Here are a few simple Pali sentences translated into English to understand various ‘moods’ that the verbs in Imperative Mood convey.

1. Ācariyo dhammaṃ bhāsatu.

Translation : May the teacher speak about (teach) the Dhamma.
(Here, the verb expresses a wish or desire. It can also be considered as a prayer or request made for a Dhamma talk)


2. Dārakā uyyānasiṃ kīḷantu.

Translation : Let the children play in the garden / May the children play in the garden.
(This sentence can be interpreted as a wish or as a permission, depending on the context in which it is said.)


3. Kaññe, aṭaviṃ gantvā phalāni saṃharāhi.

Translation : O girl, go to the forest and collect (some) fruits.
(The verb can be interpreted as a command.)


4. Āpaṇasmā bhaṇḍāni āharatha.

Translation : (You all) bring / fetch goods from the market.
(In this sentence again, we can interpret the verb as a command. It can also be taken as an advice, or we can assume it to be a request, and add a ‘please’ while translating it into English. The preferred translation will vary depending on the context.)


5. Paṇḍito sappuriso bhava.

May you be / become a wise and virtuous person.
(This sentence can be taken as a wish or blessing / benediction. This is a common manner, in which the elders give blessings to younger people. – like : be happy, be successful, may you be healthy and wealthy, etc)


6. Sukhino khemino homa.

May we be happy and safe.
(This can be considered as a wish / desire)


In the common Pali phrase – Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ – the verb bhavatu is in the Imperative Mood. It is a wish expressed for the well-being of others. The literal translation of this phrase is – may there be all (complete) auspiciousness. However, the implied meaning of ‘may all (beings) be happy’ is more commonly used.

Last modified: Sunday, 24 December 2023, 12:27 PM