(Last Updated on : 14/04/2010)
Chhandas (Metre) in the Natyashastra, otherwise called Vritta is constituted of four feet, embellished with words having diverse meanings. Chhandas are twenty six in number based on the number of letters in each foot. Chhandas or Vritta can be of three types, viz. Rama (even), Ardhasama (semi even) and Visama (Uneven). There is no word devoid of Chhandas and no Chhandas without word. Thus the combination of both is remembered as the illuminator of the dramatic performance. There are twenty six Chhandas based on the number of syllables, namely Ukta, Atyukta, Madhya, Pratistha, Supratistha, Gayatri, Usttik, Anustup, Brhata, Pankti, Tastup, Jagati, Atijagati, Sakvari, Atisakvari, Asti, Atyasti, Dhriti, Atidhriti, Kriti, Prakriti, Akriti, Vikrti, Sankrti, Atikrti and Utkrti. A Chhandas with more syllables per foot is remembered as Malavritta.
Sixty four Vrittas have been mentioned in the Gayatri Chhandas; Usttik is said to have hundred and twenty-eight Vrittas; two hundred and fifty six Vrittas in Anustup, five hundred and twelve in Brhata, one thousand and twenty four in Pankti, two thousand and forty eight in Tastup, four thousand and ninety six Samavarna Vrittas in Jagati, eight thousand one hundred and ninety two in Atijagati, sixteen thousand three hundred and eighty four in Sakvari, thirty two thousand seven hundred and sixty eight in Atisakvari, sixty five thousand five hundred and thirty six in Asti; One hundred and thirty one thousand and seventy two in Atyasti, two hundred and forty four in Dhriti; five hundred and twenty four thousand two hundred and eighty eight in Atidhriti; one million forty eight thousand five hundred seventy six in Kriti; two million ninety seven thousand one hundred and fifty two in Prakriti four million one hundred and ninety four thousand three hundred and four in Akriti; eight million three hundred and eighty eight thousand six hundred and eight in Vikrti; sixteen millions eleven hundred and seventy seven thousand two hundred and sixteen in Sankrti; thirty three million five hundred and fifty four thousand four hundred and thirty two in Atikrti and sixty seven million one hundred and eight thousand eight hundred and sixty four in Utkrti.
If the number of possible Vrittas in each of the Chhandas are added together, that comes to one hundred and thirty four million two hundred and seventeen thousand and seven hundred and twenty six.