descendent of Panini on his mother’s side, produced the monumental work
Samgraha in 1,00,000 verses. To Vyadi is also ascribed the Paribhashas or
the rules for interpreting Panini’s sutras, as well as a lexicon, named
Utpalini. Another versatile figure of the Nanda-Maurya epoch was
Katyayana alias Vararuchi, the famous commentator of Panini’s sutras. In his
Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya, he subjected about 1,500 sutras of Panini to critical
    Another scholar was Katya, whom Patanjali mentioned as Bhagavan
Katya and his observations as Mahavarttikas. Katya and Katyayana were
followed by many lesser commentators – Bharadvaja, Sunaga, Kroshta,
Kunarvadava and Surya. Of all the commentators on Panini’s work,
Patanjali’s Mahabhasya is encyclopaedic, throwing light on the state of
contemporary society, religion, philosophy, literature and art. Patanjali’s
authority remains unchallenged on questions of grammar.
Pre-Gupta Period
The genesis of classical language may be traced back to the early historic or
post-Vedic period, but it was the post-Mauryan period which saw its early
efflorescence. The language of the two epics, the Mahabharata and the
Ramayana, has recognisable popular elements in it, as the transmission of the
epic material was done by the Sutas, who did not belong to the hieratic
groups. However, although the epics are believed to have exerted
considerable influence on early classical authors, Sanskrit became more and
more a literary language and its sphere as a spoken language gradually
decreased. It fed the growing volume of courtly and didactic literature and the
extent of the support for classical Sanskrit may be gauged from the lengthy
prasasti of the time of Rudradaman I at Junagadh (mid-second century AD),
the earliest such prasasti being in Sanskrit.
    That the language attributed to the common strata in society was various
forms of Prakrit, is shown by various Sanskrit dramas where Prakrit, and not
Sanskrit, is spoken by women and common men. By the end of the first or
beginning of the second century AD, in the plays of Asvaghosa, the three
varieties of Prakrit: Ardhamagadhi, Magadhi and Sauraseni had perhaps
come to be recognised. In the south, the earliest compilations of Tamil poems