The study of chhandas played a role in
the growth of classical Indian music as well as Sanskrit poetry. The
metrical unit is known as a pada in Sanskrit. Each verse, hymn
or mantra is divided by padas, which may be eight, 11 or 12
syllables. Each type is classified on this basis. For example, a
gayatri has three padas of eight syllables with 24 syllables
in each stanza.
The Vedangas, in general, provide insight
into not only the meters and structure of the Vedas, but also the
meaning and language of the ancient text. They also provide
understanding of other post-Vedic texts and aspects of Hindu and
In addition to chhandas, the Vedangas
- Shiksha - the study of phonology,
phonetics and pronunciation. This focuses on the letters of the
Sanskrit alphabet and the way words are combined and expressed in a
- Vyarkarana - the analysis of
grammar and linguistics in order to establish the precise way in
which words and sentences were constructed to express ideas.
- Nirukta - the study of
etymology. It is concerned with proper interpretation of the
Sanskrit words, given their context in the ancient texts.
- Kalpa - the focus is on ritual
instructions, including for rites of passage. It also explores the
concepts of individual duty and proper conduct.
- Jyotisha - the study of
timekeeping. It deals with the astrological and astronomical aspects
of selecting the most dates and times to perform Vedic rituals and