nipāta निपात

Definition: a particle which possesses no gender and number, and the case termination after which is dropped or elided. Nipata is given as one of the four categories of words viz नामन्, आख्यात, उपसर्ग and निपात by all the ancient writers of Pratisakhya, Vyakarana and Nirukta works;cf. Nir. I. 4, M.Bh. on I. 1. Ahnika l, R. Pr. XII. 8 etc. The word is derived from the root पत् with नि by Yaska who has mentioned three subdivisions of Niptas उपमार्थे, कर्मोपसंग्रहार्थे and पदपूरणे; cf. अथ निपाताः । उच्चावचेष्वर्थेषु निपतन्ति । अप्युपमार्थे । अपि कर्मोपसंग्रह्यार्थे । अपि पदपूरणाः । Nir. I. 4. The Nipatas are looked upon as possessed of no sense; cf. निपातः पादपूरणः R. Pr. XII. 8, V. Pr. VIII. 50, (com. by Uvvata). Panini has not given any definition of the word निपात, but he has enumerated them as forming a class with च at their head in the rule चादयोऽसत्वे where the word असत्वे conveys an impression that they possess no sense, the sense being of two kinds सत्त्व and भाव, and the Nipatas not possesssing any one of the two. The impression is made rather firm by the statement of the Varttikakra'निपातस्यानर्थकस्य प्रातिपदिकत्वम्' P. I. 2. 45 Vart. 12. Thus, the question whether the Nipatas possess any sense by themselves or not, becomes a difficult one to be answered. Although the Rkpratisakhya in XII.8 lays down that the Nipatas are expletive, still in the next verse it says that some of them do possess sense; cf. निपातानामर्थवशान्निपातनादनर्थकानामितरे च सार्थकाः on which Uvvata remarks केचन निपाताः सार्थकाः, केचन निरर्थकाः । The remark of Uvvata appears to be a sound one as based on actual observation, and the conflicting views have to be reconciled. This is done by Bhartrhari who lays down that Nipatas never directly convey the sense but they indicate the sense. Regarding the sense indicated by the Nipatas, it is said that the sense is never Sattva or Dravya or substance as remarked by Panini; it is a certain kind of relation and that too, is not directly expressed by them but it is indicated. Bhoja in his Srngaraprakasa gives a very comprehensive definition of Nipata as:-जात्यादिप्रवृत्तिनिमित्तानुपग्राहित्वेनासत्त्वभूतार्थाभिधायिनः अलिङ्गसंख्याशक्तय उच्चावचेष्वर्थेषु निपतन्तीत्यव्ययविशेषा एव चादयो निपाताः । He gives six varieties of them, viz. विध्यर्थ, अर्थवादार्थ, अनुवादार्थ, निषेधार्थ, विधिनिषेधार्थ and अविधिनिषेधार्थ, and mentions more than a thousand of them. For details see Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya II. 189-206.


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