Kanda padya (ಕಂದಪದ್ಯ) is a prosodic form which is extremely popular in the
ancient and medieval Kannada poetry. It contains four lines of unequal length. The
first and the third lines contain equal number of ‘matras’.
The remaining two lines are also of equal length. Forms like this are designated
as ‘ardha sama
vrutta’. ‘Kanda’ is essentially a prosodic form in ‘Matraa
Vrutta’. However certain minor conditions are imposed
making use of the concepts in the 'akshara
gana chandassu' This fact becomes significant
if one takes in to consideration that ‘kanda’s are usually
prevalent in ‘Champu Kavyas’
that were written during the early phase of Kannada poetry and continued unabatedly
for a number of centuries. Kandas are used in
champu kavyas in combination with ‘Varna
Vruttas’ and many indigenous meters. Very rarely one
comes across an entire work composed in Kanda padyas.
This meter is used in literary works as well as knowledge based texts. One comes
across these even in inscriptions.
The word ‘kanda’ as well as the meter are usually traced to the Sanskrit meter ‘aaryaa’ (ಆರ್ಯಾ) and the Prakrit meter ‘Khandayi (ಖಂದಇ) It does not belong to the indigenous ‘amsha gana chandassu. Scholars have put forward many arguments in favor of their beliefs. The structure of a typical kanda padya is as follows.
4 4 4
4 4 4 4 4
4 4 4 4 4
Here the number four represents a unit containing four
‘maatra’s. Hence a kanda
padya contains sixteen units (gaNa)
and the total number of maatras is sixty four. (Thirty
two in each half) The odd numbered ganas should not
be a ‘ja’ gana which means
that its pattern should not be ‘u-u’.(Lahgu-Guru-Laghu)
However the sixth and the twelfth unit have to be a ‘ja’
gana or they should have the pattern ‘uuuu’
(four laghus). The eighth and the sixteenth units must
have a ‘guru’ at the end. There is a pause in the rendering of the poem after the
first letter of the sixth and twelfth ganas. (Yati)
The seventh and the fourteenth unit should begin with anew word if it contains four laghus in succession. This meter sticks
to the rule of initial rhythm (AdiprAsa) very strictly
and one find a lot internal rhyming though not according tostipulated rules.Scholars have
done some hair splitting and tried to find some variations of this meter but not
with much success.
A survey of Kandas right from the beginning to the modern times reveals
a gradual tendency of flouting the rules whether they are literary works or inscriptions.
Early poets such as
occurrence of Kandas in Kannada is traced to two poems
that were found in the Jain mutt at Singanagadde village
in Narasimharajapura taluk.
Only three kandas belong to the pre-Kavirajamarga
era. However there is an extensive use of this meter in Champu
kavyas. Most of them have ‘Kanda’ as their major component
with other vruttas being used sparingly. This is true
of Srivijaya of Kavirajamarga
‘Kanda’ is the
favorite prosodic form of writers who have written knowledge based texts in Kannada.
‘Kavvyavalokana’, (Nagavarma-2) ‘Shabdamanidarpana’
by Keshiraja and ‘Ashvashastra’
by Abhinavachandra are a few among them.
This meter owes its popularity to the facility with which one can combine Kannada and Sanskrit words, the flexibility that makes room for experimentation, a scope to introduce lyricism, conversation and description depending on the needs of the situation. Consequently scholars have heaped praise on this meter and its practitioners. Two illustrations of well constructed kandas are given below.
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ಭಾವಿಸಿ/ದ ಜನಪ/ ದಂ ವಸು/
ಧಾವಳ/ಯ ವಿಲೀ/ನ ವಿಶದÀ/ವಿಷಯ ವಿ/ಶೇಷಂ (ಕವಿರಾಜಮಾರ್ಗಂ, 1-36)
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ಸಡಿಲಿಸ/ದಾ ಪ್ರಾæ/ಣ ವಲ್ಲ/ಭರ್ ಪ್ರಾ/ಣಮನಂ1
ಸೈ/ಪೊಳವೇ/ 11 (ಆದಿಪುರಾಣಂ, ಪಂಪÀ, 5-24)
1. ‘Praacheena Kannada Sahitya
Ruupagalu’ by R.S. Mugali,
Chandah Svaropa’, by T.V.Venkatachalashastri, 1978,
3. ‘Kannada Chandassamputa’ edited by
4. ‘Kanda-lakshana, ugama,
itihasa’ by N.S.Taranatha, Kannada
Chandassina Charitre, 1980, Kannada