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Notes on Panchangam

Notes on Panchangam



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Published by Karanam.Ramakumar
Excerpts from vaious sources on computing panchangam and varjyam and Kuja dosham are presented in this Notes
Excerpts from vaious sources on computing panchangam and varjyam and Kuja dosham are presented in this Notes

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Published by: Karanam.Ramakumar on May 17, 2009
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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
04' 12".
(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'.
How to assess the correct TITHI and its starting and ending times.Tithi is the longitudinal distance of Chandra from the Ravi in the celestial zodiac inmultiples of 12 degrees. As there are 360 degrees total, number of Tithis is 360/12 = 30Tithis.Mathematically it can be represented asTithi = (Longitude of Chandra – Longitude of the Ravi)/12If the value is less than zero (negative) then add 360
to the result.As the celestial zodiac is 360
, for every 12
, tithi changes. Starting from the zodiacpoint where both Chandra and Ravi are together, the first 12 degrees is padyami,second 12 degrees vidiya and so on. The duration of 168 to 180 degrees is Poornima.180 to 192 degrees is Krishna padyami, 348 to 360 degrees is Amavasya. RoughlyChandra covers 12 degrees of zodiac in a day. But among all the planets, Chandra’smotion is very erratic and not uniform. To cover 12 degrees (one Tithi) Chandra takesany where between 21 hours to 27 hours.But it is possible to calculate very accurately the longitudes of Chandra and Ravi. Sothe distance between them can also be obtained quite accurately. Even if differentayanamsas are used, the relative distance between two planets should not change.So Tithi starting and ending times also should not change.But unfortunately different panchangams dole out different timings for starting andending times of tithes, which is just not possible unless the longitudes of Chandra andRavi are calculated wrongly.If Drik Siddhantha based on trigonometric calculations is followed there will not beany scope for error. But more often than this is not the case.Even sunrise and sunset times are also shown differently by different astrologers!!Now a note on NakshatraChandra’s absolute longitude in the zodiac gives the Nakshatra of the day. Unlike Tithiwhich is a measure of longitudinal distance of Chandra from Ravi, Chandra’slongitudinal distance from Aeries zero degrees is measured. There are 27 Nakshatrasand as zodiac is 360 degrees, each Nakshatra measures 360/27 = 13 degrees 20minutes. Duration of Nakshatra may vary between 21 hours and 27 hours.Even though absolute longitude of Chandra can be calculated accurately, because ofdifferent ayanamsas used, hindu panchangams may differ showing the starting andending timings of Nakshatra.
In Hindu panchangams, it is a normal practice to give ending timings of Tithis andNakshatras. If you take any date and look up in Panchangam, you may seeUttarabhadra : 3 : 14 NIGHT. It means Uttarabhadra Nakshatra ends at 3 : 14 NIGHT. Italso means that the next Nakshatra namely revathi starts at that time. Next day inpanchangam it would indicate the ending time of Revathi as Revathi : 2 : 14 NIGHT.Now a short note on VarjyamUnlike Rahukalam, Gulika, Yamakantakam, and Durmuhurtham which depend on theduration of day and sunrise time, Varjyam and Amrita Gadias depend on theNakshatra of the day and its duration.The method of calculation of Varjyam is given in 'siddhantha ganakanandam' For agiven Nakshatra, the starting time of Varjyam from the time Nakshatra starts is arrivedat using the formula:Starting time of Varjyam =x(durationofNakshatra)60where x is a number that dependson the Nakshatra of the day. It should be understood that starting time of Varjyam iscalculated from that Nakshatra’s starting time.For example, the value of ‘x’ for Aswini Nakshatra is 50. Let us suppose that AswiniNakshatra starts on a day at 6:30 AM and ends at 8:00 AM next day. The duration oftime Aswini lasts is 25:30 hrs. Then the time when Varjyam starts of that day is givenbyVarjyam starts at 6.5 +50(25.5)60= 6.5 + 21.25 = 27.75 hrs. That is 27:45 hrs. As theNakshatra started at 6:30 AM, 27.75 hrs is 3.75 hrs past midnight. That is varjyamstarts at early hours (3:45 AM) next day.The duration of Varjyam depends on the duration of Nakshatra. Divide duration ofNakshatra by 15. The result is duration of Varjyam. For a 24 hr Nakshatra, Varjyamlasts for 1hr:36 min. It should be understood that a Nakshatra can be for as minimumof 21 hrs to a maximum of 27 hrs. Accordingly the duration of Varjyam changes from 1hr: 24 min to 1hr: 48 min.Now let us take one more example, Revathi is Nakshatra of the day and it started at3:14 AM (3.23333hrs). We will calculate the starting time and duration of Varjyam for 4cases.Case 1: Revathi lasts exactly for 24 hrs. That is it ends at 3:14 AM next day.The factorx for Revathi is 30. So Varjyam is calculated as under:Varjyam starts at 3.23333 +30(24)60= 3.23333 + 12 = 15.23333 hrs = 15 hrs: 14 min

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