Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tenses & Moods in Sanskrit

There are 6 tenses & 4 moods in Sanskrit. The following shloka enlists all forms of verbs corresponding to tenses & moods in Sanskrit.

लड्वर्तमाने लेड्वेदे भूते लुङ्लङ्लिट्स्तथा |
विध्याशिषोस्तु लिङ्लोटौ ऌङ्ऌटौ लुड् भविष्यति ||

A time line plot of the same (verb to tense/mood mapping) is shown below.

Timeline Based Categorisation of Tenses In Sanskrit

The whole timeline has sections past ( भूत ) and future ( भविष्य ) tense with present ( वर्तमान ) tense in between. The forms of verbs are called लकरा: 

The following explains mapping of various लकारा: to tenses/moods shown above using भू धातु , एकवचनम् , प्रथमपुरुष: as example for each of the लकार:
  • लट् लकार: ( e.g भवति )  represents present tense. 
Both past and future tense have 24hr mark relative to present tense. This 48hr period is referred to as अद्यतन. 

  • लृट् लकार: e.g भविष्यति represents the time period upto 24hrs in the futureअद्यतन भविष्य ). This लकार: corresponds to future tense in English and other languages. 
  • लुङ् लकार: ( e.g अभूत्) represents the time period upto 24hrs in the past ( अद्यतन भूत ).
Beyond 48hr period is referred to as अनद्यतन. Following are the लकरा:  that belong to this class.
  • लुट लकारe.g भविता represents the time period beyond 24hrs in the future ( अनद्यतन भविष्य ).
  • लङ् लकार: (e.g अभवत् ) represents the time period beyond 24hrs in the past ( अनद्यतन भूत ).This लकार: corresponds to past tense in English and other languages. 
There are one more form of लकर: in past tense 
  • लिट् लकार: (e.g बभूव ) represents the time period that we have not seen (परोक्ष) - beyond our existence in past - happenings during different युग .
In addition,
  • लेट लकार: This लकार: is used only in vedas.
Moving to moods, there are 4 of them, they are as follows.
  • लोट् लकार: ( e.g भवतु/भवतात् ) represents imperative mood.
  • विधिलिङ् लकारe.g भवेत् represents potential/possibility or should/must be done.
  • आशिर्लिङ् लकारe.g भूयत ) represents the tense used in blessing someone.
  • लृङ् लकारe.g अभविष्यत् ) represents the tense of conditional possibility or possibility dependent on another event.


  1. There are 10 लकाराः in Samskrit. लकाराः are not tenses. there are only three tenses in Samskrit. किन्तु वर्तमानादि त्रिषु कालेषु एव अद्यतनादि विभागाः सन्ति स्पष्टतायै | लोटादयः imperative mood......etc..

    1. Thank you Sir, I will fix the issues.

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  3. This is application that helps beginners get various tenses and moods given a पदम्