Excerpts from “Hindu Panchangam”
by Neti Sivramakrishna Sastry and Karra Bhaskara Sarma.The sky around the earth is divided into 27 star clusters domiciled in twelve Rasis. Hinduastrological system is based on Sidereal Zodiac, alternately called 'simsumara chakram','bhachakram' or 'kalapurusha chakram' in sanskrit. Astrologically, Sun is treated as one ofthe seven planets despite being a star. These planets travel clockwise whilst Rahu andKethu, the shadowy planets move counter clockwise. Ancient sages have established therelationship between planetary movements in the sky and the way they have influenced thedestiny of life on earth, besides predicting auspicious and inauspicious times that are used toperform various activities in daily life. The calendar that contains all these times is called'panchangam' which literally refers to the five limbs in 'thidhi' (lunar day), 'vaaram' (day of theweek), 'nakshatram' (star), 'yogam' and 'karanam'. 'Yogam' and 'karanam' are not widelyused these days; hence they have been dropped in our calendar.
The two important methods in practice for calculating 'panchangam' are 'suryasiddhantham' and 'druk siddhantham'
. The former is very ancient whilst the latter, basedon modern astronomy is more widely used these days.
Despite surya siddhantham in theolder days gave more accurate planetary positions, subsequent users did not knowhow to adjust for natural changes through the millennium resulting in calculatedplanetary positions deviating from the actual planetary positions in the sky.
Morepeople are therefore using the modern astronomical method of 'druk Ganitham' or 'druksiddhantham' that allows validation of the calculated planetary positions using moderntelescopes. Because of this fact, we have used 'druk ganitham' to calculate this calendaradopting the 'chitra praksha ayanamsam', that is approved by the Calendar ReformCommittee, Government of India and several Astrological Bodies around the World.The drift between vernal equinox and the diurnal equinox measured at the epoch is called‘ayanamsa’. This advances by 50.26 seconds in 12 months that is traditionally computed forthe beginning of the year and is applied for the rest of the year because of the complexityinvolved in the manual calculations. We have calculated the 'ayanamsa' for each day inquestion using modern computers and the rules of 'Druk Ganitham', thereby giving theunquestionable numerical accuracy. 'Ayanamsa' for the beginning of calendar year 2005stands at 24
(Note added by me: Unfortunately different astrologers use different ayanamsa valuesto calculate the nirayana longitudes resulting in different panchangams andinterpretations!)
The geo-centric positions are calculated by solving 'kepler's' equation of planetary motionand the 'sayana' or tropical positions so obtained. 'ayanamsa' is applied to get the 'nirayana'or sidereal positions of the planets. Thidhi, 'nakshatram', 'varjyam' and 'adhika maasam' arederived using the rules stipulated in 'siddhantha ganakanandam'.