śabda (‘sound’) Śabda is a term of several connota¬tions. In its simplest form it means sound in general. In Vedānta philosophy it means śabda-tanmātra, the element ākāśa (space or ether) in its purest form. It also, sometimes, indicates the Sruti or the Veda. In grammar it denotes a word made up of letters and conveying some meaning. It is then described as sārthaka or with meaning. Words or letters without any particular meaning are called nirarthaka. It is also classed into three groups according to gender: pulliṅga (masculine gender), strīliṅga (feminine gender) and napumsakaliṅga (neuter gender). The Pṅrvamīmāmsā philosophy cate-gorises the Vedic words into five classes as: vidhi (injunction), mantra (sacred utter¬ance), nāmadheya (nomenclature), niṣedha (prohibition) and arthavāda (eulogy). It also recognises that śabdas or words can be laukika (pertaining to mun¬dane affairs), which again can be classified as vidhi, niṣedha and arthavāda. Śabdas or words of reliable persons (āptavākya) as also Vedic words are considered pramāṇa (valid source of knowledge). The Amarakośa (7) gives different names to different kinds of sounds such as marmara (sound of leaves), śiñjita (sound of ornaments when one is moving), kvaṇana (sweet sound of musical instru¬ments), ruta (sound of certain animals and birds), gāna (music) and so on.