Tag Archives: Sanskrit


In English and other languages I find I often get ridiculed or misunderstood whenever I make up new words. People think its illegal. But in Sanskrit it’s built in to the language. You are supposed to make new words, you have to if you want to be really descriptive and exact about what you are saying.

We already know about adding prefixes and suffixes to roots to make new words. Now here’s another way – you can also add two roots together (if they are both nouns) to make a new word.

You can do this in English, too. For example, “Wallpaper” is a new word made by combining two other nouns (“wall” and “paper”). But in Sanskrit you can make compounds out of any number of nouns.

The thing about compounds is that, no matter how many words are involved, they all become one grammatical entity – so only the “last word” in the compound gets inflected. The rest of the words will retain their basic, stem form.

And, the regular rules of external sandhi apply when you put the words together.

We’ll look at two types of compounds today. Here’s the first, most famous example:

तत्पुरुषः Case 6 Tatpurusha Compound

Lets say we want to take the two words tasya (“his”) and puruṣa (“person”) and put them together to make a single compound word with a rich meaning something like “his person.” It conveys the sense of one person belonging to another. So its often translated as “his servant.”

Firstly you can note that compounds can also involve pronouns, not just nouns. tasya is a pronoun (Case 6 singular masculine). The rule is that words forming a compound revert to their stem, so

  1. tasya reverts to tad. 
  2. Combine it with puruṣa (which already in it’s stem), and get tad-puruṣa.
  3. Factor in the sandhi, so you get tat-puruṣa. 

Now tatpuruṣa is a single word. So If you want to use it as a singular noun you just inflect it as such, tatpuruṣaḥ.

Case 1 Tatpurusha Compund

Sometimes nouns act as adjectives… so adjectives are not excluded from being used in compounds. Here is an example:

kṛṣṇa can be used as an adjective, meaning “black.” So you can say kṛṣno hastaḥ (“black hand”). If you wanted to make this phrase a single word you could, just take kṛṣṇaḥ because to its original stem, kṛṣṇa and combine it with hasta. Then apply sandhi, but there are no sandhi changes between a and h, so you have the compound as kṛṣṇahasta, and you can use it for example as singular masculine like this: kṛṣṇāhastaḥ.

Another example:

Nara (“man”) + siṁha (“lion) = nasasiṁha, which you can then inflect, for example as singular masculine: narasiṁhaḥ. 


पुरुषाणाम् उत्तमः puruṣāṇām uttamaḥ

  1. Revert words back to their stems: puruṣa + uttama
  2. Blend together with sandhi = puruṣottama

The meaning is “better than” (uttama) “all other people” (puruṣāṇām). Or simply the Ultimate (uttama) Person (Puruṣa)

नीलानि फलानि nīlāni phalāni

  • nīla + phala = nīlaphala (“blue-fruit”)
  • nīlaphalāni (“blue-fruits”)

सुन्दरा अश्वाः sundarā aśvāḥ

  • sundara + aśva = sundarāśva (“beauty-horse”)

नगरस्य मध्ये nagarasya madhye

  • nagara + madhya = nagaramadhya (“center-city”)
  • nagaramadhye (“in center-city”)

ग्रामस्य वृक्षात् grāmasya vṛkṣāt

  • grāma + vṛkṣa = grāmavṛkṣa (“villiage-trees”)
  • grāmavṛkṣāt (“from the village-trees”)

वैराय वीराय vairāya vīrāya

  • vaira + vīra = vairavīra (“aggressive-hero”)
  • vairavīrāya (“for the aggressive-hero”)

Words like Kaurava, Tattva, Ānandamaya, and Ācārya (Special Suffixes)

Now we are learning about special suffixes that can’t be added to the end of verbs, they only fit on the end of nouns.

Here are some important suffixes that only work on the ends of nouns: -a, -aka, -tva, -maya, -ya

-अ -a from X
-अक -aka a little (cute, adorable) thing from X
-त्व -tva X-ness
-मय -maya composed of X
-य -ya from X

Clearly -a, -aka, and -ya are similar, with only subtle differences.

-अ -a

This suffix is misleading, it doesn’t work like a suffix, it actually works by strengthening the first vowel in the word.

Putra is a word that means child. If you add the so-called “-a”, the word doesn’t become putrā, it becomes pautra. The first vowel in putra, the u, becomes stronger, it becomes au. Pautra means “from a child.” Its often used as a word for grandchild.

One way to explain this weirdness – that the suffix doesn’t seem to make a difference at all – is the following grammatical rule:

“If the suffix starts with or a, and the root ends with a, the root drops its final vowel when accepting the suffix.”

So, the blow-by-blow of whats going on is

  1. The root word putra
  2. Gets a suffix that does start with or a, the suffix a.
  3. So the root loses its final vowel, and becomes putr
  4. Then add the suffix, a, and get back to putra

Most of the time you wouldn’t even know if the suffix exists or not, since the result of adding the suffix is the same as the root, there has to be some other effect of the suffix. That effect is to strengthen the first vowel in the root. So, that’s how we know that putra doesn’t have the -a suffix, and pautra does.

This drop of the final vowel, appropriately, only affects nouns that end in a. Let’s say we have a word that ends in u, like kuru. It’s the name of the dynasty that Krishna and the Pāṇḍavas belong to. How would we add the -a suffix? We don’t drop the final u. So is it kurua? 

No, the final (pretty much following normal sandhi rules) becomes av. So, is it kurava?

Close, but no. The -a suffix still strengthens the first vowel of the root, even if the root doesn’t end in a. So, applying the -a suffix to kuru results in the word kaurava {which means, from the kurus, as in a member of the kuru dynasty}.

-अक -aka

This suffix, like all of them that start with a or y, cause the root to lose its final vowel, but this one has more to it than just a vowel, so there is no need for it to modify the root. You will easily recognize this suffix when you see it.

Although this suffix shows that something is made of the substance named in the root, the primary meaning is to show an affectionate, cute smallness.

Putra means child. Putraka means “little child” in the sense of a cute and darling little child.

Aśva means horse. Aśvaka means “little horse,” a colt.

-त्व -tva

This is exactly like the English suffix -ness. Softness, for example, means the quality of being soft. Kṛṣṇa means black. So, kṛṣṇatva means blackness.

Notice that this suffix doesn’t start with or a, so there is no change to the final vowel of the root.

One of the coolest words with this suffix is tattva. It’s the pronoun tat with the suffix tva. So it means “that-ness” and is used to refer to reality or truth, substantiality.

-मय -maya

Again, no change to the root because the suffix doesn’t start with or a. It means, “composed of X.” A very cool word with this suffix is ānanadamaya. The root is nanda (happiness). The prefix is ā- (impelling) so together ānanda means compelling happiness, aka bliss. And then add the suffix -maya and you get a word to define an entity that is composed of bliss.

This word is used in the Veda to describe spiritual substance.

-य -ya

This will cause the final a to drop.

This is a subtle, sophisticate suffix that means different things in different contexts. In general it means “from X” but mostly in the sense of “as a result of X.”

A very important word with this suffix is ācārya. Let’s break this word down.

The root is cār which means movement. You would use an -a to make it a noun, cāra.

The prefix is ā- (ācāra). The prefix means impelling, so the word ācāra means “impelling movement.” What impels movement? Well, motivations to, and rules also impel movement (“no stopping here, no standing, no parking, left turn only, etc). So ācāra means a combination of motivation and rule. So, motivating rules (rules that motivate). Thus its often used for the concept of “practice.”

Add the suffix -ya. It will make the final a disappear, so the result will be ācāra + ya = ācārya. What does it mean? The -ya suffix means “from, as a result of X.” X in this case is “practice” or “motivational rules.” So the word ācārya literally means as a result of practice. Or, as a result of motive and behavior. 

The word is used for teachers and gurus because the idea is that teachers teach by example more than by words alone. As a result of one’s own practice, one becomes capable to guide and teach others in the same manner.


“The Boy Ignorantly Derides the City’s Heroes”

“The boy ignorantly derides the city’s heroes.”

OK, how do we say that in Sanskrit? I’ll figure it out. If I make errors I’ll correct them at the end.

First let’s assemble the basic vocabulary we need.

  • Boy = bāla
  • Derision / insult = ninda
  • City = nagara
  • Hero = vīra
  • Ignorance. There’s a few ways we might say this. We could use a prefix to negate a word meaning “knowledge” – but why don’t we stick with the vocabulary we’ve been learning in this series. We know the word moh means “confusion” and “bewilderment,” so that will do. Just make it a noun by adding the -a suffix: moha.

Now we need to figure out how to organize and inflect the basic vocabulary words.

I think the real question here is, How do we say “ignorantly derides”? As translators to and from any language will be familiar with, we have to… you know, like they say in math, “set two dissimilar fractions to a common denominator.” Similarly in translation, we often have to revert the original language into a structure that is more similar to the structure of the language we are translating into. So, “ignorantly derides” is fairly complex and sophisticated English. Revert it to a more basic form. The -ly suffix can be removed and the meaning of that suffix can be more clearly stated. Thus: “derides with ignorance.” Or, “derides as a result of ignorance.”

Now we can more easily see that its a question of choosing the right noun case for the word moha. What are our options? “with, for, from, of, and in” are the options (cases 3-7 respectively). So, I think, the “with” or “from” cases translate the concept effectively. But the “with” case is “instrumental” – in other words the noun in that case is the instrument of an action. That’s not entirely wrong for our translation, but I think the “from” case is better. In other words, I think it’s better to translate it as “As a result of (from) ignorance, the boy derides” instead of “The body derides with ignorance.”

That settles it then. The case will be Case 3, “with” – in which the ending is -ena. So moha will be used as mohena.

The next compound phrase to figure out is “city’s heroes.” It’s much easier than “ignorantly derides” because its obviously the “of” case, Case 6 (ending in -sya). So nagara will be used as nagarasya.

Thats the end of the tough stuff. The rest is simple. The subject is the boy, the object is the city. Here we go, first try at the basic assembly of the sentence (no sandhi, first):

mohena balaḥ nagarasya vīram nindati

With sandhi:

mohena balo nagarasya vīraṁ nindati
मोहेन बलो नगरस्यवीरं निन्दति


OK, now lets check it for errors…

This is what the teacher suggests as a good translation:

बालो संमोहेन नगराणां वीरान् निन्दति
bālo saṁmohena nagarāṇāṁ vīran nindati

The first thing I notice is that I forgot that the heroes were plural. I translated, “The boy ignorantly derides the city’s hero.” But I ws supposed to translate, “The boy ignorantly derides the city’s heroes.” I did it singular. I inflected vīra as vīram (singular object), when it should have been vīrān (plural object)

So, the same mistake affects the word for city (nagara). I inflected it in Case 6 Singular (-sya), but I should have done it in Case 6 plural (-anām). So the word should have been nagarāṇām.

You might ask why City’s should be in plural, after all theres nothing specifying that the heroes come from more than one city. Maybe all the heroes being insulted by the boy come from the same city. That’s ok, its still plural, because its an adjective of hero, so it has to attach itself to hero by sharing the same grammatical foundation. Since the noun “heroes” is plural, the adjective of this noun “city’s” has to be plural too.

The teacher used the prefix sam- on the word moha. This makes it more clear that the boy is not just insulting them by mistake, out of confusion, but really out of more significant bewilderment and delusion.

The teacher wrote it as bālaḥ saṁmohena, whereas my word order is saṁmohena balaḥ. I think this is just a question of taste. Word order is not very important in Sanskrit.

Rooting out the Meaning

Noun = Prefix(es) Root Suffix(es)
lābha labh a
Profit to gain
 māna man a
 Regard to think
 saṁtāra sam tar a
 Inclusively Surpassing to surpass
 nindana nind ana
 Defamy, censure to insult
 bhaga bhag a
 Opulence, Fortune to divide / share
 vartana vart ana
Motion to move
 bodhana bodh ana
 Comprehension to comprehend
 sthāna stha ana
 Place  to stand
 darśana dṛś ana
 Audience / Meeting to see
 ādarśa ā dṛś a
 Illustration / Display to see

English to Sanskrit

Let’s figure out how to say, “With his eye, the man sees the bliss of the village.

“Eye” can be akṣa or nayana or netra. Let’s use netra. We have to conjugate it in the “with” case. That’s case 3, and the ending is -ena, e replacing the a. So, netreṇa means “with his eye.”

The man is the subject: naraḥ.

The man sees: paśyati.

Bliss is ānanada. Village is grāma. We need village to be in the “of” case,  Case 6, where the ending is -sya. So, grāmasya. Now the two words form a pair, we’ll put the thing that possesses the other thing first. Villiage possesses bliss, so village first, followed by bliss: grāmasya+ānanda = grāmasyānanda. We have to make sure this is understood to be the object of the seeing, so the compound should get the inflection of an object, -m. So, grāmasyānandam

Put the words together: naraḥ netreṇa grāmasyānandam paśyati. Make considerations for Sandhi: naro netreṇa grāmasyānandaṁ paśyati. 

नरो नेत्रेण ग्रामस्यानन्दं पश्यति

Get to the Root of the Word!

Its very important to be able to guess the root of a word (in any language). If you can do this, you can figure out the meaning of words you don’t already know, without having to memorize the dictionary. You just have to memorize the root words.

One way that words come from roots is where the root is a verb, but the fruit on the branch from that root (the word) is a noun! Here are some examples.

Jīva – The Living Being

जीव् (jīv) is a verb, meaning “live.” The typical (3rd person singular) way you use it is जीवति (jīvati), “he lives.” But if you add the primary suffix -a to the end of the root, it becomes a noun: जीव (jīva) “the living being.”

भव् (bhav) is another verb-root. It means “be / become.” The typical use as a verb is भवति (bhavati), “he is / he becomes.” But, add the -a suffix and you get a noun: भाव (bhāva) – “reality” (lit. “a thing with being).

Bhāva – Existence

In bhāva you might have noticed that the vowel of the root verb “strengthened” from to ā. That happens sometimes when you add the suffix -a.  Don’t worry, just pretend it makes sense, for now.

Now you can also attach prefixes to the noun you made, भाव (bhāva). For example, you can add the sam- prefix (meaning “con-“, “toghether, with, complete”) and you get the word संभव् (saṁbhav). Prefixes work with verbs or nouns. Right now, this is a verb, saṁbhav, and you can inflect and use it like a verb. For example, the typical, संभवति (saṁbhavati) “he comes to being.” Or you can add the handy, simple -a suffix and make the root a noun: संभव (saṁbhava). It’s not easy to translate this noun into Enlgish. It refers to “coming into being” as a noun-entity, rather than as an action. So, “birth” or “origination” would be viable translations.

Śoka – Lamentation

शोव् (śoc) is a verb root – “lament” – which you often see inflected as शोवति (śocati) {“he laments”}. But you can add the -a suffix to make the “lament” verb a “lament” noun {“lamentation”}. The noun is: शोक (śoka). Why isn’t it शोच (śoca)? Remember the rule, when -a is added as a suffix, if the consonant it’s joining with is “ca-varga” (pronounced in the back of the mouth – most commonly c, ch, j, jh), it will change to the corresponding consonant from the “ka-varga” (pronounced in the throat). See the previous post if you need a refresher on this.

Jaya – Victory / Success

The root is जय् (jay). If you use it as a verb – जयति (jayati) – it means “he conquers.” If you use it as a noun (by adding the -a suffix) – जय (jaya) – it means, “victory.”

You can add prefixes, of course. What if we add the vi- prefix and get विजयति । विजय (vijayati (verb) / vijaya (noun)). vi- means distinct. So it just intensifies the meaning, “distinct victory.” It’s a very special victory that sets it apart from more common victories.

You can add a different prefix, sam – (completely, fully, together). The root jay then becomes संजयति । संजय (saṁjayati / saṁjaya ) a verb and noun meaning “complete victory” or even “mutual victory.”

Moha – Confusion

From the root मोह् (moh) {“confuse”} we can nouns like:

  • मोह (moha) {“confusion”)
  • संमोह (saṁmoha) {“complete confusion”}

And verbs like

  • मुह्यति (muhyati) {“he gets confused”} 
  • संमुह्यति (saṁmuhyati) {“he get’s completely confused”}

Yes, the vowel of the root “strengthened” in the verb. Let’s ignore it for now.

Krodha – Anger

Root: krodh (anger as a verb, an action), for example as Krudhyati (he expresses anger). Note the same vowel change as in moh.

Noun (by adding -a): krodha (anger as a noun, a feeling)

Ānanda – Joy

Root: nand (joy as a verb, an action, like “rejoice”), like nandati {“he rejoiced.”}

Noun (-a): nanda (joy as a noun, a feeling).

If we add the prefix ā-. What will happen to the meaning of the nouns and verbs formed from this root, nand? Well, the prefix itself means “expanding up to.” So using the prefix ā- and forming a noun like ānanda we get a word meaning “expanding joy” or “bringing to joy” – commonly translated as “bliss.”

You can use the prefix with verb form of the root too, of course. So ānandati means “he makes blissful.”

Kāṅkṣa – Desire

Root: kāṅkṣ. Its a verb meaning “desire” (as an action), for example kāṅkṣate {“he desires for himself”}. Add the -a prefix to the root kāṅkṣ and get kānkṣa – a noun meaning “desire” (as a feeling).

Sanskrit Suffixes

Besides prefixes, we can also use suffixes to fine tune the meaning of words, and create new words. We’ll look at three very common verb suffixes now.

-अ -a

This is so common you probably don’t even think of it as a suffix. Most Sanskrit roots are a single syllable, ending in a consonant. But we tend to think of them all as having a final a. The final a is actually a suffix.

The meaning is also very transparent, subtle and slight. It is a lot like the -us suffix we’re pretty used to in English. What’s the difference between analogy and analogous? Not too much, right? It’s quite subtle. What’s the difference between victory and victorious? The -us suffix makes the word a bit more abstract, that’s all. And that’s extremely similar to what the -a suffix does in Sanskrit.

There are some sandhi rules for adding suffixes. An odd rule for the -a suffix is that if it comes after a consonant from the group that are pronounced with the tongue tension at the back of the mouth (“ca-varga: c, ch, j, jh, ñ, y, or ś), that pronunciation will change  to the same type of sound but from the throat (it will change to “the corresponding ka-varga” – but the ka varga versions of y and s have dropped from classical Sanskrit, so in classical Sanskrit the rule doesn’t apply to y or ś).

सर्ग (sarga) for example is really the root सर्ज् (sarj). When you add the a at the end, the j changes to a g, because j is the voiced sound from the back of the mouth, so it must change to the voiced sound from the throat, g. (see sanskrit sounds if you’re lost).

Sarj means “sending forth.” Adding the -a suffix to get sarga makes it mean “the abstract condition of sending forth,” more simply expressed as “creation.”

Now add the prefix vi- (apart, distinct) to sarga and you get visarga, which means “separating the creation” – in other words the act of taking the elementary materials of the creation, and dividing them into structures and forms.

Incidentally Viṣṇu performs sarga once in the entire duration of a universe, while Brahma performs visarga each and every time he wakes up every morning. (his timescale)

Another example is the word जय (jaya) – we think of it as a root, probably, but really the root is जय् (jay). Jay means victory. Jaya means victorious.

You might notice that the y in jay didn’t change. It’s because in classical Sanskrit there no longer is a thorat-equivalent sound for y, so there’s nothing to change it to.

Another example is the word नय् (nay). Add an a to the end and the word becomes नाय (nāya). Notice something weird? The first ‘a’ changed to ‘ā’. That’s a quirk that adding the -a suffix sometimes does (you’ll notice it didn’t happen for jaya).

-अन -ana

This is simpler, because there’s no change to the root word ever.

This suffix means the act of doing something, and the vehicle for doing it. It’s for an action or object that facilitates the action specified by the verb it suffixes.

For example, the root दर्श् (darś) means “see”. Add the suffix to get दर्शन (the act of seeing, “audience”). Darśana, then, more literally means “the action that facilitates seeing.” When you go to a temple and come before the deity, or when you go to meet a saintly person – this is called darśana.

Another example: the root नय् (nay) {“lead”} takes the suffix -ana and becomes नयन (nayana), which means an act that facilitates leading. More commonly it refers to the eyes! Because the eyes are the object that facilitates leading. We are lead around by our eyes.

-त्र -tra

This is very similar in meaning to -ana. But it’s more directly focused on the object / instrument that facilitates an action, whereas -ana is primarily about the actions that facilitate the basic action.

For example, we said that नयन (nayana) can refer to eyes (the instrument that leads us). But it is more common to refer to eyes as नेत्र (netra). The word netra is from the same root as nayana: नय् (nay). When you add -tra the semivowel dissapears and the vowel changes to e.

The next session will be exercises to work more with suffixes.

How to Make Sanskrit Words (viz BG 1.2)

One of the most wonderful things about Sanskrit is how we can combine root words together and with prefixes and suffixes to make very specific, expressive, detailed words. Learning how to do this is one of the most important steps towards learning Sanskrit.

Here’s an example:

mar is a simple Sanskrit root meaning “die.” Suffixes and prefixes can make this root mean “immortality”!

 मर् मृत अमृत अमृतत्व
 mar mṛta amṛta amṛtatva
 die death without-death without-death-ness

With prefixes and suffixes, one root, mar, can refer to a death thing, mṛta, a thing without death – an immoral, like a god or like the soul, or like the divine elixir that cheats death, or even to the abstract nature of immortality, amṛtatva.

Another example:

भज् भग भगवत् भागवत
bhaj bhaga bhagavat bhāgavata
love happiness the beloved, happy one – God pertaining to God – the devotee

There are four ways to make words:

  1. Turn a verb into a new verb with prefixes and suffixes
  2. Turn a verb into a noun
  3. Turn a noun into a new noun with prefixes and suffixes
  4. Combine two nouns into a new noun

Verb Prefixes

There are about 20 verb prefixes in Sanskrit. Here are five of the more common and important:

Together / Apart

Sam- and vi- are opposite prefixes. Sam- indicates togetherness, and vi- indicates separateness and distinction.

सम्- (sam-) 

This is like the English prefix con-. It means “with, together, fully, completely.”

वि- (vi-)

This is like the the English prefix di- (as in divide and distance)It means “separation, distinction”


ā- and upa- both indicate nearness. ā- is nearness coming toward but not surpassing a thing. upa- is nearness coming up from below a thing, humbly.

आ- (ā-)

This means “towards, up to.”

उप- (upa-)

This is like the English prefixe sub- and a bit like  hypo-. It means “near, towards, under, below.”


अ- (a-)

The same prefix is used in English, sometimes as an- (as in atheist or anaerobic). Be careful to distinguish it from the ā- prefix, which is quite different in meaning.

Prefix Sandhi

You use normal sandhi rules for spelling and pronunciation when you add prefixes (or suffixes) to roots.


Here are examples using the root गम् (gam) {“movement”}.  We’ll use this root in third person singular, so it is inflected as गच्छति (gacchati) {“he moves”}.

Add the prefix आ- (ā-) {“towards”} and you get आगच्छति (āgacchati) {“towards-movement”, in other words, “he comes”}

Add instead the prefix उप- (upa-) {“near” humbly, from below} and you get उपगच्छति (upagacchati) {“humble, near-movement”, in other words, “he humbly approaches”}. 

Add instead the prefix सम् (sam-) {“with, together”} and you get संगच्छन्ति (saṁgacchanti) [changing the inflection a little to make it plural so it makes sense] {“together-movement” in other words, “they come together” or “they assemble.”}

We can see that prefixes are extremely useful for making very specific and expressive words from simple, basic roots. The same is true in any language, of course, but in Sanskrit the rules for it are uncommonly clear,  systematic and thorough.

Multiple Prefixes

We’re not limited to using just one prefix per root. We can use as many as we need or like. Here’s an example: उपसंगच्छन्ति (upasaṁgacchanti). The root is gacchanti {“they move”} but the movement is qualified with the prefixes sam- and upa-. The prefix some changes the root to mean “together-movement” (assembly, coming together in a group). And upa- changes it further to mean “humbly from below, towards something” So the one word upasaṁgacchanti means “humbly approaching for assembly as a group.”

When there are multiple prefixes, the one closest to the root is most prominent in forming the meaning. So, if we put the same two prefixes, upa- and sam- , in different order, we get a different word: समुपगच्छन्ति (samupagacchanti) which means, “they assemble to humbly approach (someone or something).”

Prefixes in Bhagavad-Gītā 1.2

दृष्ट्वा तु पाण्धवानीकं वि-ऊढं दुर्योधनस्तदा

dṛṣṭvā tu pāṇḍavānīkaṁ vi-ūḍhaṁ duryodhanas tadā

(But having seen the Pāṇḍava’s army arrayed, Duryodhana then…)

आ-चार्यम् उप-सं-गम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत्

ā-cāryam upa-saṁ-gamya rājā vacanam abravīt

(… assembled to humbly approach his teacher, and the King spoke)

“But then, when King Duryodhana saw the array of the Pāṇḍava army, he gathered himself to humbly approach his teacher and speak some words.”

The first prefix used here is vi-, added to the word ūḍham. Because of the rules of sandhi, the combination of the two becomes vyūḍham. The root ūḍha means something like “a push, a movement, a demonstration.” The root vi- indicates separation, so the combination, vyūḍham indicates a separating movement that pushes and displays some demonstration. The word is used to describe the separation of an army into a specific formation or array.

The next prefix used here is ā-. It’s added to the root cārya which means “exemplar” (cār means behavior. cārya is means example). The prefix ā- means “towards, up to”. The whole word ācārya means someone who points towards, moves up to, demonstrates exemplary behavior. Aka, “teacher.”

Two prefixes are then used together, upa- and sam- are added to the root gam {“movement”}. We discussed this combination already.