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#45 - June 18, 2008 01:01 PM Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Hindu Calendars


Uttarayana in Vedanga Jyotis
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HinduCalendar/message/2899


In Hindu astrology on the other hand, their spring equinox was fixed
to the stars about 17 centuries ago, and has been drifting away from
the seasons since then, now amounting to 22 days. (This was the Big
Mistake!)

Wikipedia


I'm no astrologer nor astronomer, but this requires some common sense
only, not scholarship.

Its a simple matter really. There is nothing to dispute! We celebrate
Pongal on the winter equinox (uttarayana - meaning when the sun starts
its journey northwards). If anyone is not sure when is the winter
equinox just call your local meteorological station. Simple!

Now if Pongal is properly adjusted and celebrated on the correct day,
all other festivals have to naturally be adjusted too following the
seasons, lunar months and nakshatras.

There are no makara rasi, or any rasis, no astrology, no fatalism, no determinism, no numerology, no palmistry in the vedas!

What we do have is solar and lunar months, nakshatras and tithis - all for
calculating times - our Hindu clock and dating system. But needless to say even
our Surya Siddhanta traditional astronomical calculations do not correspond
accurately to modern astronomical calculations (of course!) and has to be
revised in the light of modern astronomical data.

We have always been aware that there is no predictive astrology (jatakam) in
Hinduism nor nadi astrology, palmistry or numerology, rather our saints spoke
against it, and against determinism.

We know that the gods are not planets. Surya is not the physical sun and neither
is Brihaspati the planet Jupiter! Brihaspati is the guru of the gods! Brihaspati
or Brahmanaspati is one of the names of Lord Ganesha (jyestha raajam brahmanaam
brahmanaspatah). No shruti has ever said that it is the planet Jupiter and
revolves round the sun. On the other hand, even Surya is supposed to pay
obeisance to Brihaspati as the latter is his guru!

These are all the superstitions a whole continent of gullible Hindus misled by
astrologers for a millenium has come to believe and never stopped to ask
themselves. Plus the dasas, buktis, shani_s' and dishayams and all the vratas
and prayers associated with it to ward off dosams and shani periods - all this is not required.

Incidentally, the chinese too celebrate this day, the winter solstice, the
marking of the end of winter and the beginning of spring as "Tong Tsu'
in mandarin. To them this day is the most important of all chinese
festivals, even more important than their New Year which is celebrated
grandly in early February. It is marked by an evening meal by the entire
family where special delicacies are enjoyed, and only after that may one
go out.

You can surprise and wish you chinese and vietnamese (yes, they follow
the chinese calendar) friends 'Happy Tong Tsu'.

So we have external verification of when exactly is winter solstice
traditionally for milleniums.

Below are relevant clippings of discussions from HinduCalendar on the
subject of Hindu almanacs and dates of festivals. Since it was put
together it may not have a smooth flow. Keep in mind that if Hindus
have been so misled, just imagine how much more errors and
superstitions we have adopted over time, including the adoption of
puranass and itihasas as shastra, and as historically occured events.

Forward questions to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HinduCalendar/messages

Pathma


Over the last several centuries, most probably right from the day of
advent of the Surya Sidhanta by Maya the mlechha into India, i.e. about two
millennia back, we are celebrating all our festivals against the canons of the
Vedas and the Vedanga Jyotisha, thanks mainly to predictive astrologers, who call
themselves "Vedic astrologers" these days.

There are no Makara etc., Rashis in the Vedas nor in the Vedanga Jyotisha i.e.,
Rik Jyotisha or Yajur-Jyotisha or Atharva Jyotisha. For that matter, no
indigenous Hindu sidhanta like Pitamaha Sidhanta or Vasishtha Sidhanta
of the Panchasidhantika has either listed any Mesha etc. Rashis. Not only
there are no Mesha etc. Rashis, but the much dreaded Mangal and Shani are
conspicuous by their absence in any of the Vedas or the Vedanga Jyotisha or the Pitamaha
Sidhanta or Vasishtha Sidhanta. As such, these are "direct imports"
from the Grecho-Chaldean astrologers, via "Maya" the "Asura".


Now coming to Uttarayana etc. phenomena, these are recognized by the Vedas and
the Vedanga Jyotisha etc. The Vedas called those phenomena as Udagayana etc.
However, the fly in the ointment is that the Uttarayana literally means the "Sun
turning towards North". This phenomenon can occur only on the shortest
day of the year, which is around December 22 these days.
The Vedas and the
Vedanga Jyotisha named the six months of Uttarayana simultaneously as Tapah,
Tapasya etc. instead of Makar, Kumbha etc. As such, to say that Uttarayana
starts on Januzary 14 and lasts till July 14 is to betray our ignorance not only
of our Vedic lore but even of ABC of modern astronomy, nay even school level
geography!

What is all the more surprising, the Bhagavata Purana and the Vishnu
Purana, the two puranas that are supposed to be "beacons-lights" for ISKCON
members also list Makara Sankranti as the shortest day of the year and the Karkata
Sankranti as the longest day! Similarly, Mesha Sankranti, as per the same
Puranic lore, is another name of Vasant Sampat i.e. Spring Equinox and Tula
Sankranti is known as Hemant Sampat i.e. Autumn Equinox. I had brought all these
anachronisms to the notice of quite a few members of "Bhakti Vedanta" group that they are
celebrating even festivals like Janmashtami and Navratra also on wrong
days, but somehow, they preferred just to ignore them.

Uttarayana, being the Sanskrit equivalent of Winter Solstice, is a
seasonal phenomenan. Capricorn is the English Equivalent of the Greek
constellation Capricornus. Uttarayana takes place these days around
December 21 whereas the sun enters the constellation Capricorunus
around January 19.

Calculating Uttarayana, in fact, is not an esoteric phenomenon for
which one has to take recourse to tapasya and/or yoga! On the other
hand, it is just a geographical/astronomical phenomenon and can be
calculated by anybody with the help of just a gnomon! The most
ancient Indian astronomer, viz. Acharya Lagadha of the Vedanga
Jyotisha, never advised us to take recourse to Tapasya or yoga to
clculate such phenomena but he just gave some mathematical
procedures!

The Vedanga Jyotisha is quite categorical that the shortest day i.e.
Winter Solstice is the real start of Uttarayana! Technically, a period
ranging from the shortest day of the year to the longest day of the
year is in complete agreement with the phenomenon of seasons -- and
worthy of being called Uttarayana. Our commentators like
Shankaracharya, Abhinav Gupta etc. etc. also have said "Uttarayana --
when the sun turns uttara" and as everybody knows, rather should know,
sun really starts turning towards north on the WS day after having
gained the maximum southern declination till then!

Every measuring system has a starting point as zero. The zero of
nakshatras, like the zero of any other astronomical body, is Vernal
Equinox.

This Vernal Equinox keeps on precessing. As such, the distances of Stars
keep on changing.

The Vedic year is seasonal---i.e. tropical in today's jargon---and seasons
have absolutely nothing to do with either precession or the nakshatras!

As far as the proposed new Hindu calendar goes, we must follow the Vedanga
Jyotisha pattern -- just eliminate the names of Mesha etc. rashis from
calendars and take recourse to Madhu, Madhava and Chaitra,Vaishakha etc.
months. Regarding nakshatras, since they have absolutely nothing to do
with seasons but everything with muhurtas, they have to be real ones -- that is
the starting point can be from Purvabhadra -- either a few degrees earlier
from that star or just from the start of that star--- whatever is
decided by the majority.

This is mentioned in Aitareya Brahmana of Rgveda. The text says
clearly : "The sun neither rises nor sets".

It is an astronomical fact that the sun neither rises nor sets since
it is a star and is therefore "stationary". Thus it is clear that our Vedic Rishis
knew that much of astronomy even much before Copernicus or Aryabhatta, for
that matter. The Vishnupurana has also aptly described the same phenomena!

"Pratkshyam Jyotisham shastam" means that the science of astronomy
(and not predictive gimmicks!) is the science of "visible bodies". The meaning of
the second half of this shloka is "as the sun and the moon are its
witnesses". The sun and the moon are responsible for day and nights and
seasons and also Shukla/Krishna Paksha etc. which are all astronomical
phenomena.

As per the Gita, when Arjuna said that he was not sure as to whether
Kauravas or Pandavas would win the battle, Bhagwan Krishna did not ask
him to go and enquire from a jyotishi whether he would win or lose the
war but He just advised him that if he (Arjuna) got killed in the
battlefield he would go to the heavens and if he won the war he would
be the "master of all he surveyed". Clearly, Lord Krishna Himself did
not believe in "fate being revealed" and "remedial measure suggested
as per planetary indications". The meaning is very clear: There were
no jyotishis around then and if there were any, they were not to be
consulted!

AKK

When we should celebrate Makar Sankranti?

First of all, we should decide whether we should follow our ancient
almanac (panchang) or should follow west or should follow government
calendar.

Unlike other festivals the festival of Makar sankranti is purely
based on Sun's position in the sky. Erect one pole of about one
meter height with a sharp pointer on the terrace of your house. Mark
the position of shadow every day at sunrise. The shadow will shift a
little to south every day if it is Uttarayan and it will shift a
little to north everyday if it is Dkshinayan. A time will arrive
when the shadow is at its maximum northward position this is the end
of Dakshinayan and the start of Uttarayayan. The date is 23 December
every year.


Then slowly shadow will shift to south every day and at
some time shadow will be at its maximum southward position. This is
the end of Uttarayanan and start of Dakshinayan. The date is 21 June
every year. The dates are not likely to change for next few million
years.

Because the west has changed the calendar itself from Julian
Calendar to Gregorian Calendar in 1752 and removed the error of
about eleven days. Further steps have taken to make it error free by
correction of leap years. Now, Gregorian calendar will have the same
relation of position of earth with reference to sun and calendar
dates for next sixty thousand years or more. The error may not be
more than two days (48 hours) at any given time, out of which one
day is corrected as leap year every four years. This is one of the
strong evidence of Sun's movement towards south or north and start
of Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. Please note: The experiment
mentioned above can't give good results near equator and near Polar
regions.

Regards
Gurudas Mahale

Why are Uttaraayan and Makar Sankraanti being "confused" together?

They are two distinct and different "events" of the Sun.

Uttaraayan means northward movement of the Sun as observed at your
geographical location on Earth. Therefore, whichever dates this "event" is true for
your place is called Uttaraayan days.

Makar Sankraanti means Sun's transition into the Makar Raashi as
observed at your geographical location on Earth. Therefore, whichever date this
"event" is true for your place is called Makar Sankraanti day.

A Sharma

Makar. For example, the sun enters Capricornus constellation neither
on December 22 nor on January 14/15 but on January 21 these days! Then
celeberate Makar Sankaranthi Jan 21st and be happy.>

Could you please quote even a single Vedic mantra or any Pauranic
shloka or astronomical dictum that advises us to celebrate that day
when the sun enters Capricornus constellation?


The four Cardinal points viz. the Dakshinayana, Uttarayana, Vasant
Sampat and Hemant Sampat are the four pillars of the real Vedic
calendar They are unalterable and no deviation has ever been
tolerated in them by any of the real Vamadevas. As such, Uttarayana
is the shortest day of the year -- as per all the Vedas and even
Puranas, not to speak of modern astronomy. It falls around December
22 these days.

Regarding Makar Sankranti, anybody can celebrate it on any day. It
maybe of interest to everybody to know that in spite of his best
efforts, Dr. Vartak of Pune could not "discover" any "nirayana" (or
even "sayana") Makar Rashi in any of the Vedas.

Similarly, the Vedanga Jyotisha, the earliest indigenous astronomical
work about the real Vedic calendar does not touch not only Makar Rashi
but any other Rashi even with a barge pole. Same is the case with all
the other indigenous works like the Pitamaha Sidhanta, Vasishtha
Sidhanta etc. The Surya Sidhanta by Maya the "mlechha" (actually he
calls himself an "Asura") is the only work that mentions Mesha etc.
Rashis for the first time in India. So you can draw your own
conclusions as to how "indigenous" these Rashis are.

These days, anybody can celebrate any Sankranti on any day! For
example, Rashtriya (read Lahiri)Panchanga Makara Sankranti may be
celebrated on January 14/15, Ramana Makar Sankranti on any other day,
Tilaka Makar Sanrkanti on some other day, Grahalaghava Maker Sankranti
on still some other day, Surya Sidhanta Makar Sankranti on an entirely
different date and Sidhanta Shiraomani Makar Sankranti on still
another date! As such, it all depends on you as to when you have the
time and inclination to celebrate it! But we cannot take any such
liberties with Uttarayana, since that is the real shortest day of the
year! IT IS THESE VERY CARDINAL POINTS THAT HAVE BEEN PRAISED FOR
CELEBRATION BY ALL THE VEDAS AND EVEN PURANAS. NEEDLESS TO REMIND
THAT BHISHMA PITAMAHA WAS WAITING FOR THIS VERY UTTARAYANA TO SHED OFF
HIS MORTAL COIL.

All the eminent scholars like Pt. S. B. Dikshit, Dr. Meghnad Saha,
Prof. T. S. Kuppanna Sastry, Prof. K. V. Sarma, Dr. Arka Somayaji etc.
etc. could not find any Mesha etc. astrological Rashis in any of the
Vedas or the Vedangas etc. All these scholars had no personal axes to
grind and theirs are names to be reckoned with. It is not only that
they could not find any Mesha etc. astrological Rashis in any of the
Vedas or Vedangas, they could not find any mention of the most dreaded
planets like Mangal and Shani either in any of these works.

At the initial stages, after having read Pt. S. B. Dikshit's magnum
opus "Bharatiya Jyotisha-shastra", I was taken aback by his statement
on page 147 of part I "The names of Rashis (Mesha and others) came
into vogue in India after 500 BS (i.e. about 400 BCE). The names of
weekdays came into use before them and both have been borrowed from
foreign countries".


Similarly, Prof. T. S. Kuppanna Sastry has said on page 453 of his
"Collected Papers" (published by Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth,
Tirupati) : "In the works of this period (i.e. 100 BC to 300 AD) the
influence of Greek culture on Hindu astronomy, especially astrology,
is visible for the first time. The names of weekdays like
Ravi-Vasara, Indu-Vasara etc. and the names of 12 solar signs
comprising the Zodiac, like Mesha, Rishabha etc. occur for the first
time now. Many scholars are of the opinion that these originated in
Babylonia and reached India via the Greeks". Then on page 454, the
same author has said, "It is for this concoction, this bane of our
culture i.e. predictive astrology, that we are indebted to the Greeks
in a large measure".


I had been brought up in an atmosphere of predictive astrology right
from the birth. And that astrology was based on Mesha, Vrisha etc.
Rashis and Mangal, Shani etc. planets. It riled me, therefore, to read
that the Mesha etc. Rashis were imported into India from other
countries. I did not believe any of those scholars and vowed to
myself to go through all the Vedic lore to prove those scholars
wrong.

AND I DID GO THROUGH ALL THE FOUR VEDAS AND THE VEDANGAS
LITERALLY WITH A TOOTH-COMB. HOWEVER, I MUST ADMIT THAT THERE ARE
ACTUALLY NO MESHA ETC. RASHIS IN ANY OF THE VEDAS AND/OR VEDANGAS, NOR
IS THERE ANY MENTION OF MANGAL OR SHANI IN ANY OF THESE WORKS.

What shocked me all the more was that the compilation of five
sidhantas in the Panchasidhantika also did not refer to any Mesha etc.
Rashis or Mangal, Shani etc. planets, except in the Surya Sidhanta by
Maya the mlechha!

TO CROWN IT ALL, EVEN THE MAHABHARATA DOES NOT MENTION ANY RASHIS OR
WEEKDAYS EVEN BY MISTAKE ANYWHERE! As such, I had no alternative but
to believe that there were actually no Mesha etc. Rashis or Mangal,
Shani etc. planets in the Vedas.

It means that if we want to align our calendars with the Vedic lore,
the first and foremost thing we have to do IS TO FORGET ABOUT RASHIS
and base our festivals on the Vedic statements, especially the Vedanga
Jyotisha, which is the first recorded indigenous work of Indian
astronomy of 1400 BCE. AND THAT MEANS THAT WE HAVE TO CALL THESE
MONTHS AS TAPAH/MAGHA, TAPASYA/PHALGUNA ETC. INSTEAD OF THE SO CALLED
MAKAR ETC. ASTROLOGICAL RASHIS. ACCORDINGLY, UTTARAYANA, ALSO KNOWN
AS UDAGANAYANA IN THE VEDAS, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY RASHIS AS PER
THE VEDAS, SINCE THAT IS THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR ACCORDING TO ALL
THE VEDAS AND IS ALSO KNOWN AS THE STARTING DAY OF TAPAH/MAGHA MONTH.

Since there are no Mesha etc. astrological Rashis in the Vedas, it
naturally leads to the conclusion that there is no predictive
astrology in the Vedas either.


This trouble has started actually with the Greek invasion of India who
planted "Surya Sidhanta" and "Sphujidwaja's Yavanajatakam" etc. to make us
Rashi and Mangal, Shani etc. based astro-addicts so that we lost all the
initiative and became fatalists. People like Varaha-Mihira became their
Indian counter-parts, I would say Indian stooges, actually!

We have been routed in almost every battle since then, because instead of
going by planned war strategy and diplomacy, we went by the advice of our
Raja-jyotishis, thanks to Varahamihira's Brihat Samhita, which became the
Bible of not only the Jyotishis of India but even our kings and
princes etc. etc. Now that very "science of pranks" is these days known as "Vedic
jyotish"!

THE MOST IRONICAL PART OF IT IS THAT ALL OUR SHASTRAS POOH-POOH
FATALISM AND HAVE ADMONISHED IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS FROM
CONSULTING SOOTHSAYERS/STARS.

We have now got bogged down under this hazy and nebulous situation to such
an extent that we declare to the whole world that predictive gimmicks are
part of the Vedic lore since we have a work named Vedanga Jyotisha!
And the rest of Hindus take such statements for granted since they never even
for a moment feel that they can be taken for a ride by "modern Rishis
(sic!)" like "Vamadevas" and "Parasharas" and even "Varahamihras" and "Jyotisha-gurus".
As you must be aware, Vedanga Jyotisha is actually the 13th century BCE
astronomical work, neither mentioning Mesha etc. Rashis nor Mangal, Shani
etc. planets but just a rough and ready reckoner for calculating
tithi, nakshatra, masa et.

So we have to address the sentiments of...Hindus and try to point out
to them that since they are celebrating festivals like Janmashtami, Mahashivaratri etc.
etc. already, why not celebrate them on correct days? The first rudimentary
principle for that purpose will be to celebrate Uttarayana and Dakshinayana
etc. on correct days.
The Vedic name for the starting month of the six
months of Uttarayana was Tapah/Magha instead of Makar Sankranti. As such,
we have to celebrate our Vedic months in accordance with the seasons..

Celebrating festivals and muhurtas in India has been going on right
from the earliest Vedic period, as is evident from the Rigvedic mantra "Varuna
knows the twelve months and the (adhika) thirteenth month also". The Vedic
calendar was aligned to seasons with due place and respect for nakshatras
like krittika etc. Both these i.e. the seasons and nakshatra divisions are
astronomical phenomena/realities and therefore our Rishis were well
attuned to such..


WHAT HAPPENED?
< Sir i will be very thankful if you can guide me to understand the
Starting point of Vikrama Era..>

The starting point of a lunar year, as per the Vedanga Jyotisha, was
the first New Moon day after the Winter Solstice. By implication, it
means that the starting day of a new solar year was the day of
Uttarayana i.e. Winter Solstice itself. That happened around 14th
century BCE.

It was on this basis that the Julian calendar was started in 45 BCE by
Julies Caesar under the guidance of his astronomer Sosegenes, as there
was a Mean New Moon as per Ptolemy's mean elements on that data.
Later, since the duration of a seasonal year did not exactly tally
with the duration of Julian year, adjustments were made from time to
time and we have now the Gregorian Calendar. January 1 is thus
actually neither the start of solar year nor a lunar year -- but just
a whimsical/fictitious era, with the only plus point that we know that
the Winter Solstice takes place every year around December 21/22 and
so on.

Later on, as per commentaries on the Shatapatha Brahamana etc. and
some rock carvings etc. we find that Vasant Sampat i.e. Vernal Equinox
was the starting day of the solar year, whereas the starting day of
the lunar year was the first New Moon after the start of Vasanta Ritu
i.e. the month of Madhu. Thus the lunar New Year started earlier than
the solar new year in India. However, the lunar new month always
started after the solar month of the same name. Both the starting
days/dates of the lunar as well as the solar new year were related to
seasonal years.

With the passage of time, however, and with the advent of Maya the
mlechha, we started believing more and more in the words of a really
good for nothing Varahamihira and got cut off from the Vedanga
Jyotisha New Year as well as the real Vasanta Sampat and the real
Vasanti Navratra.

It is not clear as to when the Vikrami Era was started, but it appears
to have been done through back calculations since it is said that it
started in 57 BCE. If it had been the real starting date, there would
certainly have been an indication of a week-day and all the other
paraphernalia, as are usually attached to a regnal era. Besides, if
it had started in that year really, it would have continued to be
aligned to seasons and first New Moon after the start of Vasanta
Ritu. But, like all the other good things of Indian culture, it was
derailed and affixed to a Surya Sidhanta solar and lunar new year �
which is actually neither here nor there since that year is neither
solar nor lunar nor tropical nor sidereal nor anomalistic etc. etc.
In fact, that year has absolutely no astronomical support and the
accursed Maya befooled us to passivity and pusillanimity with the
"fatwa" that that work had been "revealed" to him by Surya Bhagwan!
We just believed him -- rather we were made to believe him by
charlatans like Varahamihira, who praised it to skies with such
remarks as "spashta-taro Savitrah -- i.e. "The surya Sidhanta is the
most accurate (sic!) astronomical work" when actually it was and still
is the quite useless and fundamentally incorrect sidhanta!
That is why these days the solar Vikrami year starts around April
14/15! Thus you can call it a "Lahiri Vikrami Era" since it has no
justification whatsoever!

In India, efforts have been going on at least over the last couple of
centuries to streamline Hindu Calendar in accordance with the Vedas. The latest
effort was in 1994, when a conference was held in New Delhi, wherein all the
"leading scholars" of India had participated. They okayed the same "reforms"
that had been "administered" in 1955 by Saha Calendar Reform Committee. In other
words, they okayed the same "Lahiri" calendar.

AKK


Ms. Norelli-Bachelet is a widely published author and internationally
recognized teacher who, along with others both in India and throughout
the world, convened The Movement for the Restoration of Vedic Wisdom,
to correct among other things, the discrepancy between the precise day
important celestial events occur and when they are actually celebrated
according to the Hindu Calendar. For instance, the Makar Sankranti,
the Capricorn Solstice - shortest day of the year actually occurred on
December 22 and yet Hindu's throughout India continue to celebrate
this important festival on January 14. It is important to note that
through the efforts of the Movement for the Restoration of Vedic
Wisdom, many temples in South India celebrated the Makar Sankranti for
the first time in centuries on the actual Winter Solstice on December 22.

Robert E. Wilkinson


SEASONS
The six-season definition is unique to vedic system and is not found
in any other recorded culture or system. These seasons are, Vasanta,
Geeshma, Varsha, Sharad, Himavanta and Shishira each season being
about two moon cycles. It is in Taittareeya Samhita (Krishna
Yajurveda) and in Atharva samhita 19th kaanda /7th Sootra that an
explicit first definition and identification of the twenty- seven(28)
Nakshatra's is available (Refs, 1 and 2). It should be noted that the
concept of Zodiac/Raashi is not even hinted in any vedic texts of the
old period.

The table below provides a list of the twenty-seven stars from
Taittareeya Samhita and Krishna Yajurveda 4th Kaanda 4th Prashna of
Andhra School. Similar list is referred to in Atharvaveda, 19th
kaanda/7th Sookta. It differs from the Yajurveda list in that twenty
eight stars are listed. In 19th Kaanda/8th sooktha twenty eight(ashtha
vimshaani) nakshatras are declared. The nakshatra not explicitly used
in Jyotishya and in yajurveda is named Abhijit. The taiaareeya
brahmana (third Ashtaka) derived from yajurveda again lists 28
nakshatras including Abhijit. It is referred to in Athrvana veda. The
author or Drashtaara of Atharva veda sookta is Gaargya Rishi.

http://www.vedicastronomy.net/stars_bharatheeya.htm

Suresh Balaraman

Vedic and post-Vedic calendars were framed without astrological Rashis

The fact of the matter is that our Vedic Rishis were not bothered about
predictive astrology. As such they never mentioned anything about Mesha
etc., rashis even by mistake. All they were concerned about was to
devise a calendar for the Vedic rituals etc. and for that purposes they
required the
four cardinal points viz. the two Equinoxes and two solstices, besides the
twelve solar and 12 (or thirteen) lunar months and 27/28 nakshatras. It is
in that very context that we have to glean if we can see any "Mesha" etc.,
Rashis in any of the Vedas or post-Vedic astronomical works like the Rik
Jyotisham, the Yajur Jyotisham, the Atharva Jyotisha, the
Pancha-sidhantika(sans the "world famous" Surya Sidhanta of Maya the mlechha!) etc. etc.

Let us, therefore, see the relevant references for that purpose i.e., the
real fundamentals of the calendar as it existed during the Vedic and
post-Vedic period, vis-�-vis Mesha, Vrisha etc. astrological rashis.

1. Rigvea - 4000 BCE: The earliest reference about the calendar that we
have is of at least of around 4000 BCE. And it is an intercalary month
(adhika-masa) in the Rigveda 1/25/8. An adhika-masa can take place only
when lunar synodic months are calculated vis-�-vis solar sankrantis.
As will be evident from what follows, since in the Vedic period only Madhu,
Madhava
etc. solar months and not Aries etc. astrological rashis were in vogue, it
means that even the earliest references to solar/lunar months in the Vedas
are without Mesha etc. Rashis but in relation to Madhu, Madhava etc.
solar/lunar months.

2. 3000 BCE: Taittiriya Samhita 1/4/14 says: "Madhushcha madhavashcha
shukrashcha shuchishcha nabhashcha nabhasyashcha ishashcha oorjashcha
sahashcha sahasyashcha tapashcha tapasyashchai up yam griheeto asi
samsarpo asi amhaspatyay tva"

Here Madhu, Madhava etc. twelve months have been named and then
samsarpa is the thirteenth (intercalary/adhika) month and amhaspati a decayed
(kshyaya) month.

THERE ARE NO RASHIS HERE AND LUNAR MONTHS, INCLUDING
ADHIKA/KSHAYA-MASA, WERE RELATED TO MADHU, MADHAVA ETC.
SOLAR MONTHS AND EVEN NAMED AS (LUNAR, APART FROM SOLAR)
MADHU, MADHAVA ETC. WITHOUT ANY DOUBT. As We do not see any
Mesha etc. Rashis here either, whether for solar or for lunar months.
Mesha etc., Rashis are thus conspicuous by their absence!

3. Again the same Taitiriya Samhita 5/6/7 says "shadratrir deekshitah
syat shadva ritavah samvatsarah�dwadasha ratreer deekshitah syat dwadasha
masah samvatsarah� trayodasha ratreer deekshitah syat, trayodasha masah
samvatsarah"

i.e. "One should get consecrated for six days as the year comprises six
seasons. One should get consecrated for 12 days as the year comprises 12
months. One should get consecrated for 13 days as the year comprises 13
months (including an adhika masa)". There are no rashis involved here but
the solar months Madhu, Madhava etc. are implied because of references to
six seasons, and thereby the lunar months are related to those very solar
months. Again no Mesha etc. Rashis at all since it has not asked us to get
consecrated in any Mesha etc. month!

4. 3000 BCE: Vajasaneya Samhita 22/31 says:
"Madhave svaha, madhavay svaha, shukray svaha shuchaye svaha, nabhase
svaha, nabhasyaya svaha, ishay svaha, oorjay svaha, sahase svaha, sahasyay svaha,
tapase svaha, tapasyaya svaha, amhaspataye svaha"

Here all the twelve solar months of Madhu, Madhava etc. have been named
consecutively and the thirteenth month has been named as amhaspati.
Thus as per this proof also, even lunar months were known by the names of solar
months of Madhu, Madhva etc. in early Vedic days! BUT AGAIN NO MESHA ETC.
RASHIS!
.
5. 3000 BCE and 100 BCE: In Shatapatha Brahmana 4/5/14 we find "Upayama
griheeto asi Madhave tu etyeva advaryur-grihnati upyama griheeto asi
madhavay tveti pratiprastha taitaveva vasantikav sayad vasante aushadhayo
jayante vanaspatayah pachyante tena haitav madhushcha madhavshcha"
Translation "Since in the Vasnata (spring season) grains in the fields
start sprouting that is why the two months of that season are known as Madhu and
Madhvava".

The commentary on this mantra by Shri Hari-Swamin says, "Madhu Madhavaviti
chaitra vaishakhav ritu grahanam chaitradayo masah devatah. Chaitra
vaishakhayor madhu madhava namdheya praptim darshayati. Etav uktav masav
vasantikav"

Translation "Madhu and Madhava are Chaitra and Vaishakha as they are
the two months of Spring season. As such the shruti has shown the names of Chaitra
and Vaishakha as Madhu and Madhava"

Shri Hari-Swamin is said to be a scholar of around first century BCE. It
means that the tradition of calling solar months Madhu, Madhava or even
Chaitra, Vaishakha etc. and vice-versa was prevailing then.
BUT AGAIN NO, MESHA ETC. RASHIS!

6. 1400 BCE: Acharya Lagadha's Vedanga Jyotisha says:
"Svarakramete somarkav yada sakam savasavav, syat tadadi yugam maghastapah
shuklo ayanam hyudak"

As per Dikshit's translation, it means "When the sun and the moon while
moving in the sky, come to Vasava (Dhanishtha i.e. Beta Delphini) star
together, then the yuga, the Magha (month), the tapas (seasonal
month), the light half of the month, and the Winter Solstice, all commence together".
THOUGH UTTARAYANA, TAPAS-CUM-MAGAH HAVE BEEN MENTIONED
HERE, BUT NO MESHA ETC. RASHIS AT ALL!

7. Sixth mantra of the same VJ says
"Prapadyate shavishthadav surya chandramasav udak, sarpardhe
dkshinarkastu, magha shravanayoh sada"

Dikshit's translation: "The sun and the moon turn towards North in the
beginning of Dhanishtha and towards South in the middle of Ashlesha. The
sun always does this in the month of Magha and Shravana"

THIS IS THE VERY FIRST INDIGENOUS ASTRONOMICAL WORK OF 14TH
CENTURY BCE AND HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH SO CALLED
ARIES ETC. RASHIS, WHETHER SAYANA OR NIRAYANA, BUT TELLS US THE
METHODLOGY OF CALCULATING ALL THE TWELVE MONTHS, BOTH SOLAR
AND LUNAR, LIKE TAPAH AND MAGHA, APART FROM WINTER SOLSTICE
AND SUMMER SOLSTICE ETC. WE DO NOT FIND ANY MENTION OF MESHA ETC.
RASHIS OR MANGAL, SHANI ETC. PLANETS IN THE VERY FIRST INDIGENOUS
ASTRONOMICAL WORK, WHICH MEANS THEY WERE CONSPICUOUS BY
THEIR ABSENCE IN THAT PERIOD ALSO!

Same is the case with Yajur Jyotisha also -- absolutely no Rashis or
Mangal Shani etc. planets.

Then again, Atharva-Jyotisha, an indigenous work of about fifth
century BCE also does not say anything about Mesha etc. Rashis, though it has
enumerated weekdays.

ALL IT GOES TO PROVE IS THAT "VEDIC JYOTISHIS" ARE TAKING US
REALLY FOR A RIDE WHEN THEY SAY THAT THE VEDAS ARE "FOUNTAIN
HEADS" OF "PREDICTIVE GIMMICKS" BASED ON MESHA ETC. RASHIS.

How on earth could Vedic Rishis calculate horoscopes if none of the
indigenous astronomical works says anything about Rashis or Mangal, Shani etc.
planets?


Avtar Krishen Kaul

You Hindus are really in deep trouble.

The division of the year can securely be based on sobre observations
with the naked eye. No "visualization" or other occult peezle-poozle
is needed here. Your reliance on occult stuff and at any rate on
*belief* is leading you straight to hell, or at any rate to utter
confusion.

The matter is all [censored] simple. The Vedas are of course not God-given
but pure human work, but in this instance they may be followed
because their calendars are quite sensible.

Firstly you have the purely tropical/seasonal division in 6 seasons
or 12 half-seasons. These are independent of any celestial
observations except the year cycle.

Secondly you have the soli-lunar calendar of 12 x 12 + 7 x 13 lunar
months per 19 solar years (i.e. 7 years per 19 have an intercalary
13th lunar month [if you leave that out, you get the silly Islamic
calendar that retrogresses 11+ days per year]). This is a compromise
integrating the lunar cycle into the solar year, apparently because
the lunar phases were deemed carrying a certain cosmic force
celebrated on lunar festivals.

The lunar months are still mainly tied to the seasons, with a given
months always falling in a given season, even if oscillating year
after year between a few weeks earlier and a few weeks later.
Therefore, the Babylonians gave them season-related names. The
Chinese merely numbered them, with the 1st month starting on the 2nd
new mon after winter solstice (the Chinese New Year). The Hindus,
unfortunately, planted the seeds of later confusion by naming them
after the stars.
Thus, Magha is named after Regulus, Jyeshtha after
Antares. The problem is that the stars are linked only temporarily
to seasons. Because of the precession, they move on. So, they are
unfit as markers of seasonal periods or as month names.

These sidereal month names predisposed the Hindus to favouring the
sidereal (nirayana) over the tropical (sayana) rashichakra/Zodiac,
when this concept was introduced from the Hellenistic world. So when
the visible sidereal Capricorn/Makara started moving away from the
abstract tropical Capricorn, Hindu astrologers and calendar-makers
were led by the nose into following the sidereal Capricorn. So now
you hear them say that "uttarayana" starts on 14 January, when of
course by definition the northward course of the sun starts on 21
December.


Those who plead for reform should logically also discard the star-
based month names like Magha, Phalguna etc. Half measures are
clearly not going to do the job.


is being written there.Or accept the growth of modern astronomy and
adapt it to our customs.Unfortunately you are accepting written Vedas
only. There are so many information which got transmitted orally,and
it was left to individuals to comprehend,the knowledge and use them for
humanity.>

This is a quarrel between two types of crawlers: those who crawl
before the written word, and those who crawl before the supposed
spoken word.
The second has the extra drawback of being open to all
kinds of manipulations and hollow claims. As for the first, I
wouldn't rely on the Vedas as an authority, but luck has it that they
make sense on the calendar, viz. season-based/tropical. Whether the
12 half-season names are used or the Hellenistic rashichakra ones is
of secondary importance, but at least their basis is sound. Of
course, this leaves no room for nonsense like a Makar Sankranti on 14
January.


Changing the Naming of Months
Yes, the constellations or nakshatras "do exist in the sky", but they are
thoroughly unsuited for marking the months, because the precession
continuously alters their position vis-�-vis the year and the seasons.

Like the tropical Zodiac, like the Chinese tropical 24-part "knot"
division of the year, like (indirectly) the Chinese and Babylonian
soli-lunar calendars, the Vedic systems of 12 half-seasons was purely
tropical, tied to the year and the seasons, and totally unrelated to
the constellations. That is as it should be. If you want to get out
of the present mess in which Winter Solstice is celebrated on 14
January and Spring Equinox on 14 April (and will be celebrated at any
and every single day of the year, if you wait long enough), you had
better discard the constellations from your calendar altogether.
Months should not be named after constellations: Magha, Karttik etc.
Purely tropical, non-lunar months should only refer to their position
in the seasonal cycle; while lunar months may have their own
nomenclature, such as numbering. But in no case should they or their
names be linked to constellations, which have no intrinsic connection
with them anyway.

Dr. Koenraad Elst


.


Hindu festivals are of two types: those referring to an
objective and universal event of an astronomical nature, esp.
solstices, equinoxes, and lunations; and those referring to a
contingent mytho-historical event such as Krishna's birth, Rama's
homecoming (Diwali), Krishna's teaching at Kurukshetra (Gita
Jayanti), Buddha Nirvana. The latter type of festival is celebrated
on the day indicated by the Itihasa, on whichever day the pertinent
event happens to have taken place; they are usually calculated in the
lunar calendar, e.g. Krishna Janmaashtami means "Krishna's birth on
the eigth day of the lunar half-month". The former festivals are
decided by the heavens and are a simple affair in cultures which
follow the seasonal cycle or solar year, easily observable,
straighforward, and meaningfully tied to real-life season-related
cycles. European Pagan cultures celebrated the winter solstice on
the actual winter solstice, always ca. 21 December.

Hindu culture unfortunately has confused seasonal (and lunar) events
with the sidereal cycle, which only *appears* to be related to the
seasons when observed over not more than a short period. Hellenistic
astrology attached the symbol of Capricorn/Makara to the winter
solstice, Aries/Mesha to the spring equinox. These were admittedly
borrowed from the much older names of the constellations which then
(ca. time of Christ) coincided with the solstice c.q. equinox, *but*
they were deliberately *delinked* from the constellations and
reattached to the seasonal cardinal points. They had discovered that
the "fixed" stars and constellations moved vis-�-vis the seasons, a
motion called precession and amounting to ca. 1 day per 71 years.
Given a choice between a seasons-based cycle and a constellations-
based cycle, they opted for the life-related seasonal cycle and
against the unrelated constellation cycle. This implies celebrating
the real solstice and real equinox, related to real-life (e.g.
vegetation) cycles, and not the approximative entry into the moving
and ill-defined Capricorn and Aries constellations on, presently, ca.
14 January c.q. 14 April.

If Siddhantic Hindu astronomers/astrologers in the first centuries
CE, after learning of the Hellenistic innovations, opted against the
seasonal cycle, against the real solstice and equinox, and in favour
of the meaningless constellations with their slowly moving
entries/sankranti-s, it was probably due to their previous habit of
naming the lunar months after the constellations. Though this was
understandable, because the moon (unlike the sun) is actually seen
against the background of constellations, it was by no means
necessary. The Chinese and the highly astro-centred Babylonians used
lunar months too, but didn't name them after the constellations. The
Chinese simply numbered them. Like the Hindus, they also adjusted
the lunar system to the solar year by means of incalated thirteenth
months, 7 times per 19 years. (The Pagan Arabs used the same system,
but Mohammed abolished this 13th month, which is why the Islamic 12-
lunation year is too short and falls 11 days behind every year.)
Naming the lunar months after the constellations was not only
unnecessary, it was also misleading and ill-founded, because
the "fixed" stars are unrelated to the solar and lunar cycles, having
a slow movement (1 day per ca. 71 years) vis-�-vis these cycles.

That the Chinese (and likewise the Babylonian) lunar calendar was
essentially seasonal, is clear from the fact that their first lunar
month always and by definition contains the winter solstice, i.e. it
starts with the new moon preceding the winter solstice, so that the
third month always and by definition starts with the second new moon
after winter solstice, a day confusingly known in the West
as "Chinese New Year", but more properly
Chunjie, "Spring 'Knot'", "Spring Festival". Hindus had better
follow this example, detach their lunar calendar from the
constellations and attach it to the seasonal cycle.

But in astronomy and
calendar theory, the solstice is obviously more important, because
the Spring Festival is *derived* from it, being defined as the second
new moon following it.

The Chinese have two calendars, one strictly seasonal/solar, and one
lunar. The seasonal calendar is strictly defined by solstices and
equinoxes, dividing the sun/earth plane in 24 equal sectors,
corresponding to slightly more than 15 days for the sun to pass
through such a sector. It starts exactly on winter solstice, its 7th
phase starts exactly on spring equinox, its 13th on summer solstice,
its 19th on autumn equinox. These 15+-day periods are called
*jieqi*, "knot-energies", a name which compares the solstices and
equinoxes and the 20 intermediate points to the "knots" dividing a
bamboo stalk in segments. The jeiqi year requires for its definition
only the sun/earth cycle, not the moon nor the stars/constellations.
The lunar calendar also depends on the solstices and equinoxes, but
makes a compromise with the handily visible moon cycle. It combines
the moon/earth cycle with the sun/earth cycle and makes no references
to the stars/constellations.

The Vedas have a year essentially identical to the jieqi year, viz.
the 12-halfseason year, with 1 season (of the 6 Hindu seasons) equal
to 2 halfseasons and 1 halfseason equal to two jieqi. Starting with
winter solstice, it has the halfseasons Madha, Maadhava, Shukra;
spring equinox, Shuchi, Nabhas, Nabhasya; summer solstice, Tapas,
Tapasya, Sahas; autumn equinox, Pushya, Isha, Uurja, winter equinox.
These 12 coincide exactly with the 12 Hellenistic tropical signs,
with Capricorn defined by winter solstice, Aries defined by spring
equinox, etc.

The Hindu lunar year has the same structure (but not the same naming
system) as the Chinese lunar year. In both Chinese and Hindu
civilization, festivals referring to mytho-historical *events* are
calculated according to the (indirectly season-based) lunar calendar,
while turning points in the solar year cycle are celebrated on dates
given by the direct season-based calendar. Note that none of of the
celandar systems discussed here, Chinese or Babylonian or Arab or pre-
Siddhantic Hindu, depends in any way on the constellations. They can
all be constructed even in the absence or invisiblity of every single
celestial body outside sun/earth/moon.

In practice, this would mean that Krishna Jayanti etc. can continue
to be calculated according to the lunar calendar, while Makar
Sankranti and Mesha Sankranti (Hindu New Year, also celebrated as New
Year in southern Buddhist countries) would be celebrated exactly on
winter solstice c.q. sping equinox, ca. 21 December c.q. ca. 21
March, *not* on 14 January/April nor any other time of the year.

I don't know whether the pre-Siddhantic and Vedic Hindus celebrated
winter solstice, but they certainly based their calendar on it, so it
is certainly in the spirit of the Vedic tradition to celebrate it.
As for the mytho-history-based festivals, Hindus may choose to
calculate them in the solar (12 half-season) calendar, but that would
go against the tradition. On that matter I am not pronouncing an
opinion for now, I am merely pointing out that it would be an
innovation. By contrast, celebrating Pongal or Makar Sankranti on 21
December would merely be a restoring of pre-Siddhantic tradition as
well as of astronomical/calendrical common sense.

Like "Jyotisha", "Kala Vidya" is a neutral term which only
astrologers take to mean "astrology". The real meanings
are "astronomy" c.q. "chronology" (which in practice also means
astronomy). The Rg-Vedic astronomer Dirghatamas never mentioned
anything related to horoscopy.


Now, attributing effects in
the human world to celestial ^phenomena, that's astrology, even if no
rashi-cakra is involved.

....Hindus didn't use the sidereal ("nirayana")
rashi-cakra but used the tropical ("sayana") rashi-cakra, in which
Capricorn coincides with winter solstice by definition. So, Makar
Sankranti on ca. 21 December, not ca. 14 January. For tradition-
minded Hindus, this textual argument of authority from the Vishnu
Purana could clear away their resistance against the replacement of
the ill-founded sidereal date of Makar Sankranti (presently 14 Jan.
and moving forward a day every 71 years) with the sensible tropical
date (winter solstice).

Koenraad Elst


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HinduCalendar/messages




[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited June 18, 2008).]

Top
#46 - June 18, 2008 01:13 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Worship and PreDeterminism

Pongal/Makar Sankranti is a season based festival, marking the end of
winter and the ushering in of spring. We celebrate that! Seasons change
and moves over the centuries but someone fixed the dates to the stars a
millenium ago. So it has cumulatively drifted by 23 days. The
Hindus naively followed without questioning. (why is this a surprise!)

Its simple really. There is NO makara rasi (capricorn) in the vedas or
vedanga jyotisha. There are no rasis in Hinduism. There is NO astrology,
no determinism, no fatalism. There is only uttarayana which is to be
celebrated on the winter solstice! We celebrate that and call it Pongal.

Most people in the west are no longer christian, yet they celebrate the
christmas/new year period, not because they want to honor the birth of christ or
their identity as a christian but simply because its the holiday season and want
to take advantage of it, a time of giving gifts, merry making as well as end of
year celebrations. So these non christians celebrate Xmas, and not Christmas.
'X' can mean any festival for any group, including gays and athiests. So
everyone can celebrate Xmas.

Now I understand Hindus in the west coast of america are beginning to celebrate
PanchaGanapati from 21st Dec to 25th Dec, to coincide with christmas.
PanchaGanapati would be their Xmas! It is a time of gift giving, placing gifts
under a makeshift Ganapati shrine with sugarcane in the living room, all lighted
up just like a christmas tree! On the first day they reach out to immediate
family members, on the second day to relatives, on the third day to friends, on
the fourth day to business associates and culminating on the fifth day, reaching
out to the world at large.

Strictly speaking it is the agamas and the vedas that are the ONLY shastras for
the Hindu. All the rest are commentaries, elaborations and secular works,
persuasive documents perhaps, but which nonetheless are not binding on us, and
can be summarily discarded. It is NO authority. So astrology, or jyotisha, is to
be discarded!

Everyone please keep in mind that we have no concepts of predestination or fate.
What we have is the concept of karma, which cannot ever be known. There is no
way our karma can be charted out and our future predicted based on a horoscope
or palmistry or some mumbo jumbo. There is no mumbo jumbo in the agamas or
vedas.

Everyone keep in mind that we worship the Gods, and not the planets, meteors,
comets, space debris, constellations, nodes of the moon, sun, galaxies or
whatever.
Gods are all prevading bodies of light, neither physical nor even
mental, and not restricted to the physical world around us, rather immanent and
transcending it. And certainly not the planets! Gods pervade the entire cosmos
in much the same way our soul-spirit pervades our entire body. They cannot be
constricted or confined to a planet!

That the astrologers came to link the planets to Hindu gods is a devastating
development of the late siddhanta period. It paralysed the Hindus, made them
superstitious, fearful and fatalistic. It provided an argument and justification
for caste, and all the ills of Hindu society and the failings of an individual
or curse of a community! It made Hindus beggers; they go and beg the gods and
planets for favours, worldly favours that is, wealth to be specific, when on the
contrary the entire reason for taking a birth is to resolve karmas, relinquish
all,
and attain moksha. That cannot happen when one is still begging for wealth,
fame, spouses, etc, and almost always, sure enough, will be disappointed,
leading to a loss of faith and confidence in the Gods.

This is what we need to delink now; delink the Gods from the planets, delink
predeterminism from karma, delink prayers for wealth from worship for communion
with the Gods and moksha.

Appeals to the Gods for their benign intervention is the basis of worship, for
the Gods alone can intervene. There would be no reason to worship if there is
such a thing as predestination. As the future cannot be known, there are no
prophecies in HIndu shastras
unlike the abrahamic faiths. If the future could be
known our shastras would have been overflowing with prophecies.

Where there is worship, that makes it a religion and not just a dharma. It has
become fashionable to describe Hinduism as a way of life and not a religion,
perhaps trying to distinguish and distance themselves from the abrahamic faiths
and establish a distinction. Well thats not true.

Christians and muslims pray, whereas Hindus worship. Its not the same thing.
Worship means 'to honor'. To pray is 'to beg'. Hindus don't beg, but honor the
gods, with agamic tools and technology, seek supernatural communion, seek an
ending to the separation of the soul and God, the aspiration of the worshipper
being to suppress the separation of himself from the object of worship,
amalgamating his self with the supreme self, ultimately the stage in worship is
the identification of the worshipper with the Diety,
and in that process seek
moksha - liberation from the physical, mental and emotional. All Hindu worship
is geared towards this, whether we are conscious of it or not. And not for
begging for wealth and fame (which may be ancilliary and not worthy of mention
in the presence of the God). Therein lies the disappointment! For the objective
was grossly wrong, a total misunderstanding!

The Gods respond to the worship, not by providing wealth, spouse, etc., as
repeatedly and endlessly requested by the woefully lost soul, but by unfolding a
scenario in our lives that makes the separation of soul and God less and less
distant over the years. The provision or non provision
of wealth, spouse, fame,
children, etc., is merely a means to THAT end!

The gist is the
question of not just calendar dates, but as to whether there is predeterminism
(or fate) in Hinduism. Without which there are no arguments and rationale for
jaati and fatalism. With which there is no basis for worship! This goes at the
roots then.

Instead of working for shastric reform directly, which we all know is not going
to happen, why not pull the carpet from under the feet? With calendar reform!
Let us show how grossly and glaringly wrong Hindus have been on calendars, on
shastras, on determinism, and on caste.

Like the stag caught on headlights beam, the glare is blinding! It always has
been. Let us unblind the dazzled slaves, from the captivity of fatalism! Sorry,
I meant the Hindus. Here's the keys. Now unlock the cages!

Regards.

Pathma

.

Here is my latest exchange with Koenraad Elst.

> In this calendar debate, we have the same distinction.
> Traditionalists swear by what happens to have come down to us, such
> as Makar Sankranti on 14 January. Fundamentalists return to the
> sources, allegedly deviated from by later tradition, i.c. Makar
> Sankranti on 21 December. In this, I'm on the side of the
> fundamentalists, not because to me personally the Vedas are all that
> important or because the tradition has done me any wrong, but because
> in this case the Vedic approach inscribes itself in a rational and
> universal approach. The fundamentalists are more rational, because
> winter solstice is a significant point in the year cycle with a
> unique meaning and a relevance to the life cycles on earth, whereas
> the entry into a constellation (disregarding for now that the
> constellation have no clear borders) happens 12 times a year and has
> no particular relation to earthly events. Historically, it can be
> shown that the shift of Makar Sankranti, and more fundamentally the
> change from tropical to sidereal, is a mistake. No divine Vedic
> revelation with sanatana validity, but a mistake.

KE


This sums up the calendar reform debate. I'm all for it too. We have a finality!
Now its up to the 'pundits' to propose a season based calendar that is in
conformity with modern astronomical calculations, and one that self adjusts for
errors. Please put it up for discussion, followed by attestation by Hindus and
scholars.

Non Hindus, meaning astrologers, need not concern themselves beyond this point!
We make a clean break between Hindu astronomy for ritual and festive purposes,
with astrology.

Those who wish to believe in astrology, horoscopes, compatibility, etc., along
with worship of the navagrahas and its attendant dosha negating prayer-rituals
and talismans may continue to do so, and may claim the siddhanta jyotisha texts
from Varahamira onwards as their own. Hindus would appreciate it if all these
are delinked from Hinduism and Hindu shastras.


> >So astrology, or jyotisha, is to be discarded!<
>
> In Lagadha's Vedanga Jyotisha, the word Jyotisha means astronomy,
> which is not to be discarded, and not astrology. From the fact that
> the Vedas don't do "Vedic astrology", it doesn't necessarily follow
> that "astrology is to be discarded"; they don't mention computers and
> yet you're not discarding computers, are you? All we can say on this
> is that "Vedic astrology" is not based on the Vedas, eventhough
> already the Rg-Veda has notions that were to become cornerstones of
> astrology: bandhu (systems of correspondence), the division of the
> ecliptic in 12 and in 360, 12 season-based months.

By jyotisha I meant predictive astrology, not the astronomy of Lagadha's.

One can find anything in the vedas if one is 'looking for it'. If one looks for
varna, one can find it there too. But its not there if one is not 'looking for
it'.


.
> Isn't the whole idea of yajna, of imploring or somehow effectuating
> beneficial events a case of mumbo-jumbo?


.
This needs to be explained at length. But in short, only a practisioner, one who
has done his daily puja worship sadhanas, and perhaps some meditation, over a
considerable time, say 6 or 7 years, would be able to determine if there is
indeed any benefits, any divine interventions, any insights. To all others, the
doors to this inner experience and knowledge are closed, seemingly non existent.
They merely perform it perfunctorily based on faith or patriotism, or out of a
sense of hopelessness where there are no other options.

I am a long time practitioner and I am able to testify as to its validity. But I
cannot prove it to another. Those who have experienced transductive perceptions,
or are meditators, would have had some inner experience, perhaps a burst of
light, or ecstasy, or hearing inner sounds, or inspirational knowledge. Two
meditators may be able to cross check and verify each others experience. To all
others, this realm is closed, seemingly non existent.


.
>All things considered,
> isn't it more rational to assume that the planets affect our lives
> than that an a ritual act at place A and time X effects an outcome at
> place B and time Y?


.
As explained above. But I agree that the planets do affect our lives. But the
effect is physical, seasonal and environmental changes that in turn affects us
emotionally and mentally. These effects cannot be charted out nor negated in
anyway. But there is no planetary effect to the individual's karma!

The rituals is 'to communicate with the gods', a protocol, an established
tradition well understood by the inner world beings, in much the same way a
dancer or mime artist communicates with and moves the audience by unfolding a
story. Its effect is metaphysical, which unfolds over a long time. People expect
immediate results, and demand all requests be granted, setting the stage for
disappointment and skepticism. It doesn't work like that!

The gods cannot act for individuals and their prayers, unless summoned!
Therefore the rituals. They have their own code of ethics of non interference
with the lives of humans and their karmic evolution unless specifically summoned
and requested by the individual soul and that the requested favour is not in
conflict with that persons karma. That, and the gods and their duties, is
governed by the Great Transcendent Being (shiva).

In the temples they do intervene for the benefit of the devotees, for mere entry
into a temple is a consent for intervention, whether formally verbalised by the
devotee or not. While their metaphysical intervention is immediate, the effects
may be gradual, rather glacial, therefore it cannot be easily measured, B at Y
cannot be linked to the act A at X. The level of divine intervention during each
temple visit or ritual may be described as 'surgical and modest', hence
regularity and consistency in temple visitations is prescribed.

Again it cannot be proved. Self validation comes with practice.


.
> > Everyone keep in mind that we worship the Gods, and not the
> planets, meteors, comets, space debris, constellations, nodes of the
> moon, sun, galaxies or whatever.<
>
> Aren't Surya, Mitra, Vishnu, Savitar personifications of the sun?
> Isn't Varuna a sky-god, Shiva a moon-god etc.? In Sumerian, a glyph
> showing a star meant "god". But I get your point:

.
The established meditator would indeed see Surya in his inner third eye visions,
but it is not an anthropomorphic Being as many imagine and portrayed in the
shastras, rather it appears like an amorphic light 'just like our physical sun'.
Nevertheless this being can take any anthropomorphic shape and communicate with
this daily 'visitor' to the realms of the gods. Same with the other Gods. Rishis
of the past experienced these many amorphic and anthropomorphic shapes, each
with a name (and character), its etymology being self explanatory.

You can verify this with any other established meditator of any tradition! Ask
him to explain it in his own words and see if it corroborates what is said here.


.
> > Appeals to the Gods for their benign intervention is the basis of
> worship, for the Gods alone can intervene.<
>
> See, that's what a skeptic would call "mumbo-jumbo". All
> religionists are skeptics and rationalists when it comes to
> criticizing rival schools eventhough the latter's practices are of
> the same type or based on the same assumptions as their own.


.
As explained above. Yes this exists in the non experiential intellect plane
where all rival practices are mumbo jumbo except their own.

Pathma

[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited June 18, 2008).]

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#47 - June 18, 2008 01:14 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Hindu Panchangam & Festivals

excerpts:

As on date, a panchanga is supposed to be a work with five angas i.e.
limbs.

Tithi -- the mutual luni-solar distance.
Conjunction of the sun and moon being known as Amavasya/Amanta and
Opposition as Purnima/Purnimanta. The tithis in between are known as
Pratipat (from a mutual distance of zero to 12 degrees), Dwitiya (from
12 to 24 degrees) etc. The tithis between Amavasya and Purnima are
known as tithis of Shukla paksha and the ones after Purnima and before
Amavasya as those of Krishna paksha. 15th tithi is actually purnima
and the 30th tithi Amavasya.

Karna -- is the half of a tithi.

Nakshatra -- It is actually the conjunction of the moon with a
particular star of that name.
Since the stars are not located at an
equal distance of 13.33333 degrees from one another, it appears that
for computational purposes, 27 equal divisions were made. But in
certain such cases of equal division, some stars overlap whereas some
stars do not get enveloped in that range at all, thus falling in the
next star division We shall, therefore, have to devise some method
which satisfies the criterion of dharmashastra and is also practicable.

Yoga -- It is calculated by adding the values of the sun and the
moon from zero to 360 degrees and then dividing the same by 13.333333
degrees so as to yield 27 yogas, starting from Vishkumba which ranges
from zero to 13.3333333 degrees of combined longitudes of the sun and
the moon.

Vara -- is a synonym of week day. In India it ranges from one sunrise
to another.

But of the above five limbs of a panchanga, (only) tithi and nakshatra have
been mentioned in almost all the Vedas and the Vedanga Jyotisha.

Karna is mentioned in the Atharva Jyotisha, as pointed out by S B
Dikshit. We do not have any indication of any Vishkumba etc. yoga in
any of the Vedas or the Vedanga Jyotisha etc. Var i.e. week day, as
per Dikshit, is also mentioned for the first time in Atharva Jyotisha,
a pre-siddhantic work of about 4th/5th century BCE.

IMHO, these days the criteria for more than ninety per cent of our
major lunar fasts and festivals besides muhurtas are based on various
Puranas and epics since we do not have any indication of those
festivals etc. in any of the Vedas at all.
For example, Bhishmashtami
is as per the MBh; Shivaratri is as per the Shiva Purana/Linga
Purana; Ramanavmi as per the Ramayana; Janmashtami as per the
Bhagavata/Harivamsha/Vishnu-Purana; Sharadiya navatras---including
Saraswati Ahvan and Visarjan etc.---as per the Markandeya Purana/Devi
Bhagavata/Devi Puarana; Vijaya Dashmi, Bharata Milap etc. as per the
Ramayana; Bali Puja as per the Bhagavata Purana; Skanda Shashthi as
per the Skanda Purana; Pitra-paksha as per the Devi-Purana etc., just
to name a few of them.

Having thus explained the basis of the panchanga, I think it is better
to avoid Vishkumba etc. 27 yogas, since they do not serve any
astronomical purpose nor are they taken into account while deciding
any of the festivals, whether solar or luni-solar (synodic). They are
required just for natal astrology by "Vedic jyotishis" and in certain
cases are taken into account for muhurtas also. But even the muhurta
requirement appears to be a much later development since we do not
find any mention in any Purana either regarding the 27 yogas.

Now coming to solar phenomena like Sankrantis etc. we find that almost
all the solar festivals like Pongal (the much talked about Makar
Sankranti!); Maha-Vishuva (Vaishakhi); start of Malyalam New
Year (Simhadi); Tamil New Year (Meshadi) etc. have had their roots
initially in the Vedas and the Vedanga Jyotisha
whether or not the
"Vedic Jyotishis" agree with the same! Since the Vedas do not talk of
Rashis,
whether the so called Sayana or the so called nirayana, but
seasonal months like Madhu, Madhava etc., obviously, all these
phenomena of Pongal, Simhadi and Meshadi etc. are actually based on
the seasonal months of Madhu, Madhava etc. which means that the lunar
synodic months also have to be pegged to the same.

It is also possible that at a much later date, with the advent of the
Puranas, the month of Madhava became known as Meshadi since in the
Puranas it is Mesha Sankranti that is known as Vasant Sampat and even
Madhava, when the days and nights are equal, and Makar Sankanti is
another name of the shortest day of the year and so on!

Avtar Krishen Kaul



[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited June 18, 2008).]

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#48 - June 18, 2008 01:15 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Confused Hindu


The Hindoos are confused, disorientated and their thinking muddled, mangled and fangled. Clarity is hard to come by. Common sense is not there. They are lost, uncertain, hesitant and would rather wait and see what the other guy does first. The pull of superstition is strong.

Sure many Hindus are well read, can quote from the vedas and upanisheds, have read many post modern works, can quote big names like Dawkins, Kripal, etc. and expouse deep concepts, BUT they do not know Hinduism! In the ten years I've been surfing the web, I know most know nothing about the gods. They have read but they do not know.

Believe it or not most of them are not practitioners; readers and scholars yes, but not practitioners. For, they do not talk the language of a believing worshipful practitioner, but they talk the language of a scholar. So its two people talking a different language to each other.

Being mostly western english educated in mostly missionary schools they have been led by the nose to find knowledge, understanding and 'salvation' in books and western conceptualisations, and not in the traditional worships and religious practices. They do not understand that a vastly much more intuitive knowledge comes from actual worship. Ten times more! A hundred times more than what one could possibly have read in a lifetime. The library within, the repository of knowledge and understanding, is the biggest in the world! The purpose of worship is to unfold the knowledge from within.

Secondly, generally most Indians are currently in the hot pursuit of wealth and affluency and this overrides other 'stabilising factors', like beliefs, rationality and common sense, reducing any religious practice to mere perfunctory rituals, and obsession with clutching at straws.

If there is fatalism and astrology in the vedas, then I'm sure our vedic rishis would have written down in the upanishads their prophecies for each of the years; prophecies for 2007, prophecies for 2008, 2009, etc., and that would be nadi leaves for all 6 billion people and more to come. It does not strike the Hindus that there is not a single prophecy in the vedas nor the agamas. It does not strike them that whatever the seasons are for them in the northern hemispehere, its the opposite in the southern hemisphere!

The prayers to the elements and plants in the vedas is a recognition and celebration of our interconnectedness to the universe, our universality, and our wholesome well-wishing and the togetherness of mankind and the world!

If there is no fatalism there is no astrology. If there is worship there is no fatalism!

We have only the concept of karma, and that too just to explain the environment and situation we are in. No more that that. There is no fatalism. We have no control in the short term over the immediate environment that we are facing. We have to accept that, the environment we are in and the conditions we are facing. But we have free will to guide our lives, within the parameters of that environment. But over the medium term even the environment too changes, and new avenues open and old doors close.

A tectonic shift is taking place in India, where 60 million are lifted out of poverty and where 100 million enter the middle class each year! Thats an karmic environmental change for 160 million people, and people are exercising their free will to further their lives. A dragon has been karmically unleashed. Nothing to do with the stars or astrology. Everything to do with collective karma from its distant past that kept it bonded all this while.

Now people have to let go of fatalism to be further unleashed.

Below is a pondering of why astrology is intriguing. It is not intriguing. It is just clutching at straws! Bonded people do that. Simple.

"That astrology lives still in the popular imagination, in both West and East (albeit in very different forms), leaves us with the task of trying to understand why this is so. At that point, we can rightly say whether we agree with the premises of astrology or not -- as Beck does in this book -- and seek to debunk the system if we so wish.

But even a modern social scientist must find it intriguing that in this post-Enlightenment period, people still find room in their heads for a system as fatalistic as astrology."

http://www.classics.und.ac.za/reviews/07-45bec.htm


Its best that you take the initiative and offer a Proposed NewHinduCalendar, where it incorporates a mechanism for adjusting one day every 71 years, and the yearly seasonal festivals.

Pathma

[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited June 18, 2008).]

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#49 - June 18, 2008 01:16 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Webmaster's note: Pongal or Makar Sankranti is now ascertained to be on 22nd December and NOT 14th January.


Makara Sankranti, Uttarayana & Pongal (Jan 14-15, 2008)
Subhamoy Das

The day on which the sun begins to move northwards (uttarayana) is called 'Makar Shankranti' (Sanskrit: Shankramana = to begin to move). Among the Tamils in southern India this festival is called the Pongal. To many people, Makar Shankranti ushers in the New Year. Newly-harvested grains are cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. The poor are fed and clothed. On the next day, the cow is worshipped, and birds and animals are fed. In Gujarat in western India, the occasion is called �Uttarayan,� which is famous for its kite flying festival.

Seventy per cent of India's population lives in villages, and a vast majority of people solely depend on agriculture. As a result, we find that most Hindu festivals are directly or indirectly linked to agriculture and related activities.

Pongal is one such big festival, celebrated every year in mid January - mostly in the south of India and especially in Tamil Nadu - to mark the harvest of crops and a special thanksgiving to God, the sun, the earth and the cattle.

What's Pongal
'Pongal' comes from the word 'ponga' which literally means 'boil' and so 'pongal' connotes 'spillover' or that which is 'overflowing'. It's also the name of the special sweet dish cooked on the Pongal day. Pongal continues through the first four days of the 'Thai' month that starts on January 14 every year.

Seasonal Festivity
Pongal is directly associated with the annual cycle of seasons. It not only marks the reaping of the harvest, but also the withdrawal of the southeast monsoons in southern India. As the cycle of season rings out the old and ushers in the new, so is the advent of Pongal connected with cleaning up the old, burning down rubbish, and welcoming in new crops.

Cultural & Regional Variations?Pongal in the state of Tamil Nadu is celebrated during the same time as 'Bhogali Bihu' in the North Eastern State of Assam, 'Lohri' in Punjab, 'Bhogi' in Andhra Pradesh and 'Makar Sankranti' in the rest of the country, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal.
Assam's 'Bihu' involves the early morning worship of Agni, the god of fire followed by a nightlong feast with family and friends. Bengal's 'Makar Sankranti' entails the preparation of traditional rice-sweets called 'Pittha' and the holy fair - Ganga Sagar Mela at the Ganga Sagar beach. In Punjab, it's 'Lohri' - gathering around the sacred bonfire, feasting with family and friends, and exchanging greetings and pleasantries. And in Andhra Pradesh it is celebrated as 'Bhogi', when each household puts on display its collection of dolls.

Pongal follows the winter solstice and marks the favorable course of the sun. On the first day, the sun is worshipped, signifying its movement from Cancer to Capricorn. This is also why, in other parts of India, this harvest festival and thanksgiving is called 'Makar Sankranti'. [Sanskrit Makar = Capricorn]

Each day of the four-day festival has its own name and distinct fashion of celebration.

Day 1: Bhogi Pongal
Bhogi Pongal is a day for the family, for domestic activities and of being together with the members of the household. This day is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, "the Ruler of Clouds and Giver of Rains".

On the first day of Pongal a huge bonfire is lit at dawn in front of the house and all old and useless items are set ablaze, symbolic of beginning a fresh new year. The bonfire burns through the night as young people beat little drums and dance around it. Homes are cleaned and decorated with "Kolam" - floor designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines of red mud. Often pumpkin flowers are set into cow-dung balls and placed among the patterns. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day.

Day 2: Surya Pongal
The second day is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God, who is offered boiled milk and jaggery. A plank is placed on the ground, a large image of the Sun God is sketched on it and Kolam designs are drawn around it. This icon of the Sun God is worshipped for divine benediction as the new month of 'Thai' begins.

Day 3: Mattu Pongal
This third day is meant for the cattle ('mattu') - the giver of milk and puller of the plough. The farmer's 'dumb friends' are given a good bath, their horns are polished, painted and covered with metal caps, and garlands are put around their necks. The pongal that has been offered to the gods is then given to the cattle to eat. They are then taken out to the racing tracks for cattle race and bullfight - an event full of festivity, fun, frolic and revelry.

Day 4: Kanya Pongal
The fourth and final day marks the Kanya Pongal, when birds are worshipped. Girls prepare colored balls of cooked rice and keep them in the open for birds and fowls to eat. On this day sisters also pray for their brothers' happiness.

Like all Hindu festivals, Pongal too has some interesting legends attached to it. But surprisingly, this festival has little or no mention in the Puranas, which are usually bristled with tales and legends related with festivals. This is perhaps because Pongal is preeminently a Dravidian harvest festival and has somehow managed to keep itself away from the preponderance of Indo-Aryan influences.

The Mt. Govardhan Tale
The most popular Pongal legend is the one associated with the first day of the celebrations when Lord Indra is worshipped. The story behind it is, on this day Indra being honored by all, became proud and arrogant. To teach him a lesson, Lord Krishna asked his cowherd friends to worship Mount Govardhan instead of Indra on the Bhogi Pongal day.

Awfully infuriated, Indra sent forth the clouds to generate thunder, lightning and heavy rains and flood the land. But, as the tale goes, Lord Krishna lifted up the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger and sheltered the farmers, cowherd and their cattle. Indra then begged Shri Krishna's forgiveness and the latter re-permitted Bhogi celebrations in honor of Indra.

The Nandi Bull Story?According to another legend associated with Mattu Pongal, the third day of celebrations, Lord Shiva once asked his Nandi bull to go to earth and deliver a special message to his disciples: "Have an oil bath everyday, and food once a month."

But the baffled bovine failed to deliver the correct message. He told the people that Shiva asked them to "have an oil bath once a month, and food everyday." The enraged Shiva then ordered Nandi to stay back on earth and help the people plough the fields, since they would now need to grow more grains.



[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited June 18, 2008).]

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#50 - June 18, 2008 01:18 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Nakshatras in the Agamas


There is only some mention of kala-s and yama-s for temple pujas, muhurthas, nakstratras, solstices, equinoxes and months in the Ajita, Paramesvara, Makuta, and Candrajnana Agamas. There is no mention of rasis.

Ajita Agama

The Process of the Great Festival (utsava) - the stars and lunar days fit for the immersion in sacred waters

27.1-2
Now, I will tell the process of the festival which brings welfare to all the world. Sava is that which is called 'auspicious' and brings happiness to all creatures. That from which sava is born (ud) is called 'utsava'.

27.8-11
In Caitra the star of Tvastr (Citra) is taught, in Vaisakha Surpa (Visakha) is told, in Jyestha (the star) Mula, in Asadha the star of Visvadevas (Uttara Asadha) is taught, in Sravana it should be Sravistha, in Proshapada (Bhadrapada) Ajaikapad (Purvabhadrapada), in the month of Asvayuj (Asvina) Asvini, in the month of Karttika Krittika, in the month of Margasirsa the star of Rudra (Ardra) is told, in Pushya it should be the star of Brihaspati (Pusya), in Magha the star of Pitr-s (Magha), in the month of Phalguna the star of Aryaman (Uttaraphalguni) should be the star of the immersion (festival).

27.12
(The aforementioned) are stars in conjunct with the full moon (are fit time for the festival of immersion in water).

27.14-15
(Or) in all the months, Caitra, etc., the star fit for the immersion would be the star of Rudra (Ardra). In Magha or Jyestha months the sixth and eight lunar days of the black fortnight (respectively) are taught as being for the immersion; they give all desired fruits.

27.15-16
(Or) the excellent knower of the rituals (desika) should fix the parvan (full moon and new moon) and the fourteenth lunar day of both forthnights, in all the months, for the immersion.

The Process of the Sraddha festival

69.5-7
One should perform the ablution (abishegam) ceremony on a day under the following stars, starting from the month of Ardra, Ardra (Margasiras), Pushya, Maagha, Uttara (Phalguni), Citra, Visakha, Mula, (Uttar)asadha, Sravana, Purvabhadra, Asvini, and the star of Agni (Krittika), in coincidence with the full moon or new moon day of the forthnight or not.

69.9
The wise should perform the festival up to the end of Ardra, every month, on equinoxes, after an eclipse, or after other auspicious days (such as Ganesha Chaturthi, Sarasvati puja, etc.)

Regards.

Pathma

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#51 - June 18, 2008 01:19 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Shivaratri


< What is the difference between Shivaratri and Maha Shivaratri?. >

Mahashivaratri is celebrated once a year whereas Shivaratri can be celebrated on every Chaturdashi of Krishna-paksha.� Thus there can be 11 (or even 12 if there is an adhika-masa) Shivaratris but just one Mahashivaratri, besides those 11/12 Shivaratris.� The l1/12 Shivaratris are known as masa-shivaratris also.

The criterion for Mahashivaratri is that it must be celebrated on Chaturdashi (i.e. day preceding Full Moon) of (lunar) Magha Krishna Paksha (which is known as Pahlguna Krishna paksha in Northern India).� All the Shivaratris are to be celebrated at "nisheetha" i.e. Midnight -- which must normally be LMT i.e. Local Mean Time of the place wherever one may be at that point of time.

As per all the Vedas and Puranas, including the Shiva Mahapurana and Linga Purana etc., the day of Uttarayana i.e. Winter Solstice is known as the start of solar Magha. As such, it started on December 22, 2007.� The first New Moon (Shukkla-pratipat) after that is known as the start of lunar Magha Shukla Paksha.� Thus it started on January 9, 2008.� The first Full Moon (Krishna Pratipat) after that is known as the start of Magha Krishna Paksha (Phalguna Krishna paksha for Northern India like J&K, Bihar, UP etc.).� Thus that Magha/Phalguna Krishna paksha started on January 23, 2008. And Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of that Magha/Phalguna was prevailing at midnight on February 5/6, 2008 (IST).� That means that Mahashivaratri was to be celebrated on February 5/6, 2008 midnight.�

Unfortunately for Hindu community, these days we go by the edicts of "almighty" Lahiri Jyotishis instead of the Vedas and other shastras!� As such, these Lahiriwalas have advised the Hindu-samaj to celebrate Mahashivaratri on March 6, 2008, instead of on February 5, 2008. Since these Lahiriwalas can overrule our shastras---even the Vedas!---that is why I call them "almighty" Lahiris and Lahiriwalas!� In fact they are making us celebrate all our festivals and muhurtas on wrong days just to prove their astrological prowess on the shoulders of a so called Nirayana rashichakra, which they call "Vedic astrology"� -- despite the fact that there are neither Mesha, Vrisha etc. Rashis nor Mangal, Shani etc. planets in the Vedas!

< what hours do I need to fast between if I live in Britain?.>

Mahashivaratri is a festival specially dear to Bhagwan Shiva!� A fast on that day till the time of Shivapuja at "Nisheetha" plus Shiva-puja on that day/night is said to remove the sins of hundreds of "janmas"� (births), if that puja is performed with devotion and "shradha' i.e. faith.�

Now that the real Mahashivaratri is already over for you, thanks to "Vedic astrologers", you may celebrate it on March 5/6, 2008. You will have to fast from the midnight of March 4/5 (at least from the sunrise of March 5!) to midnight of March 5/6 �2008 for Britain. Please note that Trayodashi ends at 8.00 pm GMT/UT on March 5 and it is chaturdashi after that.

Fasting does not necessarily mean that you have to avoid everything completely if you cannot do so, though that is preferable, but you can take some fruits or milk etc. in a limited quantity!� The main emphasis is abstaining from carnal desires and concentrating on nothing but Shiva on that date!

If you cannot recite any other mantra in Sanskrit, just keep on reciting OM NAMAH SHIVAYA mentally throughout the day, and if you feel sleepy by doing so, you can chant it aloud. It is just possible that you will continue reciting/repeating that mantra mentally even after Mahashivaratri!

Avtar Krishen Kaul

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#52 - June 18, 2008 01:20 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Predestination, Worship and Agamas


Strictly speaking it is the agamas and the vedas that are the ONLY shastras for
the Hindu. All the rest are commentaries, elaborations and secular works,
persuasive documents perhaps, but which nonetheless are not binding on us, and
can be summarily discarded. It is NO authority. So astrology, or jyotisha, is to
be discarded!

Everyone please keep in mind that we have no concepts of predestination or fate.
What we have is the concept of karma, which cannot ever be known. There is no
way our karma can be charted out and our future predicted based on a horoscope
or palmistry or some mumbo jumbo. There is no mumbo jumbo in the agamas or
vedas.

Everyone keep in mind that we worship the Gods, and not the planets, meteors,
comets, space debris, constellations, nodes of the moon, sun, galaxies or
whatever. Gods are all prevading bodies of light, neither physical nor even
mental, and not restricted to the physical world around us, rather immanent and
transcending it. And certainly not the planets! Gods pervade the entire cosmos
in much the same way our soul-spirit pervades our entire body. They cannot be
constricted or confined to a planet!

That the astrologers came to link the planets to Hindu gods is a devastating
development of the late siddhanta period. It paralysed the Hindus, made them
superstitious, fearful and fatalistic. It provided an argument and justification
for caste, and all the ills of Hindu society and the failings of an individual
or curse of a community! It made Hindus beggers; they go and beg the gods and
planets for favours, worldly favours that is, wealth to be specific, when on the
contrary the entire reason for taking a birth is to resolve karmas, relinquish
all, and attain moksha. That cannot happen when one is still begging for wealth,
fame, spouses, etc, and almost always, sure enough, will be disappointed,
leading to a loss of faith and confidence in the Gods.

This is what we need to delink now; delink the Gods from the planets, delink
predeterminism from karma, delink prayers for wealth from worship for communion
with the Gods and moksha.

Appeals to the Gods for their benign intervention is the basis of worship, for
the Gods alone can intervene. There would be no reason to worship if there is
such a thing as predestination. As the future cannot be known, there are no
prophecies in HIndu shastras unlike the abrahamic faiths. If the future could be
known our shastras would have been overflowing with it.

Where there is worship, that makes it a religion and not just a dharma. It has
become fashionable to describe Hinduism as a way of life and not a religion,
perhaps trying to distinguish and distance themselves from the abrahamic faiths
and establish a distinction. Well thats not true.

Christians and muslims pray, whereas Hindus worship. Its not the same thing.
Worship means 'to honor'. To pray is 'to beg'. Hindus don't beg, but honor the
gods, with agamic tools and technology, seek supernatural communion, seek an
ending to the separation of the soul and God, the aspiration of the worshipper
being to suppress the separation of himself from the object of worship,
amalgamating his self with the supreme self, ultimately the stage in worship is
the identification of the worshipper with the Diety, and in that process seek
moksha - liberation from the physical, mental and emotional. All Hindu worship
is geared towards this, whether we are conscious of it or not. And not for
begging for wealth and fame (which may be ancilliary and not worthy of mention
in the presence of the God). Therein lies the disappointment! For the objective
was grossly wrong, a total misunderstanding!

The Gods respond to the worship, not by providing wealth, spouse, etc., as
repeatedly and endlessly requested by the woefully lost soul, but by unfolding a
scenario in our lives that makes the separation of soul and God less and less
distant over the years. The provision or non provision of wealth, spouse, fame,
children, etc., is merely a means to THAT end!

Pathma

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#53 - June 18, 2008 01:21 PM Re: Hindu Calendars
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Nakshatras & Calendars


In my opinion, any calendar based on the "fixed" stars, whether
as rashis or nakshatras, and whether as equal or unequal nakshatras,
is merely a way of shifting the Hindu calendar problem around and not
solving it.

The Hindu calendar is a soli-lunar calendar, trying to combine the
solar years with the lunar months. Same is the case with the Jewish
(originally Babylonian) and the Chinese calendar, and used to be with
many defunct calendars like the pre-Julian Roman one. The Hindu
calendar problem, however, is unique. The other soli-lunar calendars
don't have it because they only use the relative motions of earth,
sun and moon, which is fairly simple to handle. The Hindu calendar,
by contrast, esp. since the Hellenistic-influenced Siddhantic
astronomers/astrologers, blurs the picture by also bringing in the
constellations. These are unfit to serve as spatial framework for
measuring soli-lunar motions.

Not only do they complicate matters, but they are unfit in
principle. They are not a stable framework in two senses: (1) the
stars move vis-à-vis one another, albeit very slowly; in an age of
extreme precision, this becomes disturbing very soon; (2) the starry
sky as a whole moves vis-à-vis the geometrical framework of the
years, viz. the equinoctial and solstitial axes, at the rate of 1°
per ca. 71 years. This second motion, the precession, is what causes
the shift of the entry point of Capricorn (Makar Sankranti) vis-à-vis
the winter solstice point, a shift that since the Siddhantic calendar
reform has grown to ca. 24°, which explains why Hindus, who confuse
the geometrical solstice (geometrical or "tropical" Capricorn's entry
point) with the stellar Capricorn's entry point, now have their year
festivals 24 days after the real times of these astronomical events.

As you can see, this is pretty complicated and requires a lot of
precision. The Chinese and the Jews don't need all this wizardry to
keep up a stable and easy-to-use soli-nuar calendar. By contrast,
the Hindus with all their stellar complications only stumble from
failure to calendrical failure. The star Scheat was only 0° 37' from
the equinox point in 2000, today already only 0°32', in less than 40°
it will pass the equinox and become unfit for the function for which
Avtarji has selected it. Moreover, in this age of high precision, we
are disturbed a lot quicker by small inaccuracies than the ancients.
An arc of 0°37' may not be much to the naked eye, but in astronautics
it would be a huge and fatal error.

But the problem is not just a practical one of complicatedness, but
also one of principle: this stellar-based system is unstable and
unreliable. Indeed, this system will need repairs in just a few
years, and again a few years after that, and so on forever.

While Hindu astrologers group the ecliptical stars into twelve
constellations or Rashi-s, giving them the (translations of the)
Greek names of the geometrical, solstice/equinox-based sectors of the
ecliptic, Avtarji insists on restoring the Yajurvedic disvision of
this stellar belt into 27 asterisms or Nakshatra-s. But the
Nakshatra-Chakra suffers from exactly like the same defect as the
stellar (as distinct from the tropical, geometrical) Rashi-Chakra:
both are based on the starry sky, which is not as stable as it looks,
and which is unrelated to the solar and lunar cycles.

What Avtarji describes here is the Vedic system of a purely
tropical calendar, unrelated to the stars. The Vedic seers obviously
knew of the stars and constellations, but did not use them in their
double calendar system. They had a soli-lunar calendar, with
12 "short years" of 12 lunar months and 7 "long years" of 13 lunar
months per 19 years, exactly like the Chinese still have. But most
importantly, they had a simple solar calendar, the one just described
by Avtarji, purely tied to the seasons and their starting-points, the
equinoxes and solstices.

That is the division of the year in 12 "half-seasons", each the half
of one of the "6 seasons". Though using different names for the 12
periods, it is conceptually identical to the Zoroastrian calendar, to
the tropical Rashi-Chakra or Zodiac used by Westerners and Muslims,
and to the Chinese system 12 Tianwenyue ("heavenly months", better
known through their division into two, the 24 Jieqi ("knot energies"), a
purely tropical divisionof the year unrelated to the stars or even to the
moon.

The timings of the solstices (Uttarayana/Dakshinayana) and of the
Vedic half-seasons Madhu, Madhava, Tapah, Tapasya etc. have nothing
to do with the hopeless stellar calculations of Scheat and Revati
etc. which Avtarji has just been proposing. The Vedic tropical
calendar was a rational system which, if so desired, can be revived
at once. But any stellar-based calendar, whether using a division
into 12 or into 27, will only lead to endless confusion.

Which means that, like the Vedic seers, we will have to ignore
them (nakshatras) when making a calendar.

Then again, while the texts don't show this, it remains possible that
the Vedic people already (ignorantly) identified their 6 seasons or
12 half-seasons with their respective stellar backgrounds at that
epoch. In particular, the fact that each period is allotted a ruling
deity, combined with the fact that deities were often identified with
stars or constellations, might perhaps indicate that they associated
seasons with constellations, just as the post-Siddhantic sidereal
astrologers (and now their follower Avtarji) chose to do. It doesn't
show up in the Vedic seers' actual calendar, but as a matter of
principle I don't want to exclude the possibility that the Vedic
seers already suffered of the same confusion as the post-Siddhantic
astrologers and calendar-makers. In that case, Hindus will have to
do something they apparently dread more than death, viz. discard
their crawling attitude before ancient authority and think for
themselves. Anyone who identifies phases of the year cycle with
constellations shows his ignorance of the precession and of the
unstable and changeable nature of the stellar configurations. Now
that all the astronomical knowledge is available, there is no excuse
for following the example of ignorant people, even if they were Vedic
calendar-makers.

Whoever devised the present calendar (likely not the Vedic seers but
the Siddhantic astronomers) was ignorant or confused about the
precession. That is the very premise of this forum. If they had been
right, the present calendar would not have been flawed and there would
be no reason for these discussions.

As for the "rishis, saints, sages", they idn't entertain this
confusion. And they thought for themselves rather than crawling before
ancient and misunderstood authority. Vedic astronomer Dirghatamas
never allowed his own observations and deductions to be overruled by
some dusty old scripture. A return to the Vedas means a return to
autonomous reason.

Koenraad Elst

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