Essence of Brahmanda Purana


Essence Of
Brahmanda Purana


7    Traditional Astronomy, Solar System and ‘Kaalamana Ganana’ (Time Calculations)

The area which is covered by Sun and Moon constitutes that which brightens the Sapta Dwipas, Sapta Samudras and half of Earth, the other half remaining dark. Again,

Avati trinimaan lokaan yasmaadsuryah paribhraman,

Avidhaatuh prakaashaakhyo hyavanaatsa Ravih smruta/

( The ‘Dhaatu’ or the root of the word  ‘Avi’ means illumination and protection; thus Surya is called Ravi). The word ‘Mahi’or ‘Mahi Tatwa’ means Bhumi or Earth and the sub continent of Bharat is roughly reckoned as Earth; the Solar Disc  measures nine thousand yojanas (one yojana is 12 km) and its circumference is three times more. The circumference of Moon is stated to be thrice of Sun.

The total size of Earth is fifty crore yojanas and Meru Mountain is situated at the half point of Earth. Considering the elevation of Meru, the radius of Earth  is stated to be eleven crore thirty seven lakh or the surface of Earth.Taking into account the revolution of Earth up to the sky and stars, the distance of the Earth and Sky are stated to be equal. All the Seven Dwipas on Earth as also the Seven Upper Lokas of Bhur-Bhuvar-Swar-Janar-Mahar-Tapas-Satya etc. lokas are all included in the ‘Paryasa’ or ‘Bhramana’ (Revolution) since they are all in the Cosmic Egg as under an Umbrella. In the revolution all the Lokas are tightly tied together; while the contents of the Cosmic Egg is stabilised with solidified Oceans, each Loka is stuck to each other and thus Earth too is stuck similarly with the solidified water.The solidified water is surrounded by solidified Tejas or Illumination. The Solidified Tejas is surrounded by Solidified Air. The solidified air is futher surrounded by Sky which in turn is bounded by Bhutadi which again is enclosed by ‘Mahat’ and finally Mahat is bordered by Pradhana or the Infinity! Thus the entire Universe is a comprehensive and cohesive Totality!

[ Brahmanda Purana-in fact, Puranas in general- believe that the Brahmanda (Cosmic Egg) is protected by sheaths or coverings of Pancha Bhutas or Gross Elements of Earth-Water-Fire-Air and Sky; Earth is protected by solidified water; in the second layer by Agni; furher by Air; further again by Sky; beyond which be the Concepts of Bhutadi or the Ahamkara or Ego being the  Consciousness of Self  as also the ‘Mahat’ or the High Significance, beyond is Pradhana or the Unknown. All the above Beings are stated to be a Composite Manifestation of the Supreme Unknown].   

Meru Mountain was considered as the focal point of Traditional Astronomy. The East of Meru and on top of Maanasa was stated to be the Mahendrapuri where ‘AshtaaVasus’ whose Chief was Lord Indra were staying and that place was all decorated with gold. To the Southern side of Meru again on the top of Manasa was the abode of Lord Yama the son of Vaivaswata Manu and that Place was known as Samyamana Puri. To the West of Meru again atop of Manasa, Lord Varuna was the abode of a Place called Sukha Nagari. To the North of Meru on Manasa Mount was the Vibhavari Nagari of Lord Soma. On the four corners of the rear North of  Manasa were situated the Four Lokapalakas to preserve Dharma and Nyaaya to the mankind. In ‘Dakshinayana’or the Southern Transit the course of Sun’s forward direction to South would be like an arrow released as he would take various Luminary Devatas along with him:  By the time Surya would reach Amaravati of Indra by mid-day, he would have reached Samyamapuri of Yama, when Vanuna’s Sukha Nagari would be mid-night and Soma would be nearing dusk time. When Surya would reach Samyamana by mid-day at his peak, it would be Sun Rise at Sukha Puri of Varuna, Sun Set at Mahendri Nagar and midnight at Vibha Nagar of Chandra. If persons experience afternoo n at those in South East (Agneya), or South and East, those in South West or Nirruti would experience Sun in forenoon. To persons in North, Sun’s position is experienced at later part of night where as to those in North East or Ishanya , it would be in the earlier part of night. When Amaravati experienced midnight, Yama Nagari felt that Sun was setting   in the Evenings. At Soma’s Vibhavari Nagar, Surya’s position would be mid-day but he would have already risen up in the early morning and at Yama’s Samyamana it would be midnight. Thus Surya rises and sets at different places at different timings.

Surya is stated to traverse one hundred and eighty one thousand yojanas in a ‘Muhurtha’.         ( Fifteen Nimeshas make one Kashta; thirty Kashtas make one Kala; thirty  Kalaas make one Muhurta and thirty Muhurthas make a day and night). If  Surya proceeds towards South or in Dakshinayana, his speed increases and whirls around in the middle of the firmament. At Manasottara Mountain, the ‘Vishu’ (Equinox) is situated in the middle; the circumference of Surya is Nine crores and forty five lakh yojanas. Returning from South to North (Uttarayana), Sun is stated to remain in the Equinox and travel further to Milk-Ocean and then Surya’s circumference is stated to be  three crore and eight thousand yojanas. When Surya is in the constellation of Shravana and Uttaraashadha traversing the Regions upto Shaka Dwipa, the magnitude of Sun is estimated at a  crore and Eighty of yojanas approx. The divisions of Planetary system are Aja Vithi (Southern) or the  Naga Vithi (Northern) comprising constellations of Stars; the divisions of star-constellation of Moola-Purvashadha-Uttaraashaadha  are born in Aja Vidhi while the constellations of Ashvini-Bharana-Krittika are born in Naga Vidhi.  During Dakshinayana, Sun covers thirteen and half constellations of Stars in twelve Muhurtas due to his speed; but in Uttarayana, he covers the same constellations in eighteen Muhurtas. It is said that the central area of a Potter’s wheel goes slower and in the same way Sun traverses slower and in the navel of the wheel, it goes further slower ie thirteen Muhurtaas! During one daytime, the first part is called Usha / Sandhya,  the second one is Praatahkaala, the next is Madhyaahna and the next part is of Aparaahna and then Sayaahkaala. At the times of dawn and dusk, it was stated that crores of demons are bent on devouring Surya Deva but the Vakakhilya Sages protect Surya deva ; besides, Brahmanaas perform Sandhya Vandana and Gayatri Japa to overcome the demons. On a Vishuvat day (Equinox) the day as well as night are of exactly same measure of Time but from there after Dakshinayana nights get lengthened while during Uttarayana, the daytime gets elongated. Vishuvat Time or Equinox is between Sharad and Vasanta Ritus. That would be the time when Moon is of uniform ‘Kalaas’. Brahmanda Purana gives a detailed account of ‘Kaala gananaas’or Time Calculations related to Soura (Surya), Sowmya (Chandra) and Naakshatra or Stars. It was at this Vishu Time, that ‘daanaas’ are required to be performed to please Pitru Devas. Since Vishu is considered as most auspicious to Devas too, special Danaas are required to be given to learned Brahmanas.

It is good to learn of ‘Kaalamaana ganana’ or the calulations of Time as also certain other aspects; for instance: ‘Uuna Maasa’(month of shorter count), Adhika Maasa (month with longer month); Kala, Kaashtha, Muhurtaka; Purnamaasi (Full Mon),  Amavasya (New Moon); Sinivaali or Kuhu the days when Chandra rekha was not seen at all; and Raaka and Anumati (differentiated nights) unseen on Purnima (Full Moon); Amavasya mixed with  14th Tithi of the next Paksha or fortnight is Sinivali while Amavasya which merges with the first of next Paksha is Kuhu ( in both the cases worship of both Sinivali and Kuhu would bestow wealth); Purnamaasi  mixed with the 14th  Tithi is Anumati while that mixed with the first of next Paksha is Raakha (in these cases too, worship would bestow good progeny and fame).  Another facet worth noting is that Uttarayana months are: Magha, Phalguna, Chaitra, Vaishakha, Jyeshtha and  Ashadha are of Uttarayana while Shravana, Bhadrapada, Aswiyuja, Kartika, Margashira and Pushyami are of Dakshinayana.

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