Ramakrishna S. Pillalamarri (pkrishna@ARL.MIL)
Mon, 3 Mar 97 9:16:07 EST

J. K. Mohana Rao says " I do not forget that I too took active part in those
discussions". is this his way of saying "mea culpa"?

Over the weekend, it occurred to me that whether a syllable is a laghuvu
or guruvu, depends on the way we pronounce it, and not on some hard
rule. There is no way the word "jAnaki" can be pronounced as a na-gaNam,
(III), or a ma-gaNam (UUU). However, when calling her name, one would
invariably say "jAnakee", and make it into a ra-gaNam. Also singers take
extreme (undue, in my opinion) liberties with words and distort them sometimes
beyond recognition. Haven't you heard of "pAkAlA neelAbADee .."?

In words such as apa-kRti, upa-kRti, ramya-kRshNa, ...the "R"-syllable
occurs as the beginning syllable of a separate word, though joined
because of a sandhi or samAsam. It appears that in such cases, clearly
(based on how one "says" such a word - say it to yourself and see) the
preceding laghuvu remains a laghuvu. One pronounces these words (I am
showing the syllable boundaries here) a-pa-kR-ti, ram-ya-kRsh-Na and NOT
as a-pak-R-ti, ram-yak-Rsh-Na.

However, words such as "vidhRta", "vikRti", are usually pronounced
as vidh-R-ti, vik-R-ti,... in my opinion. This is by no means an
attempt to justify the two mistakes I made in this regard in two poems
cited before. My confusion still remains. When do we write a word with "R"
and when with "ru"? For example, vinata's sister is named "kadruva". In
bhAgavatam, it is written as "kadruva", not "kadRva". I think suSruta is
written sans "R". We do write "adRshTamu", but do pronounce it as
"adrushTamu", but if we see it written as "adrushTamu", we would (I would)
think that it is not written correctly.

Sometime ago, in trying to explain away the "vidhRta matulai" phrase,
where I implies "vi" to be a guruvu, I invoked a kRshNa Satakam poem
as an example.

        akRura varada! kESava!
        cakrAyudha! SAr~japANi! Souri! mukundA!

(I am not sure that my transliteration of SAr~japANi is correct)
Here I tried to say that in "akRura", the initial syllable becomes a guruvu
even though the next syllable involves the long-R combination. To start
with it has to be a guruvu; how it becomes so can be subject to speculation.
This is because the initial syllables in all four lines of a kanda padyam
should be all laghuvus, or all guruvus. I think I recently saw a
poem or two in someone's homepage that violates this rule.

Yet, if the word is "akroora", then the explanation becomes simple. But the
question remains. When is it "R" and when is it "ru"?