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General Hints

A very important place is assigned in Hindu astrology to the part played by the Moon in the fixing of propitious times. The Moon rules the mind and all our psychological inhibitions and his position in the election chart is t0 be particularly dignified. Moreover, whenever an election is to be made, it should always bear a sympathetic connection with the birth chart. Should the radical horoscope indicate several afflictions, no Muhurtha can ensure real success. In fact, the strength of the birth chart may even prevent the person from taking advantage of the propitious period. Or at best, the chances of failure may be somewhat minimised. There is, therefore, an important factor to be considered, viz., whether the birth chart is really so powerfully afflicted as to offset the chances of success shown in the election chart. When people do not know the birth chart, the best thing would be to ascertain their name constellation (see Appendix at the end of the book) and study the transit influences operating at the period in question. Whether or not the radical chart is strong, Hindu astrology always takes cognisance of the fact that contact is maintained between the Jamma Tara (the constellational position of the Moon at the time of one's birth) and if the birth time is not known, with the Nama Tara (name-constellation), and the election chart.

Whilst it is necessary to bear in mind that the election chart is likely to be affected by the benefic or malefic nature of the directions operating at the moment in the birth chart and the inherent strength of the horoscope, it is not necessary to go into it in detail. A number of combinations is given in ancient works to so strengthen the election chart as to make it fruitful independent of the birth influences. These details will be discussed in their appropriate places.

Before we take up electional astrology proper, a short description of the Panchanga or the Hindu almanac is very necessary, as the important items constituting a Panchanga have an intimate bearing on the fixing of auspicious times. The Panchanga consists of five limbs or accessories, viz: Tithi (lunar day), Vara (weekday), Nakshatra (constellation). Yoga (a luni-solar day), and Karana (half a lunar day). The reader will have to be familiar with these technicalities though by far the most mportant ones are the lunar day, constellation and weekday. The five limbs of the Panchanga are supposed to represent the five sources of ethereal energy of which some are visible and others invisible and which when properly secured are said to conduce the health, wealth and prosperity of mankind.

Tithi. - This is the time during which the difference of the increment of longitude of the Sun and the Moon amounts to 12°. The lunar day is to the Hindu of the most prominent practical importance, since by it are regulated the performance of many religious ceremonies and upon it depend the chief considerations of Muhurtha or electional astrology. In other words, the tithi represents the lunar energy, and lunar energy is identified with mental energy. Therefore a minute knowledge of the lunar movements constituting tithis is said to give us wealth.

Each tithi (See Table II) or lunar day is equal to 0.9483 of a day so that a lunar month is equal to about 29.53 days. The ending time of a tithi is the moment at which the Moon is removed from the Sun by multiples of 12°. Thus when the Moon is 12° away from the Sun, the first lunar day or Prathama ends; when 24° Dwrtiya and so on; when in conjunction the Amavasya {New Moon), and when in opposition (180°) Pournimasya (full Moon)ends.

It is enough for astrological purposes to know what tithi rules at the time of birth.

To find the lunar day or tithi deduct the longitude of the Sun from that of the Moon. If the difference is less than 180°, it is the bright half or Sukia Paksha; if it is more than 180°, it is the dark half or Krishna Paksha.

Divide the balance (Moon-Sun) by 12°(or 720'). The quotient represents the number of tithis elapsed and the remainder the part of the next (current) tithi that has elapsed.

Thus to know the tithi ruling on 8-8-1896 at 4h 10m 20s (L.M.T.) at Bangalore. First we deduct the longitude of the Sun (114° 40' or 6880') from that of the Moon (326° or 19560'). The remainder is 211°20' (12680'). It is more than 180° and hence it is the dark half (Krishna Paksha). Dividing by 12° (or 720') the quotient is 17, which means the lunar day is the 18th (or 3rd lunar day of the dark half). 440' (7° 20') of its portion has been traversed, leaving 280' (4° 40') yet to be traversed. If this remainder is multiplied by 24 and divided by the difference of the daily motions of the Sun and the Moon, we get the number of hours (from. the time of birth or question) still covering the tithi in question.

Suppose the daily motion of the Moon on the day
           of birth is                   11° 47'
            *Daily motion of the Sun         57'
                                         10° 50'
                 Difference:           =    650'

* For convenience sake more than 30" are taken as 1' and less then 30" rejected.

Multiplying 280 by 24 and dividing the product by 660 we get

           280 x 24
           --------  = 10h. 57m.

which added to the given time gives 3h. 27m. = 3h. a.m. (on 9th August) which will be the ending moment of the tithi (3rd lunar day of the dark half).

Vara. - This is of course the ordinary weekday. The weekdays are named in accordance with certain astronomical considerations. Therefore on a weekday bearing the name of a particular planet, the influence of that planet is said to be predominant.

The weekdays are numbered thus: Sunday 1. Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4. Thursday 5, Friday 6 and Saturday 7.

Wakshatra. - The zodiac is marked by 27 constellations or nakshatras often termed lunar mansions. The position of a nakshatra is dependent upon the actual time taken by the Moon to traverse 13° 20' of ecliptic arc, of course, always beginning from the first point of the constellational zodiac. If constellations are huge electromagnetic bodies radiating energy into space, there seems to be sense in attributing certain influences to these radiations and the Moon coming into contact with such radiations probably exercises special influences. The Janma Tara (birth constellation) or Dina Tara (the constellation of the day concerned) is obtained thus:

The ecliptic is divided into 27 constellations (See Appendix III) of 13° 20' (or 800' of arc) each. Reduce the longitude of the Moon to minutes and divide the same by 800. The quotient is the number of constellations already passed, and the remainder, the part covered in the current asterism the Moon is in. For the data given under tithi.

The Moon is in Aquarius   25° 59' 46"
                        = 10 signs 25° 59' 46"
                        = 325° 59' 46"
                        = 19559' 46"

Dividing this by 800

                        =  Quotient 24
                           remainder 359' 46"

The ruling star is the 25th, viz., Poorvabhadra. 359' 46" have been covered in this star and the balance to be traversed is (800' - 359' 46").

Yoga. - it is the period during which the joint motion in longitude of the Sun and the Moon amounts to 13° 20'. Every Hindu almanac contains a column specifying the yoga for each day and when it would end. There are twenty-seven yogas (see Appendix IV).

Yoga represents a conjunction of subtle influences which strengthen our bodies, remove the germs of disease, and help us to enjoy health and life in its various phases.


  The following formula is according to Surya siddhanta:

  Sun's longitude + Moon's longitude
          13" 20'(or 800')

  Taking the example date given under tithi:
            Sun's longitude          114° 40'
            Moon's longitude         326°  0'
                       Total         440° 40'
                                 =    80° 40'
                                 =      4840'

Dividing 4840' by 800 we get quotient 6 and remainder 40. 6 Yogas have transpired and the 7th, viz, Sukarman is ruling. 40' is the part of the current (Sukarman) that has elapsed. Yet to be covered in this Yoga is 760'. To ascertain the time at which the current Yoga ends, divide 760' by the sum of the daily motions of the Sun and the Moon (0°57' + 11° 47' s 12° 44' or 764') and multiply by 24 to reduce the results to hours.

                      760 x 24
                      --------  = 23h. 50m.

The Sukarman Yoga ends at 23h. 50m. from the time of birth or any given time.

The Table of Yogas (Appendix IV) enables one to ascertain the Yoga on the basis of the joint motion of the Sun and the Moon.

Thus in the example the sum of the Sun's and the Moon's longitude is 80° 40'. According to Appendix IV Sukarman commences at 80° and extends tilt 93° 20'.

Karana. - And finally we have karana, or half a lunar day meaning thereby the time taken to complete the distance which should be the multiple of 6 between the Sun and the Moon. There are 11 karanas, viz. (1) Bava, (2) Balava, (3) Kaulava, (4) Taitula, (5) Garija, (6) Vanija, (7) Visti, (8) Sakuna, (9) Chatushpada, (10) Naga and (11) Kimstughna. The first seven come by rotation eight times in a lunar month, commencing with the second half of the first lunar day. The last four are said to be permanent karanas and occur in order with the second half of the 29th lunar day.

In Muhurtha, it is always advisable to strengthen the ascendant and its lord and the Moon. Each type of election requires fortification of some appropriate hoase and planet and these will be discussed in their proper places. Even when the ascendant is strong, certain parts of it which go under the name of Lagna tyajya should be rejected. Sometimes, only fixed signs are to be chosen; sometimes only movable signs are to be chosen. Hence, a reader has to very carefully understand these subtle distinctions.

In Aries, Taurus, Sagittarius and Virgo, the first three degrees should be avoided as it is supposed to be in the nature of a serpent (bhujanga) and hence destructive. In regard to Pisces, Capricorn, Cancer and Scorpio, the last (three degrees) has to be avoided as it is supposed to be presided over by the evil force of Rahu. The middle half ghati (13° 30' to 16° 30') should be rejected with regard to Gemini, Libra, Leo and Aquarius as it is ruled by an evil force termed Gridhra.

Tuesday and Saturday should be avoided for all good and-auspicious works.

The 4th, 8th, *12th and 14th lunar days the bright and the dark halves are unsuitable for undertaking any auspicious work.

* In our experience, the 12th lunar day is quite auspicious; provided the other factors are strong, 12th lunar day can be employed for auspicious works.

Each constellation has its own tyajyakala or negative period which is to be invariably avoided. The negative periods commence at the times marked below against each constellation lasting for 4 ghatis (1 hour 36 minutes) from thence.

Aswini 50; Bharani 4; Krittika 30; Rohini 40; Mrigasira 14; Aridra 21; Punarvasu 30; Pushya 20; Aslesha 32; Makha 30; Pubba 20; Uttara 1; Hasta 21; Chitta 20; Swati 14; Visakha 14; Anuradha 10; Jyeshta 14; Moola 20; Poorvashadha 20; Uttarashadha 20; Sravana 10; Dhanishta 10; Satabhisha 18; Poorvabhadra 16; Uttarabhadra and Revati 30.

In the scheme that is followed, I have first of all dealt with the pre-natal and post-natal ceremonies which are designated as Shodasa Karmas which every Hindu is supposed to undergo in his life's journey from cradle to the grave. Some of these ceremonies such as baptising, first feeding, marriage, etc., are common to all communities so that non-Hindus can make use of them with equal benefit.

The Shodasa Karmas (sixteen kinds of ceremonies), which a Hindu is enjoined to undergo, seem to have been based upon certain critical psychological and physiological developments (climacterics) which occur in a man's life at certain definite intervals. It must be noted that the successive stage when the human infant assumes the upright posture, commences to speak and so on, occur at fixed times in normal development so much so that a child that does not begin to talk or walk at the proper time becomes a source of anxiety to his parents. The change of teeth also marks a transition. Permanent dentition sets in about 7 years after birth. Seven years after this another crisis is reached and that is puberty. A further change is noted about the age of 21. There are of course several other critical periods such as the menopause occurring at the age of 49 or 50 (7*7), another grand climacteric at 63 (7*9) often accompanied by death. In the human being, it is said that every cell of the body is renewed every seven years, although this is not quite correct for all tissues. Thus, the Shodasa Karmas are supposed to fortify the. human body and human mind at such critical phases. Perhaps a deeper study of the problem will reveal a more correct perspective of the rationale.