Grantha – 17 – Grantha Fonts & Softwares


| ॐ  नमः शास्त्रे | ஓம்ʼ நம: ஸா²ஸ்த்ரே |


अचिन्त्यो भगवान् बुद्धो नित्यकायस् तथागतः
देशेति विविधान् व्यूहान् सत्त्वानां हितकारणात्
அசிந்த்யோ ப⁴க³வாந் பு³த்³தோ⁴ நித்யகாயஸ் ததா²க³த​:
தே³ஸே²தி விவிதா⁴ந் வ்யூஹாந் ஸத்த்வாநாம்ʼ ஹிதகாரணாத்
The Lord Buddha is inconceivable, the Tathagata’s body is permanent
It pervades a multitude of forms, for the welfare of sentient beings

I was about to start posting basic Sanskrit in Grantha from this lesson. However by then, there were lots of enquiries about the Grantha related fonts and Softwares to me. So, I thought I’d devote an entire posting to dicuss about them. Grantha is yet to be encoded in Unicode, until then we are struck with various custom encoded Grantha fonts. 

Grantha Fonts

There are around 5 Grantha fonts currently available. Out of those 3 are Truetype, 1 is Opentype, and 1 is encoded in PUA. A sample text* has been displayed for each font to show the typeface.

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Grantha – 16 – Conjuncts V


| ॐ  नमः श्रीघनाय | ஓம்ʼ நம: ஸ்ரீக³நாய |



न पुद्गलो न च स्कन्धा बुद्धो ज्ञानमनास्रवम्
सदाशान्तिं विभावित्वा गच्छामि शरणं ह्यहम्
ந புத்³க³லோ ந ச ஸ்கந்தா⁴ பு³த்³தோ⁴ ஜ்ஞாநமநாஸ்ரவம்
ஸதா³ஸா²ந்திம்ʼ விபா⁴வித்வா க³ச்சா²மி ஸ²ரணம்ʼ ஹ்யஹம்
Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows 
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]

It has been four lessons into Conjuncts and there is still lot more to go [Do Bear !].
We had seen conjuncts upto 3 consonants in a cluster in the last lesson. We will see some more conjunct formation rules in triple consonantal clusters, and then move on to clusters with four or even more consonants. 

Combining-Stacking Conjuncts

So far, the Triple conjunts we had seen were either completely stacking klva_grantha, completely combining ntva_grantha, or used some special signs of -r- and -y- rshcha_grantha.


What if any of the two adjacent consonants forms a combining Conjunct, and the other has only a stacking form ?  As said before in Lesson 13, always the Combining forms have more priority than the stacking form.


The Combining Consonants must be clustered first and then be stacked as required with the remaining third consonant. I know the description is very hazy, let’s see two some examples.

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Grantha – 15 – Conjunct IV


| ॐ  नमो मुनीन्द्राय | ஓம்ʼ நமோ முநீந்த்³ராய |



राज्यभोगैश्च मे नार्थो न धान्येन धनेन वा
प्रसादो मम बुद्धेभ्यो भवेयं द्विपदोत्तमः
ராஜ்யபோ⁴கை³ஸ்²ச மே நார்தோ² ந தா⁴ந்யேந த⁴நேந வா
ப்ரஸாதோ³ மம பு³த்³தே⁴ப்⁴யோ ப⁴வேயம்ʼ த்³விபதோ³த்தம​:
A king’s enjoyment is of no use to me, nor have I need of grain or wealth
Since in the Buddhas I have faith, may I become a Buddha 

We have been seeing only simple Samyuktashara-s with only two consonants in the cluster. As expected, Conjuncts in Sanskrit can be more complex with 3 or even more consonants in the Cluster.
We’ll see how to represent such complex conjunct formation rules in Grantha script.

Nasalized Ya

In the previous lesson, I had commented, ய் ̐ய य्ँय y̐y is an exception to the usual conjunct -y- rules.  Usually, yya ய்ய் य्य is represented as yya_grantha_conjuncts. However, when Nasalized ya ய் ̐ य्ँ y̐ appears, the other /ya/ is stacked below.


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Grantha – 14 – Conjuncts III


| ॐ  नमो विनायकाय | ஓம்ʼ நமோ விநாயகாய |



नष्टमार्गा हि ये सत्त्वा मार्गं देशेमि उत्तमं
नयामि पारिमं तीरं तस्माद् अस्मि विनायकः
நஷ்டமார்கா³ ஹி யே ஸத்த்வா மார்க³ம்ʼ தே³ஸே²மி உத்தமம்ʼ
நயாமி பாரிமம்ʼ தீரம்ʼ தஸ்மாத்³ அஸ்மி விநாயக​:
To those beings who have lost their way I point out the Path supreme
And lead them to the farther shore, therefore I am Vinayaka

We had seen in the detail the Combining & Stacking Saṃyuktākṣara-s in the last series. Now, we will seeing the Conjunct forms of -y- and -r- as they deserve separate discussion.

-r- Conjunct

Post-Consonantal Form

Unlike other Consonants, when -r- occurs as the final part of the consonantal cluster i.e in the post consonantal position, it morphs itself  into a special character.

pra ப்ர प्र


gra க்³ர ग्र


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Grantha – 13 – Conjuncts II


| ॐ नमोऽद्वयवादिने | ஓம்ʼ நமோ(அ)த்³வயவாதி³நே |



अनभिलाप्यम् अभाष्यम् अनुक्तम् अनवघोष्यम्
अव्यपदेश्यम् प्रज्ञप्तिरहितम् तद् हि अद्वयप्रवेशः
அநபி⁴லாப்யம் அபா⁴ஷ்யம் அநுக்தம் அநவகோ⁴ஷ்யம்
அவ்யபதே³ஸ்²யம் ப்ரஜ்ஞப்திரஹிதம் தத்³ ஹி அத்³வயப்ரவேஸ²​:
To express nothing, to say nothing, to explain nothing, to announce nothing
To indicate nothing and to designate nothing – this is the entrance into Advaya 

In the last lesson, we have seen the basic introduction to Saṃyuktākṣara-s a.k.a Conjuncts. Now, we will get to know more about them in detail.
We’ll cover Combining Samyuktasharas & Stacking Samyuktasharas in this part.

Combining Samyuktasharas

As discussed in the previous part, these are formed by fusing the shapes of the consonants.

Usually, the second consonant prominantly changes shapes to completely fuse with the first consonant to generate the Samyuktakshara. 

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Grantha – 12 – Conjuncts I


| ॐ नमो दशबलाय । ஓம்ʼ நமோ த³ஸ²ப³லாய |



वर्तितं विरजं चक्रं लोकनाथेन तायिना |
उत्पन्ना रतना त्रीणि लोके परमदुर्लभा ||
வர்திதம்ʼ விரஜம்ʼ சக்ரம்ʼ லோகநாதே²ந தாயிநா
உத்பந்நா ரதநா த்ரீணி லோகே பரமது³ர்லபா⁴
The dust-free (Dharma) Wheel was set rolling by the Lord of the World
And the three jewels, which are exceedingly rare, arose in the world.

People who may have attempted to learn any Indian script other than Tamil, would have surely faced the difficulty of learning the conjunct characters to represent consonantal clusters like /pra/, /ksha/ etc.
These conjunct characters are called Saṃyuktākṣara-s संयुक्ताक्षर ஸம்ʼயுக்தாக்ஷர samyuktakshara_grantha_corrected in Sanskrit. 
All the Brahmi-derived scripts’ consonants have an inherent ‘a’ in them. As discussed in previous lessons, a Virama (like that of Tamil /Pulli/) is used to remove the inherent vowel and represent the pure consonants (i.e க क – /ka/ & க் क् -/k/ )
When there is a necessity to represent a cluster of consonant sounds such as /kt/, /ktv/, /kr/, /ky/ and the like, since the times of Brahmi & Kharoshthi, the approach is to also cluster the consonants visually. These clusters are the Samyuktākṣara-s. All Indian Scripts excepting Tamil inherits the legacy of these conjunct characters from Brahmi. Tamil had disregarded the Conjunct formation of Brahmi at the intial stage, when Asokan Brahmi was adapted to write Tamil as Tamil-Brahmi. An explicit pulli was invented to do away will all the complex ligatures.

In Tamil, The Samyuktaksharas are prevented by placing the Pulli explicitly, to form the pure consonant. Any complex clusters, could be easily represented by using the Pulli to denote the pure consonants in the cluster. Consider லக்‌ஷ்ம்ய as opposed to लक्ष्म्य. But other scripts have complex shapes, forms  and rules to produce these Samyuktasharas.


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Grantha – 11 – Summary II


| ॐ नमः षडभिज्ञाय । ஓம்ʼ நம: ஷட³பி⁴ஜ்ஞாய |



असेवना च बालानं पण्डितानञ्च सेवना | पूजा च पूजनीयानं एतं मङ्गलम् उत्तमं ||
அஸேவநா ச பா³லாநம்ʼ பண்டி³தாநஞ்ச ஸேவநா
பூஜா ச பூஜநீயாநம்ʼ ஏதம்ʼ மங்க³லம் உத்தமம்ʼ
Not associating with fools but associating with the wise
honouring those worthy of honor: this is supremely Auspicious 
~ Maha Mangala Sutra (Pali) | மஹாமங்கள சூத்திரம் (பாளி)

Time for another Exotic Summary 🙂
In the previous two lessons, we have seen the various Vowel Signs associated with the Vowels. We will be seeing a summary of all those signs in this lesson.
The Dotted Circle that may appear in the below images. It denotes the position of the Consonant with the Vowel sign.

Vowels Signs Summary


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Grantha – 10 – Vowel-less Consonants


| ॐ नमो जिनाय । ஓம்ʼ நமோ ஜிநாய |



अस्तिनास्ति विनिर्मुक्तम् आत्म्यनैरात्म्य वर्जितं
प्रकृत्या जातिनिर्देशं धर्मचक्रम् इहोच्यते
அஸ்திநாஸ்தி விநிர்முக்தம் ஆத்ம்யநைராத்ம்ய வர்ஜிதம்ʼ
ப்ரக்ருʼத்யா ஜாதிநிர்தே³ஸ²ம்ʼ த⁴ர்மசக்ரம் இஹோச்யதே
Free from being and non-being, without Self or non-Self
The Dharma-Wheel is said to be the explanation of Nature and of birth

In the last lesson, we had covered all the Vowel signs, in this lesson we would be seeing the special vowel less forms.
In Lesson 8, I had commented that there are special vowel less forms along with the Virāma based ones. We would be seeing those forms in detail in this lesson. So as such, this would be a very short lesson.
Usually in Grantha, when /t/, /m/ and /n/ appear as pure consonants at the end of words, they take special forms as show below.

t த் त्


n ந் न्



m ம் म्



These are special forms that are more often seen in Grantha.

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Grantha – 9 – Vowel Signs II


| ॐ नमो लोकजिते । ஓம்ʼ நமோ லோகஜிதே |



सारं तु सारतो ज्ञात्वा ह्यसारं चाप्यसारतः
ते सारम् अधिगच्छन्ति सम्यक् संकल्प गोचराः
ஸாரம்ʼ து ஸாரதோ ஜ்ஞாத்வா ஹ்யஸாரம்ʼ சாப்யஸாரத​:
தே ஸாரம் அதி⁴க³ச்ச²ந்தி ஸம்யக் ஸம்ʼ கல்ப கோ³சரா​:
Having known the essence as the essence, non-essential as non-essential
They attain the essence, feeding on right thoughts

In this lesson, we would be seeing the signs for 4 Vowels and the Ayogavaha-s. 

Vowel Signs 

-e ே* े

The -e Vowel sign is placed before to the consonant as in Tamil ::  பே³ बे be



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Grantha – 8 – Vowel Signs I


| ॐ नमो मारजिते । ஓம்ʼ நமோ மாரஜிதே |



बुद्धज्ञानम् अनन्तं हि आकाश विपुलं समं 
क्षपयेत् कल्पभाषन्तो न च बुद्धगुणक्षयः 
பு³த்³த⁴ஜ்ஞாநம் அநந்தம்ʼ ஹி ஆகாஸ² விபுலம்ʼ ஸமம்ʼ
க்ஷபயேத் கல்பபா⁴ஷந்தோ ந ச பு³த்³த⁴கு³ணக்ஷய​:
The Buddha’s knowledge is endless, just like the Great Sky
While speaking of it aeons may be destroyed, but the Buddha’s virtues will never decay.

Grantha being a Brahmi-derived script, is an Abugida. Therefore it uses special vowel signs to denote the Consonant-Vowel combinations. (Tamil: உயிர்மெய்யெழுத்துக்கள்  उयिर् मॆय्यॆऴुत्तुक्कळ् uyirmeyyeḻuttukkaḷ ). The various Vowel signs are appended before/after/above the consonants to denote the Vowel Sound.

The Vowel Signs are nearly the same as in Tamil [except for the Sanskrit-specific Vocalic Vowels R_Grantha RR_Grantha lR_grantha lRR_Grantha ] so it will be breeze to pick them up 🙂
(The Circle that appears in some of the examples denote the consonant position)
We’ll see the first 10 Vowel signs in this lesson.

Vowel Signs


The Virāma, [ the Grantha Equivalent of the Tamil Puḷḷi புள்ளி पुळ्ळि  (Dot) ் ] is used to denote the pure consonant.  It is placed to the top of consonant, it is similar to the Telugu Virāma sign. ( )

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