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INACCURACIES IN PANCHANGA

An astrologer makes the charts based on the Panchangas prepared by specialists called Panchanga Karats. The Panchangas are released at the beginning of the Hindu new year, Ugadi. Once I happened to correct a birth chart prepared by a panchanga karta. My client had his own doubts about my calculations and contacted the panchanga karta, who had made the chart. The famous panchanga karta double checked and confirmed his calculations. The wise client fell back on me for clarifications. I had great difficulty in convincing that the calculations were correct but the source document i.e., panchanga itself was wrong! A common man is confused about his moon sign (rasi) and as it differs in various panchangas. Similar is the case of muhurta, amavasya, nakshatra as these starting and ending time varies from panchanga to panchanga. 

Preparation of panchanga is a process of finding madhyama, mandoccha positions of the planets to finally arrive at the spasta (exact) position. There are specific constants. Surya Siddanta did not hold good and so Naveena Surya Siddanta took its place. Similarly, the Vakyareeti also needed specific corrections. The astronomers of today also issue correction factors whenever the supposed positions of planets differ with actual positions. Such eventualities were solved by adding constants called 'beeja sanskara' by our ancestors. As the British disregarded the ancient knowledge and the Indians fell in love with British ways, the process of correction perished.  As such, the panchangas based on these ancient siddhantas do not hold good.

Another reason for variations in panchangas is due to differences in ayanamsha. (precision value). Many panchangas follow different ayanamshas. The modern astrologers too have contributed to this confusion by floating their own ayanamshas. An astrologer should have to make deep study of the charts wherein the stellar positions and or lagna change when various ayanamshas are employed. I recommend Rashtreeya Panchanga and Lahiri ayanamsha. This ayanamsha is also known as 'sarkari ayanamsha' as this is adopted in the luni-solar calendar of Republic of India, based on the recommendations of panchanga committee. Alternately, one can take the planetary positions from the observatories (astronomical positions) and deduct Lahiri ayanamsha from the same.

Here is a schizophrenic panchanga with different ending times for a tithi, within the same panchanga! This panchanga in Kannada followed Vakyareeti since a long time, the sales came down heavily after some years. The followers of this panchanga realized the predictions based on this panchanga would go wrong, even they were not happy with preparation of natal charts. For some yeas, the panchangakarta was specifying his source as Vakyariti but has discontinued this practice since a couple of years.  There is a note (underlined in red) - "this drig ganita (trigonometrical) portion should be used for muhurta and for making birth charts". The other portion does not specify the purpose (which was for determination of festivals and pitru kriyas, as in panchanga of earlier years). You will see amavasya ends at 9.27 pm as per drig ganita panchanga and at 07.35 pm as per the other panchanga! As per their wishful inclinations, all the joises, purohits, acharyas, astrologers in Hassana, Mysuru, Tumakuru, Kolara, Davanagere, Chitradurga and Bengalur districts of Karnataka use either of them.  If I have a muhurta  at 08.00 pm some hold it is still Amavasya - a common man and even many purohits do not know for sure.

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Generally fixing of muhuta is done by the purohits than astrologers and they fight tooth and nail to claim their supremacy in fixing a foolproof muhurta. When pitted against such people, I will let the old and redundant systems prevail for a day! Any healthy argument is possible in an open minded atmosphere. A common man is distraught and as a result astrology has lost credibility.  When we have landed on moon, when we know exact positions of sun and moon, how is it that Amavasya ends at two different times, with considerable variance?  Are our Gods and Forefathers are pleased with outdated vakya or surya panchangas like the conventionalists?

Thanks to some panchanga kartas of Andhra Pradesh, they have made their job easy by adopting the Rastreeya Panchanga (National Calendar). The government supplies soft copies of the national calendar based on trigonometrical positions with Lahiri ayanamsha. These panchanga kartas use the same and put some additional pages based on their convention. It is easy to make such panchanga and there will be no more any confusions in positions of planets and the beginning/ ending of stars, rasis and tithis, if all the panchanga kartas adopt the same method.

Rahu kala is another horrifying factor in south India. In all the wall calendars beginning and ending of rahu kala remains the same, throughout the year for all places in the world! Rahu kala is not followed in North India and the people of Guntur are sure, Rahu kala is not applicable on Tirumala Hills! This rahu kala depends on the sun rise and has nothing to do with the node (or shall we say, planet?) Rahu. Sun rise differs from place to place and is not the same throughout the year.  The rahu kala shown in the calendars (and also noted in the pocket dairy of your purohit) is calculated at 6.00 am sun rise. How is it possible that rahu kala is the same on Monday for all places - Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai - throughout the year? Similar is the case with yama ganda and gulika kala. Rahu kala, gulika, yama ganda, varjya, durmuhurta, amrita ghadiyalu etc., etc., are NOT used in making natal charts and also in predictive astrology. All these depend on local sunrise, the result is, panchanga made in Hyderabad can not be used in Guntur without corrections to sunrise time. Too much importance is given to these elements in recent times. One Andhra panchanga borrowed the idea of Panchaka from kannada panchangas and this was used for five years or so. Then they realized that the procedure for calculations is not concurrent in all the kannada panchangas and so Telugu people have been spared now.

You must have heard the dictums like first borns in the family should not get married in Jyesta masa; two good events should be separated for a year (after a marriage, to conduct upanayana in the same family, you should wait for one year, though you have guru bala).  Chowla (tonsure) should be performed in the odd year!  The term 'year' is taken as per Gregorian calendar, a period of 365 days or just the time after ugadi (you have an option of souramana and chandramana also), depending on convenience! For example if a marriage is conducted in January and Ugadi falls in April, you can conduct upanayana during May as one year is over, anyway you son has summer holidays! These conventions depend on your vedic school and differ in the all the vedis. Grihya sutras are the collections of such conventions. Grihya sutras for all vedas are given here:

For Rigveda followers - Ashvalayana, Sankya and Shambavya
For Shukla yajurveda followers- Paraskara also kown as Katheeya or Vajasaneya
For Krishna yajurveda followers - Apastamba, Bhodayana, Hiranyakeshi, Bharadwaja, Manava, Kathaka, Vaikhanasa
For Samaveda followers: Gobhila
For Atharvaveda followers: Koushika

None of the Mathas, Srimukhas, Temples have published their respective grihya sutras or at least abridged excerpts. Anyway, since when these were the protectors of dharma, as you see in TV and read in newspaper? In absence of such authorities the astrologers and purohits follow "Muhurrta Darmana - Prayoga Kaipidi" brought out by a substandard publishing house, which has turned out to be the authority for some! All the joises, purohits and astrologers are fighting for their supremacy with their limited knowledge but have conferred themselves big titles like Muhurta Bhaskara, Shastravidya nidhi, Jyotirganita chatushtaya parangata and ಮುಹೂರ್ತ ವಿದ್ಯಾಮಣಿ! Following an opinion or a book is not a problem but fighting tooth and nail (in the full glare of public) to establish the supremacy has brought defame to astrology and astrologers.

If you do not purchase your suit on amavasya day but wait for the next day, it is a personal choice.  Suppose it is the last day to claim 35% discount, will you still hold to amavasya? We Hindus conveniently adopt double standard. I will not take a donation of Rs.5 on amavasya but if I am offered Rs. 50000 will I refuse? Will the student skip the annual examination being held on amavasya?  Suppose large number of people do not  attend examinations on amavasya, would not the government take notice and reschedule, at least not to hurt the religious feelings? We do not believe in full and also we do not disbelieve in full. Depending on convenience, like the electron in the orbit, we can be anywhere! 

If you are making horoscopes using soft wares, first you should check whether it suits your exact needs. In India, many soft wares are available ranging from Rs.500 to 25,000. In most cases, it happens the programmer does not know what the astrologer desired! The planetary positions in sayana are almost similar in all the soft wares.  But the ayanamsha factor differs.  You should have a soft ware wherein you can work on with your ayanamsha - better still if you can add a correction factor.  As the information obtained by such a programme is so vast, one should know which one are accurate as per cannons described in classical works.  In KP system, the bhava chart (called cuspal chart) is from mid point to mid point.  But as per vedic astrology, bhava chakra (chalit) does not begin at mid point of the cusp. The distance between two mid-points are added and divided by two to arrive at the beginning of the bhava.  Many soft wares do not understand this and just make a bhava chalit using mid-points in Sripathi system!

One such soft ware shifts from Lahiri ayanamsha (while it shows Sripathi chart) to KP ayanamsha (when it displays KP chart).  It does not even ask your consent also!  You are taken for a ride.  It is always better to learn astrology at the grass root itself - making charts in various house divisions, that one has sufficient knowledge to understand the output of  a soft ware.  I have not found any soft ware which suits my complete needs.  I take deviation when it does not live up to my standards and revert to manual calculations. You will not dismiss your assistant for his inabilities - but give him some job which he can discharge properly and do the rest yourself!  

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