Academy of Indian Philosophy

The Meaning of the Suffix -त्व (-tva)

When reading Sanskrit, whenever you see -tva (-त्व) added as a suffix to a base, it is translated as “X-ness” or “a “state of X.” For instance, in the word samatvam, often described in the Bhagavadgītā, as an ideal state of mind, is broken into sama + tvam. Sama means “same” or “equal” and the “-tva” means “ness”. Thus, we get the word “sameness” or “a state of being the same.” If we use sama to mean “equal”, then we have “equal-ness” or what we know as “equality.” Samatvam refers to the yogin’s ability to see all individuals and creatures as equal based on the premise that all beings have as their true nature an ātman. In addition, it refers to the psychological principle of remaining calm, cool, and collected, in the face of both moments of adversity and joy.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: