A Science Called Hinduism

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Panchang Vs Gregorian Calendar

Posted by dimodi on February 9, 2013 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (6)

Shuprabhat Friends!!!

 

Being a part of such a great, jest full, celebrative culture, we are fortunate enough that we don’t run out of chances to merry. Every now and then we glance to see what festival is arriving next as per our Hindu calendar. This is when I just got a question in my mind that why sometimes one tithi (day) is smaller/greater than the Gregorian calendar. A small question, A bit of anxiety, and determined research is all what gave birth to this post.

 

 

The calendar that we follow today is the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced in 1582. This was after it was found that the calendar in use till then, the Julius version, accounted for 365.25 days in a year, when in effect it was 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, thus slightly lesser than the assumed value. As a result, the equinox was moving steadily ahead in the year, and this was considered unacceptable.

 

As you know, in the current system, we have a leap year once every 4 years to compensate for the extra fraction of time taken by our MOTHER Earth to revolve around the sun.Now, as the Gregorian calendar adds 1 day at the end of 4 years, it is not moving in synchronism with the sun because this is like a fixed step size, and does not vary smoothly taking into account the sun's variation.

 

Comparing the Gregorian with the Hindu Panchang, we see that the Hindu version has a much more scientific relationship. While the former is based on the Solar variation and accounts for the earth's revolution around the sun as 12 months each having 30 days, the latter is based on the moon's revolution around the earth, where each month takes 28 days. To compensate for the loss of days, and extra month, called the Adhik Mas (mas is the word for month), is added every 30 months.

 

The Hindu counting of years generally concurs with the reign of a prominent king. For instance, the current year is the Vikram Samvat 2069, signifying that King Vikramaditya's reign started as many years ago (in 57 BC). There are many such Samvats known, but the Vikram Samvat is what is the most widely accepted and in use currently. The various months in the Vikram Samvat are listed below along with their approximate Gregorian Calendar counterparts:

 

Each of these months in the Hindu calendar (with 28 days) is subdivided into 2 cycles of moon waxing and waning. The 1st half is called the Krishna Paksha (dark period), where the moon wanes till Amavasya (new moon), and the Shukla Paksha (bright period), where the moon waxes till Purnima (full moon). This can be understood from the below image:

 

 

The Hindu calendar in use is a combination of both solar and lunar inferences. The months are based on the moon, while the seasons are governed by the sun. A prominent example of a solar festival is that January 13-14 is celebrated as Pongal (in Tamil Nadu), Sankranti (north India) and Lohri (Punjab). All of these herald the entry of the sun into the Makar rashi, or the northward movement of the sun. Though the date is supposed to be somewhere between December 20th and 23rd, due to earth's tilt, it has kept sliding over years. Don't be surprised if in your future births, you find that Makar Sankranti is being celebrated in May, but that will take 1000s of years to come.

 

 

In fact, in certain temples, it is seen that on Sankranti day, sunlight graces the presiding deity. One of such unique temple is the Sun Temple at Konark. The main pratima (idol) is told by the local people to be floating in the air because of the unique arrangements of the main magnets and other series of magnets. The placement of the temple had been aligned in a way that the first rays of the Sun falling on the coast would pass thru the Nata Mandir and would reflect from the diamond placed at the center of this idol in the Main Sanctum.

 

 

Coming back to tithis, the days are calculated based on the actual longitudinal angular difference between the respective positions of the moon and the sun. Thus, it is common to see that the tithis vary in length, some shorter than our regular 24 hours, some extending beyond, and this leads to certain auspicious days being celebrated across 2 days of our Gregorian Calendar.

Science Of Sri Yantra and Golden Ratio

Posted by dimodi on October 15, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (112)

As I was going through a blog, I read references to the Golden Ratio (1.618), a figure sacred to designers. The Golden Ratio is also known by the number phi, and is otherwise called the Golden mean, Divine Proportion or the Golden section. This ratio can be described from the figure:

Pic 1: -

 

As is seen, the ratio of one of the sides to the other is the same as the ratio of the sum of the sides to the former. This Golden Ratio has prime importance in architectural design, as it lends a very aesthetic appearance to the object. The Pyramids in Egypt have their dimensions in a proportion equal to it. Leonardo da Vinci, the famed inventor and artist, has used the Golden ratio is many of his creations, most famously; the Vitruvian man (brought into limelight through the book "The Da Vinci Code"). Even the ratio of Fibonacci numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8,...) is successively approximate to the Golden ratio.

 

I wanted to find out what relevance the Golden Ratio had to India and Hinduism, and I did find something interesting. Many of you would have come across the Sri Yantra, an object of meditation that finds place in Puja Rooms: -

Pic 2: -

 

Now, Sri Yantras are formed by 9 interlocking isoceles triangles. 4 of them point upwards and represent the female energy Shakti, while the other 5 point downwards, representing the male energy Shiva. These triangles are not ordinarily composed, but have aspects of the Golden Ratio in them. Just as we can have rectangles drawn to the specifications of the Golden Ratio, triangles too can have their properties.

 

Triangles have 3 variates: The base length, the slant length and the height. The angle also plays a major role. What is amazing is that the triangle of the Yantra is a proportionate cross-section of the Giza Pyramid, incorporating both special numbers pi (3.142...) and phi (1.618...) ratio. And the base angle of the triangle in the Yantra is seen to be around 51 degrees, the same value that was attributed to the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

 

The standard form of the Sriyantra, with the 9 interwoven triangles, constitutes a total of 43 triangles. Different versions have circles and squares surrounding the triangles, and they are said to form the boundary within which Gods residing in the intersections can stay. The centre of the Yantra has a Bindu (dot), which is the focus of the way you can meditate. You can either start from the inside and move out, or do it vice versa. The former is seen to be a constructive view, while the latter a destructive one.

 

The Sriyantra might look a fairly simple design, but the construction is a highly complex affair. There are innumerous intersections that take place between the lines of the 9 triangles, and these cuts are supposed to be concurrent. Thus, changing the position of any one shape will require adjustments in all the corresponding figures. If the intersection of the lines does not happen at a particular point, the concurrency is lost, and so is the significance. There is a lot for research going on to find out the true meaning of the Sri Yantra. Some consider it the primordial source of life, and there was a finding about how it was a manifestation of the DNA form, etc. also

 

Now, there is another separate reference to the Golden Ratio in connection with Kuber, the God of Wealth. It is said that Lord Kuber's treasure, the most prized collection of wealth in the universe, is hidden inside the mystical Mt.Meru. This is guarded by Nagas, or serpents. Now, Mt.Meru is also the name given to a special triangle formed by the ancient mathematician Pingala, and is called MaatraMeru. And this triangle is today called the Pascal's triangle, which some of you might be familiar with:

Pic 3: -

 

What is of interest (as you will observe in the above figure) is that when you move diagonally upwards starting from the first digit on each line and sum the corresponding digits along each diagonal, you end up getting the numbers of the Fibonacci series, which in-turn are in the Golden ratio. Thus, it can be inferred that our ancient texts give special importance and reverence to this "divine ratio", forming it the basis of how one reaches the treasure of the Gods.