[Advaita-l] Maha Shivaratri 2016 date?

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 7 01:02:01 CST 2016

I am posting something that I wrote a long time ago (1993), but still


    Most Hindus celebrate Maha Shivaratri on the fourteenth lunar tithi of
    the dark fortnight of the month of Magha. Some Hindus also
    follow the custom of worshiping Shiva on the 14th lunar tithi
    of the dark fortnight of every month, not just Magha.  The
    rule for computing the date on which Shivaratri is to be observed
    is as follows:

    On any day, if  (Magha) Krishna Chaturdashi prevails during the
    Nisheetha Kaala, then Shivaratri is to be observed on that
    night. If (Magha) Krishna Chaturdashi prevails during two successive
    Nisheetha Kaalas or if it does not extend over the Nisheetha Kaala
    of any day, then Shivaratri is to be observed on the day on
    which Trayodashi ends.

The Hindu day begins at sunrise (and not 12 Midnight) and ends
  at the following sunrise. Local newspapers usually give  sunrise and
  sunset times as part of the weather report. The period from sunset to
  the following sunrise is calculated first. Adding 2/5ths and 3/5ths of
   this period gives the beginning and ending of Madhya Ratri Kaala.

  The Nisheetha kAla is obtained by dividing Madhya Ratri kAla by 3 and
taking the second 1/3 part.

Some sources also mention that the Nisheetha kAla is the eight muhurta of
the night, which is equivalent to the above.

2016 calculations for Los Angeles, CA

Very roughly, the sunset and sunrise at LA can be taken to be 6 PM and 6 AM
respectively, for March 6, 7. In that case, dividing the duration of the
night, 12 hours, by 5, we get 2.4 hours. Twice this is 4.8 hours and thrice
this is 7.2 hours. So we have the madhya rAtri kAla as starting at 6 PM
+ 4.8 hours and ending at 6PM + 7.2 hours. This is approximately, 10:48 PM
on March 6 to 1:12 AM on March 7.

The dRg gaNita panchanga gives the starting and ending times of the mAgha
krishNa chaturdashi as 11:51 PM March 6 to 9:04 PM on March 7, both times
in PST. From this it is clear that the mAgha krishNa chaturdashi does not
cover the entire Nisheetha kAla on March 6, but does cover it partially.
And it does not cover the Nisheetha kAla on March 7 at all. Hence,
according to the above rule, the Maha Shivaratri should be observed on
March 6 in Los Angeles.

The Nisheetha kAla (eighth muhUrta) is from 11:36 PM on March 6 to 12:24 AM
on March 7.

More importantly, dividing the madhya rAtri kAla itself into three parts,
it is seen that mAgha krishNa chaturdashi covers the second part (Nisheetha
kAla)partially and the third part completely  on March 6. So March 6 is
indeed the date of the Maha Shivaratri for Los Angeles. Some panchangas
mention the last 1/3 part of the madhya rAtri kAla is especially important
for Shiva Puja, abhisheka, etc. This period for Los Angeles is from 12:24
AM on March 7 to 1:12 AM on March 7.


PS: I repeated the calculations for the traditional Surya Siddhanta Tithi
ending times. The date of March 6 for Los Angeles is still valid.

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