What is Panchanga?
Astrologically Panchanga is based on the ancient Vedic system of calculation. It is known as Panchanga or ‘Five Limbs’ in Sanskrit as it considers five aspects of time:
1. Tithi(Lunar day),
2. Vara(week day),
3. Nakshatra(stellar constellation of moon),
4. Yoga(quality of time) and
5. Karana(time appropriate for certain type of actions), based on the movements of the Moon.
Panchanga as seen by Common Man
- Panchanga is the most popular hand book published in India. It helps one to determine auspicious time for rituals, festival dates, dates for travelling, dates of eclipses in advance, auspicious and inauspicious days etc.
- Christian, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains also use Panchanga to an extent.
- Farmers seek advice for sowing seeds and other such activities, it’s a ready reckoner before one reaches priest or an astrologer.
- Most of mundane affairs are foreseen through Panchanga.
- Its widely believed that 5 source of energies visible and invisible as denoted by these segments has a greater role in life of humans and on mundane level and balance of such energy is very essential for welfare of mankind.
- Panchanga provides guidelines to a person to undertake activities in accordance with the best possible and most beneficial combination using these 5 elements.
- Sunrise and Sunset timings of each day, ending part of Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana Zodiacal signs and planetary positions on each day based on Drig-Ganitha are all provided in tabular column.
- Panchanga uses traditional Ghatis and Vigathis to measure time.(60 Ghatis make one day)
It forms basis for all astrological analysis which is a part of Vedanga.
- Panchanga is based on highly precise mathematical calculations on a very minute level using Drig ganita (Lahiri ayanamsa) Planetery data collected from NASA.
Vedic Calculations of Time & Creation
Yuga is the name of epoch or era with in four age cycle.
A complete yuga cycle from golden age Satya yuga to dark age Kaliyuga
forms one maha yuga which has duration of 43,20,000 years out of which
Satya yuga -17,28,000 Years
Tretra yuga-12,96,000 Years
Dwapar yuga- 8,64,000 Years
Kali yuga- 4,32,000 Years
Often translated as golden, silver, bronze and iron ages . The age followed gradual decline of dharma , wisdom, knowledge, intellectual Capacity , life span, emotional and physical strength.
*This calendar reckons dates based on the Shalivahana era (Shalivahana Shaka), which begins its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by the legendary hero Shalivahana. The Satavahana king Shalivahana (also identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni) is credited with the initiation of this era known as Shalivahana. The Salivahana era begins its count of years from the year corresponding to 78 CE of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2015 CE corresponds to the year 1937 of the Salivahana Era.
*In the terminology used by this lunar calendar, each year is identified based on the same with counting done on Ugadi which falls on “Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami” the first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra which generally falls in the months of March or April of the Gregorian calendar and is considered as start of new year as per lunar calendar. The Hindu calendar descends from Vedic times with references of calendar in Vedas and Vedangas and scholars such as Aryabhata (5oo AD) Varahamihira (600AD) Baskara (1200AD) were experts scholars in Jyotishya and contributed greatly to the calendar. The most widely used authoritative texts as reference for Hindu Panchanga is “Surya Siddantha” which was written somewhere in 10th century.
- Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the Saka king Vikramaditya, thus starting the Shalivahana era or Saka Calendar which is still used by Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, Telugites, and Kannadigas.
The Shalivahana era, also known as the Saka era, is used with Hindu calendars, the Indian national calendar, and the Cambodian Buddhist calendar. Its year zero begins near the vernal equinox of the year 78. The initiation of the era known as Shalivahana Saka to celebrate his victory against the Sakas in the year 78AD.
- This year 2015 is called 1937 Salivahana saka –Manmata Nama samvatsara-5116 Kaliyuga year
- 60 year cycle- samvatsaras which keeps repeating
- Year- 354 days lunar year which is adjusted by Adik Masa
- 6 seasons
- Lunar month -29.56 days
- 2 pakshas- waxing and waning -15+15 days
- 15 thithis in a paksha
- 60 Ghatis in a day
- 2.5 ghatis in an hour
- 60 vigathis in a ghati
Thithi or Lunar day and deities
1.Prathama (Prathipath or Padya) Agni
2.Dwitheeya (Bidige) Brahma
3.Thrutheeya (Thadige) Gouri
4.Chathurthi (Chouthi) Vinayaka
10.Dashami Adi Sesha
15.Pournami Chandra (Poornima) [Shukla Paksha] 30 Amavasya Pithru Devatha
Phases of Moon
Day’s Thithi- The thithi ruling at the time of sun rise of the day is reckoned as the thithi of the day for all date referrals. During Sankalpa- thithi, nakshathra, yoga, karana ruling at the sun rise of the day is used. Thithis are classified into Five groups.
* Nanda -Prathama, Shashti, Ekadashi Ananda
*Bhadra -Dwitheeya, Sapthami, Dwadashi Arogya – Mangala
*Jaya -Thrutheeya, Ashtami, Thrayodashi Jaya (victory)
*Riktha -Chathurthy, Navami, Chathurdashi Nashta (loss)
*Poorna -Panchami, Dashami, Pournami/Amavasya (Sampoorna)
Vara or Week Day
Vara is derived from the 1st hora of the day.
Concept of Hora or Hour
- Now the question arises, why is the day coming after Sunday named as Monday, Why not some other day. To understand this, we will first have to understand the positions of the planets, in the space;-
Descending order of planets based on distance from Earth-
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and Moon.
- Therefore, Saturn is the farthest planet. Below the Saturn is Jupiter, below Jupiter is Mars, below the Mars is Sun, below the Sun is Venus, below Venus is Mercury, and below Mercury is Moon. All the planets are revolving around the Sun in their respective orbits. Since there are 24 Hora’s in a day combined with night, therefore, each Hora consists of an hour. The ‘Lord’ of each Hora is a planet from the nearest lower orbit.
- In the beginning of the creation, the Sun was visible first of all and for that very reason, it has been considered as the lord of the first Hora and also the first day has been named after it. The next Hora is named after Venus, which is the lord of the second HORA and continues in the order of distance from earth. The 25th hour which is the 1st hour of next day when counted in the order as mentioned from Sun belongs to Moon, Hence Monday comes after Sunday. sloka- !!Akre-sukre-budha-chandre-manda-jeeva-darasutha” may be referred for better understanding Which means-Sun-Venus-Mercury-Moon-Saturn-Jupiter-Mars.
What is Yoga
- When a person is born, he is born in one of these yoga’s. It is the combination of the Sun+Moon that is at the core of your birth ( Atman or Jiva + Mind) and what is added to this Atman+Mind this body. So this Yoga is one data point that gives clue on the quality of the individual coming into this creation and the work of the Universe
- Karana is one half of a lunar day. Totally there are eleven karana’s. Out of them four are fixed and seven are movable. The four fixed karana’s are considered inauspicious and their names are as follows: 1.Shakuni 2.Chatushpada 3.Naga 4.Kimstughna.
The seven movable karana’s are
- Karana’s give us a more exact description of the nature of the favourable and unfavourable influences occurring around us at a specific time of the day.
Ruthu or Seasons
*Vasantha Ruthu (Spring)- Chitra/Vishaka Masa -March/April
Festivals in these months : Vasanth Panchami/Ugadi/Sri Ramnavami
Temperature -20-30 Deg
*Grishma Ruthu (Summer)- Jyesta/Ashada Masa -May/June-
Festivals in these months : Guru Poornima
Temperature – 40-45 Deg
*Varsha Ruthu (Monsoon)- Sravana/Badrapad Masa – July/August
Festivals in these months : Rakshabandan /Krishna Janmastami/Ganesh Chaturthi/Onam
Temperature – 35-40 Deg
*Sharad Ruthu (Autumn)- Ashvija/Kartika Masa – Sep/Oct
Festivals in these months : Deepavali, Navratri
Temperature – 25-30 Deg
*Hemantha Ruthu (Pre-winter)- Margasira/Pusya Masa – Nov/Dec
Festivals in these months : Karthik Poornima,
Temperature – 19-25 Deg
*Sisira Ruthu (Winter)- Magha/Palguna Masa – Jan/Feb
Festivals in these months : Shivratri/Pongal/Sankaranthi
Temperature – 19-25 Deg
Masa or month
*What is Masa and how did we get the name?
*Why do we have Adhika Masa?
Lunar year is roughly 11 days shorter than tropical year and hence every year beginning of Chaitra Masa(March/April) slides by roughly 11 days. This ends up roughly 29 days 8 hours in 3 years and compelling us to add one more extra lunar month in the Hindu calendar to adjust with solar calendar. we call it Adhika Masa. This month will have two solar ingress.
Samvatsara or Year
*prabava Chitrabhānu Hemalambi Paridhāvin Vibhava Subhānu Vilambin Pramādin Śukla Tāraṇa Vikārin Ānanda Pramodadūta Pārthiva Śārvarin Rākṣasa Prajāpati Vyaya Plava Nala/Anala Āṅgīrasa Sarvajit Śubhakṛt Piṅgala Śrīmukha Sarvadhārin Śobhana Kālayukta Bhāva Virodhin Krodhin Siddhārthin Yuva Vikṛti Viśvāvasu Raudra Dhātṛ Khara Parābhava Durmati Īśvara Nandana Plavaṅga Dundubhi Bahudhānya Vijaya Kīlaka Rudhirodgārin Pramāthi Jaya Saumya Raktākṣin Vikrama Manmatha Sādhāraṇa Krodhana Vṛṣa Durmukha Virodhakṛt Kṣaya
About National Panchanga
National panchanga or Rastreeya Panchanga was introduced in the year 1957 under the guidance of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru to remove the discrepancies in the different panchangas. A committee was formed to do research and remove the errors under the guidance of N.C.Lahiri. According to this theory, the sidereal position of Spica (alpha-Virginis, assumed to be the ancient Chitra Star) should be exactly 180 degrees as stated in Surya-Siddhaanta by Varahamihira, while both sidereal and tropical zodiacs should coincide at the time of zero ayanamsha. Although Surya-Siddhaanta and other ancient texts state that ayanamsha was zero in 499 AD (Mesha Samkranti), N C Lahiri insisted on Spica’s identification as Chitra and concluded that Spica was the nearest bright star adjacent to 180 degrees, hence resting on Spica he concluded that tropical position of Spica being zero in 285 AD must be the zero point of Ayanamsha too. This Ayanamsa is followed till date.
Time as in Panchanga
The time duration from one sun rise to the next sun rise is reckoned as a day in Panchangam. This duration is considered equal to 60 gratis(24 hours). However, as the sun rise time varies from day to day by a small measure, the duration of the day also varies to that extent.
One hour is equal to 2 ½ Ghatis and one Ghati is equal to 60 Vigatis.
Rahu & Ketu
Tarabala & Chandrabala
*Tarabala is moon position on a given day from the natal star or radix moon of a person which is the strength gained due to constellation of the day
2-4-6-8 stars from natal star is considered as auspicious,
*Chandrabala is position of moon from natal rashi of a person which denotes the Lunar strength to undertaking the work.
1-3-6-7-10-11th house position of moon from Radix moon is considered good
Ayanamsa (Sanskrit ayanāṃśa: ayana “movement” + aṃśa “component”), also ayanabhāga (Sk. bhāga “portion”), is the Sanskrit term in Indian astronomy for the amount of precession. In astrology, this is the longitudinal difference between the Tropical (Sāyana) and Sidereal (Nirayana) zodiacs.
Precisions of Equinox / Ayanamsa
Ayana / Hemisphere
*The Makara Sankranti, 6 solar months after Karkataka sankranti, is called Uttharayana Punya kaala. The Sun will be directly over Tropic of Capricorn (23 ½ degree “S” Latitude – it passes through Australia) at this time. Sun starts its northward movement from this moment. This will normally be on 14th of January.
*Around the Dakshinayana Punyakaala, 21st of June is called the Summer Solstice meaning the longest day (maximum dinamana). Around the Uttharaayana Punyakaala, 22nd of December is called the Winter Solstice meaning the shortest day (minimum dinamana). Between the two dates 21st of March is called Vernal (Spring) Equinox and 23rd of September is known as Autumnal Equinox. On these two dates daytime will equal night time [dinamana will be equal to rathrimana]. All this is applicable to Earth’s Northern Hemisphere (where India is located).
*One year consists of two ayanas. Each ayana is spread over six soura masas. Each ayana signifies the sun’s direction. Thus during Dakshinayana, Sun is moving south and during the Uttarayana, Sun is moving North. Ayana can also be understood as passage of Sun to the North and South of the equator. Karkataka Sankramana marks the beginning of Dakshinayana and Makara Sankramana marks the beginning of Uttarayana.
Uttarayana and Dakshinayana
Elements of Panchanga in dealing with time -Muhurtha
*The value of time is inestimable. All objects in nature are produced in time, developed in time and destroyed in time and requires no proof. If creative, protective and destructive forces are embedded in all powerful time recognized as “Kalpurusha” in Vedic literature then will it not be reasonable to study the influences of various energies issued from solar globe and other such globes dependent on Sun for supply of energies and reflected by them under various modifications ?
*Muhurata is undertaking ventures at auspicious time to ward of evils and ensure success. Selection of Muhurata is a strenuous process which requires through knowledge of Panchanga and its components. Effects of the energies at the point of starting the work which are influenced by stellar effects, Thithi, Vara, Yoga, Karana, Hora, Ayana and planets is to be studied in detail before it is started.
Sankalpa or resolution
Sankalpa is a positive intention expressed out loud to the gods/goddesses to receive blessing for a specific purpose or a specific need, request, ceremony and/or a general all round well being of us and our families. Sankalpa is to affirm the positive intention and special reason to ask for blessings from almighty and is mainly always done at the beginning of the puja ritual for special occasions/ceremonies like weddings, bridal showers, after the baby’s birth, during engagement ceremonies, during special religious festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri,Diwali, Dasera, and so on…
Sankalpa is recited with the sanskrit shlokas which typically includes the mentions of the particular Hindu calendar day, date, year, fortnight, season, time and place during that specific ceremony /that the “pooja performer” is performing the ceremony or Puja Hindu calendar year-
वर्ष संवत्सर Year (Samvatsar)
ऋतु Season (Ritu)
मास month (Maas),
पक्ष new moon or full moon quadrant (Paksha)
तिथि the number of the particular day (Tithi)
वार Day ( vaar)
In case you do not know the details one can substitute the word “shubha”
Nature of weather predictions astrologically
*Ardra Pravesh Lagna (Horoscope cast for the time when Sun enter star Aridra)
The exact local time when Sun enters Ardra Nakshatra is noted and a horoscope made for that moment. The lunar date, day, Lunar Nakshatra and planetary combinations prevailing at that time give holistic information about coming weather patterns.
If the entry of Sun in Ardra Nakshatra happens after a sunset and before the next Sun rise, it is good for rainfall and weather. All other times are considered inauspicious. Solar entry in Ardra Nakshatra between sunrise and 12 noon is especially bad and points towards coming famine and other calamities.
In sharp contrast Sun entering Ardra during late evening or night indicates widespread and plentiful rainfall leading to good crops and easy availability of food grains.
Ardra Pravesh in India took place exactly at 22nd June, 2015 at 16:36:35 taking the place for Delhi. According to classics this indicates almost normal rainfall. As per sage Varahamihira when Moon enters the constellation Purva Ashada in the month of December it is supposed to be the day of conception of clouds. According to sages, Sun’s entry into Purva Ashada is to be taken into account. But generally accepted practice is to take the Moon’s entry. So the delivery takes place when the Sun enters the constellation Ardra. So this means that it takes about 195 days approximately for delivery of rain. But to test the pregnancy (like we human being do) it is done by “Vayu Parikshan”. Here it is said that on that day when Moon enters Purva Ashada, we need to observe the direction of wind. It is said that when you feel the wind from North, North East or East the rain is supposed to be in abundance. We will not get deep into this subject, However,
* The rainy season is supposed to end when Sun enter the constellation Swati in Libra. This is on October 24, 2015.