f. a verse, stanza (especially one which is neither ṛc-, nor sāman-, nor yajus-, a verse not belonging to the veda-s, but to the epic poetry of legends or ākhyāna-s, such as the śunaḥśepa-ākhyāna- or the ) etc.
गाथा 1 Verse. -2 A religious verse, but not belonging to any one of the Vedas. -3 A stanza. -4 A song; कदा वाहेयिका गाथाः पुनर्गास्यामि शाकले Mb.8.44.26. -5 A Prākṛita dialect. -6 N. of the Aryā metre. -7 Legend, history (आख्यान); द्विजोपसृष्टः कुहकस्तक्षको वा दशत्वलं गायत विष्णुगाथाः Bhāg.1.19.15. -Comp. -कारः a writer of Prākṛita verses. -नाराशंसी epic songs and particularly those in praise of men or heroes.
In the Rigveda usually means only ‘song,’ ‘verse,’ like Gātu. In one passage, however, it already has a more special sense, as it is classed with Nārāśamsī and Raibhī, a collocation repeatedly found later. The commentators identify the three terms with certain verses of the Atharvaveda, but Oldenberg has shown that this identification is incorrect for the Rigveda. Gāthās are often mentioned elsewhere, and are referred to as metrical in the Aitareya Áranyaka, where the Rc, Kumbyā, and Gāthā are classed as forms of verse. The Aitareya Brāhmana distinguishes between Rc and Gāthā as divine and human respectively. According to the usage of the Brāhmanas and the liturgical literature, as stated by the St. Petersburg Dictionary, the Gāthās are, though religious in content, distinguished from Rc, Yajus, and Sāman as non- Vedic—that is, are not Mantras. This view is consistent with the fact that the phrase Yajña-gāthā, meaning a verse summarizing a sacrificial usage, is not rare. The Satapatha Brāhmana preserves several Gāthās, which generally accord with this description as epitomizing the sacrifices of famous kings, and the Maitrāyanī Samhitā states that a Gāthā is sung at a wedding. Sometimes Gāthā is qualified as Nārāśamsī, where it must be a eulogy of a generous donor.
noun (feminine) a song (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
a verse (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
any metre not enumerated in the regular treatises on prosody (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
name of the Āryā metre (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
stanza (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
the metrical part of a Sūtra (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
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