मानम्‌. Poetic license?
     
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    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Yes I'm so sorry Dib, I spotted my deliberate mistake too late to correct it before you started your reply. Yes for "It'd be very nice if दर्शयामास were causative" please read "It'd be very nice if दर्शयामास were passive" but it seems we understood each other anyway!

    Thanks again :) I agree with you the semantics are clear, but the grammar is tricky. I think it is a case of poetic license, I also note Monier-Williams' use of the word scil. "with or scil. आत्मानम्, also one's self" and note that in this usage P and Ā are allowed. I'm sure you're aware of the meaning and usage of scil./sc., but to quote the Wikipedia article of viz.

    A similar expression is scilicet, from earlier scire licet, abbreviated as sc., which is Latin for "it is permitted to know." Sc. provides a parenthetic clarification, removes an ambiguity, or supplies a word omitted in preceding text, while viz. is usually used to elaborate or detail text which precedes it.

    Perhaps we are simply meant to supply आत्मानम् for ourselves.

    Even doing that though, we are left with svarūpiṇī "appearing as herself; embodied, incarnate; in her natural form" in the nominative and presumably the subject of the verb. Embodied (Sāvitrī) revealed (supply herself) to the king. But svarūpiṇī definitely seems like an awkward choice of nominative.

    Perhaps we should try and translate idiomatic or poetic (you decide) Sanskrit into idiomatic English and go with "Sāvitrī appeared incarnate before the king", simply loosely translating दर्शयामास as appear, in which case svarūpiṇī seems to work so much better as subject.
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Yes I'm so sorry Dib, I spotted my deliberate mistake too late to correct it before you started your reply. Yes for "It'd be very nice if दर्शयामास were causative" please read "It'd be very nice if दर्शयामास were passive" but it seems we understood each other anyway!

    Ah, I see. Indeed. I was also mildly surprised that you had already deduced it to be a causative at the beginning of your post, and then why you were saying "if ... were causative" later on.

    Actually, I do not really understand the English usage of "scilicet". I also checked the wiktionary entry for it. The Latin usage seemed pretty clear - it meant "of course", but I couldn't understand the English usage. If MW is using it to mean something like "implied", then I think, that resolves our dilemma. Like you said:

    Perhaps we are simply meant to supply आत्मानम् for ourselves.

    But svarūpiṇī definitely seems like an awkward choice of nominative.

    Why do you say that? You know, in the Puranic religion, the deities (and asura, etc. other supernatural beings) have their standard iconography - their svarūpa, if you like, but they can also take other shapes, because they are कामरूप. In that context, I think, it makes perfect sense. Doesn't it?
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    I know, I should really do my proofreading before posting instead of 2 hours later! :p

    Actually, I do not really understand the English usage of "scilicet". I also checked the wiktionary entry for it. The Latin usage seemed pretty clear - it meant "of course", but I couldn't understand the English usage. If MW is using it to mean something like "implied", then I think, that resolves our dilemma.

    I find it a little hard to work out what MW means by "with or scil." too. I used to quite like using sc. in essays to explain an ambiguity, so I might say something like "the goddess in question (sc. Sāvitrī)", or offer a translation of the line under discussion like this: "Then, O King (sc. Yudhiṣṭhira), she revealed to the king (sc. Aśvapati) herself incarnate". But to tell you the truth I was never 100% sure I was using it as it's meant to be used and viz., i.e. and sc. seem to overlap a little bit. However, the way MW is using it is not a usage I'm really that familiar with, but I also found this definition from the Collins English Dictionary:

    namely; that is: used esp in explaining an obscure text or an ambiguity, or supplying a missing word

    Source

    Why do you say that? You know, in the Puranic religion, the deities (and asura, etc. other supernatural beings) have their standard iconography - their svarūpa, if you like, but they can also take other shapes, because they are कामरूप. In that context, I think, it makes perfect sense. Doesn't it?

    It does make sense, I suppose I may be lapsing into looking at things from an English language perspective, but I suppose my thought process is:

    What's the action? Showing, revealing, 'causing to see'
    Who's doing it? Sāvitrī
    Who is she showing something to? The king
    What is she showing? Her incarnate form.

    In English you'd want: Sāvitrī showed the king (object/indirect object) her incarnate form (object 2/direct object)
    Or: Sāvitrī showed her incarnate form (object) to the king (oblique)

    So somehow I can't help but want svarūpiṇī to be accusative. Except, of course, svarūpiṇī is an adjective not a substantive, so I suppose it would have to be svarūpam wouldn't it? But I mean, I'm used to an implied subject of a verb, but I still feel like I'm missing something if what I'm conceptualising as logically the 'object' is there in the sentence and yet it's grammatically an adjective describing an implied subject and the object too is implied.

    So that leaves us with treating svarūpiṇī as an adjective of Sāvitrī (preceding verse) and forming a translation along the lines of "Sāvitrī incarnate (or, Sāvitrī in her embodied form) revealed (herself) to the king".

    I just mean to say there are easier sentences that people have written in Sanskrit :p But I suppose there wouldn't be much fun in that would there :p
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Yes, now, I see what you mean. True, I was also unfamiliar with this use of causative दृश् without an explicit direct object. An accusative स्वरूपम् would have made it easier to parse.
     
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