Astanga – calendar of Shrividya
By – Shri Ramesh Namboodri
Sri vidya sadhaka use a calendar called astanga based on Sri vidya tattvas. At the very beginning, from dimensionless Bindu this Universe evolved, due to a movement (spanda) in that bindu. Time and space got evolved almost together. Hence, Time and Space are interrelated and one cannot exist without the other (avinābhāva sambanda). The subtle element time always co-exists with physical space. The subtle element space has its aspect as ‘sound’, from which all alphabets evolved (Mātṛkā akṣarā). The tattvas for this visible universe are thirty six according to traipura siddhanta and are represented by these Mātṛkā akṣarā. Space is defined as existence between two intervals of time, thus this aṣtāṅga focuses on time only.
The initial day is taken as kali yuga’s first day and eight limbs- aṣtāṅga- are calculated
The basic formulations decided are:
One week has nine days (Vāsara) – they are named after nava natha:-prakashananda natha, vimarshanand natha, anandanand natha, shrigyanananda natha, shrisatyananda natha, shripurnanand natha, svabhavanand natha, pratibhanand natha and subhaganand natha.
–eg. Vimarśānandanātha vāsara
There are four weeks in a month (māsa), so from the above logic, there are thirty six days (dina) in a month. These days are named after thirty six tattvas, with Mātṛkā akṣarās which are vowel ‘a’ with thirty five consonants. am śiva tattva, kam śakti, kham sadāśiva, gam īśvara, gham śuddha vidyā, Ṅgam māya, cam kalā, cham avidyā, jam rāga, jham kāla, njam niyati, Tam puruṣa, Tham prakṛti, Dam ahamkāra, Dham bhuddhi, ṇam maṇa, tam śrotra, tham tvak, dam cakṣus, dham jihvā, nam ghrāṇa, pam vāk, pham pāṇi, bam pāda, bham pāyu, mam upastha, yam śabda, ram sparśa, lam rūpa, vam rasa, śam gandha, ṣam ākāśa, sam vāyu, ham vahni, Lam jala and kṣam pṛthvi.
-eg. Kham sadāśiva tattva dina
There are sixteen months (called māsa) in a year named after the nityas or soma mandala kalā or sadāśiva kalā. Hence we can find five hundred and seventy six days in a year
.-eg. Om sarvamaṅgalā nityā / prīti kalā / gyānāmṛtā kalā māsa
There are thirty six years (called varṣa) named after the thirty six tattvas, already said above. eg jam rāga tattva varṣa
A cycle of thirty six years is called a parivṛtti, which are also named after the thirty six tattvas which will have 576 months and 20736 days. (Roughly 57 and odd years)
-eg pam vāk tattva parivṛtti
A cycle of thirty six parivṛtti is called a yuga, also named as above
-eg. Kham sadasiva tattva yuga.
Another parameter is called ghaṭikā. A time interval of twenty four minutes is called a ghaṭikā. Thus there are sixty ghaṭikās in a day. Each ghaṭikā is assigned with Mātṛkā akṣara. The visarga (ah) is left out in the vowels. Thus fifteen vowels and thirty five consonants are taken in order for naming ghaṭikā. Only fifty ghaṭikās will be named thus, the rest ten are repeated from the first ghaṭikā. Thus on day one, we start with ‘a’ as udaya ghaṭikā akṣara then as per the above guidelines we will end up in the ‘LRR’ ghaṭikā, next day udaya ghaṭikā will be ‘e’. Similar calculations will result in third day udaya ghaṭikā as ‘ca’, fourth day as ‘ta’ and fifth day as ‘ya’, sixth day will be again ‘a’ and the cycle will repeat .
One more parameter called dina nityā is also there. They are the fifteen nityas in the same order for śukla pakṣa and the same in reverse for the kṛṣṇa pakṣa, similar to the tithi nityas. The only difference is that it is not dependent on the lunar calendar, one per day in the said order. Thus we find thirty in a cycle, eg:- em sukla nilapataka dina nityā, or im kṛṣṇa nityaklinnā dina nityā.
Thus we find eight limbs – aṣta aṅga – viz., yuga, parivṛtti, varṣa, māsa, dina, vāsara, ghaṭikodaya, dina nityā.
Let’s see how it is calculated for –15th April 2014 which was the beginning of Solar Calendar of year called ‘Jaya’, this corresponds to the lunar calendar as Cāitra śukla caturdaśi.
Find the kali yuga year from the almanac, ‘jaya’ varṣa is the 5116th year, so the years passed is 5115.
Convert this into months =5115 x 12 = 61380 months
Add extra months which were introduced by multiplying the above number with 939/911 and taking the whole number out of this result.
61380*939/911 = 63266.5422 => take this as 63266 months.
(Since we are calculating for the first month (Cāitra), the next step of add the past months of this year is omitted)
Convert this into tithis by multiplying with 30
63266 x 30 = 1897980 tithis.
Add past tithis of this month = 14 (since daśami came on two days)
1897980+14 = 1897994 tithis.
Deduct a correction for the tithis by multiplying the above tithis with 11/703 and taking the whole number thus got.
1897994*11/703 = 29698.341 => take as 29698.
Thus 1897994-29698 = 1868296
This is the Kali śuddha dina. (KSD)
Now the Astanga calculations start as below:-
KSD divided by 5:- 1868296/5 = 373659 leaves a remainder of 1, which indicates the past ghaṭika, so today is second ghaṭika ‘E’.
KSD divided by 9 :- 1868296/9=207588 leaves a remainder of 4, which indicates the past vāsara so today is the fifth vāsara ‘ṭam SriSatyānandanātha vāsara’.
KSD divided by 30:- 1868296/36=62276 leaves a remainder of 16, which indicates the past dina nitya so today’s dina nitya is the seventeenth ‘aum kṛṣṇa jvālāmālini nitya’.
KSD divided by 36:- 1868296/36=51897 leaves a remainder of 4, which indicates the past dina so today is the fifth dina ‘gham śuddha vidya tattva dina’.
The above quotient (51897) is called dina phala when divided by 16:- 51897/16= 3243 leaves a remainder of 9 which indicates past māsa, so today is tenth masa ‘ḹm Nitya nitya (Tenth of the nityas) OR ḹm Kānti kalā māsa’ (Tenth candra kalā).
The above quotient (3243) is called māsa phala when divided by 36:- 3423/36 =90 leaves a remainder of 3 which indicates past year so this is ‘gam īśvara tattva varṣa’.
The above quotient (3243) is called varṣa phala when divided by 36:- 90/36 =2 leaves a remainder of 18 which indicates past parvritti so this is ‘dam cakṣus tattva parivṛtti’.
The above quotient (2) is called parivṛtti phala when divided by 36:- 2/36 =0 leaves a remainder of 2 which indicates the past yuga so this is ‘kham sadāśiva tattva yuga’.
So compiling the above data in a single line will be – kham sadāśiva tattva yuga- dam cakṣus tattva parivṛtti- gam īśvara tattva varṣa- ḹm Nityā nityā (OR ḹm Kānti kalā māsa)- gham śuddha vidyā tattva dina- ṭam ŚrīSatyānandanātha vāsara- ‘E’ kāra ghaṭika- aum kṛṣṇa jvālāmālini dina nityā.
With the help of this aṣtāṅga there are four pārāyaṇās to be done. They are nātha pārāyaṇa, ghaṭikā pārāyaṇa, tattva pārāyaṇā and nityā pārāyaṇa. There is a unique mantra called the dina nityā vidya to be chanted along with each pārāyaṇā
This syllable as per Paramānanda tantra will have eight syllables. The astanga dini nitya mantra is said to have four bindus. The construction will be vāsaranātha akṣara+ghatokodaya akṣara+bindu is first, dina akṣara+ dina nitya akṣara+ bindu will be second, varṣa akṣara+ māsa akṣara+ bindu will be third and yuga akṣara+ parivṛtti akṣara+ bindu will be fourth.
For example: Consider above example- kham sadāśiva tattva yuga- dam cakṣus tattva parivṛtti- gam īśvara tattva varṣa- ḹm Nityā nityā (OR ḹm Kānti kalā māsa)- gham śuddha vidyā tattva dina- ṭam ŚrīSatyānandanātha vāsara- ‘E’ kāra ghaṭika- aum kṛṣṇa jvālāmālini dina nityā.
The astanga – dina nitya vidya will be as follows: ‘ṭa-Em gha-aum ga-ḹm kha-dam’
Tomorrow will be “ta-cam nga-am gaḹm khadam”, only the first four will change for a month, the last will change only in a parivrtti.
It is interesting to note that just by knowing this aṣtāṅga syllable we can chant all pārāyaṇās in order from nātha to nitya.
There is repentance (prayascitta) said in the Paramānanda tantra for non-observance of parayana, due to unforeseen circumstances, as nine time mula mantra japa for nātha, sixty for ghaṭikā, thirty six for tattva and thirty for nityāpārāyaṇa.
Another form of dina nityā vidyā is seen in tantra rāja tantra. It is varṣākṣarā +māsākṣarā, dinākṣarā+ā+ī+hamsah.
From above example we can now derive dina nityā vidyā as “ga+ ḹm+ gha+ ā+ ī+ hamsah”, which will be “gḹ-ghā-ī-hamsah”’. We have fixed three parameters the rest will fall in line, since this is a totally mathematical equation.
There is a specific saṅkalpa mantra order in this aṣtāṅga for pūja and pārāyaṇa:
For daily puja
ādi guroḥ paraśivasyāgyanayā pravartamāna devī mānena ṣat trimśat tattvātmaka sakala prapanca sṛṣṭi sthiti samhāra tirodhāna anugraha kāriṇyāh parāśaktyāh Ūrdhva bhrū vibrame kham sadāśiva tattva yuge dam cakṣuḥ tattva parivṛttau ___ varṣe___ nityā/kalā māse ___ tattva dine___natha vāsare __ghaṭikodaye __ dina nityāyām __ tithi nityāyām Sri Mahā trpurasundarī prīthyartham yathā sambhavaddravaih yathā sakti saparya kramam nirvartayiṣye tena parameśvaram prīṇayāmi.
For daily pārāyaṇa:
ādi guroḥ paraśivasyāgyanayā pravartamāna devī mānena ṣat trimśat tattvātmaka sakala prapanca sṛṣṭi sthiti samhāra tirodhāna anugraha kāriṇyāh parāśaktyāh Ūrdhva bhrū vibrame ___nātha vāsare __ghaṭikodaye ___ tattva varṣe___ nityā/kalā māse kham sadāśiva tattva yuge dam cakṣuḥ tattva parivṛttau Sri Maha Tripursundari prīthyartham ___ pārāyaṇamaham kariṣye.
There are six special parvā (special days) in this calendar. They are called puṣpiṇi, mohini, jayini, kumāri, vimalā and ŚrīkarI in this aṣtāṅga calendar. The conjunction (same syllable occurring) of varṣākṣara with masākṣara will be first, with dinākṣara will be second, and with udayaghaṭikā will be third respectively. Conjunction of māsākṣara with dinākṣarā will be fourth; with udayaghaṭikā will be fifth. Similarly dinākṣarā and udyaghaṭikākṣarā will last conjunction respectively.
The first- puṣpiṇi- is possible once in a parivṛtti, while it is starting, in ‘am’ śiva tattva year, this is possible for that whole month, which will be ‘am’ kāmeśvari nityā māsa, for 36 days. (Once in roughly 57 odd years)
The second-mohini- will be there once a month, with sixteen in a year. Since year and dina akṣaras are same this is sure to happen once in a month. For eg, in kham sadaśiva tattva varṣa, the third day of any month, kham sadaśiva tattva dina will be this parva, in all sixteen months.
The third-jayini- is possible in am sivatattva, cam kalātattva, tam śrotra tattva, yam śabda tattva years in a parivṛtti, with the akāra, cakāra, takāra and yakāra ghaṭikodaya respectively.
The fourth-kumāri- is the first day of every year, where we find am kāmeśvari māsa and am śiva tattva dina, hence this will be in prakāśānandanātha vāsara.
The fifth-vimalā- will be in the first (am) and eleventh (Em) month every year, with the ‘a’kāra and ‘E’kāra ghaṭikodayās respectively. .
The sixth-Śrīkari- will be there in once in a month, in the ‘a’, ‘ca’, ‘ta’, ‘ya’ dinas in four successive months respectively on ‘a’kāra, ‘ca’kāra, ‘ta’kāra and ‘ya’kāra ghaṭikodaya and then will skip a month.
On these days special pūjas can be done, esp. the guru mandala pūja said in Tantraraja tantra.
Let us now start to practice this astanga calendar for our daily use with this knowledge which is an outcome of Sri Guru’s grace.