Chandas (Metre)

To understand Vedas, 6 disciplines have to be studied.

Manduka Upanisad mentions six Vedaangas  (limbs of the Veda) as follows:

The Six Vedangas are :
  1. Siksha (Phonetics)  :  http://is1.mum.edu/vedicreserve/shiksha.htm
  2. Vyakaranam (Grammar)
  3. Chandas (Metre)
  4. Nirukta (Etymyology)
  5. Jyotisha (Astronomy)
  6. Kalpa (Rituals and Mathematics)
Chandas :
  1. The RgvEda prAtis’AKyA and s’AnKayanas’rauta s’Astra are devoted to metres. The pingala sUtrAs, Candah sUtrAs and the nidhAna sUtras deal with metres.

अनुष्टुप्छन्दः : Anushtup Chandas : used in Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayanama and Several Veda Mantras.

अनुष्टुप्छन्दः

Sanskrit

श्लोके षष्ठं गुरुर्ज्ञेयं सर्वत्र लघु पञ्चमम् ।
द्विचतुष्पादयोर्ह्रस्वं सप्तमं दीर्घमन्ययोः ॥

अस्य छन्दसः षष्ठम् अक्षरं गुरु पञ्चमम् च लघु। सप्तमम् अक्षरं प्रथमे तृतीये च पादे गुरु, द्विचतुष्पदयोः सप्तमम् अक्षरं लघु भवति। सप्तमम् अक्षरं यथाक्रमम् परिवर्तते, प्रथमपादे गुरु द्वितीयपादे लघु तृतियपादे गुरु चतुष्पादे लघु।
प्रत्येक चरणमें आठ अक्षर या उच्चारके अंश syllables हैं । प्रत्येक चरणका पांचवा, छठा और सातवा – सारे अक्षर सही मात्रामें हैं ।

English
In Sanskrit poetry, one has verses or stanzas or ‘pada’s. Each pada has four quarters, e.g. even in Bhagavadgeetaa although most Shlokas are written in two lines, there are two parts. See the very first Shloka in Geetaa.
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः |
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ||१-१||
The four quarters are –
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे
समवेता युयुत्सवः |
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव
किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ||१-१||
So each Shloka has four quarters. In Anuṣṭup (Classical Sanskrit), the rules are:

  1. In every quarter, the 6th syllable will be guru (dīrgh) and 5th syllable will be laghu (hrasv) .
  2. 7th Syllable in 1st and 3rd quarter will be dīrgh and 7th Syllable in 2nd and 4th quarter will be hrasv.

Let’s identify laghu and guru in कुरुक्षेत्रे । Before that rule:

  • hrasv is considered laghu(ऽ) For example: कि ‍= लघु
  • dīrgh is considered guru(।) For example: की = गुरु
  • Conjuncts are pulled to the वर्ण before and are considered guru. For example: In कर्ता = कर् ‍= guru and ता ‍= guru. In कर्म = कर् ‍= guru and म = laghu

Now in,
कुरुक्षेत्रे = कुरुक्‍षेत्‍रे

5th वर्ण of 1st quarter कु = । (लघु)
6th वर्ण of 1st quarter रुक् = ऽ (गुरु)
7th वर्ण of 1st quarter षेत् = ऽ (गुरु)
8th वर्ण of 1st quarter रे = ऽ (गुरु)

Material Above Courtesy : Ujjwol Lamichhane : http://ujjwol.com.np/ by e-mail who further gives the credit to : Contents from http://learnsanskrit.wordpress.com/2006/

04/16/%E0%A4%85%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4

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Actually, in Chandas, there are 26 types of Chandas.  
The first one has one letter, the second one two, and so on,
 and the 26th has 26 letters.
Each Chandas has a name.  The first one is SrI.  
The eighth one is called anushTubh Chandas. 
 There are 2^8 (256) metres in this Chandas.
The so-called shlOka is generic one.  Out of all 256 possibilities, 
only some have names given by prosodists.  In the shlOka variant, the first
four letters could be guru or laghu.  It really does not matter. 
The restrictions come only in the later half.  I follow the ya-ja rule.  
The gaNa with the letters 5,6,7 is ya for odd and ja for even pAdAs.
ya-gaNa = short-long-long  or laghu-guru-guru
ja-gaNa = short-long-short or laghu-guru-laghu

In fact, Chandas and its rules are mentioned in agnipurANa. 
The famous treatise on Chandas is by PingaLa.  
There is also a book by kEdArabhaTTa called vR^ittaratnAkara. 
Chandas is one of the six vedAngas.  Of all the ancient arts, Chandas
is perhaps one of the most highly mathematical ones.
Material Above Source : "J. K. Mohana Rao" : 

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula : 
All Rights for sourced material vest with the source.
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