Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 67 of (Vol 2) of 03 Jan 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 67 of (Vol 2) of 03 Jan 2008.

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 66 (of Vol 2) of 01 Jan 2008.)

10. It is Chandas, which was the cause of the birth of 'Ramayana Maha Kavyam' as a blessing of God. Again it was due to Chandas, that Slokam came into being as a tool for the subsequent creation of all the Stotras of God, all the Puranas and Kavyas. There are many Chandas, known as, 'Indra Vajra, Upendra Vajra, Sragdara', and so on, to be found in various Kavyas. Some of them are very complicated and capable of being composed only by brilliant brains. If each Padam had eight aksharas, it was known as 'Anushtup'. The Chandas with nine akshara per line is 'Bruhati'. 'Pankti' has ten aksharas per line. 'Thrishtup' has eleven aksharas. 'Jagatee' has 12 aksharas. 'Utkruti' has 26 aksharas. Then there are longer ones called, 'Dandakam', with longer lines. Appar's 'Thiruththaandakam' in Thevaaram in Tamil, is of the 'Dandakam' variety only.

11. These names of the 'Viruththams', are quite beautiful and apt with literary nicety. For example, there is one with the name 'Saardhula Vikreetitam'. 'Saardhulam' means Tiger. Vikreetitam means 'play'. This Chandas has 19 aksharas per paadam, which should be divided into 'Adi-druti' of 12 and 7 aksharas, within each paadam. Adi Sankara's Sivananda Lahari contains many such slokas. In Mooka Panchasati, the early slokas are in this viruththam and the last 100 slokas of Mandasmita Satakam is completely in this viruththam only. There is one 'Matta Gayand'. It is as though an elephant (probably slighly intoxicated by eating the 'mahua' flowers in the forest), is walking with a slow, ponderous but elated gait. There is one Chandas copying the 'side-winding' movement of a snake, known as 'Bhujanga Prayatham'. Acharyals 'Subrahmanya Bhujangam' is in this metric style, with 12 aksharas per paadam, of the 'jagathee' variety, divided into two equal halfs of six aksharas each. The selection of the Chandas is doubly appropriate, since the demon tried to get away from Subrahmanya's wrath, in the form of a snake. You will see the snake, under the figure of Peacock, held in it's claws. It goes like this:- "ma - yu- ra - di - roo - dum / ma - ha - va - kya - koo - dum".

12. Acharyal's 'Soundarya Lahari', is in 'Sikharini' viruththam. In this meter( or metre; both mean the same), there are 17 aksharas per paadam, with the common name of 'Adhyashti'. When those 17 aksharas are divided into 'six and eleven' in each line; then that adhyashti viruththam gets the name of 'Sikharini'. In 'Mooka Panchasathi' too, the 'Padaravinda Sathakam' is in this meter. 'Srakdhara' is a meter in which you keep on pouring like a cascade or an avalanche. 'Prakruti' is a metre with 21 aksharas divided into three padams of seven each. Acharyal has written two poems on Siva and Mahavishnu, each describing the God's resplendent form, from the Feet to the Head and from the Head to the Feet, in reverse in verse, (known as 'paadaadi kesam and kesaadi paadam'), in this 'Prakruthi' metre. [When Periyaval says 'Acharyal', You know that 'Adi Sankara' is being referred.]

13. Earlier I had mentioned the 'Indra Vajra' metre. It is a type of 'Thrushtup' Chandas having 11 aksharas. There is another meter of 11 aksharas, slightly different, known as 'Upendra Vajra'. The mix of the two is known as, 'Upajaati'. Kalidaasa's Kumara Sambhavam, starts in this Upajaati meter.
These are the Chandas that came into being for the Kavyas and Slokas of later dates. The Chandas that occur in the Vedas themselves are; Gayathri, Ushnik, Anushtup, Bruhati, Pangthi, Thrushtup, Jagati, etc. The Gayathri Maha Mantram gets it's name from the Chandas itself. Normally a Mantra towards a particular Devata, would get it's name from the name of the Devata, itself. Like you have, Siva Panchatchari, Narayana Ashtakshari, Rama Trayodasi and so on. The Devata for Gayathri is 'Savita' and Gayathri is only the name of the meter. As each letter and sound of the letter too has divine power, here is proof of the fact that, the very Chandas has divine powers. Actually, there is a whole list of Gayathri Mantras, on the names of many other Devatas, with a slight change in each.

14. Four quarters put together make one. So, I had said that every Mantra and Slokam normally has four paadams. Contrary to this, the Gayathri mantram has only three paadams of 24 aksharas. Since it has three lines, it is called, 'Thri Pada Gayathri'. There are many other varieties of Gayathri too. The first Mantra of Veda starting with, "agnimeele...", is in Gayathri Chandas only. In Kavyas and Stotras, the 24 akshara Gayathri will divide into four lines of 6 aksharas each. The viruththam of four lines of seven aksharas each is known as 'Ushnik'. Till now what we have considered are all based on aksharas, without differentiating between short and long vowels. Normally, the short vowel is referred as 'Hraswam' and the long vowel is referred as 'Deergam'. In the Chandas Sastra, they are known as 'Laghu' and 'Ghuru'. Those Chandas, where this differentiation between 'Laghu and Ghuru' is not taken into consideration, it is classified as 'Viruththam' and the counting is on Aksharas. Where this Laghu and Ghuru are taken into consideration, it is classified as 'Jaathi', wherein instead of Aksharas, the basic counting is as per the Mathras.

15. As I mentioned earlier, the first part of 'Mooka Panchasathi', known as 'Arya Sadakam' is in the 'Arya' meter only. Like the Gayathri Mantra is in Gayathri Chandas, this Stotram praising Exalted Aryambal, is in the same synonymous meter of 'Arya'. In this instead of 'Aksharas' it is the 'Matras' that has to be counted.

Usefulness of Chandas Sastram.

16. Once a Mantram has come into being, the correct pronunciation and intonation is governed by the Siksha Sastram. The very form of the Mantra is certified by the Chandas Sastra. Of course, the form of the Mantra can never be wrong, because they are not the making of the Rishi's deliberations. They are God's own blessings of Grace brought into the Rishi's awareness. The correctness and exactness of God's will in every iota of existance, indicates that we are not to bother about the veracity of the Mantras ever! But the Chandas Sastra helps us in checking our accuracy and correctness when the Mantras are iterated! If the Aksharas or Mantras are not as per the Sastra, we may have to go back to knowledgeable persons like the Guru / Acharyal. For the poems and songs of our own creation, the Chandas Sastra is like a guide line and control; in giving shape to our thoughts in poetical form. As 'Taala' or 'Beat', is to Music, Chandas is to Poetry and Slokas. Without that discipline, it is haphazard. In the modern world, where they want no control in anything, there is a trend for total freedom. This has led to what is known as 'free verse'. However, the greatest artists in any form of art will confirm that, the greatest freedom and beauty of expression lies within the confines of discipline. Otherwise, in music, the result is only noise; in other areas it is avoidable chaos!

17. Chandas ensures that not a letter or Akshara or Matra, is added or subtracted from the original sounds of Vedas. Such a control of checks are essential in our handling of Vedas. Each Mantra is about or addressed to a Devata, with it's own Chandas and a Rishi who is the Mantra Drashta. The mantra Drashta being the one who was the first one to have seen / discerned the Mantra. Millions of people benefit immensely because of that pioneering dis-covery one day. So, when people sit down to do 'Japa' of that Mantra, they take the name of the Rishi with reverence and touch their head, as though to touch that Rishi's feet with their heads in everlasting sense of gratitude.

18. Then they mention the Chandas and touch their nose. The form of the Mantra is protected by the Chandas. It is like the breath of the Mantra. For the Veda Purusha, Seeksha is the Praana Vayu. For individual Mantras, Chandas is the life force. In recognition of that fact, we touch our nose, just before doing 'Japa' of the Mantra. Then the name of the presiding Devata of that Mantra is invoked in the Heart, prior to start of the 'Japa'. Chandas is the basis of the edifice of the Veda Purusha. He stands on them. So, it is said, "...chanda: paado vedasya...".




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