Sun, Moon and Count of Time

Categories : Astrology

The Sun and the Moon are witnesses to changing times. They watched together the change of history and its repetitions. They have immense religious significance. The movement of the earth around the Sun determines the Solar year while the movement of the Moon around the Earth is the basis for the calculation of the lunar year. According to the Hindu Dharma Shastras, there is a Nakshatra year also caused by the Sun’s movement across the 12 Rashis of the zodiac consisting of 360 degrees, further divided into 27 Nakshatras. The time taken for this is almost equal to one Solar year.

One revolution of the earth around the Sun takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes 46 seconds. The average length of the solar years is; thus, 365 days and the remainder of hours, minutes and seconds get adjusted by one additional day in the fourth year February known as the leap year. The Gregorian calendar all over the world is dependent on solar calculation.

One revolution of the moon around the Earth is completed in about 29.5 days and if we calculate from one Amavasya (New Moon) to the next Amavasya (New Moon), we get a lunar month of 29.5 days. The total for 12 months becomes 354 days for the lunar year. The lunar year is shorter by 11 days per year which is synchronized with solar year by adding one extra month in the lunar calendar every third year. This extra month is known as Malmas, Adhikamas or Purushottam mas. However, complete adjustment takes place in about 19 years during which “Tithi Vilupti” (loss of date) is a recurrent feature of the Hindu Almanac. In all Hindu rites, the lunar calendar is followed. The Adhikamas make the Hindu calendar Lunisolar. The Islamic Hijri calendar is also lunar but it does not take recourse to one extra month like Adhikamas. The Islamic Hijri is 354 days long so the season of the beginning of New Year keeps changing.

The Chandra Varsha of Hindu Panchang (Almanac) has been divided into 12 months as per the effect of the Sun in the said season. The following list gives the details of months/seasons.

Sl. No.SeasonsChandra monthsSolar months
1.Vasanta (Spring)Chaitra – VaishakhMarch – April
2.Grishma (Summer)Jyestha – AshadhaMay – June
3.Varsha (Rainy Season)Shravan – BhadrapadJuly – August
4.Sarad (Autumn)Ashvin – KartikaSeptember – October
5.Hemanta (Winter)Margasirsa (Agahan) – PausaNovember – December
6.Sisira (Severe Winter)Magha – PhalgunJanuary – February

The Surya deva has been extensively covered in our Vedic and Pauranic literature. The Brahma Purana, Markandeya Puran, Vishnu Purana, Agni Purana, Ling Purana etc. have extensive sections on Sun God. The Vishnu Purana gives 12 names for the Sun which reflect the nature/effect of the Sun during a particular period of the solar year. The significance of the names has been described below. The twelve names are Dhata, Aryama, Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Vivasvan, Pusha, Parjanya, Anshu, Bhag (Bharga), Tvashta and Vishnu. All the names have scientific connotations.

  1. Dhata: Dhata is one who creates, preserves and supports life on earth. Chaitra month belongs to the spring season when fresh air pervades all around and plants blossom. A new life begins from this season. The Sun in its northward journey slowly comes to the position of equinox. The oxygen level remains excellent.
  2. Aryama: This name has been given to the Sun of Vaishakha. Heat gradually increases as the Sun keeps marching towards the Tropic of Cancer in our hemisphere. However, a lush green canopy of new leaves is found all around.
  3. Mitra: Mitra stands for a friend. Jyestha month more or less corresponds to May when the rays of the Sun become very strong and the earth’s surface becomes very hot during daytime. The intense heat over the landmass and its baking creates a low-pressure situation which pulls rain-bearing clouds during monsoon months. The more intense is heating, the better will be the monsoon. Thus, the Sun of May is a real friend.
  4. Varuna: Varuna is the name of the Sun of Asadh which roughly corresponds with June. The Sun arrives on the Tropic of Cancer and its intense heat signifies the beginning of Monsoon rains. The Indian monsoon begins on 1st June when thirsty earth gets drenched. Varuna is the god of water who initiates the rainy season.
  5. Indra: Indra is the King of Gods as per Hindu mythologies. Similarly, Shravan month is the King of the rainy season when non-stop rainfall can cause panic. However, this month’s rainfall is very significant for the Indian economy and its agriculture. Indra is the god of lightning and thunder too.
  6. Vivasvan: Vivasvan stands for the name of Manu and for the Arka tree which provides bunches of white flowers for Shiva Puja. Bhadrapada is a month of very high humidity and high temperature. This type of climate is described as muggy which is not comfortable at all. However, the Arka tree flourishes in this extreme condition.
  7. Pusha: This is the name of the Sun of the Ashwin month (September). The word stands for nourishment. This is the season when paddy crops begin maturing and grain formation begins. Temperature decreases and the Sun again arrives at the position of equinox.
  8. Parjanya: This name of the Sun stands for Kartika (October) when thunderclouds either from the returning monsoon or from cyclones become horrible. The rain is useful for good paddy crops.
  9. Anshu: Anshu is the name of the Sun for Margasirsa (Agahan) corresponding to November. The Sun remains in the southern hemisphere and its rays come obliquely over our lands gradually reducing the temperature. Pre-winter times are pleasant. Paddy is harvested and a series of festivals begin. However, the warm rays of the Sun become pleasant in winter.
  10. Bhag (Bharga): This word stands for Sun, Moon, good fortune, happiness, fame, beauty effort which is the time represented by Pausa (December). The Rabi season crops begin covering the field with pleasant weather conditions. Winters are not too severe. However, the Sun remains at a distance in the southern hemisphere close to the Tropic of Capricorn.
  11. Tvashta: The word stands for carpenter, builder, architect, Vishwakarma etc. Magh (January) is the coldest month in the northern hemisphere because the Sun remains far away in the south. However, a spate of construction activity begins. This is the best time for infrastructure growth and developmental activities.
  12. Vishnu: Although synonymous with Lord Vishnu, this word also stands for protection, all-pervasiveness and nourishment. Phalgun is remembered every year for the Holi festival. In February, warmth gradually increases as the Sun marches closer to the northern hemisphere. It drives away the severe cold of January and people become more active and relaxed. Winter crops begin to mature.