What is Panchanga, How it is relevant to you
Human activities are carried on within the framework of time and space. Even a good work suffers sometimes if it is be done at a wrong time. Similar is the case of uncongenial environments. We are reminded in this connection of Kalidasha’s remark to the effect that a submission made at an appropriate time by a servant to the master bear fruit immediately. The importance of time is recognised by all human beings on the basis on their experience in life. Now who is responsible for time? We know that is the Sun, who, though situated thousands of miles away from our earth, causes days and nights as well as seasons by his apparent motions. For, the denizens of this terrestrial sphere consider the Sun’s movements, rising, moving to the zenith of the sky and setting and disappearing and causing nights, as real, though the Vedas declare that the Sun never rises, nor sets. He is visible always to the inner eye of the enlightened seers. The sun’s effulgence is immortalized in the illustrious Rigvedic Mantra known as Gayatri, which states that the when we meditate on that divine, most beneficent effulgence of that Lord, he guides our intellect along the path of self realization which is the goal of human life. Everyone knows that but for the Sun’s heat and light even inanimate objects could not exist on earth, much less living being including human beings. The Sun is the soul of all being, moving and stationary, it does not behove, therefore, the so-called rationalist to denounce Sun-worship practised by ancient civilisations all over the world as superstition. Indian thinkers have already affirmed that man is not a mere body, but a knowing, feeling, willing soul residing in the orb of the Sun, a huge ball of Fire. Scientists have now established that Time is the fourth dimension.
When we come to realize the importance of time, it is incumbent on us to know it in its entirety. Unless we know its parts or limbs we cannot have complete understanding of its whole body. The ancient have divided Time into five subdivisions or limbs as human body divided into eight limbs. It is appropriate to call the five limbs as foundation of time. For, in South India the foundation of a building is called panchanga, as it has five parts. Hence it is essential for us to study well the five limbs of Kal, Time, whose personification or Soul is the Sun called Kalatma. To know the panchanga is to worship him in order to obtain all that we need for our living here and hereafter. These five elements are known as 1) Tithi or Lunar day. 2) Vara or weekday. 3) Nakshatra or Lunar Mansion. 4) Yoga or combination of longitudes of the Luminaries. 5) Karana or half Tithi.
In astrology the Moon occupies a pre-eminent position in as much as she represents the Cosmic Mind. The moon was born of Purusha’s mind. It is also well known that it is the mind that controls man’s health, behaviour and social and personal activities. The lunar day corresponds to the phase of the Moon, which is their turn are called the Moon’s progress along to the Zodiacal belt after she leaves the cosy embrace of the Sun at the New Moon. when the longitudes of the two luminaries are identical it is called Amavasya and when the Moon moves 12 degree away from the Sun, the first lunar day of the light half ends and the second Tithi begins. At the rate of 12 degree per Tithi the full Moon or Purnima ends, when the Moon’s distance is 180 degree from the Sun’s longitude. As the Tithi advance, so do the Moon’s phases increase and when the Moon’s orb is full and complete, round, she is supposed to have developed all her 15 digits. Incidentally it may be interesting to know that the lunar months are named after constellations in which the Full Moon is stationed. In the dark fortnight the phases of the Moon decreases as she progresses toward the Sun. On the new Moon day there is no Lunar digit, containing ambrosia, at the altar of the Gods and Manes or Pitarah. There are altogether 30 lunar days in a lunar month, divided into two fortnight of 15 days each. The bright is half especially favourable for the performance of all auspicious ceremonies, while in the dark fortnights the first five days are good and the next five moderate and the rest are generally to be avoided.
It is to be understood that though all the Tithis are based on the phases of the Moon, yet they are not alike in effect. Some are beneficial, some are moderate and others harmful in the case of auspicious functions. Each Tithi has been allotted certain functions according to its innate qualities. For example, one should not elect the fourth lunar day, presided over by Yama, for any work except murderous and cruel deeds. Varahamihira prescribes Nanda Tithis for permanent works, Bhadra for treatment, tours, house construction, marriage and progressive undertakings. The third Lunar day is good for controlling cattle, servant etc. as well as sowing, brewing etc. the 4th as said above is fit for dreadful deeds. The 5th is to be utilized for lasting works such as house construction, eating new rice, taking tonic etc. the 6th is good for permanent works like building temples. The 7th day is for doing friendly acts, preparing ornaments etc. the 8th day is good for manufacturing arms, digging moats, tunnel etc. the 9th Tithi is for killing enemies, capturing, removal of poison etc. the 10th is for stable works leading to fame, for sinking wells, laying gardens, holy places etc. The 11th is stable and good for kitchen construction, performing sacrifices and convening an assembly of vedic scholars. The 12th Tithi is good for keeping treasures and store houses. The 13th is for ornamental works, clothes, making woman attractive etc. the 14th is for cruel deeds. The full Moon day for worshipping gods, and Brahminical works. On the new Moon day sacrifices for the ancestors etc.For oil bath the 6th, 8th and 14th Tithis are forbidden.
Tuesday is the best for agricultural operations, Wednesday and Thursday moderate and the rest bad. However, when the Moon is strong Monday is good for agriculture.Friday is good for forest cropping. Some condemn that Tuesday and Saturday is for all good works. For the growth of the crops the weekdays, Vargas, and the rising of Venus, the Sun, Moon and Jupiter are good, whereas Tuesday and Saturday cause disease to crops. Marriage is concerned Sunday is said to lead to separation of the couple. When the Sun is posited in Upachaya house from the natal Moon or in the ascendant at the elected time, Sunday can very well used for works connected with gold, copper, wood, garments, medicine atc. Monday can very well used for works connected to silver, milk, flower, ornaments etc.
It may be argued by some that a knowledge of the Panchanga is unnecessary for modern man. If consider camly the disturbing and enervating conditions under which modern man lives and ekes out his livelihood, it would be clear to be dispassionate thinker that more than his forbears the modern educated man is in dire need of a firm, reliable support for maintaining this mental peace and sanity in order to be able to save himself from dangerous situations. Such a support is an unshakable faith in the protective power and wisdom of god. A man of faith is guided in his life by the precepts of Satras as well as by the practice if great men of yore who have bequeathed on us Vedas and Vedantas, which include the science of Jyotisha, astronomy and astrology. The other day certain people railing against astrology remarked that while Astronomy was science and Astrology was not. Such people forget that the basis of astrology is nothing but the astronomical science. If the case is scientific, the effect also should be scientific. Now coming to the subject of Panchanga, we can safely declare that no man live and act in society effectively unless he is conversant with the part of the Calendar. In indian parlance especially in religious matters this calendar takes the form of the Almanac which show many other things apart from the five elements. One thing ought to know them too in order to be able to steer clear of inauspicious moments while setting out on a journey or commencing some good work such as constructing a house and sending children to school. After every moment conceals in the in its womb vast potentiality for the future. No two moments are alike in their potentialities. Hence even scientist ought to choose a good moment for their research work. Great scientist and poets get inspiration for scientific inventions or for writing inspiring poetry at certain specific moments and under congenial environments.
When your mind is dejected or when you are not physically hale and hearty, you cannot undertake any major project. Hence it is necessary to see which lunar day, which week day, which lunar mansion, which Yoga and Karanga are harmony with your birth star, weekday etc. they very fact that the ancient seers have advised us to elect good elements of the calendar for starting any good work, is proof positive for the statement that man is not an automation blindly following an inexorable fate. No doubt, fate is powerful because fate is nothing but the resultant of our own past Karma. What we had sown in our previous existence, we have to reap its fruits in this life. Spiritualist have demonstrated through seances the continuity of the soul or personality after its physical death.
The sages have assured the faithful that by reading daily in the morning the five limbs of the almanac one could secure prosperity through the lunar day, longevity through weekday, health and freedom from sins through the constellation, relief from illness through Yoga, and success in one’s effort through the Karana. Elsewhere it is stated that the lunar mansion confers good health, Muhurtha wealth, Tithi success, ascendant comfortable journey, and generally a strong Moon, all good things.