Sanskrit: yAvat

rickymut

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Chinese
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The quote above is from vajracchedikā nāma triśatikā prajñāpāramitā. Sorry again for that the text is long. Here my question and confusion is about the relative pronouns in Sanskrit. "yAvat" means as much. It's a relative pronoun, isn't it? then here in the sentence the correlative is "te"? The relation of the relative clause is as "yAvantaH ..., yAvAn ..., te ..."? I am not sure of it and also I can't get a clear picture in the textbooks about the relative pronouns which are just roughly touched on. I've once come across the form " yAvat..., tAvat..." which means as much as ..., right? If "yAvantaH ..., yAvAn ..., te ..." is ok here, then what does it mean? Sorry for my disordered expressions. To simply put it, the point is that I don't know the usage yAvantaH..., yAvAn .... Another question is about the meaning of "saMgRhItA". I thought it as "taken, fallen into" while my friend disagreed and said it means comprised. By the way could you also help me clear up the uasge of kascit (kascit means some, some one, here it qualifies a thing, so it means some, however the thing which is qualified is a singular, so here any. right?).Thanks a lot!
 

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  • Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Thank you, rickymut, for the series of interesting questions. I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge, but I should make it explicit that I am not well-versed in Buddhist philosophy and its vocabulary, and I am essentially a stranger to its primary texts in any language. So, please, take my words with a healthy dose of scepticism unless I am providing reliable references, because my experience of Sanskrit has been so far mostly limited to the so-called classical, and to an extent Vedic literature.

    "yAvat" means as much. It's a relative pronoun, isn't it? then here in the sentence the correlative is "te"? The relation of the relative clause is as "yAvantaH ..., yAvAn ..., te ..."? I am not sure of it and also I can't get a clear picture in the textbooks about the relative pronouns which are just roughly touched on. I've once come across the form " yAvat..., tAvat..." which means as much as ..., right? If "yAvantaH ..., yAvAn ..., te ..." is ok here, then what does it mean?

    I think you are basically right that here the correlative structure is "yAvantaH sattvAH sattvadhAtau ... te ...", meaning something like "as many beings as there are in the sattvadhAtu ..., they ..." The other "yAvAn ..." clause in the middle does not seem to be a part of this correlative structure - I am coming to it later. We could also have "ye sattvAH ... te ...", but in my opinion "yAvantaH" in the subordinate clause here emphasizes the large number of the "beings" under discussion, rather than a bland generic "ye". The idea is that even though there is a large number and variety of beings, each and every one of them is "nirvApitavya".

    Now coming to the interposed "yAvAn ..." clause:
    By the way could you also help me clear up the uasge of kascit (kascit means some, some one, here it qualifies a thing, so it means some, however the thing which is qualified is a singular, so here any. right?).Thanks a lot!

    "Some" in this context means an "indefinite" person/thing, like "somebody" or "something", and not a "small amount", like "some suger", with the exception that "kiM-cit" acquired the sense of "a little" as an indeclinable particle. Anyway, so what we have here is this: "yAvAn kaH cit sattvadhAtuH ..." in the sense of "as much as a sattvadhAtu can be ..."

    Thus, what the sentence "yAvantaH sattvAH sattvadhAtau - yAvAn kaH cit sattvadhAtuH prajnapyate - te parinirvApitavyAH" basically conveys is this: "As many beings as there are in the sattvadhAtu - in as much as a sattvadhAtu can be demonstrated(?) - they are parinirvApitavya (i.e. to be taken to nirvANa)."

    Another question is about the meaning of "saMgRhItA". I thought it as "taken, fallen into" while my friend disagreed and said it means comprised.

    The usual meaning, I am familiar with, and what Apte lists as its first meaning, is "collected". I don't know if there is a different significance in Buddhist context, but this interpretation looks plausible here.
     

    rickymut

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks for so detailed and clear answer. I pick up the Buddhist texts as there're only some of them with the annotations available for me now. I learn Sanskrit by myself, so the annotated version is very useful and convenient for me. You're modest. I know you are good at Sanskrit. I may luckily rely on you and get your generous help. No matter how limited is your knowledge on Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit as you said, you're much better than I. hehe! I would also want to put a bit of my understanding into it, but it doesn't mean much here in the context considering my poor Sanskrit for the time being.

    I agree with your points and want to say a few words of my understanding.

    “ in as much as a sattvadhAtu can be demonstrated(?)”,“ a sattvadhAtu” here is not as the same as "sattvadhAtau" being in the locative case, it's the nominative case. "demonstrate" can be the right word here. I find from Apte that the causative of the word may mean "show". It may be roughly put as "as much as a sattvadhAtu being showing can be showed" (shows what? shows there is a large number and variety of beings (born from eggs, from wombs, ...) , so the part here is a supplement to the meaning of the previous part.

    With your help, I've roughly caught the meaning of the whole sentence. Thanks again.
     
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