Gaha Sattasai

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The Gāhā Sattasaī or Gaha Kosha (Sanskrit: गाथासप्तशती Gāthā Saptaśatī) is a collection of poems in Maharashtri Prakrit.[1] The poems mostly have love as a theme. Many of the poems are by women.

The collection is attributed to the king Hāla, as are about forty of the poems in it. It is estimated to date from between 200 BCE and 200 CE. It consists of 700 single-verse poems, divided into 7 chapters of 100 verses each. It names 278 poets; about half the poems are anonymous.[2] All the poems are couplets, and most are in the arya metre.[3]

The first critical edition of the Sattasaī was by Albrecht Weber in 1881. It is based on seventeen manuscripts, and contains 964 poems in total, of which 430 are common to all manuscripts.[4] Weber was also the first person to translate the poems into a European language (into German), but his translation was published in journals and not as a separate book. The only English translation to include 700 verses (1–700 of Weber's edition) is by Radhagovinda Basak in 1970.[5] There is also a Sanskrit translation of the Sattasaī with commentary, made available by the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan.[6]


with the blink of an eye
his love vanished
A trinket gets
into your world
you reach out and it's gone

— Hala, tr. Schelling

Lone buck
in the clearing
Nearby doe
eyes him with such
that there
in the trees the hunter
seeing his own girl
lets the bow drop

— Anonymous, tr. Schelling

I have heard so much about you from others
And now at last I see you with my own eyes.
Please, my dear, say something
So that my ears, too, may drink nectar.

— Unknown, tr. Peter Khoroche and Herman Tieken


  1. ^ Maharashtri
  2. ^ Schelling, Introduction
  3. ^ Khoroche and Tieken, p. 1
  4. ^ Khoroche and Tieken, p. 10
  5. ^ Khoroche and Tieken, p. 13
  6. ^ Sanskrit Gatha Saptashati



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