I remember the man.
The man is remembered.

Now take a look at the above example. You can, of course, notice the difference in them. There are a subject and the predicate whereas in the second example there is no subject, it could be anyone he, she, I or they. Such type of sentences that do not have any subject is called a passive sentence. The subject is not introduced in the context.

Now let us consider the following in Sanskrit. Pronouns in Sanskrit are very commonly seen. Almost in every verse, you can notice passive sentences in sanskrit.

अहं नरं स्मरामि
ahaṃ naraṃ smarāmi
I remember the man.
Non-passive sentence

नरः स्मर्यते
naraḥ smaryate
The man is remembered.
passive sentence

नरो मया स्मर्यते
naro mayā smaryate
The man is remembered by me.
A passive sentence including a subject

We can see quite clearly the change that has occurred. But what exactly is the change?

1. The old object (case 2) becomes the subject (case 1). You can consider the change from active to passive voice in English grammar. It is almost similar to that.
2. The old subject (case 1) becomes the means of the verb (case 3).

Parasmaipada and atmanepada

Passive verbs take use of Parasmaipada and atmanepada. However, atmanepada words do not become passive as often as in Parasmaipada.

लभ् → लभ्यते
labh → labhyate
Obtain → It is obtained.

Passive words generally have atmanepada ending. To form passive word we need to add “ya” at the end of the stem. Like the following:

वच् → उच्यते
vac → ucyate
Say, call → it is called

Now let us see the changes with vowels

स्था → स्थीयते
sthā → sthīyate
Stand, establish → It is established.
Final a becomes i

जि → जीयते
ji → jīyate
Conquer → it is conquered
final i and u become long

कृ → क्रियते
kṛ → kriyate
Do → It is done.
Here final r becomes ri

स्मर् → स्मृ → स्मर्यते
smṛ → smaryate
Remember → It is remembered.
Here final r becomes ri

Try pronouncing these examples without sandhi; you’ll realize the need for change, as it does not sound smooth.

Onee thing to note is that such atmanepada words were used in ancient Indo-European languages too, they are today known as “mediopassive” verbs; “medio” meaning “middle words