Now we are going to learn the last compound in the list. As you can see it is called “bahuvrihi”. bahu” means “a lot” and “vrihi” means “rice”. It literally means someone having a lot of rice.  In that period rice used to be the symbol of wealth. So whoever had a lot of rice was considered a rich man, hence, bahuvrihi also means “a rich man”

The interesting part is that both of the words of this compound are both the idea and the qualifier.

बहुर् व्रीहिर् यस्य सः → बहुव्रीहिः
bahur vrīhir yasya saḥ → bahuvrīhiḥ
He whose rice is much (or plentiful); a rich man

The first word qualifies towards the second word and the second word qualifies towards the idea of the sentence. This can be easily confused with tatpurusha as they are quite similar to each other. However, the difference between them can only be said regarding the context of the sentence.

So where does this word falls into the category?
The bahuvrihi

The word falls into the category of word 2 qualifier. Because, both the words of Bahuvrihi, “bahu” and “vrihi” cannot convey an idea on its own, rather they are the qualifiers of the main word which is “rich man”. Let’s compare the compound with the previous ones.

  •  A dharmaksetra is a type of ksetra. (The second word is the main idea.Phalapattra is partially phala and
  • partially pattra. (Both words are the main idea.)
  • Anukulām is a more specific version of the abstract anu. (The first word is the main idea.)

Examples of bahuvrihi words can be found in English too

• Someone whose feet are flat → flatfoot
• Someone whose hair is red → redhead
• Someone whose teeth are like sabers → sabretooth
• Someone whose feet are flat → flatfoot
• Someone whose life is low → lowlife
• Someone whose coat is red → redcoat
• Someone whose coat is turned → turn-coat
• Someone whose belly is yellow → yellow-belly

The nature of bahuvrihi

In order to understand bahuvrihi, we need to understand the other three compounds as well. So let’s take a look at it.
अश्वो गजश्च → अश्वगजौ
aśvo gajaśca → aśvagajau
The horse and the elephant

यो वनस्य गजः सः → वनगजः
yo vanasya gajaḥ saḥ → vanagajaḥ
forest elephant (that which is the elephant of the forest)

कृष्णो वृक्षो यस्य तत् → कृष्णवृक्षम्
kṛṣṇo vṛkṣo yasya tat → kṛṣṇavṛkṣam
The black-treed one (that whose tree is black)

Based on the analysis of the usage of yad, compounds can be classified into three categories. They are as follow:

              Types of compound             Use of yad
                 Dvandva               yad cannot be used
            Tatpurusha                yad is in case 1
              Bahuvrihi             yad is never n case 1

We got to know that bahuvrihi cannot replace the main noun, instead, it is an adjective that talks about the main noun, and because it is an adjective it can appear in all three genders, which helps us to recognize this particular compound

Types of compounds and uses of yad

let us take the noun krsnavrksam and compare it in all the three compounds so that we can understand the ambiguity related to the reorganization of compounds.

अहं कृष्णवृक्षं गच्छामि
ahaṃ kṛṣṇavṛkṣaṃ gacchāmi
I go the black tree

अहं कृष्णवृक्षं वनं गच्छामि
ahaṃ kṛṣṇavṛkṣaṃ vanaṃ gacchāmi
I go to the black-treed forest. (or “the forest of black trees,” “the forest whose trees are black.”)

अहं कृष्णवृक्षं वनं च गच्छामि
ahaṃ kṛṣṇavṛkṣaṃ vanaṃ ca gacchāmi
I go to the black tree and the forest.

it is assumed that when a compound is alone, it is considered as tatpurusha, however, that is not always true. Consider the following example.

बहुव्रीहिर् क्रियते
bahuvrīhir kriyate
Much rice (tatpurusha) is made.

बहुव्रीहिर् गच्छति
bahuvrīhir gacchati
The wealthy man (bahuvrihi) goes.