Sabhāvanirutti - Magadhi

Following Pali text is found in Patisambhidamagga Atthakatha.
It is roughly translated as follows.

Is there any basis for this statement in EBT.
Is it not the intended meaning of the commentary.

"it is said, “Beings grasp at words.” For example, in childhood, parents lay their children down on a bed or a couch and engage in various activities while speaking to them. The children, understanding those words as spoken by their parents, repeat those activities. As time passes, they come to understand all words. If a child hears the mother’s words first, he will speak the mother’s language. If he hears the father’s words first, he will speak the father’s language. If he does not hear both, he will speak the language of Magadha.

Similarly, even one who has been reborn in a distant village or a great forest, without anyone else speaking to him, will speak the language of Magadha according to his own disposition."

Taṃ pana nayidaṃ paṭisambhidākiccanti paṭikkhipitvā “Bhāsaṃ nāma sattā uggaṇhantī”ti vatvā idaṃ kathitaṃ – mātāpitaro hi daharakāle kumārake mañce vā pīṭhe vā nipajjāpetvā taṃ taṃ kathayamānā tāni tāni kiccāni karonti, dārakā tesaṃ taṃ taṃ bhāsaṃ vavatthāpenti “Iminā idaṃ vuttaṃ, iminā idaṃ vutta”nti. Gacchante gacchante kāle sabbampi bhāsaṃ jānanti. Mātā damiḷī, pitā andhako. Tesaṃ jātadārako sace mātu kathaṃ paṭhamaṃ suṇāti ¶, damiḷabhāsaṃ bhāsissati. Sace pitu kathaṃ paṭhamaṃ suṇāti, andhakabhāsaṃ bhāsissati. Ubhinnampi pana kathaṃ asuṇanto māgadhikabhāsaṃ bhāsissati.
Yopi agāmake mahāaraññe nibbatto, tattha añño kathento nāma natthi, sopi attano dhammatāya vacanaṃ samuṭṭhāpento māgadhikabhāsameva bhāsissati.>>

This is a kind of Buddhist fundamentalism, closely related to the nationalism we see on the rise in a large number of countries. Nothing good comes out of these silly claims, except a false sense of pride and false sense of allegiance to the Dhamma. It is delusion leading to further delusion, eventually issuing in war.

Or have I missed the real significance of this?


Yes. Bhante Sujato already wrote about this issue here:


No, there is not. The EBTs see language as a convention that enables communication.

That is the intended meaning of the commentary.

The translation misses some interesting details, however. It specifies that the mother is Tamil, while the father is from Andhaka, i.e. Andhra Pradesh. So the child might either speak Tamil or “Andhaka”. I’m not really sure what the dialect of Andha was, but it’s interesting that it was seen as different than Magadhan.

Also another detail, it doesn’t say “in a distant village”, but “where there is no village” (agāmake), perhaps thinking of cases of children raised by wild animals.

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Thank you very much Bhante. :pray::pray::pray:

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