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The Dance of Time: Ancient Calendars

by Freedom Cole March, 2016

Sun and Moon

To have a serious discussion about ancient Indian astrology we have to understand time. The zodiac is called the Kālapuruṣa in Sanskrit, or the personification of Time (Kāla). All things move through the power of Time, known as Kāla-śakti or Kālī.

The nature of reality is pulsing. Life is breathing; the heart is beating; the day and night are turning out our experience. Pulsation requires the interplay of two forces. Śiva and Śākti, the Mother and Father, the Sun and Moon, create the pulsation which is the basis of all manifest existence. The Chinese call this force of opposites the Yin–Yang. In Sanskrit, it is called the Yugamaka – the couple, the pair, or the polarities. The Sun and Moon are the visible representatives of this Yugamaka, and they create time that pushes all things forward – the trees to bud, the flowers to bloom, and the bees to pollinate.

Through the movement of the Sun and Moon, all time cycles come into existence. The western Gregorian calendar, set in place by the pope of the Catholic Church, is not based on natural time. The Vedic calendar, used throughout millennia in India, is the mapping of the visible heavenly movements that are observed with astronomy. The Vedic calendar is a pulsating dance of the two divine luminaries that create a luni-solar calendar.


dina,vāra, ahorātra, vāsara


māsa, ahargaṇa


varṣa, ṛtuvṛtti,[1] saṁvatsara, abda, śarada[2]

The three basic astronomical cycles are the day (based on the rotation of the Earth on its axis – seen as the movement of the Sun); the month (based on the revolution of the Moon around the Earth – creating phases relative to the Sun); and the year (based on the movement of the Earth around the Sun – seen as the Sun’s change in position in the sky and against the stars). As the Sun rises and sets, it creates the days; and the Moon waxes and wanes, creating the months. The Earth–Sun cycle creates the year, which is divided into twelve lunations by the Moon. In these cycles are harmonics – numerical songs that create a matrix in which consciousness takes embodiment.

It would seem easy to calculate a calendar, but complexity arises because the year is not made of an integral number of days or an integral number of months. The harmonic is deeper, richer, and more complex. Different cultures have used very different calendars and ways of rectifying this. Even in India, throughout the millennia there have been various systems utilized, and various places to start within a cycle.

To begin understanding the basics of Vedic timekeeping we must understand the calculation of lunar months and solar years, which have within them solar months and lunar years. The solar months are considered the hinges, on which the doors of the lunar months move. What is a door without hinges, or hinges without a door? The Sun and Moon work together to create a luni-solar calendar that integrates the male and female, Śiva and Śakti, prakāśa and viśrama, or the pumping and resting of the heartbeat.

The lunar cycle divides the year into twelve harmonics. The year then resonates to this harmonic of twelve, and divides itself into twelve solar months. Like dancers, they move together. Time and its units are not man-made – they are man-observed. The divisions of time are divine harmonics that were recognized by the ancients.


Synodic Month (Lunation)

The Sun gains 1 degree per day, while the Moon gains 13 degrees per day; they are both moving. The more rapidly moving Moon is chasing the slower and more steadily moving Sun. The synodic month is the period in which the Moon gains one complete revolution over the apparent or visible motion of the Sun; or 360 degrees over the Sun (not just moving 360 degrees in the zodiac). When the Sun and Moon have the same longitude, they enter union (saṁgata), known as syzygy, or the New Moon conjunction.[3]

The time from one New Moon conjunction to the next conjunction is approximately 29.5 days; according to Sūrya Siddhānta it is 29.530587946 days. The modern calculation is 29.530588853 days, which is the same for the first six decimal places, though it is getting longer by a little less than a fiftieth of a second per century.[4]

synodic month

The mean New Moon conjunction occurs every 29.530587946 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds) but the actual New Moon does not recur at exactly this interval. The mean motion is the average motion, which is a constant; while the actual or true motion is what is actually happening, and has fluctuations. [5] The Moon may be fast or slow according to its elliptical motion at the time of becoming new, and this anomaly needs to be taken into consideration. [6]

The moment of the New Moon conjunction marks the beginning of the lunar month and the end of the previous month. This calculation is called amānta months (which is used in most places in India today).[7] The Ṛgveda talks about the Sun and Moon cycles, and says that the Moon, as she invigorates (pyāyana) herself after having been drunk (prapiba) by the gods, gives shape (ākṛti) to the months (māsa).[8] The Moon wanes, having had her light drunk by the gods; and then after the New Moon conjunction, which starts a new lunar month, grows in light and strength again.

Solar Year

The solar year is based upon the Sun’s 365-day motion through the zodiac as perceived from Earth. There are two types of solar year: the tropical year and the sidereal year. It is this difference between these two types of year that creates a variation between the stars and the seasons. [9]

The tropical year is the period of time from one vernal equinox to the next which, according to modern calculations, is 365.2422408 days; though the tropical year is getting shorter by a half-second every century[10]. The utility of the tropical solar year is for starting the seasons at the same time every year. The Gregorian calendar is presently based upon the Sun’s motion only, and therefore utilizes the tropical year.

The sidereal year is the period of time wherein the Sun passes through all twelve signs of the zodiac and returns to zero degrees at Aries ( Meṣa saṅkrānti). The length of the solar year according to the Sūrya Siddhānta is 365.258756484 days; modern data lists it as 365.256363051 days. The anomalistic solar year is a third calculation that takes into account the difference in speed of the Sun at different times of the year when the Sun is farthest from and nearest to the earth. This varying pace is needed for calculation of the exact point of the New Moon conjunction, and the precise time of sunrise. The Vedic calendar utilizes the sidereal solar year (with the correction for the Sun’s anomaly), as it is based upon the location of the luminaries during the New Moon conjunction and at sunrise.[11]

A calendar is more than merely a device for the numbering of days. All calendars are directly bound to the ever-recurring cycles of nature, most commonly manifested in the rotation of the earth and its cosmic influences; their underlying purpose is to help man adjust to these cycles and the forces that permeate them by achieving rhythmic flow of natural events. Ultimately this brings a sense of harmony with the Universe.

-José A. Argüelles[12]


photo by Stephen F. Corfidi

Interaction of Solar and Lunar Months

Saṅkrānti is the time when the Sun enters a new sign and is within its zero-degree placement there.[13] As the sidereal solar year begins with Meṣa saṅkrānti (entry into Aries), this is also the first solar month. A solar month is based upon the motion of the Sun through each of its signs, and is related to the energy of the Sun.[14] The second month begins with 0° of Taurus (Vṛṣabha saṅkrānti). As the Sun’s velocity varies, a solar month will have either 29, 30 or 31 days.


































































The solar months are considered the hinges, and the synodic lunar months the doors, of the Vedic calendar. The lunar month has its name determined by a New Moon conjunction occurring relative to a particular saṅkrānti. Vedic and Hindu rituals, festivals and vratas are determined according to the lunar month (the door); but that door is determined based upon the solar month (the hinge that opens the door).

The lunar month is named according to the solar month in which it has its New Moon conjunction.[18] Presently, in India, it is the sidereal solar year beginning with Aries that determines the entire lunar year. In the ancient calendar text, Vedāṅga Jyotiṣam,[19] the mutual relation of solar and lunar months is kept from tropical Saṅkrāntis, starting at the winter solstice.[20]

lunar month calculation

Figure 1: Innermost circle is the solar months.
Middle circle is lunar month named according to the New Moon conjunction.
Here the lunar month starts in the middle, but it may start anywhere within the sign.

When a standard All-India calendar was being created in 1952–7, the Calendar Reform Committee recommended that the luni–solar months be linked to the tropical months. This suggestion was not followed, since the calendar had been linked to the sidereal months for approximately one millennium. The Indian government instead created a tropical solar calendar with months named after the classical sidereal nakṣatra months, which was not accepted by most Indians. The committee named as the “Review of Committee on Indian Calendar and Positional Astronomy” met in 1986 to make new recommendations, which were not followed. Finally, new recommendations in 2004 were accepted to make the solar months coincide with the sidereal zodiac signs.

The luni–solar calendar is a type of cosmic attunement that connects us to an organic time. It is the interaction of the solar year with the lunar cycles that determines intercalary months, which allows the lunar months to align with the seasons. This is a dance between the Sun and Moon, as well as between fire and water.[21] This dance is the balance we aim to achieve in ourselves between the male and female polarities.

Broken Hinges and Missing Doors

In general, New Moon conjunctions and Saṅkrāntis occur alternately; and therefore each door has its own hinge. [22] There may occasionally be a shorter lunation that does not have a Saṅkrānti. This makes two New Moon conjunctions within one solar month.[23] This additional lunation becomes the intercalated lunar month called an Adhika māsa. In this case both lunar months will take the same name. The first month is Adhika (additional, abundant, intercalated); and the second month is Nija (innate, native). For example, there could be an adhika Śrāvaṇa māsa and a nija Śrāvaṇa māsa. Most traditions utilize the natural (nija) month for standard festivals. Adhika months ordinarily occur once every three years.

Rarely, there is a longer lunar month that has two Saṅkrānti. When this happens a lunar month is suppressed, as there is no hinge for the door to turn on. This suppressed month is called a lost month (kṣaya māsa).[24] The Kṣaya month is very rare, while the intercalary month happens about once every three years. These variations are the key for keeping the solar and lunar cycles in harmony, and thereby allowing a functional luni–solar calendar.

The intercalary month was utilized from ancient Vedic times.[25] The Ṛgveda says the Sun and Moon move proceeding and following each other, because of Māyā, like two children playing round the sacrifice.[26] Time is seen according to the Sun’s movement because it is steady and constant each year; it beholds all existence (viśvānyanyo bhuvanābhicaṣṭa); while the lunar months move all over the place like the emotions constantly fluctuating, yet they create the moment (ṛtūṁranyo vidadhajjāyate). The Vedic calendar keeps stability with the Sun, like the ātman keeps an individual centered. The individual happenings are guided by the Moon, like the emotions fluctuating across the mind.

The results of being born in the different lunar months are listed in Janardan Harji’s Mānsagarī. Someone born in the month of Caitra is likely to be happy, perform good works, be egotistical, have bloodshot eyes, deal with anger, and have a changeable love life. Someone born in the lunar month of Vaiśākha is likely to be a pleasure-seeker (bhogī), wealthy, of good disposition (su-citta), playful, handsome, and a favorite of the opposite sex. Those born in the month of Jyeṣṭha will enjoy going abroad, will have a good mind (subhacitta), be wealthy and long-lived, and have good intelligence. Birth in the month of Āśāḍha gives sons and grandsons; Śrāvaṇa gives equanimity in good or bad times; while Bhādrapada makes one soft-spoken but talkative, and always delightful. Āśvina has good qualities; is happy, poetic, wealthy and desirous. Those born in the month of Kārttika are harsher with tough personalities, and are often involved in trade. Mārgaśirṣa will have lots of friends, be soft-spoken, and helpful to others. Those born in the lunar month of Pauṣa are said to be intense and brave. Māgha birth indicates good intelligence, bravery and harsh speech; while Phalguna birth indicates a fair complexion, good wealth, education and comforts, as well as vacationing to foreign places. Birth in an Adhika māsa is said to make one spiritual, virtuous, and unconcerned with worldly matters; while birth on a Kṣaya māsa is said to make one ignorant, poor and diseased.

Intercalary Month (Adhika Māsa)

The intercalation is how the lunations (Moon) are wedded to the year (Sun); and it is this wedding that keeps the lunations in tune with the seasons. To understand the mathematical harmonics more deeply, we shall calculate the first six years of Kali Yuga to see the actual functioning of the intercalary month.[27]

At the end of the first sidereal year and beginning of the second, 12 synodic months had passed, and 10.891701134 days of the next lunation. [28] At the end of the second year, 12 synodic months had passed, and 21.783402268 days of the next lunation. By the next year there were 12 lunations plus 32.6751034 days. This is actually 32.6751034 days; so we subtract a lunation of 29.530587946 days, which is therefore 13 lunations and 3.144515454 days of the next lunation.

Kali Yuga


First New Moon in That Year

Synodic Months in That Year



Absolute beginning of the year

12 lunations and 10.891701134 days[29]



18.638886812 days into the year

12 lunations and 21.783402266 days



7.74719 days into the year

13 lunations and 3.144515454 days



26.386072492 days into the year

12 lunations and 14.036216586 days



15.49437136 days into the year

12 lunations and 24.927917722 days



4.60335 days into the year

13 lunations and 6.28903091 days

Again we can see that since there were 10.891701134 days of the next lunation in the previous solar year, the next lunation starts 18.638886812 days into the year (not 29.530587946 days, as in the previous year, which began on the New Moon). Each year the New Moon conjunction will start 18.638886812 days later. At the end of the second year we have 18.638886812 days multiplied by 2, which is 37.277773624 days. This amount of time is more than one lunation, and therefore we subtract 29.530587946, and have 13 lunations, with the next New Moon conjunction happening 7.747185678 days into the month.

time lapse


There are many variations throughout India based on the region/kingdom and time period. What is more important for the practitioner than the details of each calculation are the general concepts of the Sun and Moon creating a system of time together. There are 12 solar signs based on 12 lunations. The Full Moon names the solar signs. The lunar month is named by the solar sign containing the New Moon conjunction. This interaction makes a luni–solar calendar.

The dynamics of the calendar are fundamental to how we look at time and how we calculate it. The Vedic calendar comes from watching the cycles of the Sun and Moon, and then expressing the natural cycles in these observations. The stars turning in the year and the lunations are already present; the human mind is just watching them and giving them names. We watch the dance of the Sun and the Moon, and see how all the festivals and times of worship are guided by this clock. And when we look deeper, we see that this dance is a movement of consciousness, in the sky above and in our personal experience.


Arkasomayaji, Dr. D. trans., Siddhāntaśiromaṇi of Bhāskarācārya. Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati (2000).

Chattejee, S. K. Indian Calendric System. Publications Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, New Delhi, (2006).

Dhiegh, Khigh Alx. I Ching: Taoist Book of Days, Calendar Diary 1975. Shambala, Berkeley, (1974).

Eiseman, Fred B. Bali: Sekala and Niskala: Volume I: Essays on Religion, Ritual, and Art. Periplus Editions Ltd., New York, NY (1992).

Mishra, Dr. Suresh Chandra. Vedanga Jyotisham: Akhilananda Bhashyopetam. Ranjan Publications, New Delhi, 2005.

Pillai, Swamikannu, and L. D. Dewan Bahadur. Indian chronology (solar, lunar and planetary: a practical guide): The interpretation and verification of tithis, nakshatras horoscopes and other Indian time-records BC I to AD. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi (1982).

Pillai, Swamikannu. Panchanga and Horoscope or the Indian Calendar and Indian Astrology: Astronomically Considered in the Light of First Principles with Numerous Practical Examples . Asian Educational Services, New Delhi (1996).

Saha, M. N., and N. C. Lahiri. Report of the Calendar Reform Committee. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, 1955.

Sewell, Robert, Sankara Balkrishna Dikshit, and Robert Schram.The Indian calendar: with tables for the conversion of Hindu and Muhammadan into AD dates, and vice versâ Vol. 289. Originally by S. Sonnenschein & Co., 1896. Reprint by Motilal Banarsisass Publishers, Delhi (1996).

Subbarayappa, Bidare V., and K. Venkateswara Sarma. Indian astronomy: a source-book, based primarily on Sanskrit texts. Nehru Centre, Bombay (1985).

Further Resources

The Indian Astronomical Ephemeris, utilized by the Indian Government’s India Meteorological Department


[1] Ṛtu-vṛtti – the year is a revolution of the seasons.

[2] Varṣa means rains, Abda means giving water, while Śarada means autumn. These names of the year refer to having passed so many rains (rainy seasons), or having passed so many autumns.

[3] There have been a lot of translation issues with the English term New Moon, and the lack of differentiation between the Sanskrit phases of Amāvāsya and Pratipad. The modern astronomical definition of New Moon listed in western calendars refers to the conjunction (saṁgata) or syzygy which is the end of Dark Moon phase (amāvāsyā) and start of New Moon phase (pratipad). Here, I refer to saṁgata as the “New Moon conjunction”. For more on this translation issue see .

[4] The ancient Vedic astronomers calculated the length of the lunation to nine decimal places to ensure precision of calculations over thousands of years. The modern and Vedic difference would amount to a variation of about 1 hour and 11 minutes in 5,000 years.

[5] This irregularity (or anomaly) is called eccentricity of orbit, and the correction to be applied to it is called the equation of the center. The mean and actual positions are the same at 0° (perigee) and at 360° (apogee).

[6] The anomaly is based upon the anomalistic month of 27.5546 days (according to the Sūrya Siddhānta) where the Moon will repeat its pace according to its position. The siddhāntas gives charts of the Moon’s anomaly for precise calculation of the exact moment of the New Moon conjunction. In 1600 A.D. the Vedic Astronomer Gaṇeśa Daivajña added a correction raising the annual increase of the Moon’s anomaly by 2 seconds, and decreasing the length of the anomalistic month from 27.5546 to 27. 55459797 days. The precision is needed to calculate the New Moon conjunction, which also needs to take into account the anomaly of the Sun’s pace (the Earth’s elliptical motion around the Sun).

[7] There is an ancient system called Pūrṇimānta months, which calculates the months from Full Moon (Pūrṇama) to Full Moon, which is still utilized in parts of Northern India.

[8] This directly relates to the Tāntrika concept that the Moon is drunk by the gods as she wanes.

yattvā deva prapibanti tata ā pyāyase punaḥ |

vāyuḥ somasya rakṣitā samānāṁ māsa ākṛtiḥ || Ṛgveda 10.85.05

[9] The tropical year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.2 seconds, while the sidereal year is 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.8 seconds. The difference between the tropical (seasonal) and sidereal (stellar) year is about 20 minutes. These 20 minutes creates the ayanāṁśa, the portion (aṁśa) of variation between the stars and the equinox (ayana).

[10] The synodic month, the tropical year, and even the second which creates a minute/hour/day, are gradually changing in length over long periods of time. Modern science wants to lock us into one fixed length, which is needed for science; but we should be aware of the subtle variation over time and continue to utilize the natural time and its divisions.

[11] The difference between the tropical Gregorian calendar (which was previously the Julian calendar) used by the West (and in the Hellenistic world) and the sidereal luni–solar calendar of the East indicates a root difference in calendrical calculation, and shows up in preference for zodiac calculation in each of these cultures. Indians use a sidereal calendar and prefer a sidereal zodiac, while the West has used a tropical calendar since Hellenist times, and so prefers the tropical zodiac.

[12] From the Introduction to I Ching: Taoist Book of Days, Calendar Diary 1975 by Khigh Alx Dhiegh.

[13] Saṅkrānti is the Sun changing signs of the sidereal zodiac. The solar day of Saṅkrānti starts the new sidereal solar month. There were a number of different variations to this calculation in ancient India. In the southwestern part of India (ancient Malabar region), if the Sun changed signs before 1pm (18 ghaṭikas) then that was the Saṅkrānti day; and if it changed after, then the next day was utilized. In Tamil Nadu, if the Saṅkrānti happens before sunset (30 ghaṭikas) they use that day, while after sunset they use the next day. In Bengal, they use the day that has Saṅkrānti before midnight (45 ghaṭikas). In Odisha, the Saṅkrānti day was whatever solar day the Sun changed signs. (Vedic day is sunrise to sunrise.) This would have ancient calendars in different kingdoms starting on different days. For those who use Pope Gregor’s tropical calendar, this is of little importance; but in ancient times, this changed the beginning of the month and could have large implications with adhika and kṣaya months.

Being that I do not calculate adhika months, I utilize the 1pm (18ghaṭikas) rule in the Vedic calendar that I publish. When the Sun has just changed signs, work is less effective. I use the analogy that if you install a fence on Saṅkrānti, you realize the next day that it is in the wrong place, and have to repeat the work. In this way, it is better to refrain from work that day (and you can do so free of guilt as it would be unproductive anyway). My nickname for Saṅkrānti is “beach day” – as it’s better to go to the beach. I use the 1pm rule to ensure that the day you take off is the day where the Sun is zero degrees for the largest number of normal working hours.

It ancient times the Saṅkrānti day held religious importance. In astrology the charts of each Saṅkrānti are used to predict elements of the country’s politics. For example, Libra Saṅkrānti is the time to predict the country’s finances.

[14] Jaiminīya Brāhmaṇa II.77

[15] The solar months are sometimes named from the lunar month, which is named from the nakṣatra where the Moon was most likely full. This is why the name of the lunar month correlates with a nakṣatra opposite the sign. If the Full Moon is in Chitrā, the New Moon conjunction will most likely be in Aries.

[16] The correlating Gregorian date is slowly moving with procession. I give an example here of the time period when the tropical and sidereal zodiacs coincided (290 to 295 CE) and the present time period (2015 to 2020 CE). The example is for the New Moon conjunction of Caitra:


27 Feb


20 March


18 March


7 April


6 March


28 March


24 Feb


17 March


14 March


5 April


3 March


24 March

[17] prāṇīye varṣa etasmi-nkārtikādiṣu dakṣataḥ || Tantralokā 6.122||

pitāmahāntaṁ rudrāḥ syu-rdvādaśāgre'tra bhāvinaḥ |

[18] In the table, you will notice that the month of Caitra (lunar New Year) begins at the New Moon conjunction before Meṣa Saṅkrānti (in the previous solar year); while the next month (Vaiśākha) begins in the New Moon conjunction before Vṛṣabha Saṅkrānti. There were over 30 different calendars before Indian Independence, which named the sidereal solar months differently. Bengali solar months were named from the lunar month after Saṅkrānti, while the Tamil solar months are named from the lunar month before. They have the same names but refer to different times. In the amānta system, the lunar month is determined/named based on the solar month of the Full Moon opposition. The Full Moon names the solar month, and the solar month determines the lunation order. The Malayalam and Odiya months were named according to the signs of the zodiac. In my Vedic Calendar, we utilize the names associated with the signs of the zodiac.

[19] In the Vedāṅga Jyotiṣam, the lunar months seem to be calculated according to tropical solar signs: v.14–15 discuss the two ayana; v.16 discusses 12 lunar months (made of pakṣas); v.17–18 discuss viṣuva (equinox); v.33 links nakṣatra calculation to the ayana; v.34 defines tropical solar months, sidereal solar months, synodic months, and nakṣatra months; v.40 discusses rectifying lunar months to the seasons (ṛtuśeṣa); v.41 discusses the winter solstice in Śravaṇa (dating the text to between 1500 and 500 BCE, being that the present winter solstice is in Mūla); interestingly v.41 also mentions the use of the Ascendant (prāgvilagna).

[20] In Bali, the Department of Religion decided, instead of having an irregular Adhika māsa, to ensure that Śiva Ratri would always fall in January (after winter solstice). If it occurred in December, then they would add an Adhika māsa. This generally keeps Śiva Rātri as the first Caturdaśī (approximate day before the New Moon conjunction) after the winter solstice. In India, the procession of the sidereal zodiac has Śiva Rātri generally falling on the second Caturdaśī after winter solstice. This is because calculations are according to āgamas written when the sidereal dates aligned with the tropical indications to have Śiva Rātri as the longest night, Caturdaśī.

[21] We also see the interplay between the elements in the Chinese luni-solar calendar. Hexagram 49 in the I Ching is called Lake above Fire. Thomas Cleary translates: “There is fire in a lake, changing. Thus do superior people make a calendar and clarify the seasons.” This indicates the interaction of the Sun and Moon, fire and water, and the balancing that is required in a luni–solar calendar, which aligns one to the year (which is a symbol of time). Too much water will put out fire; too much fire will turn the lake to mist. The Islamic calendar is too much water – their festivals follow only the Moon and they move through the seasons. The Gregorian calendar is too much fire, and there is no relationship with the Moon.

[22] Normally, the Sun and Moon interrelate equally, but Adhika and Kṣaya are when they do not. An Adhika māsa is two lunations in one Saṅkrānti (two Moons in one Sun) and a Kṣaya māsa is two Sankrānti in one lunation (two Suns in one Moon). An Adhika tithi is when there are two days in one tithi (two Suns in one Moon); whereas a Kṣaya tithi is when there are two tithi in one day (two Moons in one Sun). The solar month names the lunar month, while the lunar day names the solar day. The Sun names the Moon’s month; the Moon names the Sun’s day.

[23] In order for this to happen, the New Moon conjunction needs to happen right after Saṅkrānti, and the second New Moon conjunction will happen just before the next Saṅkrānti.

[24] This requires the New Moon conjunction to start just before a Saṅkrānti, and end just after the next Saṅkrānti, so that a solar month loses the ability to name a lunar month. Only the three months of Mārgaśirṣa, Pauṣa, and Māgha (Siddhāntaśiromaṇi of Bhāskarācārya says only Kārtika, Mārgaśirṣa, Pauṣa) can be kṣaya, because they are the three lunar months that turn on 29 days each. This is caused by the Sun at its perihelion, presently somewhere during January 2nd to 4th, when it moves the fastest through a sign, (the apsidal line precesses through the zodiac at about one degree every 372 years). The kṣaya māsa runs with the next month simultaneously, and so is also called a yugalibhūtamāśa, or paired month. A kṣaya masa happens about once every 141 years (sometimes 122 years because of a Metonic cycle of variation). The last kṣaya māsa was in 1983.

[25] Ṛg Veda 1.25.8 says that the Sage Dhṛtavrata knows the twelve months and the month that is being created. Here we see twelve natural lunar months and the Adhika māsa that is created by the cycle. The Yajurveda Vājasaneyisaṁhitā 22.30 worships the intercalary year (Saṁsarpa), the Moon (Chandra), the lights/stars (Jyotiṣa), the intercalary month (Malimluca) and the Sun (divāpati).

[26] pūrvāparaṁ carato māyayaitau śiśū krīḷantau pari yāto adhvaram |

viśvānyanyo bhuvanābhicaṣṭa ṛtūṁranyo vidadhajjāyate punaḥ || Ṛgveda 10.85.18

[27] According to Sūrya Siddhānta, Kali Yuga began on midnight between the 17th and 18th of February 3102 B.C. (Caitra Pratipad).

[28] Śuddhi is the time between the moment of each New Moon conjunction and the subsequent Saṁkrāṇti, also seen as the time gained by the luni–solar calculation over the solar. When this time (śuddhi) attains the length of a full lunation, then there is an entire lunation without a Saṁkrānti. This lunar month has no hinge to turn on and becomes Adhika. No election times (muhūrta) are given during this month (marriages, business openings, moving into a new home, etc.). The śuddhi (relation between the lunation and solar month) has a regular 19-year cycle (minus 2 hours); 228 solar months (19 x 12) is equivalent to 235 lunations. This inherent 19-year luni–solar cycle is called the metonic cycle by Greek and modern astronomers.

[29] The additional days at this moment are called adhimāsa-śeṣa (that which remains for the additional month).

Freedom Cole

by Freedom Cole

March, 2016

About Freedom Cole

Freedom Cole is a teacher of Vedic Astrology, Yoga and the Vedic Sciences. He teaches traditional Vedic Astrology in a practical way which is useful in the modern world. He teaches with the traditional usage of Sanskrit, meditation, chanting/mantra through modern technology. Freedom’s teachings are filled with the deep understanding of the unity of all things.

Freedom was born into a family that practices yoga and has been teaching yoga and meditation since he was a teenager. He has studied with various teachers and is initiated by Paramahamsa Hariharananda Giri of Puri in the tradition of Kriya yoga. Freedom has a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts. He has studied Ayurveda with the New England Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, the International Academy of Ayurveda, the California College of Ayurveda, and mentored with various doctors in India.

Freedom studied with various astrology teachers in the US and India until meeting Paramguru Pandit Sanjay Rath in 2001. He has lived for extended periods in India studying with his Jyotish Guru in in Delhi, Bhubaneshwar, Puri and the Kamoan Himalayas. He was given the dīkṣā of the sacred thread by his Sanskrit Guru Vāgīśa Śāstri of Varanasi and was given his Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā by Baba Balia of Orissa.

Freedom is dedicated that people have access to true Vedic knowledge within a modern context. He focuses on using this knowledge to free the mind and give a universal perspective. Freedom shares the gross, subtle and transcendental level teachings in all topics of discussion.

Freedom’s personal website is and his Vedic Astrology wesbite is

Pujas events can be seen at

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