Monday, July 05, 2004

The Panchanga I

Panchanga is a sanskrit term, composed of Pancha and Anga which means five organs. This broadly mean the five organs of time. The importance of Panchange is borne out of the fact that the quality of time decides the fate of the events starting at that point of time.

However, the question which arise here is, why the quality of the time is measured by only five organs and not anything else! To understand this we need to understand the underlying similarity among the different creation of this in this universe, either animate or in-animate. This underlying similarity makes us belive that the macrocosm and microcosm are similar, i.e., whatever happens in the whole universe can be witnessed in smaller things like our own self or the smallest thing like an atom. This concept has been verily conveyed by the sloka "Yat Pinde Tat Brahmande" from the shastras.

To understand the underlying similarity among different members of the creation, we need to understand the creative forces working in the universe. The forces in the universe an be understood with the help of the five elements namely, Fire (Agni), Earth (Prithvi), Air (Vayu), Water (Jala) and Ether (Akasha). One of the basic principles of creation is that all that is created is destroyed and this represents a cycle of creation and destruction.

However, when analysed further we see that we can see four distinct phases in the cycle of creation namely the creation represented by Fire, consolidation or growth represented by Earth, degeneration represented by Air and dissolution/ destructution represented by Water, which rules over the deluge (pralaya). The whole drama of creation and destruction happens under the well laid out rules and guidelines of the supreme creator, who is represented by Ether. Thus ether prevails through the process of creation and dissolution and forms the stratum or the environment where the drama is played out.

Superimposing this concept of this creation cycle, over the zodiac, we see that the cycle repeats thrice in the zodiac, each one starting from the fiery signs namely the Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Since the starting of these signs, represent the starting of a creation cycle, they are knows as the Vishnu Nabi or the Navel of Vishnu. Mytholology says that the creator Brahma is manifested from the Navel of Vishnu and hence the name, representing the starting of the creation. The creation ends with the end point of the three watery signs namely Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. At each of these three points, the existing creation is disintegrated/ dissolved, which paves the way to a new creation. Because of this transition, these three points become very critical and fatal and go bythe name Gandanta. A lot has been written in the Jyotisha Shastras on Gandanta dosa, which cannot be taken up in this article. However, suffice is to say that any planets placed near to this points suffer destruction and the houses owned by them suffer heavily.

So far we did a spatial mapping of the elements on the Zodiac, however, when mapped on the time, they represent different aspects of the time. Before we go to interpretation of the time based mapping of the tattvas, we need to understand which aspect of time do the tattvas represent. The relationship of the Tattvas and the different measures of time is given below.

1. Vara (Weekday): A week comprises of 7 days and shastras say that the week is governed by the planet Mars. Mars represents the agni (fiery) tattva, the tatta which confers vitality and longevity. We know that only the planets Sun to Saturn have bodies and the nodes are called the shadowy planets as they are bereft of bodies. When we speak of longevity and vitality, we can only attribute these qualities to the planets who have bodies and hence the vara or the weekdays are overruled by agni tattva and the planet Mars.

2. Tithi (Sinodic day): Tithis are the building blocks of Paksha (fortnight), the time measure, governed by the planet Venus. Venus rules the Jala tattva which sustains us in this world. The deity of Venus is Lakshmi and is represented by the giver of prosperity. Moon is the another planet representing the Jala tattva and rules grains. Thus this tattva shows the sustenance and prosperity.

3. Karana (Half of Sinodic day): Like Tithi the karana is derived from the relative position of the Sun and the Moon. Whenever a tithi is divided into 2 parts, we arrive at the Karana. The ruler of Karana is Mercury and the Tattva is Prthvi. Prthvi tattva represents ahcievements of the goals or purpose and so does Karana. Where the success & achivements of the purpose is more important in the Muhurtha chart, in the natal chart, Karana has impact on the profession and the professional success. This forms the foundation of profession, where the different 10th house indication and the indications of Dasamsa are based.

4. Nakshatra (Asterism): There are 27 nakshatras overlorded by Moon, however as a representation of time, it is governed by planet Saturn and element Air. Saturn is the planet which shows the cause of re-birth and the bondage. Being the lord of the organ, Nakshatra, it shows the experiences we would pass through. This means that muhurtha chosen in bad nakshatra (as per navatara chakra or sannadi chakra) can give very bad experiences related to the event.

5. Yoga (Union): The ruler of this organ is planet Jupiter and the element Ether, the binding force of all the tattvas. This is the reason why, the yoga is derived from summing up the longitudes of the Lumineries, the Sun and the Moon, the creators in form of Father and Mother. Being the binding force, this shows the diffent kinds of relationships which would be binding the members involved in an event started on a particular muhurtha.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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