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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry India's Verse Forms Overview The Vedas The word "veda" means "revealed knowledge" and collectively refers to ancient Indo Aryan religious literature. Oral tradition goes back to 2000 BC thru 200 BC and is believed by many Hindus to have been around since creation. From Delight we came into existence. In Delight we grow. At the end of our journey’s close, Into Delight we retire. ---------------------- The Upanishads There are four books known as the Vedas which are a simple, formal and structural discipline for non-narrative sacred verse. The hymns were preserved in an unbroken oral tradition of memorization and chanted by Vedic priests. They are the primary scripture of the Hindu religion. Many of the collected hymns of the Vedas were recited as mantras. The Vedic poets called their work "measured utterances" and used "chanda" to imply their "utterances" were ideas incarnate, pleasing to God. The word chanda is often interchangeable with "meter", in either case it refers to the number of lines, length of the line and metric pattern within the line. The mantra could be simply defined as a prayer song but in a more complicated definition, it is a formula, comprising words and sounds which are believed to possess a magical or divine power. The mantra transposes the speaker to a spiritual union with the divine. The chanda is the frame of the mantra but is not confined to the mantra. The chanda of the Vedas, is written in padas which for simplicity's sake could be defined as a line, however a pada is more than just a line, it is a phrase that can be written in one line or could be broken into more than one line. For consistency and simplicity, I treat the pada as a line within the context of this writing. Of the more than 160 Vedic chandas or "meters", there are seven that stand out and are considered the most important, still used today. These seven "meters" are known as the Seven Sister Rivers (tributaries to the Ganges) or are also referred to as portals for the conveyance of knowledge through seven body organs: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and tongue. The Vedas are spiritual, often chanted in repetition, metric, unrhymed and written in variation. The 7 most important are: Anistubh Brhati gayatri Jagati Pankti Tristubh Ushnik Sanskrit Verse Regional Forms: Bengali, IV. Hindi, V. Kashmiri, VI. Marathi and VII. Teluga