chandas छन्दस्

Definition: In the Rigveda usually denotes a song of praise ’ or hymn.’ The original sense of the word, as derived from the verb chand, to please,’ was probably attractive spell,’magic hymn,' which prevailed on the gods. In a very late hymn of the Rigveda, as well as in one of the Atharvaveda, the word is mentioned in the plural (chandāmsi), beside Ec (γcah), Sāman (sāmāni), and Yajus, and seems to retain its original meaning, not improbably with reference to the magical subject-matter of the Atharvaveda. From denoting a (metrical) hymn it comes to mean metre ’ in a very late verse of the Rigveda, in which the Gāyatrī, the Tristubh, and all (sarvā) the metres (chandāmsi) are mentioned. In the later Samhitās three or seven metres are enumerated, and in the śatapatha Brāhmana eight. By the time of the Rigveda Prātiśākhya the metres were subjected to a detailed examination, though much earlier references are found to the number of syllables in the several metres. Later the word definitely denotes a Vedic text generally, as in the śatapatha Brāhmana.


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