Bibek Debroy says in his Ramayana translation, 'Hanumat is a case in point, where Hanuman seemed to be too contrary to grammatical principles'.

What grammatical principle is that? Is it really Hanumat in the Sanskrit original?

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    Can you provide more context of that quote from bibek debroy. Hanuman is nominative/prathama of root word hanumat. sanskrit.inria.fr/cgi-bin/SKT/…
    – Aks
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 15:40
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    Do you know if Debroy used the Critical Edition of Valimiki Ramayana for this translation? Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 19:13
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    Debroy translates the Critical Edition of Valmiki Ramayana. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 10:52
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    Debroy continues, 'There remains the question of what one does with vowel sounds. How does one differentiate the short sound from the long? Should Rama be written as Raama and Sita as Seeta? That seemed to be too artificial and contrary to popular usage. On rare occasions, this does cause a problem, with a danger of confuson between the ape Taara and his daughter Taaraa, Vali's wife. ... However, there are also instances where we have deviated from popular usage. Hanumat is a case in point, where Hanuman seemed to be too contrary to grammatical principles.' Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 11:05
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    Both the answers seem to be OK. There seems to be no option to acknowledge both of them. Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 11:13

2 Answers 2


The word Hanuman is made of हनु + मतुँप् = हनुमत् for which Hanuman is the correct word for Male - 1st Vibhakti - singular-

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Most of तकारान्त (ends with त) words have similar kind of Vibhakti forms, for example-

Shrimat > Male - 1st Vibhakti - singular: Shriman

Bhudhhimat > Male - 1st Vibhakti - singular: Bhudhhiman

Anshumat > Male - 1st Vibhakti - singular: Anshuman

Gyanvat > Male - 1st Vibhakti - singular: Gyanvan

Bhagyavat > Male - 1st Vibhakti - singular: Bhagyavan

The all of the above words and many others similar words are formed using मतुँप् suffix.

Below are the vibhakti forms of हनुमत् -

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In UTTARA KANDA of Valmiki Ramayana, all related words such as Hanumat, Hanumata, Hanumatah, Hanumataa, Hanumati and Hanumana etc. are mentioned based on the vibhakti:

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Yes, the root of Hanuman (हनुमान्) is really hanumat (हनुमत्). As per vyakarana rules of Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, the word is formed by adding the मतुँप् (matum̐p) suffix to the word हनु (Hanu), meaning jaw.

Panini’s Ashtadhyayi gives the following sutra for the suffix:

तदस्यास्त्यस्मिन्निति मतुँप्॥ ५।२।९१

Meaning: that which belongs to him (or this) (तद् अस्य अस्ति इति) OR that which is on/in him (or this) gets the matum̐p suffix.

The Kashika Vritti commentary on the Ashtadhyayi gives an example: गावोऽस्य सन्ति गोमान्
Explanation: the cows (गो) (that) belongs to him and hence the cows get the matum̐p suffix and the person is called gomān. Meaning the one with the cows.

The reason why he got to this name relates to the incident of when as a child he goes to gobble the sun and has an encounter with Indra. As per Valmiki Ramayana Uttara Kanda:

Thereafter as he rushed on Saci’s consort, Indra, not unduly angered, with his finger loosed a thunderbolt that struck Hanuman and, at the impact, the child fell on a mountain, in his fall breaking his left jaw.
- Sarga 35

Since the thunderbolt escaped from my grasp and shattered his jaw, this child shall be called Hanuman.
- Sarga 36

Which means because his jaw (Hanu) was broken, the suffix ‘matum̐p’ was added to ‘Hanu’: हनु + मतुँप् = हनुमत्

It means the one to whom the broken jaw belongs or simply the one with the jaw.

Now while forming the vibhaktis, as rightly pointed by YDS in the photo, before editing, you will use the base Hanumat. That’s how you have the mantra Ham Hanumate Namah

For more information on how mat becomes mān in the first vibhakti, one can have a look at: Forming Hanumān from Hanumat.


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