There are several other minor metres found in the Vedas, such as:
Vir?j: 4 lines of 10 syllables
The shortest and most sacred of Vedic metres is the G?yatr? metre. A verse consists of three octosyllabic sections (p?da). The following is an example of the opening of a Rigvedic hymn in G?yatr? metre:
The G?yatr? metre is considered as the most refined and sacred of the Vedic metres, and one that continues to be part of modern Hindu culture as part of Yoga and hymns of meditation at sunrise.
The general scheme of the G?yatr? is a stanza of three 8-syllable lines. The length of the syllables is variable, but the rhythm tends to be iambic (? - ? -), especially in the cadence (last four syllables) of each line. However, there is one rare variety, used for example in Rigveda 8.2.1-39, in which the cadence is trochaic (- ? - x). Another cadence sometimes found (especially in the first line of a stanza) is (? ? ? x).
The last syllable of a line may be long or short indifferently.
The G?yatr? metre makes up about 25% of the entire Rigveda. The only metre more commonly used in Rigveda than G?yatr? is the Tristubh metre. The structure of G?yatr? and other Vedic metres is more flexible than post-Vedic metres.
One of the best known verses of G?yatr? is the Gayatri Mantra, which is taken from book 3.62.10 (the last hymn of the 3rd book) of the Rigveda.
When the Rig-Veda is chanted, performers traditionally recite the first two padas of G?yatr? without making a break between them, in accordance with the generally used sa?hit? text. However, according to Macdonell, "there is no reason to believe that in the original text the second verse was more sharply divided from the third than from the first." When the Gayatri Mantra is recited, on the other hand, a pause is customarily made after each pada.
When there is a pause, a short syllable at the end of a line can be considered long, by the principle of brevis in longo.
Although the G?yatr? is very common in the Rigveda, it fell out of use early and is not found in Sanskrit poetry of the classical period. There is a similar 3 x 8 stanzaic metre in the Avestan scriptures of ancient Iran.
van Nooten, B. und G. Holland, Rig Veda, a metrically restored text, Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, 1994.