Agasthiar's Universal Magazine       Issue 1

What is Today's Tithi?

What is Today's Nakshatra?

Maha Guru Sri Agasthiar

It's all in the Timing!

Time and its importance in spirituality - Part 1

[This is one of the first articles we wrote for our Ashram's website many years ago. We wanted to give readers a basic introduction to Time and its importance in spirituality as taught by the Arunachala Siddha, Sathguru Venkataraman to us over many decades. After you read this article and learn the Sathguru's view of Time, please read our piece on the Lord of the March of Time.     www.Agasthiar.Org]

Yoga of TIME

Timing! An Introduction

Whether it's in the telling of a joke or striking a business deal, there's nothing more important than timing. What you do is important but when you do it is just as important.

We all know the importance of timing in the material world. Even little kids understand the importance of timing. When they want their next cool toy, they catch their dads in a good mood and butter them up! Thus we have known the importance of timing right from our childhood.

The Siddhas say that what we need to learn now is that timing is just as important in the world of spirituality.

Timing and Spirituality

Just as timing is important in the material world, it's important in the world of spirituality too. The efficacy of one's spiritual practices can be increased greatly by timing it according to Siddha injunctions. The Siddhas say that he who wants to transcend time must know the connection between timing and karma completely.

We have pointed out the importance of karma neutralization in the Agasthiar Primer. To effectively neutralize karma, everything we do must be done in a spiritual way in accordance with the rules of the spiritual world. It's the Sathguru who knows all the rules of the spiritual world and it's he who instructs on how we can perform all activities in a spiritual way. The Sathguru not only teaches us how to do things but also when to do them for maximum effect. There are time periods that are particularly effective and there are those that are disadvantageous. We must learn both from the Sathguru so that we know which time periods to pick and which to avoid.

5 Attributes = Panchangam, the Spiritual Calendar

The Siddhas teach us that each day has five attributes. These are known as panchaangam.
Panchaangam = Pancha + Angam.
Pancha = five
Angam = attribute.
Thus panchangam = five attributes (of each day). These five attributes of each day are:
  1. vaaram or day of the week
  2. tithi
  3. nakshatram
  4. yogam
  5. karanam.

The Siddhas tell us that upon waking up, one must recite the five attributes of each day. This is an easy way of reminding oneself of the spiritual specialties of each day.

To know the current thithi, nakshatra, yoga and karana, click here.

All five attributes of the day are important, but we'll concentrate on the first three in this article. You can get these details for each day for your timezone from the Agasthiar Panchangam Spiritual Calendar provided in our Website. We shall describe the latter two atributes at a later date in this Website.

Vaaram - Day of the Week

As pointed out in the article on the spiritual hierarchy, the Nava Grahas (Nava Nayakaas, the Nine Lords, the Nine Planetary Deities) have been given much authority over human life. Each day of the week is ruled by one of the first seven of the nine lords, viz., Sunday by Soorya, Monday by Chandra, Tuesday by Angaaraka, Wednesday by Budha, Thursday by Guru, Friday by Sukra and Saturday by Sani. The last two of the nine lords, Raahu and Kethu, are associated with Tuesday and Saturday respectively.

But there is one important thing to keep in mind. While the Western day (Sunday, Monday, etc.) begins at midnight, the Vedic weekday begins at sunrise. So when we refer to Sunday in the Vedic sense here in our Agasthiar Website, we are referring to the Vedic Sunday - the one which begins at sunrise on the Western Sunday and lasts till sunrise on the Western Monday. This is very important to keep in mind while you are reading the many time secrets pertaining to days of the week given by Sathguru Venkataraman in this website.

The day of the week is known as vaaram. Baanuvaaram is Sunday, Somavaaram is Monday and so on. In worship procedures, this is mentioned as Bhanu Vaasarey and so on.
VaaramKizhamai (Tamil) Vedic Weekday (beginning at sunrise)
Bhanu Vaaram, Ravi VaarGnayiru. Gnaayitru KizhamaiVedic Sunday
Soma Vaaram, Som VaarThingal. Thingat KizhamaiVedic Monday
Mangala Vaaram, Mangal VaarChevvai. Chevaai KizhamaiVedic Tuesday
Budha Vaaram, Budh VaarBudhan. Budhan KizhamaiVedic Wednesday
Guru Vaaram, Guru VaarViyazhan. Viyazha KizhamaiVedic Thursday
Shukra Vaaram, Sukra VaarVelli. Velli KizhamaiVedic Friday
Shani Vaaram, Sani VaarSani. Sani KizhamaiVedic Saturday

Each day of the week reflects the characteristics of the Lord who rules the day. Thus each day has its own spiritual specialities. For example, Budha rules buddhi (intellect) and thus Wednesday is particularly suited for activities that involve the intellect, e.g., writing, speaking. This is because Budha is in charge of vaak chaathuryam, the gift of articulate speech. Likewise Chandra rules the mind and Guru rules all spiritual activities. Spiritual aspirants need to know these specialities so that they can structure their schedule appropriately for maximum spiritual effect.

Muhurtha - Spiritually Powerful Time Periods in Each Day

Within any given day, there are certain time periods that are particularly spiritually potent. To start with, we will mention three such time periods in every day:

1. Brahma Muhurtha

Brahma Muhoortham is the three hour time period culminating at dawn. Assuming a 6 a.m. sunrise, this would be between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. everyday. This Brahma Muhurtham period is excellent for spiritual practices.

2. Abhijit Muhurtha

Abhijit Muhoortham is high noon when the sun is at its zenith. Assuming a 6 a.m. sunrise and a 6 p.m. sunset, Abhijit Muhurtham would be at 12 noon everyday. (See below for original Siddha revelations on Abhijit, the 28 nakshatra and the Abhijith Nakshatra Muhurtha Shiva Linga.)

3. Nitya Pradosha Kaalam

Nitya Pradosham is one and a half hours before dusk and half an hour thereafter. Assuming a 6 p.m. sunset, Nithya Pradosham would be between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. everyday.

Sandhi Kaalam

These three times mentioned above are also known as sandhi kaalam, junction times within each day. The first is when the night meets the day, the second is when morning meets afternoon and the third is when day meets night. The Siddhas say that spiritual activities like worship and mantra chanting conducted during these time periods are particularly effective. Spiritual aspirants should make use of these potent time periods for rapid spiritual advancement.

Inauspicious Times in Each Day
Rahu Kaalam, Yama Gandam, etc.

Within any given day, there are also certain time periods that are inauspicious. Two of these are Raahu Kaalam and Yama Gandam. The Siddhas say that it is ideal if we can use these times totally for worship. If these time periods are used for worship and not for material activities, they yield manifold spiritual benefits. Click here to use our convenient Rahu Kalam and Yama Gandam calculator.

To start with, we will describe how to calculate the Raahu Kaalam time period for any given day. The Yama Gandam calculation is similar. Divide the time period between sunrise and sunset into eight equal parts, which we will refer to as time octants. Arrange the days of the week in the order M,Sa,F,W,Th,Tu,Su and assign the second through the eighth time octants to these days in this order. These time octants then are the Raahu Kaalam times on each of the days of the week.

So how do you calculate the Raahu Kaalam time period for your location on any given day? First find out the sunrise and sunset times for your location (this information is generally available in your local newspaper). Find out the length of the time octant by dividing the period from sunrise to sunset by eight. Pick the time octant that's appropriate for the day in question by following the order mentioned above. This is the Raahu Kaalam time period for the day in question for your location. Here are two examples of this calculation:

Raahu Kaalam Calculation
Day of the Week Example 1:
Sunrise 6:00 a.m.
Sunset 6:00 p.m.
Time Octant = 90 minutes
Example 2:
Sunrise 5:58 a.m.
Sunset 8:14 p.m.
Time Octant = 107 minutes
Example 3:
Sunrise 6:36 a.m.
Sunset 6:10 p.m.
Time Octant = 87 minutes
Sunday4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.6:27 p.m. to 8:14 p.m. 4:43 p.m. to 6:10 p.m.
Monday7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.7:45 a.m. to 9:32 a.m. 8:02 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.4:40 to 6:27 p.m. 3:16 p.m. to 4:44 p.m.
Wednesday12 noon to 1:30 p.m.1:06 p.m. to 2:53 p.m. 12:23 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Thursday1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.2:53 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. 1:49 p.m. to 3:17 p.m.
Friday10:30 a.m. to 12 noon11:19 a.m. to 1:06 p.m. 10:56 p.m. to 12:23 p.m.
Saturday9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.9:32 a.m. to 11:19 a.m. 9:29 a.m. to 10:57 a.m.

Since the Raahu Kaalam time period is dependent on the sunrise and sunset times for your particular location, you must calculate it for each day using the above method. Or you can click here to use our convenient Rahu Kalam and Yama Gandam calculator.

Horai (Hora) - Hourly Worship

Just like a day has its own specialities, each hour of the day also has its own specialities.

Originally each 24 hour day was split into 60 naazhigais, each 24 minutes long. Thus two and a half nazhigais constitute one modern hour which was known as horai (hora) in ancient times.

The Siddhas say that each horai of each day is ruled by one of the first seven of the nine lords. Just like each day reflects the characteristics of the lord who rules the day, each horai also reflects the characteristics of the lord who rules the horai. Thus we have Soorya horai, Chandra horai, Angaaraka horai, Budha horai, Guru horai, Sukra horai and Sani horai times during each day.

Now here's a question for you. At what time or times of the week are the characteristics of each of the seven lords most prevalent? Think about it...

The answer should be pretty obvious. Here it is: The characteristics of each of the seven lords are most prevalent during his horai times on the day ruled by him. For example, Budha's characteristics are most prevalent during the Budha horai times on Wednesday. and hence these are the best time periods for conducting activities governed by Budha. The Siddhas have specified further refinements and we'll explore these in a future article.

When do the various horai periods occur during the day? Horai periods start with Soorya horai at sunrise on Sunday and continue in the following cyclic order: Soorya, Sukra, Budha, Chandra, Sani, Guru, Angaaraka. For example, assuming a 6 a.m. sunrise, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on a Sunday would be Chandra horai and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. would be Guru horai.

We encourage the reader to tabulate the horai schedule for each day. Or you can click here to use our convenient Horai calculator. If you do the tabulation, you'll find that each day starts with the horai of its governing lord at sunrise. That is, Monday starts with Chandra horai at sunrise, Thursday starts with Guru horai and so on.

How can we make sure that we get the maximum spiritual benefit during every hour of the day. Sathguru Venkataraman has communicated to us a simple horai based nava naayaka worship program devised by the Siddhas.

All a spiritual aspirant has to do is to meditate on the governing horai lord 108 times during each horai. For example, during Soorya horai times meditate thus: Om Sooryaaya Namaha or Salutations to Soorya. Likewise Om Chandraaya Namaha, Om Angaarakaaya Namaha, Om Budhaaya Namaha, Om Guruve Namaha, Om Sukraaya Namaha, Om Saneesvaraaya Namaha during their respective horai periods.

Observe that this is a very simple worship procedure; it takes only about two minutes and so it's very easy to do even when you are at your place of work.

This is yet another way in which the Siddhas help us conform to the Will of the Universal Lord Arunachala for maximum spiritual benefit.

There are some subtleties in horai computations. We'll explore these at a later date.

Thithi - Day of Moon Phase

A lunation is the interval between new moons, roughly 29.5 days. Each lunation is divided into 30 thithis or lunar days with each tithi defined as the time required for the longitude of the moon to increase by 12 degrees over the longitude of the sun.

Thus there are 14 tithis between every new moon and full moon and vice versa. The zeroth and the fifteenth tithis are of course the new moon and the full moon respectively.

Here are the names of the tithis:
0Amavasya, the new moon day
1Prathamai
2Dvithiyai
3Thrithiyai
4Chathurthi
5Panchami
6Sashti
7Sapthami
8Ashtami
9Navami
10Dasami
11Ekaadasi
12Dvaadasi
13Thrayodasi
14Chathurdasi
15Pournami, the full moon day.
After Pournami, the tithis once again go on from 1 to 14 and end in the next Amavasya thus completing one lunation.

Each tithi has its own spiritual specialities. Here is a sampling:
AmavasyaIdeal for pithru worship
ChathurthiIdeal for Ganapathi worship
PanchamiIdeal for worshipping the Universal Mother
SashtiIdeal for Muruga worship
AshtamiIdeal for Krishna worship
NavamiIdeal for Rama worship
EkaadasiIdeal for Narayana worship
DvaadasiIdeal for Narayana worship
ThrayodasiIdeal for Siva worship
ChathurdasiIdeal for Siva and Ganapathi worship
PournamiBest tithi for all worship activities, particularly Arunachala and Sathguru.

Today's Tithi

Click on this link for today's thithi and find out the thithi that is in effect right now. You can also refer to the Agasthiar Panchang Spiritual Calendar for more information.

Nakshatram - Star of the Day
Rasi - Sign of the Star

The moon revolves around the earth in roughly 27 days. During this period, the moon traces a path around the sky. The ancients split this path of the moon into 27 units and gave each unit the name of a star, star group or constellation. These 27 units are known as nakshatrams. People also refer to the nakshatra as a star. This is not quite precise since a nakshatra can be much more than a star.

The nakshatras are also referred to as brides of Chandra.

This same path has also been divided into 12 units, each called a Rasi or Raasi or Rashi. 27 divided by 12 = 2.25. Thus each rasi covers two and a quarter nakshatras.

The moon's location at any instant has to be in one of the 27 nakshatras and in one of the 12 rasis corresponding to your nakshatra. The nakshatra in which moon was located when you were born is your janma nakshatra generally referred to as your birth star. Likewise, the rasi in which moon was located when your were born is known as your janma rasi or your birth rasi. To find out your rasi and your nakshatram, use our Rasi and Nakshatra Calculator.

The 27 nakshatrams are as follows:
1Asvini
2Barani or Apa Barani
3Krithigai or Krittika
4Rohini
5Mrigaseersham or Mrigasira
6Thiruvaadhirai or Aarudra
7Punarpoosam or Punarvasu
8Poosam or Pushya
9Aayilyam or Aslesha
10Magam or Magha
11Pooram or Poorva Palguni
12Uttaram or Uttara Palguni
13Hastham or Hastha
14Chithirai or Chitra
15Svaathi
16Visaakam or Visaka
17Anusham or Anuradha
18Kettai or Jyesta
19Moolam or Moola
20Pooraadam or Poorvashada
21Uttaraadam or Uttarashada
22Thiruvonam or Sravana
23Avittam or Sravishta or Dhanista
24Sadhayam or Sathabishak
25Poorataadhi or Poorva Broshtapadha
25Uttarataadhi or Uttara Broshtapadha
27Revathi

Abhijit, the 28th Nakshatra and the Abhijith Nakshatra Muhurtha Linga

Each nakshatram is goverened by the spiritual force of a nakshatra devi. Each nakshatra devi is a great servant of the Universal Mother and she attained her spiritual status by exceptional divine service. Each nakshatram has its own spiritual speciality and we'll elaborate on this in future AUMzine issues.

The Siddhas have prescribed a worship procedure called nakshatra dhyaanam, meditation on the nakshatrams. We'll describe this procedure in future AUMzine issues.

Today's Nakshatram

Click on this link for today's nakshatra and find out the nakshatram that is in effect right now. You can also refer to the Agasthiar Panchang Spiritual Calendar for more information.

Yogam, Karanam

Karanam is half of a thithi. Yogam is derived from both the longitudes of the sun and the moon.

Today's Yogam

Click on this link for today's yogam.

Today's Karanam

Click on this link for today's karanam.

Paksham - Moon Phase - Fortnight

As we saw in the last section, a lunation is divided into 30 tithis. A lunation is also divided into two phases, each roughly a fortnight long.

The phase between Amavasya and Pournami is called Sukla Paksham, the bright phase or the waxing phase.

The phase between Pournami and Amavasya is called Krishna Paksham, the dark phase or the waning phase.

So for example, the third tithi in the waxing phase would be called Sukla Paksha Thrithiyai and the the fourteenth tithi in the waning phase would be called Krishna Paksha Chathurdasi.

Each paksham has its own spiritual speciality. Sathguru Venkataraman taught us that activities that you want to grow should be started in the waxing phase, e.g., starting a business. Likewise activities that you do not want to grow should be conducted in the waning phase, e.g., surgery.

Paksham that is in effect right now

Click on this link to find out the paksham that is in effect at this time. The paksham will be indicated along with the thithi. You can also refer to the Agasthiar Panchang Spiritual Calendar for more information.

Maasam - Month

A maasam is a solar month. There are 12 maasams in a varusham.

Ruthu - 2 months

A ruthu is two solar months. There are six ruthus in a varusham.

Ayanam - 6 months

An Ayanam is one half of a year.

That half of the year when the sun is on a northward path (generally from the middle of January to the middle of July) is called Uttara Ayanam or Uttaraayanam (uttara = north).

The other half of the year when the sun is on a southward path (generally from the middle of July to the middle of January) is called Dakshina Ayanam or Dakshinaayanam (dakshina = south).

Varusham - Year

A varusham is a solar year.

A varusham starts roughly in the middle of April each year. The present varusham (1998-99) is known as Bagudhaanya varusham.

A varusham is made up of two ayanams.

60 Year Cycle of Varushams

The varushams repeat in a 60 year cycle. So the next Bagudhaanya varusham will occur in 2058-2059.

Combinations Galore!

You can now imagine the combination of horai, vaaram (day), tithi, nakshatram, paksham, maasam, ayanam and varusham. Consider the specialities of such a combination! The Siddhas say that these combinations have much significance and we will elaborate on these at a later date. But that is a bit more advanced than what we want to cover in this introductory article.

Wheel of Time - Kala Chakra

Kaala = Time. Chakra = Wheel. Thus Kaala Chakra is the Wheel of Time. The wheel symbolizes the endless passage of time.

Yuga - An Age

A Yuga is an age (or aeon) in the wheel of time. Each age has its own intrinsic characteristics.

There are four yugas: Sathya Yuga, Trétha Yuga, Dvaapara Yuga and Kali Yuga.

The present age is the Kali Yuga - the age of decadence.

In the Sathya Yuga, the age of Truth, righteousness is at its peak. As time passes by, there's a gradual decline in virtue which reaches its nadir in the Kali Yuga. At the end of the Kali Yuga, the Divine Will intervenes and restores the universe to its original state of virtue. This marks the beginning of the next Maha Yuga and the cycle thus continues.

Maha Yuga = 4 Yugas

The scriptures divide the endless passage of time into a cycle of Maha Yugas or aeons.

A Maha Yuga is made up of a sequence of the four different yugas, i.e., Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga.

In other words, one sequence of these 4 yugas put together is a Maha Yuga.

A Maha Yuga lasts 4.32 million years (4,320,000 years).

Kalpa = 1000 Maha Yugas

A sequence of one thousand Maha Yugas is called a Kalpa.

Thus a kalpa (or kalpam) is a period of 4.32 billion years (4,320,000,000 years).

A kalpa is one day in the life of Brahma, the Creator aspect of the Trimoorthi Trinity.

The universe exists during Brahma's day and is dissolved during Brahma's night.

Manvantara = 1/14 of a Kalpa

A manvantara is one-fourteenth of a kalpa.

What we have given you here is a brief overview of time starting from parts of a day (nazhikai or 24 minutes) to time periods stretching over billions of years. You can now understand the deep thinking of the Siddhas and Maharishis on Time, the most precious asset of every human. We need to use this precious asset carefully by not wasting even a single minute. To do that, we need to learn about the Lord of the March of Time.

Click here to read about the Lord of the March of Time.


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