In Sanskrit, it is easy to describe when something is caused to do some action.
नरो गजं गमयतिnaro gajaṃ gamayatiThe man causes the elephant to go.
This "causing" is expressed in the verb itself. Here, the root gam produces the causal form gamayati. In this lesson, we will study the causal verbs and learn how to form them.
Forming the causal root
All causal verbs use a special root, which we can call the causal root. Once the causal root is produced, we can create a causal verb using normal endings.
To produce the causal root, we strengthen the original root vowel to the medium level.
शुभ् → शोभयति
śubh → śobhayati
shine → cause to shine
But if the vowel ends the root, then the vowel becomes strong.
कृ → कार्
kṛ → kār
do → cause to do
Also, the root vowel becomes strong if the root is of the form *a*, where * represents a consonant. One important exception to this rule is gam, whose causal form is still gam.
हस् → हास्
has → hās
smile → cause to smile
गम् → गम्
gam → gam
go → cause to go
Verbs ending in ā usually have p attached to them. Rarely, y is used instead.
स्था → स्थाप्
sthā → sthāp
stand → cause to stand
गै → गाप्
gai → gāp
sing → cause to sing
Note that the root vowel changes to ā.
पा → पाय्
pā → pāy
drink → cause to drink
In almost every instance, a causal verb is immediately recognizable. Keep the patterns above in mind, but don't dwell on them too long.
Using a causal verb
With the rare exception, all causal roots are used like aya-class parasmaipada roots in all contexts, and they can be used wherever an aya-class verb can be used.
राजा नरं क्षेत्रं गमयति
rājā naraṃ kṣetraṃ gamayati
The king causes the man to go to the field.
He whose glory was caused to decline.
Note that the PPP uses ita, like all verbs in the -aya class do.
The person who does the causing is in case 1, and the person who is caused to do something is in case 2. The object of the original verb, however, remains in case 2.
Causal forms can sometimes create ambiguity. For example, gamyate can mean both "It is gone (to)" and "It is caused to go." Context will usually be enough to let you know which interpretation to use.
Special meanings of causal verbs
Causal verbs can be used figuratively to create new verbs. Thus gamayati, which literally means "He causes to go," more metaphorically means "He leads," "He brings," or "He impels." Simalarly, śrāvayati, from śru, literally means "He causes to hear" and more metaphorically means "He tells."