Two: Description of the Metres

 

2.5 Siloka periods

The Siloka metre in the Canon can be divided roughly into two periods, the early and the late, according to whether the Anuṭṭhubha variation occurs in the prior lines, or whether it is normally avoided. In the early period the pathyā accounts for about 60% or more of the prior lines, and the Anuṭṭhubha at that time is the most important variation accounting for about 15%. As the metre comes closer to its Classical form in the later part of the Canon the Anuṭṭhubha occurs only sporadically, and the pathyā greatly predominates, sometimes accounting for as much as 85% of all the lines (for more on the development of the Siloka, see the Appendix).

An interesting comparison is afforded between the early Siloka of the questions and answers in Pārāyanavagga of Suttanipāta, and the late Siloka of the Introductory Verses (Vatthugāthā). We may note here that in Hemakamāṇavāpucchā (Sn V:8) (vs 1084 ff) we may have a case of the Anuṭṭhubha being used as an independent metre in the Canon, but as it is only 4 vs long it is too short to be sure.

Early Siloka from Jatukaṇṇīmāṇavapucchā (Sn V: 12) (vs 1098-99):   

−−⏑⏑¦⏑⏑−−¦¦−−−−¦⏑−⏑−   savipulā
Kāmesu vinaya gedhaṁ, nekkhammaṁ daṭṭhu khemato,

−⏑−−¦⏑−−−¦¦−−−−¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
uggahītaṁ nirattaṁ vā mā te vijjittha kiñcanaṁ.

−−−−¦⏑−−−¦¦−−−−¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
Yaṁ pubbe taṁ visosehi, pacchā te māhu kiñcanaṁ.

−−−−¦⏑−⏑−¦¦⏑⏑−−¦⏑−⏑−   Anuṭṭhubha
Majjhe ce no gahessasi upasanto carissasi.

 

Late Siloka (Sn V vs 1-3) (vs 976-978), narrative style:   

−⏑−−¦⏑−−−¦¦⏑⏑−−¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
Kosalānaṁ purā rammā agamā Dakkhiṇāpathaṁ

−−−−¦−⏑−−¦¦−⏑−−¦⏑−⏑−   ravipulā
ākiñcaññaṁ patthayāno, brāhmaṇo mantapāragū.

−−⏑−¦⏑⏑⏑−¦¦⏑⏑−⏑¦⏑−⏑−   navipulā
So Assakassa visaye, Aḷakassa samāsane,

⏑−−−¦⏑−−−¦¦−−⏑⏑¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
vasī Godhāvarīkūle uñchena ca phalena ca.

−−⏑⏑¦⏑−−−¦¦−−⏑⏑¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
Tasseva upanissāya gāmo ca vipulo ahū,

⏑−−−¦⏑−−−¦¦⏑−−⏑¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
tato jātena āyena mahāyaññam-akappayi.