Sep 8, 2011


Like the Ushnik, the Jagati is a Hindu verse form. Hindu 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.

According to the Bhaktivedanta Veda Base:
Thereafter the art of literary expression, uṣṇik, was generated from the hairs on the body of the almighty Prajāpati. The principal Vedic hymn, gāyatrī, was generated from the skin, triṣṭup from the flesh, anuṣṭup from the veins, and jagatī from the bones of the lord of the living entities.

The Jagati is written with 4 lines or padas to a stanza and 12 syllables in each pada. The Jagati is not only characterized by the number of syllables but also by its particular sequence of long and short sounds. This heavy-light or guru-laghu pattern of the lines is language specific and almost impossible to duplicate in English. Needless to say, I didn’t even try.


A cool white moon, shining high in the midnight sky
Keeping silent vigil o’er an uncaring world,
Pacing across the heavens in an age old dance,
Seeking the perfect partner that does not exist.

A lost god, winging his way across the heavens
Forever in pursuit of the truth, of the way,
Fruitlessly searching for the vision gone astray -
Steadfast, the mission to find a forgotten past.

A rising sun, red on the distant horizon,
Herald for a new day of unanswered questions,
As eternal and enduring as time itself -
Archaic habits cannot be changed on a whim.


Tara Tyler said...

beautiful form!

C R Ward said...

The only difference between the Jagati and the Ushnik is the number of syllables - the Ushnik only has 7 per line. :-)