Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tamil new year at AvaNi?



An article in support of change of Tamil new year to Thai.

by V.Thangavelu, President Thamil Creative Writers Association

is given below.




I have already covered all the issues raised in this article barring one .




The writer says that Nacchinaarkiniyar, in his
commentary to Tholkaappiyam says that
Tamil New Year started in August

(Aavani) and ended in July (Aadi).



This is great news because the ritualistic yuga of

the Rig Vedic Pancha Varshathmaka yuga

(browse my blog for details on this in my earlier posts)

started on the New moon of Avani (full moon in Dhanishta),

that is on AvaNi avittam!


This also marks the beginning of Brahasptaya mana –

the cycle of Jupiter around the zodiac containing 5 rounds of 12 years.

Brahaspatyan mana is the cycle in vogue in Vedic society

which was followed for ritualistic purposes.




There were many systems of cycles of time in India.

Each one was evolved with a purpose

backed up by some astronomical purport.

I will soon write extensively on all the ‘mana’(measurement of time)

that were in vogue in this country.


Of these Brahaspatya mana started on the new moon day of Avani.

But the solar revolution was followed to compute time

from the very beginning of creation , from kalpa.

The entry of Sun into Aswini was given importance

due to a more relevant reason

of keeping up time

because the Mahayugas begin when all the planets along with the sun

enter Ashwini.

The Kalpa ends when all the planets enter Ashwini.


Entry into Ashwini is like starting the clock at cosmic level.




If as Nacchinaarkiniyar has said that the Tamil New year began on avani,

that is clear proof of a vedic culture in vogue in the Tamil society.


With Avani avittam, the year began and continued

with learning of Vedas for the next ayana, till uttarayana started.

This period marked the low key period on material life

but high key period on spiritual life.


With the start of Uttarayana, (in Thai)

it was time for loukeeka matters (materialistic life)

which reaches its peak in Chitthirai

with all temple festivals arranged at that time coinciding with the peak of Sun.




‘Thai neeradal’ as the article says

is about conclusion of vratham (penances) by girls who expected to be married.

But ‘Kumari-p-punal aadal’ of sangam times

in kumari river in the sunken land of kumari

which later became ‘vaigai-p-punal aadal’ in Madurai

were about taking dip in rivers in Chitthirai!!

What does Thangavelu or Karunanidhi say for this?




What ever they try to say to ‘invent’ an exclusive Tamil culture,

will end up as fool’s talks.


Anything of this land of Tamils is also of Vedic origin only.

No one can prove anything otherwise.


Another issue raised in that article is that Vikrama epoch and

saka epoch were about cycles initiated by kings.


Any student or researcher in astrology knows that it is about events in astronomy.

Vikrama epoch is about the ecliptic meeting of the celestial equator at zero degree Aries.

It coincided with the formation of a rare equilateral triangle

of joining of Ashwini, Magam and Moolam

on the day of initiation of that epoch.

It was called as Vikrama,

reminding of Thrivikrama avatara touching the heavens at Aswini

by his second step.



Further corrections were noted by astrologers a little later

that saw the ushering in of Salivahana epoch,

which most of astrological community

accepted as the date of zero degree Aries.




But researches done recently further pushed that date forward.

As per Lahri, it was 285 AD.



The reason for the differences is due to the

varying values of precession of equinoxes.

computed at various times by experts.




For instance, the annual precession computed by

Parahsra was 46.5 seconds,

By Bhaskara – 59.9 seconds

By surya siddhnatha – 54 seconds

By Varaha mihira – 50 seconds

By Krishna moorthy (recently) – 50.2388475 seconds.



By accurate computation of today the precession is 50 seconds only.

The cause for these differences must be analysed.

The differences in speed may have been there from time to time.

Perhaps those differences have been incorporated as sandhi

in arriving at the total duration.


For instance at the current calculation of precession,

the sun will take 26,000 years to complete one revolution around the zodiac.


But texts say that the period is 28,800 years.

It is based on this only,

that the 60 year cycle exists as the basal unit.

With ascending and descending phase of this,

it makes 60+60=120 as human life.


But longevity in Vedic period was only 100 years.

That means the computation of the revolution of the sun

around the zodiac must have been based on 50 year cycle.

50+50 making 100.

This 100 times 100 making 10000 is one half of the cycle.

The total duration must have been 20,000 years then.

We must remember that an extra star, Abhijit was also part of the zodiac then.

The speed, the circumference of the zodiac and ecliptic

must have been different then.




But in this Kali maha yuga,

Abhijit is no longer part of the zodiac.

The precession takes a longer time to complete one revolution

around the zodiac or around the pole star.

Today the basal unit is 60 years.

60+60 = 120 is the life span of man.


(read details in my earlier posts

on Vimshottari dasa that includes Rahu-ketu)

120 times 120 makes it 14400 years.

The double of it makes it 28,800,

marking the completion of one cycle around the zodiac,

which means a circumambulation of the sun around the dhruva star.




Thus it goes..

- jayasree





An article in support of change of Tamil new year to Thai.

by V.Thangavelu, President Thamil Creative Writers Association



Opposition has been voiced by a small bunch of individuals who are Hindus against the change in the birth of Thamil New Year. They claim the change is against tradition and borders on blasphemy. Such people are superficial and naive in many ways.



The opposition can be seen as an ad hominies argument you cannot fault an argument, so you fault the person advancing it. In this instance Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi! He is reviled by Hindu bigots like Thuglak Chow, Ramagopalan, Ela Ganesan (BJP) Ms Jayalalithaa (ADMK MLAs voted for the bill) and few others as anti-Hindu.


Strangely, the editor of the TamilNet website in his myopic arrogance and ignorance also joined the anti-nationalist force to whip up frenzy against the change. Thus making a mockery of the decision of the de facto state of Thamil Eelam that endorsed Thai first as Thamil New Year!


The Thamil Nadu government gave legal status to the observation of Thai first (January 14th) as the beginning of Thamil New Year which will be called Thiruvalluvar Aandu. In an unprecedented act of solidarity, the bill was unanimously passed by the TN State legislature.


The accusation the TN government has arbitrarily and suddenly made the change in regard to the New Year is not supported by facts. Only half-baked illiterates do so. Thamils need a continuous year count like the Christians or Muslims. They need to discard foreign culture and beliefs imposed on them under the guise of religion. Way back in 1921 Thamil scholars like Maraimalai Adikal, Naavalar Somasundera Bharathiyaar, Prof. Parithimaakalaignar (Prof. Sooriya Narayana Shastri) K.Subramaniyapillai, Thiru V.Kalyanasundera Mudaliyar, Saivait scholar Sachchithanadapillai, Naavalar Na.Mu. Venkadasamy, K.R.P.Visvanatham and scores of others met at Pachchayappan College and resolved to make Thai first Thamil New year instead of Chiththirai.


In order to have a continuous year count the birth day of Thiruvalluvar was taken as falling on Thai (Suravam) first. This was given effect by the TN government in 1971 in official calendars, from 1972 in gazettes and from 1981 in all
departments. Later it was extended to non-governmental departments as well.


In the Indian civil calendar, the initial epoch is the Saka Era, a traditional era of Indian chronology that is said to have begun with King Salivahana’s accession to the throne and is also the reference for most astronomical works in Sanskrit literature written after 500 AD. In the Saka calendar, the year 2002 AD is 1925.


The other popular epoch is the Vikram era that is believed to have begun with the coronation of King Vikramaditya. The year 2002 AD corresponds to 2060 in this system.
The Calendar Reform Committee set up India’s present day national calendar in 1957. It is a lunisolar calendar, which has leap years coinciding with the leap years of the Gregorian calendar. The months in the calendar have been named after the conventional Indian months. This calendar came into effect with the Saka Era in Chaitra 1, 1879 (March 22, 1957).


Although we don’t have direct evidence of Thiruvalluvarr’s birth day, this day has been chosen with reference to available (indirect data) from Sangam and post-Sangam Thamil literature.


The opposition to the change in the Thamil New Year from Chiththirai to Thai mostly emanates due to a lack of proper understanding of astronomy. Added is the natural tendency to resist change.


The Earth has three types of motions: motion around its axis, motion around the Sun, and motion of its axis due to wobbling of Earth. The Earth rotates around its axis in 24 hours, which causes day and night. In the Northern Hemisphere we see that all but one of the stars and planets rise in the east and set in the west. The one star that does not rise or set is the polar star (Dhruv Nadchchathiram or Polaris), which is located directly above the Earth’s North Pole. The Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees on the plane of orbit around the Sun. This causes changes of seasons during the year.


The seasonal changes have nothing to do with star or planets as widely believed by Astrologers and Almanac casters.
The second type of motion is the rotation of the Earth around the Sun in 365 days to complete one revolution in an elliptical orbit. Using modern instruments for exact observations of the universe, the Earth takes 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.50 seconds to complete one revolution with respect to the stars (sidereal year). With respect to the orbit, it takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.50 seconds to complete one revolution (tropical year). The difference in time is 20 minutes and 24.00 seconds as follows:
Solar year,
365d.5h.48m.45.50s.


Sidereal year,365.69Difference,20m.24.00s.


This difference is caused by the third type of motion of Earth, the wobbling of its axis, which astronomers call processional movement (precession of equinoxes) of the pole or axis of the Earth.



The ancient Thamils lived in close touch with nature. Astronomy and astrology very much influenced their lives. With regard to the year, the Thamils started it with the Vernal Equinox. Astronomers have determined the sun transiting Aries at 0 degree as the Vernal Equinox, that is the day when the sun rose exactly in the east, coincided. This was about the year 285AD. With the lapse of centuries, the New Year falls now, about three weeks after the Vernal Equinox. The Hindu solar year is sidereal, and since it is in excess of the tropical year by 20 minutes and 24.00 seconds, it does not keep step with the seasons. The seasons fall back one and half days for every hundred years or one day every 71.6 years.


It is not correct to say that Chiththirai has always been the beginning of Thamil New Year. Nachchinarkiniyar who wrote a commentary to Tholkaappiyam says Thamil New Year started in August (Aavani) and ended in July (Aadi). This demonstrates the fact that Aeries (Medam) is not the start of the reference point in the Zodiac during Tholkappiyar’s time.


The Thamils/Hindus divided the year into “Uttarayanam” the first six months after the winter solstice and “Dhadshanyam” the second six months after the summer solstice. The former was considered health-giving, bright period for man and animals for during that period the days became longer and longer.


Thus “Uttarayanam” was celebrated by Thaipongal and Paddippongal (the cattle festival). Most of the temple festivals in the Thamil country were also fixed for this bright period. The beginning of the “Dhadshanayam” was marked by “Adipirapoo” (July 1-Hindu calendar). These six months were considered not a very bright period for men and animals because the days became shorter and shorter.
One of the major drawbacks in counting Chiththirai is that it is not a continuous year. Its cycle consists of 60 years. This cycle of years is useless to record historical events. And their (so are some of the months) names are not Thamil. They are in Sanskrit.




The mythological story attached to the birth of the years is extremely vulgar and obscene. As usual with Hindu mythologies a perverted mind must have invented the story.
A close look at the six seasons given in Thamil literature reveals that they are out of sync with the actual seasons experienced at the equator.



Ilavenil Kaalam : mild sunny period : Chithirai, Vahasi - Thingal
(mid April to mid June)
Muthuvenil Kaalam : intense sunny period : Aani, Aadi - Thingal
(mid June to mid August)
Kaar Kaalam : cloudy rainy Period : Aavani, Purataasi - Thingal
(mid August to mid October)
Kuthir Kaalam - cold period : Iyppassi, Kaarthihai - Thingal
(mid October to mid December)
Munpani Kaalam - early misty period (evening dew): Maarkali, Thai Thingal
(mid December to mid February)
Pinpani Kaalam - late misty period (morning dew): Maasi, Panguni Thingal
(mid February to mid April)



Definitely Mid June to mid-August is not the rainy season in Northeast of Ceylon or Thamil Nadu. They are in fact hot and humid months. The rainy season is from October to November (Iyppasi to Kaarthikai) and not from mid August to mid October.
The coolest months are December - January (Maarkali - Thai). It is in January (Thai) the farmer harvest the first sheaves of a harvest. They are grinded and mixed with old rice and used for Pongal. The actual harvest season does not take place in January. It takes place in February and March. This is due to change in seasons due to precession.
January 14th too has astronomical significance, in that, the Sun (Earth) commences its Northerly transit.



In fact there are four (not three) transits of significance by the Sun in its journey from south to north and north to south. They are:
Winter Equinox-March 20/21
Summer Solstice-June 21
Autumn Equinox-December 22
Spring Equinox-March 20/21



This is true only in regard to the Northern hemisphere. It will be the exact opposite of those living in the Southern hemisphere. When it is summer in the Northern hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern hemisphere. So in regard to spring and autumn.
As already mentioned, the arrivals of the seasons have been changing at the rate of 1 degree per 71.6 years. Westerners found spring coming earlier (March 10) than the Julian calendar showed viz March 21. To adjust the extra days Pope Gregory ordered the deletion of 10 days i.e. October 5th was followed up with October 15th. The Gregorian calendar still has a few seconds difference. But the calendar can hold good fairly accurately for the next 1000 years!


Due to the precession of the equinox, the Sun will be at the 1st degree of Libra at the spring equinox in 11,232 years! Those who think that almanacs and calendars are cast in iron should mark their calendars! The zodiac of the two systems (Tropical and Sidereal) will be exactly opposite one another! Ayanamsha will be 180 degrees 0 minutes!! It would be interesting to those who oppose Thamil New Year shifted to Thai first to incarnate at that time just to join in the debate!


In Vedic or Sidereal astrology the calculation of the Sun passing through the 1st degree of Aries is marked by the Sun actually passing through the observable fixed stars making up the constellation Aries and has nothing to do with the seasons. Because of the precession of equinoxes at a rate of 50.26 seconds per year, .difference between the tropical zodiac and sidereal zodiac increases every 10 years by 8 minutes 22 arc seconds.
The Thamil/Hindu calendar has gone awry and no correction was made for precession of equinoxes. This is the reason why the real seasons are not synchronizing with months mentioned above. Poet Subramanian Bharathiyar has pointed out this discrepancy in one of his essays.


Those who claim that Chiththirai New Year ushers in Spring (Venil) has to re-think. It really falls on March 21st! A good 24 days earlier. So are all the Hindu auspices festival and ceremonial days.


The “wobble” and the precession of the equinoxes were known to the Ancient Egyptians, although the first official “discovery” of it was made by an Ancient Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, who was born sometime around 190 B.C. It was noted because the Sun was in a slightly earlier position at the time of the Spring Equinox each year (as measured against the fixed stars). Because the movement slips backwards (Westwards) through the zodiac, it is called precession (as opposed to a forward-movement which would be called progression).


Now 1 every 71.6 years doesn’t sound like too much, but it certainly adds up over 2,000 years or so, and this is where we get into the different Zodiac systems.
The determination of Thai first as Thamil New Year is now a fait accompali. One cannot unscramble a scrambled egg! History is heavily stacked against intellectually discreditable individuals for they live in the past!


The change of Thamil New Year has not altered or modified the Panchangam or Thamil Almanac as some foolishly think or argue. What has changed is the reference point (in a circle any point could be considered the reference point) in the Zodiac. Instead of Aeries 0 degree being considered the birth of Thamil New Year, the reference point has been shifted to Makaram 0 degree the birth of Thamil New Year!
There is reference in Thamil Sangam literature to the celebration of Thai Neeradal, but there is absolutely no reference to Chiththirai New Year in ancient literature!
The shifting of Thamil New Year from Chiththirai first to Thai first is a milestone in the history of Thamils.








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