Bharathiya – Non-Translatable words: Part 11 – Jyotisha-2

81. Maasa: The term Maasa is usually translated as Month which is correct, but like the Rithus it varies from the western idea of month. The difference is the Bharathiya Maasa begins either with the Amavasya (New Moon) or for some, it begins with Purnima (Full Moon). It goes from one day after the Amavasya to the next Amavasya for those who follow the Amavasyant Panchanga and from one day after the Purnima to the next Purnima for those who follow the Purnimant Panchanga. One more difference is that for the Bharathiya Panchanga, we have what is called as ‘Adhik maasa’ an extra month in a year which comes every 32.5 months on average and Kshaya Maasa (One month less in a year) which is very rare and it occurs once in 140 years or once in 190 years.

82. Yuga: Yuga is usually translated as Epoch or Era. But Epoch is a particular period of time in history or a person’s life; whereas Yuga is not an epoch or not an era in the Bharathiya Panchanga. There is no equivalent word for Yuga in the English dictionary. There are a total of four Yugas and they are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. It is said that each Yuga has 1/4th less duration and the strength of Dharma than the previous, with a proportion of 4:3:2:1. These four ages combined make a larger cyclic age called a Chaturyuga (Four Yuga Cycle). The Chaturyuga runs formore than thousands of years so it can’t be translated as Epoch or Era. 

83. Manvantara: This word too doesn’t have an English equivalent. A Manvantara is formed by a cycle of 72 Chaturyugas; hence a Manvantara will be a few hundred thousand years. Each Manvantara belongs to one Manu. It will have a set of Sapta Rishis and it has an Avatar of God Vishnu associated with it.

84. Kalpa: Again Kalpa is a word that does not exist in the English Dictionary; Fourteen Manus and their respective Manvantaras (As described above) constitute one Kalpa or a ‘Day of Brahma’, according to the Panchanga Calculations and also the Vedic timeline. Thereafter, at the end of each Kalpa, there is a period which is of the same duration as the Kalpa and this is of dissolution or Pralaya, wherein the world (earth and all life forms and the entire universe) is destroyed and lies in a state of rest or inertia, which is called the ‘Night of Brahma’.

85. Panchanga: Panchanga is not what it is as usually called as “Hindu Calendar” or “Hindu Almanac”. Just for beginners the Bharathiya Panchanga is based on the movement of both the sun and the moon (Solo-Lunar or Luno-Solar), along with the other of the 9 Grahas through the 12 Zodiacal signs or Raashis and the 27 Nakshaktras or the 27 asterisms visible in sky.

The representation of Kaala (time) is always with respect to the Desha (place) in the Bharathiya Panchanga. Hence, it is called Desha – Kala Panchanga. Each of the Janapadas of Bharath had a different Panchanga according to their time zones. The time zone was decided up on by the sunrise and the sunset which in turn depended on the latitude and longitude of the Janapada. The Panchanga gave the following details: 1) Kalpa, 2) Manvantara, 3) Yuga, 4) Shaka, 5) Samvatsara, 6) Ayayana, 7) Rithu, 8) Maasa, 9) Paksha, then the Panchanga 1) Thithi, 2) Vara, 3) Nakshatra 4) Yoga and 5) Karana. So if you count, you will find 14 parameters being given to each day. This was used for many forecasts like Rithu Purvanumana (weather forecasts), Krishi Prayojana (farmers’ planting and probable harvest dates), Taranga Anuman (hours of high and low tides) and other tabular data like the Suryodaya, Suryastha, Chandrodaya, Chandrastha (rising and setting times of the Sun and Moon), dates of Grahana (eclipses were always marked), all 33 Parvas (festivals), Jatras (Temple Fairs), Santha (Shandy) and many other things.

A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time which are limited to usually Year, Month, Date and Day of the Week. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record (often paper) of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills.

An almanac is an annual publication listing a set of events like weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables and other tabular data often arranged according to the calendar for the forthcoming year. It includes information such as the rising and setting times of the Sun and Moon, dates of eclipses (Sometimes), hours of high and low tides and some Abrahamic religious festivals. The set of events noted in an almanac may be tailored for a specific group of readers, such as farmers, sailors, or astronomers.

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