Hello Pali lovers,
It seems that “vajjhantu” means “let [them] be killed or slaughtered”. Therefore it should be the 3rd. pers. imper. of some verb. But what is the verb? There is a verb, vajjheti. However, the PTS Pali English Dictionary says that it occurs in Ja.vi.527 and is “hapax legomenon”. Therefore it should occur nowhere else in the cannon. However, it occurs, for example, in MN41 with the meaning given above. I couldn’t find another verb that fits the bill. My question, therefore, is what should the corresponding headword be and where can its definition be found?
Presumably I’m missing a point of Pali Grammar.
If a dictionary were to arrange verbs strictly according to their roots, then vajjhati would have vadh as its headword. From the PED:
[Vedic vadh; the root is given at Dhtp 169 in meaning of ‘hiṃsā’] to strike, punish; kill, slaughter, slay; imper. 2nd pl. vadhetha Vism 314; ger. vadhitvā M i.159; D i.98; J i.12; iv.67; SnA 257 (hiṃsitvā+); fut. vadhissati Mhvs 25, 62; aor. vadhi J i.18 (cp. ud-abbadhi); cond. 1st sg. vadhissaṃ Miln 221. —grd. vajjha: see a°. —Caus. vadheti J i.168; Miln 109. — pp. vadhita. —
Thank you Ven. @Dhammanando for giving the root vadh. It would seem that both vajjheti (above) and vadhati are derived from that root. However, 2nd. pl. of vadhati is given (above) as vadhetha, which would make the 3rd. pl. imperative vadhentu, not vajjhantu, the form in MN41.
It now seems to me what is “hapax legomenon” under the PTS PED of vajjheti, is not the verb vajjheti, but the expression, siro vajjhayitvāna. If so, it is a weakness of the PED that it doesn’t also refer to more common forms of vajjheti.
Since my last comment has not, and because of Ven. @Dhammanando’s. helpful clarification, I am marking this question solved.
I have just found the following related note by Bhikkhu Bodhi in his translation of the Aṅguttara Nikāya for AN 10.176, Cundasutta:
2168 All three editions here read bajjhantu, “let them be bound.” Mp a provides no gloss but at MN 1 287 [ a page in MN41] , we find vajjhantu, glossed by Ps II 332,16 as vadhaṃ pāpuṇantu, “let them be slaughtered,” and by Ps-pṭ II 230 (VRI ed.) as maraṇaṃ pāpuņantu, “let them die.” I thus take vajjhantu to be the correct reading.