mirror of sky - the panchang

ugadi – a new beginning. the date marks new year in many parts of india and, having a new panchanga at home becomes a ritual at most of the hindu homes. it’s sad that now a days we assume panchanga is used only by jyothish.

but, it was a regular traditional routine at most of the homes to buy a new panchaanga for every ugadi. in some parts of india, it’s called panjika

ohk.. yes, on ugadi, even today there are many families buy panchanga as a ritual without understanding the reason. my parents & in-laws used to buy a new panchanga for ugadi & hence after marriage, even we started picking up without knowing what it is all about & how to use it.

it was during the astrology course that i recently attended, i understood the basics of panchang. after getting to know the basics, i searched & discussed on this & now have a basic understanding of its importance.  so, like always, sharing my knowledge with you

first things first. what does the word panchang mean?

panch + ang that means 5 limbs. 5 limbs of time. 

in simple words, it’s 5 attributes of the day that’s detailed in panchanga for each day of a year.  

  1. nakshathra
  2. vara
  3. tithi
  4. yoga
  5. karana

panchanga is also called the mirror of the sky.

let's please understand & share the knowledge that panchanga is not a hindu religious book. it’s science. it's maths. it shows the positions of sun & moon. it’s a log book. yes, it's mirror of the sky

it can also definitely be called as the indian calender system. in practical life, we use panchanga only to check the dates of festivals and to check auspicious time to do or not do some task or find muhurtha time and to find the nakshatra of the new born baby. but it's much much more than that.

there are a lot of things that we can share & discuss about panchanga. but as a starter, in this article, i shall keep it short by just explaining the 5 attributes in simple words for your basic understanding

nakshatra – the most popular aspect we all know from panchanga is nakshatra. what’s this? so, when observed from the centre of earth, the position of the moon in the stellar mansion is called nakshatra. there are 27 nakshatras in the 360 degrees. 1 nakshatra = 13 degree 20 minutes. and nakshastras are grouped into 12 rashis.

vaara – the 7 days of the week. in hindu traditional calender a day is considered from sunrise to next sunrise. this sunrise to sunrise changes a lot of things in astro calculations.

tithi is the angle difference between sun & moon. 1 tithi means 12 degree difference - subtraction of longitude between sun & moon. in tithi moon is important in calculation & is mostly calculated in degrees

yoga – again this is also the degree difference between sun & moon. but a little different from tithi. yoga is the difference – addition of longitude between sun & moon. 1 yoga = 13 deg 20 minutes & there are 27 yogas. in yoga, sun becomes important in calculating yoga & is mostly calculated only in minutes

karana – this is half of a tithi. so, obviously,  it's the angle difference between moon and sun

so, let’s understand this clearly - a panchaang is all about the 5 attributes of a day that explains the positions of sun, moon & other planets in a day. it gives these information based on the place that is longitude & latitude.

now you know why the nakshatra of 2 babies are different even if they are born at the same time – but at different place.

the lat long becomes very critical in panchang.

so, if you have read till this point, you will never see a panchang again as a religious outdated book of ritual. you will have a fresh approach of seeing it as the log book and mirror of sky

let’s continue to explore everything that’s in our life

wishing you health & happiness in abundance

-krithika prasad

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