Episode # 84 – Calculation of “LONGITUDES” & “TIME ZONES” – Sage Paraashara clearly explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the significance of Bhagawan Soorya in detail. This discussion is part of Sage Paraashara’s detailed description of the “Bhoo-Kolam” and the structure of the world. As part of this, Bhagawan Soorya occupies an important position and is greatly revered and respected in our Sanaatana Dharma Literature. Even today in our modern astronomical sciences, we have the Sun as the center of all the planets, which revolve around it in the form of the solar system. Thus, Bhagawan Soorya moves in two main directions – The forward direction, which is referred to as the “Uttharaayana” and the reverse direction, which is referred to as the “Dakshinaayana”. Sage Paraashara also went on to describe Bhagawan Soorya’s large and indomitable one-wheeled chariot. He explained the dimensions of this chariot and we’ve witnessed all these details in our yesterday’s episode. Also, we’ve witnessed the seven horses that adorn the chariot and Sage Paraashara explains the names of these seven horses. These names commonly feature in our daily “Sandhyavandanam”, which I’m sure, most of us perform three times a day. 

Moving on thus, Sage Paraashara beautifully explains the movement of Bhagawan Soorya. He explains that the Sun moves from one end of the chariot to the other end of it. As he moves thus, one Dveepa would experience daytime and the other Dveepa would experience night. It should however be noted that Surya Bhagawan is always present, and there is no time in this world that he disappears. There is nothing called “Sunrise” and “Sunset”. It is only with the movement of Bhagawan Soorya from one end to the other, we experience these “so-called” phenomena. We can see how this concept goes along so well with our modern day science. Just like how we see within this world itself (Mother Earth) that if one country has a daytime at present, other countries might be having a nighttime. These kinds of facts are extremely and accurately calculated and have been published as various books, which form a very important part of our Sanaatana Dharma literature. Thus, from all these aspects that we’re witnessing here, we can see how our Sanaatana Dharma is nothing but an embodiment of various sciences and mathematics put together. It is not only a religion or a way of life, but also a huge hub for mathematics and science. 

Moving on thus, Sage Paraashara is explaining yet another important concept here – He splits the movement of the sun into 360 different parts, which in today’s astronomical science we calculate it as a year. We say that a year has around 365 days, isn’t it? This is already mentioned in our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature in this very text. Sage Paraashara explains further calculations here. He now talks about something called as “Muhurta”. We’ve at an earlier context witnessed that 30 such “Muhurtas” constitute one day. We’ve also witnessed the calculation behind another measurement called “Naazhika”. Around sixty “Naazhikas” constitute one day. This is also another calculation. Readers shouldn’t get confused here. These are all various parameters to measure the time duration of a day. Now, what is the calculation behind this “Muhurta”? One “Muhurta” measures about 48 minutes. Sage Paraashara explains thus: 

“Yevam pushkara madhyena yadaayaati divaakaraha!

Trimshadbhaagam medinyaastadaa muhurtiki gatihi!!”

Now, Sage Paraashara explains further divisions to our Mother Earth’s revolutionary arithmetic. We’ve seen that we have 365 days in a year and Sage Paraashara splits it into 30 divisions. What would we obtain? We would obtain around 12 such divisions, isn’t it? (Approximately 360 divided by 30). This one division of 12 days, is what we call as “Muhurta”. We’ve seen that the “Muhurta Kaala” is calculated to around 48 minutes. Thus, we’ve to understand the calculation that if our Mother Earth revolves around the sun for that one division, it takes 48 minutes. If we look at the modern day science, we have two parameters to measure the same thing what Sage Paraashara is explaining here – One is the “Latitude” and the other is “Longitude”. If we see a globe, we would have crossed lines all across, isn’t it? The horizontal lines are called as the “Latitudes” and the vertical lines are called as the “Longitudes”, Now if we equate this to what Sage Paraashara has just told – We’ve seen thirty divisions isn’t it? We can similarly have thirty longitudinal splits in the world. These are referred to as “degrees” in measurement today. Thus, for one split, there would be 12 degrees, thus we obtain 30*12 = 360 degrees. Thus, to traverse 12 degrees in longitude, it takes around 48 minutes. Thus, we can see that one degree of longitude has a time calculation of around 4 minutes. This is the exact basis upon which we have various time zones today. For instance, if we move one degree of longitude towards the east, the time would increase by four minutes. Thus, if we traverse around 10 degrees from one point to the other in the eastern direction, the time difference from the original point to the new point would be around +40 minutes. 

Similarly, if we move westwards from one longitude to the other, there would be a -4 minutes variation in time. For instance, if we’ve to move around 10 degrees of longitude towards the western direction from one point, we would see a reduction of around 40 minutes from the source to the destination. This is why if we see from our Bhaarata Desha, if we move towards Singapore and Australia, there is an increase in time difference. (Singapore is 2.5 hours ahead of India and Australia is around 4-5 hours ahead of India in time). Similarly, if we move towards the west, Europe is around 4.5 hours before India and the United States of America and other American countries are around 10-12 hours behind us. Thus, all of these measurements are accurately explained by Sage Paraashara in this text. 

So for today, let us understand these time calculations very clearly and let us wait till the next episode to witness further explanations in this regard! Stay tuned! 🙂 


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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