Almanac Questions:

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 23 14:54:22 CDT 1998

 Ravi wrote:

> Which one is vedic, sUrymAna or chandramAna? When I went to Houston
>temple this time, they referred the dates by both systems, like rishaba
>mAsam and jyeShTa mAsam. Even the panchangam I have gives both.  I
>knowledgeable list members to clarify this doubt.  I think Tamil
>follow the sUryamAna and telugu brahmans follow chandramana.  Also not
>always the months in chandramAna begins on prathama of suklapakSham,
>this they have an additional adjective shuddha.
>Thank you.
>With respects
>AUM shrI shankarAcharyavaryAya namaH


 Both the chAndramAna (lunar) and sauramAna (solar) calendars are
 followed in different regions of India. As you said, the solar
 calendar is popular in Tamilnadu. Even the chAndramAna has two
 versions, one which reckons the end of the month as the amAvAsyA or
 the new moon day, and the other which reckons the end of the month
 as the pUrNimA or the full moon day. The former version of the lunar
 calendar is popular in the South, especially Karnataka, Andhra, as
 well as Maharashtra. I am not sure what system is followed in Kerala.
 The second version of the lunar calendar (where the month ends on
 the full moon day) is followed mostly in the North.

 But this difference between the lunar calendars does not mean that
 the same festival is followed on different days in the North and the
 South. For example, the Krishna JanmAshhTamI is observed on the
 eight tithi (lunar day) of the dark half of ShrAvaNa in the South.
 But the same day turns out to be the eight tithi in the dark half
 of BhAdrapada in the North. The JanmAShTamI will be observed on
 the same (Gregorian calendar) date in the North and South. The
 Northern calendar months are ahead of the Southern calendar months
 by one paksha or fortnight. Thus when it is chaitra shukla pratipadA
 in the South and the beginning of the new year, in the North the
 month begins with the Krishna paksha or dark half and the Chaitra
 shukla pratipada is not the first day of Chaitra, but the Chaitra
 Krishna pratipadA which is fifteen lunar days earlier.

 A lunar day is basically the time it takes for the moon (Chandra)
 to advance 12 degrees of the arc ahead of the Sun (SUrya) in the
 zodiac. Positions on the zodiac are expressed as celestial
 longitudes. If the celestial longitude of the moon is M and the
 celestial longitude of the Sun is S at time T, then the lunar day
  or tithi at time T is given by

  tithi = (((360 + M - S) mod 360) / 12) + 1

  where the positions are in degrees, and the division is just
  integer division. If the tithi is between 1 and 15, then it means
  the moon is in the bright half (shukla pakSha); if it is between
  16 and 30 then it is the dark half (krishna pakSha).

  The panchanga may give just the tithi without mentioning the
  celestial longitudes. A good panchanga also gives the longitudes
  of not only the sun and moon but also the planets for every day.

  Often these celestial longitudes are given in terms of the
  Raashi and the degrees within the Raashi. Each 30 degree portion
 of the zodiac is a Raashii. The 12 Raashi's or signs of the zodiac
  are as follows:

   Meshha - 0 to 30 degrees
   vR^ishhabha - 30 to 60 degrees
   Mithuna   - 60 to 90 degrees
   KarkaTaka - 90 to 120 degrees (also called karka)
   Simha     - 120 to 150 degrees
   KanyA     - 150 to 180 degrees
   tulA      - 180 to 210 degrees
   vR^ishchika - 210 to 240 degrees
   dhanus      - 240 to 270 degrees
   makara      - 270 to 300 degrees
   kumbha      - 300 to 330 degrees
   miina       - 330 to 360 degrees

 The celestial longitudes of the sun, moon, etc. may be specified
 in the panchanga in the format Raashi|degrees|minutes|seconds.

 For example, if the position of the Sun at 5:30 AM Indian Standard
 Time on a certain day is mentioned as 4:20:15:10, then it means that
 the Sun (sUrya) has crossed the first four Raashi's and is now in
 the fifth Raashi, ie. Simha, and that his position within Simha is
 20 degrees, 15 minutes, and 10 seconds. To convert this format into
 the 0 to 360 degrees format is simple. Just multiply the Raashi
 number by 30 degrees and add to the position within the Rasshi.
 In the example above, the celestial longitude of sUrya is
 30 * 4 + 20:15:10 = 120:0:0 + 20:15:10 = 140:15:10

 The saura calendar is based on the passage of sUrya within the
 12 Raashi's. There are 12 solar months, one corresponding to each
 of the 12 Raashi's. When the sun enters a Raashi, that particular
 solar month begins. There is a special name for the event when
 sUrya enters a Raashi. It is called sankrAnti. The most widely
 observed sankrAnti is the makara sankrAnti when sUrya enters the
 makara Raashi. This event is also sacred for worshipping sUrya.

 I think the popularity of the saura system in Tamilnadu has to do
 with the existence of saura traditions and cults in that region.
 According to one book by Bhandarkar, Shankara is said to have
 met some sUrya upAsakas, headed by one PrabhAkara. In the debate,
 Shankara is said to have won which led to the saura's acceptance of
 Shankara's system. This would perhaps explain why there are no
 (not to my knowledge) purely saura sects today as opposed to other
 sects such as the Shaivas, gANapatyas, shAktas, and the VaishNavas.
 I would like more information on saura traditions.


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