Chandra Gupta

Actor, Music director


Sanskrit prosody or Chandas refers to one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies. It is the study of poetic metres and verse in Sanskrit. This field of study was central to the composition of the Vedas, the scriptural canons of Hinduism, so central that some later Hindu and Buddhist texts refer to the Vedas as Chandas. The Chandas, as developed by the Vedic schools, included both linear and non-linear systems. The system was organized around seven major metres, according to Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, called the "seven birds" or "seven mouths of Brihaspati", and each had its own rhythm, movements and aesthetics wherein a non-linear structure (aperiodicity) was mapped into a four verse polymorphic linear sequence. Sanskrit metres include those based on a fixed number of syllables per verse, and those based on fixed number of morae per verse. The Gayatri metre was structured with 3 verses of 8 syllables (6x4), the Usnih with 2 verses of 8 and 1 of 12 syllables (7x4), the Anustubh with 4 verses of 8 syllables (8x4), Brihati with 2 verses of 8 followed by 1 each of 12 and 8 syllables (9x4), the Pankti with 5 verses of 8 syllables (10x4), the Tristubh with 4 verses of 11 syllables (11x4), and the Jagati metre with 4 verses of 12 syllables each (12x4). In Vedic culture, the Chandas were revered for their perfection and resonance, with the Gayatri metre treated as the most refined and sacred, and one that continues to be part of modern Hindu culture as part of Yoga and hymns of meditation at sunrise. Extant ancient manuscripts on Chandas include Pingala's Chandah Sutra, while an example of a medieval Sanskrit prosody manuscript is Kedara Bhatta's Vrittaratnakara. The most exhaustive compilations of Sanskrit prosody describe over 600 metres. This is a substantially larger repertoire than in any other metrical tradition.

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