A Sanskrit term shloka (श्लोक; also spelt sloka) specifically denotes a metered and often rhymed poetic verse or phrase. Shloka is the chief metre used in the Epics. It also connotes and has come to mean a proverb and a form of prayer throughout Indian religions having arisen in the Vedas. Shloka has become equated with Hindu prayer and is often comparable to a proverb and hymn of praise to be sung or chanted in liturgy. Shloka are generally composed in a specified meter, typically part of stotras. The most common form in classical (post-Vedic) poetry is the anustubh, a verse of four padas (feet), each of eight syllables. Anustubhs are the primary verse form of the Sanskrit epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. Use of anustubhs became prevalent to the point of "shloka" often being used as a synonym of "anustubh". The traditional view is that this form of verse occurred to Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana, on seeing a hunter shoot down one of two birds in love.