[Advaita-l] Ekadashi Questions
anandhudli at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 3 23:28:27 CST 2010
Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>wrote:
Thanks for posting details from the dharmashAstra texts. I too had on several occasions
wanted to post details on how to determine the ekAdashI accurately. For several
reasons, I had put it off. First, the rules to determine the ekAdashI are not easy to
understand for the lay person. It is somewhat similar to reading an IRS tax manual to
figure out how much tax you should pay. Only, in this case, the tax you
have to pay is in the form of fasting! Sometimes, there could be two fasting days for
the ekAdashI! And occasionally, you could even have an extra fast due to the shravaNa
nakShatra coinciding with the dvAdashI tithi. Second, even if the rules are properly
understood, there is the vexing question of what method of (astronomical) calculation
should be followed for calculating the ending times for tithis, or in other words, what
kind of panchAnga should be followed. The traditional maThas and temples in the
South have mostly followed the sUrya siddhAnta panchAnga. This is based on an
ancient method of determining the celestial positions of the sun and moon,
and the planets too. The mathematician Parameshwara from the Kerala school
(1370-1460 according to Wikipedia) introduced the driggaNita system of astronomy.
This system has gained acceptance among many panchAnga makers who say that for
astrological purposes the driggaNita may be used, although they maintain that for
religious observances, the sUrya siddhAnta must be used. Other panchAnga makers use
other methods, such as the AryabhaTIya, or even the modern astronomical calculations.
And they maintain that for all purposes, astrological as well as dhArmic, we should
be using the modern methods which are more accurate, in the sense they give the
positions of the sun, moon, and the planets with a greater degree of accuracy. However,
there is no consensus among the panchAnga makers on what method or
methods to use. The result is that there could be different dates for the same
observance at the same place! Some vaiShnava maThas follow the AryabhaTIya
method for the ekAdashI. Others follow the sUrya-siddhAnta method. For example,
if there are two people X and Y residing in Bangalore, X could be fasting on one
date and Y could be fasting on another date, depending on what panchAnga
Why I write all this is to point out that the ending times of the tithis could differ by as
much as a few hours depending on the panchAnga method used. For example, on
some day, the dashamI tithi could end 5 ghaTikAs before sunrise if you used the sUrya
siddhAnta method or 1 ghaTikA after sunrise if you used a more modern method. Here
one ghaTikA is 24 minutes. Now, in the first case, Vaishnavas fast on the day in
question. In the second case, they would fast on the next day, because it becomes
a viddha-ekAdashI. So the question becomes: what method should they follow?
In my next post, I will address the specific question regarding Feb 24. One quick
observation. If you follow the sUrya siddhAnta, the ending times of the tithis are:
Feb 24 - dashamI ends at 9:45 AM, Feb 25 - ekAdashI ends at 7:46 AM, *and*
the dvAdashI ends at 5:32 AM on Feb 26. But note that sunrise on Feb 26, in Bangalore,
does not happen until 6:37 AM. Therefore, the dvAdashI becomes a kShaya tithi, ie.
a tithi that does not prevail at sunrise on any day. Feb 26 has a trayodashI which ends
at 3:11 AM on Feb 27.
For the same dates, if you follow a modern method, (I chose Date panchang which
is available online at datepanchang.com, the ending times now are:
Feb 24- dashamI ends at 2:32 PM, Feb 25- ekAdashI ends at 11:59 AM, *and*
Feb 26 - dvAdashI ends at 8:56 AM. Here it is clear that we have a viddha-ekAdashI
on Feb 24, followed by ekAdashI and dvAdashI on two successive days. Clearly, the
fasting for smArtas and Vaishnavas alike is on Feb 25.
I will present some material from the dharmashAstra texts to address the sUrya siddhAnta
case above, in my next post.
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