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📚 Sabba-Buddhānubhāvena sadā sukhī bhavantu te! …instrumental + 3PL imperative of bhavati?

Hello again… I hope all these Pali grammar questions are ok! :pray:

I have been trying to grok the grammar of what is apparently sometimes called the Maṅgalagāthā or “Blessing Verses”:

Bhavatu sabbamaṅgalaṁ, rakkhantu sabbadevatā,
May there be every blessing, and may all of the gods protect you,

sabba-Buddhānubhāvena sadā sukhī bhavantu☚ te!
by the power of all the Buddhas may you be well forever!

Bhavatu sabbamaṅgalaṁ, rakkhantu sabbadevatā,
May there be every blessing, and may all of the gods protect you,

sabba-Dhammānubhāvena sadā sukhī bhavantu☚ te!
by the power of all that is Dhamma may you be well forever!

Bhavatu sabbamaṅgalaṁ, rakkhantu sabbadevatā,
May there be every blessing, and may all of the gods protect you,

sabba-Saṅghānubhāvena sadā sukhī bhavantu☚ te!
by the power of the whole Sangha may you be well forever!

I’m perplexed by the form bhavantu (bhavatu is clear enough, something like may there be). Sure looks like a plural imperative to me. But what is the subject? The forms like sabba-Buddhānubhāvena seem to be in the instrumental, assuming bhāva is the bit meaning “power”.

Is this a situation like a passive, where the intstrumental is marking some kind of oblique subject?

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Hi,
When I taught languages, in situations like these I would normally ask the student:

Have you first tried to give a full grammatical parse of all of the other forms?
If so, how are you parsing sukhī and te?
If the subject isn’t (fully) expressed, what could it likely be given the grammatical number of the forms?

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Thank you Leon!

Here’s where I’m at with this sentence (besides wandering in saṅsara in general :slight_smile: ):

sabba-Buddhānubhāvena sadā sukhī bhavantu te!

anubhāvena is the instrumental of ānubhāva:

ānubhāva

greatness, magnificence majesty, splendour… ; the dissociated composition form of anubhāva, q.v. for details. Only in later language by the power of all the Buddhas may you be well forever! [PTS]
…
~ena often expresses: by means of, owing to. [NCPED]

(I suppose the bit I bolded is actually referring to this very text?)

sadā is an adverb meaning always; forever

sukhī is a masculine noun meaning happy

te is a masculine personal pronoun, and can be nominative or accusative.

Hmm. Wait… what if te is the subject of bhavantu… (it is so hard for me to think of that thing as a subject because it looks like Spanish or Portuguese te, and those are always objects! :exploding_head: )

So I guess that’s the best bet for te: it would be hard to read as an accusative here.

Still, I’m having trouble understanding this as anything but a situation where one would expect a causative, not an imperative, but I suppose that would be a form of bhāveti. This form is certainly an imperative, at least, these are listed as imperative forms in the PTS:

singular plural
3 hotu bhavantu☚
2 bhava bhavatha, bhavātha, hotha
1 ? ?

I’m just left wondering if maybe there is some idiomatic expression where te bhavantu sukhī is interpreted somehow as (may) they make you happy.

Thanks for any further guidance. :pray:

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A little tip: when parsing forms, it is good practice to do it in full. That means for nominal forms, give the case + number + gender and the stem. For finite forms, give the person + number + tense + mood + voice + root.

I would analyse the forms thus:

sadā adv. ‘always’
sukhī nom./acc. pl.m. of the adj. sukhin- ‘happy’. (Note: alternative in- stem ending -ino)
bhavantu 3rd.pl. pres. impv. act. of the root bhu ‘be’
te nom.pl.m. of 3rd pers. dem.prn. ‘they’
sabba-buddhānubhāvena instr.sg. ‘by means of/through/on account of [insert your preferred translation of compound here]’.

Put it all together and we get something like:
May they always be happy by means of sabba-buddhānubhāva-

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Thank you so much. I think I was misled by the translations: and “may all of the gods protect you” and “may you be happy by means of sabba-buddhānubhāva.” In fact there are no second-person pronouns to be found at all, as your translation suggests.

Thank you so much for your help!

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Have you compared your parse with Anandajoti’s?

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I haven’t, thanks @Gillian! I will do so soon.

Here’s the post I finally put up on the Pali subreddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/pali/comments/kybj51/sentence_du_jour_bhavatu_sabbamaṅgalaṁ_rakkhantu/

Sometimes I wonder if I have any business rambling on there, given that I am only learning myself! It’s fun though, hopefully no great crime. :slight_smile:

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This thread woke me up to revisit the subreddit. It’s grown since I was last there and I intend to start keeping an eye on it now.

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Hey cool! I hope you feel free to post!

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I might feel embarrassed to, you’ve streaked so far ahead of me … but now invited, let’s see …

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I try to celebrate my embarrassments in public :rofl::laughing:

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I saw that, and really liked the way you corrected your original version with celebratory strike throughs. … I’ll come and join you. :wink:

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