Sep 16, 2010


Ushnik, named for the 7th horse pulling the golden chariot of the sun god, is a stanzaic Vedic meter. Classical Sanskrit and Vedic Sanskrit use meters for most ancient treatises that are set to verse.

The literature is divided into two main periods—the Vedic (c.1500–c.200 B.C.), when the Vedic form of Sanskrit generally prevailed, and the Sanskrit (c.200 B.C.–c.A.D. 1100), when classical Sanskrit (a development of Vedic) predominated. Sanskrit had, however, become the standard language of the court by 400 B.C., and its early literature overlapped the Vedic. The word Sanskrit means "perfected," and the language was adopted as an improvement of the Vedic.

The first part of the Vedic period (c.1500–c.800 B.C. was a poetic and creative age, but afterward (c.800–c.500 B.C.) the priestly class transferred its energies to sacrificial ceremonial. Vedic meter is measured by the number of padas (lines), and the number of syllables in each pada.

jagati: 4 padas of 12 syllables
tristubh: 4 padas of 11 syllables
viraj: 4 padas of 10 syllables
anustup: 4 padas of 8 syllables
ushnik: 4 padas of 7 syllables
gayatri: 3 padas of 8 syllables

The defining features of the Ushnik are:

stanziac, any number of quatrains (4 padas)
syllabic, 7 syllables per line.


Ancient gods and goddesses
Watch over our spirits still
Waiting for the day to come
When they’ll be worshipped once more.

Their patience, never ending
They know their day is coming
For time is just a spiral
That spins us out of control.

We feel the pull of progress
Firm in our belief that we’re
In charge of destiny
But it is in charge of us.

New temples will be raised up
The gods, all given new names
The world will turn back again
Synthetic in origin.

No comments: