A Study of the Metre of Pārāyanavagga

Tuṭṭhubha

 

In the Vedic period the Tuṭṭhubha was the most important metre used in verse composition, about 2/3 of the verses in the g Veda are in this metre. In the Vedic period there are two main forms to the metre, which can be described thus:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

1)

−,

¦

¦

×

x 4

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

2)

¦

⏓,

¦

×

x 4

they are distinguished by the position of the caesura, which comes after either the 4th or the 5th syllable, and is normally followed by 2 shorts which begin the second half of the line.

In the Pucchā and epilogue of Pārāyanavagga there are 228 lines in Tuṭṭhubha metre. This total includes 15 lines that are written in the Jagatī metre (in the lists that follow Jagatī lines are placed in brackets). As the variations that occur in the one also occur in the other, I take them together here. The relationship of the two metres will be considered in what follows.01 When we compare these with the Vedic models we will find that there are some interesting continuities and also discontinuities.

 

The Tuṭṭhubha Opening:

As we can see from the description given above in the Vedic period there are 2 main forms of the opening, they are ⏓−⏑−, & ⏓−−−. See Arnold's charts on pgs 188 & 194 of VM.02 In the Vedas these openings are roughly equal in number. Both of these openings also occur in Pārāyanavagga. The first is by far the most common form, but the second, though becoming rare, Eventually in the middle and late Pāḷi periods it is normally avoided.03 is found on a significant number of occasions, see 1045e, 1052b, 1070a, 1071b, 1072b, 1073a, 1082a, 1096d, 1120c, 1149d. This opening is also found in Aṭṭhakavagga, cf. 795d, 869c, 870d, 873bc, 875b, 878c, 881c, 889a, 884c, 894b, 908d, 966b, 971b, which lends good support to the argument as that section is also considered to be old.04 As this is continuous with the Vedic form of the metre, it seems that we should accept it as a genuine form of the metre. In the early period therefore, readings that meet the requirements of this opening should be regarded as legitimate, and when establishing texts there is no pressing need to take alternative readings that have almost certainly been introduced by scribes who were seeking to regularise the metre according to classical norms.

There is a third form of the opening that occurs in the Pucchā, which shows the following pattern −⏑⏑−, these can be found at the following lines: 1050c, 1082b, 1096c, 1097e, 1120e, 1122f; see also 1056b, 1104b.

Of the instances that are listed here 4 concern the compound jātijarāya (−⏑⏑−¦⏑), one other has the compound santipadaṁ (−⏑⏑−); and another has the reading upadhinidānā (⏑⏑⏑⏑−−); in these cases it would not be difficult to rectify the metre by reading jātī, santī, & upadhī, it is therefore perhaps of some significance that no such reading is found in any of the editions. The other 2 readings open with the word bhikkhu, where to read bhikkhū, would violate the context, producing a plural where a singular is needed.

In the Vedic period this opening is regarded as irregular. Cf. Arnold VM p. 194, where its occurrence is listed at 2%. However it appears quite often in Aṭṭhakavagga, cf. 836c, 842c, 845a, 870a, 874b, 902a, 964b, 970a, 975b. As in Pārāyanavagga the form always opens with a long syllable.05 But in the Pāḷi verses it appears fairly frequently, and shows a definite form, always beginning with a long syllable, so that I feel that we have to regard it as a genuine syncopated variation of the opening in the Pāḷi period.

 

Tuṭṭhubha Breaks:

The most important difference in the early Pāḷi period is the dominance of the bhagaṇa break −⏑⏑ which in fact becomes the norm in the classical period. In the tables that follow it will be seen that it is this characteristic, and not the position of the caesura, that distinguishes the metre (only the regular breaks are listed in this first table, breaks that are considered to be irregular in form will be listed later).

caesura at the 4th:

,−⏑⏑ (57 lines, constituting 24% of the total)

1044e, 1046e, 1048bd, 1051b, 1052de, 1056c, 1057d, 1059bc, 1060bd, 1063abd, 1064b, 1069b, 1070d, 1071d, 1072d, 1073c, 1075abc, 1076d, 1078d, 1080ef, 1081eh, 1082d, 1083bd, 1090abc, 1091bd, 11096a(b)cd, 1102c, 1121c, 1123c, 1133b, 1134abd, 1142b, 1143b, 1144abd, 1146ab

,⏑⏑− (21 lines, 10% of the total)

1043f, 1045f, 1047e, 1049a, 1052f, 1055b, 1057d, 1061a, 1064d, 1068b, 1069acd, 1075d, 1079g, 1097(b), 1101c, 1102d, 1103b, 1142a, 1146c

,−⏑− (19 lines, 8% of the total)

1049b, 1058b, 1059a, 1060(a), 1070a, 1071b, 1072b, 1074ac, 1077d, 1082g, 1083g, 1091a, 1101b, 1104bd, 1120c,1133c, 1134c

,⏑⏑⏑ (8 lines, 3.5% of the total)

1078a, 1079a, 1080a, 1081a, 1082a, 1102a, 1122b, 1143c

,−−⏑ (4 lines, 2% of the total)

1056b, 1101a, 1133ad

caesura at the 5th:

⏑,⏑⏑ (13 lines, 6% of the total)

1058a, 1070c, 1074bd, 1076a, 1077b, 1078b, 1082b, 1097e, 1120ae, 1122f, 1123a

−,⏑− (6 lines, 3% of the total)

1048c, 1056a, 1060c, 1072a, 1078c, 1097a, 1149d

−,⏑⏑ (34 lines, 15% of the total)

1046d, 1049(c), 1050(a)c, 1051acd, 1052c, 1056d, 1059d, 1065abd, 1071c, 1072c, 1073a, 1079b, 1082c, 1083c, 1097(a)d, 1102b, 1103a, 1104ac, 1120bd, 1121d, 1122ace, 1123bd, 1142c

−,−⏑ (1 line)

1077c

caesura at the 6th:

−⏑,⏑ (40 lines, 18% of the total)

1045(e), 1046c, 1047(bd), 1050b, 1052ab, 1055c, 1057(a), 1058c, 1061b, 1063c, 1064a, 1070b, 1071a, 1076c, 1079cd(f), 1080bcd, 1081bcd(g), 1082ef, 1083(a)ef, 1090d, 1091c, 1121ab, 1142d, 1143ad, 1144c, 1149c

From this we can see that the bhagaṇa break - regardless of where the caesura falls - forms 57% of all Tuṭṭhubha lines in the Pucchā and Epilogue.

The irregular lines are also of some interest in helping to define the parametres of the prosody. The first break listed below is particularly interesting, as a long 6th has been normally considered to be wrong in terms of the metre. As there seems to be a regular form to this break, Unfortunately Warder's tables on p. 207 & 209 of PM do not bring this out clearly. Arnold's tables do not record caesuras at the 6th, so that it has not been possible for me to check it in the Vedic period. It appears that many scholars have not countenanced a caesura at the 6th when making their analyses. But it seems to the present writer that in reciting verse in Pāḷi it often falls quite naturally after the 6th. According to the above analysis some 24% of the breaks can be counted as producing this caesura. 06 with the caesura after the long 6th, followed by a short syllable, it appears that the break should be regarded as acceptable:

−−,⏑ (8 lines, 4% of the total)

1048a, 1049d, 1050d, 1055d, 1073bd, 1077c, 1103c See also 1056b, 1101a, & 1133ad, where the same pattern turns up after a word-break at the 4th. The comments in the text apply to this form also. To this we can add the following references in Aṭṭhakavagga: 776d, 93d, 799a, 802d, 846d, 862d, 864a, 866a, 871a, 894b, 901d, 964cd, 969a. The same break, but with caesura at the 4th: 829d, 887c, 894a, 913ad. Also cf. 913c, 972d for the same break but with a different caesura.07

replacement of 2 presumed short syllables by one long one:

⏑,− 1068d,

−,− 1064c, 1068c, 1076b, 1103d

extended form, having the caesura at the 5th, and restarting from the same syllable, giving a line of 12 syllables:

−,−⏑⏑ 1044d,

⏑,−⏑⏑ 1047c, 1081f,

⏑,⏑⏑− 1120a, 1123a

irregular: If we follow the suggestions given in the notes to the verses in the text some of these lines are not so irregular, but as there is some ambiguity about them, I have counted them separately here.08

1045d, 1046e, 1047a, 1057c, 1058d, 1060a, 1065c, 1079e, 1080f, 1101d, 1122d, 1146d

It is characteristic of the early Vedic period that the mixing of Tuṭṭhubha and Jagatī lines was normally avoided. Of the 228 lines counted above, only 16 are in the Jagatī metre, which therefore constitute less than 7% of the total, this shows that although by the early Pāḷi period Jagatī lines were allowed in what were otherwise Tuṭṭhubha verses, nevertheless they were not part of the normal parametres of the prosody, On the other hand, in the middle and late Pāḷi periods mixing is normal.09 and seem to have been allowed only as an expedient.

When we put this analysis together we can define the Tuṭṭhubha metre in the early Pāḷi period thus:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

¦

¦

×

x4

with the syncopated opening −⏑⏑− sometimes appearing, and the break −−,⏑ occasionally giving a long 6th syllable. It is on the basis of this description that the present text has been established. It will be noticed from the variant readings that the Burmese editors had in mind another, more classical, model, that seeks to avoid the long 3rd and 6th. It has long been recognized that the Burmese editions have often been ‘corrected’ to make the metre fit into what is, in fact, a later prosody; see e.g. Helmer Smith's remark in PJ II, p. 637. Judging by Norman's comments in GD II, he was also working with this more classical model of the metre.10