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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

Similar words:

Chau-phaee (Punjabi: ਚਉਪਾਈ) - Is a four legged bed-stead

Dasam Granth

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
ਚੌਪਈ ॥

ਤ੝ਮਰੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਅਪਰ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਲਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਪਾਰਾ ॥
ਦੇਵ ਦੇਵ ਰਾਜਨ ਕੇ ਰਾਜਾ ॥ ਦੀਨ ਦਿਆਲ ਗਰੀਬ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ॥੧॥


O Lord! Thy Praise is Supreme and Infinite. None could comprehend Your limits.
O God of gods, the King of kings. The Merciful Lord of the lowly and protector of the humble (1)

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.

Hindu poetry

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

See also