Saturday, March 14, 2015


Chandramana  Yugaadi (New Year’s Day) and Almanac (panchangam)


(Compilation for a discourse at Sri Ganesha Temple by   N.R. Srinivasan, USA,  March 2015)



1. Introduction        

Nearly every festival in Hinduism has an astronomical basis. Most ancient cultures had festivals based on astronomical events, especially the Sun or Moon.   There are four landmarks in the Sun's journey in the heavens (sky): Vernal Equinox; Autumnal Equinox; Summer Solstice; and Winter Solstice.
Astrology is a part and parcel of everyday life in India even to this day whether people realize it or not.  Puranas brought in several celebrations and rituals focused on birthdays of Gods and Goddesses and Puranic events based on Tithis and Zodiacal Nakshatras. Hindu astrologers developed a calendar based   on waxing and waning periods of moon and 354 days in a year, convenient to handle for them though Sun was never undermined or left out. Probably they like more the cool demeanor and romantic nature of Moon! Tamil, Malayalam and Bengali Hindus who are more inclined towards religion attach importance to Sun who is meditated upon as Vyaahriti (emanation) of Brahman even today and follow solar calendar based on 365 days based on movements of the Sun. Perhaps these were the origin and initiators for Julian and later modified Gregorian calendar.
The celebrations and prayers that follow Lunar New Year’s Day called Yugadi fill people's hearts with joy and contentment. Leaving the past behind and starting afresh with positive expectation is one of the key aspects of Yugadi. The day also marks the beginning of spring season, which is considered to be the first of all seasons, with plants, shoots, and leaves coming to life and therefore, the day is believed to set things rolling for a fresh and successful new beginning. Devotees perform rituals and pujas   seeking blessings from God for health, wealth, prosperity, and success in businesses and work as well. It is for this reason that it is considered the best time to take on new ventures or personal goals for betterment of oneself. The day is preceded by the pre-Yugadi preparations that begin a few days before the actual day. It includes thoroughly cleaning the entire household, white washing or repainting  the house and shopping for new clothes and other items that go with the requirements of the festival. 
One would wonder why the above two subjects Yugadi and Panchangam (almanac) are clubbed together. This is because the two are very closely inter-related. The first religious  reading (Panchnga Sravana) of the new Panchangam is on Yugadi day and the details of the New Year are brought out in the Panchangam.
Yugadi (Also called Ugadi) means “Yuga+ Adi” i.e. “Start of New Year”. It is believed that Lord Brahma started creation of the Universe on this day which religious belief makes them to cling on to this calendar in spite of known deficiencies.  In the Gregorian calendar   January 1 is called New Year’s day. In the Indian Almanac New Year is reckoned in three ways. The first –based on the   movement of the Sun (This system is called Sowramana); the second-based on the movement of the Moon (This system is called Chandramaana), and, the third–based on the movement of planet Guru (This system is called Brahaspatyamaana).

It is believed that   Lord Brahma, the Creator started creation on this day -- "Chaitra Suddha Padhyami" or the Yugadi day. Also the calculations of the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya proclaim the Yugadi day as the beginning of the New Year, New Month and New Day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. The vibrancy of life and verdant fields, meadows full of colourful blossoms signify growth, prosperity and well-being. With the coming of Yugadi, the naturally perfumed Jasmine's spread a sweet fragrance, which is perhaps unmatched by any other in nature's own creation. While large garlands of Jasmine are offered to Gods in homes and temples, Jasmine flowers woven in clusters adorn the braids of Hindu women while other religious followers enjoy the same for fashion.

One Chandramana year is the time taken for transit of Moon from Chaitra Sukla (Bright half of Moon) Prathama to Phalguna Krishna Amavasya (Dark half of Moon) and occupies about   354 days. In order to reconcile the difference with the Sowramana year which has 365 days as in the Gregorian calendar, an additional month (13th) is periodically added to the Chandramana year. This is called Adhikamasa.   Why this reconciliation? Why not adopt the alternative which many others follow?

Hindus celebrate the first nine lunar days nearest to both the Vernal and Autumnal equinoxes. Both these times are sacred as the Navaratris. The first nine lunar days closest to the Spring equinox are celebrated as Vasanta (Spring) Navaratris (nine nights) while the first nine lunar days closest to Autumnal equinox are celebrated as the Sharad (Autumn) Navaratris (nine nights). The Hindu New Year (referred to as 'Ugadi' or 'Yugadi') marks the beginning of the Vasanta (spring) Navaratris and 'Sri Rama Navami' marks the end. It is not a mere coincidence that Sri Rama Navami marks the climax of the Spring Navaratris. Among the incarnations of Vishnu, Parasara identifies Sri Rama with Sun. Though the Autumnal Navaratris are celebrated in a major way by all Hindus as the Dusshera Navaratris with holy reading of Ramayana, celebrating Rama Pattabhishekam on Vijayadasami Day, ardent worshippers of Sakti fast and chant the 'Devi Mahatmyam' during the Vasant Navaratri too.

Chandramana calendar reckons dates based on the Salivahana Era (Saaleevaahana Saka)   which begins its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by the legendary hero Salivahana.  The Satavahana king Salivahana (also identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni) is credited with the initiation of this era known as Salivahana. He is from Andhra and therefore this New Year is popularly known as Telugu New Year’s day in the South. The Salivahana era begins its count of years from the year corresponding to 78 CE of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2000 CE corresponds to the year 1922 of the Salivahana Era. All legal documents in Karnataka and Andhra include the dates based on Salivahana saka besides Gregorian calendar; May be other states too.

The Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Kodava and the Konkani diaspora in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala celebrate the festival with great fan-fare (by those  who follow Chandramana calendar); gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast is the order of the day followed by cultural celebrations. This is an official religious holiday in all these states.

The day, begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by prayers to Samvatsara (Year) through their chosen deity.  But why do we worship Samvatsara? Almighty is the custodian of Time and hence the Year. Vedas address Brahman as Samvatsara. “Samvatsaro asaavaadityo ya esha purushah” (MNU)—The Purusha, who is in Aaditya (Sun), is Samvatsara.  Samvatsara is defined like this in Sanskrit: “Samyak vasanti sarvabhootaani asmin iti samvatsarah”—All entities are existing in this and so this is  Samvatsara.  There is no life without Sun! 
Almost in all parts of India the Brihaspati 60 year cycle prevails from a very long time. In commenting on Taittiriya Brahmana, I.4.10, Sayana says that this cycle comprised 12 of the ancient 5 cycles, which are so often referred to in the Vedic works and in the Vedanga Jyotisha. The sun and the moon take about 5 years to return to the same position at the beginning of a year, which gave rise to the cycle of the 5 years known as Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idavatsara, Anuvatsara and Idvatsara respectively. As Brihaspati makes a complete circuit of the heavens in about 12 years, all the 3 heavenly bodies were expected to return to the same celestial region on the expiry of every 60 years. Instead of modern 60 names every twelve years was given a name in series as Samvatsara, Parivastara, UIdavastara, Anuvatsara and Idvatsara in early Vedic period.
Vishnu Sahasranama also addresses Vishu as Chaturvyoohah.  That is why New Year Day, and therefore Yugadi, becomes a very sacred day for worship in Hindu concept where as in other religions New Year’s Day celebration is   a social event except for Christians who also hold religious masses on January 1 (Circumcision day of Jesus Christ) as it is their religious New Year which was forced on the world as Official and so celebrated as a social event.

2. The Festival

Yugadi is the first among the major festivals in Hindu calendar.  In erstwhile State of Mysore in Karnataka   the following verse was taught to children in order to   remember  festivals and tithis, just as we learn  the Rhyme “Thirty days has September April June and November” at school:

“Yugaadi Padya- Bhanu Bidige -Akshaya Thadhige -Vinayaka Chowthi -Naga Panchami Subrahmanya Shasti-Ratha Sapthami _Gokula Astami –Maha Navami –Vijaya  Dashami- Vaikuntha Ekaadasi -Utthana Dwaadasi –Ananga Thrayodashi -Anantha Chaturdashi Mahaalaya Amavasya and Vyasa poornima “.
[Padya=Prathama, Bidige=Dwitheeya,Thadhige=Trutheeya, Chowthi=Chaturthi]               

Yugadi heralds Vasantha ruthu, which as Lord Sri Krishna says in SriBhagavadgita-Vibhuthi yoga-10-35, is his amsha (…masaanaam margasheershoham Ruthunam kusumaakarah).

This is echoed in nature in the way all trees have sprouting of new leaves, providing a unique fine aroma in the atmosphere. Spring season arrives with trees decorating themselves with tender leaves in different colors, followed by beautiful blooms. The spring season is a divine reminder to Humanity that there is hope after desperation and we all will be blessed to be surrounded by beautiful nature. It is in spring that life comes back to normal after being barren for months.

The spirit of Yugaadi is   exemplified   in the following verse composed by one   of the Jnaana-peeth Award winning Kannada poets, D.R.Bendre (Ambikathanayadatta):

Yuga  yugaadi  kaledaroo yugaadi marali baruthide
Hosa varushake hosa harushava hosathu hosathu taruthide

Honge huva tongalalli bhrungada sangItha keli matte kelabaruthide
Bevina kahi balinalli huvina nasugampu susi jIvakaleya taruthde

Varushakondu hosatu janma harushakondu hosatu neleyu akhila jivajatige
Onde ondu janmadali onde balya onde haraya namagadashte etako

Niddegomme nitya marana edda sala navina janana namage eke baarado
Ele sanatkumaradeva ele saahasi chiranjivi ninage illi serado

Yuga yugaadi kaledaroo yugaadi marali barutide
Hosa varushake hosa harushava hosatu hosatu tarutide nammanashte maretide

[Though many a years and Yugaadis pass by New Year comes again; it brings again and again new joy spinning further happiness into the New Year!  Listening to the melody  of humming bees from the  hanging flowers of Indian beech (Pongamia Pinnata)  smile appears   and  bestows richness to life; for  the bitter life of name,  the smiling flowers bring joy to life; One new  life   per year   and a new status for one happiness  for  all ;  we have only one youth and one adulthood, why should it be  so (while Yugadi has it every year)?  Why don’t we experience the death in sleep and new life every time after waking up? Oh Lord Santkumara! You are immortal there and don’t you like it here? Though   many a years and Yugadis pass by, New Year comes again!  It brings again and again new joy spinning further happiness into the New Year!

3.   Observance of festival

Customs vary from region to region in celebrating Yugaadi. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh people start preparations well in advance. The houses and workplaces are cleaned and decorated with mango leaves and neem (Margosa) leaves and neem flowers hung across the main entrance doors and puja room doors. Special rangoli (floral decoration art) is put at the house entrance. Turmeric and vermillion are applied to the threshold. Mango leaves symbolize prosperity and auspiciousness. (It may be recalled that even while doing special pujas or receiving with religious honor spiritual heads (with poorna kumbha), mango leaves are placed in the Kalasham).  Neem leaves and flowers are considered highly beneficial for good health and   for warding off infections.

People get up well before sunrise, have oil bath, do Sandhyavandanam (daily prayer for the Supreme) wear new dresses, say special prayers and refrain from taking any food or beverage till conclusion of puja including puja to the new Panchangam (almanac), and, distribution of prasadam. The head of the family or the priest conducts special puja to the deity and Panchangam (almanac) with all upachaaras (steps) like Avahana, Asana, Arghya, Paadya, Achamaneeya, Mantraasana, Snana, Vastra and Yajnopaveetha Alankara, Dhoopa,Deepa, Chamara, Neivedya, Tamboola, Neerajana, Punarmantrasana Paryankasana etc. (These are the progressive steps in   Hindu worship Ritual described in my discourse on Shodasa Upachaara Pooja).

In Maharashtra also people celebrate the day similarly by decorating their houses, cooking special dishes at home and offering special prayers at home and temples. It also marks the end of Rabi season, and the yield is taken to the markets. On this day people fill silver or brass pots   decorated with coconuts, mango leaves and wrapped in silk clothes and placed on a pole. This represents appreciation of nature’s bountiful gifts that were given to us by God. Maharashtrians make Halwa, Srikhand and Kheer on this day as special dishes to celebrate the New Year.
In Karnataka a special dish called Obbattu or Holige, is prepared. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made into a paste) stuffed in a flat roti-like bread. It is usually eaten hot or cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka. In Andhra Pradesh, a special dish called Bobbattu (Polelu) (Puran Poli) (Oliga are prepared on this occasion.  Apart from sweets and other delicacies, the prasadam (blessed food) includes Bevu-Bella. This is an intimate mixture of neem flowers, jiggery (unbleached solid molasses) and tender mango gratings. Sometimes honey is added.  Neem is believed to guard against diabetes, skin disorder and other infections. Jaggery and honey are considered to improve hemoglobin content. Mango is said to improve functioning of liver.

It is a combination of bitterness, sweetness and sourness which represent   the   different rasas. The following verse is recited while taking this Bevu-Bella:                        

“Shathayurvajradehaya sarvasampathkaraya cha
sarvaristavinashaya nimbakamdalabhakshanam “

This sweet and bitter blessed food is for granting one 100 years of life with strong diamond like body, devoid of all diseases and for blessing with all wealth. This Bevu-bella (neem-jaggery mix) is taken immediately after theertha (sacred water) and before taking any other food or beverage.

In addition to the health aspects in taking bevu-bella, there is a higher significance. It represents the harmonious blend of opposite attributes (Dwandwa) and teaches the person to view with equanimity the opposite aspects in life –bitter-sweet and sour-sweet,   and help   to build a balanced outlook and calm composure even under adverse conditions. Hindu scriptures often deal with pairs of opposites while discussing philosophy. Along with Lakshmi Alakshmi was also born (alakshmeem naasamaamyaham) and both are worshiped. During Upakarma we not only worship Savitri and Gatyati but also Kama and Manyur devatas (kamokarshit manuyurakarsheet namo namah), and Vighnaraja, King of Obstacles we invoke to ward off obstacles.  Ganesha is worshiped as Lord of Obstacles as well as Remover of Obstacles. This philosophy   of pairs of opposites is very well brought out in the following verses of Sri Bhagavadgita:

Sukha dukhe samey krutwa laabhalabhau jayajayau
Tatoyudhayayujyaswa naivam papamavapsyasi                                      (2-38)

Regarding pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, as alike prepare yourself then for war; then you will not incur sin.         

 Jithatmanah prashanthasya paramatma samahitah
            Sheethoshnasukhadukheshu tatha manapamanayoh                             (6-7)
The Self of one which is self-controlled and serene is alone poised in heat and cold, happiness and misery, as also in honor and dishonor.

Samashatrauchamitre cha tatha manapamanayo
Sheethoshna sukhadukheshu samassangavivarjithah                           (12-18)

Tulyanindasthut hirmounee santhusto yenakenachit
            Anikethassthiramathi : bhakthiman mey priyo nara :                               (12-19)

Alike to foe and friend, in honor and dishonor, in heat and cold, happiness and misery, free from attachment in praise and censure, reticent, satisfied with anything, without home, steady in mind—such a devoted person is dear to me.

 Manapamanayosthulyah  thulyomitraripakshayo   
            Sarvarambhaparithyagee gunatheethassa uchyathe                               (14-25)

The same in honor and dishonor, the same towards friend and foe, habituated to renounce all actions—such a person is said to have transcended the three characteristics—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Bevu-Bella    symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise), which should be accepted together and with equanimity through the New Year.  The ingredients in these mixtures convey the following message: Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying Sadness; Jaggery and ripe banana pieces for sweetness signifying Happiness; Green Chilli/Pepper for its hot taste, signifying Anger; Salt for saltiness, signifying Fear;  Tamarind Juice for its sourness, signifying Disgust; Raw Mango for its tang, signifying Surprise.

After puja and prasaadam, all members of the family or community gather   together for Panchanga Pathanam and Sravanam--the reading of the New Year almanac and/or listening to the same. This is considered essential and is believed to bestow the same results as Ganga Snanam/Go-daanam. (bathing  in Ganges or giving cow in charity). With the Radio and TV stations beaming special programs for Yugaadi, panchanga pathanam is brought right to the living room. (Details of panchangam will be dealt with later). It is also customary for people to visit   temples,   friends and relatives and exchange presents.  
Apart from the ritualistic Poojas and social   get-together it is an occasion to cleanse one’s mind of impure thoughts and make new resolutions (to be followed) about values of Dharma.
SarvE Bhadrani pashyanthu
                                    SarvE Bhadrani shrunvanthu
                                    SarvE Bhadrani kurvanthu

[May all witness welfare all round!  May all listen to good tidings!  May all be involved in doing good deed!]

It is with this intention that after bevu-bella we take meals with friends and relatives and also visit temples and offer special pujas for the well-being of all (Sarve janassukhino bhavanthu samastha sanmangalani bhvanthu).

4.  Cultural  Activities

In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, special Kavi-sammelans (Poets’ Conference)   are organized. This provides a forum for upcoming poets who bring their new compositions and recite them at the sammelan (Conference).  The poems are normally thematic and include humor, satire and philosophy. In Andhra Pradesh it is customary to prepare special pacchadi (semi solid salsa like) with jaggery, tamarind, mango, neem flower etc. to bring in various rasas (tastes)-sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, spicy tinge etc. to correspond to difficulties, pleasures, anger, love etc. [life is indeed a mixture of  varied emotions!] Hindus wherever they are settled continue with these traditions and conduct elaborate cultural activities.

B. Panchangam

 1. Introduction

We shall now come to Panchangam-the almanac. As the name suggests (Pancha+Angam) it shows five attributes for any day viz., .Vaara, Tithi, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana.

On Yugadi day, the head of family or the priest reads out the (highlights) almanac. This is Panchangapathana. All members of the family/community intently listen to this. This is Panchanga Sravanam. In earlier days it was customary for people to gather in temple/community hall for this. Nowadays, it is done in individual homes. After panchanga patanam/sravanam special puja is offered to the almanac deifying Panchangam.

 1. Sankalpam

It is seen that at the time of commencement of any ritual, the karta (performer) or the priest would do/utter sankalpa—a religious declaration of intent/purpose. In tune with the precepts in all scriptures, this sankalpam is made as a dedication to God. It begins with invocatory verse to presiding deity/ishtadevtha. Then the particulars of the place, date, time of the ceremony; the lineage of the person doing/getting the puja done; the details of the ceremony; the offering to God etc are spelt out. Typically, sankalpam runs like this.

Invocation  slokas:

Agajananapadmarkam Gajananamaharnisham
            Anekadanthambhakthanam ekadantamupasmahe
Suklambaradharam Vishnum shashivarnam chaturbhujam
            Prasannavdanam dhyayeth sarvavighnoapashanthaye
Yasyadwiradavakthradyaa : parishadyahaparashadam
            Vighnamnighnanthi satatam Visvaksenam tamashraye

Harirom tatsat sri Govinda Govinda Govinda aadya sri brahmanah dwitiya parardhe sri swehavaraha kalpe vaivaswatha manvanthare kaliyuge prathamea paade Jambudweepe Bharathavarshe Bharathakhande shakabde meroh dakshine parshwe asmin varthamane vyavaharike chandramanena Prabhavaadi shasti samvatsaraanaam madhye sri ….. samvatsare…..ayane ….. ruthau …. mase …..pakshe……. shubhatithau vasaraha   ….vasara yukthaayaam …. nakshtra yukhthaayaam shubha yoga shubha karana yukthaayaam asyaam  shubha diney ….gothrasya/gothraaya :……rahau …..nakshatre jathasya/jathaayaa :  naamasya/namnaaya  ;…sakutumba saparivarasya ayurarogyaiswarya vidyabuddhi udyoga sthana vridhhyartham Lokakshemartha sri bhagavadaajnaya sri parameswara/srimannarayana preethyartham……….pujaam/vratham karishye/acharyamukhena karayishye.

Our sages attached clear definition to the day and its attributes at the time the ritual is conducted by way of Sankalpa (resolution) and also waited for appropriate auspicious time for its success. The details of these are available in the panchangam based on Jyotisha saastra. These almanacs are published by religious mutts, astrological pundits and Institutions like Benares Hindu University. The Indian National Calendar (Which was started on Chaitra 1, 1879 Saka Era, or March 22, 1957) is the official civil calendar in use in India. This calendar was introduced by the Calendar Reforms   Committee (Of CSIR) in 1957.  This favoring of Chandramana by Government of India is based on the fact most astrologers depend on Nakshatra for their religious rites. Tamil Nadu attaches importance to Tithi. It also leans more towards Gregorian. Yet the most logical would be to start the New Year on the holiest day of Makara Sankranti following solar calendar when Uttarayana Punyakaal starts and Sun’s travel to Northern Solstice begins, a significant most auspicious  astronomical landmark’s day which by coincidence is also Tamil month of Tha.i  Thai   pirnadaal vazhi pirakkum is a popular saying in Tamil meaning Thai starts the path—to the materialist a good day to start marriage or auspicious events and to a spiritual seeker an auspicious day that builds hope towards liberation in the following six months. This was enforced in Tamil Nadu for some time by an ordinance but later discontinued by another ordinance, by political games and not logic.

Today there are three popular calendars in India. Vikram Era calendar is followed in Western and  Northern India.  Shalivahana Saka calendar is followed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharshtra and Solar Calendar followed by Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

A typical entry in the Almanac reads as under:

Sri…samvatsare….ayane..…rithau…..mase…..pakshe prathipadadi tithayaha…………kalyabdaa …shakabda …year…month

Date; day of Chandramana ; day of Sowramana; Tithi; lagna; sunrise; sunset; duration of tithi; duration of Nakshatra; Yoga; Karana; position of the various planets; festival/puja; if any; Gowri panchangam; nakshatra of rain; masa/paksha kundali. [The details of the various attributes are given in appendix}.

In addition to the data mentioned above, the panchangam contains the following useful information.
             1.   Devotional Verses (Stotras) for the day of the week and general stotras
2.   Forecast for the year for various rasis/nakshatras
3.   Festivals to be observed at home, in temples and Holy places
4.   Details of eclipses and shanthi (peace) for the same
5.   Birthdays of deities, saints, alwars, Gurus
6.   Calculation data for casting/interpreting horoscopes
7.   Auspicious Muhurthams   for 16 Sacraments like  Jaa takarma,  Upanayana, Vivaaha,Purchase  of vehicles, sowing the crop, cattle purchase, business transaction etc.
8.   Pravara (lineage) for various gotras
9.   Upakarma vidhi, tarpana krama
           10.     Ready reckoner for comparing horoscopes of Kanya (girl) and Vara (boy) for   
        Wedding* and calculations of astrological parameters such as  Tarabala, 
        chandrabala, guna etc.    

11.  Gem therapy
12. Vaastu Shastra (astrological predictions for constructing a house)

The Panchangam is thus an astrological encyclopedia and   useful reference handbook for all.
*(Hindus strongly believe in these astrological calculations to fix the Marriage and seek the guidance of the priest or Panchanga if they are themselves not knowledgeable.

One Panchangam for All Hindu Traditions
There are thirty different calendars in India. Indian National Calendar Committee in 1957 brought out a National calendar aligning it with the Gregorian calendar basing it on Salivahan Saka Era and Chandramana Calendar which was popular with majority traditions but was not close to Gregorian official calendar. Their task was complicated by the fact that with calendar reform, religion and local sentiments were involved. India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his preface to the Report of the Committee, which was published in 1955, wrote: “They (different calendars) represent past political divisions in the country…now that we have attained Independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social and other purposes and this should be done on a scientific approach to this problem.” This National   calendar was therefore brought in line with Gregorian calendar.
It is unfortunate Indian Government in this year 2015 has decided to stop printing National calendar instead of enforcing it on the people while enjoying absolute majority and popularity.  This reform did not belong to any party but was intended for National unity and convenience to align with International calendar.  So much efforts put in by so many experts for so many years has all gone waste. Some Years back Tamil Nadu went further ahead in making Makara Sankranti, January 14 as the New Year day beginning with Tamil Month of Thai which was close to January 1.  However, when political situation changed Tamil Nadu decided to revert back to Tamil New Year’s Day as before to   celebrate on April 14   and as traditionally observed for ages.   Politics plays in India and not religious accuracy based on astronomy and National unity that do not upset sacred day observances.
 Indian Solar calendar is totally based on the movements of the Sun and is more scientific and convenient like the Gregorian calendar, being used all over the world. Tamil Hindus, Bengali Hindus  and Kerala Hindus, most religious lot among Hindus, swear by it and have not gone against scriptural injunctions by following it for several centuries. Hindus in India have not adopted Indian National calendar prepared for the benefit of the country by experts and have ignored  astronomical corrections over centuries because of family ill-trained astrologers who have not studied astronomy like our ancient Rishis and tradition oriented priests who follow these Panchangams and stipulate date and time of worship as is known to them mechanically. Even some authors who are scholars in astronomy and astrology go the traditional way so as to not to offend these authoritative Priests, Vadhyars and religious heads who rule and guide the society.  These should not be the limiting factors for Hindu Americans who are well educated and spiritually inclined.
Hindu Americans drawn from different Hindu traditions will be better advised to go by the Indian National Calendar of 365.25 days which will slowly go into archives in India caught between politics and religious prejudices.  They need not follow any of the religious panchangams currently in use in India which are all inaccurate and do not comply with scriptural injunctions to perform rituals and worships as per time, date and place of living. This needs a proper aligning of Hindu American Panchangam of today with Indian National Calendar or even better base it on Sauramana Panchangam taking into consideration its serious neglect in not correcting for astronomical facts that has moved Makara Sankranti by 23 days from actual day of December 22 Winter solstice day when the Sun’s direction changes   towards North (Uttarayana). As highly enlightened and religious conscious society with lot of computer geniuses they have to base things on astronomical facts as the basis on which our Rishis carried out their worships and rituals based on astronomical events based on Sun. We should not go by blind faith and defective Panchangams of astrologers which have certain missing links.
indu Panchangam applicable to this part of the world
Makara Sankranti and Tamil New Year’s Day fall more or less on the same day of Gregorian calendar every year as we all know.  Even our Solar calendar is out of harmony with natural seasons on earth because of the  difference  of 0.0165656 days  in  the  actual  and  the  assumed lengths of  a solar year which remained uncorrected over fourteen centuries. The result is we are now celebrating our fasts and festivals after over 23 days of their actual happening or Saastric prescribed time. All our Panchangas require   accommodating this change. The present Niryana system is not accurate. Our calendar is based on seasons, ayanas, and equinoxes etc. Moreover the 27 Stars are not placed evenly in heavens and the view of them through ecliptic does not yield 2.25 stars per Zodiac to make for 27 stars*. Stars are of unequal span. No one is prepared to bell the cat to make changes in the Panchangas as   done systematically in Gregorian calendar.  Gregorian calendar makes leap year correction every four years and also leap-century correction to set right the calendar over a period. We therefore wonder all the time why our festivals and rituals do not coincide with the Gregorian calendar. Further India has adopted Chandramana calendar of 354 days per year based on majority opinion and not based on scientific compatibility with Gregorian calendar. Indian National Calendar took care of compatibility  but no one adopted it or the country enforced it, afraid of losing its popularity, ignoring what is good for the country. Today religious observations do not follow astronomical basis and base them on miscalculated astrology. This is thus our negligence ignoring conflating science and religion. Yet another factor is Hindu astrologers thought only about India which lies in northern Hemisphere. They did not think of Southern Hemisphere where winter in Northern Hemisphere is summer for them. Fortunately USA and India are both in the Northern Hemisphere. But think of the religious faith  of those living in Southern Hemisphere like Australia or Bali? 

*[In the Panchangam or in astrology Nakshatra or star is only one of the Zodiacal Belt whereas in astronomy stars are heavenly bodies twinkling in the sky. The moon’s path lies within the Zodiacal Belt, which is the region extending about five degrees on either side of the ecliptic. The moon completes a circuit of its path with respect to the earth in about 27.33 days. Hence the Zodiacal Belt is divided into 27 equal parts of 13 degrees and 20 seconds each, called Nakshatras. The first segment longitude of the moon 0 degrees to 13 degrees and 20 seconds is called Aswini. It goes on further till the last Nakshatra Revati.  Revati completes the circle extending from 346 degrees and 40 seconds to 360 degrees. (346   deg. and  40”+13 deg. 20”= 360 degrees)].

At present USA has an American Hindu Panchangam   applicable to this part of the world, very unique in many respects that need alignment with Indian National Calendar and the astronomical correction needed for the   lapses over centuries.  Even the present Hindu American Panchangam brought out by the Hindu Temple Society   of North America published since 1997 is not followed   by all of its members of the Council. Hindu Americans in spite of their broader outlook still are as religiously biased as Hindus in India who have not adopted Indian National calendar prepared for the benefit of the country by experts and are blind to astronomical corrections over centuries because of   family trained astrologers who have not studied astronomy like our ancient Rishis.  Hindu American Temple authorities are also guided by these family trained or family tradition oriented priests imported from India. It should not be difficult for Mr. R. Kumar, Author of Hindu American Panchangam to correct the situation and provide Americans with an accurate religious Panchangam aligned to Gregorian calendar, being an author of several books on astronomy and astrology and also the recipient of several awards.
I often wonder while Government of India could force decimal system, against multiplicity of regional systems of weights and measurements and distances (FPS System) which even USA could not do, why they are not able to enforce Indian National calendar which provides astronomical dates as per scriptural injunctions for all? Hindu Americans drawn from all traditions in India can certainly do it if they have a will to do it and show the way to Hindus in India to adopt one uniform calendar like what Pope Gregory did by not only fixing his religious calendar but also forcing it on the entire world today. Probably his thinking was to have one religion for the entire world that is Christianity which   remains still  a dream though it leads all other religious followings, may be due to its political and economic supremacy! Are we concerned about the past glory of Salivahana Saka or worried about the accuracy of our religious calendar that needs correction due to astronomical changes that have taken place over several centuries to perform our religious rituals and celebrate festivals as per scriptural injunctions?

[This discourse is based on the article sent by Mr. B.R.G. Iyengar a free lawns writer on religious topics from Karnataka based on the above references which is gratefully acknowledged who often advises and helps me in my endeavors to serve you all along with others but for whose help this mammoth contributions found on the blog would not have been possible]


Definitions of the various words in Sankalpa

1, Kalpa-Para   

This refers to the life span of the Creator, Lord Brahma and the computation is given below:
                        There are four yugas in the Hindu calendar as described in Puranas.
                           a)    Krutha yuga(sathya yuga)            1728000  years
                             (known as total virtue era; 
                               golden age)
                           b). Threthayuga                                     1296000   years
                              (threefourths virtue;one fourth
       sin: silver age                                 
   c)  Dwaparayuga                                    864000   years
       (halfvirtue half sin:bronze age)   
   d)  Kaliyuga                                          432000   years
       (one quarter virtue; three quarters
         in iron age         
   e)  one Mahayuga   (total of a to d)      4320000    years

A    kalpa     is   made up of 1000 Mahayugas     or    4320000000   years. A night of Brahma is of equal duration. A full day of Brahma is thus two Kalpas   or   8640000000 years.  A year of Brahma is 360 days (720 Kalpas). Lifespan of Brahma is 100 such years or   311.04 Trillion years. This is called Para and is considered in two parts-prathama parardha(first half of para)   i.e the first 50 years of Brahma’s lifespan  and dwitiya parardha(second half of para)i.e the second 50 years of Brahma’s lifespan. We   are now in dwitiyaparardha, in the 51st year,1st Day called Shwethavaraha Kalpa.

According to Vishnupurana at the end of Brahma’s daytime period, the three worlds Bhooloka, Bhuvarloka and  Suvarloka (and the seven netherworlds Atala, Vitala, Sutala  Bhootala,    Rasatala, Mahatala and Patala) are temporarily dissolved (naimittika  pralaya/incidental deluge). A dreadful draught occurs and lasts for 100 years. This is followed by a deluge. Lord Vishnu reclines in meditative pose (Yoganidra) for another kalpa before starting re-creation.

2. Manvanthare  

The Lord has appointed Manu as ruler of all worlds.

Each kalpa is   reigned  by   a succession of 14 Manus and the period of reign is called                       Manvanthara and corresponds to approximately 71 Mahayugas. The Manus are Swayambhuva, Svarochisha, Uthama, Thamasa, Raivatha, Chakshusha, Vaivaswatha, Savarni,Dakshasavarni, Brahmasavarni, Dharmasavarni, Rudrasavarni, Devasavarni, Indrasavarni

We are now in the 7th Manvanthara called Vaivaswatha Manvanthara and in the 28th Mahayuga of that Manvanthara. This is around 454th Mahayuga (of the 1000 mahayugas that form one daytime of Brahma.  

3. Kaliyuge/prathamepade

Within this Mahayuga we are now in Kaliyuga, 5115 th year of Kaliyuga(corresponding to 2014 AD). Kaliyuga is believed to have started on midnight of Friday, 17th/18th February 3102 BC corresponding to Pramathi samvatsara,Sravana masa, Krishna paksha Astami((some refer to Bhadrapada masa krishna paksha thrayodashi) Shukravara. This is also the day when Lord Krishna chose to give up his mortal body at Prabhasa theertha to return to His permanent abode(Paramapada).Thus we are in the very early part of kaliyuga (first leg) with more than 426000 years to go.

4. Jambudweepe/Bharthavarshe/Bhrathakhande

The world is considered as having seven dweepas (islands)-Kusha, Shalmali, Plaksha, Jambu, Krauncha,Saaka, Pushkara. Jambudweepa is at the center. Mountain Sumeru is at the centre of Jambudweepa. To the south of Meru is Bharathavarsha the land ruled by Bharatha. Present India is Bharathakhanda (not including the lands we lost to Pakistan, Afghanistan (ghandaara), Nepal, Sikkim, Bangladesh, Burma and Srilanka).

5. Shakabde

This refers to Shalivahana saka. We are now in saka 1936.This corresponds to Kali year 5115.

6.  meroh  dakshine parswe

This is already mentioned in 4 above.

7. Asmin varthamane

At the present time

8. Vyavaharike  Prabhavadi shasti samvatsaraanaam madhye

The Hindu calendar is drawn on the basis of a cycle of 60 Samvatsaras(Years). There is a mythological reference that these are manifestations of progeny of sage Narada who after having stray thoughts was ordained to take birth in this world and beget the sixty issues. These sixty names are as under:

Prabhava, Vibhava, Shukla, Pramodootha,Prajotpatti,Angirasa,Srimukha,Bhava,Yuva,Dhathru,
Easwara, Bahudhanya,Pramathi, Vikrama, Vishnu, Chitrabhanu, Swabhau, Tharana, Parthiva,
Hevilambi, Vilambi, Vikari, Sharvari, Plava,Shubhakruth, Shobhakruth, Krodhi, Viswavasu,
Parabhava, Plavanga, Keelaka, Soumya, Sadharana, Virodhikruth, Pareedhavi, Pramathicha,
Ananda, Rakshasa, Nala, Pingala, Kalayukthi, Siddharthi, Roudri, Durmathi, Dundhubhi,
Rudhirodgari, Rakthakshi, Krodhana and Akshaya.


The year is divided into two ayanas-Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. Uttarayana refers to the period Makara to Mithuna and Dakshinayana refers to the period  Kataka to Dhanus. Uttarayana is considered to be auspicious(The departing souls take the Archiradi marga while in Dakshinayana it is the Pitru marga).That is the reason that Bheeshma, the Icchamarani(One who was given the boon  -option to give up his mortal frame on the day of his choice) was waiting for Uttarayana for leaving this world.


There are six ruthus in the year. These are Vasantha, Greeshma, Varsha, Sharad, Hemantha,  and  Sisira.


Each ruthu comprises two Chandramana masas(Months) as under:

Chaitra-Vaishakha; Jyesta-Ashada; Sravana-Bhadrapada; Ashwayuja-Karthika; Margashira-Pushya; Magha-Phalguna: These twelve names of months are derived from the Nakshatras obtaining on the Poornima day of the month.

The corresponding Souramana month names (alongwith tamil names) are as under:
Mesha-Vrushabha (Chittirai-Vaikaasi); Mithuna-Kataka Ani-Adi); Simha-Kanya (Avani-Purattaasi); Thula-Vruschika (Aippasi-Karthigai); Dhanus-Makara (Marhazhi-Thai); Kumbha-Meena(Maasi-Panguni)

The English names for the twelve zodiacal months are as under:

Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.


Each masa is divided into two Pakshas (fortnights).-Shukla paksha--the bright fortnight, the period of the waxing moon-from Prathama to Poornima. Krishna paksha--the dark fortnight period of the waning Moon--from Prathama to Amavasya.


There are 15 tithis in each paksha. These are Prathama,  Dwiteeya, Ttrut eeyaa,  Chaturthi, Panchami,  Shasti,  Saptami,  Ashtami,  Navami,  Dashami, Ekadashi,  Dwadashi,  Thrayodashi,  Chaturdashi,  Poornima/Amavasya.

There are seven days in the week. Bhanuvara (Ravi,Adithya), Somavara (Indu) Kujavara(Mangala) , Budhavara(Soumya) , Guruvara(Bruhaspathi),
 Shukravara(Bhargavasara )and Shanivara(Sthira). Equivalent tamil and
 english names are
Nyayitrukilamai(Sunday), Thingalkilamai(Monday), Shevvaykilamai(Tuesday), Budhankilamai(Wednesday), Vyalakilamai (Thursday), Vellikilamai(Friday) and Shanikilamai(Saturday). 


There are 27 stars (Each with four paadas) as under. Their placement (With particular paadas) in various rashis is indicated below:

Ashwini, Bharani, Krittika1-                                                 Mesha:
Krittika2, 3, 4, Rohini, Mrugashira  1, 2-                            Vrushabha
Mrugashira 3, , Arudhra, Punarvasu1, 2, 3-                      Mithuna
Punarvasu4, Pushya, Ashlesha-                                           Karkataka
Makha,Pubba, Uttara1-                                                        Simha
Uttara2, 3, 4, Hasta, Chitta 1, 2-                                          Kanya
Chitta3, 4, Swathi, Vishakha1, 2, 3-                                    Thula
Vishakha4, Anuradha  ,,Jyeshtha-                                       Vrushchika
Moola,Poorvashada, Uttarashada1-                                   Dhanus
Dhanista 3, 4, Shatabhisha, Poorvabhadra, 1, 2, 3-          Kumbha
Uttarashada 2, 3, 4, Shravana, Dhanista1, 2-                     Makara
Poorvabhadra 4, Uttarabhadra, Revathi -                           Meena

Tamil names for the twenty seven stars are:

Aswini, Bharani, Krittigai,Rohini,Mrugashiridam, Thiruvaadirai,Punarpoosam,Poosam,Ayiliyam, Magam,Pooram, Uttiram, Astham, Chittirai, Swaathi, Vishakam, Anusham, Kettai, Moolam, Puraadam, Uttiraadam,Thiruvonam, Avittam, Shadaayam,Poorattadi.Uttirattadi, Revathi.


There are 27 yogaas as under:

Ishkumbha , Preethi, Ayushman, Soubhagya, Shobhana, Athiganda, Sukarma, Dhruthi, Shoola,
Ganda, Vruddhi, Dhruva, Vyaghatha, Harshana, Vajra, Siddhi,Vyatheepatha, Vareeyan,Parigha,
Shivasiddha, Sadhya, Shubha, Shukla (Shukra),  Brahma, ndra, Vaidhruthi

Some are considered auspicious and some inauspicious. Normally the name of the yoga on the day is not spelt out during  Sankalpa.  Instead it is just mentioned as shubhayoga. (good  Yoga)

17… Karana

There are11 Karanas as under:

Bhava, Balava, Kaulava, Thaithila, Gara, Vanij, Vishtee, Shakuni, Chatushpada, Naga, Kimsthughna
Some are considered auspicious and some inauspicious. Normally the name of the Karana on  the  day is not spelt out at the time of Sankalpa. Instead it is just mentioned as shubhakarana.

It can be seen that the Panchangam is an essential tool in any religious function.

1.   Sri Valmiki Ramayanam
2.   Sri Mahabharatha
3.   Sri Bhagavadgita
4.   Srimad Bhagavatha
5.   SriVishnupuranam
6.   Jain panchangam
7.   Vontikoppal panchangam
8.   Sri Sampathkrisnajosyar’s panchangam
9.   Bhavan’s journal
10. Sai Mandir
11. BRG Iyengar’s article in Kannada on the subject, published by Ubhayaveda
12. Internet
13. Mahanarayana Upanishad
14. Economist, Science and Technology, March 2015
15. North American Panchangam, The Council of Hindu Temples of North America, 2015



Indian National Calendar moving towards its  Doomsday in 2015
[Senior Indian Astrophysicist Maeghanad saha was the head of the Calendar Reform Committee under the aegis of the CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). Other members of the Committee were: A. C. Banerjee, K. K. Daftari, J. S. Karandikar, Gorakh Prasad, R. V. Vaidya and N. C. Lahiri. It was Saha’s effort, which led to the formation of the Committee. The task before the Committee was to prepare an accurate calendar based on scientific study, which could be adopted uniformly throughout India. It was a mammoth task. The Committee had to undertake a detailed study of different calendars prevalent in different parts of the country. There were thirty different calendars. The task was further complicated by the fact that with calendar religion and local sentiments were involved. India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his preface to the Report of the Committee, which was published in 1955, wrote: “They (different calendars) represent past political divisions in the country…now that we have attained Independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social and other purposes and this should be done on a scientific approach to this problem”]

The Hindu (Indian National) Calendar
The Indian National Calendar, often called the “Hindu Calendar,” is based on both lunar and solar years. This calendar was introduced in 1957 in a government push for all of India to use the same calendar, but   various traditional regional calendars continue to be   in use for religious observances. The start of the Indian National Calendar year coincides with March 22, except in a leap year, when it coincides with March 21. The year is counted from the first year of the Saka era, in A.D. 78. The year 2015 translates to Saka era 1936-1937.

Indian National Month              Gregorian  calendar                
 March 22*
 April 21
 May 22
 June 22
 July 23
 August 23
 September 23
 October 23
 November 22
 December 22
 January 21
 February 20

* In a leap year Chaitra has 31 days.

Tamil  Months for Vijaya                                    No of Days (365)

Chittirai                                                                       31
Vaigaasi                                                                      31
Aani                                                                             31
Aadi                                                                             32
Aavani                                                                         31
Purattasi                                                                      30
Aippasi                                                                                    30
Kaartigai                                                                      30
Maargazhi                                                                   29
Thai                                                                             30
Maasi                                                                          30
Panguni                                                                       30

Formation of Saka Calendar: In the Indian civil calendar, the initial period is the Saka Era. The Calendar is said to have begun with King Salivahana's accession to the throne. It is used as a reference for most astronomical works in Sanskrit literature written after 500 AD. The calculation of ‘Thitis’ i.e. dates in this Calendar are done in accordance with the actual positions of Sun and Moon in the universe. In the Saka calendar, the year 2009 AD is 1932.

Adoption of Saka Calendar as National Calendar: The current national calendar of India i.e. the Saka Calendar was adopted as the National Calendar in 1957 by the Calendar Reform Committee which also made efforts to coincide the astronomical data and harmonize the usage of this calendar after rectification of some local errors. It came into usage from March 22, 1957 according to the Gregorian calendar which was actually Saka Era, Chaitra 1, 1879 according to the Saka Samvat. It was adopted as the National calendar in order to synchronize the usage of 30 different kinds of Calendar used in India at that time.

An Overview of the Saka Calendar: Saka Calendar is said to have begun from the vernal equinox of A.D. 79. The usage of the Calendar began from aka Era 1879, Chaitra 1, which corresponds to A.D. 1957 March 22. The Saka Calendar is similar to the Gregorian calendar on the terms that even the Saka calendar has a normal year of 365 days and a leap year has 366 days. In a leap year, an intercalary day is added to the end of Chaitra month of the year. There are 12 months in Saka Calendar which are named as Vaisaakha, Jyestha, Aashaadha, Sraavana, Bhaadrapada, Asvina, Kaartika, Maargasirsha, Pausha, Maagha, Phaalguna, Chaitra.

On this basis there was nothing wrong in starting the Solar Year on Makara Sankranti Day   when Tamil Month of Thai starts and is closest to January 1.  But Tamil Nadu which made the change for some time reverted back when political situation changed. This Year (2015) Indian Government stopped the publication of National Calendar. All efforts put in by all experts motivated by the then congress in the interest of National Unity and alignment with International Gregorian calendar without upsetting religious practices of various Hindu Traditions has seen its dooms day during the most popular Government of recent years.

A dwarf planet is a Planetary mass-object that is neither a planet or a  natural satellite. That is, it is in direct orbit of the Sun, and is massive enough for its shape to be in  hydro-static equilibrium under its own gravity, but has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit. The  IAU (International Astronomical Union) currently recognizes five dwarf planets:  Ceres, Pluto,  Haumea,  Makeamake, and Eris..    It is suspected that another  hundred or so known objects in the Solar System  are dwarf planets.  Estimates are that up to 200 dwarf planets may be found when the entire region known as the Kuiper Belt is explored, and that the number may exceed 10,000 when objects scattered outside the Kuiper belt are considered. However, only two of these bodies, Ceres and Pluto, have been observed in enough detail to demonstrate that they actually fit the IAU's definition. The IAU accepted Eris as a dwarf planet because it is more massive than Pluto.   The only two such objects known at the time, Makemake and Haumea, went through this naming procedure and were declared to be dwarf planets. Ceres named after Roman Goddess of Agriculture is the smallest of dwarf planets officially recognized, the freshly created category into which Pluto has moved. Following Pluto’s demotion in the past generation of school children has grown up learning that the solar system has eight planets.  On March 6, assuming everything goes according to plan, Ceres will become the first of those dwarf planets to be orbited by space probe. This Earth’s nearest dwarf planet could not only shed light on how the solar system got started but also how life did too.  Water is essential for life on Earth and many believe that because of its peculiar chemical properties, this will be true anywhere else that harbors living things.

he concept of dwarf planets is not known to Hindu astrology or Panchangam. Among Navagrahas the Sun Star and the Moon, the only satellite of the earth are included. They are also termed as Grahas like five other planets Kuja (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus) and Sani (Saturn).  Seven days in the week are named after these five planets on which both science and religion agree, the Star Sun and the satellite of the earth Moon which are also found in Latin language. That means seven days of the week are named after of these seven grahas leaving behind Rahu and Ketu the other two notional   grahas.  Grahas are translated as planets by all religious writers though they include a Star Sun, a satellite Moon and its two nodes Rahu and Ketu. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are called in Sanskrit as Varuna, Indra and Prjaapati. It is rather a coincidence that Indra and Varuna enjoy a higher status along with other six dikpalakas (guards of eight directions) and figure in all Hindu worships as Vedic deities.  Prajapati, Rahu and Ketu (nodes of the moon) are given a lower status.   How is religion justified in calling Navagrahas as Nine palnetary deities? In Scientific definition Planetarium  though named after Planets describes planetarium  as the large  dome-shaped projection screen onto which scenes of  stars planets  and other  celestial objects  can be made to appear and move realistically to simulate the complex 'motions of the heavens'. The name of Navagrahas by Puranas as nine planets can thus be justified to describe as nine planetary deities which contains star (Sun), a satellite (moon), two nodes of moon and five planets like   science that includes stars, planets and other celestial objects in describing Planetarium.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Appendix 4
A Note on Vaara, Nakshatra  and  Tithi
The day is divided into 24 equal duration called “horas”. Each hora is associated with a planet in the solar syatem, the Sun and the Moon and the horas following each other are named after these heavenly bodies. If the first hora of a certain day is associated with the Sun, say, the day is named Sunday. The 22nd hora after three repetition (7x3=21) will belong to Sun, 23rd hora to Venus, 24th hora to Mercury and the 25th hora i.e. the first hora of the next day will belong to Moon and is therefore called Monday. The names of the successive days are given in this way and this is the familiar order of the succession of the week. Vaara or day of the week is common all over the world. Latin language naming follows Hinduism.
English language days of the week are named after Gods and Mythological figures:
Sunday—Sun’s Day (Star in the Solar system)
Monday—Moon’s Day (satellite of Earth)
Tuesday—Twi’s day (Norse God); Latin--Day of Planet Mars
Wednesday—Woodman’s Day (German God); Latin—Day of Planet Mercury
Thursday—Thor’s Day (Norse God): Latin—Day of Planet Jupiter
Friday—Fridge’s day (Anglo-Saxon Goddess): Latin—Day of Planet Venus
Saturday—Saturn (roman God); Latin—Day of Planet Saturn
The Moon’s path lies with the Zodiacal Belt which is the region extending to about 5 degrees on either side of the ecliptic. The Moon completes a circuit of its path with respect to the earth in about 27.33 days. Hence the Zodiacal Belt is divided into 27 equal segments of 13 degrees and 20 seconds called Nakshatra. The first segment longitude of the moon,  0 degree  to 13 degrees and 20 seconds is called Aswini and so on. 346 degrees 40 seconds to 360 degrees is Revati the last Nakshatra. In Panchangam only one of the 27 segments of the Zodiacal Belt is called Nakshatra whereas in astronomy stars are heavenly bodies twinkling in the sky.
The Tithi sphuta (span) is the Niraayana longitude of the Moon minus that of the Sun. First Tithi (Prathama begins when Tithi sphuta 0 degrees and ends with 12 degrees.  12 degrees to 24 degrees is Dwitiya and so on; 168 degrees to 180 degrees is Poornima. 180 degrees 192 degrees is Dark Fortnight Prathama and so on. 348 degrees to 360 degrees is Amaavaasya. So there are 30 Tithis—15 are called Sukla Paksha (Bright Fortnight or waxing phase); the other 15 Krishna Paksha (Dark Fortnight or waning phase of the moon)
This discourse material is a lecture material prepared for me from the references above   for delivering at Vedanta Class of Sri Ganesha Temple which is gratefully acknowledged. I do not claim anything as original of mine though I have included my explanations and comments   suitably editing. Anybody is free to download partly or fully this discourse, modify and redistribute this as well as other  discourses from the blog Hindu Reflections <> for spreading the wisdom of Vedas and scriptures further.  These  lectures are  posted on the blog for the benefit of those who are not able to attend my lectures personally due to personal reasons or due to not living in Nashville or able to go through the various sources as I have done.]