[INDOLOGY] Fwd: question regarding Sanskrit Gana

Thomas Kintaert thomaskintaert at gmail.com
Sat Jul 8 08:35:39 UTC 2017

The following article might be relevant as well:

Wadhwani, Yashodhara: Trika-s in metrical music and in tantric
mantra-s. In: Saṃskr̥ta-saṅgīta-jagadīśvarī = Jewels in Sanskrit and
musicology: Ācārya Jagadīśa Sahāya Kulaśreṣṭha abhinandana grantha,
ed. by Suṣamā Kulaśreṣṭha et al. Dillī, 1995; p. 441-449.

If I remember its contents correctly, some tantric text(s) associate
each gaṇa with one of the pañcabhūta-s and other elements. Since fire
and water are incompatible, a fire gaṇa should never occur next to a
water gaṇa. According to Wadhwani, this indeed conforms to prosodical
practice. I don’t recall exactly which gaṇa-s conform to fire and
water, only that this rule seemed to me to make sense from a
metrical/rhythmical point of view.

Unless someone on this list can provide a digital copy of this
article, I could make a scan of it in about two weeks.


Thomas Kintaert

Dr. Thomas Kintaert
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde,
Universität Wien
Uni-Campus AAKH
Spitalg. 2, Hof 2.1
1090 Wien, Österreich
thomas.kintaert at univie.ac.at

On 7/7/17, Olivelle, J P via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Friends:
> I received this query and do not have an answer. I always thought these were
> mnemonic devices to remember Sanskrit meters. Has anyone come across this
> kind of meanings attached to them? Thanks.
> Patrick
> I have a Sanskrit-related question; any insights you could offer me about
> this would be much appreciated!
> As you may remember, I'm researching Kandyan drumming in Sri Lanka, and how
> it has changed during the 20th century.
> Many traditional drummers that I've spoken to have been convinced that the
> important bera pada (drumming patterns) have special astrological
> significance, but none have had any idea about how this worked.
> I've since discovered that auspicious drumming pieces such Magul Bera start
> with gana (tri-syllabic groups) such as na and ya, and that Vina pada
> (drumming patterns intended to cause harm) start with gana such as ta and
> sa.
> This makes sense, since Sinhala astrologers consider the gana ma, na, bha,
> and ya to good, and the gana ja, ra, sa, and ta to be bad.
> Of course, these are the same gana that are defined for Sanskrit prosody by
> writers such as Pingala, but while Sinhala astrologers place a lot of
> significance on good/bad (suba/asuba) gana - for example when naming babies
> or writing seth kavi and vas kavi - I have so far found no evidence that
> people in India have done the same. To be fair, I haven't talked to any
> Indians about this, but so far I've been unable to find any written sources
> about the topic.
> My question is: in Sanskrit prosody and/or any form of astrology in India,
> were/are gana (tri-syllabic groupings) categorized as good and bad? Or is
> this something unique to Sinhala astrology?

Dr. Thomas Kintaert
Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist
University of Vienna
Uni-Campus AAKH
Spitalg. 2, Hof 2.7
A-1090 Wien, Austria (Europe)
Tel.: +43-1-4277-43561
Fax: +43-1-4277-9435
thomas.kintaert at univie.ac.at

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