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In Nama-stotra I often come across the "r" in between words. What exactly does it serve as or mean? For example, mokṣalakṣmīrmaharddhidā. Could Sanskrit adept please clarify this?

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    it's Moksha Lakshmihi + Maha.. after Sandhi visarga become "r"
    – The Destroyer
    May 29, 2022 at 9:31
  • What is Lakshmihi? And sandhi visarga?? May 30, 2022 at 7:52
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    Voting to close because this is not a question about Hinduism. Aug 8, 2022 at 10:43

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There is nothing special about this, it's just regular Sanskrit grammar. If you want to learn Sanskrit grammar, you should learn Sanskrit grammar. If you don't, you probably won't get very far in your religious observances by going through Sanskrit phrases letter-by-letter.

In any case, what you have here is मोक्षलक्ष्मीः+महर्द्धिदा (mokṣalakṣmīḥ+maharddhidā). The two dots that resemble an English colon are called visarga. It is typical to pronounce this as a h with a slight echo of the vowel that comes before it, hence नमः namaḥ is pronounced namaha, शान्तिः śāntiḥ is pronounced shaantihi, etc. ईः + म = ईर्म (īḥ + ma = īrma). Actually visarga becomes र् r before any voiced sound except र् r, unless the visarga comes after अ/आ (a/ā) (which is probably why you see this so often). This is a standard Sanskrit sandhi rule. Sandhi is where sounds change when they occur together. All languages have this, but not all languages write these changes down. Sanskrit is very meticulous in showing all of these changes in the spelling. But we can see similar things happen in English. For example, see how in- changes in the following words: impossible, indirect, illogical, irresponsible. This can even happen between words. For example, gotcha is a colloquial pronunciation of got you where t + y has become ch (and sometimes we even spell it like that!)

The reason it's मोक्षलक्ष्मीः mokṣalakṣmīḥ with the visarga on the end is because it is in the nominative singular. (Actually the visarga is quite unusual in the nominative singular of words that end in ई ī, but लक्ष्मी lakṣmī happens to be a word that has it. Visarga is an extremely common nominative singular ending in other stems, though.) So the point is, the ending of the word gives us grammatical information. I have told you मोक्षलक्ष्मीः mokṣalakṣmīḥ is singular: there is only one. Compare how in English you have one apple (singular) but two apples (plural). The s ending tells us there is more than one. मोक्षलक्ष्मीः mokṣalakṣmīḥ is singular, मोक्षलक्ष्म्याः mokṣalakṣmyāḥ would be plural I suppose. I have also told you that it is nominative. In a simple, active voice sentence like Lakshmi sees Rama, the subject (the seer, the doer of the action, whatever it is) will be in the nominative, thus (without sandhi): लक्ष्मीः रामम् पश्यति lakṣmīḥ rāmam paśyati "Lakshmi sees Rama", but रामः लक्ष्मीम् पश्यति rāmaḥ lakṣmīm paśyati "Rama sees Lakshmi". Compare English I saw him, but he saw me.

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