Sanskrit Metres Chandas
Description of the chief metrical forms used by Sanskrit poets. Recitations of each type verse structure are currently a...
Sanskrit Metres Chandas
[Background: I asked the poet and scholar Shatavadhani Dr R. Ganesh for help on how to read/recite some common metres. He generously agreed, and illustrated over 30 metres, choosing the example verses and reciting them mostly from memory (and a couple which he composed on the spot).]
Videos collected at Shreevatsa R You Tube home page: pa ge: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsf8Uz7U3jU7f0XfFYXau4g Includes many videos of discussions and recitations with Shatavadhani Dr.R. Ganesh.
Published on Aug 12, 2013
Sanskrit Metres: 01 AnushtupShloka [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL... ] Anuṣṭup is technically a generic name for metres of eight letters, and among the anuṣṭup varieties, it is the śloka that is the most important, beautiful, and popular.
Such is its popularity that often every Sanskrit verse is termed as śloka. An anuṣṭup (śloka) composed by Gaṅgādevī, the well-known poetess of Vijayanagar. It is from her epic Vīra-kampaṇa-rāya-caritam or Madhurā-vijayam. It is a verse in praise
of poet Vālmīki.
cetaso 'stu prasādāya satām prācetaso muniḥ / pṛ thivyām thivyām padya-nirmāṇa-vidyāyāḥ prathamam padam // One more verse in the same śloka metre, composed by the great poet Bāṇabhaṭṭa in his Harṣacaritam. The well-known benedictory verse:
namas-tuṅga-śiraś-cumbi-candra-cāmara-cārave / trailokya-nagarārambha-mūla-stambhāya śambhave // These two varieties indicate the complex structure of the metre with compounded ma nner without samāsās, we can see a words. If anuṣṭup is composed in a simple manner subhāṣita
sujanaṃ vyajanam manye cāru-vaṃśa-samudbhavam / ātmānaṃ tu paribhrāmya para-tāpa-nivārakam // https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnsA9XWBXPI&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=1
Sanskrit Metres: 02 Arya [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL... ]
Another metre which is also very popular is āryā. There are many varieties in āryā — āryā, gītī, upagītī, āryāgītī and so on. But the most popular one is āryā, having: 12 mātrās in the first line, 18 in the second, 12 in the third, and 15 in the last line. It has to be recited in such a way that it can be sung to rhythm / danced to rhythm. A well-known verse from Kālidāsa's Abhijñāna-Śakuntalam — [Note: There is an error here in; the ardhas have been inverted. Until it is fixed, think of what is recited here as 12-15-12-18 udgīti metre instead. :-)]
balavadapi śikṣitānām ātmany apratyayaṃ cetaḥ āparitoṣād viduṣāṃ na sādhu manye prayogavijñānaṃ To recite it to metre, we have to render it in one tāla or another, either the eka-tāla or rūpaka-tāla of South Indian music. (Called eka -tāl and tīn-tāl in north Indian music.) I shall recite according to metre a verse taken from Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita's Vairāgya-śataka [12-18-12-15 Āryā metre]
nītijñā niyatijñā vādajñā api bhavanti vedajñāḥ brahmajñā api labhyā svājñāna-jñānino viralāḥ [Sung in rūpaka]
nītijñā niyatijñā vādajñā api bhavanti vedajñāḥ brahmajñā api labhyā [Sung in eka] svājñāna-jñānino viralāḥ One more āryā, taken from a very great saint-scholar of Mysore who composed a magnificent work Alaṅkāra-maṇi-hāra, the great sage of Parakāla Maṭha, Śrīkṛṣṇa Brahmatantra Yatīndra. From his compositions, a beautiful verse [12-18-12-18 Gīti metre]
nindatu vā nandatu vā mandamanīṣā niśamya kṛtim etām harṣaṃ vā marṣaṃ vā sarṣapamātram api naiva vindema
[Sung in rūpaka]
nindatu vā nandatu vā mandamanīṣā niśamya kṛtim etām harṣaṃ vā marṣaṃ vā sarṣapamātram api naiva vindema
[Sung in eka]
One more verse to indicate the intrinsic beauty of this metre, taken from the well-known devotional hymn Mūka-pañca-śatī of Mūka-kavi [12-18-12-18 Gīti metre]
kalamañjula-vāganumitagalapañjara-gataśukagrahautkaṇṭhyāt amba radanāmbaraṃ te bimbaphalaṃ śambarāriṇā nyastam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZCkOFXPg9k&index=2&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAc g1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 03 Upajati [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GVkB... ]
After śloka and ārya, the varṇa-vṛ tta metres. In the varṇa-vṛ ttas, the pattern of guru and laghu is completely fixed. If the pattern is the same in all the four lines, the v ṛ tta is called a sarva-sama-vṛ tta. If alternate lines are identical, then it is termed as ardha-sama. Else (if the four lines are asymmetrical), it is called vi ṣama-vṛ tta. There are few popular ardha-sama-v ṛ ttas, and only one well-known viṣama-vṛ tta, but all the rest of the well-known vṛ ttas are sama-vṛ ttas. One of the most well-known sama-v ṛ ttas is indra-vajrā, another upendra-vajrā. The
combination of the two yield several varieties of upajātis. In these upajātis, there is a choice of whether the first syllable is guru or laghu; the rest are fixed and identical.
Upajāti is the staple food of many great Sanskrit poets. Kālidāsa, Aśvaghoṣa, and many more have used this as the major metre in their epics, while Vyāsa and Vālmīki have taken asylum in the magnificent anu ṣṭup variety śloka. (Though they use upajāti to an extent, the major metre in their magnificent epics is anu ṣṭup śloka.) A verse from Jagannātha Paṇḍitarāja's Bhāminī-Vilāsa, in upajāti.
tīre taruṇyā vadanaṃ sahāsam nīre sarojasya milad-vikāsam ālokya dhāvatyubhayatra mugdhā maranda-lubdhāli-kiśora-mālā
I shall repeat it once again to indicate the subtlety of yati or caesura.
tīre taruṇyā vadanaṃ sahāsam nīre sarojasya miladvikāsam ālokya dhāvatyubhayatra mugdhā maranda-lubdhāli-kiśora-mālā Generally there is no specific yati in this metre. But if you are keen enough, we can notice that there is a slight pause after the fifth letter: "tīre taruṇyā / vadanaṃ sahāsam // nīre saroja/sya
miladvikāsam". But we should not split it in a jarring manner. That is why, in "nīre sarojasya miladvikāsam" [sung], we have to jump the pause while reciting.
Again, in "ālokya dhāvatyubhayatra mugdhā", it has to be smoothly recited: "ālokya dhāvatyubhayatra mugdhā". Similarly in "maranda-lubdhāli -kiśora -mālā". One more verse in the same metre from Kālidāsa's Raghuvaṃśa.
alaṃ māhipāla tava śrameṇa pratyuktam apyastram ito v ṛthā syāt na pādaponmūlana-śakti raṃhaḥ
śiloccaye mūrchati mārutasya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVkBTBfNXk&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meWWvSEary_a&index=3
Sanskrit Metres: 04 Vamshastha [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPGdX... ] Now we look at Va ṃśastha, a well-known metre which has 12 syllables in every foot.
Kālidāsa and later poets have used it. Popularly it is called Vaṃśastha, and the technical name is Va ṃśasthavila. Bhāravi is supposed to be adept in wielding this metre, and the maximum number of sargas of his Kirātārjunīyam are composed in Vaṃśastha. A verse from Bhāravi's Kirātārjunīya, from the 14th canto:
stuvanti gurvīm abhideya-sampadam viśuddhi-mukter apare vipaścitaḥ iti sthitāyām prati-pūruṣam rucau sudurlabhāḥ sarva-manoramā giraḥ Again:
stuvanti gurvīm abhideya-sampadam viśuddhi-mukter apare vipaścitaḥ iti sthitāyām prati-pūruṣam rucau sudurlabhāḥ sarva-manoramā giraḥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPGdX0Dy6H0&index=4&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAc g1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 05 Indravamsha [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu499... ] Now we look at a 12-syllabled metre called Indravaṃśa. The only difference between Indrava ṃśa and Vaṃśastha is in the first letter.
This is like the difference between Indravajrā and Upendravajrā. If the first letter in Indravajrā, the guru, is changed to laghu, it becomes Upendravajrā. So in Vaṃśastha, when the first letter which is laghu is changed into a guru, it becomes Indrava ṃśa. [His own composition]
vāṇ ī vareṇyā spṛ haṇ īyavāṇinī pāṇ ītapāṇinyurusaṃskriyānayā bhūyādalokānubhavāya bhāvukā pāyādamāyāvilavākchala ṃ jagat In all these metres seen so far, we know that the yati or caesura is very feeble or weak, and that is why such metres are called yati-durbala. They can be recited without stopping at any specific point. We can recite the verse according to the breaking of the words (according to the pada-yati). But in the case of metres which have a pronounced caesura (yati-prābalya), there we have to recite with all care. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu499Oo6Shc&index=5&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg 1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 06 Rathoddhata [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soxZA... ]
Now we look at a popular metre which has 11 letters in each foot: rathoddhatā. It was much popularised by Kālidāsa, and later every poet started adopting this, especially for the description of sunset and moonrise.
A verse from Kumārasambhava's eighth canto: [http://fiindolo.sub.uni-goettingen.de... Ks_8.63]
aṅgulībhir iva keśasañcayaṃ sannigṛ hya timiraṃ marīcibhiḥ kuḍmalīkṛ tasarojalocanaṃ
cumbatīva rajanīmukhaṃ śaśī aṅgulībhir iva keśasañcayaṃ sannigṛ hya timiraṃ marīcibhiḥ kuḍmalīkṛ tasarojalocanaṃ
cumbatīva rajanīmukhaṃ śaśī Here, though the metre is a var ṇa-vṛ tta, it has a "mātric" rhythm, a rhythm which is comparable to the metres found in the mātrā varieties (the jāti-s, to use the śāstric name). Thus, though in terms of syllables the metre is 11-syllabled, we can view it as 8*2=16
mātras instead: the mātrā varieties intrinsically divide in such a way that it creates a harmonious blend of 3 and 5 matras in an array:
aṅgu/lībhiriva / keśa/sañcayaṃ saṃni/gṛ hya timi/raṃ ma/rīcibhiḥ kuḍma/līkṛ tasa/roja/locanaṃ
cumba/tīva raja/nīmu/khaṃ śaśī Or it can just as well be changed from 3 and 5, to 5 and 3: 10
aṅgulī/bhir iva / keśasañ/cayaṃ sannigṛh/ya timi/raṃ marī/cibhiḥ kuḍmalī/kṛtasa/rojalo/canaṃ
cumbatī/va raja/nīmukhaṃ/ śaśī https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soxZABKUsU&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meWWvSEary_a&index=6
Sanskrit Metres: 07 Svagata [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFT11... ]
With a slight difference, rathoddhatā becomes svāgatā. In the svāgatā metre, again 11-syllabled, similar to rathoddhatā, we can identify the movement of 3+5 matras, but at the end we have the 3+5 being equally divided into 4 and 4. One verse from Naiṣadhīya Caritam of Śrīharṣa, who has used it extensively in his epic poem. This svāgatā verse has been taken from the 5th canto of Naiṣadha. [http://sanskritworld.in/naishadhiyach... ]
bhīmajā ca hṛ di me paramāste jīvitād api dhanād api gurvī na svameva mama sārhati yasyāḥ ṣoḍaśīmapi kalāṃ kila norvī I shall repeat it in such a way that this var ṇavṛ tta can as well be realised as a mātrājāti.
bhīmajā ca hṛ di me paramāste jīvitād api dhanād api gurvī na svameva mama sārhati yasyāḥ ṣoḍaśīmapi kalāṃ kila norvī Here we can notice: ṣoḍaśīm/api ka — 5,3 lāṃ kila/ norvī — 4,4 ṣoḍaśīmapi kalāṃ kila norvī This is also something like a niryati metre, having very feeble caesura. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFT11y_iOJM&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meW WvSEary_a&index=7
Sanskrit Metres: 08 DrutaVilambita [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flS5G... ] Now we look at Druta-Vilambita, the other beautiful variety among 12-syllabled metres (the jagati genre). A verse from Līlāśuka's Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛ tam, known for its metrical melody and beauty in meaning:
mada-śikhaṇḍi-śikhaṇḍa-vibhūṣaṇam madana-manthara-mugdha-mukhāmbujam vraja-vadhū-jana-locana-vaṅchitam vijayatām mama-vāṅmaya- jīvitam Again:
mada-śikhaṇḍi-śikhaṇḍa-vibhūṣaṇam madana-manthara-mugdha-mukhāmbujam vraja-vadhū-jana-locana-vaṅcitam vijayatām mama-vāṅmaya- jīvitam We can notice a beautiful dancing rhythm here. [sung] It is verily danceable, and the name of the metre itself reveals the marvel of its movement: druta and vilambita. Druta means swiftness. Vilambita is slowing down the pace. The combination of them yields druta-vilambita, the fast and slow tempos combined together. The laghus represent the druta-gati or the fast pace, and the gurus of course lead to a slow pace. The combination yields druta-vilambita.
mada-śikhaṇḍi-śikhaṇḍa-vibhūṣaṇam madana-manthara-mugdha-mukhāmbujam vraja-vadhū-jana-locana-vaṅcitam vijayatām mama-vāṅmaya- jīvitam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flS5GoBHW4g&index=8&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg 1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 09 Manjubhashini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j90Zu... ] The next metre we look at is Mañjubhāṣiṇ ī, having 13 syllables in every foot. Mañjubhāṣiṇ ī is a very beautiful but rarely used metre. Only a few poets like Māgha
and Śivasvāmi have employed it for many verses, but generally it used in plays here and there. It is a very beautiful metre.
I shall recite a verse from Līlāśuka's Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛ ta.
aruṇādharāmṛ ta-viśeṣita-smitam varuṇālayānugata-varṇa-vaibhavam taruṇāravinda-dala-dīrgha-locanam karuṇālayaṃ kam api bālam āśraye Those who have heard Rathoddha tā would unfailingly identify that this is nothing but
Rathoddhatā with two laghus in the beginning. aruṇādharāmṛ ta-viśeṣita-smitam — here if we delete 'aru' in the first line, " ṇādharāmṛ taviśeṣita-smitam" becomes rathoddhatā. So a leap can be identified here. This is a variety of keeping the rhythm intact. The grip in the rhythm can be identified
here. Such marvels in music are called atīta and anāgata varieties. Here we can notice again the gati of 5+3 or 3+5. Here it is 5+3.
aruṇādharāmṛ taviśeṣitasmitam varuṇālayānugata-varṇa-vaibhavam taruṇāravinda-dala-dīrgha-locanam karuṇālayaṃ kam api bālam āśraye Similarly if 2 laghus are added at the beginning of rathoddhatā's cousin svāgatā —that is, svāgatā starting with two extra laghus — then it becomes kalaha ṃsa, another metre which is a very rarely used one.
Sanskrit Metres: 10 Shalini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0c_1... ] One more variety in the 11-syllabled genre (tri ṣṭup) of metres is śālinī.
Śālinī is one of the beautiful metres which is very popular in the later poets po ets like Māgha and Śivasvāmi, but rarely used by the early masters like Kālidāsa and Bhāsa. (It is used mainly in some plays.) This metre is very difficult to handle for beginners, because of the heavy gurus which "bounce" in the beginning itself, five in number.
One Śālinī from Māgha. A verse from the 18th canto of Śiśupālavadha. [http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/g http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/g....]
ghaṇṭānādo nisvano diṇḍimānām
graiveyāṇām āravo brahmitāni āmetīva pratyavocan gajānām utsāhārtham vācamādhoraṇasya This metre has a specifically pronounced caesura or yati after the fourth letter. After four gurus we ha ve a virāma-sthāna or pause, and then we have the remaining 7 letters. The whole metre is pronouncedly guru- gambhīra and that is why it is a very grave and terse metre.
Here, we can notice: the later metres of bigger varieties like Mandākrānta, Sragdharā, Sodana and many, have found a maternal force in this one.
The expansion of Śālinī itself leads to Mandākrānta and Sragdharā, well-known bigger varieties. We don't know which came first, but we can say: in the Vedic metres too, here and there, we do see the variety of Śālinī, but not Mandākrānta or Sragdharā. That is why historians of metre naturally declare that bigger varieties are later explorations, while smaller ones have an antiquity.
In this Śālinī metre, we can see a strikingly Vedic vigour. If we remember Kālidasa's k-chandas, which occurs in the fourth act, we can realise that there, in the Śākuntala's Ṛ k-chandas, Ṛ kchandas kchandas which is of the triṣṭup variety, we have one line of Śālinī too. Just to recapitulate for the memory of the listeners, from Śākuntalam:
amī vediṃ paritaḥ kḷpta-dhiṣṇyāḥ samidvantaḥ prānta-saṃstīrṇa-darbhāḥ apaghnanto duritaṃ havya-gandhair vaitānās tvāṃ vahnayaḥ pāvayantu Here the last line "vaitānās tvāṃ vahnayaḥ pāvayantu" is in Śālinī. In the Bhagavad-Gīta, Mahābhārata Mahābhārata too, we see here and there lines of Śālinī, but not a complete verse in Śālinī. [See also Mandākrānta, Mandākrānta, Sragdharā] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0c_1eVIWHI&index=10&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAc g1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 11 Praharshini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taXMw... ] Praharṣiṇi is a 13-syllabled metre, very terse in nature.
Poet Bhāravi is endearingly called by the name Chattra-Bhāravi, for his well-known verse from Kirātārjunīyam's fifth canto, and this verse which yields "Chatra-Bhāravi", the attribute to him, is in Praharṣiṇi. Here the poet describes the beautiful whirls of winds which move on the lotuses so that the pollen grains are collected, and they form the shape of an umbrella which is nothing
but a golden umbrella given to the goddess of the season Śarat.
utphulla-sthala-nalinī-vanād amuṣmād uddhūtaḥ sarasijasambhavaḥ parāgaḥ
vātyābhir viyati vivartitaḥ samantād ādhatte kanakamayātapatralakṣmīm It also sounds verily Vedic. After the third letter we have the caesura or yati:
ādhatte/kanakamayātapatralakṣmīm. **At this juncture, we can know that the yati-sthāna or pause occurs only when we have the asymmetric combinations of clusters of gurus and laghus joining at one particular point.**
"ādhatte" is a completely guru-pradhāna phrase: the three-lettered word ādhatte is completely guru. All the measures are long.
"kanakamayātapatralakṣmīm": here in "kanakamaya" we have four laghus, followed by ātapatralakṣmīm, a combination of gurus and laghus. But strikingly we have three gurus and four laghus joining at one point, and this welding point is caesura or yati-sthāna. Where we have the combination of bhinna-gatis, there we realise yati. Where a metre has combination of several varieties of gatis, there we are bound to have caesuras, one or two at least. But where the whole foot is smooth or homogeneous, with a uniform combination of gurus and laghus, we cannot realise a pronounced yati. And that is 20
why, in the upajāti or in the beautiful metre vasantatilakā or in the varieties like campakamāla, utpalamāla which are very popular in Kannada and Telugu (these metres are of course borrowed from Sanskrit), we don't find a pronounced or identifiable yati. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taXMwE4ZOjw&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=11
Sanskrit Metres: 12 Jagati Stotra Metres [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffbqy... ] Now we shall go to very rhythmic and enchanting metres of the 12-lettered variety (that is, from the Jagati group/family). We have four popular metres which are verily useful in composing stotra- kāvyas or devotional hymns. But for a narrative epic, these metres are not advisable. The great scholar and rhetorician/poetician Mammaṭa declares that such metres should never be employed by a poet who is devoted to writing an epic. Occasionally for variety in rare cases we may employ them, but because of their jingling rhythm we are bound to get distracted from the core meaning of the verse, and that is the main purpose of the poet. We shall look at four varieties: 1. If all four ga ṇas in a line are ya-gaṇa, it is called bhujaṅga-prayāta. A ya-gaṇa has one short and two long syllables. Thus we have: nanānā -nanānā-nanānā-nanānā... 2. If each line is made of four sa-ga ṇa — nananā-nananā-nananā-nananā — the metre is called toṭaka. (It is also called troṭaka, but its name toṭaka seems to be more appropriate, for the 'toṭaka' name can be embedded in the metre itself, but troṭaka cannot be accommodated for its gitvākṣara, the combination of two consonants, in the first letter.) 3. Four ra-gaṇas yield the sragviṇ ī metre: nānanā-nānanā-nānanā-nānanā.... 4. The last one in this variety is jaloddhata gati. There we have a jaga ṇa and a sa-gaṇa, twice: nanāna-nananā-nanāna-nananā. The metre is very enchanting and danceable. We shall recite an example each — from the stotra- kavyās, for these metres are wellknown for stotras. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffbqy_W76Co&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meW WvSEary_a&index=12
Sanskrit Metres: 13 Bhujanga Prayata [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOwJB... ]
Śaṅkara, the great sage who propounded the philosophy of Advaita, has written many Bhujaṅga-prayātas. (Or at least, there are many Bhujaṅga-prayāta stotras in his name.) One such Bhujaṅga-prayāta stotra from Śaṅkara:
kavitvaṃ ca gadyaṃ vicitraṃ karoti manaś cen na lagna ṃ guror aṅghri-padme tataḥ kiṃ tataḥ kiṃ tataḥ kiṃ tataḥ kiṃ One more verse from his Śāradā-bhujaṅga-prayāta stotra:
lalāmāṅkaphālāṁ lasadgānalolāṁ svabhaktaikalolāṁ yaśaḥśrīkapolām purastuṅgabhadrā ṁ surastrī-vinidrāṁ bhaje śāradāmbām ajasra ṁ madambām https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOwJBDlQw5o&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=13
Sanskrit Metres: 14 Totaka [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjPZV... ] In Toṭaka, we have a verse from Veṅkateśvara Suprabhātaṃ composed by Prativādi Bhayaṅkaran Aṇṇan.
ativelatayā tava durviṣahair anuvelakṛ tair aparādhaśataiḥ | bharitaṃ tvaritaṃ vṛṣa śailapate parayā kṛ payā paripāhi hare || I shall repeat.
ativelatayā tava durviṣahair anuvelakṛ tair aparādhaśataiḥ | bharitaṃ tvaritaṃ vṛṣa śailapate parayā kṛ payā paripāhi hare || https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjPZV5czHqM&index=14&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPA cg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 15 Sragvini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXurJ... ] For Sragviṇ ī, we shall go to Kṛṣṇakarṇāṃṛ ta of Līlāśuka. A hymn of eight verses, often called Ve ṇugītāṣṭaka, can be isolated from the second chapter of Kṛṣṇakarṇāṃṛ ta. From it:
bālikātālikātālalīlālayā saṅgasandarśitabhrūlatāvibhrama ḥ | gopikāgītadattāvadhānaḥ svayam saṅ jagau veṇunā devakīnandanaḥ || 2-41 One more verse:
cārucāmīkarābhāsabhāmāvibhu ḥ vaijayantīlatāvāsitora ḥsthalaḥ | nandabṛ ndāvane vāśitāmadhyagaḥ saṅ jagau veṇunā devakīnandanaḥ || 2-40 But we can very clearly notice the amount of monotony involved in this verse. Irrespective of the metrical melody, and the jingling sounds of the words, we cannot but lose the marvel of meaning. That is why great masters like Mammaṭa and others have restricted these metres only to stotra- kāvyas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXurJvC838U&index=15&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAc g1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 16 Pramitakshara [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJAw... ]
Pramitākṣara is another metre of 12-syllabled variety, used for the first time by the poet Bhāravi in his Kirātārjunīya. Pramitākṣara too is similar to these four metres, but the pronounced rhythmic sense is perhaps reduced to an extent because of one novel ga ṇa which is introduced there.
The total structure of the metre can as well be realized in ārya-gīti, or skandhaka, or kanda of Telugu and Kannada.
In Pramitākṣara we have a sa-gaṇa, then a ja-gaṇa, and two more sa-gaṇas. "pramitākṣarā tu sa-ja-sair uditā" is the sūtra of this. And here we can notice that na-na-nā-na-nā-na-na-na-nā-na-na-nā runs very smoothly, and that is why we don't have that much of pronounced embellishment of sound here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJAwptSXVM&index=16&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPA cg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 17 Vasantatilaka [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8g4B... ] Vasantatilakā is the most famous 14-syllabled metre. Many poets have employed it in a commendable way. It is said by K ṣemendra in his Suvṛ tta-tilakaṃ that the poet Ratnākara, in his great epic crossing 50 cantos in praise of
Śiva who destroys the demon Andhakāsura, has composed many Vasantatilakās in several cantos.
However it is the great king Bhoja who is known for beautiful Vasantatilakā metres. I shall recite a verse from Bhojarāja's Śṛṅgāra-prakāśa, the benedictory verse itself.
acchinna-mekhalam-alabdha-dṛḍhopagūḍham aprāpta-cumbanam avīkṣita-vaktrakānti kāntābhimiśra-vapuśa-kṛ ta-vipralambhasaṃ bhoga-sakhyam iva pātu vapuḥ purāreḥ I shall repeat it
acchinna-mekhalam-alabdha-dṛḍhopagūḍham aprāpta-cumbanam avīkṣita-vaktrakānti kāntābhimiśra-vapuśa-kṛ ta-vipralambhasaṃ bhoga-sakhyam iva pātu vapuḥ purāreḥ MSS_0366 http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/g...
One more verse from Bhoja's Campū-rāmāyaṇa:
duḥkhe sukhe ca rajayeva babhūva hetuḥ tādṛ k vidhau mahati gautama-dharmapatnyāḥ yasmāt guṇena rajasā vikṛ tiṃ gatā sā rāmasya pāda-rajasā prakṛ tiṃ prapede 28
Here we can notice: without any break, every foot can be easily recited. This indicates the niryatitva of the metre.
Haravijaya of Ratnākara of course has hundreds of vasantatilakās but Bhoja-rāja with a score of something like 50 or 60 vasantatilakās in his Campū-Rāmāyaṇa has become immortal and this metre is also immortalized.
Most of our Suprabhātās are composed in this metre. Kālidāsa started this tradition: in his Raghuvaṃśa's fifth canto, we have this metre being employed as suprabhāta for the first time. The poem starts:
"rātrir gatā matimatāṃ vara muñca śayyāṃ" [ Ragh_5.66 // http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/g...]
And later this metre was specifically adopted for suprabhātam by Prativādi Bhayaṅkaran Aṇṇan who composed the well-known Ve ṅkateśvara Suprabhāta.
īṣat praphulla-sarasīruha-nārikelapūgadrumādi-sumanohara-pālikānām | āvāpya mandam anilaḥ saha divya-gandhaiḥ śeṣādri-śekhara-vibho tava suprabhātam || This is how the metre goes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8g4BGdza_M&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=17
Sanskrit Metres: 18 Malini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvQ_7... ]
Mālinī, a metre of 15-syllables, is one of the most musical metres of the Sanskrit world. Most of the poets have employed this, mainly for the sargāntya. (At the end of every canto, the metre has to be changed, per the convention laid by the aestheticians.)
Accordingly, starting from Kālidāsa, there are many poets who have used Mālinī at the end of their cantos.
However, starting from Māgha, this metre has been employed for the whole sarga too. Even in the plays of master-poets like Bhāsa, Bhavabhūti, Viṣākhadatta and others, we
find Mālinī, not to speak of poets like Kālidāsa and others. A mālinī from Uttara-rāma-carita of Bhavabhūti:
kimapi kimapi mandaṃ mandam āsaktiyogāt aviralita-kapolaṃ jalpator-akrameṇa / aśithila-parirambha-vyāpṛ taikaikadoṣṇoḥ avidita-gata-yāmā rātrir eva vyaraṃsīt // One verse from Kālidāsa's Śākuntalam:
sarasijam anuviddhaṃ śaivalenāpi ramyam malinam api himāṃśor lakṣma lakṣmīṃ tanoti / iyam adhika-manojñā valkalenāpi tanvī kim iva hi madhurāṇāṃ maṇḍanaṃ nākṛ tīnām // KSak_1.18 // http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/g... There is a yati-sthāna or caesura at the end of the 8th letter in the middle, and naturally we have a yati-sthāna or caesura at the end of every foot (line). If these two yati- sthānas are managed with identical sounding words -- if we have anuprāsa, or if we have an internal rhyme -- the metre will be very beautiful to listen to. And such measures can be found in many stotra-kāvyas, and Līlāśuka towers supreme. 30
A verse from Līlāśuka's Kṛṣṇakarṇāṃṛ ta:
praṇaya-pariṇatābhyām prābhavālambanābhyām prati-pada-lalitābhyām pratyaham nūtanābhyām |
prati muhur adhikābhyām prasnuvallocanābhyām prabhavatu hṛ daye naḥ prāṇanāthaḥ kiśoraḥ || 1-13 Here, only in the last line we don't have anuprāsa. But for that, the whole verse is very melodious to listen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvQ_7wac868&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meW WvSEary_a&index=18
Sanskrit Metres: 19 Charuchamara [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWp7V... ]
The metre Cārucāmara is a very enchanting rhythmic piece which has a measure of 15 letters in every foot. This metre is well known in the stotra- kāvyas. A verse in description of the spring season. Such a description rarely happens in this metre, as the metre is mainly employed for stotras rather than seasons' description. [A verse by himself]
cāru-caitra-māsa-hāsa- bhāsavan manobharam bhūri-puṣpa-pūra-vāram īkṣyam etad ujvalam | dakṣiṇānilo vilola-vallarī vadhū-viṭo rakṣatīva mādhavīya mādhurīmudetyasau || Again:
cāru-caitra-māsa-hāsa- bhāsavan manobharam bhūri-puṣpa-pūra-vāram īkṣyam etad ujvalam | dakṣiṇānilo vilola-vallarī vadhū-viṭo rakṣatīva mādhavīya mādhurīmudetyasau || In this metre, one can strikingly notice the triśra gati of Indian music. Or for that matter, in any music we have the three-beats count. And the trimātrā gaṇa can as well be noticed: one guru and one laghu. It is as well comparable with the Western pattern of trochee: one long and one short syllable, joined and repeating in succession. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWp7Vo_a0rs&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=19
Sanskrit Metres: 20 Panchachamaram [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tdig... ] The 16-syllabled metre Pañca-cāmaram is a close cousin of Cāru-cāmaram. This is again meant for stotras, because the rhythm of 3 -- the triśra gati -- is a very speedy move and its fast succession naturally generates a lot of monotony. So for high spirits in rare occasions this may as well be employed, but not at all times.
Śaṅkara's Gaṇeśa-Pañcaratnam has been composed in this particular metre. A beautiful alliterating verse from that hymn:
nitānta-kānta-danta-kāntam antakāntakātmajam tvacintya rūpam antahīnam antarāya-kṛ ntanam / hṛ dantare nirantara ṃ vasantam eva yoginām tam ekadantam eva tam vicintayāmi santatam // We can notice how the melody of the metre has been fostered with variety.
nitānta-kānta-danta-kāntam antakāntakātmajam tvacintya rūpam antyahīnam antarāya-kṛ ntanam / hṛ dantare nirantara ṃ vasantam eva yoginām tam ekadantam eva tam vicintayāmi santatam // The start with laghu is a beautiful and striking novelty in this particular one. But for this first laghu, there is no difference betwee n this and the earlier Cārucāmaram. If a laghu is added at the beginning of Cārucāmaram, it turns out to be Pañcacāmaram. Here, its rhythmic pattern is comparable to the Western counterpart iambic metre. The leap from laghu to guru is striking and easy to notice.
nitānta-kānta-danta-kāntam antakāntakātmajam tvacintya rūpam antyahīnam antarāya-kṛ ntanam / hṛ dantare nirantara ṃ vasantam eva yoginām tam ekadantam eva tam vicintayāmi santatam // 33
Sanskrit Metres: 21 Seventeen Syllabled [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxtyI... ] The class of 17-syllabled (atya ṣṭi) metres has some 4 or 5 significant metres
(Mandākrānta, Śikhariṇ ī, Hariṇ ī, Kokilaka, Pṛ thvī). All are strikingly different. They are not at all rhythmic in the sense of music (meaning
that they cannot be employed to any tāla), but the intrinsic rhythmic melody is striking, and everything is triggered towards the meaning, which is why these metres are very popular in plays. In the epics too, at the end of each section, generally to change the metre, we see such metres. In later stotra kāvyas of Śaṅkara, Jagannātha, Vedanta-Deśika, Mūkakavi and others, where a lot of poetic fancy and imagination is involved, such metres are profusely employed. The main metres in this section are Mandākrānta, Śikhariṇ ī, Hariṇ ī, Kokilaka (or Narkuṭaka or even called Nardaṭaka), and lastly Pṛ thvī. These five metres can as well be recognized as pañca-ratnas in this particular variety, atyaṣṭi (17-syllabled metres). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxtyIaTXYY&index=21&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 22 Mandakranta [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsSW9... ]
Mandākrānta. This metre is absolutely immortalized by Kālidāsa in his Meghadūta. The very first verse itself can be recollected:
kaścit kāntā-viraha-guruṇā svādhikārāt pramattaḥ śāpenāstaṃgamita-mahimā varṣa-bhogyeṇa bhartuḥ yakṣaś cakre janaka-tanayā-snāna-puṇyodakeṣu snigdhacchāyā-taruṣu vasatiṃ rāmagiryāśrameṣu // 1.1 // One more verse from the same l yric Meghadūtam:
tasminn adrau katicid abalā-viprayuktaḥ sa kāmī nītvā māsān kanaka-valaya-bhraṃśarikta-prakoṣṭhaḥ āṣāḍhasya prathama-divase megham āśliṣṭa-sānuṃ vapra-krīḍā-pariṇata-gaja-prekṣaṇ īyaṃ dadarśa // 1.2 // Here the pauses come at two places in every foot: after the 4th and after the 10th. "kaścit kāntā—" after 4 letters, a caesura. "—viraha-guruṇā—" after 6 more letters (totally 4 + 6 = 10). "—svādhikārāt pramattaḥ" And the end of the pāda is a yati, as pādānta-yati is invariably the case in Sanskrit metres. Thus the metrical rendition of the first line will be:
kaścitkāntā—virahaguruṇā—svādhikārātpramattaḥ Here again we notice how all three varieties are combined here: the guru-pracura gati in the first unit, the laghu-pracura gati in the second unit and then the miśra -gati in the third unit.
They yield two joints respectively, which correspond to the two yatis in the pādamadhya (inside the pāda/line), and at the pādānta (end of the foot), we have one more yati. And we can also identify that, because of the scope and length of these metres, different gatis are employed. Unlike the smaller measures like Druta-vilambitā, or Rathoddhatā
or even Upajāti where not more than 11 or 12 syllables are accommodated in every foot, here it is 17. Because of that, a judicious management and accommodation of all the
three possible gati varieties (druta, vilambita, and miśra, or guru-pracura, laghupracura and guru-laghu-pracura) is possible. The admixture has yielded many varieties, and in these varieties one can realize the aesthetic taste of the masters of metre of Sanskrit. Generally in the lak ṣaṇa-granthas while mentioning the do ṣa-prakaraṇa (i.e., dealing with the blemishes of poetry — how good poetry should not be composed) one of the blemishes is yati-bhaṅga-doṣa. To indicate the violation of caesura they generally use
such metres as mandākrāntā, sragdharā, śālinī, mālinī, hari ṇ ī, śikhariṇ ī... and not vasantatilakā or upajāti or druta-vilambitā or rathoddhatā..., because only in metres where the yati is a pronounced one can we show whether the yati employed is right or wrong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsSW9EvsOpo&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=22
Sanskrit Metres: 23 Shikharini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWDAs... ]
Śikhariṇ ī Śikhariṇ ī has been hailed as the home pitch of the great playwright Bhavabhūti, but Śaṅkara's Śikhariṇ ī in Saundarya-laharī is unparalleled in any measure. And he has been justly imitated by a great and arrogant poet like Jagannātha too. So we shall go to Śivānanda-laharī and Saundarya-laharī of Śaṅkara. The first verse from Śivānanda-laharī:
kalābhyām cūḍālaṅkṛ ta-śaśi kalābhyāṃ nija tapaḥphalābhyāṃ bhaktānāṃ prakaṭita-phalābhyāṃ bhavatu me | śivābhyāṃ-astoka-tribhuvana śivābhyāṃ hṛ di punar bhavābhyām ānanda sphuradanubhavābhyā ṃ natiriyam || 1 || I shall repeat
kalābhyām cūḍālaṅkṛ ta-śaśi kalābhyāṃ nija tapaḥphalābhyāṃ bhaktānāṃ prakaṭita-phalābhyāṃ bhavatu me | śivābhyāṃ-astoka-tribhuvana śivābhyāṃ hṛ di punar bhavābhyām ānanda sphuradanubhavābhyā ṃ natiriyam || 1 || I shall take Saundarya-laharī of Śaṅkara as one more example:
kalaṅkaḥ kastūrī rajanikara-bimbaṃ jalamayaṃ kalābhiḥ karpūrair marakatakaraṇḍaṃ nibiḍitam / atas tvadbhogena pratidinam idaṃ riktakuharaṃ vidhir bhūyo bhūyo nibiḍayati nūnaṃ tava kṛ te // Saul_95 // Śikhariṇ ī indicates gradually moving higher and higher. We can notice this in the rendition itself:
kadā kāle mātaḥ kathaya kalitālaktakarasaṃ pibeyaṃ vidyārthī tava caraṇa-nirṇejanajalam / prakṛ tyā mūkānām api ca kavitā-kāraṇatayā kadādhatte vāṇ ī-mukha-kamala-tāmbūla-rasatām // Saul_90 // Here we can notice how the metre is ascending gradually, indicating the effect of
Śikhariṇ ī. If a rhyme is brought out at the point of caesura, the metre becomes very musical to hear. And this natural appreciation of rhyme is employed by several people — we can take an example from Śivānanda-laharī to show this:
trayī-vedyaṃ hṛ dyaṃ tripuraharam ādyaṃ tri-nayanaṃ jaṭā- bhārodāraṃ caladuragahāra ṃ mṛ gadharam mahā-devaṃ devaṃ mayi sadayabhāvaṃ paśupatiṃ cidālambaṃ sāmbaṃ śivam-ati-viḍambaṃ hṛ di bhaje || 3 || https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWDAst2sDdY&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=23
Sanskrit Metres: 24 Harini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2THTI... ] Hariṇ ī is a close cousin of Śikhariṇ ī. If we unstich the matrix we can know that Hariṇ ī
and Śikhariṇ ī are like remixes of the same commodity. One example of Hariṇ ī, from the fifth act of Pratimā-nāṭaka supposed to be penned by
bhramati salilaṃ vṛ kṣāvarte sa-phenam avasthitaṃ tṛṣita-patitā naite kliṣṭaṃ pibanti jalaṃ khagāḥ sthalam abhipatanty ārdrāḥ kīṭā bile jala-pūrite nava-valayino vṛ kṣā mūle jala-kṣaya-rekhayā [http://www.bhasa.indologie.uni-wuerzb...]
We can notice: Śikhariṇ ī starts with one laghu followed by five gurus. Hariṇ ī starts with five laghus followed by five gurus, with the yati-sthāna after the first guru itself. Here we can notice how differently they are managed. bhramati salilaṃ vṛ kṣāvarte / sa-phenam avasthitaṃ We can see the leap: "saphena-mavastitha ṃ"... "bhramati salilaṃ" ... "vṛ kṣāvarte"... "saphena-mavastithaṃ". Nowhere can we identify monotony. And that is the marvel of Sanskrit metres. These are called the laya-rahita metres or alayānvita metres and they have profound power and vigour. Hariṇ ī — the name itself reveals that it is a deer (a she-deer). And the leap of the deer can be realized in the flow of the metre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2THTIR9FHAs&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=24
Sanskrit Metres: 25 Prthvi [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWHxH... ] Pṛ thvī is the most melodious and beautiful metre in the whole range of such varieties. Pṛ thvī has been immortalized by Jagannātha in some of his verses. From his Śānti vilāsa, a devotional verse on his personal god Kṛṣṇa.
smṛ tāpi taruṇātapaṃ karuṇayā harantī nṛṇām abhaṅguratanutviṣāṃ valayitā śatair vidyutām | kalinda-giri-nandinī-taṭasuradrumālambinī madīya-mati-cumbinī bhavatu kāpi kādambinī || This has been taken as a benedictory verse in his Rasa-ga ṅgādhara too. I shall repeat.
smṛ tāpi taruṇātapaṃ karuṇayā harantī nṛṇām abhaṅguratanutviṣāṃ valayitā śatair vidyutām | kalinda-giri-nandinī-taṭasuradrumālambinī madīya-mati-cumbinī bhavatu kāpi kādambinī || One more verse from the same Śānti-vilāsa.
viśāla-viṣayāṭavī-valaya-lagnadāvānalaprasatvara-śikhāvalī-vikalitaṃ madīyaṃ manaḥ | amandamiladindire nikhilamādhurīmandire mukunda-mukha-candire ciram idaṃ cakorāyatām || Earlier Pṛ thvī's yati-sthāna was not noticed. Later it was fixed as being after the eighth letter. Before that, even such great poets as Kālidāsa and Bhartṛ hari have erred in identifying the pause that creates a lot of melody in this metre. For example, take Bhartṛ hari's Nītiśataka where in one well -known Pṛ thvī, the yati-sthāna has been violated three times. I shall recite the verse and you yourself can notice:
labheta sikatāsu tailam api yatnataḥ pīḍayan pibec ca mṛ ga-tṛṣṇikāsu salilaṃ pipāsārditaḥ | kadācid api paryaṭan śaśa-viṣāṇam āsādayet na tu pratiniviṣṭa-mūrkha-jana-cittam ārādhayet || BharSt_1.5 || I think you would have noticed a jarring sound while recitation of the three lines. Except for the third, in the remaining three lines we have a jarring sound. "labheta sikatāsu tai—lam api yatnataḥ pīḍayan" Here the word has been
unwarrantedly cut: "taila" has been cut as "tai" and "la": "labheta sikatāsu tai—lam api" - it should not be the case.
"labheta sikatāsu tailam api yatnataḥ pīḍayan" -- so it has to be read for clarity of meaning. But for clarity of meaning if we violate the yati-sthāna, then it will not be pleasing to the ears. "pibec ca mṛ gatṛṣṇikā—su salilaṃ pipāsārditaḥ" -- here again there is an unwarranted cut. "kadācid api paryaṭan śaśa-viṣāṇam āsādayet" -- no problem here; very smooth. "na tu pratiniviṣṭa-mūr—kha-jana-cittam ārādhayet". Again there is an unwarranted cut. This is because of the wrong identification of the yati- sthāna. Or, perhaps, those masters like Kālidāsa and Bhartṛ hari had never thought that there is a yati-sthāna in this variety of metre Pṛ thvī. But the later poets have unfailingly noticed where the melody lies and accordingly they have worked out this metre.
In Mūka-kavi's Mūka-pañca-śatī, we can see 100 beautiful pṛ thvī verses. Thus have later devotional poets and playwrights excelled. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWHxHvKmEIw&index=25&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahP Acg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 26 Kokilaka [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdOQf... ] Kokilaka or Narkuṭaka, also called Nardaṭaka, is a rarely used metre. Only Śivasvāmi has employed this metre for a complete sarga in his Kapphi ṇābhyudaya. Except for that, many poets have used this metre only here and there, mostly in their plays, that too very rarely. Master poets like Kālidāsa, Bhāsa, Bhavabhūti have not at all employed this. Just to show the flow of this, I shall quote two lines from Gurunātha -parāmarśa of
Madhurāja, who was a devout student of Abhinavagupta. His devotion for his master was so great that he declared
abhinavaguptapāda-likhitaṃ likhitaṃ hṛ daye tad-itara-dhīra-vṛ nda-likhitaṃ likhitaṃ salile It resembles very closely the Sarasi metre, later known as Campaka-māla in Kannaḍa and Telugu. Sarasi was employed by Māgha in his Śiśupāla-vadha's third canto as the concluding verse. Overall, this metre is very rarely used. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdOQfud9DGM&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7m eWWvSEary_a&index=26
Sanskrit Metres: 27 Mallikamala [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS_2g... ]
Mallikāmālā is an 18-syllabled metre, also known as Mattakokilam in Telugu and in some of the "Chandograntha"s of Kanna ḍa as well.
It is a very smooth rhythmic metre, which can be adopted easily to Miśra-chāpu of Carnatic music / Dīpchandi tāl of Hindustani music. The mātrika variety or the rhythmic pattern according to the mātrā- jāti can be realized after every 3 and 4 syllables [.. and so on] It is a varṇa-vṛ tta, yet it has layānvita-gati.
The rhythm can very easily be managed to tāla. This is unlike Śikhariṇ ī, Hariṇ ī and others which can never be employed under the rate of any tāla. Here again we have to resort to the devotional hymns. One refrain from Mārkaṇḍeya's śiva-stuti "Candraśekharāṣṭaka"
candraśekhara candraśekhara candraśekhara pāhi mām candraśekhara candraśekhara candraśekhara rakṣa mām This is how the metre goes.
candraśekhara candraśekhara candraśekhara pāhi mām [...] But in this particular composition, the yati- sthāna is not taken care of: it has been rendered according to the rhythm of the mātras. Instead, to avoid the monotony, our masters of metre have placed yati-sthāna in a peculiar manner. To illustrate that, we can take one line from the same candraśekharāṣṭaka of Mārkaṇḍeya:
candraśekharam āśraye / mama kiṃ kariṣyati vai yamaḥ candraśekharam āśraye mama / ki ṃ kariṣyati vai yamaḥ These are the two ways of rendition. In the first way you can see — "candraśekharam āśraye / *mama* kiṃ kariṣyati vai yamaḥ" — there is a "leap and twist" and with this, which is called in the musical terminology as eḍuppu in Tamil (or ettugaḍe in Kannaḍa, ettugaḍa in Telugu, "graha" in the Sanskrit technical terminology), we can notice how the monotony of 3 and 4, regularly occurring, has been deviated from in a skilful manner.
candraśekharam āśraye / mama kiṃ kariṣyati vai yamaḥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS_2gomxCdE&index=27&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAc g1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 28 Shardulavikridita [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TykW2... ] Now we shall go to the most magnificent metre in the whole range of Sanskrit literature, the 19- syllabled Śārdūla-vikrīḍitam.
Śārdūlavikrīḍitam is the most majestic metre and it has the yati- sthānam after the 12th letter. Starting from Kālidāsa, all great poets have used. In Sanskrit, three metres can be treated as all-round metres:
the smallest is śloka, the medium is vasanta-tilaka, and the biggest is śārdūla-vikrīḍita.
We can as well count upajāti in this section, but these three metres have an unfailingly striking marvel in their diction and melody, while in upajāti th ere is an element of monotony and boredom because of the mātrika variety which can as well be read here and there. It goes in the saṅkīrṇa-gati [...] or [...] like that: viloma-sankīrṇa and because of that there is an element of monotony. But we can never feel the monotony in these three metres like śloka, vasanta-tilaka and śārdūla-vikrīḍita for they nowhere accommodate any tāla.
Now going to śārdūla-vikrīḍita. Bhartṛ hari has really immortalized śārdūla-vikrīḍita in his Vairāgya-śataka. However, Kṣemendra declares in his Suv ṛ tta-tilakaṃ that Rājaśekhara is too well known for this metre, and there are many many stalwarts who have wielded their pen wonderfully in handling śārdūla-vikrīḍitam. The meaning of the metre itself is majestic: the gait or play of a tiger. Our national animal. A magnificent verse from Bhat ṛ hari's Vairāgya-śataka.
mātar medini tāta māruta sakhe tejaḥ subandho jala bhrātar vyoma nibaddha eṣa bhavatām antyaḥ praṇāmāñjaliḥ | yuṣmat-saṅga-vaśopajāta-sukṛ ta-sphāra-sphuran-nirmala jñānāpāsta-samasta-moha-mahimā līye para-brahmaṇi || 100 || Here, an unbroken compound word extending to the fourth line (starting from the third line to the middle of the fourth line) is the stamp of Bhart ṛ hari and there lies the beauty of this metre too. I shall repeat it:
mātar medini tāta māruta sakhe tejaḥ subandho jala bhrātar vyoma nibaddha eṣa bhavatām antyaḥ praṇāmāñjaliḥ | yuṣmat-saṅga-vaśopajāta-sukṛ ta-sphāra-sphuran-nirmala jñānāpāsta-samasta-moha-mahimā līye para-brahmaṇi || 100 || One more verse, from Bhart ṛ hari's Nīti-śataka:
kṣut-kṣāmo 'pi jarā-kṛ śo 'pi śithila-prāyo 'pi kaṣṭāṃ daśām āpanno 'pi vipanna-dīdhitir iti prāṇeṣu muñcatsv api | mattebhendra-vibhinna-kumbha-piśita-grāsaika-baddha-spṛ haḥ kiṃ jīrṇaṃ tṛṇam atti māna-mahatām agresaraḥ kesarī || BharSt_1.29 || To explain the beauty of this verse, we may take 15 minutes or so! But we are not going to that. However, to reveal the beauty of the content, to what extent a metre can contribute can as well be realized in this particular example itself. Here the compounding of words and uncompounding of the words and the sounds in the form of both vowels and consonants — everything have yielded wonder beauty majesty and sublimity. To speak in the words of Anandavardhana: every utterance is a vyañjaka-sāmagri in this particular verse and much of it goes to the credit of Śārdūlavikrīḍita. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TykW2r8UcIs&index=28&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAc g1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 29 Sragdhara [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3YK5... ]
Sragdharā is perhaps the biggest measure generally employed in Sanskrit poetry. Sragdharā literally means a maiden with a garland: "srag dharati iti sragdharā". Sragdharā is a yati-prabala metre. After every 7 letters, a caesura occurs. So its 21 syllables are divided into 3: the caesura is at three places (including the pādānta yati). A verse from Veṅkaṭādhvari's Viśva-guṇādarśa-campū in praise of Rāma and his name.
kalyāṇollāsa-sīmā kalayatu kuśalaṃ kāla-meghābhirāmā kācit sāketa-dhāmā bhava-gahana-gati--klānti-hāri-praṇāmā / saundarya-hrīṇa-kāmā dhṛ ta-janaka-sutā--sādarāpāṅga-dhāmā dikṣu prakhyāta- bhūmā diviṣadabhinutā devatā rāmanāmā // I shall repeat
kalyāṇollāsa-sīmā kalayatu kuśalaṃ kāla-meghābhirāmā kācit sāketa-dhāmā bhava-gahana-gati--klānti-hāri-praṇāmā / saundarya-hrīṇa-kāmā dhṛ ta-janaka-sutā--sādarāpāṅga-dhāmā dikṣu prakhyāta- bhūmā diviṣadabhinutā devatā rāmanāmā // When a bombastic verse is needed, sragdharā is made for it. A verse from Ḍiṇḍima bhaṭṭa, a court poet of Vijayanagar kings. ukti-pratyukti-mārga-krama-paricayavān asti kaścid vipaścid yadyasmin svasti tasmai budha-vara-samitau bibhyad abhyāgato bhūt | bhāṅkurvat bheka-kukṣiṃ- bhariśu bhaya- bharodbhrānta bhogīndra subhrū bhrūṇa-bhraṃśī kim ambhaḥphaṇiṣu patagarāṭ sambhramī bambhramīti ||
So mouthful utterances can be realized in Sragdharā.
Sanskrit Metres: 30 Viyogini [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGqpR... ] Now we have few ardha-sama metres.
The most popular is Viyoginī. Sometimes called Vaitālīya, but Vaitālīya is another variety of prākṛ ta metres, so Viyoginī is the best -suited metre. Viyoginī has been employed by Vālmīki too. Since then we have many poets who have wielded their pen successfully in it.
Taking a verse from Bhāravi's Kirātārjunīya, a well-known verse indeed:
sahasā vidadhīta na kriyām avivekaḥ param āpadāṃ padam / vṛṇate hi vimṛ śyakāriṇo guṇalabdhāḥ svayam eva sampadaḥ // 2.30 // I shall repeat
sahasā vidadhīta na kriyām avivekaḥ param āpadāṃ padam / vṛṇate hi vimṛ śyakāriṇo guṇalabdhāḥ svayam eva sampadaḥ // 2.30 // Here none can feel any pause in any of the feet, and so it is a niryati metre. Beautiful and employable for narration, but the ringing sound of the Vedic measure cannot be realized here unlike in the case of tri ṣṭup and jagati varieties like śālinī or upajāti or vaṃśastha or indravaṃśa. It is soft and musical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGqpRy6udO4&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=30
Sanskrit Metres: 31 Aupacchandasika [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF1xV... ] If one guru is added to the end of viyogini, it becomes aupacchandasika.
Aupacchandasika is also a popular metre mostly popularised by Bhāravi, Māgha and others. Kālidāsa has not employed this in any of the epics for the complete rendition of a canto, but here and there in his plays and even in the epics at the end perhaps, he has employed it as variety.
One example of this can be cited from a cāṭu (a witty verse) of Jagannātha Paṇḍitarāja:
yavanī navanīta-komalāṅgī śayanīye yadi nīyate kadācit avanī-talam eva sādhu manye navanīmāghavanī vinoda-hetuḥ I shall repeat
yavanī navanīta-komalāṅgī śayanīye yadi nīyate kadācit avanī-talam eva sādhu manye navanīmāghavanī vinoda-hetuḥ One can enjoy the melody of composition itself, whether you understand the lyric or not. The sound itself is so soul-stirring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF1xVDxgXpE&index=31&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPA cg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 32 Aparavaktra [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBHw_... ] Then we have two more ardha-sama-vṛ ttas, Aparavaktra and Puṣpitāgra. Aparavaktra and Puṣpitāgra are very close cousins, like Viyoginī and Aupacchandasika. Adding one guru to the end of Aparavaktra turns it into Puṣpitāgra. Here, as in the earlier ardha-sama-v ṛ tta metres, the odd lines are similar to each other, and the even lines are similar to each other.
One example of Aparavaktra, from Kālidāsa's Śākuntalam, from the fourth act:
anumata-gamanā śakuntalā tarubhir iyaṃ vana-vāsa-bandhubhiḥ / paribhṛ ta-virutaṃ kalaṃ yathā prativacanī-kṛ tam ebhir īdṛ śam // 4.10 // I shall repeat
anumata-gamanā śakuntalā tarubhir iyaṃ vana-vāsa-bandhubhiḥ / paribhṛ ta-virutaṃ kalaṃ yathā prativacanī-kṛ tam ebhir īdṛ śam // 4.10 // Here also there is no yati. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBHw_60vwDI&index=32&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPA cg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 33 Pushpitagra [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TQUc... ] The last of our popular ardha-sama metres is Puṣpitāgra. Puṣpitāgra is far more popular than Aparavaktra, its close cousin, or Aupacchandasika.
Here from the first act of Kālidāsa's Mālavikāgnimitram, we have an example:
na ca na paricito na cāpyaramyaścakitamupaimi tathāpi pārśvamasya / salilanidhir iva pratikṣaṇaṃ me bhavati sa eva navo navo'yamakṣṇoḥ // To show the rhythmic manner in which it can be sung even to tāla:
na ca na paricito na cāpyaramyaścakitamupaimi tathāpi pārśvamasya / salilanidhir iva pratikṣaṇaṃ me bhavati sa eva navo navo'yamakṣṇoḥ // https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TQUcuf2flw&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meW WvSEary_a&index=33
Sanskrit Metres: 34 Udgata [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H-9V... ] The only popular Viṣama-vṛ tta is udgata. This particular metre, Udgata, has been employed by an early poet like Aśvaghoṣa too,
but Kālidāsa has never touched this. From Māgha onwards we see the employment of this metre, but Māgha perhaps is the only poet who has used it in a very efficient manner. The whole of t he fifteenth canto of Śiśupālavadham is in udgata. Udgata is a very rhythmic metre. Hence in spite of its Vi ṣamatva, it has samatva as far as the music is concerned.
An example from the 15th canto of Māgha:
kṣaṇameṣa rājasatayaiva jagad-udaya-darśitodyatiḥ / sattva-hita-kṛ ta-matiḥ sahasā
tamasā vināśayati sarvam āvṛ taḥ //51// I shall repeat
kṣaṇameṣa rājasatayaiva jagad-udaya-darśitodyatiḥ / sattva-hita-kṛ ta-matiḥ sahasā
tamasā vināśayati sarvam āvṛ taḥ //51// kṣaṇameṣa rājasatayaiva jagad-udaya-darśitodyatiḥ / sattva-hita-kṛ ta-matiḥ sahasā
tamasā vināśayati sarvam āvṛ taḥ //51// 56
One can notice a plain Mañjubhā ṣiṇi foot coming in the last line: "tamasā vināśayati sarvam āvṛ taḥ". Thus we can realize that the whole metre is in the santulita- madhyāvarta-gati of 3+5 breaking into 4+4 too at different intervals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H9VD30PTQ&index=34&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meWWvSEary_a
Sanskrit Metres: 35 Ashwadhati [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwaGo... ] Just for the sake of revealing the variety of satāla or layānvita metres of bigger measures, we can cite two examples. The first is the well- known aśvadhāṭ ī, perhaps first popularized by Śaṅkara it seems in
his Ambāstava, and later adopted by many people for different stotras. One example here:
ambā sudhā-madhura- bimbādhara-smita-kadambāruṇācca rucirā lambāla kāmayaku jambāla tām haratu sāmbānugānaga sutā ḍambāsurīguṇa kurumbādi māraṇaka lambānvitānataparā śambālikā śivā kuṭumbāyitā pṛ thuni tambāvatu śrutidharā Here we can notice
ambā sudhā-madhura- bimbādhara-smita-kadambāruṇācca rucirā lambāla kāmayaku jambāla tām haratu sāmbānugānaga sutā ḍambāsurīguṇa kurumbādi māraṇaka lambānvitānataparā śambālikā śivā kuṭumbāyitā pṛ thuni tambāvatu śrutidharā Thus at every unit of tālāvarta (every unit of beat being taking off), we see a rhyme. This rhyming is very important in this metre: though it is not a metrical constraint, it has been made so. Hence composition of verses in this metre is rather difficult, as similarly sounding words have to be sought and they have to be arranged according to the meaning. Every line has three such rhymes, and totally 12 identical sounds have to
be produced: here, ambā, bimbā, kadambā, lambā, jambā, sāmbā, ḍambā, arumbā, kalambā, śambā, kuṭumbā, nitambā. All these things tax the scholastic nature of the poet. If a poet is well accomplished with words he can manage this, but a poet should be primarily accomplished with intuition. Thus such metres are popular only in devotional hymns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwaGoqaJru0&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7me WWvSEary_a&index=35 58
Sanskrit Metres: 36 Shivatandava [This video in sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj1I7... ]
And one more example of such sophisticated structure: we have śambhu-naṭanam. The very nature itself indi cates: śambhu-naṭanam means the dance of Śiva.
Aśva-dhāṭi: it represents the movement of a horse, the gallopping horse movement. So here it is the Tā ṇḍava of Śiva. It is from Patañjali-k ṛ ta Śiva-tāṇḍava-stotra: sadañcita-mudañcita-nikuñcita-padaṃ jhalajhalañcalita-mañju-kaṭakam patañjali dṛ gañjana manañjana macañcalapadaṃ janana bhañjana karam | kadamba-rucim ambaravasaṃ paramambuda kadamba kaviḍambaka kagalam cidambudhi maṇiṃ budha hṛ dambuja raviṃ para cidambara naṭaṃ hṛ di bhaje || 1|| I shall repeat sadañcita-mudañcita-nikuñcita-padañ-jhalajhalañcalita-mañju-kaṭakam patañjali dṛ gañjana manañjana macañcalapadaṃ janana bhañjana karam | kadamba-rucim ambaravasaṃ paramambuda kadamba kaviḍambaka kagalam cidambudhi maṇiṃ budha hṛ dambuja raviṃ para cidambara naṭaṃ hṛ di bhaje || 1|| This type of metre is very difficult to manage for its length and alliteration which is very essential to have an ambience of its own. So this has again restricted only to stotra-kāvyas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj1I7g7xheY&list=PL6IjPXllPG4ahPAcg1pE7meW WvSEary_a&index=36