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One: Scansion and Related Matters    Two: Description of the Metres

a: Vatta    b: Tuññhubha    c: Measure Metres    d: Bar Metres    e: Fixed Metres

Three: The Mixing of Metres    Four: Glossary & Index

Five: The Evolution of Vatta & Tuññhubha    Six: Guide to Further Study

    

Two: The Description of the Metres

The Bar Metres

    

Table of Contents

2.15 The bar metres, gaõacchandas

2.16 Old Gãti

2.17 Gãti, Ariyà, and their derivatives

2.18 Jagaõa, amphibrachys

2.19 Hypermetres, Veóha & Gubbinã

 

2.15 The bar metres (gaõacchandas)

Once a measure count was established, it was not long before a second structural principle was introduced, which was to organise the lines into bars, or gaõas, normally having 4 measures to the bar, which may therefore take one of the following forms:

22 or 121 or 112 or 2 11 or 1111

The rhythm of these metres is defined by the alternation of two rhythmic structures:

62|121

In the descriptions that follow it should be borne in mind that resolution of a long syllable was always deemed acceptable, which means that any of the first three alternatives prosodyd above may appear as 1111. By applying the rule of resolution discussed in 1.15 above it is possible to help identify the underlying structure, thus: 1,111 = 121 with resolution; ,1111 = 211 ; 11,11 = 112. (Of course there would have to be double resolution for it to equal 22).

 

2.16 Old Gãti

This appears to be the earliest of the bar metres, and indeed, is most probably a transitional metre between mattàchandas and gaõacchandas metres. There are two structures to the metre: the first is the normal form; the second is an extended form, which after the word break, restarts with a full gaõa, thus:

Normal structure:

     1                   2                   3            4

5 2 | 1 2 1 | 6 2 | 3,

                     5                 6                    7            8     

2 1 | 2 2 | 1 2 1 | 1 1 2 |3   x 2

Extended structure:

     1                   2                   3            4

5 2 | 1 2 1 | 6 2 | 3,

                     5                 6                    7            8     

6 2 | 2 2 | 1 2 1 | 1 1 2 |3   x 2

 

In the 2nd, 4th, and 6th gaõas the pattern 62 sometimes occurs, but 211 is very rare. The opening gaõa quite frequently looks like this: 12 ; in this case we have to count the initial syllable as long (pàdàdigaru) to make up the mattà count (cf 2.9 & 2.10 above). In the normal form we sometimes find that the 4th gaõa looks like this: 1,2 ; in this case we have to count the short syllable, which occurs at the end of the first half of the pàdayuga as long (pàdantagaru). With the extended form cf. the extended Tuññhubha, 2.7 above.

Examples: Mettàsutta Khp 9; Tuvañakasutta Sn IV:14; Vangãsa's gàthàs (pt) Th 1242-1245; Upàëisutta MN:56

Example from Tuvañakasutta (Sn vs 922-3):

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|121|22|1,2|112|121|112|2                pàdantagaru
ßCakkhåhi n' eva lol' assa, gàmakathàya àvarayÕ sotaü,

xxxxxxxxxxxx12|121|22|1,111|22|121|22|2                 pàdàdigaru + resolution
rase ca n?nugijjheyya, na ca mamàyetha ki¤ci lokasmiü.

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|112|22|1,112|22|1111|112|1           extended + resolution
Phassena yadà phuññh' assa paridevaü bhikkhu na karÕyya kuhi¤ci,

xxxxxxxxxxxx12|121|22|1,21|211|121|22|1                   pàdàdigaru + normal break
bhava¤-ca n?bhijappeyya, bheravesu ca na sampavedheyya.

 

2.17 Gãti, Ariyà (âryà), and their derivatives

In the gaõacchandas metres in the Pàëi canon, there are two structures to the pàdayuga (pair of lines), they are:

Gaõacchandas 1st pàdayuga:

         1                        2                          3                         4                      5                      6                        7                8

6

2

|

1

2

1

|

6

2

|

|

1

2

1

|

2

2

|

1

2

1

|

6

2

|

3

 

Gaõacchandas 2nd pàdayuga:

           1                       2                        3                          4                         5               6                 7                 8

6

2

|

1

2

1

|

6

2

|

|

1

2

1

|

2

2

|

1

|

  6

2

|

3

 

Resolution occasionally produces different patterns e.g. 22 > 112

Replacement sometimes produces different patterns e.g. 112 > 22

Note that 211 is very rarely found in any gaõa.

The only difference between the two pàdayugas lies in the 6th gaõa.

Ariyà, which is the most common metre in this class, has the first pàdayuga described above followed by the second, this gives a mattà count of 30 + 27.

Examples: Isidàsã's gàthàs Thã 400 - 447, and Sumedhà's gàthàs Thã 448 -522

Example Thã 458-9:

xxxxxxxxxxxx211|121|112|121|211|121|22|1
Kiü bhavagatena abhinanditena, kàyakalinà asàrena? 15

xxxxxxxxxxxx112|211|22||112|112|1|22|1
Bhavataõhàya nirodhà, anujànatha pabbajissàmi.

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|22|22||121|22|121|22|2
Buddhànaü uppàdo, vivajjito akkhaõo khaõo laddho,

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|121|22||22|22|1|22|2
sãlàni brahmacariyaü yàvajjãvaü na dåseyyaü.

The next three metres are much less common:

Gãti has the first pàdayuga repeated to make up a verse, mattà = 30 + 30.

Example: Paripuõõaka's gàthà Th 91:

xxxxxxxxxxxx112|121|112||22|22|121|112|2
Na tath?mataü satarasaü suddh' annaü yaü may' ajja paribhuttaü,

xxxxxxxxxxxx1111|22|112|121|22|121|22|2
aparimitàdassina Gotamena Buddhena desito Dhammo. 16

 

Uggãti has the second pàdayuga followed by the first, mattà = 27 + 30.

Example: the last of Vijitasena's gàthàs Th 359:

xxxxxxxxxxxx11221222||112|22|1|22|1
Satiyà taü nibhandhissaü, 17 payatatto vo damessàmi,

xxxxxxxxxxxx211|121|22||112|22|121|22|1
viriyadhuraniggahãto, na-y-ito dåraü gamissase citta!

 

Upagãti has the second pàdayuga repeated, mattà = 27 + 27.

Example: Gotama's gàthàs 587, 588, & 591, the latter being mixed with Vatta.

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|112|22||22|112|1|22|2
Mittaü idha kalyàõaü, sikkhàvipulaü samàdànaü,

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|211|22||22|112|1|112|2
sussàsà ca garånaü: etaü samaõassa pañiråpaü. (Th 588)

 

Other gaõacchandas variations, including pàdayugas with a full last gaõa (giving a mattà count of 32), are apparantly not found in the canon.

 

2.18 Jagaõa (amphibrachys)

In these metres the gaõa pattern 121 is normally found only in the even gaõas, and occurs in roughly half of the 2nd & 4th gaõas, and virtually always in the 6th (where appropriate), so that its inclusion there appears to be the rule.

 

2.19 Hypermetres, Veóha & Gubbinã

Only two examples of gaõacchandas hypermetre have been found in the canon so far, they are Veóha and Gubbinã. The structure of both is similar and can be defined as follows:

Opening:

 

rty

|

46

|

rty

 

Middle:

46

|

rty

End:

46

|

rty

|

23

The middle gaõas can be repeated a flexible number of times. The end normally finishes with a full gaõa as described above but may finish with a half gaõa 3 . Note that in these metres the pattern 121 is supposed to occur only in the odd gaõas (in contradistinction to the Ariyà class of metres).

The Veóha metre is normally composed of descriptive compounds (vaçõakas) of varying length. The only examples discovered so far are in the Kuõàlajàtaka Ja 536.18 Sometimes there are only four gaõas in the compound, then the structure looks like this:

46 | rty | 46 |23

but the text of these compounds now is very corrupt, and they sometimes have only three gaõas (lacking the first).

Example: here is a 6 gaõa compound from Ja 536:

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|112|1111|211|121|22
Vijjàdharasiddhasamaõatàpasagaõ?dhivutthe

Gubbinã has the same structure, but need not consist solely of compounds. The only known example is the frequently repeated praise of the Three Treasures beginning "Iti pi so..."(including "Svàkkhàto..." & "Supañipanno...", not illustrated here).19

 

xxxxxxxxxxxx111|211|211|22|22|22|
Iti pi so Bhagavà Arahaü Sammàsambuddho,

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|111|22|211|22|112|
vijjàcaraõasampanno 20 Sugato lokavidå,

xxxxxxxxxxxx121|211|121|211|
anuttaro purisadammasàrathi,

xxxxxxxxxxxx22|211|22|22|211|2
satthà devamanussànaü Buddho Bhagavà ti.

    

Home Page    First Topic    Next Section

One: Scansion and Related Matters    Two: Description of the Metres

a: Vatta    b: Tuññhubha    c: Measure Metres    d: Bar Metres    e: Fixed Metres

Three: The Mixing of Metres    Four: Glossary & Index

Five: The Evolution of Vatta & Tuññhubha    Six: Guide to Further Study

 

End Notes

15 Note that this pàdayuga lacks the expected word break after the 3rd gaõa

16 Again the expected word break is missing.

17 This line as it stands reads as Pathyàvatta, a not uncommon phenomena in gaõacchandas verses. If we read Satiyà ta' nibhandhissaü, that would give a correct Uggãti line.

18 For a discussion of this metre see Boll‚e, W. B: Kuõàla-Jàtaka, PTS 1970

19 For more on this metre see Bechert, H: A Metric `Vaçõaka' in the Pàli Scriptures, in Studies in Buddhism and Culture, Tokyo 1991

20 The second gaõa in this line is short as it stands, we could read caraõaü to correct the metre.