Definition - What does Vyarkarana mean?

Vyarkarana is a Sanskrit word that means “explanation” or “analysis.” It is one of the six auxiliary disciplines known as the Vedangas, which support the study of the Vedas. The Vedas laid the foundation for both yoga and Hinduism. Vyarkarana is the study of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis.

The way words are used singly and in the construction of sentences is the basis of the study of Vyarkarana. The rules of grammar and linguistics ensure that ideas are properly expressed. Knowing these rules helps in the understanding of the Sanskrit language and the meaning of the Vedas.

Yogapedia explains Vyarkarana

The ancient text, "Ashtadhyayi," by Panini is the best-known vyarkarana work, and it set the linguistic rules for classical Sanskrit. The "Ashtadhyayi" is divided into four parts: phonetics, the structure of words and sentences, root words, and groups of nouns and noun phrases.

The Vedangas, in general, provide insight into not only the language of the Vedas but also the meaning, structure and poetic meters of the ancient text. They also provide understanding of other post-Vedic texts and aspects of Hindu and yogic philosophy.

In addition to vyarkarana, the Vedangas are:

  • Chhandas -- the study of prosody, which looks at poetic meter. This includes analyzing the number of syllables per verse and any fixed patterns within them.
  • Shiksha -- the study of phonology, phonetics and pronunciation. This focuses on the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet and the way words are combined and expressed in a Vedic recitation.
  • Nirukta – the study of etymology. It is concerned with proper interpretation of the Sanskrit words, given their context in the ancient texts.
  • Kalpa -- the study of ritual instructions, including for rites of passage. It also explores the concepts of individual duty and proper conduct.
  • Jyotisha -- the study of timekeeping. It deals with the astrological and astronomical aspects of selecting the most dates and times to perform Vedic rituals and rites.
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