Episode # 60 – Measurements of “Varsham”, “Ayanam”, “Nakshatra” and “Raashi” (Zodiac) – A detailed accord!!!

Little Krishna

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on “time” and how time was being measured during the olden days. Of course, we do follow certain measurements of time even today according to our local calendars within India. Although certain measurements of time are grossly different from that of today’s western parameters of measurements, it is fascinating to understand that seemingly complex measurements have been existing even tens of thousands of years ago. For instance, yesterday we had a discussion on “time zones” of the world and how do they get measured with respect to longitudinal differences between two places or between two countries. It is only with the location of a country or a place with respect to the longitude position, we can determine the local time at that particular point. As we move eastwards, the time moves forward, and vice versa. This calculation has been existing even thousands of years ago as Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana talks about it here in this context.

It is to be remembered that today’s scientists spend millions of dollars, buy “high-resolution” telescopes, send satellites to various places such as moon, mars, etc. to find out what is there and how things pan out in those planets. However, our ancient Maharishis’ have been sitting amidst forests and villages, clad in a simple dress and have described about all these aspects, without even investing a dollar or rupee of money in anything! Such is the greatness of our Sanaathana Dharma and its vast scientifically proved literature. Hence, if someone says that the contents in the texts of Hindu Sanaathana Dharma is just superstition and imaginary, here is the greatest answer to all those elements – If one can accurately predict such minute time differences, time measurements, time zones of the earth, movements of various planets including the sun and the moon, this is not just a joke! If you take the “Panchaanga” text, we can see that the exact timings and locations of solar and lunar eclipses that would happen in the next hundreds of years would be given accurately! If someone has to accurately predict these kinds of events, without any investment in infrastructure, we can understand their high levels of knowledge and intelligence in the field of astronomical sciences. There were scientific experts like Aryabhatta, Varaahamihira, etc. who had dedicated their lives for astronomical and mathematical sciences. We even talk about “Vedic Mathematics”, which encompasses several complex mathematical calculations and functions in a very simple form.

Thus, gaining expertise in all these, at those times weren’t easy! The problem what happened over years and generations is that, we’ve forgotten the richness of knowledge and intelligence and thus, we’ve failed to appreciate this kind of expertise that we had! Thus, eventually our expertise was captured by the western world and they used it to the fullest possible extent to gain name and fame! It’s thus a shame for all of us as Indians that we’ve forgotten all our ancient glorious past and are simply getting carried away by the “glitters” of the shallow western world and its culture. Just because we want ourselves to be projected as “westernized” and “modernized” people, we’ve allowed certain groups of elements to talk cheap about our Sanaathana Dharma texts and extensive literature.

Hence we should clearly understand that if some people today make shallow statements that these texts are just superstitious, it simply means that they’ve not read anything and are commenting just for the sake of it, and with a “hidden personal agenda”. We as ardent followers of our Sanaathana Dharma should make sure that we keep away from these illiterate elements and as a step higher, we shouldn’t encourage them to talk such things in public forums.

Now let us continue with the calculations and measurements of time in Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. So far we’ve seen until the time measurements for a day. Now the discussion continues thus:

“Kritam trethaa dvaaparancha kalischeti chatur yugam!

Divyaihi dvaadashabhir varshaihi saavadhaanam niroopitham!!”

Normally, in our modern-day calculation, one year gets completed if 365 days pass by. Here, we’ve to understand that there is another ancient unit of measurement called “Ayanam”. 180 days comprise of one “Ayanam”. We have two “Ayanams” in a year – “Utthara-Ayanam” and “Dakshina-Ayanam”. Now what are these terms “Utthara-Ayanam” and “Dakshina-Ayanam”? This calculation is based upon the direction in which the sun traverses. When the sun traverses towards the northern direction, we call that time period as “Utthara-Ayanam” and when the sun traverses towards the southern direction, we call this time period as “Dakshina-Ayanam”. Normally, the sun traverses in the northern direction from the months of “Thai” to “Aadi”, which is roughly from the English months of January to June. The sun reverses its direction after the month of “Aadi” till the end of “Maargazhi”, which is roughly from the English months of July till December. In fact, it is said that the sun has three different paths – Northern, Middle and Southern. If we divide these paths into three further sub-parts, the sun traverses totally in nine different paths. Thus, for each of the nine paths, we denote it with three stars (“Nakshatras”) This is why we have 27 stars or “Nakshatras”. (9*3=27). Thus in simpler terms, while traversing through the first path, the sun crosses through three Nakshatras. In the second path, another three Nakshatras are crossed. Similarly, for all the nine paths, the sun crosses through all the 27 Nakshatras.

Apart from this, we have another calculation called “Raashi” (Zodiac signs). Many of us might be knowing about this – We have in total, 12 “Raashis” or Zodiac signs. Now what is this calculation? Two and a quarter (2.25) Nakshatras combine together to form one Zodiac sign. Thus, we can do the rest of the calculation here – 2.25 Nakshatras multiplied by 12 Raashis (Zodiac) = 27 Nakshatras.

So for today, let us understand the calculation upto this point. This might be a bit complex for some of our readers and hence we shall go a bit slow. We shall talk about this calculation a bit elaborately in the next episode! Stay tuned! J





Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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