Pāṇini 1.4.23: Emendation Proposal
The well known sūtra 1.4.23 of Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī, reading kārake, has been given at least three different interpretations by the commentators: it could be a section heading, a technical term or a semantic condition for the following rules. However, such a threefold interpretation is shown to be hardly acceptable. Therefore, a textual emendation is suggested in order to emend kārake (locative) to kārakam (nominative). Such a textual error is assumed to be the result of the Middle Indian influence on the transmission of the Aṣṭādhyāyī and/or Mahābhāṣya. Such an influence is not to be excluded a priori, and is indeed indirectly proven by the well studied texts of the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit tradition. In fact, a termination -e for the nominative masculine and neuter is not uncommon in Prakrits. Once entered in the text (directly or through the citation phrasing kāraka iti with the loss of the final -m), the ending would be reinterpreted as a metalinguistic locative; to account for it the ultimate bhāṣya 39 of Mahābhāṣya on sūtra 1.4.23 would be added by an anonymous author predating Kāśikā.