Our prakriyā begins with a prātipadika (“pre-word,” “nominal stem”). We then find an appropriate ending for the prātipadika, apply any necessary operations, and obtain our final word.
How do we define a prātipadika? First, we should remember this important paribhāṣā:
येन विधिस्तदन्तस्य। १.१.७२
yena vidhistadantasya (1.1.72)
yena vidhiḥ tat-antasya
[A term] by which a rule [is specified refers to an item that] ends in that [term].
We previously used this rule to define guṇa substitutions of the last vowel of an aṅga:
नी + अ → ने अ
nī + a → ne a
But here, we will use it to refer to different suffixes instead:
अर्थवदधातुरप्रत्ययः प्रातिपदिकम्। १.२.४५
arthavadadhāturapratyayaḥ prātipadikam (1.2.45)
arthavat a-dhātuḥ a-pratyayaḥ prātipadikam
A meaningful [term] that is neither a dhātu (verb root) nor a pratyaya (suffix), [nor a term ending in a pratyaya, is called] prātipadika,
and [terms ending with] kṛt or taddhita [suffixes], as well as samāsas (compounds), [are called prātipadika].
kṛt suffixes attach to verb roots (as in man + tra → mantra), taddhita suffixes attach to other prātipadikas (amṛta + tva → amṛtatva), and samāsas are just compounds.
As a reminder, Sanskrit noun stems all express a certain gender, and the nominal endings we use with that stem should match the stem's gender. For example, if we want to use the masculine stem rāma, we should not apply endings associated with the feminine gender. But how do we know the gender associated with the prātipadika?
In some instances, we don't have enough information to decide. But in general, we can look at the different pratyayas that were used to create the prātipadika. Based on these affixes, we can determine which gender is associated with the prātipadika and which endings to use.
In the next lesson, we will continue the process of creating a subanta.