| ॐ नमो बुद्धाय । ஓம்ʼ நமோ பு³த்³தா⁴ய |
|| ततः प्रवृत्तं मम धर्मचक्रं || தத: ப்ரவ்ருʼத்தம்ʼ மம த⁴ர்மசக்ரம்ʼ ||
|| निर्वाणशब्दश्च अभूषि लोके || நிர்வாணஸ²ப்³த³ஸ்²ச அபூ⁴ஷி லோகே ||
|| Then rolled my Dharmachakra & the sound of Nirvaana was present in the world ||
In the previous lessons, we have learnt the various vowels, two of the Ayogavāha-s & orthographic items such as Avagraha and Chandrabindu.
Now, we must graduate to the Consonants :-). In Sanskrit, Consonants are called as Vyañjana व्यञ्जन வ்யஞ்ஜந .
The Vyanjana-s are divided into classes called Varga वर्ग வர்க³ . Each Varga ends with a Nasal i.e Anunāsika अनुनासिक அநுநாஸிக .
Sanskrit [and of course Prakrit] have separate symbols of Voiced, Aspirated and their various combinations thereof. The main difficulty for an eventual Tamil reader to pronounce Sanskrit [and/or Prakrit] would be pertaining to the pronunciation of Mahāprāṇa महाप्राण மஹாப்ராண Consonants. They must be pronounced with Aspiration i.e with a puff of air [h]. Such as kha gha etc.
On the other hand those consonants without this aspiration are known as Alpraprāṇa अल्पप्राण அல்பப்ராண
We would be seeing a single Varga of the Vyanjanas and one Ayogavaha, the Jihvāmūlīya (along with it the associated Ardha-Visarga symbol) in this lesson.
First will be the ka-varga . They come under Kaṇṭhya कण्ठ्य கண்ட்²ய , meaning those produced in the throat [Technically, the consonants are produced at the back of tongue. Probably, Throat is an approximation for that position]
ka க क
kha க² ख
ga க³ ग
gha க⁴ घ
ṅa ங ङ
The pronunciation of the letters are the same as indicated by Roman/Devanagari counterparts. So, I don’t intend to comment more on their pronunciation. But as said earlier, the pronunciation of the Mahaprana consonants kha & gha must be given extra care 🙂
Jihvāmūlīya जिह्वामूलीया ஜிஹ்வாமூலீயா , literally meaning the “Back of the tongue” is another peculiar sound pertaining to Sanskrit alone. It does not have any separate letter form. It is indicated by a symbol called Ardha-Visarga अर्ध विसर्ग அர்த⁴ விஸர்க³ . [Do note that at a different position, the Ardha Visarga represents another ayogavāha namely the Upadhmānīya. Ardha Visarga visually represents both these sounds]
Jihvāmūlīya is formed, when Visarga appears before ka and kha . The Visarga transforms into a Jihvāmūlīya at this position. It is shown by the symbol Ardha-Visarga before these two letters.
The Ardha-Visarga symbol that appears before ka and kha , is prononced as Jihvāmūlīya.
In phonetics, it termed as “Voiceless Velar Fricative”. The sound sample can be heard here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Voiceless_velar_fricative.ogg
Letters similar to that in Tamil
Grantha /a/ & /ka/ have similar forms. But closely note the minute differences between the two letters.
Also, /i/ and /ṅa ங ङ/ are very much similar. /ṅa ங ङ/ has a short vertical line at the base, which /i/ lacks
The third lesson in this series, ends with this.
In the next lesson, we will see two Vargas namely, च ச ca-varga & ट ட ṭa-varga.