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Friday, April 8, 2011

It is 5113 years had elapsed in the Hindu Calendar System - As on 15th April 2011.

The Hindu calendar  begins with Kali Yuga. The epoch (starting point or first day of the zeroth year) of the current era (Kali Yuga) of Hindu Calendar (both solar and lunisolar) is February 18, 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar or January 23, 3102 BCE in the proleptic Gregorian calendar.  
Both the solar and lunisolar calendars started on this date. After that, each year is labeled by the number of years elapsed since the epoch.
This is a unique feature of the Hindu calendar. All other systems use the current ordinal number of the year as the year label. But just as a person's true age is measured by the number of years that have elapsed starting from the date of the person's birth, the Hindu calendar measures the number of years elapsed.
As of April 15, 2011, 5113 years (3102+2011=5113) had elapsed in the Hindu calendar. However, the lunisolar calendar year usually starts earlier than the solar calendar year,  so the exact year will not begin on the same day every year.

Most of these calendars are inherited from a system first enunciated in Vedanga Jyotisha of Lagadha, a late BCE adjunct to the Vedas, standardized in the Surya Siddhanta (3rd century CE) and subsequently reformed by astronomers such as Aryabhata (499 CE), Varahamihira (6th c. CE), and Bhaskara (12th c. CE). There are differences and regional variations abound in these computations, but the following is a general overview of Hindu lunisolar calendar.
The Hindu New Year's Day commences on the first day of the month called Chaitra or Chithirai. It is also called Chaitra Vishu for this reason. The occasion is said to be an auspicious one because, at this time, the sun enters the sign Aries of· the Zodiac. The people call the occasion Chaitra Vishu Punyakalam or, the sacred occasion.
The reason why the people in India compute the Indian year from this month when the sun enters Aries -- the ram in the signs of the Zodiac -- is said to be one philosophically derived from the science of cosmo-genesis. The Sanskrit word for 'ram' is aja which means 'that which is not born.' Therefore the sign of the Zodiac under reference stands for the ultimate cause of everything, and consequently the month in which the sun enters this sign is rightly considered to be the first month of the year. From time immemorial, the Hindu conception of an ideal life has been one of sacrifices and religious observances. Thus the information regarding the appropriate time for the observance of particular rites or ceremonies becomes important. This information is furnished by the Hindu astrologers and astronomers in the form of a calender called panchangams. 

In ancient times books were very rare and even cudjan leaf manuscripts were not easily available to the vast majority of the people of a village; only the chief priest of the village held a copy of the precious manuscript and it was his duty to apprise the people in his village of the date of observance of a particular festival or Vrata. But in the beginning of the year the people desire to know the position of the various planets with reference to the sun and its effects on men, animals and plants. They also want to know whether the position of the planets would bring them rains in the proper seasons. So the custom of calculating and predicting the planetary influence over the earth through such astrological studies came in vogue.
The days are generally hot and sultry in the month of Chithirai. When a large number of people assemble at a particular place in hot weather, something must be done to counter it. Thus arose the custom of presenting people with cool drinks and fans. On this festive day people eat margosa flowers, fried or rather charred and mixed with sugar. Apart from the medicinal effect which this preparation has, we may say that this flower belongs to this season and is thus recognised as the harbinger of the coming season.
Tamilians of southen India arrive at their new year day in accordance with the movement of the sun and it is the astronomical year which marks the vernal equinox. The Telugu and the Kannada-speaking people follow the lunar or the luni-solar systems, which precedes the Tamil new year. The Malayalis of the west coast follow an agricultural year which is known as Kollam Andu, commencing in September when the sun enters the autumnal equinox. It is in this part of the west coast of southern India that very heavy rains fall for nearly nine months in the year.
Though the day commencing each month is considered to be auspicious yet special importance is attached to the occasions, Chaitra Vishu, Tula Ravi, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. The solar year commences from the sun's entrance into aries -- the ram. The beginnings of the solar months are determined by the entry of the sun into the other zodiacal signs.


 Hinduism has of four eras or ages, of which we are currently in the last. The four are:

  1. Krita Yuga or Satya Yuga
  2. Treta Yuga
  3. DvÄ para Yuga
  4. Kali Yuga
They are often translated into English as the golden, silver, bronze and Iron Ages. (Yuga means era or age.) The ages see a gradual decline of dharma, wisdom, knowledge, intellectual capability, life span and emotional and physical strength. The epoch provided above is the start of the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is 432,000 years long. The DvÄ para, TretÄ and Krita (Satya) Yuga-s are two, three and four times the length of the Kali Yuga respectively. Thus they together constitute 4,320,000 years. This is called a Chaturyuga.
A thousand and a thousand (i.e. two thousand) chaturyuga-s are said to be one day and night of the creator BrahmÄ . He (the creator) lives for 100 years of 360 such days and at the end, he is said to dissolve, along with his entire Creation, into the Eternal Soul or ParamÄ tman.
A samkhya view of the timespan of a yuga is given by Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. This is detailed in his book, The Holy Science. According to this view, one complete yuga cycle is equal to one complete "precession of the equinox", a period of approximately 24,000 years. The ascending phase consists of a 1200 year Kali, 2400 year Dwapara, 3600 year Treta and 4800 year Krita (Satya) yuga. The descending phase reverses this order, thus both ascending and descending phases equal 24,000 years. According to calculations given in the book, the most recent yuga change was in 1699, when the
Earth passed from Kali Yuga (the lowest material age) to DvÄ para Yuga (the second age associated with electrical, atomic and finger forces). We are in an ascending spiral right now, and will pass into the TretÄ Yuga in 4100 CE. According to the book, the motion of the stars moving across the sky (a.k.a.precession) is the observable of the Sun's motion around another star. The quality of human intellect depends on the distance of the Sun and Earth from a certain point in space known as the Grand Center, Magnetic Center or VishṇunÄ bhi (the navel/center of Lord Vishnu) Vishnu. The closer the Sun is to it, the more subtle energy the Solar System receives, and the greater is the level of human spiritual and overall development. As the Sun moves around its companion star, it brings us closer to or drives us farther away from Vishnunabi, resulting in the rising and falling ages here on Earth.
Yukteswar tells us that the calendars of the higher ages were based on the Yugas, with each era named after its Yuga. Hence, the year 3000 BCE was known as descending Dwapara 102 (because the last descending Dwapara yuga began 102 years earlier in 3102 BCE). He stated that this method was used up until the recent Dark Ages, when knowledge of the connection with the yugas and the precession cycle was lost; "The mistake crept into the almanacs for the first time during the reign of Raja Parikshit, just after the completion of the last descending Dwapara Yuga. At that time Maharaja Yudhisthira, noticing the appearance of the dark Kali Yuga, made over his throne to his grandson, the said Raja Parikshit. Maharaja Yudhisthira, together with all the wise men of his court, retired to the Himalaya Mountains... thus there was no one who could understand the principle of correctly calculating the ages of the several Yugas".
Thus, Yukeswar assumed that Raja Parikshit was not trained in any vedic principles even though he alone ruled the world many years. Thus, he interpreted that Yugas are not calculated correctly. Consequently, he gave the theory that when the Dwapara was over and the Kali era began no one knew enough to restart the calendar count. They knew they were in a Kali Yuga (which is why the old Hindu calendar now begins with K.Y.) but the beginning of this calendar (which in 2011 stands at 5113) can still be traced to 3102 BCE, (3102+2011=5113) the start of the last descending Dwapara Yuga. To this day there is still much confusion why the Kali starts at this date or what the correct length of the Yugas should be. Yukteswar suggests that a return to basing the Yuga calendar on the motion of the equinox would be a positive step.
The solar years are recorded in the era of the Kaliyuga. Its years are converted into those of the Christian era by subtracting 3101, from the number of complete years that have lapsed since the beginning of the Kaliyuga. Similarly, the corresponding complete year of the Kaliyuga passed, is arrived at by adding 3101 to the Christian year. Further, by adding 3044 to the year in the Vikrama era and 3179 to the year in the Saka era the corresponding Kaliyuga year is arrived at. The lunar month Chandrayanam as opposed to the solar one Sourayanam is reckoned from the full moon to the full moon. It is invariably determined by the beginning of the bright fortnight of the month, but takes the name of the solar month in which the full moon occurs. Each month consists of two halves called 'pakshas' and each half is a fortnight in the month. The Sukla paksha or the bright fortnight is the period of the waxing moon while Krishna paksha or the dark fortnight is that of the waning moon. Each of these pakshas again consists of fifteen tithis. A tithi is the time required by the moon to increase its distance from the sun westward by twelve degrees of the zodiac.
As the true motions of the sun and the moon vary with their positions in their orbits the length or duration of a tithi is also variable. There are names given to these tithis of the fortnight and the fifteenth tithi of the bright fortnight is called the Purnamlisi tithi or the full moon, while the fifteenth tithi of the dark fortnight goes by the name Amavasya tithi or the new moon. In fact, the full moon and the new moon mark the end bright and dark fortnights of the month respectively.
It is also said that the Chaitra Vishu day or the opening day of the first fortnight of the waxing moon was the occasion chosen by Brahma to create this world. Hence this day is also known as yugadhi or the beginning of a yuga. This festive day is said to have acquired further importance by the fact that Sri Ramachandra, the hero of the epic Ramayana, had his triumphal entry into Ayodhya after the destruction of the rakshasas, and was crowned there on this day.
The Indian calendar is named panchangam since it is comprised of five limbs, and they are (1) the tithi, (2) the varam, (3) the nakshatram, (4) the yogam and (5) the karanam. A man desiring prosperity pays attention to the tithi. One desirous of long life understands everything about varam or the days of the week. The nakshatrams are resorted to, for expiating sin and the yogam for obtaining immunity from diseases. The karanam is said to secure success for the observer in all his undertakings. Thus, a proper understanding of planetary influences is essential for controlling them. Hence has arisen the proverb 'wise Inen rule the stars'.
There is also an allegorical myth regarding the origin of the Hindu cycle of sixty years.
Here is the list of the sixty years in the lunar years cycle.
Prabhav, Vibhav, Shukla, Paramoda, Prajapati, Angira, Shrimukha, Bhava, Yuva, Dhatu, Ishwar, Bahudanya, Pramathi, Vikrama, Vrisha, Chitrabhanu, Subhanu, Taran, Prartiva, Vyaya, Sarvajit, Sarvadhari, Virodhi, Vikriti, Khara, Nandana, Vijaya, Jaya, Marmath, Durmikha, Hemalambi, Vilambi, Vikari, Sharvar, Plava, Shubakrit, Shobhana, Krodhi, Vishvavasu, Parabhava, Plavanga, Kilaka, Saumya, Sadharana, Virodhikrita, Paridhavi, Pramadi, Ananda, Rakshasa, Nala, Pingala. Kalayukta, Sitdharti, Raudri, Durmati, Dundubhi, Rudhirodgari, Raktakshi, Krodhana, and Akshaya.

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