Grammar and Prosody Home Page
A listing of the metres known to occur in Sanskrit and Pāli literature, along with explanations of how to make metre tables, an index and a searchable database.
compiled and edited by
(Sept. 2005/2549; revised version 2.0 Aug. 2013)
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Samavtta (Samavutta) Tables
Uktā, Uttā (1 syllable)
Atyuktā, Accuttā (2 syllables)
Madhyā, Majjhā (3 syllables)
Pratiṣṭhā, Patiṭṭhā (4 syllables)
Supratiṣṭhā, Suppatiṭṭhā (5 syllables)
Gāyatrī, Gāyattī (6 syllables)
Uṣṇī, Uṇhī (7 syllables)
Anuṣṭubh, Anuṭṭhubha (8 syllables)
Bhatī, Brahatī (9 syllables)
Paṁkti, Panti (10 syllables)
Triṣṭubh, Tuṭṭhubha (11 syllables)
Jagatī (12 syllables)
Atijagatī (13 syllables)
Śakvarī, Sakkarī (14 syllables)
Atiśakvarī, Atisakkarī (15 syllables)
Aṣṭi, Aṭṭhi (16 syllables)
Atyaṣṭi, Accaṭṭhi (17 syllables)
Dhti, Dhuti (18 syllables)
Atidhti, Atidhuti (19 syllables)
Kti, Kati (20 syllables)
Prakti, Prakati (21 syllables)
Ākti, Ākati (22 syllables)
Vikti, Vikati (23 syllables)
Saṁkti, Saṅkati (24 syllables)
Abhikti, Atikati (25 syllables)
Utkti, Ukkati (26 syllables)
Daṇḍaka (27+ syllables, abbreviated)
The initial idea behind the work which follows was simply to give instructions and examples of metre tables so that the student could get an idea of how to draw them up and analyse them for himself. I therefore present here not only the tables but simple methods showing how they are composed. These are based on the instructions given in Vttaratnākara and Vuttodaya, and supplemented by a number of commenteries and sub-commentaries on these works.
While working on this project it seemed to be useful to add in all the metre profiles and names I have come across in the prosodies, and thereby compile a kind of easy reference work. This work then became something like an expanded version of my Comparative Table of the Metres found in ChŚā, VR, & Vutt which I published in January of last year. In that work though I only included what I considered to be the genuine metres belonging to Vttaratnākara, but here, as I am trying to be as exhaustive as possible, I have included the variant metres that were left out of the earlier Table.
Another great source of metres and their names has been Ven. Dīpaṁkara's Vttodayapariśiṣṭaya, which is a supplement to Vuttodaya with the main text and examples written in Pāḷi and a commentary (sannaya) in Sinhala. It duplicates a lot of the metres found in Vttaratnākara, but it also includes many other metres passed down in the tradition. I hope to transcribe this valuable work in full at a later date when I can get hold of a better copy to work from.
There are many cases in these lists where the same metre has various names associated with it in the prosodies, so I have included them all and the source for the names. There are also a number of cases of the opposite, that is, where the same name has been applied to a number of different metres. Because of the confusion this causes I have compiled an index to facilitate comparison and reference.
I have included whatever metres and names I could find, and have been as exhaustive as possible in drawing up the lists, but although all the main metres have already been listed here, with some of the rarer ones this is only a start, so I intend to keep adding to these tables as and when it is possible to do so.
In the commentary I have used mainly Sanskrit terminology as nearly all the material originates in the Sanskrit culture, and has been adopted into the Pāḷi culture in imitation. With the metre names though, I have included whatever names I could find in both languages, giving the Sanskrit first, which is followed by the Pāḷi.
In compiling these tables I have so far drawn upon the following works:
Śrī Piṁgala's Chandaḥ Śāstra edited by Paṇḍit Kedāranāth of Jaypur (Bombay, 1938)
Śrī Kedārabhaṭṭa's Vttaratnākara edited by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu (ABT, 2003)
Ven. Sorata's edition of Vttaratnākara (Colombo, 1926)
Śrīmat Paṇśīkar's edition of Vttaratnākara (Bombay, 1906)
Ven. Seelakkhandha's edition of Vttaratnākara (Bombay, 1908)
Ven. Saṁgharakkhita's Vuttodaya, with the Laṅkānanda Vyākhyā, by Ven. Labugame Laṅkānanda (Colombo, 1946)
Ven. Saṁgharakkhita's Vuttodaya edited by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu (forthcoming)
Ven. Dīpaṁkara, Vttodayapariśiṣṭaya (Colombo, 1916)
Prof. Helmer Smith, Conspectus Terminorum (Metricorum) (Appendix to Saddanīti) (Lund, 1966)
V.S. Apte, The Student's Sanskrit - English Dictionary (Appendix 1) (1890, reprinted Delhi, 1993)
Charles Duroiselle, Jinacarita (Rangoon, 1906)
Richard Morris, Saddhammopāyana (London, 1887)
last updated: March 2007