While learning Sanskrit, we must also keep our eyes on the Vedic Sanskrit, and one idea that everyone seems to assume about Vedic Sanskrit is that it is similar to regular Sanskrit. In fact, some people don’t even know the difference between Vedic and regular Sanskrit. However, there is a vast difference and some distinct features too and one of the distinct features that we are going to learn today is called, “separable verb prefixes” as you can very well assume from the name, it separates verbs form the prefixes.

But why does it occur? Well, to learn that we need to first learn something about propositions.  Propositions can be dated back to Indo-European languages. However, a similar concept was found in Sanskrit as well. Let us take a look at the similarities between English and Sanskrit propositions.

English Sanskrit
Off apa
From pra
By abhi
At adhi

Now, did you notice any familiarity? These prepositions are familiar with the verb prefixes that we studied earlier. Which tells us that prepositions and verb prefixes are very much associated with each other.

प्रति अगच्छत्प्रत्यगच्छत्
prati agacchat → pratyagacchat
He returned.

Hence, verb prefixes still convey meaning without the presence of verbs.

ā kailāsat
up to Kailasa – Meghaduta 1.11

भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति
bhogaiśvaryagatiṃ prati
With regard to the path to enjoyment and power.-Bhagavad Gita 2.43

अपि त्वं गुरुः?
api tvaṃ guruḥ?
Are you a guru?

One interesting thing to note is that the Greek language had the similar concept of verb prefixes as Sanskrit had, but the difference was that these prefixes were free of restrictions as we see in Sanskrit, hence they developed and became an essential part in their language.