Grantha – 6 – Consonants ya – ha



| ॐ नम: समन्तभद्राय । ஓம்ʼ நம: ஸமந்தப⁴த்³ராய |



नमः शाक्यमुनये तथागताय अर्हते सम्यक्सम्बुद्धाय
तद्यथा ॐ मुने मुने महामुनये स्वाहा 
நம​: ஸ²‍ாக்யமுநயே தத²‍ாக³தாய அர்ஹதே ஸம்யக்ஸம்பு³த்³த⁴‍ாய
தத்³யத²‍ா ஓம்ʼ முநே முநே மஹாமுநயே ஸ்வாஹா  


Time to move away from the Varga-Consonants to the end of the Vyanjana group. The are two classes of Consonants that we will see in this lesson – Semivowels and the Fricatives. 


Semi Vowels

The Semi Vowels are called as antaḥstha अन्तःस्थ அந்த:ஸ்த²‍ antahstha_sanskrit. Four Consonants (Five, if we include the Retroflex l) come under this class. 


 ya ய य 



ra ர र



la ல ल



va வ व



ḽ ள ळ



A note one the above retroflex l. It is not usually included in the Traditional Varnamaala. The above letter appears in Vedic Sanskrit and in South Indian Sanskrit. One might note the usage of the retroflex l in South Indian Languages when expressing several Sanskrit words. Words like प्रळय ப்ரளய (प्रलय), वेताळ வேதாள (वेताल)  are all spelled with Retroflex l in South Indian languages. The same applies to Sanskrit in Grantha script, where this letter appears often.

In Vedic Sanskrit, it occurs as an allophone of dda_grantha. The first verse of the Rigveda goes, agnimīḽe अग्निमीळे அக்³நிமீளே agnimile_grantha [īḍa has transformed īḽa, with ḍ become ḽ] using the Retroflex variant. 


Even in Pali, The /ḍ/ in Sanskrit becomes /ḽ/. The Pali equivalent of the word Vaiḍūrya வைடூ³ர்ய वैडूर्य  is Veḽuriya வேளுரிய वेळुरिय, with /ḍ/ becoming /ḽ/ again. As expected,  ḽ has a corresponding aspirated [Mahāprāṇa] form which is the allophonic ounterpart to ddha_grantha.  It does not have a separate letter, it is just formed by adding /h/ to the former. 


ḽha ள்ஹ ळ्ह



In Pali, the above two are considered separate letters per se.



The last set of consonants in the Vyanjana list are the Fricatives i.e ūṣman ऊष्मन् ஊஷ்மந் ushman_sanskrit


ṣa ஷ ष



śa ஸ²‍|ஶ श



sa ஸ स



ha ஹ ह



Notes on Pronunciation

lla_grantha & ssa_grantha are retroflex consonants. They must be pronounced with the tongue curled up. Closely note the position of the tongue while pronouncing the more-common retroflex plosive tta_grantha. The tongue must in a similar position while pronouncing these letters. [Even in Tamil, many are blissfully unware of the variant pronunciation of ள which is quite different from ல. The differentiation now-a-days is getting more and more orthographical – Small la (சின்ன ல) Vs Big la (பெரிய ள) ]


sha_grantha is palatal, that is pronounced near the palate (the position while articulating  ‘ja’). Thus the palatal sha_grantha is quite distinct from the retroflex ssa_grantha.  Perhaps, one must be forced to take a Sanskrit version of the Shiboleth* Test ( ) :: Ideally, षिबोलेत ஷிபோலெத் Vs शिबोलेत ஶிபோலெத் 😛 or even better a Tamil one, ஷிப்போளெத் Vs ஷிப்போலெத் 🙂


*Jean-Luc Chevillard should take the credit for this 🙂


Letters same as Tamil

ya_grantha       va_grantha      ssa_grantha ha_grantha


Letters similar to that in Tamil




It is interesting to note that, ஸ a so-called  “Grantha” letter in Tamil Script has a different from than that of the “real” Grantha /sa/ 🙂


So the 6th part is over with this. We have completed all the Vowels a.k.a Svara-s and the Consonants a.k.a Vyanjanas-s until now.


The next lesson will be a complete summary of the all the letters covered.


Download this Lesson as PDF


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