On the origin of the aaryaa meter (Re: Choice of meter for writing a treatise: s'loka vs. aaryaa

Jean-Luc Chevillard jean-luc.chevillard at UNIV-PARIS-DIDEROT.FR
Sat Jul 11 07:06:08 EDT 2009

I have received two reactions to that message of mine (dated 2009 may 
31) [see below].

In one of the 2 messages, I was asked whether I had received an answer
and I answered  back that it had probably not been realistic on my part
to expect that someone might explain
the "why-did-it-happen?" side of my question  :-)

the more reasonable task to set to oneself
is simply to collect the data
[the "what-happened?" side]
and to do some statistics.

However, the second message contained some very useful information.

I am glad to discover, thanks to Whitney Cox, from SOAS,
that K.R. Norman has discussed the origin and the popularity of the āryā 
in a paper "The Origins of the āryā metre",
which is included as item 79 in his Collected Papers IV,
London: Pali Text Society, 1993, pp. 20-35 .

That paper was originally published in /Buddhist Philosophy and Culture: 
Essays in Honour of N.A.Jayawikrema/.
Columbo 1987, pp. 203-214.).

Interestingly, K.R. Norman discusses some of the theses which George 
Hart has put forward in his 1975 book,
/The Poems of Ancient Tamil: their milieu and their Sanskrit 
counterpart/, University of California Press.

I understand, by reading Norman's article,
and from Whitney's suggestions for further reading,
that I won't be able to progress in my global understanding of the question
(i.e. "Meters in India and their popularity")
until I try to read A. K. Warder's 1967 book /Pali Metre/
and a number of other books and articles.

I hope this information will be useful to some.

-- Jean-Luc Chevillard (Paris)

Jean-Luc Chevillard a écrit :
> Dear list members,
> being engaged in a study of the popularity of various meters in the 
> Tamil speaking world,
> I would welcome informations on the reasons (or the background)
> for the choice of meter while writing a treatise in Sanskrit.
> Are there for instance
> articles/books examining, explaining or suggesting reasons why the 
> Vākyapadīya was composed in śloka-s
> whereas the Sāṃkhyakārikā was composed in āryā?
> (I hope I am not mistaken)
> Is this simply a consequence of the date of their compositions?
> Thanks for any pointers
> -- Jean-Luc Chevillard (Paris)

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