[INDOLOGY] Vedic notation to indicate syllable lengths?

Clemency Montelle clemency.montelle at canterbury.ac.nz
Fri Dec 22 05:48:30 UTC 2017

Dear colleagues,

A collaborator and I are looking to find antecedents for the mathematical practice of using danda-like strokes to indicate fractional parts (1 danda=1/4, 2 dandas = 1/2, 3 dandas = 3/4).

We have found something in the context of representing syllable length in Vedic notation. The only sources we could find concerned a discussion about unicode for "vaidika" symbols, called "vaidika apurnanka pada" (seethe bottom of p. 11 of http://unicode.org/L2/L2007/07396-vaidika.pdf) which appears, it seems, in the context of representing syllable length, to indicate1/4 and 1/2 of a matra kala for a single and double stroke respectively.  (I attach a screen shot from a similar discussion about characters  below).

Does anyone have any further sources we could consult on this?  Was this a widespread notational practise?

Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

With thanks,


Dr. Clemency Montelle
Associate Professor
School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140

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