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Explain briefly about Chandas and Abhimanya Devthas.

Like for Gaythri mantra its Gaythri Chands, Savitha Devaatha Rshi is Vishwa Mitra

One Chandas how many letters one should refer or add for missing letters in Chandas while doing Yagnya

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A question What are the 21 meters known to Rig Vedic seers? (actually a Rigveda mantra quoted) triggered me to search for the list of 21 Chhandas. So, I have searched for Chhandasutras of Pingalacharya which is the oldest scripture on Chhanda, one of the six Vedangas. Original Sanskrit text is easily available on Vedic reserve of Maharshi University site, I searched for the translation but couldn't find any handy English or Hindi translation. I found one Hindi translation on Internet Archive, I've read it but its quality is low and some information is missing, however I got some interesting things from it. Still a thorough study was needed to summarize things.

Meanwhile I found a very useful research article on Chhanda (meter) of Rigveda from Shodhganga, a reservoir of Indian theses. Chapter 5 of thesis contains very useful information on Chhandas and I have prepared my this answer from it.

The referenced article is written based on 1. Chhanda Sutra of Pingalacharya and 2. Rigveda Pratisakya. Most of the things are cited from this two scriptures on every step. You can read Chapter 5 pdf if you want to study and learn; I'm writing an answer to the question:

The most popular 7 Chhandas, also mentioned in Shulka Yajurveda 23.33 are:

  1. Gayatri 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 = 24 syllables
  2. Usnik   8 + 8 + 12 = 28 syllables
  3. Anustubh  8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 32 syllables
  4. Brhati   8 + 8 + 12 + 8 = 36 syllables
  5. Pankti  8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 40 syllables
  6. Tristubh 11 + 11 + 11 + 11= 44 syllables
  7. Jagati 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 = 48 syllables

There are five categories of these meter of 1. Prajapati, 2. Devas, 3. Asuras, 4. Rishis and 5. Brahmanas and syllables for them are as follows:

enter image description here


These seven Chhandas have their sub-varieties owing to the differences in the quantity of syllables which are as follows:

Gayatri varieties

  • Padapankti Gayatri. 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 25
  • Bhurik Padapankti Gayatri 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 6 = 26
  • Virat / Padanicrt Gayatri. 7 + 7 + 7 = 21
  • Atinicrt Gdyatri. 7 + 7 + 6 = 20
  • Vardhamdna Gayatri. 6 + 7 + 8 = 21
  • Yavamadhya Gayatri 7 + 10 + 7 = 25
  • Dvipada Gayatri. 12 + 12 = 24
  • Ushiggarbha Gdyatri. 6 + 7 + 10 = 23

Usnik varieties

  • Pura Usnik 12+ 8 + 8
  • Kakubh Usnik. 8 + 12 + 8
  • Kakumnyarikusiranicrt Usnik 11 + 12 + 4 = 27
  • Pipilikanadhya Usnik. 11 + 6 + 11 = 27
  • Janusira Usnik.11 + 11 + 6 = 28
  • Anustubhgarbha Usnik. = 5 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 29

Anustubh varieties

  • Krti Anustubh. 12 + 12 + 8 = 32
  • Pipilikamadhyama – Anustubh. 12 + 8 + 12 = 32
  • Kavirat -Anustubh. 9 + 12 + 9 = 30
  • Nastarupa – Anustubh. = 9 + 10 + 13 = 32
  • Virat – Anustubh. 10 + 10 + 10 = 30 ( e.g. Rig 7.22.4) or 11 + 11 + 11 = 33 (e.g. Rig 3.25.4)
  • Mahapadaparikti – Anustubh. 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 6 = 31

Brhati varieties

  • Purastad Brhati = 12 + 8 + 8 + 8 =36 syllables,
  • Uparistat Brhati = 8 + 8 + 8 + 12 = 36 syllables,
  • Nyankusarini = 8 + 12 + 8 + 8 = 36 syllables,
  • Brhati urddhabrhati = 12 + 12 + 12 = 36 syllables,
  • Bistarabrhati = 8 + 10 + 10 + 8 = 36 syllables,
  • Pipilikamadhyamabrhati = 13 + 8 + 13 =34 syllables.
  • Bisamapadabrhati = 9 + 8 + 11 + 8 = 36 syllables.

Pankti varieties

  • Virat Pankti =10 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 40 syllables.
  • Satobrhati Pankti= 12 + 8 + 1 2 + 8 = 40 syllables.
  • Viparita Pankti = 8 + 12 + 8+ 12 = 40 syllables.
  • Astara pankti = 8 + 8+ 12+12 = 40 syllables.
  • Prastara Pankti = 12 + 12 + 8 + 8 = 40 syllables.
  • Sanslara Pankti = 12 + 8 + 8 + 12 = 40 syllables.

Apart from these i) Aksara Pankti. ii) Alpasah Pankti. iii) Pada Pankti. iv) Jagati Pankti. v) Panchapada Pankti etc. vi) Pathya Pankti are also mentioned in Chhandasutras.

Tristubh varieties

  • Abhisarini Trisubh = 10 + 10 + 12 + 12 = 44 syllables
  • Viratsthana Tristubh (three conditions)
    1. 9 + 10 + 10 + 11 = 40 syllables,
    2. 9 + 9 + 10 + 11 = 39 syllables,
    3. 9 + 10 + 11 + 11 = 41 syllables.
  • Viratpurana Tristubh = 10+10+8+8+8 = 44 syllables.
  • Viratrupa Tristubh =11 + 11 + 1 1 + 8 = 41 syllables.
  • Jyotismati Tristubh = 12 + 12 + 12 + 8 = 44 syllables.
  • Mahabrhati Tristubh = 12 + 8 +8 + 8 + 8 = 44 syllables.
  • Yavamadhya Trisubh = 8 + 8 + 12 + 8 + 8 = 44 syllables.

Jagati varieties

  • Mahapankti Jagati= 8 + 8+ 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 48 syllables.
  • Mahasatobrhati Jagati = 8 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 10 + 9 = 48 syllables.

Vedic meters are divided into three class. Above discussed seven Chhandas are of 1st class. Chhandas of other two class are called Aatichhandas (long meters) wich are as follows:

The 2nd class contains seven metres:

  1. Atijagati - (52 Syllables)
  2. Sakvari - (52 syllables)
  3. Atisakvari-{6 syllables)
  4. Asti - (64 syllables)
  5. Atyasti - (68 syllables)
  6. Dhrti - (72 syllables)
  7. Adhrti - (76 syllables)

The 3rd class also consists of seven metres:

  1. Krti - (80 syllables)
  2. Prakrti - (84 syllables)
  3. Akrti - (88 syllables)
  4. Vikrti - (92 syllables)
  5. Samkrti - (96 syllables)
  6. Adhikrti - (100 syllables)
  7. Vtkrti- (104 syllables)

Q. about abhimany devthas like for gaythri mantra its gaythri chands, savitha devaatha rshi is vishwa mitra

Yes, reading 3rd chapter of Pingalacharya's Chhandasutras, I've prepared one table to relate Chhandas with their Devatas, Varna, Gautra and Svaras. Hope this would be useful.

enter image description here

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  • Good research. Thanks for the answer. up voted @Pandya – Srimannarayana K V Jan 15 at 14:45
  • Kudos and thanks for your effort in collecting and presenting detailed work @Pandya one thing i see here for Gayathri chandas devata and Gayathri mantra devatha are different how? – Prasanna R Jan 16 at 6:46
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Major metres

The major Vedic Chandahs are 7 in number. They are - Gayatri, Ushnik, Anushtup, Brihati, Pangkti, Trishtup and Jagati.

Sometimes Pangkti is also called Virat.

The number of syllables or Aksharas in the Mantra determines to which Chandah (or metre) it belongs.

Given below are the distributions, variants and total number of Mantras (for a particular Chandah in the Vedas):

Chandah name - Distribution - Number of variants it has - total number of mantras that are in this particular Chandah

Gayatri - 8|8|8 - 10 - 2456
Ushnik - 8|8|12 - 7 - 398
Anushtup - 8|8|8|8| - 7 - 850
Brihati - 8|8|12|8 - 11 - 427
Pangkti - 8|8|8|8|8 - 7 - 499
Trishtup - 11|11|11|11 - 14 - 4258
Jagati - 12|12|12|12 - 3 - 1353.

So, while Gayatri Chnadah will have 24 syllables, Anushtup will have 32 syllables, a Pangkti Chandah will have 40 syllables and so on.

The number of Trishtup Chandah Mantras is the highest (4258) followed by Mantras in Gayatri Chandah.

The Chandah called Pangkti-Virat has 40 aksharas (syllables) and it's distribution is 10|10|10|10.

But for Gayatri there are as many as 10 variants and not all of them have exactly 24 syllables.

Some such variants are: 5|5|5|5|6, 5|5|5|4|6, 6|7|11, 7|7|7|, 7|6|6 etc and all of them belong to the Gayatri family of metres.

Minor metres

There are some minor Vedic metres as well like Atijagati, Dhriti, Ati Dhriti etc. A similar list for them is as given below:

Atijagati - 12|12|12|8|8 - 17
Shakvari - 8|8|8|8|8|8|8 - 19
Atishakvari - 16|16|12|8|8 - 10
Ashith - 16|16|16|8|8 - 7
Atyashith - 12|12|8|8|8|12 - 82
Dhriti - 12|12|8|8|8|16|8 - 2
Ati Dhriti - 12|12|8|8|8|12|8|8 - 76

Source - Essentials of Rig Veda, R.L.Kashyap ( Sri Aurobindo Kapaly Shastry Institute of Vedic culture).

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  • To clarify, when you mean 'major Chandahs', you mean the 'major vedic Chandahs', correct? – user1952500 Dec 31 '18 at 2:49
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    Yes the Q itself is about Chandahs of the Vedas..@user1952500 – Rickross Dec 31 '18 at 5:57
  • So, total 14 are there. Still Kriti, Prabhuti etc 7 are missing. – Pandya Jan 11 at 7:17
  • Add Kriti - 80, Prakriti - 84, Aakriti - 88, Vikriti - 92, Sanskriti - 96, Abhikriti 100 and Utkriti - 104 to complete 21 Chhandas – Pandya Jan 11 at 7:33
  • I don't have reference for them @Paṇḍyā – Rickross Jan 11 at 8:43
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Vedic meter or Chanda" (छन्द ) points towards how a mantra or verse is constructed in some definite rules.. A Chandas is having rule of how many letters are there in it and how theese letters are divided into different parts called Paadas . Chandas is one among six Vedangas or parts of Vedas.

There are a number of Chandas used in Vedas , Mainly there are Seven Chandas used in Vedas and those are are:

Gayatri: This Chandas has 24 Letters/Aksharas in each stanza/mantra divided into 3 Paadas (parts/legs) of 8 Letters/Aksharas.

Examples of Gayatri Chanda.:-

Gayatri Mantra enter image description here


Rudra Gayatri Mantra enter image description here

Ushnik : This Chandas has 28 Letters/Aksharas in each stanza/mantra divided into 4 Paadas of 7 Letters/Aksharas

Anustup: This Chandas has 32 Letters/Aksharas in each stanza/ mantra divided into 4 Paadas of 8 Letters/Aksharas. Most of the Slokas in typical classical Sanskrit uses this Chandas, most often recited being.

Example of Anustup Meter -: enter image description here


enter image description here

Brihati : This Chandas has 36 Letters/Aksharasin each stanzas or mantra divided into four 4 Paadas (8 + 8 + 12 + 8) Letters/Aksharas.

Pankti : This Chandas has 40 Letters/Aksharas in each stanza divided into 4 Paadas of 10 Letters each (sometimes 5 Padas of 8 letters each)

Tristup: This Chandas has 44 Letters/Aksharas in each stanza divided into 4 Paadas of 11 Letters/Aksharas.

Jagati: This Chandas has 48 Letters/Aksharas in each stanza divided into 4 Paadas of 12 Letters/Aksharas.


Each of these Chandas has distinct rules for how the letter patterns are formed. According to scholars Vedic mantras are much older than coming of Sanskrit grammar rules ,so its difficult to apply exact rules always.There are Gayatris with different no. letters other than 24 letters is having different names. In this case the rishi or the seer of the mantra is having his distinct way how the mantra shall be recited a Then they also teach their students how to recite that. And these information got passed on in this way from Teacher to students. For one must enquire qualified techer in a Veda-Pathshala or Vedic learning centre.

Here is Information about Chandas / Upa chandas , sub meters used in Rig-Veda. Link 1
Link 2


Below are some of the variation of main chandas.

Anustupa अनुष्टुप् क. -कविराट अनुष्टुप् Kaviraat Anustupa , ख - कृति अनुष्टुप् kruti Anustupa , न -नष्टरूपी अनुष्टुप् Nastarupi Anustupa , घ - विराट अनुष्टुप् Virat Anustupa.

उष्णिक Ushnika क. - अनुष्टुप् गर्भा उष्णिक Anustupa Garbha Ushnika , ख - ककुप उष्णिक Kakupa Ushnika , ग - तनुषिरा उष्णिक Tanushira Ushnika , घ - पुर उष्णिक Pur Ushnika

गायत्री Gayatri क - द्विपदा विराट गायत्री Dwipada Virat Gayatri , ख - पाद् निचृत् गायत्री Pada Nichrut Gayatri , ग - प्रतिष्ठा गायत्री Pratistha Gayatri.

जगति Jagati क - महापन्क्ति जगति Mahapankti Jagati

त्रिष्टुप् Trishtupa क - महाब्रुहति त्रिष्टुप् Mahabruhati Trishtupa , ख - यवमध्या महाब्रुहति त्रिष्टुप् Yavamadhya Mahabruhati Trishtupa.

पंक्ति Pankti क - चतुष्पदा विराट पंक्ति Chatuspada Virat Pankti , ख - प्रस्तार पंक्ति प्रगाथ pragatha

बृहती Bruhati क -विष्टार बृहती बृहती Vishtaar Bruhati Bruhati , ख - स्कन्धोग्रीवी बृहती skandhogrivi Bruhati AtiShakvari - अतिशक्वरी , Atijagati अतिजगति

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