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Tithi and Nakshatra

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Why are some occasions reckoned using nakshatras while others using tithi? Like one's birth is usually marked using nakshatra, but devasam goes by tithi.

Shri Kartheeque,

In the more ancient days 'thithi' which measures the number of days between New Moon and Full Moon was the only way of labeling and identifying days in their incessant flow through time. The ancients also found out that the full moon does not happen at the same spot with reference to the stellar background and that it also makes a full circle in an year. So, they found out in which part of the sky the full moon occurred and named them as "months". But this could give them only the lunar year of 354.37 days, or 11 or 12 days less than a true solar year. It took centuries/millennia for our ancient rishis to find out this because the agricultural seasons will go on changing each year if one follows the lunar calendar, as is the case with the Islamic Calendar. Then they adopted some crude methods to make their lunar year and the actual solar year to coincide. Since these are not immediately relevant to your query, let's leave these for now.

All births and deaths were therefore reckoned using thithis only. Examples : Ramanavami, Gokulashtami, Naraka Chaturdasi, Maha Sivaratri (thrayodasi during Sandhyaa in the month of Maasi and Krishna Paksha), etc. You will also find that most dates from the religious mutts will bear the lunar dates so also many of the ancient literary and other texts.

In a subsequent era, mostly after Alexander's invasion and our people getting familiar with the Greek astronomy/ astrology, the notion of reckoning the days according to the position of the Moon among the stars and constellations, and taking the solar month and year came into vogue. Since our people have an innate fear of death and related items, it appears to me that the new system of "nakshatra" was adopted for birth and other auspicious occasions and death-related rituals went, as earlier, on the basis of thithi only.

But you will observe that for vaideeka rites and rituals both thithi and nakshatra are stated like in marriage invitations.
 
Well Said Sangom Ji,

Our Ancestors Strictly avoided Ashtami and Navami , Though we are Celebrating Gokulashtami, ( Lord Krishna's Birth ) and Sri Rama Navami (Lord Shri Ram's Birth),

This is because our Earth will be exactly at The Center and it will be Between Sun and Moon.

On those days The Sun will be pulling the Earth towards its Orbit and at The same Time Moon also will be pulling The Earth towards it.

As a result of This The Earth will Observe a Strong Vibration.

This will have impact on all the Living Things on Earth.

Because of this we will be in a Wavering Mentality at that time and Wont take a right decision.

So our ancestors avoided Ashtami and Navami.
 
Well Said Sangom Ji,

Our Ancestors Strictly avoided Ashtami and Navami , Though we are Celebrating Gokulashtami, ( Lord Krishna's Birth ) and Sri Rama Navami (Lord Shri Ram's Birth),

This is because our Earth will be exactly at The Center and it will be Between Sun and Moon.

On those days The Sun will be pulling the Earth towards its Orbit and at The same Time Moon also will be pulling The Earth towards it.

As a result of This The Earth will Observe a Strong Vibration.

This will have impact on all the Living Things on Earth.

Because of this we will be in a Wavering Mentality at that time and Wont take a right decision.

So our ancestors avoided Ashtami and Navami.

Shri Sankaranarayanan,

I don't think it is correct to say "our Earth will be exactly at The Center and it will be Between Sun and Moon"; even if this may be approximately correct, when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon it will be FULL MOON (kindly see attached chart.)

Another question which bothers me now is - Whether these two avatars born in ashtami and navami when all humanity will have wavering mind and will be prone to take wrong decisions, are really correct (right decisions) of our ancient people or were they somehow misled by the tithi doshas to erroneously believe that those were avataars although they were births in dosha periods?
 

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North Indians follow thithi for all purposes and I do not think they use nakshatra for any of the festivals.
It could be that the thithi based festivals are borrowed from north and those following nakshatra are Tamilnadu's original ones. So also with Kerala.
Sangam literature mentions many nakshatras and only ashtami and pournami among thithis. Even though festivals were celebrated on pournamies, they were known only by the name of the nakshatra occurring on that day, e.g. Arudra darsanam on the day of Arudra nakhatra, Karthigai on Karthigai nakshatram day and visakam on the day of visakam though they all fall on full moon days.
Regarding Krishna Jayanti, Vadamas celebrate it on Astami and Vaishnavas on Rohini. This may be due to the vaishavas being the original inhabitants of Tamilnadu and Vadamas being the immigrants from north as their name suggests.
 
Dear Sangom ji,

This Definition I hear from Kannadasan in a Madurai Meeting during 1980s .

At that time there was a TOP Movement. (Tamil Nadu Oppressed People's Movement).

All Forward Communities Stayed United under this movement under the Leadership of Marthandam Pillai who was a Retd Collector.

Our movement Invited Kannadasan to deliver a Lecture even though he belongs to Nagarathar Community which will not come in TOP.

At that time he delivered this lecture in Thamukkam Grounds.
 
....Regarding Krishna Jayanti, Vadamas celebrate it on Astami and Vaishnavas on Rohini. This may be due to the vaishavas being the original inhabitants of Tamilnadu and Vadamas being the immigrants from north as their name suggests.
vikrama, SVs use both tithi and nakshatram for determining most festivals (Deepavali is a notable exception, it is strictly by tithi). The most complicated formula is Sri Jayanthi, the rule to determine Sri Jayanthi will make even Aryabhata's head swim.

For a branch of vadakalai called Munitraiyas, if a day can be found when both Rohini and Ashtami coexist even for a vinadi, then that is the day for Sri Jayanthi. Otherwise, a series of arcane rules must be used. Both Vadakalai and Thenkalai SVs of Matham persuasion follow another set of equally arcane rules to determine Sri Jayanthi. Usually, the Sri Jayanthi day will fall on consecutive days for these two groups of SVs, but occasionally it may fall on the same day.

BTW, even the Nakshtram system is not base on solar clock as there are only 28 of them. As I am sure many know, chandramanam is reconciled with souramanam using adhikamasam, one in which amavasyai occurs twice. If this reconciliation is not done, even by using tithi and nakshatram, the festivals will slip slide away around the solar calendar like Muslim festivals.

Cheers!
 

mskmoorthy

Active member
Warning: These are lengthy articles and may not directly answer the questions - It may be worthwhile reading and understanding.

Please see a scholarly paper (written by two well known computer scientists)
http://emr.cs.uiuc.edu/~reingold/hindu-paper.pdf

T
hey have also published a book published by Cambridge University Press called Calenderical Computations http://www.cs.tau.ac.il/~nachum/calendar-book/index.shtml

Hindu calendar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia states that there are only 27 Nakshtras (that is the number I am familiar with) - But interested readers may want to read this section closely to find the subtleties

The ecliptic is divided into 27 nakshatras, which are variously called lunar houses or asterisms. These reflect the moon's cycle against the fixed stars, 27 days and 7¾ hours, the fractional part being compensated by an intercalary 28th nakshatra. Nakshatra computation appears to have been well known at the time of the Rig Veda (2nd–1st millennium BCE).

From various historical documents including Al Beruni's Indica (and the book reference I gave above) seem to suggest about the caliber of these computations during ancient times.
 
Folks,

There is one very strong (and inauspicious) linkage between death and nakshatras, viz., the Dhanishtaa panchakam. According to our very revered rules and beliefs, if a person (male or female) dies in any of the five nakshatras - Dhanishta, Satabhishag, Poorvabhaadrapada, Uttarabhaadrapada and Revathi,- the soul will never get peace; it will hover around the house and cause five more deaths within one year and since the soul will be tormented by never-ending thirst, it will haunt the house in search of water and all water will therefore become impure.

In olden days I am told that the house in which the death occurred used to be locked after the 13th. day ceremony and no cooking or sleeping was done there; a well was dug inside one of the rooms and the house kept locked till the abdeekam. In the typical agrahaaram houses this well used to be dug in the inner muttam (உள் முற்றம்) and generally the two adjacent houses used to have access to it. Thus the house in which the death happened was not used and its inhabitants lived in the next house along with its people. As propitiation, five dummies made of darbhai or Kusa grass had to be burnt along with the dead body in question to ward off further (chain) deaths in the house. Despite all these, the belief has been that if a person dies in Dhanishtaa panchakam, that is sure to bring about the end of that lineage!

Youngsters neglecting to look after their aged parents beware! The oldies can wreak havoc and have their vengeance even at the very last moment ;)

I look forward to comments from the orthodox members zealously upholding brahmin traditions in this Forum, on this topic.
 
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