Thursday, March 21, 2013

'Happy New Year' and 'Happy Birthday' in Vedic Astrology


Happy New Year in Vedic Astrology/Jyotiṣa stands on much the same footing as Happy Birthday does. Vedic Astrology follows the sidereal zodiac unlike the Western world which follows the tropical zodiac.

As we usher in 2014 according to the Gregorian Calendar, we need to note two things-firstly, this is the Western New Year, that is, it is actually happening, and secondly, it is not the Vedic New Year.

‘Is’ is bold and underlined because I am a big fan of what is happening and not happening. This is an important benchmark for me. The New Year is happening based on a certain reckoning. This is not the Vedic reckoning. So the Gregorian New Year is not that important, if at all, in the Hindu system of popular time.

But then that is no reason to not note vociferously that a New Year is close at hand and anticipate new things because…because it is happening.

Vedic astrology records months based on the solar ingress. The solar ingress means the movement of Sūrya/ Surya into Rāśi/sign. The Rashi or the Vedic sign is created by the Sun. This is done based on the one degree motion of the Sun per day and each Vedic sign is comprised of thirty degrees of arc of longitude.

The Vedic system records ‘days’ as motion of the Moon called ‘Tithi’ which is relative to the Sun based on the angular distance between the two luminaries. There are thirty Tithi in a month/Māsa/Masa.

The Hindu New Year starts on the day the Sun transits into the first sign of the zodiac Meṣa/Mesha/ Aries. That makes sense even to the person who is not actually adept at astrology. This is the first lunar day of the bright half (Śukla Pakṣa Pratipadā/ Shukla Paksha Pratipada) in the Chaitra Māsa. This is Happy New Year in Vedic astrology.

What in the world is happy birthday, then? Assuming people have one clear birthday and not two, say one in February and the other in October to confuse the general populace, then the Vedic birthday will be close to that birthday though not identical with it. The Vedic birthday varies a little each year. However there is zero variation in the astronomy of the birthdate.

The astronomy of the birthdate is the exact angular distance between the Sun and Moon as at birth during the month when the Sun is transiting the same Rāśi as at the time of birth. This is called Tithi Praveśa/Pravesha but is actually Happy Birthday (the February-October rider firmly in place).

Tithi is very important though Western Happy New Year and Happy Birthday are important only because they happen. Tithi is important because it is composed of Jala Tattwa/ water element which indicates emotions, flux and prosperity all of which are important. Every year we cast a Tithi Praveśa Cakra/ Tithi Pravesha Chakra, a distinct horoscope for the Vedic birthday which reveals the basic features of the Hindu year in respect of love and prosperity and the flow of things in general.

Happy birthday is more Moon and Happy New year is more Sun.

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