A chaupai (Punjabi: ਚੌਪਈ) is a quatrain (a four lines) stanza or verse which is popular in Indian poetry, used both in medieval Hindi poetry and in the Dasam Granth, a Sikh holy scripture. It uses a metre of four syllables.
The word has 2 roots "Chau" meaning 4 and "paee" to attain, acquire; limbed; lying so together the word means "having 4 limbs; 4 qualities; etc
Chau-phaee (Punjabi: ਚਉਪਾਈ) - Is a four legged bed-stead
The Chaupai type of composition having 4 lines for each verse is very common and nearly 2000 such compilations are found in the Dasam Granth.
The beginning of the section "Aapnee katha" - "My Story" begins with a chaupai thus:
|ਅਪਨੀ ਕਥਾ |
ਤਮਰੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਅਪਰ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਲਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਪਾਰਾ ॥
|AUTOBIOGRAPHY (My Story) |
The famous morning Nitnem prayer of the Sikhs actually called "Benti Chaupai" is all in the chaupai mode consisting of 4 lines for the entire compilation apart from the conclusion which has version other metres including Dohra near the end of this Bani.
Famous chaupais include those of poet-saint Tulsidas, used in his classical texts of Ramcharitamanas and in the Hanuman Chalisa and also in Sikh prayer Chaupai.
Chaupai is identified by a syllable count 16/16, counted with a value of 1 in case of Hrasva (Short sounding letter) and 2 in case of Dhirga (long sounding letter)
Some of the famous 40 chaupais (known as chalisa) are Ganesh Chalisa Shiv Chalisa Durga Chalisa Hanuman Chalisa