Sanskrit: tasya kālaM kurvataH


yaḥ kaścicchāriputra kulaputro vā kuladuhitā vā tasya bhagavato'mitāyuṣastathāgatasya nāmadheyaṃ śroṣyati, śrutvā ca manasikariṣyati, ekarātraṃ vā dvirātraṃ vā trirātraṃ vā catūrātraṃ vā pañcarātraṃ vā ṣaḍrātraṃ vā saptarātraṃ vāvikṣiptacitto manasikariṣyati, yadā sa kulaputro vā kuladuhitā vā kālaṃ kariṣyati, tasya kālaṃ kurvataḥ so'mitāyustathāgataḥ śrāvakasaṃghaparivṛto bodhisattvaguṇapuraskṛtaḥ purataḥ sthāsyati so'viparyastacittaḥ kālaṃ kariṣyati ca。

quoted from Amitabha

Sorry for the long text, as the annotated version which I am reading takes this long text as one piece for annotation, the following is the English translation offered in the book:

No, whatever son or daughter of a family shall hear the name of the blessed Amitayus, the Tathagata, and having heard it, shall keep it in mind, and with thoughts undisturbed shall keep in mind for one, two, three, four, five, six or seven nights,--when that son or daughter of a family comes to die, then that Amitayus, the Tathagata, surrounded by an assembly of disciples and followed by a host of Bodhisattvas, will stand before them at their hour of death, and they will depart this life with tranquil minds.

I don't quite understand the function of the three words which are underlined. The corresponding English above is "at their hour of death". "tasya, kurvataḥ" take genitive case. "kālaṃ" accusative. Why here it's the genitive case? Which is qualified by them? Thanks a lot!
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  • Panditammanya

    New Member
    English - USA, Tamil
    First, it appears that kālaṃ karoti is here being used as an idiom meaning "to die." I haven't encountered this particular construction in texts but from the preceding clause ("yadā sa kulaputro vā kuladuhitā vā kālaṃ kariṣyati") it seems clear that this is what is meant.

    Next, we come to the genitive. To understand this, let's try to simplify the clause appearing after the comma. First, just consider the subject and the verb:

    "saḥ amitāyuḥ tathāgataḥ ... sthāsyati"

    That Amitayus, the Tathagata, will stand. Where will he stand?

    "tasya... saḥ amitāyuḥ tathāgataḥ ... purataḥ sthāsyati"

    In front of him (tasya). The preposition purataḥ here governs the genitive case. In front of whom exactly?

    "tasya kālaṃ kurvataḥ saḥ amitāyuḥ tathāgataḥ ... purataḥ sthāsyati"

    In front of him who is in the act of dying (kurvataḥ). The translator has converted this into "before (i.e in front of) them at their hour of death" which is more idiomatic in English.

    An alternative way to interpret this is as a so-called "genitive absolute" construction.


    Thank you for your detailed and clear explanations. the sentence is too long and the part of the gentive cases is far away from the part which governs it, all of these cause difficulty of correctly understanding of the grammatical relation between them. Now I've got it. It's very kind of you to take time to help me solve the problem. Thanks again.