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Indian Calender From Post Vedic Period to AD 1900

Indian Calender From Post Vedic Period to AD 1900

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Published by Sunilkumar Dubey
This is a chapter analysis Indian Calender from post Vedic Period to AD 1900.
This is a chapter analysis Indian Calender from post Vedic Period to AD 1900.

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Published by: Sunilkumar Dubey on May 30, 2012
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02/15/2013

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9
INDIANCALENDAR
FROMPOST-VEDICPERIODTOAD1900
S.K.
CHATTERJEE
and
ApURBAKUMARCHAKRAVARTY
Calendarisreallyamethodforcountinginasystematicandcontinuousmannerthesuccessivedaysintheever-flowingaeonoftimebycyclicperiodsinunitsnamedasyear,whichforthesakeofconvenienceisnormallydividedinto12partsknownasmonths,forthepurposeofrecordinginachronologicalandsystematicmannerpastandcurrenteventsandforfixingandcommunicatingpreciselythetimewhenfutureactivitiesareproposedtobeundertaken.Thebasisofcalendarkeepinghasbeenthemotionoftwoluminariesinthesky,namelytheSunandtheMoon.ThetimeperiodofthesuccessivereturnoftheSuntothesamestarorequinox,whichisreallythetimeperiodoftherevolutionoftheEartharoundtheSun,formsthemeasureofthesolaryearandisthebasisofallsolarcalendars.AgainthetimeperiodofthesuccessivereturnoftheMooninopposition
or
conjunctiontotheSunintherelationtoEarth,whenfullmoonornewmoonoccurs,isthemeasureofthelunarmonthand12suchsuccessivemonthsformthelunaryear,andthisisthebasisofalllunarcalendars.
In
thepresentdayalsoiheabovetwotypesofcalendarsare
In
use.
In
theearliestrecordedperiodofIndianhistory,whichistheVedicperiod,thereisevidenceofsomecalendricsystembasedonthemotionoftheSunandtheMoonbeingfollowedthen,butthedevelopmentofcalendricastronomyinIndiainasystematicmannermaybetakentohavecommencedfromthetimewhenthefirsttreatiseknownas
VedailgaJyotifa
containingelementaryastronomicaldataregardingtheSunandtheMoonforcalendarkeepingwascompiled.Thereisnoclearindicationwhenthe
VedailgaJyotifa
textwaswrittenorwhenitcameintouse.
It
canonlybeinferredfromtheastronomicalreferencesgiveninthetext.IntheYajusaswellasthe~Krecensionofthe
VediiilgaJyotifa
ithasbeenmen-tionedthat
theyuga,
whichisthefive-yearcyclicperiodofthiscalendar,commencesfromthe
sukla-pratipada
dayofthemonthofMaghawhentheSunandtheMoonreturntogetheratSravistha
naksaira,
(whichwaslatercalledDhanisthaandidentifiednowas
(3
Delphini),andwhenalso
uttariiyana.
(wintersolstice)takesplace.It,there-fore,pointstotheastronomicalsituationthatatthetimewhenthe
VedailgaJyotifa
textwaswritten,thewintersolstitialpointwasonthelatitudegreatcirclepsssingthrougheclipticpoleandDhansthastarwhichmaybepresumedtobeeither
(3
or
a
Delphini,andthisgivestheapproximatetimeofformulatingthe
VedarigaJyoti[a
 
INDIANCALENDARFROMPOST-VEDICPERlOD1'0AD
1900
253
somewherebetween
1400
and
1300
B.C.
Itcannotbesaidwithcertaintythatvisualobservationmadeatthetimewasveryaccurate,andColebrookesuggestedthatthe
1100
B.C.
wouldbemorereasonable.The
Vedanga]yoti[a
isavailableintworecensions,theRkandtheYajus.Thereisalsoanotherbookknownas
Atharva]yoti[a
butitisquiteadifferentone.The
Vediiriga]yoti~a
attachedtotheB.-gvedahas
36
versesandisascribedtooneLagadhaofwhomnothingmuchisknown.The
]yoti~a
attachedtotheYajurvedahas
44
verses."Thereismuchincommonbetweenthetwobooks.Outof
36
versesofRkrecension
30
arefoundintheYajusrecension,andthetotalversesdealingwiththe
VedangaJyoti!a
become
50.
2
Theverses,however,donotseemtobearrangedinaverysystematicmanner,andthistendstoindicatethepossibilityofsomemeddlingwiththeoriginaltext."The
Vediiriga]yoti!a
calendarwasformulatedonthebasisofcycle-periodsof5years,whichhavebeencalled
yuga
withthestipulationthatatthecommencementofeachyugaperiodboththeSunandtheMoonwouldbeattheDhanistha
naksatra,
whenitwouldalsobethe
uiiariiyana
day.Thedetailsofthis
yuga
periodasascertainedfromVedangaJyoti~aaregivenbelow(1)Numberofyears(2)Numberof
siioana
orcivildays(5
X
366
days)(3)Numberofsolarmonths(5
X
12)(4)
Numberoflunarmonths(synodic)
(1830-:-.29.53)(5)
Numberoflunarmonths(sidereal)
(1830+27.32)
(6)Numberofintercalarylunarmonths
(62-60)
(7)
Tithis
(lunardays)
(62
X
30
days)(8)Numberofomittedor
ksaya
tithis
(1860-1830)
(9)
Numberof
naksatra
days
(67
X
27
days)
51830606267
2
1860301809
Letusexaminehowtheabovecalendarsatisfiedthethreemainastronomicalstipulationsmadeinthetext,namely,(a)atthebeginningofeachyuga,whentheyearstartedfromthe1stdayofthemonthofMagha,'theSunandtheMoonreturnedtogether:thisisthesamethingassayingthat
it
wasanew-moonday,sameasthebeginningof
sukla
pratipada
day;(b)atthattimetheSuninconjunction
with
theMoonwasattheDhanistha
naksatra
([3
Dclphini),meaningthattheSunwaslocatedonthelatitudegreatcirclepassingthroughDhanisthastar;and(c)thefirstdayofthe
yuga
cyclecoincidedwiththe
uttariiya(lQ
day,thatis,theSunwasalsothenatthewintersolstitialpoint,thatis,onthatdaythesolstitialcolurepassedthroughDhanisthastar.Analyzingthefirststipulation,itwillbeobservedthat
62
synodiclunarmonthsequal
62
X
29.53059
days
=
1830.8965
days,say
1830.9
days.Butthelengthofa
yuga
comprisesof
1830
days,andhencetomaintainthearrangementthatthefirstdayofthe
yuga
willbeanew-moonday,sameasthebeginningof
suklapratipada,
itisnecessarytoaddonedayofthefive-yearperiod
ofyuga
of
1830
days.
It
isverylikely
 
254
iliSTORYOFASTRONOMY
iNiNDiA
thatthisdaywasaddedattheendofthe
yuga
period.s
Butthiscorrectionwillexceed.by
0.1
dayaftereach
yuga
period,andhencetokeeptheadjustmentcorrect,theadditionofonedayistobeomittedaftersome
yugas.
Thiswasalsoveryprobablydoneonthebasisofobservation.Regardingthesecondstipulationthatthe
yuga
beganwiththeSunandtheMoonreturningtogetherattheDhanistha
naksaira
itshouldbestatedthatthiscouldnotpossiblyhappenforall
yugas.
Itwasperhapsthecasewhenthe
VedaligaJyotifa
calendarwasfirstintroduced,andsimilarconditionscouldonlybeobtainedatintervalsofseveral
yugas
afterapplyingcorrectionsasexplainedbelow.Asthe
yugas
commencedwiththeSunreturningtothestarDhanistha,theyearwassidereal.Hencethecorrectlengthof5solaryearsofthe
yuga
willbeequalto5
X
365.25635
=
1826.2817
days.Thelengthof
62
synodiclunarmonthsisequalto
62
X
29.53059
=
1830.8965
days.Thedifferencebetweenthetwois
4.6148
days,andthismeansthatthenewmoonwilloccurlatersuccessivelybytheaboveperiodineach
Juga
inrelationtotheSunreturningtoDhanistha
naksatra,
andthisdifferencewillincreasetoonelunarmonthin
6.4
yugas.
ItisobviousthatthisincongruityintheoccurrenceofthephasesoftheMooninrelation'tothecalendardayscouldnothaveescapedthenoticeofthe
VedangaJyotifa
astronomerswhomusthavecarriedouttherequiredadjustmentstopreventthecalendarfromgoingastrayforthelaiddownstipulationsotherwiseitcouldnothavecontinuedtobeinuseforaslongaperiodasmorethan
1000
years.Thecorrectiontoberequiredwillbetheomissionofthreelunarmonthsin
19
yugas,
whichmeansomissionofonelunarmonthaftereachofthetwosuccessive
6-yuga
periods,andthenonelunarmonthagainafterthe
7-yuga
period.Thismighthavebeendonebyhavingoneintercalarymonthinsteadoftwoattheendofthe
yugas
mentionedabove."Perhapsthenecessaryadjustmentswerecarriedoutbytheassemblyofpriestsresponsibleforthecalendaronanad-hocbasisasandwhenitwasfoundnecessaryonactualobservations,oronsomeformulaasmentionedabove,theactualmodeadoptedbeingas,however,notknown.Asregards,thethirdstipulationthatthe
Ist
dayofthe
yuga
willbethe
uttarayaIJa
daywiththeSunandtheMoonreturningtoDhanistha
naksatra,
itshouldbesaidthatthisastronomicalsituationcouldnothavecontinuedforaverylongtime.Thisisbecausethelengthofsiderealyearandtropicalyearisnotthesame,thelatterisshorterthantheformerby
20
m
24"
duetotheprecessionalmotionoftheEarthwhichisatpresent
50".27
peryear,andwasabout
49".61
at
1000
B.C.
anditwas
49".83
inthebeginningoftheChristianera.Ittookapproximately72.6yearsatthattimeforthewintersolstitialpointtomoveby1°,andhenceinthecourseofabout
970
yearsthispointwouldretrogradethroughone
naksatra
division.Thisprecessionalmotionwasnotknowntothe
VedangaJyotifa
astronomers,andasamatteroffactinthatearlyageitwasalsonotknowntoastronomersofotherancientnations.Astheprecessionalmotionisveryslow,themarkedshiftingofthewintersolstitialcclurefromthelatitudegreatcirclepassingthroughDhanisthawouldhavebeenmarkedlyobservedonlyafteralargenumber
ofyugas,
ratherafterafewcenturies,andnothing

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