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572. Of the three modes

Uses of the Modes.

Of the three modes, the imperative is the one most distinct and limited in office, and most unchanged in use throughout the whole history of the language. It signifies a command or injunction — an attempt at the exercise of the speaker's will upon some one or something outside of himself.

a. This, however (in Sanskrit as in other languages), is by no means always of the same force; the command shades off into a demand, an exhortation, an entreaty, an expression of earnest desire. The imperative also sometimes signifies an assumption or concession; and occasionally, by pregnant construction, it becomes the expression of something conditional or contingent; but it does not acquire any regular use in dependent-clause-making.

b. The imperative is now and then used in an interrogative sentence: thus, bravīhi ko ‘dyāi ’va mayā viyujyatām (R.) speak! who shall now be separated by me?katham ete guṇavantaḥ kriyantām (H.) how are they to be made virtuous? kasmāi piṇḍaḥ pradīyatām (Vet.) to whom shall the offering be given?