Causal Verbs


In Sanskrit, it is easy to describe when something is caused to do some action.

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.

But if the vowel ends the root, then the vowel becomes strong.

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.

Verbs ending in ā usually have p attached to them. Rarely, y is used instead.

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.

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."