Indian texts have two calendars, one based on the movement of Sun,Surya Manasa,Solar Calendar and Chandra Manasa,based on the movement of the Moon.
The movement of the Moon is calculated by Thithis;they are fifteen.
Solar year is calculated on the basis of the movement of the Sun and the Stars are taken as the basis.
For auspicious occasions, the Nakshatra is given more importance while inauspicious occasions like Sraddha,the annual death ceremony, only the Thithis are taken into account.
These two are correlated.
One must rember the following before proceeding further.
1.The landmass in those ancient times were different from what we find today.
Please read my articles on Rodina, Pangea Super continents of ancient times.
2.Santana dharma was present throughout the world.
3. The Vedas were not compiled in one shot. The Truth ,as revealed to the Rishis were compiled as and when they were revealed.For details please read ‘when were the Vedas compiled’
So what is found in the Rig Veda is the oldest records.
What is mentioned in the Rig Veda about movement of Stars and Planets refer to the period and indicate the area wherethe people lived.
While the later Vedic texts mention Dakshinayna and Uttarayana, they refer to what they observed,that is the movement of the Sun to South or to North.
This is what we practice today.
But what the people of the Rig Vedic Time observed was the day extending for six months, night for six months,was called as Devayana( Day) and Pitruyana(Night).
For more on this read my article On Aryaman.
4.It is also probable that two or three groups lived, one each at the Polar regions and another in the other areas.
This would account for the classification of Dravidas,Milechas and people being called Rakshasas who hailed from the south.
5.Thus the descriptions of celestial movements in the Rig Veda indicate that people of those times lived in the Arctic Region.
Image Credit. Haribakth.com.
‘The Taittirîya Samhitâ and the Brâhmanas distinctly mention a lunar
month of thirty days and a year of twelve such months, to which an
intercalary month was now and then added, to make the lunar and
the solar year correspond with each other. The ecliptic, or the belt of
the zodiac, was divided into 27 of 28 divisions, called the Nakshatras,
which, were used as mile-stones to mark the annual passage of the
sun, or the monthly revolution of the moon round the earth. The two
solstitial and the two equinoctial points, as well as the passage of the
sun into the northern and the southern hemisphere, were clearly
distinguished, and the year was divided into six seasons, the festivals
in each month or the year being accurately fixed and ascertained.
The stars rising and setting with the sun were also systematically
observed and the eastern and western points of the compass
determined as accurately as the astronomical observations of the day
could permit. In my Orion or the Antiquity of the Vedas, I have shown
how the changes in the position of the equinoxes were also marked in
these days, and how they enable us to classify the periods of Vedic
antiquity. According to this classification the Taittirîya Samhitâ comes
under the Kṛittikâ period (2500 B.C.), and some may, therefore, think
that the details of the Vedic calendar given above are peculiar only to
the later Vedic literature.
A cursory study of the يig-Veda will,
however, show that such is not the case. A year of 360 days, with an
intercalary month occasionally added, or a year of twelve lunar
months, with twelve intercalary days inserted at the end of each year
was familiar to the poets of the يig-Veda and is often mentioned in
(* See Rig. I, 25, 8, — वदे मासो धतोतो
दवादश परजावतः । वदा े य उपजायते॥ Also
Rig. IV, 33, 7, — दवादश दयनू यद अगोाितेरण रभवः ससः । सऽाव ु े
अनय िसनू धाित ओषधीर िनम आपः ॥ See Orion, page 1-77 ƒ. In ƒ. In Rig. I,
164, 11, 360 days and 360 nights of the year are expressly mentioned.)
The northern and the southern passage of the sun from equinox to equinox, the Devayâna and the Pitṛiyâna, together with the yearly sattras, have also been referred to in several places, clearly showing that the Rig-Vedic calendar differed, if at all, very little from the one in use at the time of the Taittirîya Samhitâ or the Brâhmanas. ‘
One finds references to Time in two different ways.
Six months are considered as one day for the Devas, the Divine Beings.
Six months are one night for Devas.
Thus one human year is one day for Devas.
The Time concept of Yuga is based on this.
But it looks odd to say that six months equal a day for Devas.
One must remember that the Devathas are ex officio, that is they are because of their occupations.
Thus Indra changes every Kalpa and Manus change every Manvantara.
So the observations of celetial events were based on Observation and they are not abstract philosophical axioms in Hinduism.
We have thus two Time frames,one for Man and another for Devas.
I take them to mean people belonging to different geographical locations and hence their observation of Sun, Moon and the Stars varied.
The sky we see in a Temperate Zone is not the same as the one in at the Poles, Arctic/ Antarctic.
So the descriptions one finds in the texts later to the Rig Veda mention Dakshinayana, movement of the Sun to south and Uttarayana, movement of the Sun towards the North.
These observations were possible only if people lived far away from the Poles.
Sage Agastya Star is visible in southern latitudes when one reaches temperate zone.
Please read my article AgastyaStar Canopus validates Sanatana Dharma.
My postulate is that ancient Indians lived near the Poles,Arctic and and Antarctic.
Evidence of Sanatana dharma is found on both the regions.
Shiva is found in both the regions.
Please read my articles on this subject.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his scholarly work has proved that the Arctic was the home of the Vedas and Rig Veda was composed there.
I am researching into Antarctic connection.
Now there is evidence in the Rig Veda that people lived there in the form of hymns denoting Time and Devas.
‘The spinning round of the heavenly dome over the head is one
of the special characteristics of the North Pole, and the phenomenon
is so peculiar that one may expect to find traces of it in the early
traditions of a people, if they, or their ancestors ever lived near the
North Pole. Applying this test to the Vedic literature, we do find
passages which compare the motion of the heavens to that of wheel,
and state that the celestial vault is supported as if on an axis. Thus in
يig. X, 89, 4, Indra is said “to separately uphold up by his power
heaven and earth as the two wheels of a chariot are held by the axle.”* Prof. Ludwig thinks that this refers to the axis of the earth,
and the explanation is very probable. The same idea occurs in other
places, and some times the sky is described as being supported even
without a pole, testifying thereby to the great power or might of Indra
(II, 15, 2; IV, 56, 3).† In X, 80, 2, Indra is identified with Sûrya and he
is described as “turning the widest expanse like the wheels of a
chariot.”‡ The word for “expanse” is varâmsi, which Sâyana
understands to mean “lights,” or “stars.” But whichever meaning we
adopt, it is clear that the verse in question refers to the revolution of
the sky, and compares to the motion of a chariot wheel. Now the
heavens in the temperate and the tropical regions may be described
as moving like a wheel, from east to west and then back again to the
east, though the latter half of this circuit is not visible to the observer.
But we cannot certainly speak of the tropical sky as being supported
on a pole, for the simple reason that the North Pole, which must be
the point of support in, such a case, will not be sufficiently near the
zenith in the tropical or the temperate zone. If we, therefore, combine
the two statements, that the heavens are supported as on a pole and
that they move like a wheel, we may safely infer that the motion
referred to is such a motion of the celestial hemisphere as can be
witnessed only by an observer at the North Pole. In the يig-Veda§ I,
24, 10 the constellation of Ursa Major (Rikshah) is described as being
placed “high” (uchhâh), and, as this can refer only to the altitude of
the constellation, it follows that it must then have been over the head
of the observer, which is possible only in the Circum-Polar regions.
Unfortunately there are few other passages in the يig-Veda which describe the motion of the celestial hemisphere or of
the stars therein, and we must, therefore, take up another
characteristic of the Polar regions, namely, “a day and a night of six
months each,” and see if the Vedic literature contains any references
to this singular feature of the Polar regions.
The idea that the day and the night of the Gods are each of six
months’ duration is so widespread in the Indian literature, that we
examine it here at some length, and, for that purpose, commence
with the Post-Vedic literature and trace it back to the most ancient
books. It is found not only in the Purânas, but also in astronomical
works, and as the latter state it in a more definite form we shall begin
with the later Siddhântas. Mount Meru is the terrestrial North Pole of
our astronomers, and the Sûrya-Siddhânta, XII, 67, says: — “At Meru
Gods behold the sun after but a single rising during the half of his
revolution beginning with Aries.” Now according to Purânas Meru is
the home or seat of all the Gods, and the statement about their halfyear-long night and day is thus easily and naturally explained; and all
astronomers and divines have accepted the accuracy of the
explanation. The day of the Gods corresponds with the passage of
the sun from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, when the sun is
visible at the North Pole, or the Meru; and the night with the Southern
passage of sun, from the autumnal back to the vernal equinox.
The old meaning of Uttarâyana, literally, the
northern passage of the sun, was the period of time required by the
sun to travel from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, or the portion
of the ecliptic in the northern hemisphere; and if we understand the
word in this sense, the statement that the Uttarâyana is a day of the
Devas is at once plain and intelligible. Bhâskarâchârya’s reference to
oldest astronomical Samhitâs clearly shows that the tradition was
handed down from the oldest times. It is suggested that in these
passages Gods may mean the apotheosized ancestors of the human
race. But I do not think that we need any such explanation. If the
ancestors of the human race ever lived at the North Pole, so must
have their Gods; and I shall show in a subsequent chapter that the
Vedic deities are, as a matter of fact clothed with attributes, which are
distinctly Polar in origin. It makes, therefore, no difference for our
purpose, if a striking feature of the primitive home is traditionally
preserved and remembered as a characteristic of the Gods, or of the
apotheosized ancestors of the race. We are concerned with the
tradition itself, and our object is pained if its existence is clearly
The next authority for the statement is Manu, I, 67. While
describing the divisions of time it says, “A year (human) is a day and
a night of the Gods; thus are the two divided, the northern passage of
the sun is the day and the southern the night.”* The day and the night
of the Gods are then taken as a unit for measuring longer periods of
time as the Kalpas and so on, and Yâska’s Nirukta, XIV, 4, probably
contains the same reference. Muir, in the first Volume of his Original
Sanskrit Texts, gives some of these passages so far as they bear on
the yuga-system found in the Purânas. But we are not concerned with
the later development of the idea that the day and the night of the Gods each lasted for six
months. What is important, from our point of view, is the persistent
prevalence of this tradition in the Vedic and the Post-Vedic literature,
which can only be explained on the hypothesis that originally it must
have been the result of actual observation. We shall, therefore, next
quote the Mahâbhârata, which gives such a clear description of
Mount Meru, the lord of the mountains, as to leave no doubt its being
the North Pole, or possessing the Polar characteristics. In chapters
163 and 164 of the Vanaparvan, Arjuna’s visit to the Mount is
described in detail and we are therein told, “at Meru the sun and the
moon go round from left to right (Pradakshinam) every day and so do
all the stars.” Later on the writer informs us: — “The mountain, by its
lustre, so overcomes the darkness of night, that the night can hardly
be distinguished from the day.” A few verses further, and we find,
“The day and the night are together equal to a year to the residents of
the place.”* These quotations are quite sufficient to convince any one
that at the time when the great epic was composed Indian writers had
a tolerably accurate knowledge of the meteorological and
astronomical characteristics of the North Pole, and this knowledge
cannot be supposed to have been acquired by mere mathematical
calculations. The reference to the lustre of the mountain is specially
interesting, inasmuch as, in all probability, it is a description of the
splendors of the Aurora Borealis visible at the North Pole. So far as
the Post-Vedic literature is concerned, we have, therefore, not only
the tradition of the half-year-long
* The verses (Calcutta Ed.) are as follows: Vana-parvan, Chap. 163, vv. 37,
38. Ibid, Chap. 164, vv. 11, 13.
night and day of the Gods persistently mentioned, but the Mount
Meru, or the North Pole, is, described with such accuracy as to lead.
us to believe that it is an ancient tradition, whose origin must be
traced to a time when these phenomena were daily observed by the
people; and this is confirmed, by the fact that the tradition is not
confined only to the Post-Vedic literature.
Passing on, therefore, to the Vedic literature, we find Mount
Meru described as the seat of seven Âdityas in the Taittirîya
Âranyaka I, 7, 1, while the eighth Âditya, called Kashyapa is said
never to leave the great Meru or Mahâmeru. Kashyapa is further
described as communicating light to the seven Âdityas, and himself
perpetually illumining the great mountain. It is, however, in the
Taittirîya Brâhmana (III, 9, 22, 1), that we meet with a passage which
clearly says, “That which is a year is but a single day of the Gods.”
The statement is so clear that there can be no doubt whatever about
its meaning. A year of the mortals is said to be but a day of the Gods;
but, at one time, I considered it extremely hazardous* to base any
theory even upon such a clear statement, inasmuch as it then
appeared p me to be but solitary in the Vedic literature. I could not
then find anything to match it in the Samhitâs and especially in the
يig-Veda and I was inclined to hold that Uttarâyana and
Dakshinâyana were, in all probability, described in this way as “day”
and “night” with a qualifying word to mark their special nature. Later
researches have however forced on me the conclusion that the
tradition, represented by this passage, indicates the existence of a
Polar home in old days, and I have set forth in the sequel the
evidence on which I have come to the above conclusion. There are
several theories on which the above statement in the Taittirîya
Brâhmana can be explained ‘
Source.Arctic Home In The Vedas by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
You may purchase the book at Amazon.