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Other Participles | Learn Sanskrit Online

Other Participles

In this chapter, we will turn again to the participle.

Introduction

We started our study of verbs with the present tense, which plainly states both an action and the subject that performs the action.

Our study of atmanepada verbs did not do much to change this picture. But then we studied the gerund, which refined our understanding of the verb.

Here, having remembered is set apart. It has its own object and means, and it describes a second action that relates to the main verb — goes in this sentence — in a particular way. This is not the same thing as a group of verbs connected with ca; ca brings two sentences together, but the two sentences have no meaningful connection and don't influence each other at all. In contrast, the gerund can interact with another verb to produce a more complex idea.

But the real power of the gerund is that the gerund is still distinct from the main verb in space and time. It does not matter what form or shape the main verb takes.

This, as you know, is the participle. Now, the key point of this introduction is that participles let us attach an action to a noun. The gerund does not show this very well, so let's look at some other participles. Look at the example sentences below, and pay attention to the verb "remember." Both sentences express the same idea.

This is what the participle is about! It allows us to distinguish between two different periods of the time: when the man acted and when the elephant acted. What the sentence above says is that when the elephant walks in its own future, the man will remember in what is, to him, his present. This ability to differentiate between two different kinds of time — the future for the elephant and the present tense for the man — gives us an extremely flexible structure that can express complicated ideas. Another example might make this clearer:

Here, as the elephant walks to the man it its future, the man is remembered in that moment's past. This is the power of participles!

A quick preview

Participles appear in three modes: parasmaipada, ātmanepada, and passive. ("Modes" is not a technical term, and it will not be used on the site.) Participles also appear in three tenses: past, present, and future. We can sum up the participles like so:

Participles — bhū
??? parasmaipada ātmanepada Passive
Past Tense ???
???
???
???
भूत
bhūta
Present Tense ???
???
???
???
???
???
Future Tense ???
???
???
???
???
???

By the end of this part of the chapter, you will be able to fill in the entire chart and use each participle correctly. This may sound extremely intimidating; but, participles are easy and have many similarities to each other. If you've made it this far, then this part of the chapter won't take you much time!