Indian astrology is based on the Panchangams prevalent here. Panchangams are the depositories of the astronomical achievements of our ancients. The calendar system of our country is the evolution of our knowdedge of the solar system. They were able to understand the 365 days (approximately) taken by the Sun for its apparent north-south journey in the sky is the result of the movement of the Earth along its orbit around the Sun. From this knowldge they divided a circle into 360 degrees by rounding off 365 to 360. Likewise, viewed from the Earth the Moon returns approximately to its original position with reference to the stars in the sky in 12 to 13 lunar months, a lunar month being the time interval between two successive full moons or new moons, nearly 29½ days, From this the lunar year of 12 and 13 months developed. The apparent north-south journey of the Sun viewed from thd Earth, which might have been a latter discovery was combined with the number 12 and the natural year (Solar Year) with 12 months was formulated. With these approximations a deodecimal numerical system was also developed and applied in other feilds also. Constellations identified to represent each month and configurations were formed for them according to their imaginations or deities worshipped by them. Each month was called in accordance with the sign or coufiguration allotted to the particular constallation in which Sun was during that month. The Kollam Era adopted in Kerala today has the names of the signs or Rasis for the months, though the beginings of months do not conincide with the entry of the Sun into the respective signs. It is a vestige of the old practice. Pure lunar year is adopted by the Muslims all over the world. A 19 years cycle of 12 and 13 lunar month is adopted by the Jews and Chinese. One of such circle started on 16-2-1999. This day was noted as dwaparayuhathi in one of the Tamil daily calendars. Once in 19 years this circle coincides with the solar year.

The tropical Zodiac which starts on 21/22 March and ends on 20/21 March next is not the original one (Sidereal Zodiac) derived from the real solar positions as seen from the Earth but one which was abstracted from it and applied to the natural or calender year. The calender year is faster by about 20½ minutes than the sidereal year. The delay of the sidereal Zodiac is called precession. The two zodiacs coincide once in 26,000 years approximately. Thus the tropical Zodiac has only geo-solar relation and no stellar relation. Moreover all our knowdedge and application of astronomy and even the one that claims to be the most advanced is only geo centric because everything is viewed and calculated with relation to the Earth by the men living there.

The northward journey of the Sun in relation with Earth starts on December 21/22. This day is called the southern nor winter solstice. It crosses the equator on March 21/22 which day is called the spring equinox. It reaches the northen extreme in this journey on June 21/22 and returns southwards therefrom. It once again crosses the equator on September 21/22 which day is called the autumn equinox. As far as the Rasis or signs are concerned. the Sun starts its northward journey on the day it enters the sign of Capricon (Maharam or shark). It means that the Sun is just above the tropic of Capricon. Similarly when the Sun is just aboce the equator on March 21/22 it is said that the Sun enters into the sign of Aries (Mesham or Ram) and so on.

This cycle of entries of the Sun into the 12 successive signs is called the tropical zodiac. Usually it starts from Aries and ends with Piscus (Meenam- fish). Though it is represented by a circle it is observed only horizontally from the Earth by the north-south movement of the Sun between the tropic of Capricon in the south and the tropic of Cancer in the north and hence the name tropical zodiac.

This cycle is of great significance in tracing the six seasons. The Elavenil or Vasantham (spring) season starts with the entry of the Sun into the Rasi of Mesham. There are celebrations denoting the two solstices and the equinoxes even today. Thai Pongal or Mahra Sankaranthi is observed in the name of the winter solstice. Likewise Tamil new year day is celebrated in the name of the Sun entering the Mesha rasi or Chithirai Vishu. The first day of the month Adi is also celebrated in the name of the northern solstice. Likewise some people celebrated Ayppasi Vishu in the name of autumn equinox.

Though these days are observed in the names of the four nodel points in the movement of the Sun in relation to the Earth the actual position occurs 23/24 days in advance. This discripancy had been pointed out by eminent scholars like Tilak and Bharathiar. But the reason for this shift of 23/24 days has not been clearly pointed out by them. The general view is that this difference is due to the sidereal shift or precession of the solar system in relation to the tropical zodiac. If that be so according to astronomic observations the entry of the Sun into the first point of Aries which is said to take place on April 14 by our astrologers actually happens about 54 days earlier, ie the first point of Aries has shifted to the Rasi Meenam (Pisces) with relation to the Earth. The shift is about 54° and the year necessary for this shift at a rate 72 years for the shift of 1° in the anticlockwise direction of the sidereal zodiac is 54X72= 3888 years, ie about 2 millennium B.C. Only nearly 30X72=2160 years ago, ie about 160 B.C. the Sun would have entered the first point of Aries in the sidereal zodiac on 21st March. But according to the Sangam lileratured of Tamil the practice of reckoning the months in the same manner as is being done now was prevalent even at that time. If the shift of 24 days is due to precession, the process of fixing the entry of the Sun into the first point of Aries in the sidereal zodiac would have taken place at least 26000 years earlier than 160 B.C.

But the problem is that human mind is not concerned with the stellar movements in their day to day life. Their first and foremost concern is to fix the seasons. Seasons are governed by the annual joruney of the Earth round the Sun observed by the north-south movement of the Sun as observed from the Earth. Any interference with this cycle will result in dislocation of the seasons. Bharathiar and some astrologers pointed out the 23/24 days shift in fixing the beginning of months were concerned only about this dislocation and desired it should be corrected.

The axis of the Earth is tilted by about 23½ in relation to the Sun. The Sun seems to travel north and south in the sky, a full round during a calander year thereby forming the solstices and equinoxes only because of this tilt. This 'horizontal' movement had been transfiguresd as a circular or 'vertical' movement and the rasi cycle or zodiac was formed. The rasi cycle had been abstracted from the actual movement of the Sun, Earth and Moon among themselves, expecially to denote the movement of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun.

Though there is no relation to the topical zodiac with the stellar positions, our ancients made an indirect relation. The Sun rotates in its axis once in 25'∕₃ days nearly. But due to the Shift in the relative positions of Sun and Earth due to the orbit of the Earth round the Sun during this period the time taken for the self rotation of the Sun in relation with the Earth is neraly 27'∕₃ days. There are some black spots visible in the Sun called sunspots which enlarge, shrink and disappear alternatively. Usually when such a single spot is visible from the Earth at the center of the Sun violent interferences are observed in the Earth's magnetic field. This interference has been observed at intervals of about 27 days. It is explained that there is a hollow or vortex in the Sun which is perpendicular to its axis of rotation. This vortex faces the Earth once in every 27'∕₃ days. In our Panchangams this day is called Karthihai or Krithihai and arthodox people observe fasts on this day. These 27'∕₃ days have been divided into 27 parts and each part is called a Nalmeen (daily star) or Natchatram.

In naming these daily stars constellations different from those assigned for naming the rasis have been selected. The daily star circle does not coincide with the yearly rotation of the Earth around the Sun. 27 rotations of the Sun in relation to Earth takes nearly 738 days. Half of this period is 369 days, about 3¾ days longer than a calendar year. Hence to fit these daily stars into the tropical zodiac our ancients divided each aparent self rotation of the Sun into approximately two equal parts as 14 and 13 days. Thus starting from Aswini on 14th April having 14 days and ending Revathi also with 14 days, thereby we have 14 Natchatrams of 14 days and 13 with 13 days, 14X14+13X13= 365 days. These Natchatrams are used for starting the agricultural process each year. In northern India 7th June (Mrig) is selected for this. In Tamil Nadu August 13 (Maham ) is taken. It is understood that these Natchatrams are observed in North India even today. But in Tamilnadu such an obsevitaion is not in vague, but it finds a place in the panchangams denoted as Maha(m) karthihai, Poora(m) karthihai, Uttara(m) karthihai etc. upto Moola(m) karthihai from Avani first (August 13) to the middle of Marhazhi (Dec. 26) only.

The daily stars traced by the self rotation of the Sun in relation to the Earth have been abstracted from its stellar base and introduced into the topical zodiac, an event which occurs in 369 days is fitted into a model meant for 365 days. This is another case of approximation or rounding off.

The astrologer decides the daily star of an individual by referring to the Panchangam on the basis of the time of birth of the individual. The daily star according to the stage of self rotation of the Sun with reference to the Earth can be read from the Panchangam. Having thus decided the daily star or Natchatram, Rasi or sign is decided with reference to the table which gives the names of Natchatrams containing in each Rasi of the tropical Zodiac as explained just above. Thus the Natchatram having a stellar base is linked to a Zodiac which has no stellar relation but only a relation between the Earth and Sun. The Rasi of the individual thus decided has no reference to the real position of the Sun in relation to the tropical zodiac. Hence the zodiacal figure prepared by an astrologer is neither sidereal nor tropical. Its relation if any into celestrial bodies requires deep study.

The main body of the Panchangam is the tabular form given for each month. It contains purely astronomical data and nothing directly connected with astrology. The horoscope is written with the help of the position of the daily star as given in the Panchagam. Panchangam gives the position of the Sun with reference to the tropical zodiac, the daily star and the phase of the Moon. In addition to these the length of the day time, the daily movement of the Sun through the twelve rasis in the 60 Nazhihais or 24 hours with relation to the self rotation of the Earth. The tablar form is called Vakkiam, which word means a tabular statement in Tamil. The main contradiction in this tabular statement is that the day in which the Sun is shown to enter a particular Rasi or sign is slower by 23/24 days than the tropical Zodiac as stated earlier and it is not due to the sidereal position of the Sun, because our Punchangam and astrology do not concern themselves directly with sidereal positions. Their relation to the stellar system is only through the self rotations of the Sun with reference to the steller divisions called Natchatrams or daily stars. Therefore the reason for this shift of 23/24 days should by sought for somewhere else.

This can only be explained by the northward movement of the people of Kumarikandam. They had their capital in 'South Madurai' near or in the same latitude as that of Sumatra in the present Indonesian islands. Sumatra means Su Madurai or orignial Madurai. The equator runs through the middle of this island. The Sun is exactly above the equator during the equinoxes ie on 21/22 of March and 21/22 of September. Hence the year began on the equinox during the apparent northward journey of the Sun. After the first deluge alluded in the Sangam and other Tamil literature the capital was shifted to Kapadapuram which was situated in a latitude between 5 and 6 degrees north. It means that Kapadapuram was somewhere on the same latitude as that of Ghale in south SriLanka. The Sun takes about 24 days to be just above this point from the equinox during its northward journey. The immigrants adopted this day as the beginning of the year. Now that the names of the months in accordance with the position of the Sun in the tropical Zodiac became obsolete they named the month according to the Natchatram which is the first one in the sign where the full Moon occurs during the particular month.

On the top of the tabular form in the Panchagam for each month eg. Chithirai the name of the month is given as Mesha Ravi in addition to Chithirai. In Tamil inscrptions the months are called Mezha Gnayiru etc. (Mezham means a ram in Tamil, Gnayiru and Ravi are words of the same meaning 'the Sun' ). But inside the table against one of the days from 7to 9 a remark is made as Rishaba Ayanam, meaning "the entry of the Sun into the Rishaba Rasi" in the case of the month Chithirai which is also noted as Mesha Rasi as mintioned above. Rishabam means Bull the sign next to that of Mesham. It clearly shows that the Panchangam gives the information that the Sun enters the sign of Rishabam 23/24 days earlier than the beginning of the month by the name Rishaba Ravi or Vaihasi.

There are smaller tables in addition to the main table in the Panchangam. One table gives the daytime called 'Ahas' for very five days After the 5th a line has been allotted for one of the days 7 to 9 according the day on which the Sun enters the sign next to the one by which the month is named, eg. Rishabam sign in the month of Mesha Ravi as explained above.

In another table the period for which the Sun is in each of the 12 signs in relation with the self rotation of the Earth counted from the time of Sunrise (24 hours) is given. The total of these period is 60 Nazhihais, the length of an average day. The information given in this table is known as 'Iruppu Nazhihai' meaning the time during which the Sun stays in each of the 12 rasis in a day for that particular month. In this table eg. for the month of Chithirai or Mesha Ravi the zero point starts from Rishaba Rasi, the next of the sign by which the name of the month is called. These two tables clearly indicate that the Tamils who shifited their capital from Orginal Madurai to Kapadapuram only changed the date of the beginning of the year and thereby the beginning of each month but kept the main astronomical details intact. That is, they did not lose the tract of the tropical zodiac. But another interesting factor is noticed in the Panchangams. Panchangams are calculated for several latitudes. The difference is expressed by the names of places like Tirunelveli Panchangam, Karur Panchangam. Arkadu (Arcot) Panchangam etc. But in some of these Panchangams the tables giving the "Iruppu Nazhihai" is that pertaining to a latitude between 5 and 6°N, counted from the equator (sayanam). This is clear proof that this table was prepared with reference to a place which is 23/24 days or 5 to 6 degrees north of the equator. It was Kapadapuram mentioned in Tamil liteature and Ramayana of Valmihi.

The 23/24 day difference is present not only in India but in Europe also until 1752 A.D. England has its year starting from March 25, 4 days later than the spring eqinox. Then it was changed to December 25 and advanced by 11 days and that day was reckoned as January 1. If this advancement of 11 days and the 4 days delay in reckoning the year beginning from southern solstice, the beginning of the year before it was corrected by Pope Gregory exactly coincide with Thai Pongal or Mahara Sankaranthi. It is surprising to note that Europe which is well north of the tropic of Cancer, adopted a year beginning on a day in which the Sun is near the tropic of Capricon (Dec. 21) the southmost point of its annual journey. It is clear that when Julius Ceaser adopted this calender from Egypt, the Egyptains might have followed year beginning on 14th January ie 24 days later than the winter solstice. The calender adopted in England until 1752 must have been from a people who emigrated from Kumarikandam during the first deluge mentioned in Tamil literature in which original Madurai was situated.

The Egyptians were not indigenous is a fact accepted by all historians. They were immigrants from a far advanced culture. That culture was Kumarain which perished under the sea during several thousand years due to several deluges. There seems to be deluges before the one that has been recorded in Tamil literature as the first. There are evidences that before orignal Madurai, a Lankapuri was the capital of the Kumarians. In the Ramayana of Valmihi, the aerial path of Hanuman traced in its verses goes well south beyond the equator almost to the vicinity of present Australia to reach Lankapuri the capital of Ravana. Indian astronomers in the begning of the Christian Era adopted a meridian called Lankojjaini Mathia Rehai (meridian). The longitude of Ujjaini is 75°.43' East whereas the longitude of Clombo which is situated on the west coast of the island SriLanka is 79°-5' East. It means that the Lankojjaini Mathia Rehai has no connection with the SriLankan Island . We have to search for the Lankapuri of Ravana somewhere at the intersection of the tropic of Capricon with the lougitude 75°.43' East. The tropic of Capricon runs through Australia also. Another interesting thing is that Ujjaini lies in latitude of 23°.9' almost in the tropic of Cancer. It is evident that the Kumarians who migrated into North India through its west coast selected a place in the tropic of Capricon through which the meridian fixed at Lankapurai passes. This place has been the capital of many kingdoms before and after the beginning of the Christian Era. From this evidence it can be assumed that Kapadapuram was also in the same meridian. The reference of the Lankojjaini meridian is found in a panchangam for Tanjavoor in which the locaton of Thanjavoor is given with reference to that meridian.

The Tamils had a cultural habit of giving importance to the day on which the Sun is in the same latitude as that on which their residence lies. That is why, when they shifited their capital from original Madurai to Kapadapuram they adopted a year beginning 23/24 days later than the actal day of crossing of equator by the Sun. Later when Kapadapuram went under water they shifited their capital temporarily to Manaloor near Korkai of Thoothukudi District. The latitude of Korkai is about 8°N.To commemorated the situation of their capital once there, the people of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu give importance to the 10th day of the month Chithirai, ie 23rd April and consider this day as auspicious for sowing. Even when they constructed the palace in the present day Madurai they started the work on the day on which the shadows of the two poles of the Sun dial (Nazhihai vattil) coincided. This can happen only on the day on which the Sun is in the same latitude as that of the place. Also in many temples in Tamilnadu holes have been made in the walls or roof so that the light from the Sun falls on the deity on the day on which the Sun is in the same latitude as that of the temple. This custom is the reason for shifting 23/24 days in calculating the solstices and equinoxes in the Indian calendar and the coufusion created in the reckoning of the beginning of the year throughout the world.

The purpose of Panchangam are many more than that of tracing the seasons and astorlogy. For example during the full moon and new moon days the ailment of patients, especially those who are affected by skin, intestinal and neural diseases increases. Natural death of old and sick people mostly occur on these days. Incidence of rainfall is concentrated around these days. Daily and fortnightly ebb and low tide cycles occur in accordance with the phases of the Moon. Therefore Panchangams and horoscopes are consulted by traditional Siddha doctors for paying more attention on the patients. Some allopathy doctors also follow this procedure. The fasts and other observances are also helpful for the sick and aged people on these days.

Marainers use the compass for determining the directions. During magnetic stonms in the Sun which occurs on the day on which the vortex in the Sun faces the Earth ie on the day of Karthihai Natchatram heavily affects the position of the magnetic needle of the compass.The Panchangams might have been of tremendous use for the ancient marainers to be vigilant on such days and resort to other means for vertifying and fixing the correct directions. Now there may by doubts as to whether our ancients used marainers compass for determining the direction. There is a linguistic proof for this. Oosi is a ward to denote the north direction in Tamil. The common meaning of the word is needle. Now what is the relation between a needle and the north direction? The natural orientation of a magnetic needle is north south. Hence the direction pointed out by a magnetic needle has been named after the needle itselt.

The 60 years cycle prevalent in Tamilnadu is supposed to be based on the incidence of rainfalls, first 20 years good rainfall, second average and the third bad. This cycle had been broken by the 150 years British rule and after due to the destruction of forests. In the beginning of the previous century the cycle was reduced to 35 years as per the rainfall records maintained by British rulers. Today there is not at all any regular cycle because of the continued devastation of forests.

There are forecasts of rains in the Panchangams with reference to the position of the cusps of Moon and the positions of the planets. From these evidences it could be derived that in the beginning the Panchangams that is, the astronomical data given in them were used for forecasting the rainfall of forthcoming year and thereby the prosperity of the country. This forecasting automatically foretells the prosperity of the king in a monarchly. Thus gradually this foretelling descended on feudal chiefs, merchants and other wealthy men and finally on each and everybody and commercialization and falsehood changed the sole purpose of Panchangams. Priests on their part synchronized the birth days etc. of gods with particular positions of celestial bodies and multiplied their business opportunities. The planets and constellations themselves were made gods and special mental attributes were assigned to them and stories about the relations among these personified celestial bodies were concocted.

There is no doubt that the celestrial bodies, especially the Sun and the Moon have some influence or other on the animate and inanimate things on the Earth. They may cause certain effects on the human mind and body and the climate and environment around them. A knowledge of these influences and effects may help us to take precautionary measures. It does not mean that we need avoid Rahukalam etc. in doing our daily routine as many do. Even temples which had been the biggest indigenous industry with the biggest capital and instruments of labour does not observe these times in their daily routine. Likewise it is not necessay to avoid moon phases like Attami, Navami etc. in doing our duties and there is no meaning in each and everybody for observing fast on the so called "heavy days" like new moon karthihai etc. They are meant for old and sick people and for infants. Like the diet control advised for aged men as precaution against diabetis, hypertension etc. are being misunderstood by the youth today because of the unreasonable stress on it by the media and deprive themselves of the nutritious food required to keep them healthy. the Panchangams which give information required for the aged, sick and infants are today used for each and everybody resulting in their hesitation in carrying out their normal functions and this destructive habit has descended on the ordinary men through the parasitic elements in our society who found excuses in the Panchangams to obstain form responsibilities.

Those who believe that celestial bodies have inflluences and effects on the life of man and his environment should transform astrology into a real science. Each science have a limit for its applicaion. So also the limits of astrology should be defined clearly. The effects of different combinations of planets and constellations as given in various treatises dealing with astrology should be collected and such coclusions should be verified in the case of individuals. The astronomical meaning if any, of the position of a planet in a particular house or Rasi in an individuals horoscope should be discovered. The difference between the time taken by a planet for an orbit around the Sun, which time decides the length of time that particular planets 'resides' in each of the 12 'houses' or Rasis and the length of the 'Thasai' or 'Thisiai' period adopted for that planet as taken in the life of the individual should be understood and explained in astronomical terms, because these quantities are constant for all It is necessay to ascertain whether the daily stars in our Panchangam are really related to the respective constallions going by their name and in what manner and whether on every Karthihai day the vortex in the Sun really faces the Earth. If there is any discripancy, it should be corrected. If such discripancy is due to the movement of any particular celestial body from its previous position that displacement must be used for calculating the actual date of the appearance of our ancient astronomical science. Instead of pointing out such discripancies as proof of the unreliability of our astronomy and other traditional sciences they should be dealt with in positive and constructive manner and genuine scientific sprit.

This is a Herculian task and need the involvement of scientists of all fields in which the role to be played by the astronomer is primary and essential.

Before concluding we have to find out the reason why Pope Gregory made a change in reckoning the beginning of the year in the Christian Era. Being the religious head of the Christians be should have selected a day on which the birth day of Christ (Dec. 25) comes. This could have been done by adopting the month as followed in England until 1752, in which the first month started on March 25 or he should have taken the day on which Christ resurrected after the Crucificaion, the Easter day. Or he could have adopted Dec. 21 or March 21, which are the nodal points in the apparent north-south journey of the Sun, because it is said that in making the 'correction' he is said to have compared the date on which the spring equinox takes place. The real cause of his action seems to be that during his time many Christian missionaries arrived India mainly to South India and were able to convert many to their religion due to the socio- political situation here. (The situation is kept alive even today by our "leaders" for easy conversions by foreign agents.) They found that the new year day of the Christian Era exactly coincided with an important festival of the natives,ie., Thai Pongal or Sankaranthi. If it continued so the missionaries could not claim any superiority for their religion over that of the natives. Therefore to overcome this difficulty the pope would have made a change in the begining of the year. The reasons given for that change seems only to be an excuse. His action was not astronomical, but only religeo - political. In Tamilnadu also the Panchangams published by some individuals or families invariably carry a certificate of assurance to the effect that their Publication has been attested and sanctioned by the Sankarachari of Kanchipuram thereby showing that the Publication of Panchangams has lost its original astronomical significance and became a rligio/ political practice. It is a clear evidence that the astronomy of our ancients have fallen into the mystic world of priests and astrologers and lost is social function. In the meantime we should thank the priests and astrologers for their inadvertant preservation of this most valuable treasure of our ancients from the immeasurable past. Though they have made some additions there seems to have no omission. They have kept verything intact with reverence and piety. This reverence and piety are due to the fact that they are not able to understand the real, ie., the astronomical content of the Panchangams.

The study of the astronomy and calendar system of our ancients should result in the determination of an universal calendar system applicable throughout the world which should by established on a firm ground of astronomy and human life. This requirement can only be fulfilled by the return to our original calendar system with the year beginning on March 21/22, that is the spring equinox. It is the day from which the cycle of reproduction of almost all living begins starts. Though men have come out of such a regular cycle, the fullfilment of all there requirements depend primarily upon this cycle. Also on this day the Sun is on the center of the Earth and gives equal light to its most extreme points.

(Written in response to the Article" Vedic Astrology is not Vedic" appeared in Sunday Express dt 03-06-2001, written by Patrizia Norelli Tachallet of AEON Centre of Cosmology, Skanbha, Kodaikkanal.)

1 மறுமொழிகள்:


it is an excellant article if tamil version is there it will be easy to understand better