Archive for the ‘Bikram Sambat’ Category

I only think that some people are undermining the greatness of our calendar, which has had a glorious history, by trying to change it. Fortunately, the current ‘president’ of the nation has not accepted the change fearing hindus from protesting and politicizing the matter. ‘Pashupatinath-Priest-Scandal Trauma’ has not left the president and most probably Lord Pashupatinath saved our calendar. He saved our ‘Astronomy’!!!! Thanks, God!

Francois Gautier in Indian Express, Monday, October 25, ’99, wrote:

In astronomy too, the “Indus” (from the valley of the Indus) have left a universal legacy, determining for instance the dates of solstices, as noted by 18th century French astronomer Jean-Sylvain Bailly: “The movement of stars which was calculated by Hindus 4,500 years ago, does not differ even by a minute from the tables which we are using today.” And he concludes: “The Hindu systems of astronomy are much more ancient than those of the Egyptians – even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge”. There is also no doubt that the Greeks heavily borrowed from the “Indus”.

I think it is completely vague to propose that the month of Chaitra be struck off and be referred to as Baisakh, starting 2067. Bikram era calendar is a Vedic calendar that comprises of both Solar and Lunar calendars. The solar month in this calendar is the time it takes for the sun to traverse a sign of zodiac, which is roughly 30 degrees. Thus, in a year the sun traverses a total of 30×12=360 degrees. Since, all the months are created in accordance with the position of the sun in the sky (i.e. Sun resides in Aries during Baisakh, Taurus during Jestha and so on.) it is vague to make any such changes as proposed by the Calendar reform committee.*

The only problem we are facing today is that the dates have lost their seasonal relevance due to precession of equinoxes. That is, it is true that Sun enters Makar, the 10th sign of zodiac on Magh 1st.* But it is no more the day of Winter Solstice when the Sun starts its Northern ward movement as people still celebrate the day for. The winter solstice has preceded to 7th of Poush. Now the problem is we are not sure when to observe these festivals rather than there being any error in the calendar. Its because we cannot incorporate both the phenomenon into one day anymore. The calendar in itself is accurate to what it follows—the sidereal year. The problem has arisen because of season coming earlier each year due to slight change in the direction of tilt of Earth each year. The committee could rather focus on changing dates of some religious festivals which are of seasonal significance. For example, if Maghe Sanktranti is more about Winter Solstice than Sun entering Makar, then it should be rightly placed on Poush 6th / 7th (December 22nd). One could propose a change in the names too, since no longer it will be a Sankranti (the first day of Magh when the Sun enters Makar). There should be decisions on each of the religious festivals about the actual dates where they should be placed on the calendar rather than changing the calendar itself because not everyone will like the proposed changes. It might only ruin the calendar’s significance.

*(The zodiac as per divided by the Vedic astrologers has 30 degrees for every sign along the path of the Sun. The modern day division set by International Astronomical Union is more based on the true shapes our ancestors drew joining the stars)

Hindu Calendar Reform

Posted: June 26, 2007 in Bikram Sambat, Calendar

This news article from The Kathmandu Post reports recent effort by some astrologers to reform the prevalent Bikram Era calendar to fix the dates of festivals that have altered in the past two thousand years due to precession of equinoxes. The news article is not, however, totally right. Don’t believe a word said in the first paragraph.

Calendars behind by 23 days


KATHMANDU, June 22 – Are your getting married? Are you observing your father’s or mother’s death anniversary? Be careful, the astrologers’ advice on auspicious dates for conducting such rituals are all wrong, if a report presented by the Festival Reforms National Taskforce (FRNT) to the government Friday means anything.According to the report, the earth’s rotation around its axis at an inclination of 23.5 degrees has resulted in a gain of one day every 72 years. There has been no adjustment for this in calendars since the past 1,656 years. This means that the calendars are behind by 23 days.

Conducting rituals on auspicious dates and at auspicious hours is a widespread tradition in Nepal. Since the calendar our astrologers use to suggest such days and hours is flawed, we have been celebrating even our important festivals on the wrong days, claimed astrologers in the report presented to Minister of Culture,Tourism and Civil Aviation Prithvi Subba Gurung.

FRNT, a 19-member committee, was formed by the ministry on December 12 last year following a controversy over the accuracy of calendars in use. The taskforce, headed by Jal Krishna Shrestha, joint secretary at the ministry, comprises astrologers and religious figures, among others.