Bharathiya – Non-Translatable words: Part 10- Jyotisha-1

These are some terminologies from Jyotisha that is Bharathiya Astronomy. These have been wrongly used or wrongly translated.

75. Graha: This word Graha is usually translated as planet because Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are planets but then Rahu, Ketu, Moon and Sun are not planets, so the whole Academicia brands Bharathiya Jyothisha Shastra as “Primitive” or “Superstition”. The word Graha is rooted in ‘Gri’ which means house. Grahas have a stronger influence on the creation when they are in certain “Houses” which are actually Raashis, hence they were called Graha. Their influences are called Grahachara and their movements are called Grahagathi. So let us call them Grahas and not Planets.

76. Nakshatra: Nakshatras are small groups of stars called Asterisms; which are either a part of a constellation or part of an official defunct former constellation. Some include stars from more than one constellation. When we have our so called “Star Birthday” actually it is “Nakshatra Birthday”.

77. Raashi: Very conveniently Raashi is translated as Zodiacal Constellation, but Raashi is much more than that. Let us see what constitutes a Raashi. A Raashi consists of the Zodiacal Constellation and 9 Padas (Quarters) of Nakshatras. Hence has not only the stars which constitute the Zodiacal constellation but it also contains the stars belonging to the 9 Padas of the Nakshatras. Hence it has a “Raashi”(Heap) of Taras. That is probably the reason they were called Raashi.  

78. Tithi: Tithi is usually translated as “Hindu date” or “Hindu calendar Date”. Even the word “Hindu” is not much agreeable as this term was coined in the 13th century. The term Hindustan was used by the Persians and Mughals to mean the areas around the Indus-river valley in north-west India (Punjab, Haryana, and the lands between the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers), but not south India. Anyways, let us stick to the point. Date is the day of the month or year as specified by a number and it belongs to a month. Moreover technically, it used be calculated from one sunrise to the next day’s sunrise, which later got changed form 12 Midnight to the next day’s 12 Midnight. A Tithi is neither of these, a Tithi is considered as a Solo-lunar day; it is the time it takes for the longitudinal angle between the Moon and the Sun to increase by 12°. One Tithi equals 12ᵒ difference between Moon and Sun. Tithis begin at varying times of day and vary in duration from 19 hours to approximately 26 hours. There are thirty Tithis in a Lunar month distributed in the 360 degrees of the Zodiac and each Tithi is completed, when the longitude of the sun and Moon traverse 12ᵒ or its multiple. The period from one sunrise to the next day’s sunrise is termed as “Ahoratra”.

79. Wara (Hora): The counting of days begins from the sunrise of the first day to the sunrise of the second day. In the Panchanga system this time is known as ‘AHORATRA’, which means day and night taken together. Omitting the first syllable ‘A’ and the last syllable ‘TRA’, the word ‘HORA’ is coined from which the English word ‘HOUR’ has originated. There are 24 Horas in a day. Now the question arises, why is the day coming after Sunday is named Monday and why not by any other day. To understand this, we will first have to understand the positions of the Grahas, in the space. In astronomy, the respective position of the planets is given as under – Shani (Saturn), Guru (Jupiter), Mangala (Mars), Ravi (Sun), Shukra (Venus), Buddha (Mercury) and Chandra (Moon).  According to the formula “Arka shukro budha shchandro mando jeevo dharasuthah”, meaning “Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars” the Horas are calculated and assigned accordingly. More elaboration on this to come later on.

80. Rithu: This is one of those few words which are translated properly as Season. Yes, Rithu is Season but the only difference is that in the west they have four seasons and in Bharat we have six seasons. The western seasons are Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring; in Bharat we have Shad Rithus (six seasons) Vasantha (Spring), Ghrishma (Summer), Varasha (Rainy), Sharad (Post Rain), Hemanta (Winter) and Shishira (Dry).

(Part 1/2 of Jyotisha)

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