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In the previous chapter, we began to discuss the declension of nouns ending in consonant that have two bases and three bases. As we said there, these nouns have different bases that are used in different sets of endings. In this chapter, we are going to discuss nouns ending in "at". As you will see, there are several kinds of nouns ending in "at".
For convenience, we are going to repeat the table of general case endings from the previous chapter here. The Aṅga endings are marked with one asterisk (*), the Pada endings are marked with two asterisks (**) and the Bha endings are not marked:
Endings for nouns with two and three bases
The first kind of noun/adjective ending in "at" that we are going to talk about are the present participles.
The declension rule of present participles ending in "at" is complicated, because it depends on a knowledge of verb conjugation. A present participle is an adjective derived from a verb, like "being" in English is derived from "to be". Its meaning is similar to the "ing" termination in English. For example, in Sanskrit, the verb bhū means "to be / to become", and its present participle is bhavat, which means "being / becoming". Similarly, the verb ad means "to eat", and its present participle is adat, which means "eating".
The complicated part is that the declension of present participles depends on the class (also called gaṇa or house) of the original verb. For example, bhū is a verb of the 1st class. On the other hand, ad is a verb of the 2nd class. Therefore, there is a very slight difference on the declensions of their present participles (bhavat and adat).
All the participles ending in "at" have two bases: one ending in "at", and one ending in "ant". For example, adat has two bases: adat and adant, and, similarly, bhavat has two bases: bhavat and bhavant. In order to decline them, you have to take an ending from the table of endings above and attach it to the appropriate base.
The "at" or "ant" base is chosen according to the rule below:
1) If the original verb is not in the class 1, 4 or 10: the "ant" base is used in the Aṅga cases (that is, the masculine Nominative/Vocative singular/dual/plural and Accusative singular/dual, and the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative plural), while the remaining cases use the "at" base1.
2) If the original verb is in the class 1, 4 or 10: just like the previous case, except that the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative dual also use the "ant" base2.
The rule above is complicated, but the only difference is in the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative dual. In the first case, the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative dual uses the "at" base, and, in the second case, it uses the "ant" base. To illustrate it, let's look at two examples: adat ("eating") and bhavat ("being"):
Adat falls into the first case of the rule, because its original verb (ad) is in the class 2. Notice that the Aṅga cases use the base adant, and the remaining cases use adat, just as the rule stated.
Also notice that, in the masculine Nominative/Vocative singular, the strong base adant by itself (attached to no ending) becomes adan. This is to obey the 3rd Rule of Consonant Sandhi, which says, among other things, that a Sanskrit word can't end with two consonants.
Now, let's look at the masculine and neuter declensions of bhavat ("being"):
Bhavat falls into the second case of the rule, because its original verb (bhū) is in the class 1. The declension pattern is almost the same as that of adat, except in the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative dual, which is bhavantī instead of bhavatī.
Again, notice that, in the masculine Nominative/Vocative singular, the strong base bhavant by itself (attached to no ending) becomes bhavan, to obey the 3rd Rule of Consonant Sandhi, which says, among other things, that a Sanskrit word can't end with two consonants.
Note: The feminine forms of the present participles in "at" are identical to the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative singular form. Therefore, the feminine form of adat ("eating") is adatī, and the feminine form of the noun bhavat ("being") is bhavantī. As should be expected, these feminine versions are simply regular feminine nouns ending with ī, and are declined like nadī. For more information about how they are declined, go to the chapter about normal feminine bases in ī and ū.
The noun mahat, which means "big", is very similar to adat in declension; the only difference is that it uses the strong base mahānt in the Aṅga cases, except in the Vocative singular, where it is mahant3. Below is its declension:
As always, notice that, in the masculine Nominative/Vocative singular, the strong base mahānt by itself (attached to no ending) becomes mahān.
Note: The feminine form of mahat is mahatī, identical to the neuter Nominative/Accusative/Vocative singular form, and is declined like a normal feminine noun ending with ī.
Nouns ending in mat and vat are very common in Sanskrit. For example, agnimat (which means "having fire") and jñānavat (which means "having knowledge").
In the declension of nouns ending in mat and vat, the final "at" becomes "ant" in the Aṅga cases, except in the masculine Nominative singular, where it becomes ant4.
Now, let's see the declension of agnimat ("having fire"):
And now, the declension of jñānavat ("having knowledge"):
In the beginning of this chapter, we showed you the noun bhavat meaning "being" (the participle present of the verb bhū). But the word bhavat can also have another meaning: it is often used in place of the second person pronoun, as a polite way of saying "you" (something like "your honor")5. When bhavat means "your honor", it is declined differently from the participle present bhavat meaning "being": it is declined just like a noun ending in vat (which we just talked about).
Below is the declension of the masculine noun bhavat meaning "your honor":
|Nominative||भवान् bhavān||भवन्तौ bhavantau||भवन्तः bhavantaḥ|
|Vocative||भवन् bhavan||भवन्तौ bhavantau||भवन्तः bhavantaḥ|
|Accusative||भवन्तम् bhavantam||भवन्तौ bhavantau||भवतः bhavataḥ|
|Instrumental||भवता bhavatā||भवद्भ्याम् bhavadbhyām||भवद्भिः bhavadbhiḥ|
|Dative||भवते bhavate||भवद्भ्याम् bhavadbhyām||भवद्भ्यः bhavadbhyaḥ|
|Ablative||भवतः bhavataḥ||भवद्भ्याम् bhavadbhyām||भवद्भ्यः bhavadbhyaḥ|
|Genitive||भवतः bhavataḥ||भवतोः bhavatoḥ||भवताम् bhavatām|
|Locative||भवति bhavati||भवतोः bhavatoḥ||भवत्सु bhavatsu|
Note: The feminine form of bhavat meaning "your honor" is bhavatī (and not bhavantī, which is the feminine form of the bhavat when it means "being").