Lesson 2 Aham vs Aham
To answer those riddles, we must first get familiar with the स्वर s (vowels) and the व्यञ्जन s (consonants).
अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ऋ ॠ लृ ॡ ए ऐ ओ औ अं अः are the स्वर s. They are complete in themselves and do not require the help of another letter to be pronounced. स्वर s are sixteen in number.
The व्यञ्जन s are
Thirty five of them. The व्यञ्जन s highlighted in the table are called अनुनासिक व्यञ्जन s.
A व्यञ्जन,if not combined with a स्वर, is written with an oblique line underneath it which is called a हलन्त (halanta) or a विराम (virāma). This halanta also tells you that the pronunciation of that व्यञ्जन is clipped.
A small example - कप् is pronounced as the English word 'cup'
and कप is cuppa (as in I wanna cuppa tea...gottit? )
The व्यञ्जन s written without the halanta such as क or say प्ल actually end in an अ
So क = क् +अ , प्ल= प्+ ल् +अ
And of course का = क्+ आ
Sixteen स्वरs plus thirty five व्यञ्जन s make up the वर्णमाला । Add to it , three ॐ s - so that gives us fifty four. Fifty four plus fifty four, add up to a hundred and eight. We go over the entire वर्णमाला twice, forwards and backwards, when we do one माला of जप ।
In a sentence like अहम् अनामिका (I am Anāmikā) the म् is written as म् to enable it to join with the swara अ in अनामिका , to form the complete letter म। The sentence then becomes अहमनामिका ।
So if a word ends in म् and the word following it begins with a swara, the म् is either written as म्, or it is combined with the swara following it to become a म , मा , मि and so on and so forth.
So म् is written as म्, in two cases -
In a sentence like अहं तारा, the म् of the अहं is followed by the consonant त।
When the म् - the last letter in a word- is followed by another word whose first letter is a consonant, the म् converts itself into a dot and places itself above the previous letter. Maintaining an identity of its own, it now calls itself an अनुस्वार।
The correct form of the sentence then becomes अहं तारा।
Only म् has the authority to be used as an अनुस्वार ।. This changes the entire concept on how to write and pronounce a word correctly.
We present some terms in Sanskrit Grammar which we will come across during our study. Pl go to Supplement 2 for these.
Details in Lesson No. Three. Answers to riddle two in Lesson Three too.
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