Question – 48
Usually, people check Rahu Kala or Yamaghanta or an auspicious hora for doing any work or starting a journey, but Krishna seemed to have relied on Muhurta. Was Muhurta given precedence over others in those times?
There is no explicit reference to Rahu Kala or Yamaghanta in the Mahabharata, but Muhurta is mentioned even for birth times. For example, while expressing the birth of Yudhishthira, it is said that he was born in Abhijit Muhurta. A Muhurta by name Maitri was running when Krishna started his journey. So, it appears that Muhurta was given greater importance in the Mahabharata times. Why?
Like tithi, Muhurta represents the nature of Time. While tithi refers to a whole day, Muhurta represents a short time of the day, say, 2 Nadika-s (ghati-s), equal to 48 minutes. A sidereal day is divided into 30 Muhurta-s consisting of 15 diurnal Muhurta-s and 15 nocturnal Muhurta-s. Each Muhurta is given a name and is meant to indicate the nature of time. Like hora, a Muhurta may indicate good or bad of the time of the day or night. Thus there are Shubha Muhurta-s and Dur-muhurta-s which are avoided. We must recall that even today we choose Shubha Muhurta for wedding and mention so in the wedding invitation.
Maitri Muhurta chosen by Krishna to start his journey is a Shubha Muhurta coming as the 3rd Muhurta after sunrise everyday. By this we can calculate the time he started. He started one and a half hours after sunrise.
The word 'Maitri' refers to ‘friendship’. Since the purpose of the journey was to seek friendly relationship with the Kaurava-s expecting them to give back the land and wealth of the Pandava-s, Krishna had chosen the Maitri Muhurta.