Lesson 13: Sanskrit for Beginners Course: Vowel Sandhi + iti


Vowel sandhi. Usage of: iti.

Source: Introduction to Sanskrit (4th Ed) – Thomas Egenes – Part One


What Have We Learned In Course So Far?

  • From CH1-5 of book, we've learned:
    1. Sanskrit in general:
      • Logical/mathematical in nature.
      • saṃskṛtam means “perfected”. Meaning it's free of imperfections.
    2. Verbs:
      • Action words. EG: Going, asking, speaking, remembering, standing.
      • They consist of: 1st, 2nd, 3rd person. And have 3 numbers (sing, dual, pl).
    3. NOM:
      • Doer of the verb.
    4. ACC:
      • The one to whom verb is done onto by the NOM.
      • EG: ManNOM goes to elephantACC.                        (naraḥ gajam gacchati)
        • Man is doer of verb. The verb is done onto elephant.
    5. INST:
      • with __.  EG: Man goes with the elephant.          (naraḥ gajena saha gacchati)
    6. DAT:
      • for __.     EG: Horse goes to the man for food.    (aśvaḥ bhojanāya naram gacchati)
    7. WORD ORDER:
      • Style 1:  NOM  (ALL OTHER CASES)   ACC  VERB
      • Style 2:  (ALL OTHER CASES)  NOM  ACC  VERB
    8. Sandhi:
      • Used in writing, not in speaking.
      • Purpose is to create flow of speech.
      • Realistically takes 3+- years to adopt it.
    9. Verses:
      • We can appreciate the Vedic scholars who memorized one of the four vedās. Eg: ṛgvedaḥ takes about 6 hours to recite.
    10. Vocabulary:
      • Think of it as keeping our brain healthy and sharp. The more one learns, the more one CAN learn.
    11. Devanāgarī (देवनागरी) script
      • By now, beginner will take about 4 min to write this: naraḥ gajān aśvau ca gacchati
        • By CH8 of book, each student will be required to submit homework project to teacher in devanāgarī.
          • Help? (1) Print out Devanagari Reference (2) Write out Sanskrit sentences (eg: pg 63) in devanagari script.


  • Sandhi for Vowels:
Sandhi when combining: word1VOWEL VOWELword2.
    • Formula when joining: Replace word1_last_vowel & first_vowel_word2, with NEW vowel. EG:
      • mālā iva               : māleva                    माला इव      = मालेव
      • gacchati aśvam   : gacchatyaśvam     गच्छति अश्वम्  = गच्छत्यश्वम्
      • mṛgāya iti            : mṛgāyeti                 मृगाय इति     = मृगायेति
    • _e + i_word2 = _a  i_.  (no join, as per chart) EG:
      • nagare iva                =  nagara iva             नगरे इव = नगर इव
      • nagare iva iti          =  nagara iveti          नगर इवेति
      • nagare iva iti eka  =  nagara ivetyeka   नगर इवेत्येक
    • Word1 ends in diphthong (ai, au): Combine “au” + “ā”. And not “u” + “ā”: EG:
      • śiṣyau ācāryam       :  śiṣyāvācāryam   शिष्यावाचार्यम्
      • narauṣiḥ                 :  narāvṣiḥ            नरावृषिः
      • putrau icchataḥ      : putrāvicchataḥ   पुत्राविच्छतः
      • aśvau adhyāpakaḥ  : this one is for you.
    • x: When word1 ends in i, ī, u, ū, e – and declines as dual ending (EG: phale: Two fruit), then immune to sandhi.
      • EG:
        • phale    ācāryaḥ       : Should be: phala ācāryaḥ. But it's immune per this rule.
        • gurū     āgacchataḥ : Same as above.
        • dhenū  āgacchataḥ : Same as above.
        • śrutī     icchataḥ      : Same as above.
  • iti:  इति  (pg 59)
    • Means what? Quote  ”        “
    • Used when? Break long sentence into smaller parts.
    • EG:
aśvaḥ gacchati iti rāmaḥ vadati  (अश्वः गच्छति इति रामः वदति) The horse goes“, says Rāma.
He says that he is going. Step 1: Convert to 1st person: “I am going“, he says.
Step 2: Translate Step 1: gacchāmi iti vadati
Rāma says that he is going to the elephant. Step 1: Convert to 1st person: “I am going to the elephant“, says Rāma.
Step 2: Translate Step 1: gajam gacchāmi iti rāmaḥ vadati
Two of us are going“, the man said to the son. gacchāvaḥ iti naraḥ putram vadati > (sandhi) gacchāva iti narao putro vadati
Where are we?“, the boy asks. kutra bhavāmaḥ iti bālaḥ pṛcchati
vīraḥ rāmāya aśvān gacchati iti narau smarataḥ   वीरः रामाय अश्वान् गच्छति इति नरौ स्मरतः The hero goes to the horses for Rāma“, the two men remember.
How do we get to city of Melbourne”, asks the boy. katham melbourne-nagare gacchāmaḥ iti bālaḥ pṛcchati
Rāma, the king, stands for men, and asks the boys about the sons“, says the hero to the man. rāmaḥ nṛpaḥ naraiḥ tiṣṭhati ca putram bālān pṛcchati iti vīraḥ naram vadati

NOTE: Why didn't we put “caafterputram” as originally learned? Because that would be more confusing when mixing “ca” with “about”. Word order is not rigid.


  1. Memorize newest verse: Ornament of Stars
  2. Complete homework on pg 61 of book: 4c, e, g, h | 5a, c, d, e, f, g, h, j | 6b, c, g.

    • Sanskrit to English process for each exercise.
  3. Ask, “What is my weak area?“. Then spend 2h+ on it this week. It's either: Devanāgarī, Vocab, NOM-DAT case endings, Verb endings, Verses, Sandhi.


You'll have more questions throughout the course. How to ask? Leave in comments below, so others can also benefit. We'll respond within 48 hours. Only ask specific to this Lesson.

Recorded 18 Oct, 2020


    The man speaks to rama about the elephants
    Narah ramam gajan / gajabhay vadati ????
    not sure which one comes here .
    thanks Manish

    1. Whichever word is closest to verb in English, is exactly same in Sanskrit.

      So “speaks to Rāma” > Rāma is closest to verb. Hence: naraḥ gajān (rāmam vadati)

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