Lesson 6 – The imperfect middle

aiunA short YouTube version is available here. [Expand to the full article to be able to click on the link]

In this lesson, lesson 6, we will look at the imperfect middle voice of verbs of classes 1,4,6 and 10 and consonant Sandhis.

The imperfect middle  – लङ् (laṅ) आत्मने पदम् (ātmane padam)

We saw the endings and the conjugation for the imperfect active in the last lesson. The middle endings are given below.


The formation of the middle imperfect is done in a similar manner to the active. The full paradigm for the imperfect middle voice is given here.

[Remember vowel Sandhi : a + i –> e]


Consonant Sandhis

Permitted Finals

In Sanskrit only certain sounds are allowed as final sounds in a word standing alone. Any other sound occurring etymologically as finals are are altered by certain rules to one of the permitted finals. The permitted finals are:

  1. All simple vowels and diphthongs
  2. The first in the series of non-nasal mutes: क् (k), ट् (ṭ ), त् (t), प् (p). The others in each series converts to one of these. For example ख् (kh), ग् (g) and घ् (gh) occurring etymologically as finals will change to क् (k) and so on.
  3. No palatal mute is allowed to be the final sound. च् (c) becomes क् (k), छ् (ch) becomes ट् (ṭ), ज् (j) becomes क् (k) or ट् (ṭ), झ् (jh) does not occur as final.
  4. All nasals are allowed to be finals (but ñ  ञ् never occurs)
  5. ल् (l) is permitted but rare, र् (r) is converted to visarga, य् (y),  व् (v) never occurs as finals.
  6. स् (s) becomes visarga, श् ( ś ) becomes क् (k) or ट् (ṭ),  ष् (ṣ) becomes ट् (ṭ)
  7. ह् (h) becomes क् (k), ट् (ṭ) or त् (t).
  8. Only one consonant is allowed to stand at the end of a word. If more than one occurs, the last is dropped, and again the last, till only one remains. This one remaining is then converted to a permitted final.
    • For example, the nominative singular of  तुदन्त् (tudant) is तुदन्त्स् (tudants). This becomes तुदन्त् (tudant) which becomes तुदन् (tudan)
    • For example, the nominative singular of vāc is vācs. This becomes vāc by dropping the “s”. The remaining vāc then becomes vāk (by converting the c to the permitted k)
    • But radical non-nasal mutes are allowed after र् (r)


Consonant combinations

[The whole area of consonant combination is a bit complicated, especially internal combinations. Understand the general principles and as you progress in your Sanskrit understanding, these will become easy and natural. The main principle is that all combinations [or Sandhis] are supposed to make it easy for people to pronounce words and sentences.]

  1. A un-voiced mute at the end of a word is converted to a corresponding voiced one before voiced sound
    • āsīt + rājā आसीत् + राजा becomes āsīd rājā आसीद् राजा  = āsīdrājā आसीद्राजा[There was a king]
    • āsīt aśvaḥ + आसीत् अश्वः becomes āsīd  aśvaḥ आसीद् अश्वः = āsīdaśvaḥ  आसीदश्वः [There was a horse]
    • ṣaṭ + aśītayaḥ   षट् + अशीतयः becomes  ṣaḍ aśītayaḥ षड् अशीतयः = ṣaḍaśītayaḥ षडशीतयः [Six eighties]
  2. Before a nasal, a mute is made sonant or changed to a nasal of its own class
    • tat + namaḥ तत् + नमः becomes tad namaḥ तद् नमः (=tadnamaḥ तद्नमः) or tan namaḥ  तन् नमः (tannamaḥ तन्नमः) [That salute]  [This is why br̥hat mumbai  बृहत् मुम्बै becomes br̥han mumbai  बृहन् मुम्बै !!]
    • triṣṭubh + nūnam  त्रिष्टुभ् + नूनम् becomes triṣṭub nūnam  त्रिष्टुब् नूनम् [= triṣṭubnūnam  त्रिष्टुब्नूनम्] or triṣṭum nūnam  त्रिष्टुम् नूनम् [= triṣṭumnūnam  त्रिष्टुम्नूनम्] [Trishtubh indeed]
  3. Before h  ह्, a final mute becomes voiced, and the h  ह् will convert to the voiced aspirate corresponding to the mute.
    • tat + hi  तत् + हि becomes tad dhi तद् धि [= taddhi   तद्धि] [That indeed]
    • vāk hi  वाक् हि becomes vāgghi  वाग्घि [speech indeed]
  4. A final त् (t) becomes ज् (j) before(j) and च् (c) before च् (c) and छ् (ch)
    • rāmaḥ nagarāt carati  रामः नगरात् चरति becomes rāmo nagarāccarati  रामो नगराच्चरति [Rama goes from the city]
    • vidyut jāyate विद्युत् जायते becomes vidyujjāyate  vidyujjāyate  विद्युज्जायते [Lightning is born]
  5. A final त् (t) and न् (n) before श् (ś )becomes च् (c) and ञ् (ñ) respectively and the श् (ś) becomes छ् (ch)
    • vedavit śūraḥ  वेदवित् शूरः becomes vedavicchūraḥ  वेदविच्छूरः [knower of vedas and brave]
    • sarvān śūdrān  सर्वान् शूद्रान् becomes sarvāñchūdrān  सर्वाञ्छूद्रान् [All Sudras (accusative)]
  6. Some key internal consonant sandhis
    1. As exception to 1, 2 and 3 above, in internal combination, the initial vowel, semi-vowel or nasal of the second part, has no influence on the final sound of first part. Also, final vowels, nasals and ल् (l) do not change in the process of assimilation non-voiced and non-voiced sounds.
    2. Collision of voiced and non-voiced sounds is avoided, by changing either the final of the first part or the initial of the second part: For example:
      1.  ad + ti  अद् + ति –> at ti  अत् ति = atti  अत्ति;   ad + si  अद् + सि –> at si अत् सि = atsi  अत्सि etc.
      2. śak + dhi  शक् + धि –> śag dhi  शग् धि = śagdhi  शग्धि
      3. If a voiced aspirate of a root is followed by a त् (t) or  थ् (th), then, the aspirate becomes unaspirate and the aspiration is transferred to the second part
        1. √budh + ta  √बुध् + त –> bud dha  बुद् ध = buddha  बुद्ध [The word buddha  बुद्ध that we all know so well is the past passive participle of √budh √बुध्]
        2. √labh + ta  √लभ् + त –> lab dha  लब् ध = labdha  लब्ध
        3. √duh + ta  √दुह् + त –> dug dha  दुग् ध = dugdha  दुग्ध [Note: the “h” etymologically represents and original “gh”]
    3. Non-voiced palatals, sibilants, and ह् (h) many a time revert to the original (etymological) sounds they came from. [c  च् becomes k  क्; ś  श् becomes (depending on the following sound) ṣ  ष्, ṭ  ट्, ḍ  ड् etc.; j  ज् behaves like c  च् in some cases and like ś  श् in other cases; ṣ  ष् behaves like ś  श् . h ह् also behaves like  like c  च् in some cases and like ś  श् in other cases. [Also, in the case of h ह्, there in some cases a peculiar happening. The “h” behaves as if it is “gh” as we saw in 3.3.3 above. In this case the initial “d” of “√duh” reverts to an original form “dh”! That is, √duh + su  √दुह् + सु –> dhuk ṣu  धुक् षु = dhukṣu  धुक्षु (the su becomes ṣu due to retroflexion shown below). We saw in the permitted finals section above, item 7, दुह् (duh) becomes धुक् (dhuk)]

Retroflexion of  स् (s) and न् (n)


  • From the first rule we get rāmeṣu रामेषु in the locative plural of rāma राम instead of the standard ending सु (su). This is because of the ए (e) before सु (su).
  • Again from the first rule we get juhoṣi  जुहोषि  for the second person singular active verb instead of juhosi जुहोसि.
  • From the second rule we get rāmeṇa  रामेण in the instrumental singular of rāma राम instead of rāmena  रामेन
  • Also we get rāmāṇām  रामाणाम् instead of rāmānām  रामानाम् in the genitive plural of rāma राम

Combination of final “s” and “r”. Visarga Sandhi

  1. Final स् (s) [Final visarga] before voiceless consonants
  • As we have seen before, final स् (s) becomes visarga before a pause.
    • रामस् rāmas becomes रामः  rāmaḥ
  • It is unchanged before त् (t) and थ् (th)
    • rāmas tapati  रामस् तपति [rāmaḥ  tapati  रामः तपति] remains rāmas tapati  रामस् तपति = rāmastapati रामस्तपति [Rama does penance]
    • tataḥ tena –> tatastena [From the Hitopadesha story in lesson 4]
  • Before च् (c)  and छ् (ch)  it becomes श् (ś)
    • rāmas (rāmaḥ) carati  रामस् (रामः) चरति   becomes rāmaś carati रामश् चरति = rāmaścarati  रामश्चरति [Rama moves]
  • Before ट् (ṭ)  and ठ् (ṭh) it becomes ष् (ṣ)
    •  rāmas (rāmaḥ) ṭiṭṭibham hanti  रामस् (रामः) टिट्टिभम् हन्ति becomes rāmaṣ ṭiṭṭibham hanti  रामष् टिट्टिभं हन्ति = rāmaṣṭiṭṭibhaṃ hanti  रामष्टिट्टिभं हन्ति [Rama kills Tittibha]
  • Before  क् (k), ख् (kh), प् (p) and फ् (ph) it becomes visarga
    • rāmas (rāmaḥ) karṣati   रामस्  (रामः) कर्षति becomes rāmaḥ karṣati   रामः कर्षति [Rama ploughs]
    • rāmas (rāmaḥ) paṭhati  रामस् (रामः) पठति becomes rāmaḥ paṭhati  रामः पठति [Rama reads]
    • gardabhaḥ puṣṭāṅgaḥ –> gardabhaḥ puṣṭāṅgaḥ [From the Hitopadesha story in lesson 4]
  • Before श् (ś), ष् (ṣ) and स् (s) it becomes the same sibilant or becomes visarga
    •  rāmas (rāmaḥ) śr̥ṇoti  रामस् (रामः) शृणोति becomes rāmaḥ śr̥ṇoti रामः शृणोति or rāmaś śr̥ṇoti  रामश् शृणोति = rāmaśśr̥ṇoti  रामश्शृणोति [Rama hears]
    • rāmas (rāmaḥ) ṣṭhīvati रामस् (रामः) ष्ठीवति becomes rāmaḥ ṣṭhīvati  रामः ष्ठीवति or rāmaṣ ṣṭhīvati  रामष् ष्ठीवति = rāmaṣṣṭhīvati  रामष्ष्ठीवति [Rama spits]
    • rāmas (rāmaḥ) svapiti रामस् (रामः) स्वपिति becomes rāmaḥ svapiti रामः स्वपिति or rāmas svapiti  रामस् स्वपिति = rāmassvapiti  रामस्स्वपिति [Rama sleeps]
  1. Final अस् (as) and आस् (ās) before voiced consonants and vowels and diphthongs

a. Final अस् (as) before अ (a) becomes  ओ (o) and the अ (a) after is lost

rāmas (rāmaḥ) apaśyat  रामस् (रामः) अपश्यत्  becomes rāmo ‘paśyat रामो ऽपश्यत् [Rama saw]

gardabhaḥ atibhāravāhanāt –> gardabho’tibhāravāhanāt [From the Hitopadesha story in lesson 4]

b. Final अस् (as) before any voiced consonant becomes ओ (o)

rāmas (rāmaḥ) gacchati रामस् (रामः) गच्छति becomes rāmo gacchati रामो गच्छति [Rama goes]

rāmas (rāmaḥ) dadāti रामस् (रामः) ददाति becomes rāmo dadāti रामो ददाति [Rama gives]

karpūravilāsaḥ nāma –> karpūravilāso nāma [From the Hitopadesha story in lesson 4]

c. Final अस् (as) before any vowel other than अ (a) or diphthong loses the स् (s) and the hiatus remains

rāmas (rāmaḥ) uvāca  रामस् (रामः) उवाच becomes rāma uvāca  राम उवाच [Rama said]

rāmas (rāmaḥ) iva रामस् (रामः)  इव becomes rāma iva  राम इव [Like Rama]

d. Exception – The final अस् (as) of the nominative singular masculine of the pronouns  तद् and  एतद् (tad and etad),   सस् (sas) [ सः (saḥ)] and एषस् (eṣas)  [एषः (eṣaḥ)] respectively, loses the  स् (s) before all consonants and vowels and diphthongs (Except before अ (a) where it becomes ओ (o) and the following अ (a) is lost.) In standalone words or when there is nothing following, the final स् (s) of course becomes the visarga]

sas (saḥ) paśyati  सस् (सः) पश्यति and  sas (saḥ) dadarśa सस् (सः) ददर्श become respectively sa paśyati  स पश्यति and sa dadarśa स ददर्श

saḥ ca –> sa ca [From the Hitopadesha story in lesson 4]

but sas (saḥ) abravīt  सस् (सः) अब्रवीत् becomes so’bravīt  सोऽब्रवीत्

e. Final आस् (ās) before any voiced consonant or vowel or diphthong loses its स् (s) and the hiatus remains

rāmās (rāmāḥ) gacchanti  रामास् (रामाः) गच्छन्ति becomes rāmā gacchanti  रामा गच्छन्ति [Many Ramas go]

rāmās (rāmāḥ) apaśyan  रामास् (रामाः) अपश्यन् becomes rāmā apaśyan  रामा अपश्यन् [Many Ramas saw]

  1. Final स् (s) [other than अस् (as) and आस् (ās)] before voiced consonants (except र् (r) – see 4 below ) and vowels and diphthongs becomes र् (r)

manus (manuḥ) gacchati  मनुस् (मनुः) गच्छति becomes manur gacchati  मनुर् गच्छति = manurgacchati  मनुर्गच्छति [Manu goes]

haris (hariḥ) apaśyat  हरिस् (हरिः) अपश्यत् becomes harir apaśyat हरिर् अपश्यत् = harirapaśyat  हरिरपश्यत् [Hari saw]

mumūrṣuḥ iva abhavat –> mumūrṣurivābhavat  [From the Hitopadesha story in lesson 4]

  1. Final स् (s) [other than अस् (as) and आस् (ās)] before र् (r) is dropped and the vowel before स् (s), if short, is lengthened.

haris (hariḥ) rājati हरिस् (हरिः) राजति becomes harī rājati  हरी राजति [Hari rules]

  1. Final र् (r)  follows the same rules as स् (s) [Remember that final र् (r) also becomes the visarga at the end of a word]

However, unlike final अस् (as) and आस् (ās) final अर् (ar) and आर् (ār) remains unchanged before vowels, diphthongs and voiced consonants.

punar (punaḥ) gacchati पुनर् (पुनः) गच्छति remains punar gacchati पुनर् गच्छति = punargacchati  पुनर्गच्छति [He goes again]

punar (punaḥ) eti पुनर् (पुनः) एति remains punar eti पुनर् एति = punareti  पुनरेति [He goes again]

  1. Final र् (r)  before र् (r) is dropped and the vowel before र् (r), if short, is lengthened.

haris (hariḥ) punar (punaḥ) rājati हरिस् (हरिः) पुनर् (पुनः) राजति becomes hariḥ punā rājati हरिः पुना राजति [Hari rules again]


  1. Recast the following with the correct Sandhis
    1. rāmasya āśramaḥ रामस्य आश्रमः
    2. rāmasya īśvaraḥ रामस्य ईश्वरः
    3. rāmasya udbhavaḥ रामस्य उद्भवः
    4. nagare iha नगरे इह
    5. rāmaḥ iti रामः इति
    6. rāmaḥ gacchati रामः गच्छति
    7. punaḥ gacchati पुनः गच्छति
    8. harī iva हरी इव
    9. guruḥ rakṣati गुरुः रक्षति
    10. upānat hi उपानत् हि
  2. Remove the Sandhis and get the uncombined form
    1. rāmo’bravīt रामोऽब्रवीत्
    2. sa rāma icchati स राम इच्छति
    3.  striyā uktam स्त्रिया उक्तम्
    4. madhviva   मध्विव
    5. harī rakṣati हरी रक्षति
    6. kr̥ṣṇaścarati कृष्णश्चरति

Note: Exercises items 2.2 and 2.3 illustrate ambiguous Sandhis. Sometimes a given Sandhi can be uncombined in more ways than one. In these cases you will have to use the context to unravel the Sandhi properly. Please refer to the grammar reference of Sandhis for a table of ambiguous Sandhis

Please study the first few verses of the नळोपाख्यानम् naḷopākhyānam   – The story of Nala – that I have analysed on a first level and uploaded here. This will help you understand how to analyse Sanskrit verses.

Also have a look at the quick dictionary that I have published. These contain a few simple words. There is also a link to a good online dictionary


7 thoughts on “Lesson 6 – The imperfect middle

  1. Just posting my thoughts on the exercise questions to start a dialogue with others that landed here…
    sure there will be lots and lots of mistakes and would be glad to see corrections or your points of view… Thanks!


    Recast the following with the correct Sandhis
    rāmasya āśramaḥ रामस्य आश्रमः
    रामस्याश्रमः (savaran deergha)

    rāmasya īśvaraḥ रामस्य ईश्वरः
    रामस्येश्वरः (guna)

    rāmasya udbhavaḥ रामस्य उद्भवः
    रामस्योद्भवः (guna)

    nagare iha नगरे इह
    नगर इह (ayaadi)
    नगरयिह (ayaadi)

    rāmaḥ iti रामः इति
    राम इति

    rāmaḥ gacchati रामः गच्छति

    punaḥ gacchati पुनः गच्छति
    पुनर्गच्छति (point to note: the stem for Punah is Punar, where as for Ramah it is Ramas and hence the difference in the sandhi)

    harī iva हरी इव
    हरी इव (pragrhya ..i.e., no sandhi)

    guruḥ rakṣati गुरुः रक्षति

    upānat hi उपानत् हि

    Remove the Sandhis and get the uncombined form
    rāmo’bravīt रामोऽब्रवीत्
    रामः अब्रवीत

    sa rāma icchati स राम इच्छति
    सः रामः इच्छति

    striyā uktam स्त्रिया उक्तम्
    स्त्रियाः उक्तम् (Women’s words? or Words from Women… panchami or shashti??)

    madhviva मध्विव
    मधु इव (Yann Sandhi)

    harī rakṣati हरी रक्षति
    हरिः रक्षति

    kr̥ṣṇaścarati कृष्णश्चरति
    कृष्णः चरति

  2. Regarding the example as given in Case 2:
    त्रिष्टुभ् + नूनम्
    Will त्रिष्टुभ् become त्रिष्टुप् as per the Permitted Finals rule and then undergo the changes
    त्रिष्टुब्नूनम् and त्रिष्टुम्नूनम् ? Please clarify.

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