Magadhi Prakrit

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Magadhi Prakrit
Ardhamāgadhī
Region India
Extinct developed into Magadhi, Bengali-Assamese languages, Bihari languages and Odia languages[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 pka
Glottolog None

Magadhi Prakrit (Ardhamāgadhī) is of one of the three Dramatic Prakrits, the written languages of Ancient India following the decline of Pali and Sanskrit. Magadhi Prakrit was spoken in the eastern Indian subcontinent, in a region spanning what is now eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is believed to be the language spoken by the important religious figures Gautama Buddha and Mahavira and was also the language of the courts of the Magadha mahajanapada and the Maurya Empire; the edicts of Ashoka were composed in it.[2]

Magadhi Prakrit later evolved into the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Chakma, Odia, Bhojpuri and Magahi among others.[3][4]Out of all of its offshoots Bengali is the most spoken, with over 240 million speakers, followed by Odia and Maithili(both with over 40 million speakers) then followed by Bhojpuri (with over 30 million speakers however is now considered a dialect of Hindi)

Pali and Ardhamāgadhī[edit]

Theravada Buddhist tradition has long held that Pali was synonymous with Magadhi and there are many analogies between it and an older form of Magadhi called Ardhamāgadhī "Proto-Magadhi". Ardhamāgadhī was prominently used by Jain scholars[5] and is preserved in the Jain Agamas. Both Gautama Buddha and the tirthankara Mahavira preached in Magadha.

Ardhamāgadhī differs from later Magadhi Prakrit on similar points as Pāli. For example, Ardhamāgadhī preserves historical [l], unlike later Magadhi, where [l] changed into [r]. Additionally, in the noun inflection, Ardhamagadhi shows the ending [-o] instead of Magadhi Prakrit [-e] in many metrical places.

Pali: Dhammapada 103:

Yo sahassaṃ sahassena, saṅgāme mānuse jine;

Ekañca jeyyamattānaṃ, sa ve saṅgāmajuttamo.

Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men,
is he who would conquer just one — himself.

Ardhamagadhi: Saman Suttam 125:

Jo sahassam sahassanam, samgame dujjae jine.

Egam jinejja appanam, esa se paramo jao.

One may conquer thousands and thousands of enemies in an invincible battle;
but the supreme victory consists in conquest over one's self.

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, By Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills, Routledge, 2003, p. 203
  2. ^ Bashan A.L., The Wonder that was India, Picador, 2004, pp.394
  3. ^ South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, By Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills, Routledge, 2003, p. 203
  4. ^ Ray, Tapas S. (2007). "Chapter Eleven: "Oriya". In Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-135-79711-9.
  5. ^ Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5. 

External links[edit]