kātantra कातन्त्र

Definition: name of an important small treatise on grammar which appears like a systematic abridgment of the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini. It ignores many unimportant rules of Pāṇini, adjusts many, and altogether omits the Vedic portion and the accent chapter of Pāṇini. It lays down the Sūtras in an order different from that of Pāṇini dividing the work into four adhyāyas dealing with technical terms, saṁdhi rules,declension, syntax compounds noun-affixes (taddhita affixes) conjugation, voice and verbal derivatives in an order. The total number of rules is 1412 supplemented by many subordinate rules or Vārttikas. The treatise is believed to have been written by Śarvavarman, called Sarvavarman or Śarva or Sarva, who is said to have lived in the reign of the Sātavāhana kings. The belief that Pāṇini refers to a work of Kalāpin in his rules IV. 3.108 and IV.3.48 and that Patañjali's words कालापम् and माहवार्तिकम् support it, has not much strength. The work was very popular especially among those who wanted to study spoken Sanskrit with ease and attained for several year a very prominent place among text-books on grammar especially in Bihar, Bengal and Gujarat. It has got a large number of glosses and commentary works, many of which are in a manuscript form at present. Its last chapter (Caturtha-Adhyāya) is ascribed to Vararuci. As the arrangement of topics is entirely different from Pāṇini's order, inspite of considerable resemblance of Sūtras and their wording, it is probable that the work was based on Pāṇini but composed on the models of ancient grammarians viz. Indra, Śākaṭāyana and others whose works,although not available now, were available to the author. The grammar Kātantra is also called Kālāpa. A comparison of the Kātantra Sūtras and the Kālāpa Sūtras shows that the one is a different version of the other. The Kātantra Grammar is also called Kaumāra as it is said that the original 1nstructions for the grammar were received by the author from Kumāra or Kārttikeya. For details see Vol. VII Patañjala Mahābhāṣya published by the D.E. Society, Poona, page 375.


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