The Vedic Saṁhitās have been preserved for millennia due to the well-orga-nized system of ‘svaras’ or intonations. Such svaras are of three types: udātta, anudātta and svarita. They are generally translated as ‘raised,’ ‘not raised’ and ‘falling.’ They are musical in nature.
The anudātta is indicated by a horizontal line below the letter, the udātta without any sign and the svarita with a vertical line above the letter. For instance: Oṁ saha nā̍āvavatu. Here ‘sa’ is an anudātta and ‘n̍a’ is a svarita. The other letters are all udātta.
While chanting, the udātta letters are chanted as the basic note (‘sa’ or ṣaḍja of music), the anudātta as one note below (‘ni’ or niṣāda) and the svarita as one note above (‘ri’ or ṛṣabha).