Item Code: NAC327
by Sampadananda MishraPaperback (Edition: 2011)
Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
Language: Sanskrit Text, Translation and Metrical Notes
Size: 7.2 Inch X 4.8 Inch
Weight of the Book: 160 gms
Price: $15.00 Shipping Free
Since time immemorial the Rishis and poets of India, the land known as Bharatavarsha, have used words, sounds and rhythms to express the truth of the higher plane in the language of men. To quote from Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem ‘Savitri’ :
“Invested with a rhythm of higher spheres
The word was used as a hieratic means
For the release of the imprisoned spirit
Into communion with its comrade gods.”
In Sanskrit there is no poetry without chanda or mete. To understand and appreciate any poetical composition a knowledge and a feel of chanda is essential. Says the poet Dandi, in his Kavyadarsa, “the lore of chanda is the boat for those who desire to across the deep ocean of poetry.”
To express or describe any experience, feeling emotion or action, the choice of the appropriate chanda is very important, because each metre has its own movement and mood.
While using a particular metre, says Kshemerdra, in his Suvrttatilaka, “One has to see the Rasa, the mood, the nature of the description and the context.” Therefore one should have the knowledge of chanda.
In Sanskrit and in all Indian languages, the chanda is determined by the arrangement of short and long syllables. The large number of possible permutations and combinations have given rise to a large variety of chandas.
Sometimes the name of the chanda gives a clue to its movement. As for example, ‘Mandakranta’ means ‘slow moving’. Most of its syllables are long and heavy and it is ideal for expressing pathos. Kalidasa uses it very beautifully in his ‘Meghadutam’ where the love-lorn Yaksha asks the cloud to serve as a messenger to his beloved.
“I fancy to see your body in the priyangu creepers, your glances in the eyes of the bewildered female deer, the beauty of your face in the moon, your hair in the plumages of the peacocks, and the sportive movements of your eyebrows in the rivers. But, oh misfortune! Nowhere in a single thing, O passionate one, does your likeness exist.”
Similarly Tvaritagati’ means ‘fast gait’ and contains many short syllables. Here is a description of a gopi’s meeting with Krishna.
“The maiden of Vrajapura, while wandering in the forest near the fat flowing river Yamuna, became very happy meeting Krishna, the killer of Mura who is a master of the art of love.”
‘Drutavilambita’ means ‘fast and slow’. This metre begins with short syllables at a fast pace and later adopts a slow and tardy rhythm using long syllables. Bhartrihari has used this metre in the following verse of his Nitisatakam.
“Fortitude in adversity, humbleness in prosperity, eloquence in council, bravery in war, strong desire for fame and attachment to shastric learning, are the natural attributes of noble-minded persons.”
At times of names of the chandas are derived from Nature. As for example, ‘Bhujangaprayata’ is named after the serpent and its rhythm has a zig-zag movement. Shankaracharya has written his Bhavanyastakam in this metre.
“Neither father, nor mother, nor friend, nor giver nor son, nor daughter, nor servant, nor master, nor wife, nor learning, nor occupation have I. You alone, O Bhavani, are my refuge.”
‘Sardulavikridita’ means ‘the play of the tiger’ and is a typical representation of the leaps of the tiger. There is first a long leap followed by a break, provided by the caesura after the 12th syllable, and then a short leap.
“Friend chataka, carefully listen to me for a moment. There are many clouds in the sky but all are not alike; there are some which cover the entire earth with rain, whereas other thunder in vain without giving a single drop of water; thou should therefore be a little considerate in thy entreaties so as not to cry so piteously before every cloud thou seest.”
These are some interesting insights into Sanskrit metres but there is no hard and fast rule. The same chanda is often used to depict different moods, and different chandas can express the same mood. It all depends on the inspiration and the mastery of the poet.
Chandovallari is an attempt to introduce and explain the structure of the principal chandas of Sanskrit prosody. The primary research work has been carried out by Sampadananda Mishra. The book has been greatly enriched by the contribution of Richard Hartz and Bryce Grinlington
We acknowledge the financial assistance received from the Dharma Prachara Parishad, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, for the publication of this book.
Almost all the padyakavyas or poetical compositions in Sanskrit follow a metrical structure. Therefore to understand and appreciate them the knowledge of metrics or chandas is essential. The current work aims to serve as an introduction to the main Sanskrit metres. The examples given and the several indexes provided would enable the interested reader to become familiar with the commonly used metres and to identify them.
This book is divided into two sections. The section one explains the place of chandas in Indian literature, the history of chandas and chandasastras, the classification of chandas and the rules governing them. The section two deals with nineteen major and well-known metres along with explanations and examples collected from various sources. Each sloka is followed by its English translation. This section begins with a verse of Valmiki, the adikavi, through an example of Anustup metre, and ends with a verse of Kalidasa, one of the greatest poets of Sanskrit literature, through an example of Sragdhara.
There are four appendixes. The first appendix gives the list of the 26 genera or classes of chandas. The second appendix contains the alphabetical list of ganas or syllabic feet. The third appendix is the alphabetical list of the names of 124 chandas. The fourth appendix presents the explanation of all the 124 chandas along with their definitions and scheme of ganas. All these appendixes except the first one are interlinked.
|Section I. Chandas and their Basic Principles|
|Chanda-Sastra and the Tests on Chanda||3|
|Use of Chandas||5|
|Rules of Chanda|
|Chanda or Metre||6|
|Padya or Verse||7|
|Pada or Quarter||7|
|Aksara or Syllable||7|
|Laghu or Short Syllables||8|
|Guru or Long Syllables||8|
|Matra or Metrical-Unit||9|
|Samavrtta or even metre||10|
|Ardhasamavrtta or Half-even Metres||11|
|Visamavrtta or Un-even Metres||13|
|Yati or Pause||14|
|Scanning of the Chandas||15|
|Classification of Gana||15|
|Description of Gana||15|
|Schematic Representation of Gana||16|
|Section II. Popular Sanskrit Metres|
|Metres with Eight Syllables|
|Metres with Eleven Syllables|
|Metres with Twelve Syllables|
|Metres with Thirteen Syllables|
|Metres with Fourteen Syllables|
|Metres with Fifteen Syllables|
|Metres with Sixteen Syllables|
|Metres with Seventeen Syllables|
|Metres with Nineteen Syllables|
|Metres with Twenty-one Syllables|