I very well understand Mr. Karunanidhi’s intentions
for shifting the date of Tamil New Year’s Day to the 1 st of
His compassion for Tamils
that they must have a New Year of their own,
and not to have the one that is given by others –
has made him shift their New Year to another day of importance to Tamils.
But on a down- to- earth logic,
I would have rather wanted him to leave the Tamil New year’s day undisturbed,
because that is the only another day or festival or occasion
for the Tamils in a year (Gregorian calendar) apart from Pongal,
which has been officially declared a holiday.
Now by having clubbed it with Pongal,
the only other day of festival for Tamils
has been lost.
The rest are all Aryan (in Mr. Karunanidhi’s reckoning),
Christian, Mohammedan, Jain, Telugu
and even the Keralite Onam festival!
Mr. Karunanidhi has made sure
that no Tamil festival is there for the rest of the year!
Apart from this revolutionary feat, he wants us also to do a revolutionary act.
That is, he wants us to light ‘deepam’ on this New Tamil New year’s day,
like how it is done on Deepavali.
I am a bit confused to hear this.
I have even started wondering whether
I am still in Tamilnadu or outside of it.
Because as a Tamilian in Tamil nadu,
I have never seen a Tamil celebrate Deepavali by lighting the deepam.
Lighting ‘deepam’ on Deepavali is not at a Tamil custom.
Only the rest of
This makes me feel compelled to remind
that Tamilians have always had their own ways of celebrating the festivals
depending on many reasons.
We, the Tamilians light the deepam, not on Deepavali, but on Kaarthigai.
Kaarthigai deepam is a special festival in Tamil nadu.
But here again the rationale is not that it must be Tamilian or Aryan.
There are cosmological reasons, combined with the geography of this land
that have given rise to festivals like these.
The famous Thiruvannamalai deepam is lit
on the full moon day of Kaarthigai
(Hindu calendar plays a role in identifying this time)
atop the Annamalai hills,
as a reminiscent of the manifestation of the ‘Aryan’ God (in Karunanidhi’s parlance),
Shiva, whose head and feet could not be seen by the other two of the Trinity.
In a prehistoric date in this part of the world,
this feat seemed to have happened.
Puranas are not the only source to tell us this information,
even geologists tell us that this hill is an extinct volcano now!!
This part of India, known as Deccan plateau, came into existence
by sub-terranean activity.
Thiruvannamalai hill was spewing fire once
and today it is perhaps one of the remnants of this geological history.
As is a custom with the Hindus,
any phenomenon of nature will be eulogized into permanent memory
and if godliness is connected with it,
it will become a place of worship or time of celebration
Any Hindu festival will have natural / mundane and cosmological backing as well.
When these two go together
giving rise to some spiritual advancement,
then that occasion is celebrated or observed as a festival.
The cosmological implication of this festival is that
this part of the year lies exactly on the opposite of the hot days
called “agni nakshathram”.
The intense heat of kritthika, the star called as agni nakshathram
is offset 180 degrees away from it in the cool nights of Kaarthigai.
The heat of the sun is matched by the ‘light’ of the deepams lit in Kaarthigai.
Thus there is a rationale behind every festival.
And the deciding factor of any festival is its mundane and cosmological significance.
Such a cosmological significance does exist on the 1 st of Thai.
That is celebrated as Makar sjankaranthi in rest of India.
But we celebrate it as Pongal in the local parlance.
In both festivals, Sun is worshipped.
But our worship incorporates what is available with us,
namely, rice made into Pongal and sugarcane!
That is how regional variations in celebrations of festivals come to stay.
But all these festivals are common throughout India.
Similarly, the New Year also has mundane and cosmological significance.
The entire body of knowledge of cosmology
of the so-called Aryans does exist in Tamil.
A number of agamas exist in Tamil which also speak of
the same cosmology, same gods
and observance of similar religious and spiritual activities.
Yoga, mantra, tantra, siddhantha, tattwa and angas of calendar do exist in Tamil,
conceived and written by exalted souls of Tamil origin,
like Thirumoolar and Idaikkaattu chiithar to name the two popular ones.
The so-called ‘borrowed-from-Sanskrit’ calendar used by Tamils
has detailed description in the form of Tamil hymns
of the years and their nature.
They are about universal facts that can not be claimed
as belonging to a particular language.
From Surya siddhnatham, we come to know
that the most practical way of starting of the New Year
is to begin the day at sunrise.
(In contrast, the western system begins the day at mid-night)
The sun rise that happens
soon after the sun enters the first sign of the zodiac,
namely, the constellation of Aries marks the New Year.
Mr. Karunanidhi may ask why Aries is the first constellation.
Why can’t it be Capricorn?
It is true that Capricorn marks the beginning of Uttharayana,
the northern sojourn of the sun.
This is the astronomical significance of that day.
But the astrological significance of this day is something else
which does not make Capricorn suitable for starting the year.
New Year is not just about astronomy.
It is about a combination of both astronomy and astrology.
Predictions are made for the ensuing year.
The calendar of the New year is read in front of the Deity
(and kings in those days)
and prayers are done for a fruitful year.
That is how the New Year is celebrated.
There are several reasons why Thai can not replace Chitthirai.
(1) The most important reason is that
no one will start from the ‘knee’.
Any starting will be from ‘head to toe’.
Starting from Capricorn means
having knees as the head,
ankles as the face,
feet as the neck,
and then head as the heart and so on.
But if we start from Aries, then it will be the normal form, from head to feet.
This can be understood like this.
This world or universe of matter (prakruthi) contains
certain specific elements
which have specific characteristics.
from stars and star dust
to us, the humans to the minutest living organism-
is made up of the same elements
but in different constitution.
Similar elements exhibit similar characteristics and mixed-up elements
exhibit correspondingly mixed-up characteristics.
The mixed-up varieties are beyond count and comprehension.
It is here astrology gives us clues about how they will behave in what ways.
The humans and other life forms depend on this world for existence.
This world depends on the sun and its system of planets.
We must know that in the event of even a slight change
in the system of planetary positions in our solar system,
our earth can not exist in a way to support life as it does now.
The entire solar system depends on the other star systems
which go round in an equilibrium.
In the built-up of this dependency,
it has been found out by sages
that the patch of sky against which we move in an orbit
(which is rather conceived as the movement of the sun in a 360 degree circle)
known as the zodiac,
has a direct bearing on earth and its dependents.
This zodiac has been characterized as Kala purusha by the sages of yore.
Kala means time, the supreme lord, the god of death, the cosmic being etc.
The Bhagavata says,
Time is called Kala, because it controls the life and death of all living things;
it does not leave even the minutest part of Time.
It seizes or gathers together all beings.
It invests all beings with weal and woe,
It contracts their span of life,
Or it leads them to the abode of Death.”
In short, we are in then grip of Kalapurusha.
That Kalapurusha’s head lies in Aries.
The entire zodiac is characterized as 12 limbs of the Kala purusha,
each with a corresponding and distinct characteristic.
Aries – head
Taurus – face
Gemini - Neck and arms
Cancer – heart
Leo – chest
Libra – pelvis
Scorpio – genital organs
Sagittarius – thighs
Capricorn – knees
Aquarius – ankles
Pisces – feet.
This is the structure of the kaala purusha.
Each of these parts signify numerous factors
in addition to the ones exhibited by the parts mentioned above.
Astrologically the zodiac thus begins with Aries.
the point of intersection of the earth’s orbit with the celestial orbit
at 0 degree marks Meshayana or the beginning of Aries.
But this position moves backward by 1 degree every 72 years.
Currently this intersection lies at the junction of Aquarius and Pisces.
Earlier it was at the Star Karthigai (as told in some vedic hymns)
Much earlier, a hymn mentions that the junction happened at the beginning of Leo.
All these are about another measure of time in terms of Polar cycle,
which is a unit of Manvanthra cycle.
This is for computation purpose only, and not of mundane use for humans.
But the starting the yearly cycle at Aries comes in for practical use to humans.
When this system is retained,
it is possible to predict even the birth and life of animals and plants!!
The New Year calendar precisely does that.
It not only tells about the life for humans in the next one year.
It also tells about all flora and fauna and the quality of life in the next one year.
(2) The New year comes with a ministry of it own.
This is for the purpose of predictions.
New Year without astrology is thus unthinkable.
I think Mr Karunanidhi has not thought about the connection of astrology to New Year.
The planet of the day when the Sun enters Ashwini at sunrise in Aries,
is the Minister for the year ahead.
The planet of the day of the first day of Lunar year
(the day after New moon or Amavasya that comes just before the entry of sun into Aries)
is the King of the Solar year ahead.
Not only the first day of different months –
that is Ravi sankramaNam into other signs too –
decide the nature of the year ahead.
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering in the month of Aani
in the ensuing year
will influence the birds!
(look at the spread of bird flu. This is predictable as per calendar reading)
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering in the month of Aadi,
will be influencing
the fate of us, the human beings!!
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering in the month of AavaNi,
will control the fate of cattle
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering in the month of Aippasi,
will decide the nature of things for snakes and other reptiles!!
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering the month of Maargazhi
will decide the fate of camels!
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering the star Arudra,
will influence the life of trees and plants.
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering in the month of Thai,
-a matter of concern for us at this juncture –
will control the planets of our solar system!!
Whether he will like this idea or not,
Mr. Karunanidhi has unknowingly selected a day as the first day of the New Year,
which will be the Lord of the planets for the whole year.
Not in the year ahead, but in the year that started earlier when sun entered Aries.
Whether one accepts it or not, whether one likes it or not,
this is what astrology says.
This is what is expected to happen
and this is what is written as predictions in the calendar.
The hitch is that the predictions as per this will be made beforehand
and will come into operation from Chitthirai, that came 9 months before Thai.
The planet of the day when the sun will be entering in the month of Thai
is known as Neerasaadhipathi.
Neerasaadhipathi. of the current year will be controlling the next three months only,
till Chitthirai begins.
As such even the Calendar reading or prediction making
will be ridiculous if we begin the year at Thai.
This kind of confusion will come up at different levels,
and calendar making will look like an exercise in mockery.
(3) The 60 year cycle of the sun marking one half its revolution
in a 120 year cycle, which forms the basic unit in Polar cycle
(this will be detailed in another post)
is another thorn of contention for Mr. Karunanidhi.
They are given Sanskrit names.
The naming has been done by unknown authors at an undated past,
only to say in a crisp way
what the New Year is going to be like.
The names are very easy and relevant tools of prediction.
Based on the nature or character depicted
by those names and the Lords of the years,
Tamil saints have written verses which can be seen in Tamil Panchangas.
The names indicate the cyclical nature of time
and also the nature of the particular year.
They give broad outline about the year at the country level
and also about the ruler and the kind of rule.
For instance, last year it was ‘Vyaya’
That year, Mr.Karunanidhi took up the reigns.
Vyaya indicates excesses in spending.
We saw the draining of treasury into spending for freebies.
The current year is “sarvajith”, when the ruler will be all powerful.
None can shake the ruler.
He will be sarva- jitthan.
We find the upper hand enjoyed by Mr.Karunanidhi.
The coming year starting from Chitthirai
(kindly note that this cycle of events holds good for the year starting with Chitthirai.)
will be “sarvadhaari”
the ruler will look like an ‘all powerful’.
Just look like that,
but not really so, is the meaning.
But the year after that,
that is, starting from Chitthirai in 2009 (April 2009),
it is “virOdhi’, meaning ‘enemy’.
The ruler will be perceived as enemy (by people)
and will have enemies!
That is how the predictions proceed.
Call it by any name, the predictions will be same.
Change your system of New year,
The prediction will be the same.
Agree with it or denounce it, the predictions will not change.
The way they have been named is to understand the meaning easily.
That is all.
No Tamil or no Sanskrit bias.
It is about universal laws.
The same calendar is not there in the North.
When it is Sarvajith in Tamil nadu,
it is ViLambi in the North.
The differences have been already incorporated
depending on geography and
the planetary influence on a particular place.
What we follow as New Year is just right and meaningful.
By changing it,
the real implications can not be changed.
(4) There are other astrological disadvantages to starting the Year at Thai.
The day when the sun will be entering in the month of Thai
(apart from determining Neerasadhipathy),
has another astrological significance.
Thai marks one half of the year, namely ayana.
It also marks one half of the day, namely KaraNa (which is half of a thithi)
KaraNa, which of one of the 5 angas ( segments) of Panchanga
plays a crucial role in determining the nature of success in any undertaking.
While the ayana heralds the way the days are going to be (that of bright and hot)
the KaraNa tells about the way how the works will be done.
The KaraNa in operation at that time will decide
about the nature of accomplishments in the year starting from Chitthirai.
The determination of KaraNa for the entire year will expire in 3 months
when sun enters Aries,
if the New Year is changed.
(5) The first 3 days of Thai will always be ‘Kari naaL’-
a day of inauspiciousness for doing any mundane celebration.
Travel on these days also is not favored.
It can be seen that worst accidents
that involve moving vehicles
and result in fire
happen on KarinaaL.
(6) Thai does not start with a ‘full’ star.
The star at the entry of sun into Capricorn, which is Utthraadam
is torn in between two constellations.
One quarter of it is at Sagittarius and three quarters at Capriocrn.
Thus sun’s entry does not happen at the commencement of a star.
(7) Finally, any measurement of time is done with reference to a starting point.
Like the way the zodiac starts with the head (at Aries),
time starts from a beginning.
The day starts with sun rise.
The year starts with Aries.
The cycle of years start from an epoch.
The epoch with Kalpa.
This is the laid down rule
that has been followed by all.
Look at any old text or look at any inscription,
you will find the mention in the order of
the epoch, the Sahaaptham and the year.
It is like giving your postal address,
complete with the details of the name of the street, the city and the country.
That will exactly tell the location.
Similarly, the existing New year is designed in that way.
The Sahaptham is either Salivaahana, or Vikrama.
Both these were associated with correction in Meshayana.
The epoch is invariably Kali yuga.
When such an established and well documented hierarchy is already there,
the starting of the year from Thiruvalluvar year lacks substance.
There must be some rationale for what we are using the birth year.
Thiruvalluvar’s birth date is not an established one.
It is not part of an epoch.
From accounts in ancient texts,
it seems that Thiruvalluvar was born in Then-Madurai
which was submerged some 5000 years ago.
This means Thirvalluvar was born 5000 years ago.
To constrict his antiquity to a mere 2000 year period
is a disrespect to him.
When his birth has not been documented or proved,
it can not form the basis for a long round of calculation of years.
Thiruvalluvar, an Aryan in character,
would certainly be against the use his name
for the measurement of time,
contrary to an established practice.
May saner wisdom descend on our rulers
in this monarchic democracy!