An Elementary Pali Course

Lesson XXV

Uses of the Cases

The Nominative Case (PaŹhamŒ)

1. The Nominative case, when used by itself, expresses the crude form of a word; e.g.,
naro, man,
nŒr“, woman,
phalaµ, fruit.

2. The subject of a verb, whether active or passive, is expressed by the Nominative; e.g.,
Purisio gacchati, man goes.
Buddhena Dhammo desiyate, the Doctrine is preached by the Buddha.

3. The complement of intransitive verbs is also expressed by the Nominative; e.g.,
So rŒjŒ ahosi, he became a king;
Eso dŒrako hoti, he is a boy.

The Vocative case (īlapana)

The Vocative Case is used to express the Nominative of Address; e.g.,
Putta, idh'Œgaccha! son, come here.
Bho Gotama, O venerable Gotama!

The Accusative Case (DutiyŒ)

1. The Accusative denotes the object; e.g.,
Ahaµ lekhanaµ likhŒmi, I am writing a letter.

2. Duration of time and extent of space are expressed by the Accusative. e.g.,
Idha so temŒsaµ vasi, here he lived for three months.
Dv“'haµ atikkantaµ, two days are passed.
Yojanaµ d“gho pabbato, the mountain is one league long.

3. Verbs of motion take the Accusative; e.g.,
So gŒmaµ gacchati, he goes to the village.

4. The prefixes "anu", "pati", "pari" also govern the Accusative; e.g.,
Rukkhaµ anu, rukkhaµ pati, rukkhaµ parivijjotate cando, the moon shines by every tree.
Yad'ettha maµ anu siyŒ, whatever there be here for me.
SŒdhu Devdatto mŒtaraµ anu, Devadatta is kind to his mother.
Anu SŒriputtaµ pa
––avŒ bhikkhu, monk inferior to Sariputta in wisdom.
Saccakiriyaµ anu pavassi, it rained according to (his) act of truth.
Nadiµ Nera
jaraµ pati, near NeranjarŒ river.

5. The Accusative is sometimes used adverbially; e.g.,
RŒjŒ sukhaµ vasati, the king lives happily.
Sukhaµ supati, sleeps happily.
Dukkhaµ seti, lives painfully.

6. Sometimes the Accusative is used in the sense of the (a) Ablative of agent, (b) Dative, (c) Genitive, and (d) Locative; e.g.,
(a) VinŒ
* Dhammaµ, without the Doctrine.
Sace maµ n'Œlapissati, if he will not speak with me.
(b) UpamŒ maµ pa
ŹibhŒti, a simile occurs to me.
(c) Taµ kho pana Bhagavantaµ, (of) that Blessed One.
(d) Ekaµ samayaµ BhagavŒ....., on one occasion the Blessed One.

*Sometimes "VinŒ" governs the Nominative, Instrumental and the Ablative.

7. The root "vasa" preceded by Œ, adhi, anu and upa governs the Accusative; e.g.,
GŒmaµ Œvasati, anuvasati, upavasati, lives in the village.
VihŒraµ adhivasati, lives in the monastery.

The Auxiliary Case (TatiyŒ)

When the construction is passive the agent is expressed by this case; e.g.,
Œcariyena potthakaµ d“yate, a book is being given by the teacher.
Tena kataµ kammaµ, the action done by him.

The Instrumental Case (Karaöa)

1. The means or the instrument by which an action is done is expressed by the Instrumental Case; e.g:,
Hatthena kammaµ karoti, he does the work with his hand.
CakkhunŒ passŒma, we see with our eye.
„Œöena sukhaµ labhati, one obtains happiness by means of wisdom.

2. The Instrumental is also used to express -
(a) Cause and reason; e.g.,
VijjŒya vasati, through knowledge he lives.
KammanΠvasalo hoti, by action one becomes an outcast.

(b) Bodily defects; e.g.,
AkkhinΠkΚo, blind in one eye.

(c) A characteristic attribute; e.g.,
Vaööena abhirčpo, beautiful in appearance.
Gottena Gotamo, Gotama by clan.
Sippena naĀakŒro, a basket-maker by profession.

(d) The length of time and space within which an action is accomplished; e.g.,
EkamŒsena gacchŒmi, I shall go in a month.
Yojanena gacchati, goes by a league.

(e) The price at which a thing is bought or sold; e.g.,
Satena k“taµ, bought for a hundred.

(f) The idea of resemblance, equality, rejoicing, deficiency, proficiency, need, use, etc.; e.g.,
PitarΠsadiso, like the father.
MŒtarŒ samo, equal to the mother.
KahŒpaöena čno, deficit of a farthing, less by a farthing.
Dhanena h“no, destitute of wealth.
VŒcŒya nipuöo, proficient in speech.
MaöinŒ attho, in need of a jewel.

(g) The conveyance or the part of the body on which a thing is carried; e.g.,
S“sena bhŒraµ vahati, carries the burden on his head.

3. The indeclinables saha, saddhiµ - with, accompanied by; alaµ - enough, what use; kiµ - what, also governs the Instrumental ; e.g.,
di BhagavŒ saddhiµ bhikkhusaŗghena", the Blessed One sat with the multitude of Bhikkhus.
BhŒtarŒ saha, together with his brother.
Alaµ te idha vŒsena, what is the use of your staying here?
Kiµ me dhanena, of what use is wealth to me?

4. Sometimes the Instrumental is used adverbially; e.g.,
Sukhena vasati, lives happily.

5. The Instrumental is sometimes used in the sense of (a)Accusative, (b)Ablative, and (c)Locative, e.g.,
Tilehi khette vapati, he sows gingili in the field.
(a) AttanŒ'va attŒnaµ, sammannati, he chooses himself.
(b) SumuttŒ mayaµ tena mahŒsamaöena, we are wholly released from that great ascetic.
(c) Tena samayena, at that time.

The Dative Case (Catutth)

1. The Dative Case is used to express the person or thing to whom or to which something is given; e.g.,
YŒcakŒnaµ dŒnaµ deti, he gives alms to the beggars.
KŒyassa balaµ deti, he gives strength to the body.

2. The roots rucaruca, to please, and dharadhara, to bear or hold, govern the dative of the person pleased, or held; e.g.,
Samaöassa rucate saccaµ, the truth is pleasing to the ascetic.
Devadattassa suvaööacchattaµ dhŒrayate, he holds a golden parasol for Devadatta.

3. Verbs implying anger, jealousy, praise, blame, curse, and others having the same sense govern the dative of the person against whom such a feeling is directed; e.g.,
Tassa kujjha, mahŒv“ra, be angry with him, O great hero!
DevŒ'pi tesaµ pihayanti, even the Devas hold them dear.
DujjanŒ guöavantŒnaµ usčyanti, the evil are jealous of the virtuous.
Buddhassa silŒghates, he praises the Buddha.
Nindanti bahubhŒninaµ, they blame the garrulous.
Mayhµ sapate, he curses me.

4. The indirect object of verbs such as telling, proclaiming, teaching, preaching, sending, writing, etc. is put in the Dative Case; e.g.,
Te vejjassa kathayiµsu, they told it to the doctor.
ArocayŒmi vo Bhikkhave, I declare to you, O Bhikkhus
SatthŒ Bhikkhčnaµ Dhammaµ deseti, the Teacher is preaching the Doctrine to the Bhikkhus.
So tassa lekhanaµ pahiöi, he sent a letter to him.

5. The purpose for which anything is done, the result to which anything leads, and the reason for which anything exists, are also expressed by the Dative; e.g.,
YuddhŒya gacchati, he goes to war.
NibbŒnŒya saµvattati, is conducive to Nibbana.
Caratha bhikkhave cŒrikaµ bahu-janahitŒya, bahu-janasukhŒya, go ye forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good and happiness of the many.
AtthŒya me bhavissati, it will be for my good.

6. The words hita: good, attha: good, need, payojana: use, and indeclinables like alaµ, kiµ, namo, svŒgataµ, govern the Dative; e.g.,
lokassa hitaµ, good for the world.
Dhanena me attho, I am in need of wealth.
„Œöena te kiµ payojanaµ, of what use is wisdom to you?
Alaµ mallo mallassa, a warrior is fit for a warrior.
Namo sammŒsambuddhassa, praise be to the Fully Enlightened One.
SvŒgataµ te mahŒrŒja, welcome to you, O king!
Svatthi hotu sabbasattŒnaµ, blessing to all beings.
Sotthi te hotu sabbadŒ, may happiness ever be to you!

7. Sometimes the place to which the motion is directed is put in the Dative; e.g.,
Appo saggŒya gacchati, few go to heaven.

The Ablative Case (Pacam“)

1. The Ablative Case is principally used to denote the place or object from which motion or separation takes place; e.g.,
NagarŒ niggato rŒjŒ, the king departed from the city.
RukkhasmŒ phalŒni patanti, fruits fall from the tree.
AssasmŒ patŒmi, I fall from the horse.

2. The Ablative is used to express the person or thing from whom or from which something is originated, produced, caused, learnt, received, released, etc.; e.g.,
Pabbatehi nadiyo pabhavanti, rivers originate from mountains.
UrasmŒ jŒto putto, the son born from the breast.
Ubhato sujŒto, well-born from both sides.
KŒmato jŒyati soko, grief arises from passion.
CorasmŒ bhayaµ uppajjati, fear arises from thieves.
īcariyamhŒ ugguöhŒma, we learn from the teacher.
SissŒ Œcariyehi paööŒkŒraµ labhanti, pupils receive gifts from their teachers.
cantu, may they be freed from pain!
Mutto mŒrabandhanŒ, released from the bondage of the Evil One.

3. That which one desires to Protect and whose sight one desires to avoid, are also put in the Ablative Case; e.g.,
KŒke rakkhanti taöulŒ, lit. they guard crows from rice.
PŒpa cittaµ nivŒraye, one should protect the mind from evil.
MŒtŒ pitčhi antaradhŒyati putto, the son disappears from the parents.

4. The place or time from which another place or time is measured is expressed by the Ablative. The distance in space is put in the Locative or in the Nominative, and that in time is put in the Locative; e.g.,
NagarasmΠcatusu yojanesu ara
––aµ, the forest is four leagues from the city.
GŒmasmŒ ŒrŒmo yojanaµ, the monastery is one league from the village.
ImamhŒ mŒsasmŒ pa
camŒse atikkhante, when five months have elapsed from this.
Ito kappasahasse, thousand Kappas hence.

5. Some prefixes and indeclinables also govern the Ablative; e.g.,
ī", as far as - Œ pabbatŒ khettaµ, as far as the rock is the field.
"Apa", away from - apa sŒlŒya Œyanti, they come from the hall.
"Pati", like, in exchange for - BuddhasmŒ pati SŒriputto, like the Buddha is SŒriputta.
Ghatam'asssa telasmŒ patidadŒti, he gives him ghee in exchange for oil.
"Pari", away from, without - ParipabbatΠdevo vassati, it rains except on the mountain.
"Adho", below - adharΠadho, below the hip.
"NŒnŒ", different - te Bhikkhč nŒnŒ-kulŒ, those monks from different families.
"Rite", without - rite saddhammŒ kuto sukhaµ, where is happiness without the noble Doctrine?
"VinŒ", without - vinŒ dhammŒ, without the Doctrine.
"Uddhaµ", above - uddhaµ pŒdatalŒ, upward from the sole of the feet.
"Upari", above - Upari ga
ŗgŒya, above the river.
"YŒva", as far as - yŒva brahmalokŒ, as far as the Brahma realm.

6. The Ablative is also used to denote comparison; e.g.,
DŒnato s“lam'eva varaµ, morality is indeed higher than liberality.
S“lam'eva sutŒ seyyo, morality is nobler than learning.

7. The Ablative is sometimes used in the sense of the (a) Instrumental and (b) Locative; e.g.,
(a) "S“lato naµ pasaµsanti", they Praise him on account of morality.
Bhava-paccayŒ jŒti, birth is conditioned by action.
ŗkhŒranirodhŒ avijjŒ nirodho, the cessation of ignorance results from the cessation of activities.
(b) Puratthimato, from the east.

8. Sometimes the (a) Accusative and the (b) Genitive are used in the sense of the Ablative; e.g.,
(a) Kiµ kŒranaµ, by what reason?
(b) Taµ kissa hetu, by what cause?

9. Sometimes the Ablative is used after abstract nouns formed from past participles in the sense of 'because of'; 'on account of'; e.g.,
Kammassa ka
ŹattŒ, by reason of having done the action.
UssannattŒ, on account of having arisen.

The Genitive Case (ChaŹŹhi)

1. The Genitive Case is generally used to denote the possessor; e.g.,
Buddhassa dhammo, Buddha's Doctrine.
Rukkhassa chŒyŒ, the shadow of the tree.

2. The Genitive is also used to denote the relationship between two objects; e.g.,
PupphŒnaµ rŒsi, heap of flowers.
Bhikkhčnaµ samčho, multitude of monks.
Meghassa saddo, sound of thunder.
Suvaööassa vaŗŗo, colour of gold.
PŒdassa ukkhepanaµ, raising of the foot.
Lokassa hito, the good of the world.

3. Persons or things over which kingship, lordship, teachership, superiority, etc. are expressed are also put in the Genitive Case; e.g.,
NarŒnaµ indo, king of men.
ManussŒnaµ adhipati, chief of men.
SatthŒ deva-manussŒnaµ, teacher of gods and men.

4. When a person or thing is distinguished from a group the word implying the group is put in the Genitive or Locative; e.g.,
Buddho se
ŹŹho manussŒnaµ, the Buddha is the chief of men.
Imesaµ dŒrakŒnaµ, or (imesu dŒrakesu) eso paµhamo, he is the first of these boys.
Etesaµ phalŒnaµ ekaµ gaöha, take one of those fruits.

5. Words implying skill, proficiency, likeness, similarity, distance, nearness, under, above, etc. govern the Genitive; e.g.,
DhammŒ'Dhammassa kovido, skill in knowing the right and wrong.
KusalŒ naccag“tassa, skilled in dancing and singing.
GŒmassa (vŒ gŒmato) avidure, not far from the village.
NibbŒnassa santike, in the presence of Nibbaana.
Nagarassa sam“pe, near the city.
Tassa Purato, in his presence.
ŹŹhŒ chŒyŒya, under the shade.
ŹŹhŒ macassa, under the bed.
Tass'opari, above it; jŒnumaöalŒnaµ upari, above the knees.
Pitussa tulyo, similar to the father.
MŒtu-sadiso, like the mother.

6. The Genitive is also used with superlatives and words having the same sense; e.g.,
DhammŒnaµ caturo padŒ se
ŹŹhŒ, of things the four Truths are the highest.
Sabbesaµ sattŒnaµ Buddho uttamo, the Buddha is the highest of all men.
Danto se
ŹŹho manussŒnaµ, a self-controlled person is the best of men.

7. Sometimes the Genitive is used in the sense of the (a) Accusative, (b) Auxiliary, (c) Instrumental, (d) Ablative, (e) Locative; e.g.,
(a) Amatassa dŒtŒ, giver of immortality.
PŒpŒnaµ akaraöaµ sukhaµ, it is happy not to do evil.
(b) Ra
––o pčjito, reverenced by the king.
(c) Pattaµ odanassa pčretvŒ, filling the bowl with food.
(d) Sabbe bhŒyanti maccuno, all are afraid of death.
Bh“to catunnaµ ŒsivisŒnaµ, frightened of the four snakes.
(e) Divasassa tikkhattauµ, thrice a day.
Bhagavato pasannŒ, pleased with the Blessed One.

The Locative Case (Sattam“)

1. The Locative Case denotes the place or time where anything is or happens; e.g.,
ManussΠgharesu vasanti, men live in houses.
ThŒliyaµ odanaµ pacati, he cooks rice in a pot.
Kh“resu jalaµ, there is water in milk.

2. The Locative denotes also the time when an action takes place; e.g.,
Tasmiµ samaye, at that time.
SŒyaöhasamaye Œgato, he came in the afternoon.
PhussamŒsamhŒ t“su mŒsesu vesŒkhamŒso, three months from Phussa month is the month of VesŒkha.
Ito satasahassamhi kappe, one hundred thousand aeons hence.

3. The reason is sometimes expressed by the Locative; e.g. ,
D“pi cammesu ha
––ate, the tigers are killed on account of their skin.
MusŒvŒde pŒcittiyaµ, one commits a pŒcittiya offence, there is a pŒcittiya with regard to a lie or through falsehood.

4. The group or class from which a person or thing is distinguished or separated is put in the Locative; e.g.,
Manussesu khattiyo sčratamo, the warrior is the bravest of men.
Addhikesu dhŒvato s“ghatamo, the runner is the fastest of travellers.
īyasmŒ īnando arahantesu a––ataro, Venerable īnanda is one of the Arahants.

5. The Locative or the Genitive is used with the words "adhipati", lord; "dŒyŒda", heir; "issara", lord; "kusala", skill; "patibhč", bail; "pasuta", born of; "sakkhi", witness; and "sŒmi", master; e.g.,
Lokasmiµ or (lokassa) adhipati, lord of the world.
Kammasmiµ or (kammassa) dŒyŒdo, heir of action.
Źhaviyaµ or (paŹhaviyŒ) issaro, lord of the earth.
G“tasmiµ or (g“tassa) kusalo, skill in singing.
Dassanasmiµ or (dassanassa) pa
Źibhč, surety for appearance.
Gosu or (gavaµ) pasuto, born of cows.
Adhikaraöasmiµ or (adhikaraöassa) sakkhi, witness in a case.
Dhammasmiµ or (Dhammassa) sŒmi, master of Truth.

6. The Locative is used with the words "sŒdhu", good, kind; "nipuŗa", proficient, skilful; and words having the sense of "being pleased with, angry with, contented with, being addicted to"; etc., and with prefixes "adhi" and "upa", in the sense of exceeding, or master of; e.g.,
––Œya sŒdhu, good in wisdom.
MŒtari sŒdhu, kind towards the mother.
Vinaye nipuöo, proficient in discipline.
BhaöŒgŒre niyutto, attached to the treasury.
Dhamme gŒravo, reverence towards the Dhamma.
Buddhe pasanno, being pleased with the Buddha.
Appakasmiµ tu
ŹŹho, being contented with little.
––e na kuppŒmi, I am not angry with the KŒsi king.
Adhi devesu Buddho, the Buddha is superior to the gods.
Upanikkhe kahŒpaöaµ, a KahŒpaöa is greater than Nikkha.

7. Sometimes the Locative is used in the sense of the (a) Nominative, (b) Accusative, (c) Instrumental (d) Dative, and (e) Ablative; e.g.,
(a) Idam'pi'ssa hoti s“lasmiµ, this also is his virtue.
(b) BŒhŒsu gahetvŒ, taking the hands.
Bhikkhčsu abhivadanti, salute the monks.
(c) SamaöŒ pattesu piöŒya caranti, the ascetics go for alms with their bowls.
(d) Sanghe, Gotami, dehi, O Gotami, give to the Sangha.
(e) Kadal“su gaje rakkhanti, lit. they protect the elephants from the plantain trees.

The Genitive and the Locative Absolutes

The Nominative Absolute in English and the Ablative Absolute in Latin are expressed by the Genitive and Locative Absolutes in PŒĀi.

(a) When the subject of a participle is different from the subject of the verb it is put in the Locative Absolute and the participle is made to agree with it in gender, number and case.

(b) If the subject of the participle is the same as that of the finite verb this construction is not used.

(c) Mayi gate so Œgato, he came when I had gone.
ŗghesu bhojiyamŒnesu gato, he went when the multitude of monks were being fed.
Sabbe magg
Œ vivajjenti gacchante lokanŒyake, when the leader of the world goes, all turn away from the path.
This construction corresponds to the Nominative Absolute in English and Ablative Absolute in Latin.

(d) Ahaµ gacchanto tena saddhiµ na sallapiµ, as I was going I did not speak with him.
When disregard is to be shown the Genitive Absolute is often used. Sometimes the Locative Absolute is also used.
ŒtŒpitunnaµ rudantŒnaµ pabbaji or mŒtŒpitčsu rudantesu pabbaji, he renounced disregarding his weeping parents, i.e., he renounced in spite of or not withstanding the weeping of his parents. (though his parents were weeping, he went forth into homelessness.)
The same construction may be used in the sense of as soon as; no sooner than, by compounding "eva" with the participle; e.g.,
Œgate y'eva so gato, he went as soon as you came, or he went just as you had come.