Glossary of Calendrical terms:

Appearance - Avirbhav  :

"So at the time of death... Of course, those who are devotees, their position is different. People may say, “The devotee is also dying, and the nondevotee, sinful man, is also dying. What is the difference?” So there is much difference. The example is given: just like a cat catching a rat in his mouth and at the same time carrying his cubs in the mouth. Superficially, we can see that the same mouth is being used, but one is feeling comfortable being carried by the mother, and another is feeling the death knell. Similarly, at the time of death, the devotee’s feeling that they are being transferred to Vaikuëöha, whereas the ordinary sinful man is feeling that the Yamaräja, the dütas, the constables of Yamaräja are dragging him to the hellish condition of life. So one should not conclude simply by seeing that he is dying. No. The process is different. Janma karma ca me divyam. As Lord Kåñëa’s appearance and disappearance are all spiritual, transcendental, they are not ordinary things, similarly, Lord Kåñëa’s devotee, His representative, who is sent to this material world for preaching the glories of Lord Kåñëa, their appearance and disappearance is also like Kåñëa’s. Therefore, according to Vaiñëava principles, the appearance and disappearance of Vaiñëava is considered all-auspicious. Therefore we hold festivals. Just like yesterday we had the disappearance day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Goswami Prabhupäda. So we offered our respects and observed a festival, Ävirbhava, Tirobhava. Tirobhava.
    Actually the living entity has no birth or death, and what to speak of Kåñëa or His devotee. Kåñëa is the chief living entity of all living entities. Nityo nityänäà cetanaç cetanänäm. He is also a living entity. Sometimes the atheist class of men say, “God is dead.” The rascals, they do not know that even a small living entity does not die. How Kåñëa can be dead or God can be dead? Müòhä. Therefore these classes of men are described in the Bhagavad-gétä as müòhä, rascals. They do not know anything; still, they pose themselves as very learned and utter something which is neither good for them nor for the public." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 17th December 1970. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 6:1:27-34. Surat, India.)

Break-fast  :

This is the prescribed time when one should break the fast one has held. You may need to adjust taking into account Daylight Savings Time if it is Summer Time and the country that you are in and if it has DST (Summer Time) - Not every country observes DST (NZ zone 12hrs becomes 13hrs from GMT during Summertime - i.e. in Greenwich, England it is 20:00hrs Sunday but in NZ it is 09:00am Monday - NZ adds one hour to REAL Time so to enjoy longer evenings and darker, later mornings).

For More 

Chaturmasya   :

"The Cäturmäsya period begins in the month of Äñäòha (June-July) from the day of Ekädaçé called Çayanä-ekädaçé, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. The period ends in the month of Kärtika (October-November) on the Ekädaçé day known as Utthänä-ekädaçé, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. This four-month period is known as Cäturmäsya. Some Vaiñëavas also observe it from the full-moon day of Äñäòha until the full-moon day of Kärtika. That is also a period of four months. This period, calculated by the lunar months, is called Cäturmäsya, but others also observe Cäturmäsya according to the solar month from Çrävaëa to Kärtika. The whole period, either lunar or solar, takes place during the rainy season. Cäturmäsya should be observed by all sections of the population. It does not matter whether one is a gåhastha or a sannyäsé. The observance is obligatory for all äçramas. The real purpose behind the vow taken during these four months is to minimize the quantity of sense gratification. This is not very difficult. In the month of Çrävaëa one should not eat spinach, in the month of Bhädra one should not eat yogurt, and in the month of Äçvina one should not drink milk. One should not eat fish or other nonvegetarian food during the month of Kärtika. A nonvegetarian diet means fish and meat. Similarly, masüra däl and urad däl are also considered nonvegetarian. These two däls contain a great amount of protein, and food rich in protein is considered nonvegetarian. On the whole, during the four-month period of Cäturmäsya one should practice giving up all food intended for sense enjoyment.
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. Madhya-lila 4.169. purport.)

Urja vrata - means restricting eating.
The term "spinach" in India refers to green leafy vegetables of that nature.
The yogurt fast is fasting from eating yogurt by itself. Yogurt used as a binding agent for cake is not included.
Milk fast means refrain from drinking milk. Milk sweets, milk by-products are okay.

In the fourth (last) month, Ashvin Shukla Dashami to Kartik Shukla Dwadashi one should not partake dicotyledon grains (grains breaking in two parts) like gram, tur urad, masur etc., Similarly, one should not eat fruits or vegetables containing lot of seeds. This also applies to tubors as ordained. Thus reason for making a list of prohibited items seperately for each of the four months is in the nature of dietary discipline, and declared as daily regimen ("Nityavrata") by the scriptures.

During Festivals of the Lord (ie Balaram's App, Sri Krishna Janmastami, Radhastami, etc) all preparations are offered to the Lord and chaturmasya vrata of restrictive honouring of even foods in the above categories does not apply. (yes one can honour Urid dal kachoris that have been offered to Srila Prabhupad on his Tirubhav)

Also during the Purushottam Adika masa there is no observance of chaturmasya.

Chaturmasya means "four months", which is the duration that Vishnu sleeps.

Ekadasi, Asadha 11 (July 20, 2002). The time the Vishnu goes to sleep for four months.
Naga Panchami, Sravana 5 (Aug 12, 2002). The cobras are appeased at this festival, which is dedicated to the serpent Ananta (aka Sesha?), on whose coils Vishnu rested when he created the universe.
"Vishnu lies on Ananta", Bhadra 14 (Sept 19, 2002). Celebration of Vishnu lying on the cobra Ananta. [same as Sharad Purnima?]
"Vishnu wakes". eleven days after new moon in [Agrahayana]. Vishnu wakes.

Chaturmasya Sankalpam (declaration to begin Chaturmasya and End) & Standards for observing the Urja-vratas of Chaturmasya.

Traditional age old recipes for Chaturmasya from the Madhwa line.

More information from the Madhwa line citing all manner of PurANas HERE:

Date  :

In this dummy Calendar the dates are not applicable for everywhere, rather they are there just as an example how a functional up to date Calendar would work. This is/was however the real Calendar for Katikati, New Zealand 1999-2000 & 2000-2001 & 2001-2002 etc.
Check your local up to date Vaishnava Calendar for actual dates of festival, fasts and feasts.

If you don't have one, and would like one, you can download your own Vaishnava Calendar making software for FREE at the end of the Calendar. The VCAL 4.01 sofware will create a calendar for you in minutes for anywhere in the world. You can add your location.

Day  - Varam:

Monday - Somvar; Tuesday - Mangalvar; Wednesday - Budhvar; Thursday - Guruvar; Friday - Shukravar; Saturday - Shanivar; Sunday - Ravivar. This is further explained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada, in his Navadwip Panjika HERE.

Daylight Savings   :

Many countries around the world observe Daylight Savings Time - DLS or DST -  Summer Time.
Generally this means that in the summertime the government orders that the clocks be turned backwards so that is it less light in the morning, and stays light up until later in the evening.
In the winter time the clocks are again returned to normal so that with the shorter day people can get maximum daylight.
Some countries do not adjust their time - so where it says Break fast 08:30 - 10:30 Daylight savings not taken into consideration - any adding or subtracting that may be needed is only applicable to countires that change their time - DST.
Some countries add one hour, some add two hours, some countries like Australia only some States observe Day light savings, while Queensland doesn't. Check locally.

Day light - Summertime Saving Times around the world  -  who observes:

More than you'd ever need to know about DLS all over the world:

About New Zealand's DLS evolution:

Eclipse   :

For details about Solar and Lunar eclipses, their effects, their origin, and how to deal with them - what to do, what not to do, etc., it is advised to go to our Eclipse page - you will find all that you need to know, plus more - and links to other eclipse related pages.
This will take you to our Eclipse page

For updates on Eclipses Click HERE

Ekadasi :

The sacred day of Sri Hari.

The link here will take you directly to a number of ekadasi related pages; each individual ekadasi; the story of ekadasi; ekadasi vrata, etc., etc. Click here to go to the Ekadasi pages.

Gaurabda  :

In the Year of Our Lord - Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 513 Gaurabda.
Lord Chaitanya appeared in 1486 A.D., so from then until 1999 is 513 years.
Each year from His Divine appearance at Gaura Purnima in the month of Phalguna (Govinda - February / March) the years are added, thus 2000 will be 514 Gaurabda, and so on.

Location - Longitude - Latitude - Time Zone   :

This is the co-ordinates that we have taken from your location in the world.
Latitude of Auckland is 36 S 52   ( 36 degrees 52 minutes South of the equator)
Longitude of Auckland is 174 E 46   (174 degrees 46 minutes East of Greenwich)
Time Zones are generally taken from Greenwich, England - GMT. Aucklands' is -11:39:04
(-11 hours, because Auckland is ahead of Greenwich, 39 mins and 04 secs - Although often for convenience people take all New Zealand as Zone 12. This means 12 hrs from Greenwich.)

Jump to Time Zone Map

Jump to Day Light Savings

Masa   :

Means Month (Mase = Months).
Click HERE to go to a graph that shows the Lunar, Hindu, Vaishnava, Sidereal and English name for each month.

Also when they start and end - Purnima under a certain stellar nakshatra.

Nakshatra  = stellar constellation :

There are 27 functional nakshatras that we recognise and work with, although there is a 28th Abhijit also.
Click Here to go to the nakshatras page that describes the Ganam, Swabhav, Gender, etc., of each nakshatra.

Paksha   :

Means Fortnight - there are two fortnights in a lunar month.
Bright fortnight (Sukla or Gaura Paksha) which goes from the pratipat (first phase) tithi after the dark moon (Amavasya) up to the time when the Moon is at its brightest - Waxing.
Dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) which goes from the pratipad (first phase) tithi of the moon after the Full Moon as it gradually Wanes away to total darkness on the Amavasya (Dark Moon or New Moon) night.

Panjika   :

Means the Almanac or Calendar that give an explanation of Feasts, Fasts, and Festivities. This differs from a Panchangam in that a panchangam gives specific details about timings of the movement of planets. Both a panjika and a panchangam follow the similar principles to evaluate the placement of time, but the panjika often follows rules that are laid down by acaryas in a given disciplic succession for sadhakas to adhere to when observing festivals and fasts. To get a good idea of this see the English translation to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's Navadwip Panjika.

Purusottama Adhika Maasa   : (Adhika Aswayujam)
(updated 14th May 2007)

Every two (sometimes three) years in Vedik Sidereal astrology there is a time compensation month added to correct, and adjust the time movements. This is something similar to the western Leap Year.
This month is considered to be very auspicious (adhika = best or greatest), as Vishnu Himself appearing in a Calendrical Form to rectify our astrological and astronomical calculations.

The astronomical parameters differ only slightly in different astronomical texts. For our present discussions, these differences will not matter much and so we follow the Suryasiddhanta. According to this text,

1 Lunar year = 29.5305 X 12 = 354.366 days

1 Solar year = 365.2587 days.

Thus one lunar year lags behind the solar year and one lunation has to be added after 3 years to fit the lunar year into the solar one. Astronomers have called this intercalary lunation as adhika month, and have asserted that this month is to be added to the lunar year.

Adhika (Purushottam) Maase Since the calendar is based on the phases of the Moon, the transits take 354 days, 8 hours and 34.28 seconds. This creates a difference of 10 days, 21 hours and 35.16 seconds from the actual solar year (365 days, 6 hours, 9.54 seconds) When the accumulated difference exceeds 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.865 seconds, an adjustment is made with an extra month (Adhika Maas), which carries the name of the previous or the next month, depending on the proximity of the month. Normally, seven extra months occur in 19 years.

Vasishtha Siddhanta (the treatise of Vasishtha) mentions that Adhik Maas or the extra lunar month occurs after every 32 months, 16 days and 8 Ghadis (a Ghadi is a period of 24 minutes and 60 Ghadis equal 24 hours).

Astronomical & Astrological technicalities explained regarding origin of, and purpose of Adhika mase, and also symbolically what the Adhika represents.

The Glories of Purushottam Adhika Mase from Padma Purana

Purushottama adhika masa vratas from Mahanidhi Swami, submitted by Mahamantra (das) ACBSP (Vrindavan - IN) [14243]
...this may be useful to you or yours Recommended Vows for Purusottama Month

(2001 18 September-16 October) The main vrata is to worship Radha Krishna Yugala

***Rise Brahma-muhurta DAILY (bm means one . hours before sunrise til one hour; if sunrise at 6am then bm starts 4:30 goes to about 5 a.m.) Means taking rest EARLY night before.

***take vow to REMAIN TRUTHFUL for whole month.
***Careful not to BLASPHEME any devotee,sastra, brahmin, cows, saints, or one observing the Purusottama Vrata.

  1.fixed increased chanting 25, 32, 64,128 rounds daily!
  2. hearing hari katha (Study Krishna Book (chapters dealing with Vraja lila and Krishna meeting gopis at kuruksetra) Srimad Bhagavatam & Chaitanya Charitamrita specifically desc. Radha Krishna guna and lila) and/or speaking daily hari-katha
  3. worshiping Radha Krishna, which means,  unless you have deity with = you, then daily offer fresh first class lotus or rose plus tulasi = garlands to Radhe Shyam photo or painting of Radha-Govinda Yugal.
  *if worship Salagrama (could apply to Radha-Govinda also) offer 100,000 tulasi leaves and achieve "unlimited merit beyond the powers of Brahma to describe."
  4. Sing bhajans and kirtans specifically glorifying Yugala Kishora. Such as Jaya Radha Madhava; Radhe jaya jaya madhava dayite; radha-krishna prana mora; Radha-krpa kataksa (in back our radhakunda book or in Giti Guccha song book; also sing Nandanandana Astakam (also in Giti Guccha song book); jaya radha madana mohan.. sanatana prana dhana he; jaya madhava madana murari radhe shyam shyama shyam; radha-krsna bol bol bolo re sobhai; vrndavana ramya sthana; tulasi arotik prayers with deep prayer of longing and meditation;
  5. MUST OFFER Daily GHEE (pure cow's ghee only) lamp to Radha-Krishna Deity or photo.
  6. Bathe DAILY in Yamuna around sunrise. Or if not in holy land then pour drops on head from bottle of Radha-kunda water or Yamuna after offering obeisances and prayers to Radha-kunda or Yamuna.
  7.Eating--Fast till noon and eat only fruits or just vegetables without any beans or grains. (like ekadasi preps for one month!) once a day if you can. Or just eat mahaprasadam, full to neck ONCE A DAY. Take a vow according to your capacity to follow, and in no condition can one break his vow in the middle of the month.

1. Worship Radha-Govinda and chant this mantra: "O Supreme Lord! O Sanatana! O Purusottama! O Lord Hari! I offer my obeisances unto You. May You and Your beloved Srimati Radhika please accept my offerings. I offer my repeated obeisances unto Radha-Syamasundara, who wears effulgent yellow garments on His beautiful body."
2. Offer pushpanjali and dandavats to Radhe-Syama.
3. Give charity to 3,5,7,9, 11 brahmanas to best of your ability.
**Best charity to give Srimad Bhagavatam to qualified Vaisnava devotee brahmana. This charity will deliver all you forefathers to Goloka dhama and the association of Lord Purusottam!
***Other recommended gifts: new clothes, gold (rupees, bucks, pounds), two pairs of new shoes
4. Feed brahmanas with prasadam

   1. If not bathed in sacred waters---nullify reaction by donating milk and yogurt to brahmanas
   2. If eat rice, wheat, fruits,oil, or ghee during P.M.-give charity to brahmanas (as mentioned above)
   3. If eat on leaf plates for month-then feed brahmanas with ghee and sugar
   4. Not cut hair and nails for P.M.-give mirror to one brahmana.

Must feed brahmanas with different kinds of sweet juice. (sugar cane, oj, grape, etc)

1. All the holy places in the world come to reside in your body.
2. One who observes Purusottama Month with faith and devotion will go back home, BTG to serve Radha-Govinda eternally in Goloka Vrndavana at the end of his life!

These are the recommended vratas described in Padma Purana PUrusottama = Mahatyam. We are sure Prabhupada will help you honor this month nicely.

Ekadasi's of the Adhika masa:

References to Kali-yuga and adhika masa

More on Adhika Masa

As the name itself suggests it is the extra month in the lunar calendar. Once in three years we get an extra month and this year "Jesta" is the "Adhika Masa".
The two months are called Adhika Jesta and Nija Jesta. In Adhika masa good things like marriage are not done. They wait for the Nija Jesta to come. But to do poojas and danas in this month is very good, The offerings done now are weighed 33times more than the offerings of the ordinary month.

Ladies put 33 Padmas in rongoli every day, put 33 flowers. Light 33 lamps and finally do 33 namaskars throughout the month. 33 Appupas made and given to a good Brahmin, put in a container along with good dhakshina, How to make Appupa I will tell you later. Dear Akkama used to do all this and the Brahmin invariably used to be Sri, Subbanacharya of Madras. If Appupa is difficult for you can make any sweets in 33 numbers and give, I do hope that our M.B. Family people read this and appreciate it.

Religious significance of Adhik Maas (from Narottam dasa)
This month is considered very auspicious and is especially dear to Lord Krishna’s heart. Adhik Maas Vrat is capable of washing away all the sins of people (who observe the Vrat). During this month fasting and so forth are undertaken and garments and so forth are distributed to charities.
It is written in the Devi Bhagavat that charitable and meritorious acts and fasting and so forth carried out during Adhik Maas inevitably produce enormous results. Just as atomic sized contents within a seed produce a giant and long living Banyan tree, so in the same manner even a little charitable act done during Adhik Maas produces massive results.

According to the Vedic/Hindu lunar year, there were only 12 months. Each of the twelve months was assigned to the 12 great devas. So that the lunar and the solar years do not get out of step with days and seasons, the far-sighted Rishi and Munis calculated and facilitated Adhik Maas (extra month) and shown its importance. But one problem still remained. Each of the 12 months was assigned to 12 different devas. But the 13th extra month was not assigned to any deva. Adhik Maas felt sadness and approached Lord Vishnu and said that no deva was assigned to him (Adhik Maas) and for that reason he was called Mal Maas or Malimmacha. Adhik Maas further spoke to Lord Vishnu: ‘ I am filled with anxiety and I have therefore come to seek your refuge and help.’

Lord Vishnu took pity on him. The Lord (Vishnu) agreed and assigned Adhik Maas to Himself and gave the name Purushottama Maas to this month. Lord Vishnu also said that acquisition of merits during other months through good deeds, japa, austerities etc can be acquired by japa, austerities etc. carried out within this one month. Since then it is known as the Purushottama Maas and acquired greater significance than the other months.

Reading sastras and listening to elevated souls in this most auspicious month one acquires high merits. It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana that fasting or eating once a day should commence on the first day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) {this year this date is the 17th May} and end on the last day of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) {this year this date is the 15th June}. According to ability, distribute to charities and perform good deeds.
The Puranas also sing high praises about Adhik Maas and prescribe performing puja, reading, studying and hearing of scriptures, selfless actions without the expectations of results and so forth are to be performed during Adhik Maas. Adhik Maas is the month for Vishnu puja. The recitation of Srimad Bhagavat Purana and of the Bhagavad Gita during this month produces enormous meritorious results. In addition to singing and listening to the praises of Lord Vishnu, one should undertake to perform the Adhik Maas Vrat as well. This Vrat is to begin from the first day and ends on the last day of Adhik Maas. Waking up during the hours of Brahma Muhurta (between 4 am and 6 am), after ablutions, place a murti of Radha-Krishna or Lakshmi-Narayana and perform puja. If there is a temple nearby then perform puja of whatever deities are usually worshipped therein. During the entire month of Mal Maas Vrat eat Sattvic food (vegetarian meals, milk, fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables). One meal at night is generally recommended.

It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana that Sri Krishna Himself has said regarding Adhik Maas Vrat that by carrying out the Vrat with the sole aim of worshipping Him, through fasting, cleanliness, charity, puja and so forth merits are acquired which produce unfailing results and all sorts of calamities are overcomed.

What’s forbidden in Adhik Maas: -

Commencement of Studies.
Upayanam Samskara (The Sacred thread/ Jeneo ceremony).
Entering a new house or signing of any papers pertaining to the house.
Munda samskara (Hair cutting ceremony generally perform in the 3rd or 5th year for a boy).
Vivah samskara (Wedding ceremony).
Commencement of a new building.
Buying a car.
Signing of any important papers.

What one can do/perform in Adhik Maas: -

Daily routine prayers.
Japa (chanting the holy names of God).
Performing charity liberally.
Reading sastras (scriptures).
Attending satsangh.
Performing ceremonies relating to death and birth.

QUESTION: - What happens if I do the above mentioned under what one should not do in Adhik Maas?
ANSWER:  - Well if one for example marries in Adhik Maas then that couple are sure to go thro’ many problems in their marriage and generally that marriage ends in divorce. Or if one moves into a new house then they are just inviting trouble. Our revered Rishis were very intelligent and enlightened souls and they received direct instructions from Shri Krsna Bhagavan and thus we follow in a sense blindly… this would not go down well with the western mind. I feel that we have been brainwashed to question any thing mentioned the Vedas yet follow blindly ever our western “Gods”/scientists have to say but when one studies the Vedic scriptures for a long time one will come to the realization that one should follow scriptures as is…

A Question was asked recently why should we perform all these acts of charity:
Answer: - In the Garuda Purana Lord Visnu states to Sri Garudji.
Garuda Purana Preta Khanda 13.19
“Whatever gifts are made by one during one’s life time, becomes beneficial later”
Garuda Purana Preta Khanda chapter 14
4-5 “Anything given to a deserving person flourishes day by day. A gift wipes off the sin of the giver and the acceptance of the same by a person of good wisdom does not affect him.”
8 “ I affirm that just as seeds and other valuable things invested or sown in the ground offer fruitful results so also things by one’s own hands yield fruitful results.”
12 “Therefore, life being unsteady it is incumbent on everyone to do every thing beforehand. With the food for the journey in the form of gifts offered to the deserving, one is able to travel with comfort in the Great Highway in the journey after death. Otherwise, the wretch undergoes great hardships without food to subsist on, on the way.”
Garuda Purana Preta Khanda chapter 20
8 “Those who have offered gifts in their lifetime should not entertain any fear from Dharmaraja”
10 “Virtue can easily be procured by offering gifts. The path to Yama’s region can easily be traversed by acts of charity. This highway cannot be easily covered otherwise.”

The above was kindly compiled by Narottam dasa in RSA

Adhika Masa
©B. Aikat
The year 1999 has an Adhika Mas or additional month between May 16 to June 14. The Hindu calendar is based on the cycles of the Moon and the months are based on lunar months which vary from 27 to 29 solar days. The lunar year of twelve months consists of 354 solar days. However a solar year consists of 365 days which is the basis of civil calendars. There is a difference of 11 days between the lunar year and the solar year. Due to this difference the two calendars move out of synchronization and we notice that Holi is celebrated earlier and earlier in Spring every year as well as Diwali in the Fall. However in about two and a half years a difference of 29 days accumulates between the two calendars. Hence every two and half years an additional month or adhika masa (thirteenth month) is added to the Hindu calendar to bring it back in synchronization with the solar calendar. The astronomical rule for adding the Adhika Mas is that it occurs in a lunar month when no Solar Samkranti or transit occurs. Dwisankranti Masah Kchaykhyah Kadachita or a lunar month that falls between two Sankrantis is additional or expunged.

Since this is a floating month, no celebrations are held in this month. However this month is also called Purusottam Mas and it is dedicated to the Uttam Purush or Lord Krishna himself. The Maha mantra for this month is:

"Govardan dharang vande Gopalang Goprupinang.
Gokulotsava Mishanang Govinda Gopikapriya."

The one who held the Govardhan mountain aloft and who also tended the cows, I sing his praise. Govinda who is celebrated in the festivals of Gokul and who is loved by all Gopis.

In this month one is supposed to live simply, chant the Maha mantra, worship idols of Sri Krishna clad in a yellow robe accompanied by Sri Radhika, sing Kirtan in the streets, protect cows and help widows or women in distress.

More technicalities about the year and Puroshottam Adhika mAse and symbolicly what it is.

This information comes from Shyamasundar prabhu's page ACBSP:

Is the 360 day year advocated for Mahadasa usage some how Moon related and the 365 day year Sun related?
Those who advocate the 360 day year say it is Lunar while the 365 day year is Solar and say something like the following:
"I once had a conversation with a jyotishi here in Australia who told me he uses the 360 day calendar as opposed to the 365 day calendar when calculating Vimsottari dasa. His argument was, why should we use a solar based calendar for calculating a  lunar based dasa system?"

This argument reveals several fallacies:

The first fallacy is that Vimsottari Mahadasa is "lunar based." Simply because the apparatus used for ascertaining what the mahadasa should be is based upon the Moon and Naksatras doesn't mean we should reject the standard year simply because it is based on the movement of the Sun. There are other systems of mahadasa which are not based on the Naksatras does that mean we should shift definitions for the length of the year to suit them? There is also the fact that Satyacarya has suggested that the Janma-naksaträ be chosen from the stronger of the Moon or Lagna. If the Lagna were stronger then this would not be  based on the Moon. In such cases would the length of the year be a different amount?

Of course I want to quickly point out that Satycarya's suggestion of using the Lagna is not followed by any astrologers and the  Moon's position is universally accepted as the standard for the janma-naksaträ.

The second fallacy, is the assumption that since 365.25 is a solar year, we should reject it because mahadasa is a lunar based phenomena and rather accept a 360 day year. The unspoken assumption is that a 360 day year is somehow "Lunar." As we have pointed out before the Lunar year is not 360 days long but rather 360 tithis (lunar days) long, which is about 354.36 solar days long. Thus, since the 360 day year in not "lunar" then it should not be favored and the 365.25 day year should not be rejected for being "solar."

There is a third fallacy in this argument which leads us to the next question.

What is the relationship between the Solar and Lunar year?

The third fallacy is a bit more complex. The implicit assumption is that time measured by the lunar and solar calendar somehow yield different results. If we were to use a 360 day-year rather than a 365.25 day-year, for mahadasa calculations then there would be a difference. After some time they would become more and more divergent. After one year they would only be different by five days, but in six years it would be a gap of 31.5 days (counting leap years). After 35 years it would be about six months out of phase and after 70 years a whole year out of phase. Thus the older the person got the farther out of phase the mahadasas would be. Thus using the 360 d/y Jupiter mahadasa may start at age 35 but at age 35 y 6m using the solar year. This would introduce serious difficulties in timing events especially in regards to the Bhuktis. This difficulty would only increase with age. However, contrary to the implicit assumption of the advocates of the 360 d/y, there is no such discrepancy between the Vedic Lunar calendar and the Solar calendar. Actually the Vedic Lunar calendar is Solar as will be seen from the following quotation from Dikshit's BJS (emphasis mine):

"They purchased 'Soma' juice from the thirteenth month, and hence the thirteenth month is censurable". Aitareya Brahmana

"Should the reins in the horse-sacrifice be twelve cubits in length or thirteen? The year consisting of (six) seasons is a kind of bullock whose hump is the thirteenth month. The horse-sacrifice is the best of all sacrifices. The year in the form of a bullock has got a hump (in the form of the thirteenth month)." Aitareya Brahmana

"It is clear from the above quotations that the year was solar in the Vedic age. The natural means of measuring a year used to be one complete cycle of the seasons, just as the natural means of measuring a day was the period between two consecutive  sunrises or that for measuring a month used to be the period between two full moons. The year as a unit of time could not come into being if seasons didn't exist. It is, therefore, obvious then that the year must have been solar.

". . . the seasons were naturally supposed to recur after 12 lunar months. Although, one complete cycle of seasons required 11 days more than 12 lunar months . . .[and the result of this difference of 11 days]. . . . . the lunar month which used to fall in the  summer must shift to occur in the winter and later on in the rainy season and thus have gradually receded through all the seasons.
 Every month of such a calendar, like the Muharram of the Muslims, was bound to pass through all the seasons, thus completing a revolution in 33 years. [To avoid such a 33 year cycle] . . .to insert an intercalary month; and the fact that such an intercalary month used to be reckoned in the Vedic times goes to prove that the year was solar [even] in those days. This may appear trivial today, but it certainly was no ordinary matter that our people conceived the idea of inserting an intercalary month in those  days of hoary antiquity. As a matter of fact it is extremely significant. The ancient Romans were at one time a very powerful nation, they used to regard the year as consisting of 10 months for quite a long time. . ." (BJS vol. 1, pp. 20-21)

The Vedic Lunar calendar is actually a luni-solar calendar, that is, it is not independent from the Sun. A lunar month starts with the new Moon after the Sun enters into a sign and is named in accordance to the Solar sign or sometimes to the Naksatra in which the full Moon will take place in that Lunar month, the naming conventions differ in various geographical areas of India. In any case the lunar month is tied to the solar month. How the Solar year and Lunar year are linked shall now be explained.

The Lunar year consists of 12 lunar months each consisting of 30 tithis but this does not add up to 30 solar days since in the course of a lunar month a tithi will vary from about 19 hours to 26 hours with an average length of 23h 37m 28s. The lunar month would be 29.530589 days. Because the Lunar year is 360 tithis long, that is only 354.36 solar days long after only three years it would be about one month out of phase with the solar year. However to keep it in phase with the solar year, and thus with the seasons and religious observances, a leap month (adhika-masa) is introduced. The introduction of the adhika-masa is not artificial, but a natural occurrence (Metonic cycle) because about every third year there will be experienced the phenomena of two new Moons while the Sun transits through one Rasi. And since the lunar month is defined as the length of time between successive new Moons and that there can only be one Lunar month corresponding to a solar month, the extra lunar month becomes a leap month. Thus the solar and lunar years would continue to stay in phase perpetually, their difference never being more than about 22 days. In the first year they would be out of phase by 11 days, the second year out of phase by 22 days, the third year the leap month brings them back in phase, the fourth year out of phase by 11 days, etc.

If the Vedic Lunar year were not linked to the solar year then within only a few years there would be very noticeable differences in a change of seasons in relation to the calendar. By an accumulation of about 11 days per year it would not take long before a festival associated with the summer such as Krsna Janmastami would be observed in the spring when Gaura Purnima should be observed. That would be absurd. However, there is a Lunar calendar which is independent of the Sun, the Islamic. In this calendar, based on a cycle of 30 years, 19 of which are 354 days long and 11 of which are leap years, having 355 days each. In 30 years each lunar month will have cycled through all the solar months. Thus the first month of the Muslim calendar Muharram will retrogress through the whole solar Gregorian calendar, and also through the Vedic luni-solar calendar. Returning to our argument; the Vedic lunar calendar is tied to the Sun thus the Vedic Lunar calendar is actually a Solar calendar. It will always be very close to the Solar calendar and never go out of phase as would a 360 day year which would only become more divergent with time.

The Hindu calendar by Pt. Sanjay Rath explaining Adika mase

There is a need to review the calendar system used in Vedic astrology and to set the standards for the right calendar to be followed in this regard. There have been various calendar reform committees set up in various forum, yet there has not been any consensus as deep inside they realize that some vital point is being missed out. The calendar being followed by the Indian Government, is widely off the mark as it just blindly superimposes a lunar calendar on a solar calendar! Without trying to harmonise them as had been originally done by the Vedic Seers. The Rashtriya Panchang, although correct in its delineation of the planetary positions, (uses Lahiri’s Ayanamsa, that is the closest to the truth so far) does not address this issue.

Second- 1/86,400 of a day
Ephemeris Second- 1/31,556,925.9747 of a tropical year
Atomic Second- oscillations of cesium atom= 9,192,631,770
Sidereal Day- 23H 56M 4.09S
Lunar Month- 29.53059 days
Lunar Months in a Solar Year- 12.36827
Sidereal Month (time moon around earth)- 27D 7H 43M 11.5S
Synodical Month (new moon to new moon or full moon to full moon)- 29D 12H 44M 3S = 29.53059D
Tropical Year- 365D 5H 48M 46.43S = 365.2422D
Sidereal Year- 365D 6H 9M 9.5S = 365.2564D
Solar Year- 365.2422 days
Obliquity of the Ecliptic (angle of ecliptic and Celestial Equator)- 23 degrees 27'
Tropics- 23 degrees 27' (Ant)Arctic- 66 degrees 30'
Canonical Hours: Catholic- prime(one)=6AM, tierce(three)=9AM, sext(six)=Noon, none(nine)=3PM
Saros Period (eclipses repeat)- 18 years 11 1/3 days
Metonic Cycle (aligning Lunar calendar to Saros period)
Sothic Cycle (Sirius's heliacal rising period)- 1461 years
Julian Cycle (Lunar months, Saros period, etc align)- 7980 years
Precession of the Equinoxes- 25,800 years
Julian Day/Astronomical Day= # of days since Julian cycle started
1 year = 365 days = 8760 hours = 525,600 minutes = 31,536,000 seconds
360 degrees/24 hours=15 degrees/1 hour=1 degree/4 minutes
Names of months are Roman gods
Names of days are Teutonic deities (Norse gods)- Moon, Tiw, Woden, Thor, Fria, Saturn-Roman, Sun
"PZT"= Photographic Zenith Tube- can determine spinning of the earth to 1 second
Master Clock- vibrations of cesium atoms / 24 hours by PZT sightings- atomic clocks
Universal Time (UTO) is the equivalent to mean solar time at Greenwich Meridian
Universal Coordinate Time (UTC) is the average of several atomic time scales
The equation of time equals the difference between apparent and mean time.
The whole world has the same day when the international date line is at midnight.
June 21- summer solstice- longer days
December 21- winter solstice- shorter days
September 23- autumnal equinox
March 20- vernal equinox- night and day equal
Sun & Moon movements

The Saura[1] Varsha or the solar year has been precisely measured as equal to 365.2421896698 days long, although it is gradually becoming shorter by about half a second per century. This movement of the Sun around the zodiac (or movement of the earth around the Sun) is the primary model on which the lunar movement has to be superimposed.

The movement of the Moon in the zodiac can be measured by two methods –

1)       The movement around the zodiac considered independently, which is approximately 27 days and 7 ¾ hours. Based on this, the zodiac of 3600 was divided into 27 Nakshatra, (each 130 20’ of arc). Each Nakshatra was identified with a star, (or star cluster) and derived its name from it. The 7-¾ hour shortfall in a sidereal lunar transit was made up by a short-span intercalary (hypothetical) Nakshatra called Abhijit. The span of Abhijit is determined proportionally as (7h 38min / 24 hrs) x 130 20’ = 40 14’ 13". This span is from 2760 40’ to 2800 54" 13" overlapping the 21st Nakshatra (Uttarasadha).

2)       The relative motion between the Sun and the Moon from one conjunction to another (or from one opposition to another) defines the Lunar Month (Chandra Masa). This period is 29.5305888531 days long, but getting longer by a fiftieth of a second per century. Thus, there are 12.36826639275 lunar months in a tropical year. We can use various types of approximation to synchronize these two periods of the Sun & Moon i.e. the Solar Year and the Lunar Month.

 The history of the calendar is the attempt of various astronomers, astrologers, priests and mathematicians to perform the ultimate magic of synchronizing the Solar and Lunar periods. There is also the constant attempt to tinker with the solar calendar itself to have perfect months. This is a separate issue which we shall discuss as we study the history of the calendar.

Ancient calendars were based on lunar months, but in order to keep the calendar in step with the seasons, it was necessary to insert extra months, because 12 lunar months are 10.8751234326 days short of a tropical year. The point to be noted is that the Vedic astrology paradigm uses the sidereal zodiac where the relative motion of the solar system itself, in this universe is noted and its precession has been measured @ 50.23 seconds of arc per year. This translates into an additional 20 minutes of time in a solar year.

 The Vedic Calendar is the oldest and tries to cover this shortfall of 10.87 days between 12 lunar months and a year by interpolating an extra month every third year called he Adhika Masa. Since the names of the months[2] were based on the Nakshatra position of the Full Moon, I have every reason to believe that the months were initiated from the end of the full Moon called Poornima (when the Satya Narayana Vrata is performed and a person promises to abide by Dharma and be truthful). This Vedic calendar called ‘Suklanta’ is in vogue even today in some parts of Punjab and Orissa, although the later period New Moon calendar has become popular. These divergent views of reckoning of the starting of the Lunar Month are called as Amanta (i.e. Amavasya + Anta or the end of Amavasya the last day in the dark half) and Suklanta (i.e. the end of Sukla Paksha as the starting point of the Lunar Month). Yavanacharya (called Yavanas) preferred the Amanta method[3] of reckoning Lunar Months, whereas Varahamihira who followed the ancient Maharishi’s and was no less than a Maharishi himself, followed the Suklanta. Thus, I would prefer to follow Varahamihira and believe that this must have been the correct method of reckoning the Lunar Months.

This was the first approximation and had an inbuilt error of 3.095 days in every 3 years that would tend to shift the seasons back by as much time. This inbuilt error can be rectified by having another Adhika Masa every 30 years i.e. every 30th year has two Adhika Masa (leaves an error of about 1.417 days in 30 years) and yet another every 625 years (i.e. every 625th year has 3 Adhika Masa).
Saturn’s years & Metonic cycle

Around 432 B.C., Meton of Athens noticed that 235 lunar months were almost exactly equal to 19 tropical years and proposed a 19-year cycle of intercalation. This is the same as the dasa period of 19 years for Saturn. We know that Saturn has Brahma the creator as its deity and that the entire creation process evolves on the mutual relation between the Sun (representing the father) and the Moon (representing the Mother). Thus, it may not be too far fetched to say that the Vedic seers were well aware of this Metonic cycle of 19 years where the relative periods of the Solar Year and the Lunar month matched. They referred to this as the cycle of creation and attributed the period to Saturn.

The Eclipse factor & Gaurabda

The basic difference between the two methods of reckoning of Lunar Month is based on the eclipse. It is well known that the solar eclipse occurs only at a new Moon, as the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting its shadow toward the Earth whereas the lunar eclipse occurs only at the Full Moon as the earths shadow falls on the Moon. The fact that the birth of Sri Gauranga (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) is used as the starting of a spiritual calendar called the Gaurabda shows that the Full Moon (i.e. Suklanta) was used to determine the lunar month. Further, Sri Chaitanya was born during a lunar eclipse.

 Eclipses do not occur in every month, due to the fact that the shadow cast by the Moon (Solar eclipse) or the earth (lunar eclipse) passes over the Earth/Moon respectively. This pass over is caused as the Moons orbit is tilted to the earths orbit (called the ecliptic) by 5 degrees. The points of intersection of the lunar orbit on the ecliptic are called Rahu (the ascending Node) and Ketu (the descending Node). Only at those times when the new Moon is near one of its nodes can an eclipse occur. Thus, when the new Moon appears within 18-3/4 days before or after the alignment of a node, a solar eclipse will take place. This creates a 37 &1/2-day time frame for eclipses, called an eclipse season, indicating the conditions being favorable for an eclipse to occur.

The nodes of the lunar orbit are gradually shifting their orientation in space and moving in a retrograde manner leading to a shift in successive annual eclipses by 18.62 days. Thus, the eclipse year is about 346.62 days (i.e. 365.24 – 18.62 = 346.62 days). Now, the synodic month (called Masa) does not match this period. However the ancient Vedic seers had known that in about every 18 years cycle this does fall in place . Thus, a period of 18 years 11-1/3 days (or 18 years 10-1/3 days if five February 29ths fall within the period), Saros cycle coincides closely with 19 eclipse years: 223 synodic months (29.5306 days) = 6,585.32 days and 19 eclipse years (346.6200 days) = 6,585.78 days. This is the period of Rahu in Vimsottari Dasa and it was apt to give this period to Rahu, the ascending node that causes the eclipse of the luminaries.

The paths of the solar eclipse (shadow on earth) gradually widen as they shift to more northerly latitudes in every successive eclipse. The longitude for each successive eclipse in the series shifts to the west by about 120 degrees. The Solar eclipse has a profound impact on geo-politics. The areas traversed by the Umbra are normally those where political upheavals are definitely going to occur, although this may not be immediate. For example, the death of Herod the evil king and child slayer occurred close to an eclipse that is used to time the birth of Christ as occurring before that period. As another example, we see that the Moon’s umbra never passed over the city of London during a period of 837 years between consecutive total solar eclipses in the years 878 and 1715. During this period the British Royalty was at its height. I finish here for the Jyotish Pundits to do their research.

[1] Saura is derived from the word Sura or Surya

[2] Mukunda Daivagya in his immortal classic Nasta Jataka often uses the term ‘Sukladi Chandra Masa’ i.e. use of the lunar months whose names are based on the position of the Moon in a constellation during the full moon.

[3] Ref: Mukunda Daivagyna in Nasta Jatakam; chapter Varahadi Yukti Prakaranam Sloka 17-20.

 Adhika/ Nija   Masas

Normally we have 12 lunar months in a year, which contains roughly 355 days (29.53*12). This falls short of the solar year by 10 days, which will need a correction approximately every 3 years. This correction is not done by arbitrary rules but by the natural motion of Sun and the Moon. The occurrence of Amavasyas solves this deficiency in the number of days.

Usually there is only one Amavasya between Sankrantis. But sometimes, two Amavasyas occur between successive Sankrantis, one at the very beginning and the other near the end; the lunar month first occurring is termed Adhika and the next one Nija. Both the months carry the same name with the prefix Adhika and Nija. There are rare cases when then there is no Amavasya between two Sankrantis. Then a Lunar Month is suppressed - Kshaya. Such an event occurred in 1963 and again in 1982 and may occur in the future as well. In Adhika Masa, no festivals are celebrated.

The Glories of Sri Purusottama Month

by Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(Portrait of Srila Bhaktvinoda Thakura)

Two divisions of sastra­smarta and paramartha

The Vedic arya-sastras are divided into two sections­smarta (literature based on smrti) and paramartha (transcendental literature based on sruti). Those who are eligible (adhikari) for the smarta section do not have any natural inclination or taste for the paramartha-sastras. The thoughts, principles, activities and life goal of every human is constituted according to his respective ruci (inclination). Generally, smartas accept those scriptures which are in accordance with their respective ruci. Having greater adhikara for smarta-sastra, they do not demonstrate much regard for paramarthika-sastra. Providence is the agent behind the creation of these two divisions. Therefore, undoubtedly the maintainer of the world must have a hidden purpose in having made such an arrangement.

As far as I understand, the purpose is that the jivas sequentially make progress in their level of consciousness by remaining steadfast in their respective adhikara. By deviating from one’s adhikara, one falls down. According to one’s activities, a person attains two types of adhikara­karmadhikara and bhakti-adhikhara. As long as one maintains his karmadhikara, he derives benefit from the path shown by the smarta section. When he enters bhakti-adhikara, by transgressing the karmadhikara, then he develops a natural ruci (inclination) for the paramarthika, or transcendental, path. Therefore, providence has made these two divisions of sastra: smarta and paramartha.

The rules and regulations of smarta sastra are committed to karma

The smarta sastra has made various types of rules and regulations in order to help one attain nistha, steadfastness, in karmadhikara. In many instances, it even demonstrates indifference towards paramartha sastra to make people attain specific nistha in such rules and regulations. In reality, although sastra is one, it manifests in two ways for the people. If the jiva gives up adhikara-nistha, he can never attain auspiciousness. For this reason, the sastras have been divided into two: smarta and paramartha.

Adhimasa (extra month), also called mala masa (impure month), is devoid of all auspicious activities

By dividing the whole year in twelve parts, the smarta-sastras have ascertained the auspicious, or religious, activities for these twelve months. All the karma, religious activities which are part of the varnasrama system when allotted to the twelve months, leave the extra month (adhimasa) devoid of any such activity. There is no religious performance in adhimasa. In order to keep lunar months and solar months in tally, one month has to be excluded every 32 months. The name of that month is adhimasa (extra month).* Smartas have discarded this extra month, considering it abominable. They gave it names such as mala masa (impure month), cora masa (thieving month), and so on.

* It is stated in Sri Surya Siddhanta that in one mahayuga there are 1,593,336 extra months and 51,840,000 solar months. Therefore, there is one extra month after every 32 months, 16 days and 4 hours of the solar calendar.

From the perspective of paramartha-sastra, adhimasa is superior and advantageous for Hari-bhajana

On the other hand, the most worshipable paramartha-sastra acclaims adhimasa as the most outstanding month for transcendental activities. Since life in this world is temporary, it is not proper to spend any part of one’s life meaninglessly. It is imperative for the jiva to remain continuously engaged in hari-bhajana at every moment. Thus, the adhimasa, which comes every third year, may also become useful for hari-bhajana. This is indeed the deep meaning of paramartha-sastras. Even though karmis perceive this month to be devoid of all auspicious activities, for the deliverance of all the jivas, paramartha sastra, on the other hand, has ascertained that period as the most conducive for hari-bhajana. Paramartha sastra says, “He jiva! During this adhimasa why should you remain lazy in hari-bhajana? Srimad Golokanatha Himself has ascertained that this month is the best of all. It is superior even to the greatly pious months of Karttika, Magha and Vaisakha. In this month, you should perform arcana of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna with special rules, or moods, for bhajana. You will thereby attain all types of perfection.”

The history and glories of adhimasa and how it received the name Purusottama

The glories of adhimasa are mentioned in the thirty-first chapter of the Naradiya Purana. Adhimasa considered the sovereignty of the twelve months and saw that he was being slighted. He went to Vaikuntha and related his dilemma to Sri Narayana. Out of compassion, Vaikuntha-pati took Adhimasa with Him and appeared before Sri Krsna in Goloka. After hearing about the distress of malamasa (the impure month), Sri Krsna’s heart melted and He spoke thus:

aham etair yatha loke prathitah purusottamah
tathayam api lokesu prathitah purusottamah

asmai samarpitah sarve ye gunamayi samsthitah
mat-sadrsyam-upagamya masanamadhipo bhavet

jagat-pujyo jagat-vandyo maso ’yam tu bhavisyati
sarve masah sakamas ca niskamo ’yam maya krtah

akamah sarvakamo va yo ’dhimasam prapujayet
karmani bhasmasat krtva mam evaisyaty asamsayam

kadacin-mama bhaktanamaparadheti ganyate
purusottama-bhaktanam naparadhah kadacana

ya etasmin-maha mudha japa-danadi-varjitah
sat-karma-snana-rahita deva-tirtha-dvija-dvisah

jayante durbhaga dustah para-bhagyopajivanah
na kadacit sukham tesam svapne ’pi sasa-srngavat

yenahamarcito bhaktya mase ’smin purusottame
dhana-putra-sukham bhunktva pascad-goloka-vasabhak

“He Ramapati! Just as I am celebrated in this world by the name Purusottama, similarly, this Adhimasa too will be renowned in the world by the name Purusottama. Now I offer all My qualities to this month. Becoming like Me, from today onwards, this Adhimasa is the monarch of all the other months, and is the most worshipable and most adored in the world. All other months are sakama, that is, they will grant worldly desires. This month, however, is niskama. Those who worship this month, either without any desires (akama) or with all types of desires, will have all their karmas burnt. Then they will achieve Me. My bhaktas sometimes commit offenses, but in this Purusottama month, they will be protected from committing any offense. In this adhimasa, those greatly foolish persons who neglect to perform auspicious activities, such as japa, giving in charity, visiting and bathing at the holy places, and who are envious of the dvijas (brahmanas) are deemed wicked, unfortunate and living at the cost of others. Thus, they will not attain a scent of happiness, even in their dreams. Conversely, those who are filled with bhakti will take advantage of this Purusottama month to perform arcana to Me. After enjoying worldly happiness, such as wealth, sons and so on, they will eventually attain residence in Goloka.”

The glories of Purusottama month in the context of Draupadi’s history

Many episodes from the Puranas are narrated in the context of the glories of Purusottama month. One such example is Draupadi. In her previous life, she was the daughter of Medha Rsi. Even after hearing of the glories of Purusottama month from Durvasa Rsi, she neglected to observe that month. As a result, she attained many sufferings in that life and became the wife of five husbands in her birth as Draupadi. During their exile, the Pandavas followed Sri Krsna’s instructions to observe purusottama-masa-vrata and thus crossed over all their sufferings. As it is said:

evam sarvesu tirthesu bhramantah pandunandanah
purusottama-masadya-vratam cerur vidhanatah
tadante rajyam atulam avapur gata-kantakam
purne caturdase varse sri krsna-krpaya mune

“He Muni! During the period of their exile, the Pandavas traveled throughout all the holy places, and by the mercy of Sri Krsna they observed Sri Purusottama vrata with all rules and regulations. As a result of this they completed their fourteen years of exile without any obstacles and at the end attained an unparalleled kingdom.”

The account of King Drdhadhanva as spoken by Valmiki regarding Purusottama Vrata

Purusottama-masa is glorified in the account of King Drdhadhanva’s previous birth. At Badarikasrama, Narada heard the procedure of the vrata from Narayana Rsi, which Valmiki Muni then related to King Drdhadhanva in answer to the king’s questions. Just as the rules of ahanika (gayatri mantras) for brahmanas are ascertained in dharma-sastras, similarly, the obligatory activities for one observing Purusottama vrata are also delineated, beginning from the brahma-muhurta hour.

Rules for bathing in the month of Sri Purusottama

Regarding the rules for bathing during Purusottama month, it is said:

samudraga nadi-snanam-uttamam parikirtitam
vapi-kupa-tadagesu madhyamam kathitam budhaih
grhe snanam tu samanyam grhasthasya prakirtitam

“There are three types of baths as declared by the wise. Bath in the rivers which meet the ocean is the topmost. Bath in lakes, ponds and wells is the second best, and bath in one’s home is an ordinary bath.”

For one who is observing Sri Purusottama vrata, after taking bath he should observe the following:

sapavitrena hastena kuryad acamana-kriyam
acamya tilakam kuryad-gopi-candana-mrt-snaya
urddhvapundra mrjum saumyam dandakaram prakalpayet
sankha-cakradikam dharyam gopi-candana-mrtsnaya

“After bathing one should perform acamana with clean hands. One should then make paste of gopicandana clay and wear simple, beautiful, straight urddhvapundra tilaka on his forehead and the marks of conch, disc and so on, on his body.”

The exclusive worship of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna is Obligatory in Purusottama month

The worship of Sri Krsna is the obligatory activity of Purusottama month.

purusottama-masasya daivatam purusottamah
tasmat sampujayed bhaktya sraddhaya purusottamam

Valmiki said, “He Drdhadhanva! Purusottama Sri Krsna is the presiding deity of the Purosottama month. Therefore, being filled with bhakti-sraddha, you should worship Purusottama Sri Krsna with sixteen types of paraphernalia every day of this month. As it is said:

sodasopacarais ca pujayet purusottam
“The worship of the divine couple Sri Sri Radha-Krsna is indeed obligatory in Purusottama masa.”

agaccha deva devesa sri krsna purusottama
radhaya sahitas catra grhana pujanam mama

Activities forbidden in the month of Purusottama

All the rules and regulations regarding Sri Purusottama vrata, which we have presented above from these sastras, should be followed by religiously devoted persons of all the varnas (castes). The Naradiya Purana concludes by saying that in the holy place of Naimisaranya, Sri Suta Gosvami spoke to the assembled devotees as follows:

bharate janurasadya purusottam-uttamam
na sevante na srnvanti grhasakta naradhamah
gatagatam bhajante ’tra durbhaga janmajanmani
putra-mitra-kalatrapta-viyogad duhkha bhaginah

asmin mase dvija srestha nasacchastrany udaharet
na svapet para-sayayam nalapet vitatham kvacit
parapavadan na krayan na kathancit kadacana
parannanca na bhunjita na kurvita parakriyam

“Even after taking birth in India, those who are the lowest of mankind remain attached to household life and never hear the glories of Sri Purusottama vrata; nor do they observe it. Such unfortunate persons undergo the suffering of repeated birth and death and the distress inflicted by the separation from sons, friends, wife and other relatives.

“O best of the dvijas! In this Purusottama month, one should not uselessly discuss worldly literature or mundane poetry. One should not sleep on the bed of others nor indulge in discussions of worldly sense enjoyment. One should not criticize others, eat foodstuffs cooked by others, or perform activities prescribed for others.”

The obligatory activities in the Purusottama month

vittasathyam akurvano danam dadhyad dvijataye
vidyamane dhane sathyam kurvano rauravam vrajet

dine dine dvijendraya dattva bhojanam-uttamam
divasasyastame bhage vrati bhojanam acaret

indradyumnah satadyumno yauvanasvo bhagirathah
purusottamam aradhya yayur bhagavadantikam

tasmat sarva prayatnena samsevya purusottamah
sarva sadhanatah sresthah sarvartha phala-dayakah

govardhana-dharam vande gopalam gopa-rupinam
gokulotsavam-isanam govindam gopika-priyam*

kaundinyena pura proktam imam mantram punah punah
japan-masam nayed bhaktya purusottamam-apnuyat

dhyayen-navaghana-syamam dvibhujam muralidharam
lasat pita-patam ramyam sa-radham purosottamam

dhyayam dhyayam nayen-masam pujayan purusottamam
evam yah kurute bhaktya svabhistam sarvam apnuyat

“Giving up miserliness, one should give in charity to the brahmanas. If a person remains miserly even though he has wealth, his miserliness will be the cause of his going to Raurava (one type of hell). Everyday one should feed the Vaisnavas and brahmanas with the best foodstuffs. A person who is following the vows should take his food in the eighth part of the day. Indradyuyamna, Satadyuyamna, Yauvanasva and Bhagiratha attained samipya, close association of Bhagavan by worshiping the Purusottama month. One should perform service to Purusottama with all of one’s endeavors. Such service to Purusottama is superior to all types of sadhana and fulfills all variety of desires. In a previous age, Kaundilya Muni repeatedly chanted the mantra ‘govardhana-dharam vande’. By chanting this mantra with devotion during Sri Purusottama month, one will attain Sri Purusottama Himself. One should devote Purusottama month to constantly meditating upon nava-ghana dvibhuja muralidhara pitambara Sri Krsna with Sri Radha. Those who do this with devotion will have all their cherished desires fulfilled.”

* “I worship the lifter of Govardhana, Gopala, who has the form of a gopa. He is the festival of Gokula (gokula-utsava), the Supreme Controller of all (isvara), and He is Govinda the beloved of the gopis (gopika-priyam).”

The observance for transcendentalists – svanistha, paranistha and nirapeksa

There are three types of transcendentalists: svanistha ­ those who are steadfast in their personal vows; paranisthita ­ those who are steadfast in following the vows set forth by their respective acaryas; and nirpeksa ­ those who are indifferent to the above two types of steadfastness.* All the activities mentioned above for Purusottama month are prescribed for svanistha transcendentalists. Paranisthita bhaktas are eligible to observe Purusottama vrata according to the rules and instructions of Karttika vrata prescribed by their respective acaryas. Nirapeksa bhaktas repect this sacred month by daily honoring sri bhagavat prasad with one-pointed attention, following some routine for sravana and kirtana of sri harinama according to their capacity.

* Svanistha and paranisthita bhaktas are generally householders and nirapeksa bhaktas are renunciates.

The following statement from Visnu Rahasya, which is the topmost instruction of Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa, recommends:

indriyarthesv-asaktanam sadaiva vimala matih
paritosayate visnum nopavaso jitatmanah

“Those whose intelligence has been purified by bhakti are detached from the inclination for sense enjoyment. The intelligence of such persons is naturally pure; therefore, they are jitatma, they have conquered their minds. It is by their innate bhakti, rather than by upavasa (fasting) and other such activities, that they have purified their minds and are thus able to please Sri Krsna at all times.”

The innate ruci (inclination) and obligatory activities of ekantika bhaktas

Therefore, Srila Sanatana Gosvami has concluded his book Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa by presenting the following statements for one-pointed devotees:

evam ekantinam prayah kirtanam smaranam prabhoh
kurvatam param-pritya krtyam-anyan na rocate
bhavena kenacit presthah sri murter-anghri sevane
syad icchyaisam svatantrena sva-rasanaiva tad-vidhih
vihitesv eva nityesu pravartante svayam hite
ityady ekantinam bhati mahatmyam likhitam hi tat

“Ekantika bhaktas (one-pointed devotees) of Sri Krsna consider sri krsna-smarana and sri krsna-kirtana alone to be the most fulfilling and valued activities. Generally, they do not engage in any other angas of bhakti besides these two, which they cultivate with great love and affection. Their eagerness for these angas is so strong that no other activity can captivate their taste. They develop an intense desire to serve the lotus feet of Sri Krsna in a specific mood. Therefore, they render service to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna with moods which are favorable to their own rasa, along with some independence (to give up the injunctions which are unfavorable to their cultivation). This alone is their vidhi. The ekantika bhaktas are not bound to follow all the rules and regulations which have been prescribed by the rsis. The moods of the ekantika bhakta’s inborn, natural disposition generally remain prominent. This is their glory.”

Adhimasa is dear to bhaktas as there is no disturbance from the karma-kanda in this month.

The bhaktas observe Sri Purusottma month according to their respective adhikara; this means according to the distinctions of the moods of svanistha, paranisthita and ekantika bhaktas. Bhagavan Vrajanatha Sri Krsna is the sovereign of this month; therefore, adhimasa is dear to every bhakta. This is because, incidentally, in this month no disturbance from the karma-kanda can come to obstruct the performance of one’s bhakti.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Sri Gaudiya Patrika Year-2, Issue-4
Published in English for the first time in Rays of The Harmonist Number 8, Summer 2001

Sankranti - Surya Sankranti  = Cusp :

This is the time when we move from one zodiacal house to the next. (ie., From Libra / Tula to Scorpio / Vrischika)

Sankranti - Makar Sankranti

Solar Days verses Lunar Tithis

People (wrongly) assume that a lunar day (tithi) is exactly the same as a solar day. A solar day is measured from sunrise to sunrise but a lunar day (tithi) is measured by the amount of time it takes the Moon to move multiples of 12 degrees from the Sun. Because of perturbations in the Moon's movement over the course of a month the length of time it takes the Moon to move 12 degrees from the Sun will vary from about 19-26 hours.

What that means is that a tithi (lunar day) can and does start at any time of the solar day.

To harmonize things for civil purposes the rule is that which ever tithi is current at sunrise will give its name to that solar day. But because of the flexible nature of the duration of a tithi it can happen that a tithi may start 5 minutes after sunrise one day and end 5 minutes before sunrise of the next day. Hence no solar day will be named after it. Or it could start 5 minutes before sunrise one day and end 5 mintes after sunrise the next day in which case 2 solar days are named after it.

As you can see things get a bit complicated and this is just the start. (-:

So now you know the answer why you will sometimes see that ekadasis are not always 11 solar days after a full or new moon.

So have no fear the calendar is correct. It is just that you need to educate yourself on Vedic calendars and time keeping in general.

Start with the fact that Vedic day begins at sunrise, not midnight. Also DO NOT assume that Vedic calendric terms will have the same meaning as western terms. They seldom do. They are defined differently.

Another useful hint would be: do not assume that because you do not understand a Vedic concept (or any other foriegn culture), that there is a mistake in it. Whether there is a mistake can only be found out after you delve into the matter deeply, at which time you will often find that it was your understanding which was imperfect. This is not meant as a criticism or to inhibit inquiry, but rather a general statement to remind others that we are dealing with another world view and that a humble approach is the best approach. This is not to say that I thought you were not humble. Just a reminder to us all that we don't know as much as we think we do.


Shyamasundara Dasa

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Wed, 28 May 2003

Time Zones around the World

Tithi   = phase of Moon:

This will take you to the tithi page that explains the natural potency of each of the tithis. Click HERE.

Tirubhav = Disappearance   :

"So at the time of death... Of course, those who are devotees, their position is different. People may say, “The devotee is also dying, and the nondevotee, sinful man, is also dying. What is the difference?” So there is much difference. The example is given: just like a cat catching a rat in his mouth and at the same time carrying his cubs in the mouth. Superficially, we can see that the same mouth is being used, but one is feeling comfortable being carried by the mother, and another is feeling the death knell. Similarly, at the time of death, the devotee’s feeling that they are being transferred to Vaikuëöha, whereas the ordinary sinful man is feeling that the Yamaräja, the dütas, the constables of Yamaräja are dragging him to the hellish condition of life. So one should not conclude simply by seeing that he is dying. No. The process is different. Janma karma ca me divyam. As Lord Kåñëa’s appearance and disappearance are all spiritual, transcendental, they are not ordinary things, similarly, Lord Kåñëa’s devotee, His representative, who is sent to this material world for preaching the glories of Lord Kåñëa, their appearance and disappearance is also like Kåñëa’s. Therefore, according to Vaiñëava principles, the appearance and disappearance of Vaiñëava is considered all-auspicious. Therefore we hold festivals. Just like yesterday we had the disappearance day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Goswami Prabhupäda. So we offered our respects and observed a festival, Ävirbhava, Tirobhava. Tirobhava.
    Actually the living entity has no birth or death, and what to speak of Kåñëa or His devotee. Kåñëa is the chief living entity of all living entities. Nityo nityänäà cetanaç cetanänäm. He is also a living entity. Sometimes the atheist class of men say, “God is dead.” The rascals, they do not know that even a small living entity does not die. How Kåñëa can be dead or God can be dead? Müòhä. Therefore these classes of men are described in the Bhagavad-gétä as müòhä, rascals. They do not know anything; still, they pose themselves as very learned and utter something which is neither good for them nor for the public." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 17th December 1970. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture 6:1:27-34. Surat, India.)

The Disciple Cries When the Acarya - Guru Disappears:

Yogas   =  union or result of that union:

This will take you to the Yogas page (soli-luna yogas), where the auspicious and inauspicious functionary natures of each yoga are outlined. Click HERE.

Yugas = "The duration of the material universe is limited. It is manifested in cycles of kalpas. A kalpa is a day of Brahma, and one day of Brahma consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas or ages: Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. The cycle of Satya is characterized by virtue, wisdom and religion, there being practically no ignorance and vice, and the yuga lasts 1,728,000 years. In the Treta-yuga vice is introduced, and this yuga lasts 1,296,000 years. In the Dvapara-yuga there is an even greater decline in virtue and religion, vice increasing, and this yuga lasts 864,000 years. And finally in Kali-yuga (the yuga that we have now been experiencing over the past 5,000 years) there is an abundance of strife, ignorance, irreligion and vice, true virtue being practically nonexistent, and this yuga lasts 432,000 years. In Kali-yuga vice increases to such a point that at the termination of the yuga the Supreme Lord Himself appears as the Kalki avatara, vanquishes the demons, saves His devotees, and commences another Satya-yuga. Then the process is set rolling again. These four yugas, rotating a thousand times, comprise one day of Brahma, the creator god, and the same number comprise one night. Brahma lives one hundred of such "years" and then dies. These "hundred years" by earth calculations total to 311 trillion and 40 billion earth years. By these calculations the life of Brahma seems fantastic and interminable, but from the viewpoint of eternity it is as brief as a lightning flash. In the Causal Ocean there are innumerable Brahmas rising and disappearing like bubbles in the Atlantic. Brahma and his creation are all part of the material universe, and therefore they are in constant flux.

In the material universe not even Brahma is free from the process of birth, old age, disease and death. Brahma, however, is directly engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord in the management of the universe--therefore he at once attains liberation. Elevated sannyasis are promoted to Brahma's particular planet, Brahmaloka, which is the highest planet in the material universe and which survives all the heavenly planets in the upper strata of the planetary system, but in due course Brahma and all the inhabitants of Brahmaloka are subject to death, according to the law of material nature."

Bhagavad-gita 8:17

In Satya-yuga, the golden age, the principles of religion work fully. The average lifespan is a hundred thousand years, and self-realization is attained by prolonged meditation.

In Treta-yuga, the silver age, the principles of religion are reduced by a fraction of one fourth. The average lifespan is ten thousand years, and self-realization is attained by performance of great sacrifices (yajnas).

In Dvapara-yuga, the copper age, the principles of religion are reduced to one half. The average lifespan is one thousand years, and self-realization is attained by worship of the Lord in the temple.

In Kali-yuga, the iron age, the principles of religion are reduced to one fourth, and gradually diminish to zero. The average lifespan is one hundred years, and self-realization is attained by hearing and chanting the names of the Lord.

I'm not sure how deep you want to go into this, but here's some Astro' details to support our claims also

Here's a nice site that goes into some of the highlights mentioned in scriptures about these yuga cycles