In Vedic astrology, Panchang has two meanings. Panchang is a book where all the celestial events are recorded, referred to by astrologers to calculate natal charts. In the Hindu religion, people carry out important activities only after referring to the Panchang.
Nowadays, there is software to calculate the charts. There is a method of reading the Panchang. It has a record of all celestial activities for a solar year. The record of each day is in the Panchang. If one knows how to read Panchang, you can determine an auspicious time for all activities. For example, activities like a house warming, a marriage, registration of a property, buying any assets, etc. The transition and position of planets are known by looking at the Panchang.
Panchang means “Pancha” which is five and “anga” which is elements. Any new start or beginning one needs to look at these five elements for Hindus. Everything that we see in our natal chart is represented by the five elements of the Panchang. These five elements are the Vaara (Days), Thithi (Hindu lunar day), Nakshatra (constellations), Yoga (period being auspicious or inauspicious), Karana (Half phase of thithi) they are all very different. Based on these five elements a good “muhurat” or auspicious date and time are arrived at. The Panchang plays an important role in guiding the Hindus in on all festivals and auspicious events.
If the calculations are done using the surya siddhanta calculations, the Panchang is known as the Drik Panchang Panchang.
You can verify whether a day is good for a particular activity once can refer to the daily Panchang/ Aaj Ka Panchang/ Dainik Panchang
A brief description of the five elements
Thithi is also known as the lunar day which is calculated as the longitude of the moon minus the longitude of the sun divided by 12. There are 30 lunar days and hence 30 days divided as Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha which is divided by a full moon, 15 days each. An activity done on a thithi determines how a person feels. The brighter half is the Shukla Paksha and the dark half is Krishna Paksha.
Each lunar month is the circle of the moon around the earth which is roughly 360 degrees. Each of the halves is 180 degrees. The length of each thithi is 12 degrees. The length of a thithi can vary between 19 to 26 hours. The Amavasya is the no moon day where the sun and the moon appear to be together. Poornima is the day of the full moon where they are 180 degrees apart. Thithis don’t have a fixed start and end time every day. They are not determined by midnight, sunrise, or sunset. There are 2, sometimes 3 Thithis in a day.
Names of the thithis – there are 15 Thithis repeated in each Paksha.
Calculation of Thithis
Calculation of Thithis
In a 15 day cycle these Thithis come in the below types:
Nanda: 1,6,11 ruled by Venus - these for happiness
Bhadra: 2,7,12 ruled by Mercury - these are for fortune
Jaya: 3,8,13 ruled by Mars - these are for victory
Rikta: 4, 9, 14 ruled by Saturn - these are not considered good. But, these thithis are good for getting rid of unwanted things.
Purna: 5, 10, 15 ruled by Jupiter these are for creativity and doing concrete full-fledged things in your life.
The type of thithi gives you the kind of activity you can perform Thithis are very important in our day-to-day life. They help us decide on birthdays and marriage anniversaries. Usually, the thithi at sunrise is the thithi of the day. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Sometimes for festivals, Vaishnava ekadashi, and death anniversaries, the rule differs to calculate the thithi. Thithi times mentioned in the Indian calendar are not applicable outside of India.
Vaara means a weekday, 7 planets rule the 7 days of the week. 7 Vaaras have 7 planets as their lord. Vaara brings creativity to a certain activity. There are 7 heavenly bodies as well. They are the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.
The Vaara are:
Nakshatra is a very important element of the Panchang. Nakshatra means fixed stars which have the potential for growth and creation. This is one of the key elements of the Panchang in Vedic astrology. The zodiac is divided into12 parts known as the Rashis. The 360 degrees of the zodiac is divided into 27 equal parts which are the Nakshatras. Each Nakshatra is divided into 4 equal parts called padam. Each Rashi has 2 ¼ Nakshatras. Hence each Rashi has 9 Nakshatra padams.
The Nakshatras are:
Yoga literally means union, the union of the degrees of the sun and moon. Yoga holds events in life together. Yoga holds all the significant life events together. There are 27 Yogas. The addition of the sun and moon’s longitudes gives us our daily Yoga. There are auspicious Yogas and inauspicious Yogas. Yogas of the natal chart are not the same as Yogas of the Panchang. These Yogas are formed by the angle of the Sun and the Moon daily. There exist 27 such Yogas which are connected to a Nakshatra. Some of them are beneficial while some of them are not. The difficult Yogas make a person feel like his life is hard, and feels deprived despite having the basic comforts and elder’s blessings. The easy Yogas bestow upon the person protection and blessings and help the person sail through tough times as well easily.
The Yogas are:
Karana is nothing but a half thithi. In a lunar month there are 60 Karanas. But there are only 11 Karanas. They are divided into two which are fixed and movable. A good “muhurat” is arrived at by calculating the right day, right Thithi, right Nakshatra, the right Yoga, and the right Karana. The Panchang “shuddhi” is important.
Karana is a wonderful element that helps us identify our area of work, and our profession and tells us what we are best at. Karana is the element that helps to create new karma. How one used their mind and body in their business or professional sphere. It is to wash out past karmas. It helps us understand our negatives and shortcomings and tools how we could become the best in the field and how we can excel in it.
The Karanas are:
The Importance of Panchang
The five elements determine various aspects of the life of a person.
The thithi element provides wealth, Vaara influences the longevity of a person, Yoga is the fortune which influences the health and curing of diseases, Karana influences the success in deeds. All of them are associated with a planet.
• Ether determines Yoga ruled by Jupiter. They define our protection, our health, and our blessings. Ether defines the acceptance level of the person concerned. It determines the ability to be wise, graceful, healthy, reading capabilities, and communication capabilities.
• Air determines Nakshatra ruled by Saturn, this determines the mental attitude of a person. The placement of Saturn is a defining factor for the mental makeup, physical appearances, and nature of a person.
• Fire determines the Dina which is ruled by Mars which determines our health. The placement of mars will define the health of a person.
• Water determines our Thithi which is ruled by Venus, which determines the relationships and wealth in our lives. This element will define the person’s emotional makeup, personal and wealth relationships.
• Earth determines Karana which is ruled by mercury which determines success in our work and profession. This makes a person-focused, hardworking and structured in their work.
Aspects of the Panchang
Sunrise and Sunset
Every day according to the Hindu calendar or the Panchang, the sunrise and sunset vary every day. This depends on the season of the year and the location that one is in. The length of the day and the night vary as well. Hence, as per Hindu calculations, a day is not exactly 24 hours. The day does not end at midnight. The method of calculation would mean that a day begins at sunrise and ends at the next sunrise. The newspaper’s sunrise time mentioned cannot be an indicator of accurate astrological sunrise.
Moonrise and Moonset
The astrologers calculate favorable time based on moonrise and moonset time. Astrologers use this to calculate and advise clients on auspicious times.
The Hindu year is split into 2 parts - the Uttarayana and Dashinayana. Uttarayana is that period where the Sun travels from Capricon to Gemini. This period is for 6 months. The next six months are the Dakshinayana where the sun travels south with a transition to cancer Rashi.
Amanta Month System
Andhra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra follow the Amanta system beginning at Pratipada of Shukla Paksh. It is named Amanta as it ends on Amavasya day.
Poornimanta Month System
In this system, the month begins at one Poornima and ends at the next Poornima. So in this method, the first 15 days would be Krishna Paksha and the second 15 days would be Shukla Paksha with Amavasya being in the middle of the month.
Vikram Samvat and Shaka Samvat
King Vikramaditya established Vikram Samvat. This method of seeing good time 57 BC and the ‘Shaka Samvat’ was started in 78 BC. There is a slight difference between the two which astrologers can advise on.
Muhuratam is the time to bring together your forces with nature and enhance and increase your chances of success. Muhurutams usually arrive at calculations done by an astrologer.
‘Abhijit Muhurta’ is the auspicious time to start a ceremony, event, or work. In many customs, it is the most preferred time for a marriage in Hindu tradition. These are considered to be auspicious according to the calculations in the Panchang for any new activities. This is time considered like the Sudharshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu. The Puranas give details on how we can know the Amrit Muhurat, and that all good auspicious beginnings can be done in these 48 minutes in a day on any given day, as this falls every day. Abhijeet Muhurat falls 24 minutes from lunar noontime until 24 minutes after lunar noon.
This is that time that is auspicious. This should not be interchangeably used with Amrit Yoga. This is a critical time where you can derive great pleasure out of doing any activity. Those struggling can make use of this time and get maximum benefit. All auspicious activities should be considered to be done in this time frame.
This time in a day is not auspicious and suitable for any important and good activity to be performed. It is recommended that we do not perform any good start at this time of the day. It is said by renowned astrologers by the calculation and experience that any activity commenced at this time is generally a hindrance to any prosperous venture. Rahu is a shadow malefic planet that is not considered favorable. Hence the weekdays have fixed time frames known as the Rahu kaal.
Gulikan is the son of Saturn. The main aspect of Gulika kalam is that it repeats itself, so any activities like death rites. Because of the nature of its repetition in some cases, it is considered auspicious. Auspicious activities can be conducted only after consulting a learned astrologer. This time is ruled over by Saturn.
Yamagandham is the time that Ketu rules for one and a half hours at various times on the days of the week. It is considered inauspicious to do any good activities or new starts. Represented by planet Jupiter. The time invites the end to work, hence it is considered unfavorable to perform any new starts in business, signing of contracts, purchase of stocks, buying of land, purchasing assets, etc.
This is a period present every day. This is calculated by looking at the Suryodayam time. This usually lasts for 48 minutes daily except Saturdays. On different days it is observed that that the time varies.
The Varjyam kaalam is a bad time. Lasting for 96 minutes in a day, based and calculated on the Nakshatra it is considered an inauspicious time of any given day. This kaalam, it is generally recommended to avoid significant events in life, like marriage, house warming, ‘mundan’ – tonsuring, thread ceremony etc.
Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha
As explained earlier, every month has 2 halves depending on the waxing and waning of the Moon. These are significant in Hindu tradition. The moon loses light during this period so it is looked down upon. One can look at a daily Panchang to know if the day is Shukla Paksha or Krishna Paksha.
Benefits of Panchang
• Creation of one’s horoscope and natal chart that is the jaatakam or the kundli
• Timekeeping of methods using the Vedic method
• Easy to decide on when to start new activities
• To know when there is an eclipse
• Festivals can be determined using the Panchang
• The determination of many elements associated with a person’s horoscope is known by looking at a Panchang.
India is rich with the Vedas, and they have given us Vedic astrology. We can use this in the form of the Panchang to work out good “muhurats” or auspicious dates and time to conduct big activities in our life. The Panchang is available in different Indian languages for reference.
The accurate study of the Panchang is done by learned astrologers. A learned astrologer can help you decode the Panchang and give you accurate results for you to make decisions. You can refer to the daily Panchang to get a fair idea. Please consult your learned astrologer for advice to understand the planetary positions and solve the Panchang puzzle.