Gatha, aka: Gāthā, Gātha; 13 Definition(s)


Gatha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


The term ‘gāthā’ (गाथा) occurs in the Ṛg-veda meaning usually a song or verse. The gāthās, though religious in content, are not mantras and hence are non-Vedic. In the aśvamedha sacrifice, as described in the Brāhmaṇas, we find mention of two lute-prayers, a Brahmin and a warrior, who in verses of their own composition (gāthās), glorified the generosity and war-like deeds of the sacrificer and his ancestors. With the fate of the aśvamedha, recitation of such gāthās also seems to have gone out of existence.

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

Gātha (गाथ).—Ancient popular songs; a feature of the Purāṇas; Nāraḍa on Vāli's sacrifices; on Pitṛs, on Yayāti, on Kārtavīrya, on Rāma;1 about Gayā and the Narmadā;2 sung by divine ṛṣis in Khaṭvānga's Yajña;3 by Prahlāda on Hari.4

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 34. 21: III. 7. 272: 19. 9: 63. 192: 68. 96: 69. 19. IV. 15. 32: Matsya-purāṇa 43. 23: 204. 2 and 19: Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 6. 15.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 22. 5: 186. 5: 207. 39-40.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 60. 21: 73. 41: 83. 10: 88. 191: 93. 94: 94. 19: 96. 13.
  • 4) Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 17. 29.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

1) Gāthā (गाथा).—Piṅgala gives the definition of gāthā metres in the 8th chapter in 19 sūtras, where he discusses 18 gāthā metres. He says the metres which are not discussed in previous chapters is called as gāthā metres.

2) Gāthā (गाथा).—Śrī Kṛṣṇabhaṭṭa Kavikalānidhi (C. 1669-1744 C.E.), in his Vṛttamuktāvalī, divides the Gāthā type metres into seven viz. gāthikā, gāthā, vigāthā, udgāthā, gāthinī, siṃhinī, skandhā. He discusses the Gāthāprakaraṇa and other mātrā metres in the second chapters. Totally 44 metres in 67 verses are described in the second chapter.

3) Gāthā (गाथा) refers to one of the twenty-seven mātrāvṛttas (quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Mātrāvṛtta (eg., gāthā) refers to a type of metre found in classical Sanskrit poetry.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Gāthā (गाथा) refers to one of the ten kinds of dhruvā (“songs”) defined in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 32. Accordingly, “the dhruvā is so called, because in it words, varṇas, alaṃkāra, tempo (laya), jāti and pāṇis are regularly (dhruva) connected with one another”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Gāthā (गाथा):—All the kie ‘verses’, if they are composed of six, three or five metric feet (pada) or an undetermined number of metric feet, are called k’i-ye ‘geya’ and also k’ie-to, ‘gathā, stanza’

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A portion of the Tipitaka classified according to the matter (anga) of each one.

It includes the Dhammapada, the Theragatha and Therigatha, and those suttas, composed of stanzas only, found in the Sutta Nipata and not included under the term Sutta. DA.i.23f; Vin.iii.8.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

F Knowledge and ethics imparted by means of speech or scriptures. Formula expressing some knowledge under the shapes of verses.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Ancient Indian verse.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Gatha in Pali glossary... « previous · [G] · next »

gāthā : (f.) deep. (m.), depth; a safe stand; foothold.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Gāthā, (f.) (Vedic gāthā, on dern see gāyate) a verse, stanza, line of poetry, usually referring to an Anuṭṭhubbaṃ or a Tuṭṭhubbaṃ, & called a catuppādā gāthā, a stanza (śloka) of four half-lines A.II, 178; J.IV, 395. Def. as akkhara-padaniya-mita-ganthita-vacanaṃ at KhA 117. For a riddle on the word see S.I, 38. As a style of composition it is one of the nine Aṅgas or divisions of the Canon (see navaṅga Satthu sāsana). Pl. gāthā Sn.429; J.II, 160; gāthāyo Vin.I, 5, 349; D.II, 157. gāthāya ajjhābhāsati to address with a verse Vin.I, 36, 38; Kh v. intr.—gāthāhi anumodati to thank with (these) lines Vin.I, 222, 230, 246, 294, etc.—gāthāyo gīyamāna uttering the lines Vin.I, 38.—anantaragāthā the foll. stanza J.IV, 142; Sn.251; J.I, 280; Dh.102 (°sataṃ).

—abhigīta gained by verses S.I, 167=Sn.81, 480 (gāthāyo bhāsitvā laddhaṃ Com. cp. Ger. “ersungen”). —âvasāne after the stanza has been ended DhA.III, 171; —jānanaka one who knows verses Anvs. p. 35; —dvaya (nt.) a pair of stanzas J.III, 395 sq.; PvA.29, 40; —pada a half line of a gāthā Dh.101; KhA 123; —sukhattaṃ in order to have a well-sounding line, metri causā, PvA.33. (Page 248)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

gāṭhā (गाठा).—m (gāṇṭha) A large silver ring worn by the worshipers of Khanḍoba around the neck.

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gāthā (गाथा).—f (S) Unmetrical composition; simple prose. 2 A period or sentence. 3 Idle chat; floating news. v sāṅga, kuṭa.

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gāthā (गाथा).—m Jumbledness, confusedly mingled state. 2 Rumpled state.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

gāthā (गाथा).—f Unmetrical composition, simple prose. A period or sentence. Idle chat, floating news. v sāṅga, kūṭa. m Thumbled- ness, confusedly mingled state.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Gātha (गाथ).—See under गै (gai) .

See also (synonyms): gāthaka.

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Gātha (गाथ).—A song, singing.

Derivable forms: gāthaḥ (गाथः).

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Gāthā (गाथा).—

1) Verse.

2) A religious verse, but not belonging to any one of the Vedas.

3) A stanza.

4) A song; कदा वाहेयिका गाथाः पुनर्गास्यामि शाकले (kadā vāheyikā gāthāḥ punargāsyāmi śākale) Mb.8.44.26.

5) A Prākṛta dialect.

6) Name of the Aryā metre.

7) Legend, history (ākhyāna); द्विजोपसृष्टः कुहकस्तक्षको वा दशत्वलं गायत विष्णुगाथाः (dvijopasṛṣṭaḥ kuhakastakṣako vā daśatvalaṃ gāyata viṣṇugāthāḥ) Bhāg.1.19.15.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 83 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Theri -gatha
Therī, & Therikā (f.) (see thera) 1. an old woman (cp. sthavirikā M Vastu III, 283) Pv. II, 116...
Prācīnagāthā (प्राचीनगाथा).—an ancient story or tradition. Prācīnagāthā is a Sanskrit compound ...
Gāthānārāśaṃsī (गाथानाराशंसी).—epic songs and particularly those in praise of men or heroes.Gāt...
Koradya Gatha
kōraḍyā gāthā (कोरड्या गाथा).—f pl Unfounded rumors.
Ṛjukagātha (ऋजुकगाथ).—a. Ved. singing correctly; धारवाकेष्वृजुगाथ शोभसे (dhāravākeṣvṛjugātha śo...
Ṛggāthā (ऋग्गाथा).—Name of a certain song consisting of rik- like stanzas; ऋग्गाथा पाणिका दक्षव...
Ṛjugātha (ऋजुगाथ).—a. Ved. singing correctly; धारवाकेष्वृजुगाथ शोभसे (dhāravākeṣvṛjugātha śobha...
Abhiyajñagāthā (अभियज्ञगाथा).—a sacrificial verse.Abhiyajñagāthā is a Sanskrit compound consist...
Lokagāthā (लोकगाथा).—a song handed down among people, folk-song. Lokagāthā is a Sanskrit compou...
Gāthākāra (गाथाकार).—a writer of Prākṛta verses. Derivable forms: gāthākāraḥ (गाथाकारः).Gāthākā...
Gāthodāna (गाथोदान, “verse”) refers to an “exalted utterance” and represents one of the “nine (...
Upali Gatha
The stanzas in which Upali Gahapati uttered the Buddhas praises when Nataputta asked him what k...
Abhisambuddha Gatha
The name given to the stanzas which illustrate and summarise the Jataka stories, when such st...
Gayā (गया) is the name of an ancient locality situated in Majjhimadesa (Middle Country) of anci...
Nīla (नील) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as menti...

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