Vedāṅgas – Chandaśśāstram

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Vedāṅgas – Chandaśśāstram

Introduction

The term “Chandas” is used in its sense of the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas. Chandas, the Vedāṅga, is described as the feet of Vedapuruṣa. Piṅgalācārya, the author of  “Chandaśśāstram” is considered to be the popular authority on “Chandas” (meter). While Vyākaraṇa is considered the most important of the Vedāṅgas, Chandas actually has primacy over Vyākaraṇam; Chandaśśāstram (Piṅgalasūtra 3-2) and Vyākaraṇam (Sūtras 6-1-132 and 8-1-6) both sanction this elevation of Chandas over Vyākaraṇam . Thus in the famous Gāyatrī mantra (Ṛgveda 3-3-10-5) “vareṇyam” is read as “vareṇiyam” so that there is no violation of Chandas (chandobhaṅgaḥ).
There are seven main meters available in the Vedas. Chandaśśāstram discusses Laukika (secular) meters along with the Vaidika ones.7Being a Vedāṅga, Chandas is ultimately useful in attaining Mokṣa.

Origin

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The Authors of Chandaśśāstram

Prior to Piṅgalācārya, there were some Ācāryas who compiled treatises on Chandas; Piṅgala (in Chandaśśāstram – Krauṣṭuki), Yāska, Tāṇḍi, Saitava, Kāśyapa, and Rātamāṇḍavya attest to this fact. During the post-Piṅgala period the sage Śaunaka, in his Prātiśākhyā, dealt with Chandas. Kātyāyana”s Ṛksarvānukramasūtram defines the meters that are required in Ṛgveda. In Agnipurāṇa, Garuḍapurāṇa, Nāradīyapurāṇa, and Viṣṇupurāṇa, there is the concept of Chandas. Piṅgala”s Chandaśśāstram, and Pāṇini”s Aṣṭādhyāyī, deal with both Vaidika and Laukika Chandas; hence Chandaśśāstram is considered Vedāṅgam.

Vaidika Chandas

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