Relevance of Muhurat for KP Diasporas
Piyaray Lal Raina
Kashmiri Pandit observance of muhurat (saath) is an essential part of his
life. Be it time for undertaking a journey, performance of religious duties,
observing a fast on auspicious days, shradda of an ancestor, celebrations
such as birthday, marriage or any other auspicious function such as making or
entering a new house. In short, observance of muhurat is a sin qua non
for us. It is for this reason that we always keeps an annual almanac (jantary)
handy in our surroundings and eagerly await for the arrival of its new
up with these traditions is building a wall between seniors and juniors in our biradari.
Currently, our youth are living in a very different situation than their
ancestor. He cannot take the liberty of observing these traditions even if he
wants to continue with these traditions. He is a world traveler and has to face
many challenges in his career. Life style has changed and is changing rapidly.
Twenty-first century is very different from any thing we have seen so far.
is linked with tithi and nakshatra. Tithi is a lunar day that is
determined by the waxing and waning of the Moon. The path of the Moon in
reference to our earth is an elliptic path. Its movement is variable. While the
mean duration of its movement in a day is 23 hours 37 minutes and 28 seconds, it
varies from less than 16 hours to a maximum of 36 hours at times, depending upon
the position of Moon in its journey round the earth. When it is nearest to earth
(perigee) it is fastest and travels in less time that at times results in
abandonment of a tithi and when it is farthest from earth (apogee) Moon has
reduced speed thus it may take more than one day to cover a tithi (devadev). All
the panchangs register these details.
are a group of small stars in the sky that fall in the path of the lunar motion
as observed from earth. In our astrology, these nanshatras play an
important role as they are considered the resting places of the Moon in its
journey around the earth. They are called as lunar mansions. There are 27 nakshtras
viz: Ashwini, Bharani ,Kritika, Rohini, Mrigashira, Ardra, Punarvasu, Pushya,
Ashlesha, Magha, Purva phalguni, Uttara Phalguni, Hasta , Chitra, Swati,
Vishakha, Anuradha, Jyeshtha, Mula, Purva Ashadha, Uttara Ashdha , Shravana,
Dhanishtha, Shatabhisha, Purva Bhadrapada, Uttara Bhadrapada,
Revati. In the Vedic astrology the position of the Moon in these nakshatras
is considered important for determining the characteristics and timing of
have been divided into three groups of nine planets each for determining their
influence on the timing of events. These are rajsic, tamsic, and sattwic
nakshatras. While rajsic nakshatras are considered to influence the
individuals with high-energy activities, tamsic nakshatras create
dullness, and sattwic nakshatras influence by inducing one into
spirituality, purity and harmony.
important to understand that all observations regarding tithi are made in
India and while preparing annual almanac the position on earth from which the
observations have been made is recorded. Observation of a tithi in our jantary
is made from Jammu (Lat 32 deg 44 min and Long 74 deg and 54 min). Since there
is difference in the timings of day in various parts of the globe the
observations made at Jammu will not apply all over the globe. Technically
speaking, to find the muhurat for all the places where we are now settled
there has to be a different jantary based on observations made from some
central position in that area or we need to make local adjustments based on
where we live corresponding to the observation made in Jammu.
purpose of this writing is not to mislead my biradari into
non-observance of our traditions but rather to make all aware of the
importance of these practices in the changed situations.
It was a non-issue while we were all living in Kashmir but now when all
of us are scattered all over the globe observance of our traditions with a
blind faith is not practicable. It will help us if we know the correct
background of our traditions.
* The author is a
regular contributor of articles regarding Kashmir Pandit traditions. He has
recently authored a book Socio-Cultural and Religious Traditions of Kashmiri
He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia and DLF City, India He can be contacted by email