Oral Tradition of Sanskrit - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Loading...

PPT – Oral Tradition of Sanskrit PowerPoint presentation | free to download - id: 2ab9b4-MmQ5N



Loading


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation
Title:

Oral Tradition of Sanskrit

Description:

A presentation – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:9889
Slides: 331
Provided by: sswami
Category: Other

less

Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Oral Tradition of Sanskrit


1
Sound of SanskritOral Traditions of Sanskrit
Uma Swaminathan S. Swaminathan
2
The arts of memory Remembering can be the means
of salvation A.K. Ramanujan from 'Uncollected
Poems and Prose',
3
Many years ago, I witnessed a remarkable feat of
memory. A Jaina monk came to our college, and a
performance of his Astavadhana was arranged.
Astavadhana means 'attention to eight things at
once'. He was able to do the following eight
things simultaneously he repeated without change
a poem that was recited to him by one person,
answered several questions in philosophy,
arithmetic, or the local newspaper put to him by
three others, played a game of dice with another,
and a game of chess with still another, completed
a half-finished verse recited by a seventh
person, and finished by accurately giving us the
count of pebbles that were being thrown all the
while on his bare back. He could also dictate
eight different texts, often compositions of his
own, to eight different copyists.
4
These feats displayed skills of both mindfulness
and memory. Such arts of memory are part of
ancient classical and oral traditions. We know
that the Vedas were orally transmitted for
centuries before they were written down even
after they were written down they were
systematically memorised, gotten by heart,
inscribed as it were on the bodies of the
reciters. The techniques for acquiring them
orally included not only grammatical and phonetic
analyses, but various pedagogic methods of
marking each uttered phrase physically by various
gestures and bodily movements - so that the texts
were inscribed almost into the body's motor
memory.
5
When I was studying linguistics at Poona, we
interviewed an 80-year-old Vedic scholar who
could without a moment's pause, repeat any part
of the Rg Veda from any point to any point,
backwards, omitting every other line, give you a
concordance of any word or phrase you chose
citing its use through the entire text, and so
on. We were the ones who were exhausted at the
end of the performance.
6
Indian musicians know all their texts and songs
and ragas by heart, Indian epic reciters and
orators often use no notes, and I've a friend who
once reproduced a poem of mine that I'd lost,
which he had seen only once some years earlier.
One may, of course, relate these skills to a
learned yet oral tradition. Later, even with
literacy and the use of palm-leaf manuscripts,
one needed to possess the text orally as the
manuscripts were few, often no more than once, in
the possession of a teacher who guarded it like
gold. Yet there were other reasons for the
cultivation of these arts. .
7
Remembering was not a mere skill to show off, it
was the means of enlightenment and salvation. . .
8
Oral Traditions of Sanskrit
9
India has achieved a remarkable success in oral
transmission. Sanskrit was one among the main
vehicles through which this was
accomplished. Sanskrit language itself was best
suited for this. It is our aim to suggest these
factors of Sanskrit making of its alphabet, its
grammar and the role played by the poetic
metres. While doing this an attempt will be made
to breeze through the treasure of its rich
literature, and through Indian advances in
science accomplished mostly through the
medium of Sanskrit
10
An Invocation from Rig Veda
"Om O Devaa-s, may we hear with
our own ears what is auspicious May we see
with our own eyes what is auspicious May we
enjoy the term of life allotted by the devaa-s,
praising them with our body and limbs
steady May the glorious Indra bless us May
the all-knowing Sun bless us May Garuda, the
thunderbolt for evil, bless us May Brhaspati
grant us well-being. Om, Peace,
Peace, Peace."
11
Invocation
? ????? ???????? ??????? ????? ?????
????????????????????? ??????????????????????????
????? ?????? ???????? ??????
??????? ? ??????? ??????????? ??????? ?? ????
?????????? ??????? ????????????????????????
??????? ?? ???????????????
- Rig Veda I 89-8
12
Indian Tradition
Intellectual activity in India has always
strongly favoured oral over written means of
expression
Things from books are not as good as things
from living and abiding voice.
13
Sanskrit
Sanskrit language and its literature are some of
the great heritages of India. It is a precise and
a profound language. It is not merely a
language, but also a science and an art. Its
grammar compares with world's complex
scientific structures. To say that Sanskrit
symbolises Indian spirit would not be an
exaggeration. The success of Indian oral
tradition owes to a great extant to Sanskrit.
14
Let us start from the earliest literature and
study how they contributed and furthered oral
tradition.
15
Veda-s
Its earliest literature, the Veda-s, are a few
thousand years old and are transmitted wholly
orally. Veda-s are fountain-head of most that
can be called Indian. Vedic thought is the basis
for Indian philosophy and spiritualism and many
branches of arts and science.
16
Vedic Literature
Vedic scriptures comprise of great Veda-s
Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda-s. Each of
these has three main sub-divisions samhita-s
sacred hymns, in verse prayers addressed to
the gods to be recited in sacrificial
ceremonies brAhmaNa-s commentaries on the
Veda-s, mostly in prose and are details of
rites and mode of performance. AraNyaka-s, of
which Upanishad-s are chapters
17
Four Veda-s
Rig veda is the most important oldest and
forerunner of the later scriptures It is an
important part of both historical and living
traditions of India Yajur veda, mostly in prose
form, contains sacrificial formulae and
prayers Sama veda, its major portion from Rig
veda, explains the sacrificial rites it is
chanted in a musical fashion, and considered to
be the basis of Indian classical musical scale
Atharva veda, in prose and in poetry, mainly
deals with charms etc.
18
Rig Veda
Rig Veda consisting of more than 74000 words was
transmitted purely orally, while preserving the
text free of interpolation, modification or
corruption
19
Oral Tradition
Oral tradition was such a remarkable success
that all knowledge was passed on orally then
on. Possible factors for this were All
literature being mainly in poetical form,
and the prosodic structure and use accents
aiding congregational chanting, and adopting
of various modes of recitation to avoid
corruption were some important factors.
20
In later times, this led to certain highly
original steps that resulted in an oral
tradition that has not been excelled anywhere,
any time.
21
One such accomplishment was the arrangement of a
logical alphabet, an outcome of scientific
analysis of sounds that form the
language. The other is even more remarkable, that
is, compiling a grammar of great efficacy and
brevity, a feat only shared by its neighbour
language, Tamil. A large vocabulary was, then,
possible, using precise and clear-cut rules.
22
Sanskrit Alphabet
Sanskrit alphabet is a remarkable and has no
parallel in the world.
23
Vowels and Consonants
The sounds produced by human voice were first
divided into mainly two major groups vowels,
which can be produced continuously,
and consonants, which cannot be.
24
This by itself must be a great break through.
This can be appreciated when we see that many
contemporary languages did not make such a
difference at all, and many ancient languages,
like the Sumerian, Egyptian, Hebrew and Arabic
did not use vowels at all or used very few.
25
Identifying Letters of Alphabet
At least four factors have been taken into
account in identifying and defining sounds that
are included in the alphabet
26
  • Place from where a sound originates in the vocal
    system,
  • called sthAna (xjÉÉlÉ)
  • 2. Nature of effort required to produce a sound,
  • called prayatna (mÉërÉÉ)
  • 3. Duration of a sound, called kAla (MüÉsÉ)
  • 4. Whether a sound is reflected, amplified or
    attenuated,
  • called karaNa (MüUhÉ)

Not only the formation of the alphabet but also
naming them shows the rational mind.
27
Alphabet
The Sanskrit alphabet consists of 48 letters
that are known as varNa-s (uÉhÉï that give
colour to the language).
28
These 48 form three groups
i) vowels svara, xuÉU, 13 (xuÉrÉÇ UÉeÉiÉå
CÌiÉ xuÉUÈ that exists or shines by itself),
ii) consonants, vyanjana, urÉgeÉlÉ 33 (AlÉÑ
urÉerÉiÉå CÌiÉ urÉgeÉlÉÈ that is pronounced
after it has been joined with a svara),
iii) others visarga (ÌuÉxÉaÉï), a sort of hard
breathing out like ha, and anusvAra
(AlÉÑxuÉÉU), a nasal sound like m.
All these are arranged on the basis of the
origin of production of these sounds.
29
Normally one lists visarga ? and anusvAra ??
under vowels. Sanskrit is syllabic, and
generally, a word in Sanskrit ends in a vowel, a
visarga or a anusvAra.
30
Origin of Sounds
Five locations have been identified
Throat (guttural - MülP) Roof of mouth
(palatal - iÉÉsÉÑ) Tongue (cerebral -
qÉÔkÉïlÉç) Teeth (dental - SlirÉ) Lips
(labial - AÉårÉ)
Let us start with vowels (xuÉUÈ svara-s)
31
Vowels
Vowels are known as (xuÉUÈ svara-s) ?, ?, ?, ?
and ? are simple and short vowels. Their long
varieties are ?, ?, ? and ?. (? does not have a
long sound). There are four compound vowels ?, ?,
? and ?. (These are called diphthongs in
English)
32
Vowels
Origin of Sound
Simple
Compound (Diphthong)
Short
Long
Throat -
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
?
?
?
Tongue -


?


?
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
?
?
?
33
Simple vowels compound to produce diphthongs
? ? ?
? ? ?
? ? ?
? ? ?
34
Consonant
Consonants are called urÉgeÉlÉÈ (vyanjana-s).
The identification of consonants and their
arrangement, as mentioned before, are
remarkable again. Four kinds of consonants exist
in Sanskrit.
35
Stopped Consonants
The first is called sparsha (xmÉzÉï touch),
for to produce these sounds the tongue or
other parts have to touch specific places in
the mouth. They are known as stopped consonants
36
Five such positions of touch have been
identified ? a sound produced at the throat, ?
the tongue touches the roof of mouth to
produce this sound, ? a sound caused by the
tongue, ? originates at the teeth, and,
finally, ? a sound produced at the lips.
We can see the logic in this series. In the
first the vibration is created at the throat,
and moves progressively towards the lips.
37
To each of these is associated a group (uÉaÉï
varga). The first letter of each varga, for
example, ? is hard (AbÉÉåwÉ aghoSha), that is,
light in resonance, called voiceless and
since breath is held back, it is non-aspirate
(AsmÉmÉëÉhÉ alpa-prAna).
38
Origin of Sound
Simple -
Throat -
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
Tongue -
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
We can see the logic in this series. In the
first the vibration is created at the throat,
and moves progressively towards the lips.
39
Voiceless (aghoSha) and is called simple,as
the breadth is held back, it is non-aspirate
(alpa-prAna).
Origin of Sound
Simple -
Throat -
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
Tongue -
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
40
Origin of Sound
Unvoiced
Simple -
Aspirate
Throat -
?
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
?
?
Tongue -
?
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
?
The second letter is also simple, but,
aspirated, that is, the breath is thrown out
(mahA-prAna).
41
Origin of Sound
Unvoiced
Voiced
Simple -
Aspirate
Aspirate
Simple -
Throat -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
?
?
?
?
Tongue -
?
?
?
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
?
?
?
The third are light (ghoSha), rich in resonance
(voiced), but in the first of this pair the
breath is held back (alpa-prAna) and in the
latter it is thrown out (mahA-prAna).
42
Origin of Sound
- Stopped -
Unvoiced
Voiced
Nasal
Simple -
Aspirate
Aspirate
Simple -
Throat -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
?
?
?
?
?
Tongue -
?
?
?
?
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
?
?
?
?
Each group ends in a nasal sound (nAsikA) that is
soft and resonant.
43
Semi-vowels
Semi-vowels are the sounds that lie between the
vowels and stopped consonants. These are,
hence called antasparsha (AliÉxmÉzÉï
semi-vowels). To produce these sounds the tongue
touches very lightly the place of contact,
and not fully as in the sparsha. Four have
been identified and they are
44
Origin of Sound
- Stopped -
Semi vowel
Unvoiced
Voiced
Nasal
Simple -
Aspirate
Aspirate
Simple -
Throat -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Tongue -
?
?
?
?
?
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
?
?
?
?
?
45
Sibilants
Sibilants produce close to whistling sounds and
create heat when sounded. Hence these are
called ushman (EwqÉlÉç heat). The sounds are ?,
? and ?.
46
Origin of Sound
- Stopped -
Sibi lant
Semi vowel
Unvoiced
Voiced
Nasal
Simple -
Aspirate
Aspirate
Simple -
Throat -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Roof of Mouth -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Tongue -
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Teeth -
Lips -
?
?
? b
?
?
?
47
Others
Normally one lists visarga and anusvAra under
vowels. (Sanskrit is syllabic, and generally, a
word in Sanskrit ends in a vowel, a visarga or a
anusvAra.)
48
No one who looks at this alphabetical structure
can remain without being amazed at the depth of
the insights and the clarity of vision. It
would be difficult to find an alphabet in any
language that is organised so systematically
and logically.
49
Vedic recitation
Vedic stanzas are learnt and transmitted
orally. Accent is the most characteristic of
Vedic chants. Vedic stanzas were regulated by
number of syllables, and the occurrence of long
and short syllables were restricted only to the
cadence. But by the classical period, accent was
discontinued, but a definite length and a
specific sequence of short and long syllables
defined the metres.
50
Accent
For reciting the Veda-s accents came to be
used to avoid monotony, and to promote unison
in congressional chanting a base tone, udAtta
(ESÉÉ), a higher tone, svarita (xuÉËUiÉ),
and a lower tone, anudAtta (AlÉÑSÉÉ),
came in use. Later seven notes was employed
in chanting Sama Veda It is believed this is the
basis of Indian classical music
51
higher tone svarita, (superscripted in the
text below) base tone udAtta, (unmarked in
the text below) lower tone anudAtta,
(underlined in the text below)
??????? ???? ??????? ?????? ????
?????????????????????? ??????????? ??????????
??????????? ? ?? ??????????????????? ???????

52
Modes of Recitation
For correct transmission of Vedic text five
modes of recitation employed
In these adjacent words are combined in a
number of ways
53
1. samhita pATha (xÉÎqWûiÉ mÉÉPû) (Continuous
Recitation) Governed by rules of metre
2. pada pATha (mÉS mÉÉPû) (Word
Recitation) Each word without sandhi
3. krama pATha (üqÉ mÉÉPû) (Step
Recitation) (ab, bc, cd, . . .)
4. jaTA pATha (eÉOûÉ mÉÉPû) (Woven
Recitation) ab, ba, ab, bc, cb, bc, . . .
5. ghana pATha (bÉlÉ mÉPû) (Compact
Recitation) ab, ba, abc, cba, abc, bc, cb,
bcd, dcb, bcd, . . .
54
Some authorities say that eleven modes were
used vAkya, pada, krama, jaTA, mAlA, sikhA,
rekha, dhvaja, danda, ratha, ghana
55
Ghana-patha
In ghana pATha adjacent words are combined as
ab, ba, abc, cba, abc, bc, cb, bcd, dcb, bcd
etc
As an example we shall take the first three
words and make the combination as per ghana
pATha the first three words are
??????? ???? ??????? a b
c
56
??????? ???? ??????? ?????? ????
?????????????????????? ??????????? ??????????
??????????? ? ?? ??????????????????? ???????
In ghana pATha adjacent words are combined as
ab, ba, abc, cba, abc, bc, cb, bcd, dcb, bcd,
??????? ???? ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ??????? a
b b a a
b c ??????? ???? ???????
??????? ???? ??????? c b a
a b c
57
Vedanga-s(Limbs of Veda-s)
vedAnga-s are treatises on correct recitation,
and adherence to ceremonial rites
SikSha (ÍzÉÉ) correct pronunciation
chhanda (NûlS) poetic metres
nirukta (ÌlÉÂü) etymology of Vedic vocabulary
vyAkarNa (urÉÉMühÉï) - grammar
jyotiSha (erÉÉåÌiÉwÉ ) science of calendar
kalpa (MüsmÉ) performance of sacrifice
58
Chhanda(Poetic Metres)
Earliest Texts rig-veda-pratiSAkhya and
nidAna-sUtra of Sama veda
Post-Vedic Treatises chanda-sUtra of Pingala
(Pre-Kalidasa) vRtta-ratnAkara of Kedarabhatta
(15th cent.)
59
In poetry, poetic form is achieved in many
ways but definite and predictable form would
be evident
In Sanskrit the pattern is based on syllables,
and on duration of time required to express a
syllable
Poetic metres of Sanskrit belong to two
periods - Vedic period - Classical Period
60
Vedic poetry is a collection of sUkta-s (xÉÔü
hymn)
A hymn may contain upto fifteen lines
Each line is a prosodic entity, divided into one
or two pAda-s (mÉÉS quarter)
xÉWûxÉëzÉÏwÉÉïmÉÑÂwÉÈ xÉWûxÉëÉÉ
xÉWûxÉëmÉÉiÉç xÉpÉÔÍqÉÇÌuɵÉiÉÉåuÉiuÉÉ
AirÉÌiÉzÉÉÓûsÉqÉç
61
xÉWûxÉëzÉÏwÉÉïmÉÑÂwÉÈ xÉWûxÉëÉÉ
xÉWûxÉëmÉÉiÉç xÉpÉÔÍqÉÇÌuɵÉiÉÉåuÉiuÉÉ
AirÉÌiÉzÉÉÓûsÉqÉç
Each pAda comprises a specified number of
syllables, regulated by the metre
Pause, yati (rÉÌiÉ), provided in each pAda
aiding congregational chanting
62
Vedic poetry is a collection of sUkta-s (xÉÔü
hymn)
A hymn may contain upto fifteen lines
Each line is a prosodic entity, divided into one
or two pAda-s (mÉÉS quarter)
Each pAda comprises a specified number of
syllables, regulated by the metre
Pause, yati (rÉÌiÉ), provided in each pAda
aiding congregational chanting
63
Syllable
Every syllable ends in vowel example ?, ?,
?? visarga example ?? or anusvAra example
??
A syllable is either heavy (H) or light (L)
64
Light Syllable ending in ends in a short vowel,
like ??
Heavy syllable Those that are not Light
Syllables, like, those ending in long vowel
(?, ??), visarga (??, ??, ???), anusvAra (??,
??), or ending in short vowel but followed by
one or more unattached consonants
(examples ??? of ????, ? ?? ?? of ???????)
65
Light Syllable (L) ending in ends in a short
vowel, like ??
Heavy syllable (H) Those that are not Light
Syllables,
66
Let me explain the concept of syllables And their
being heavy and light through an example.
67
Here is the opening stanza of purushA sUktam
xÉWûxÉëzÉÏwÉÉï mÉÑÂwÉÈ xÉWûxÉëÉÉ xÉWûxÉëmÉÉiÉç
xÉpÉÔÍqÉÇ ÌuɵÉiÉÉå uÉiuÉÉ AirÉÌiÉzÉÉÓûsÉqÉ
ç Let us take the first quarter, and show each
syllable (a syllable ends in a vowel, visarga or
anusvara) xÉ Wû xÉë zÉÏ wÉÉï mÉÑ Â
wÉÈ Identifying heavy and light syllables
by tagging unattached consonant of the following
syllable xÉ WûxÉç U zÉÏUç wÉÉ mÉÑ Â
wÉÈ L H L H
H L L H
68
Here is the opening stanza of purushA sUktam
xÉWûxÉëzÉÏwÉÉï mÉÑÂwÉÈ xÉWûxÉëÉÉ xÉWûxÉëmÉÉiÉç
xÉpÉÔÍqÉÇ ÌuɵÉiÉÉå uÉiuÉÉ AirÉÌiÉzÉÉÓûsÉqÉ
ç Showing each syllable (a syllable ends in a
vowel, visarga or anusvara) xÉ Wû xÉë zÉÏ
wÉÉï mÉÑ Â wÉÈ xÉ Wû xÉëÉ É xÉ Wû xÉë
mÉÉiÉç xÉ pÉÔ ÍqÉÇ ÌuÉ µÉ iÉÉå uÉ iuÉÉ A
irÉ ÌiÉ zÉÉ Óû sÉÇ Identifying
heavy and light syllables by tagging
unattached consonant of the following
syllable xÉ WûxÉç U zÉÏUç wÉÉ mÉÑ Â wÉÈ xÉ
WûxÉç UÉMçü wÉ xÉ WûxÉç U mÉÉiÉç L H L
H H L L H L H
H L L H L H xÉ pÉÔ ÍqÉÇ
ÌuÉzÉç uÉ iÉÉå uÉiÉç uÉÉ AiÉç rÉ ÌiÉwÉç PûSè
S zÉÉXèû aÉÑ sÉqÉç L H H H L H
H H H L H
H L H L H
69
Vedic HymnAn example
We call on Thee, Lord of hosts, The Poet of
poets, the most famous of all The Supreme King
of spiritual knowledge, O Lord of spiritual
wisdom! Listen to us with Thy graces, and sit
in the place (of sacrifice)." - Rig
Veda II 23.1
?????? ???? ?????? ?????? ???? ???????????????????
??????????? ????????? ??????????? ? ??
?????????????????? ??????
70
Jagati Metre
jagati metre consists of two lines each line
having two pAda-s
1st Line ?????? ???? ?????? ?????? ????
??????????????????? 2nd Line ???????????
????????? ??????????? ? ?? ??????????????????
??????
71
Twelve syllables per pAda
?????? ???? ?????? ?????? 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 ???? ??????????????????? 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 ??????????? ????????? ??????????? 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 ? ?? ?????????????????? ?????? 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
72
The first three of the last four
syllables, called cadence, are Light L, Heavy
H and Light L
?????? ???? ?????? ??????
L H
L ???? ???????????????????
L H
L ??????????? ????????? ???????????
L
H L ? ?? ?????????????????? ??????

L H L
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
73
Pause, yati, occurs after 4th or 5th syllable
?????? ????/?????? ??????
4 ???? ??????/?????????????
5 ???????????/????????? ???????????
4 ? ?? ???????/?????????? ??????
4
74
Important Vedic Metres
Only a few metres account for most of the
stanzas of Rig Veda
Let us listen to some of these
75
Gayatri Metre
The first stanza of Rig Veda is a prayer to
Agni, carrier of sacrificial offerings
It is set to gAyatri (aÉÉrÉÉÏ) Metre consisting
of three pAda-s in two lines Each pAda is of
eight syllables with LHL as cadence
76
I pray to Agni, the Priest, the God of
Sacrifice, the Offerer of Oblation The Giver
of best treasure. - Rig Veda I 1.1
????????? ???????? ??????? ???????????? ??????
??????????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
77
gAyatri mantra is perhaps most important
prayer. It is set in gAyatri metre, hence the
name.
We contemplate that adorable glory of the Deity,
- that is in the earth, the sky and the
heaven. May He stimulate our mental power.
- Rig Veda III 62-10
? ????????????? ?????????????????
??????????? ????? ???? ???? ??????????
78
Anushtubh Metre
Anushtubh (AlÉѹÒpÉç) is the only Vedic metre
remained in use in later period. It is similar
to the gAyatri metre, but consists of four
pAda-s
Here is the Vedic prayer to Rudra for deliverance.
79
"We worship Rudra, Who spreads fragrance and
increases nourishment. May He release me, like
the ripe cucumber from its stem, From death, but
not from immortality." - Rig Veda
VII 59.12
???????? ?????? ???????? ?????????????
??????????? ???????? ??????????????? ????????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
80
Upanishad-s
While the Vedic sages raised many innocent and
profound questions, authors of upaniShad-s
(EmÉÌlÉwÉSè) attempted to unravel the cosmic
mystery greatest product of the Hindu mind
Here is a gem from kaThopaniShad
(YPûÉåmÉÌlÉwÉSè) that reflects predicament of
man
81
Trishtubh Metre
The stanza set in triShTubh (ÌɹÒpÉç) metre of
four pAda-s of eleven syllables each with HLH
as cadence
82
Steeped in ignorance, men engage themselves in
activities and pursuits and considering
themselves men of learning, stagger along
aimlessly like the blind led by the blind
going round and round in the cycle of
births. - KaThopaniSad I ii-5
??????????????? ????????? ????? ?????
??????????????? ?????????????? ????????
????? ???????? ??????? ????????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
83
Grammar
Let us follow certain aspects of oral tradition
of grammar.
84
Sanskrit Language
Sanskrit can be seen belonging two stages
pre-Paninian and post-Paninian
Pre-Paninian Language of Rig Veda, whose
hymns and mantras are the oldest Language of the
later hymns and mantras Language of the later
Vedic prose works Language of a part of
epics Post-Paninian Language fixed by Panini,
to which later classical literature belongs
85
Panini, the grammarian
Panini, perhaps, lived in the 4th century BCE.
His native place could have been present day
Peshawar.
86
Panini must have been preceded by a number of
grammarians. We get a few names found quoted in
his work. There were a number of commentators of
Panini, the most important being Patanjali
87
Ashtadhyayi
This comprehensive and scientific theory of
grammar is taken to mark the end of the Vedic
period. Paninis ashTAdhyAyi is the most
complex, most exhaustive and the shortest
grammar of classical Sanskrit.
88
There existed texts, Siva-sUtra, uNAdi-sUtra,
dhAtu-pAtha and gaNa-pAtha, before the
Panini time. The immediate predessors were
nirukta, nighaNTu and pratishakya-s.
89
dhAtu pAtha list of verb-roots uNAdi sUtra-s
etymology of vedic words nighaNTu and nirukta
- dictionary for Vedic words
uNAdi sUtra-s, nighaNTu and nirukta help in
understanding meaning of Vedic mantras
90
Ashtadhyayi describes algorithms to be applied
to material from the pre-existing lexical
lists, like dhAtu-pAtha and gaNa-pAtha for
generation of well-formed words.
91
The concepts of root, phoneme and morpheme
inherent in words were recognised by the
Western linguists only after about 2000 years.
92
Modern scholars feel that its brevity and its
unintuitive structure, are reminiscent of
contemporary machine language. Its
sophisticated logical rules and technique have
been widely influential in ancient and modern
linguistics.
93
Sanskrit language
Sanskrit, the classical language was probably
based on Saurasena, the Prakrit dialect of
Madhya-desa, a dialect from which Hindi
and Punjabi evolved. Panini refers to the
language as bhASha, and the name Sanskrit came
into use later.
94
Even during the time of Panini, the distance
between the high language, Sanskrit and
the spoken languages of the people, the
prakrit dialects, must have been wide. But
Sanskrit maintained a pre-eminent position as
the language of the scholars, of science and
art, and the only medium for Hindu religious
ceremonies.
95
By Paninis time Sanskrit was fully standardized,
some may even say, fossilized. Cultured as it
was, almost artificially, and by and large
divorced from common peoples life, Sanskrit
was astonishingly alive and produced great
literature and geniuses.
96
To the best of our knowledge there was no
writing at least upto the time of Asoka. Even
when writing came into common use, the
tradition of orality continued.
97
Ashtadhyayi
The text of Ashtadhyayi consists of almost 4000
sUtra-s distributed over eight chapters. Hence
the title Ashtadhayi.
98
Panini commences his Ashtadhayi with
????? ???????? ???????????? ??? ???????? ????????
Out of desire to speak, the soul gathers all
the meaning with the help of buddhi and impels
the mind.
99
Ashtadhyayi is a formal system that gives clues
for language processing insights. It also
important for studying the structure and
functioning of languages genealogically
related to Sanskrit.
100
Verb-roots form an important foundation for
creating words in Sanskrit. Most languages
create new words through the process of
adding prefixes and suffixes, and through
inflections but these are not very systematic.
It is quite systematic in Sanskrit.
101
Here we have about 2200 monosyllabic verb-roots
and following Paninis 4000 sutra-s almost
entire vocabulary is created. We shall take an
example using the verb-root ??? meaning to go
102
?? - gone ??? - movement ????? -
transient ??????? - to be attained
?????? - to surpass ?????? - to find ??????
- to follow ??????? - to disappear
?????? - to proceed ????? - in
conjunction ???? - easily understood
103
We shall demonstrate how oral tradition was
made possible using aphorisms. These were
easily memorisable but contained substantial
data in precise manner.
104
Siva sutras
105
Siva Sutras Legend
??????????? ???????? ???? ?????? ???????????
???????????? ?????????????? ???????????
?????????????
" With an ambition to uplift sages, Sanaka and
others, Nataraja, at the finale of his Tandava,
sounded his Damaru fourteen times. Thus came
out the Siva Sutra-s."
106
ACEhÉç GIMçü LAÉåXèû LåAÉæcÉç WûrÉuÉUOèû sÉhÉç gÉq
ÉXûhÉlÉqÉç
fÉpÉgÉç bÉRûkÉwÉç eÉoÉaÉQûSzÉç ZÉTüNûPûjÉcÉOûiÉuÉç
MümÉrÉç zÉwÉxÉUç WûsÉç
107
Siva Sutras
Siva sUtra-s are clever arrangement of alphabet
(the phonemes), that serve as symbolic rules
that enable grammatical rules to be
specified in a concise, algebraic form. The
pre-existed sUtra-s were used by Panini in
Ashtadhyayi
108
1. ACEhÉç 2. GIMçü 3. LAÉåXèû 4. LåAÉæcÉç 5.
WûrÉuÉUOèû 6. sÉhÉç 7. gÉqÉXûhÉlÉqÉç
There are fourteen sUtra-s and they are
8. fÉpÉgÉç 9. bÉRûkÉwÉç 10. eÉoÉaÉQûSzÉç 11.
ZÉTüNûPûjÉcÉOûiÉuÉç 12. MümÉrÉç 13. zÉwÉxÉUç 14.
WûsÉç
109
Abbreviated Symbols(pratyAhAra-s)
Let me explain how abbreviated symbols are
constructed using Siva sUtra-s, and how these
were used in Ashtadhyayi
110
Take the first sUtra ACEhÉç
This contains three vowels and it is terminated
by a consonant, hÉç. It is called CûiÉç letter
or terminator letter. which has no
function. The sUtra is abbreviated simply as
AhÉç and this would mean A, C E, the three
basic vowels. This abbreviated AhÉç is called
pratyAhAra. In grammatical sUtra this pratyAhAra
would be used to refer all these three letters.
111
Let me give two more examples.
Thus, the second sUtra, GIMçü, is abbreviated
by GMçü and would represent G Iü Similarly
the eleventh sUtra, ZÉTüNûPûjÉcÉOûiÉuÉç contain
as much as eight letters and these are
specified simply as ZÉuÉç
112
Key
1. ACEhÉç 2. GIMçü 3. LAÉåXèû 4. LåAÉæcÉç 5.
WûrÉuÉUOèû 6. sÉhÉç 7. gÉqÉXûhÉlÉqÉç 8.
fÉpÉgÉç 9. bÉRûkÉwÉç 10. eÉoÉaÉQûSzÉç 11.
ZÉTüNûPûjÉcÉOûiÉuÉç 12. MümÉrÉç 13. zÉwÉxÉUç 14.
WûsÉç
I will go one more level.
An abbreviation AMçü would stand for all letters
contained between the first two sUtra-s, that is
A Mçü, which are A, C, E, G I. In the same
way gÉzÉç represents all letters contained in
sutra-s 7, 8, 9 9.
113
Key
1. ACEhÉç 2. GIMçü 3. LAÉåXèû 4. LåAÉæcÉç 5.
WûrÉuÉUOèû 6. sÉhÉç 7. gÉqÉXûhÉlÉqÉç 8.
fÉpÉgÉç 9. bÉRûkÉwÉç 10. eÉoÉaÉQûSzÉç 11.
ZÉTüNûPûjÉcÉOûiÉuÉç 12. MümÉrÉç 13. zÉwÉxÉUç 14.
WûsÉç
One can appreciate the advantage of this
arrangement. For example,
AMçü stands for all simple vowels LcÉç for all
diphthongs AcÉç for all vowels WzÉç for all
soft consonants ZÉUç for all hard
consonants rÉOèû for all semi-vowels zÉUç for
all sibilants
114
Here are a few sUtra-s taken from the first part
of the sixth chapter 72 ?????????? 73 ?? ?
74 ????????? 75 ???????? 76 ???????????
77 ??? ???? 78 ???????????
79 ???????????????? 80 ?????????????????????

Let me explain the use of the 77th sutra
115
In Sanskrit words can join with each other in a
process called sandhi. For example, in SåuÉÏ
EuÉÉcÉ SåurÉÑuÉÉcÉ ("Devi said.") Here C
becomes rÉç when followed by E.
The 77th sutra handles this sandhi.
116
Panini simply says CMüÉå rÉhÉç AÍcÉ,
meaning CMüç is replaced by rÉhÉç when AcÉç
follows. That is, (C, E, G, I) are replaced
by (rÉ, uÉ, U, sÉ) respectively when (A, C, E,
G, I, L, AÉå Lå, AÉæ) follows.
1. ACEhÉç 2. GIMçü 3. LAÉåXèû 4. LåAÉæcÉç 5.
WûrÉuÉUOèû 6. sÉhÉ
Or mathematically (CEGI) (ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ)
(rÉuÉUsÉ)
117
(CEGI) (ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ) (rÉuÉUsÉ) implies (C)
(ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ) (rÉ) (E) (ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ)
(uÉ) (G) (ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ) (U) (I)
(ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ) (sÉ)
This is characterised by brevity and exactitude.
There is no circumlocution in it.
118
(C) (ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ) (rÉ) ???????? ??????
??????????????
(E) (ACEGILAÉåLåAÉæ) (uÉ) ????? ????
?????????
119
A Mathematical Analysis of Paninis
Sivasutras Wiebke Petersen Institute of Language
and Information, University of Duesseldorf, 2004
In Paninis grammar of Sanskrit one finds the
Sivasutras, a table which defines the natural
classes of phonological segments in Sanskrit
by intervals. We present a formal argument which
shows that, using his representation method,
Paninis way of ordering the phonological
segments to represent the natural classes is
optimal. . . . The key idea is to link the graph
of the Hasse-diagram of the set of natural
classes closed under intersection to
Sivasutra-style representations of the classes.
120
Synonyms
Later we shall be referring to the presence of
large number of synonyms in Sanskrit. Synonyms
do exist in other languages too, but they may
not have any inherent significance they could
be because of just conventions. But this is not
so in Sanskrit, where they grow out of roots as
per certain rules.
121
Scripts for Sanskrit
I may mention now about writing Sanskrit. Writing
came much later, but when it came in use, the
scripts used for Sanskrit, did have special
feature, namely, syllabic, incorporating
glyphs for conjunctive consonants.
Here are two example ?? ? ??? ?? ? ???
122
Metres of Classical Period
Now we shall study the classical metres that
came into use in the later Classical period,
and how these also contributed to the oral
tradition.
123
In the classical period, metres evolved far
tighter structure, but retained quantitative
nature
Two kinds evolved vRtta regulated by sequence of
hard and light syllables jAti regulated by
number of syllabic instants (mAtra-s)
Even anuSTubh metre went through some changes
124
Anushtubh (Sloka Metre)
anuShTubh is the only Vedic metre that survived,
and became most popular.
The formula (sUtra) for this metre can be seen
to explain not only the arrangement of
syllables, but also is set in the self-same
metre. This practice is followed in all the
cases contributing to the oral tradition.
125
?????? ?????????? ?????? ????????????? ?????
???? ?????????? ???? ???????? ???????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
126
Ramayana
Ramayana may be considered to herald the
classical period.
Ramayana is an epic dear to our heart, and
Valmiki the Adi-kavi ("the First
Poet"). anuShTubh metre became popular with
Valmiki employing this metre for composing
almost the entire epic. The flexibility
offered by the metre and its 8-syllable rhythm
were perhaps the reason for its popularity
even today.
127
An Episode fromSundara kanda of Ramayana
Hanuman, sent by Sri Rama, reaches Lanka
looking for Sita. In Ashoka Vana, he finds
Ravana cajoling Sita to be her queen.
On refusal, she is threatened with dire
consequences
128
Sita is firm, but on Ravana's departure decides
to end her life. Hanuman is moved.
To make his presence as Rama's ambassador
felt, he recites the story of Sri Rama.
129
???? ????? ??? ???????????????? ?????????
?????????? ????????????????
???? ?????? ?????? ???????- ????????????????
???? ??? ????????? ???????? ??????????????

??????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ???????
??????? ??? ?????? ??????? ? ???????
- Sundara Kanda, 31-2, 6, 7
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
130
Hearing this, startled as she was, asked the
monkey who he was.
Hanuman said, "I am sent by Sri Rama. Your
husband, your brother-in-law Lakshmana and all
others enquired about your well being."
??? ?????? ???????- ?????? ???????????
?????? ????? ???- ??????? ? ????????????
- Sundara Kanda, 34-2
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
131
Vaidehi was still not satisfied. "If you say
you are rAma-dUta, describe me in detail Rama's
personality".
Hanuman is only too happy to oblige.
132
?????? ?? ??????? ????????? ?????? ????
??????? ?????? ???? ???????? ???
????????????????? ??? ??????????????
???????? ??????- ?????? ?????????????
??????? ????? ???????? ??????? ?? ??????????
??????????? ???????? ? ???????????? ??????

- Sundara Kanda, 34-28, 29 30
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
133
Sita, then, satisfied inquires how come there
was friendship with the monkey-king.
Maruti narrates the story starting from
Vaali-vadha and introduces himself as
??? ???????????? ?????????? ????? ???????
?????????? ??????????? ???? ??
- Sundara Kanda, 34-39
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
134
Overcome by joy, Sita request him to tell her
about Sri Rama.
???? ???????????? ?????????????
???????????????????? ??????? ?????????
?????????? ???????? ??????????? ???????
???????? ???????????? ???? ???? ??? ??????

- Sundara Kanda, 35-9 10
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
135
On seeing Rama's ring, Sita's joy was boundless.
For her it looked as if she got back her beloved
in person.
???????? ??????????? ?? ?????????????????
????????? ??????????? ????? ??????????
- Sundara Kanda, 36-5
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
136
Popularity of Anushtubh
Because of its simplicity anuShTubh is popular
even to-day for composing devotional hymns.
Most of the hymns recited every day like
viShNu sahasranAmaM and lalitA sahasranAmaM
are composed in this metre.
137
Vishnu-sahasranamam
viSNu sahasranAmaM is a part of Mahabharata. At
the end of the Great War, bhIShma-pitAmaha,
lying on a bed of arrows waiting for his end,
recites viShNu sahasranAmaM, 1008 names of the
Lord, to the benefit of YudhiShtra.
138
For the devout it is more than just a string of
Lord's names. Philosophically it is significant
for this is one among the four religious works
for which Adi Sankara wrote commentaries.
139
?????? ?????? ???????? ?????????????????
?????????????????? ???????? ????????
???????? ???????? ? ????????? ????????
?????? ????????????? ??????????????? ?? ?
???? ??????? ???? ?????????????????
???????? ??????????? ???? ???????????
- viSNu sahasranAmaM, Stotram 1-3
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
140
Purana-s
The purANA-s, eighteen in number, contain wide
information on literature, politics, history,
geography, art, architecture, military
science, medicine, philosophy, economics,
education, iconography etc.
141
Brahmanda-purana
brahmANDa-purANA is the best specimen of
ancient Indian tradition throwing light on
the manifold facets of life from creation to
destruction of the universe.
142
Lalita-sahasranamam
lalitA sahasranAmaM, very sacred in our tradition
and recited with devotion both by the pundits
and the masses, forms a part of
bRhmANDa-purANA.
143
Lalita-sahasranamam
???????? ????????????? ?????????????????????
??????????????????? ????????????????
?????????????????? ?????????????????
????????????????? ??????????????????????
????????????????? ?????????????????
??????????????? ?????????????????????
- lalitAa sahasranAmaM, Stotram 1-3
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
144
Bhakti Period
7th - 9th century CE is of great significance.
There occurred two movements from the
South which altered the course of Indian
cultural and religious history.
145
One was the Bhakti cult initiated by the Tamil
Shaivaite and Vaishnavite saints to take
deep roots in the country carried on by
Jayadeva, Chaitanya, Tukaram, Mira, Kabir and
others.
146
The second was remarkable, not only because of
its impact, but also because it was the work of
a single man.
147
Adi Sankara
Adi Sankara must have been an extraordinary
genius.
148
He travelled all over India, and conquered the
mind intellectually by his arguments and
commentaries
He became a great leader of the intellectual
class and at the same time caught the
imagination of the masses.
Remarkable too is that he could achieve all these
within sixteen years.
He also composed prodigious number of hymns
which remain a source of inspiration to this
day.
149
Rhyming is not incorporated in classical
Sanskrit poetry as preoccupation
with alliteration, assonance and word-play
may be an obstacle to the theme.
But some of the compositions of Adi Sankara
bristle with rhythmic beauty.
150
Ganesapanchakam
The majestic gait of gaNeSa pañchakam is because
of its antaprASam (end rhyme) and due to the
alternating light and heavy syllables. This
meter is called pancha-chAmara. You may also note
that this satisfies rules of anuShTubh metre
also.
151
??????????????? ?????????????????
???????????? ????????????????
???????????? ?????????????????
?????????????? ????? ?? ????????
????????????? ??????????????????
????????????????? ????????????????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
152
Other Metres of Classical Poetry
In classical poetry two kinds of metres are
used. One is called vRtta metre, which is based
on syllables. The other is jAti matre, that is
regulated by syllabic instants. We shall take up
vRtta metres first.
153
Vritta Metres
vRtta metres, governed by a given number of
syllables in specified sequence, are the most
popular in classical poetry
There are simple as well as complex metres
154
Bhujanga-prayata Metre
bhujanga-prayAta is a simple metre with twelve
syllables per quarter LHH, repeated four times
with a pause following the 6th syllable
155
Subrahmanya-bhujangam
Here are a a few stanzas from subrahmaNya
bhujangam composed by Adi Sankara.
156
Bhujanga-prayata L H H L H H L H H L H H
??? ??? ?????? ????????????????? ????????
????????? ?????????????? ??????????????????
??????????? ???????? ?????? ???? ?????????????
???????????? ???????? ?? ???????????? ???????
???? ?????????????????????? ? ????? ?????
??????? ???????? ???????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
157
Now let us graduate to more complex metres.
158
Mandakranta Metre
mandAkrAntA is a complex metre of a sequence of
the following seventeen syllables H H H H L L L
L L H H L H H L H H -17 (Pauses are
incorporated avoiding splitting of words).
159
We shall give an example from viShNu-sahasranAmaM
again.
160
mandAkrAnta H H H H L L L L L H H L H H L H H
-17
?????????? ???????? ????????
?????? ?????????? ???????? ???????? ?????????
????????????? ??????? ?????????????????? ???
????????? ??????? ?????????????? -
viSNu sahasranAmaM, dhyAnam
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
161
This string of syllables H H H L L L L L H H L H
H L H H dont seem to have any pattern at first
sight. Actually the arrangement is regulated by
certain tri-syllabic combinations called gaNa-s.
162
In these metres the sequence is given in the
form of tri-syllabic combinations, called,
gaNa-s. Using two kings of syllables, Heavy and
Light, There are eight combinations
possible. These are
163
These eight combinations are given names, like
ya-gaNa, ra-gaNa etc, and the sUtra defining the
gaNa-s is
AÉÌSqÉkrÉÉuÉxÉÉlÉåwÉÑ rÉUiÉÉ rÉÉÎliÉ sÉÉbÉuÉqÉç
pÉeÉxÉÉ aÉÉæUuÉÇ rÉÉÎliÉ qÉlÉÉæiÉÑ aÉÑÂsÉÉbÉuÉå

164
AÉÌSqÉkrÉÉuÉxÉÉlÉåwÉÑ rÉUiÉÉ rÉÉÎliÉ sÉÉbÉuÉqÉç
Light syllables would be on the first, middle
and last positions of ya-, ra- and ta-gaNa-s
respectively
pÉeÉxÉÉ aÉÉæUuÉÇ rÉÉÎliÉ
In bha-, ja- and sa-gaNa-s it would be Heavy
syllables (on the first, middle and last
positions)
165
qÉlÉÉæiÉÑ aÉÑÂsÉÉbÉuÉå
In ma- and na-gaNa-s they would be all Heavy and
Light syllables (respectively)
166
Now let us see how this sUtra is used, and how
it contribute to oral tradition.
167
I shall take an example of a metre,
ShArdUlavikrIdita. The literal meaning would be
Tiger-sport and I have no idea whether the
meaning has any thing to do with the nature
metre.
168
The formula for this metre is given
as xÉÔrÉÉïµÉærÉïÌS qÉÈ xÉeÉÉæ xÉiÉiÉaÉÉÈ
zÉÉSÕïsÉÌuÉüÏÌQûiÉÇ
169
xÉÔrÉÉïµÉærÉïÌS qÉÈ xÉeÉÉæ xÉiÉiÉaÉÉÈ
zÉÉSÕïsÉÌuÉüÏÌQûiÉÇ
170
xÉÔrÉÉïµÉærÉïÌS qÉÈ xÉeÉÉæ xÉiÉiÉaÉÉÈ
zÉÉSÕïsÉÌuÉüÏÌQûiÉÇ
The total number of syllables in each quarter
are 19, and the sequence of the syllables in the
sUtra is, xÉÔUç rÉzÉç cÉæUç rÉ ÌS aÉÈ xÉ eÉÉæ xÉ
iÉ iÉ aÉÉÈ zÉÉUç SÕ sÉ ÌuÉMçü UÏ ÌQû iÉÇ H H
H L L H L H L L L H H H L H H L
H which regulates the metre
171
xÉÔrÉÉïµÉærÉïÌS qÉÈ xÉeÉÉæ xÉiÉiÉaÉÉÈ
zÉÉSÕïsÉÌuÉüÏÌQûiÉÇ
Key
ya LHH ra HLH ta HHL bha HLL ja LHL sa
LLH ma HHH na LLL
Secondly, the sUtra means that the metre contains
the following sequence of gaNa-s/syllables ma
sa ja sa ta ta
guru HHH-LLH-LHL-L LH-H HL-HHL-H
172
xÉÔrÉÉïµÉærÉïÌS qÉÈ xÉeÉÉæ xÉiÉiÉaÉÉÈ
zÉÉSÕïsÉÌuÉüÏÌQûiÉÇ
Lastly, the pause is at the end the twelfth
syllable. This is given by cryptically as xÉÔrÉï
(12) AµÉ (7) xÉÔrÉÉïµÉærÉïÌS qÉÈ xÉeÉÉæ
xÉiÉiÉaÉÉÈ zÉÉSÕïsÉÌuÉüÏÌQûiÉÇ
173
Now we shall listen to the first two sloka-s
from Lalita Sahasranamam, which are set
to SArdUla-vikrIDita
174
Shardulavikridita 19 H H H L L H L H L L L H H
H L H H L H
ÍxÉlSÕUÉÂhÉÌuÉaÉëWûÉÇ ÌÉlÉrÉlÉÉÇ
qÉÉÍhÉYrÉqÉÉæÍsÉxmÉÑUiÉç iÉÉUÉlÉÉrÉMüzÉåZÉUÉÇ
ÎxqÉiÉqÉÑZÉÏqÉÉmÉÏlÉuÉÉÉåÂWûÉÇ
mÉÉÍhÉprÉÉqÉÍsÉmÉÔhÉïUÉcÉwÉMÇü UüÉåimÉsÉÇ
ÌoÉpÉëÌiÉÇ xÉÉæqrÉÉÇ UÉbÉOûxjÉUücÉUhÉÉÇ
krÉÉrÉåimÉUÉqÉÇÌoÉMüÉÇ
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
175
We shall now hear a sloka from Mahanyasam
176
Shardulavikridita 19 H H H L L H L H L L L H H
H L H H L H
xÉÇuÉiÉÉïÎalÉiÉÌOûimÉëSÏmÉMülÉMümÉëxmÉÍkÉiÉåeÉÉåÂh
ÉÇ aÉÇpÉÏUkuÉÌlÉxÉÉqÉuÉåSeÉlÉMÇü iÉÉqÉëÉkÉUÇ
xÉÑlSUqÉç AkÉåïlSÒÑÌiÉsÉÉåsÉÌmÉÇaÉsÉeÉOûÉpÉÉUmÉ
ëoÉÉåÉåSMÇü uÉlSå ÍxÉxÉÑUÉxÉÑUålSìlÉÍqÉiÉÇ
mÉÔuÉïÇ qÉÑZÉÇ zÉÔÍsÉlÉÈ
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
177
All metres are defined this way. Let us take a
few examples and demonstrate them.
178
Kalidasa
Kalidasa is the great representative of Indian
spirit and grace. Characterised by a simple
dignity of language, precision of phrase, a
classical taste, a cultivated judgement and a
fusion of thought and feeling, Kalidasa is the
greatest poet of Sanskrit.
179
Kalidasa is best known as the author of the play
AbhijñAna ShAkuntalaM. He is also the author
of three kAvya-s raghu-vamSaM, kumAra-sambhavaM
and megha-dUtam. It is also believed that he
wrote a few hymns and other smaller poems.
180
KalidasasMeghadutam
Kalidasa composed the famous epic megha-dUtam
(Cloud-Messenger) in mandAkrAnta,
(slow-stepper) a slow moving metre, to suit the
theme.
181
An emaciated and sorrowful yaksha in exile
requests the rain cloud to convey a message of
love and consolation to his beloved in the
remote Himalayas.
The stanza anticipates the objection of the
unreality of requesting the clouds to carry a
message.
182
"Where is a cloud, which is a composite of
smoke, light, water and air, and where are the
messages that can be conveyed by living beings
endowed with strong limbs?
Unmindful of this the Yaksha in his eagerness
begged the cloud to carry his message. Those
that are love-stricken are by nature
undiscriminating between conscious and
unconscious beings."
183
mandA-krAnta metre H H H H L L L L L H H L H
H L H H (4,6,7 17 Syllables)
?????????? ?????????? ????????? ???
???? ???????????? ??? ???????? ???????? ?????????
?????????????????????????????? ????? ????????
?? ?????????????????????????? -
Megha-dutam, I - 5
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
184
There is another metre, SikhariNi which has the
same number of syllables, namely, 17, but
differently disposed. The sUtra
is UxÉæÂSìæÍɳÉÉ rÉqÉlÉxÉpÉsÉÉaÉÈ ÍzÉZÉËUhÉÏ
(6, 11 17)
185
There is another metre, SikhariNi which has the
same number of syllables, namely, 17, but
differently disposed. The sUtra is
UxÉæÂSìæÍɳÉÉ rÉqÉlÉxÉpÉsÉÉaÉÈ ÍzÉZÉËUhÉÏ (6,
11 17)
186
UxÉæÂSìæÍɳÉÉ rÉqÉlÉxÉpÉsÉÉaÉÈ ÍzÉZÉËUhÉÏ (6,
11 17)
Key
ya LHH ra HLH ta HHL bha HLL ja LHL sa
LLH ma HHH na LLL
From the sutra itself we find the following
sequence of syllables. LHH-HHH-LLL-LLH-HLL- L-
H ya ma na sa bha
laghu guru and the pauses at UxÉÈ (taste 6)
and ÂSìÈ (Rudra11)
187
The incomparable Soundaryalahari of Adi Sankara
is composed in this metre. Let us listen to the
first two atanzas
188
Soundaryalahari
Siva, united with Sakti, becomes able to
manifestIf otherwise, this god knows not even
how to pulsate,How then could one of ungained
merit be able to bow to, or even praise,One,
such as You, adored even by Vishnu, Siva and
Brahma? 1
The fine dust arising from Your lotus
feet,Brahma, gathering up, the worlds
creates,Vishnu incessantly bears them up somehow
with his thousand heads,And Siva, having
shaken it up, accomplishes with it his
ash-wearing rite. 2
189
SikhariNi metre L H H H H H L L L L L H H L L L
H
ÍzÉuÉÈzÉYirÉÉrÉÑüÉå rÉÌSpÉuÉÌiÉzÉüÈ
mÉëpÉÌuÉiÉÑÇ lÉcÉåSåuÉÇSåuÉÉå lÉZÉsÉÑMÑüzÉsÉÈ
xmÉÎlSiÉÑqÉÌmÉ AiÉxiuÉÉqÉÉUÉprÉÉÇ
WûËUWûUÌuÉûËUgcÉÉÌSÍpÉUÌmÉ mÉëhÉliÉÑÇxiÉÉåiÉÑÇuÉÉ
MüjÉqÉMüiÉmÉÑhrÉÈ mÉëpÉuÉÌiÉ 1
iÉlÉÏrÉÉxÉÇmÉÉÇxÉÑÇ iÉuÉcÉUhÉmɃåûÂWûpÉuÉÇ ÌuÉËUÎ
lgÉÈ xÉÇÍcÉluÉlÉç ÌuÉUcÉrÉÌiÉsÉÉåMülÉÌuÉMüsÉqÉç
uÉWûirÉålÉÇzÉÉæËUÈ MüjÉqÉÌmÉxÉWûxÉëåhÉÍzÉUxÉÉ Wû
UÈ xÉÇÉÑælÉÇ pÉeÉÌiÉpÉÍxÉiÉÉåÕsÉlÉÌuÉÍkÉqÉç
2
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
190
One may wonder whether creativity would be
possible with such tight poetic structures. I
can identify two main features of Sanskrit, which
are true to most Indian languages.
191
First is Sanskrit is an inflexional language,
so are most Indian languages in varying
measures. Because of this, the position of a
word in a sentence could be arbitrarily
chosen. In poetry where conforming to a metre
is necessary, this is an advantage.
192
The second is even more important. Sanskrit is
rich in synonyms and homonyms, offers excellent
flexibility for composing. This is true of most
Indian languages.
193
Synonyms
Amarasimha, a contemporary of Kalidasa, the most
important lexicographer, composed amara-koSha,
in the form of Thesaurus
194
Amara-kosha
One among the couplets that give the synonyms for
'man'.
??????? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ??? ?????
???????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ???
The couplet is set to anuSTubh.
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
195
And one of the couplets for beauty
??????? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ??????
?????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?????????????
This couplet is also set to anuSTubh.
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
196
Oral Tradition
Following the oral tradition in which India
has excelled, young aspirants memorised a
large volume of rules and vocabulary like
amara-koSha.
While composing they drew the appropriate word
to suit the occasion and to fit into the
prosodic structure.
197
But understanding a Sanskrit stanza could be
difficult for most like me. This is because
there need be no implicit order. One needs to
first separate out all the words, for which one
needs to know the rules of sandhi.
198
Now we have to identify the subject and its
associated adjectives, verb and its adverbs and
the accusative object(s) and their
qualifying attributes. All these may be thrown
here and there to satisfy the poetic metre.
Then we can make a meaningful sentence.
199
The rhetoric, allusions etc, characteristic to
the language dont confuse us in small measure.
For the South Indians there are two more added
problems Sanskrit nouns are either
masculine, feminine or neuter and in addition to
singular and plural there is dual too!
200
KalidasasKumara-sambhavam
kumAra-sambhavaM, a major work of Kalidasa,
narrates the birth of kumaara, the divine
warlord. An episode from this work is penance of
Parvati.
201
Parvati, the daughter of Himavan, is doing
severe penance in the Himalayas seeking Siva
himself as her husband. To test her devotion
Siva appears as an elderly Brahmin and
dissuades her from her endeavour by pointing
out the incongruity in the match.
202
Vamashatha Metre L H L H H L L H L H L H -12
I know Maheshvara. Had I only seen you before,
I would have dissuaded you. Why? Shiva is
addicted practices to that cause disgust. On
thinking of him, I am absolutely unable to
agree with you.
????????? ?????? ???????? ???????? ???? ??? ??
?????? ???????????????? ?????????
?? ???????????? ??? ????????????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
203
Vamashatha Metre L H L H H L L H L H L H -12
You, who insist on a worthless object! How will
you endure the very first seizure of the hand
with mantras this tender hand of yours that
wears the marital thread with the hand of Siva,
where serpents play the role of bangles?
?????? ??????????? ??? ?? ?? ???????????? ?????
?????? ???? ??????????? ???????? ????????
?????????????????
Yellow Light syllable Red Heavy syllable
Slide 204
About PowerShow.com