Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ramayana -1: The issue of mismatch of tithi and birth star of Rama

A major difference between dating the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is that the year of the Mahabharata war is very much etched in our system of Time whereas Ramayana is not. The year of Krishna leaving his mortal coils forms the cut-off year as that year forms the beginning of Kali Yuga – the Time scale we continue to follow. 5124 years having gone by the month of Mesha (Aries) in the Gregorian year 2024 CE, the year of Krishna leaving the world is easily calculated to be 3101 BCE. The Mahabharata war occurred 35 years before that, as is known from Gandhari’s curse of destruction of the Vrishni-s on the 36th year after the war. In four contexts, this duration has been mentioned in the Mahabharata thereby making it very clear that the war took place in 3136 BCE, thirty-five years before Krishna left.

The year name of the war is deduced as Krodhi – being the 36th year before the first year of Kali Yuga (Pramathi). The Janamejaya grant found in the possession of the Bhimanakatte Mutt further reiterates the first year of Kali Yuga as Pramathi.

This advantage of cross referential inputs either by the year name or the year number is not available in the case of Ramayana. However, Valmiki gives valuable information on the location of six planets besides the name of the month, tithi and the star of the day and even the lagna of birth.

Of these, the month and tithi will join every year. The star also will join once in a few years and not every year because the time taken by the moon to cross a tithi differs from the time taken to cross a star. A tithi is slightly longer than a star. By the time the moon completes a round of the zodiac, the sun also has moved at the rate of one degree a day. It crosses a star in 13 days and 8 hours (approximately). By the time the moon completes one round around 27 stars, the sun would have crossed two stars. When the moon comes around to catch up with the sun, two stars are thus crossed additionally.

As a result, the star – tithi match of a particular combine will be different month after month. For example, Rama was born in Shukla Navami with the moon in the star Punarvasu. This combination will change in the next month with the same tithi advanced by two stars. Therefore, the month is important for a combination of tithi-star to be the same. The month is determined by the position of the Sun. The Sun was exalted at the time of Rama’s birth as per Valmiki, which means it was in Mesha (Aries).

The foremost crucial input from Ramayana is the combination of Shukla Navami tithi in Punarvasu with the Sun in Aries. In reality, it is impossible to see this combination.

The problem in tithi-star combination with the Sun in Aries

To understand the problem, let us know the terminologies used. The birth time tithi was Shukla Navami which means the Moon was in the 9th tithi after Amavasya in that month. The moon joined Punarvasu on the day of Rama’s birth. Counting backwards to know when the Amavasya occurred in that scenario, we can know the position of the sun. Amavasya means conjunction of the sun and the moon. Once the moon leaves the sun (the disc of the sun is the limit), the 1st tithi called Pratipat starts. Each tithi will cover each star though it need not be from the beginning of the star. A star means a span of 13 degrees and 20 minutes. A tithi crosses a little more of this span in a day.

When we count back the Navami tithi (9th tithi) from Punarvasu star, the Amavasya must have occurred in Purva Bhadrapada. That means only if the Sun and the moon meet at Purva Bhadrapada, can the Navami tithi in Shukla paksha (waxing phase) coincide with Punarvasu star. This is shown in the following illustration.

In the above illustration, the topmost row represents the zodiacal signs. I have named only three signs which are relevant to our discussion. The second row shows the 27 stars. I started with Purva Bhadrapada because that is where the Amavasya occurred so that Shukla Navami can join Punarvasu (Pv). These two (tithi and star) are circled and highlighted. The Sun in Purva Bhadrapada or its further movement to Uttara Bhadrapada by the day of Shukla Navami –  makes it to be in Meena rasi (Pisces) only and not in Mesha rasi as told by Valmiki.

Assuming that the Sun was in the last degree of Purva Bhadrapada at the time of Amavasya, it would move 9 degrees in 9 days, i.e., at the time of Shukla Navami. That brings the Sun to the 9th degree of Uttara Bhadrapada only. Four more degrees are there in Uttara Bhadrapada and 13.20 degrees are there in Revati, (the next star) which makes the Sun take 17 days to enter Mesha.

When we move the moon across the tithi-s, the next conjunction (Amavasya) occurs in Ashwini star, when the Sun will be very much in Mesha as stipulated by Valmiki, but the 9th tithi doesn’t coincide with Punarvasu. Shashti will be running on Punarvasu and the star Magha (Ma) will coincide with Navami. (This combination appears in 2024 when the Sun will be in Mesha but Punarvasu will start in the afternoon of Shashti and end in Saptami.)

This is the issue.

To have the Sun Mesha at the time of Rama’s birth, we can’t have the tithi-star alignment. The alignment happens in Meena even now which has made people celebrate Sri Rama Navami in Meena month (Panguni) and not in Mesha (Chiṭṭirai). Seeing the impossibility to get the alignment, Sri Rangam temple observes the birth star of Rama in the month of Mesha. In many other places the Navami- Punarvasu combination in Meena maasa is treated as Rama’s birth date.

The issue is why this discrepancy is taking place. How did the alignment happen in Rama’s time and not now? If the alignment cannot be reproduced, how can we reproduce the exact date of Rama’s birth?

Readers would have seen many writers suggesting a date of Rama’s birth, claiming that they got it from the simulators. Ask them to show the tithi -star alignment with the Sun in Aries; they can’t show it because all of them use the western astronomy simulator which does not consider the tithi-star alignment. Almost all of them looked at the simulators to see the placement of the planets and suggested a date. But those in the know of astrology will understand that even a small change of a planetary position will give wrong time. This is the converse of the theory that if the birth time differs a little from the original, the resultant planetary position will not be correct. The Panchanga features such as tithi, star, weekday and lagna further tighten the time that one cannot suggest some date.

The question, however, remains why the tithi-star alignment does not happen.



CA Shankar Bharadhwaj said...

Nice one , as usual explained in a very simple way, looking forward to keep reading like 3136

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Dear Shankar Bharadwaj ji,

Thank you very much for being a keen follower of my articles and encouraging words. It certainly inspires me to write more. This Ramayana series will appear every evening at 6 pm.