January, Janus, Ganesha

January is the first month in our calendar. This calendar that the world is following today is the Gregorian calendar, that has been established by Pope Gregory in the year 1582.

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Pope Gregory – a Painting

This word “January” comes from the old Roman divinity, Janus. “Janus” is a divinity that was venerated in Rome in the Pre-Christian days. This divinity has two faces, one that looks back at the past and one that looks forward to the future.

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Janus with 2 heads

It is for this reason that the divinity, Janus, which has the capacity to look forward to the future, keeping in mind the past, that it adorned the doorways in ancient Rome. It was looked to, as the divinity for auspicious beginnings.

Now, let us look at the root of this word “Janus”. It is phonetically similar to the Samskrt word “Gnana” which means Knowledge.

In India, the divinity attributed to Gnana, Knowledege, is Ganesha. In the word “Ganesha”, the word “Gana” stands for numbers, heaviness and knowledge.

Ganesha too has two faces, one the popular elephant face that we all know of and the face of a young, stubborn child that he originally had borne, before he got the elephant head. In India and in most of South-East Asia, Ganesha is to this day, venerated first, as the divinity that removes obstacles. Ganesha, is venerated as the divinity of auspicious beginnings. In houses, in temples, in palaces, in street corners, Ganesha is looked up to, as the divinity of beginnings.

ganesha in india

Ganesha, with elephant head

 We see an interesting similarity here, between the thought of India, for auspicious beginnings with Ganesha, the divinity for knowledge and Janus, the divinity of Rome for auspicious beginnings in Rome, 2000 years back.

When Pope Gregory formed the new calendar with a Papal order, he retained the memory of Janus for January, the first month of the New Year. This shows how prevalent the concept was in Europe then.

With this knowledge, let us celebrate the coming year with the knowledge, that we need to look back on our deeds of the past and with that wisdom, look forward to our life in the coming year.

Ganesha as a divinity of beginnings, is not only venerated in India but also venerated in Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, China and as well in ancient Persia. It is interesting to note that in some of the paintings and sculptures, there is a subtle display of an elephant trunk.

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Ganesha like depiction in Japan

Kangiten, Enmeiin, Iwai City, Japan

It is interesting how ideas and concepts in the ancient world, travelled across lands, continents and got imbibed in the local legends and minds of the peoples, uniting them by practices and customs.

May January, in this New Year, herald an auspicious beginning for reviving the ancient concept of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, One World Family. A global togetherness, where the knowledge of the ancient world and that of the modern world live in sync and harmony with each other and with Nature.

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The Story of December

December is the last month in the Gregorian calendar. This is also the commonly used calendar of the world. It is a twelve month calendar as we all know.

The word December, is phonetically similar to decimal. The word decimal and its equivalent dashamlav comes from the same root dasam or dus, whichis used to express 10 in Hindi, Samskrt and a few other Indian languages.This is so because the decimals are in units of ten.

The English word December which indicates the number 10, suggests that it was the tenth month of the year. Similarly, September comes from Latin Septa or the root Sapta in Samskrt meaning 7. This indicates September must have been the seventhmonth,

October again comes from Octa, which has the same root as Ashta in Samskrt standing for 8. This means October must have been the eighth month.

Look at November. The root word Nava in Samskrt means 9. And November must have stood for the 9th month. And December as we have seen, from Dus, decimal, must have been the tenth month.

If this is so, then how is it that these months moved by two places and December came to occupy the place of the 12th month in the calendar, instead of the tenth month?

Right from the times of Julius Caesar, the great emperor of Rome who lived around 40 CE and brought in the Julian Calendar system, in use till the year 1582 CE, when Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar system, there has been much confusion in the west regarding calendars.

The length of the year kept changing. The beginning of the calendar year and the order of the months kept undergoing changes too. The number of days in a month also varied.

With time, the calendar, the very time keeper of the civilization, kept changing at the whims and fancies of the ruler of the civilization.

Julius Caesar wanted to make his name not just popular but eternal.

For this purpose, he included his name Julius as a month in the calendar and thus came July, bearing his name. He also ensured that the month with his name had the maximum days and hence July has thirty-one days.

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Julius Caesar

His successor Augustus Caesar, not wanting to be left behind, wanted his name also in the prints of history and added his name to the month following Julius’s July. Hence we have the month called August. As he did not want to be inferior to Julius in any way, he ensured that his month too had thirty-one days.

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Augustus Caesar

The month of February was anyway there, for them to pluck out the days from and add to their months.

Therefore what we see from this is that the Julian, Gregorian, English calendar has evolved to what it is today, more based on twists and turn of history, the quirk and whims of certain kings and heads.

In stark contrast, while India has many calendars, there has been a clear distinction between the era based calendars, named after some of the popular kings of India, more for recording recent history and the more commonly used astronomical calendars used mainly to conduct daily activities and routine, celebrate festivals, etc., more popularly called the Panchanga.

The Panchanga form of Indian calendarical system takes into cognisance and consideration, the movements of the sun, moon, planets, stars and earth as well as the ebb and flow of seasons or the laws of nature which form an intrinsic part of it.

The Panchanga has been supported all through these thousands of years by the traditional mathematics which was equally evolved. It was called the Panchanga, Pancha meaning 5 and Anga meaning parts, as 5 key components went into making this calendar, the science of which is still documented, available and practiced today.

In the Indian Calendarical system, the sun in its annual movement in the sky, as it moves across successive star constellations, the twelve Zodiacs, marks the month and each of these 12 months are named based on the star and the Zodiac through which the Sun is transiting.

The earth is round. The sun is also round. The revolutionary path or the orbit of the earth around the sun is also a circle. The circle is after all 360 degrees. So mathematically, 1 degree on an average for a day and a year of 12 equal months gives 360 days for a year and 30 days for a month.

But in reality, the time taken for earth to complete one full revolution, i.e a year is 365 ¼ days. So there is a need for some adjustments.

Also the time taken by the moon to go round the earth, is only 28 days as against 30 days needed to divide the 360 degrees equally by 12.

The ancients Indians, aware of the role the moon plays in controlling the tides on earth and mental state and fertility of life on earth, had also factored the movement of the moon into the Panchanga.

This gave rise to various Panchanga styles – namely solar, luni solar, sidereal etc. and Jovian too, which accounted for movement of Jupiter.

The difference between 360 and 365 ¼ days as well as the cycle of the moon were then taken into account in the form of adjustments at the end i.e around February – March, so that the new year starts in sync with the Vernal Equinox.

We have already discussed in our article in Rishimukh in the month of April 2010, as to how the New Year, not just in the Indian calendar but also in many of the traditional calendars of the world started with the sun crossing the equinox, currently on March 21st during its annual journey between the two tropics.

Adjustments are constantly needed to bring back a manually calibrated year in sync with the real astronomical drama in the skies.

Calendars were meant to be in sync with the skies, to guide us to conduct our lives in tune with the design of nature that starts with the design of the movement of heavenly bodies and comes down into our lives in the form of seasons, climate, animal and plant life around us as well as our own state of physical and mental health.

The complex design of nature and its variations cannot be reduced to a standard constant form.

In the process of all the standardization and engineering, to define a calendar of fixed number of days every year, we have now ended up, globally following a calendar where a calendar or a day  just means numbers on the wall, diary, cell phone or computer.

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Untitled 5

Calendar has ceased to reflect t he skies for us. It has lost its connection with the motions of the heavenly bodies.

No wonder we feel lost! Because mankind as a whole has also lost his connect with the skies, the seasons and the rhythm of nature.

In contrast, Sankalpa, the oral calendar of ancient times, where every individual had to keep track the position of the sun, moon and the stars, every dawn and dusk, along with his geographical bearings, kept drawing his mind to the size and scale of the Universe and his position in it. It kept reinforcing the largeness of the Universe while reminding man continuously of how he is just a small part of this large complex design. This brought in humility in man and respect for nature.

This December, let the story of December being decimated and relegated to the last month of the year, remind us that the January to December calendar that we use today, is only a commercial calendar.

Time is nothing but a measure of the motion of cosmic bodies as they sweep through space. Time is everything as it is this motion that defines not only the length of our lives but also the quality of our lives.

Hence if we are to become more scientific in our ways and thinking, we need to ensure that the real calendar we follow and the clock we keep, are in tune with the cosmos. In short, we need to reconnect with nature.

2012 Mayan Calendar – An End, A Beginning

For over a decade people have been talking about the Mayan calendar ending on December 21, 2012.  This date is finally at hand now. Many a book have been written on this subject, films made, opinions and interviews given on TV and other online media. The doomsday theorists have also had a field decade coming up with their innovative theories of doom and contriving to link them with the Mayan calendar and this date of 21/12/2012.

These theories have been varied starting with calendar systems to Mayan civilization, to climate, to the magnetic forces of the earth and to that of stars in the sky. The range of interesting and innovative theories leaves one amazed and at the same time perplexed as to which one is going to come true.

Needless to say, many of them have been way off the mark, for very few came to pass.  Without an understanding of the ethos of the Mayan civilization and what their calendar stood for, each theory was only more fanciful than the earlier.

Who were these Mayans? How did they get their name? How did they come to possess the skills to build such a grand civilization? How did they build their pyramids and cities with such mathematical precision? How did they evolve a Long Count Calendar then itself, spanning over 5000 years, to end far into the future on 21/12/2012?

Unless some light is thrown on all these, we would be talking like the seven blind men describing an elephant, where one called the trunk a rope, one called the ear a fan, another called its legs as pillar. No one could see it wholly, for the animal it was, the elephant.

5000 years ago when the Mayans were building their great pyramids, cities and their calendar, there were a few other civilizations around the world too, building their great cities, pyramids and their own calendrical systems. Some of the well known are the Egyptian, the Mesopotamian and the Indian civilization. Of these, it is only the Indian civilization that continues to survive today with the knowledge of those times such as the mathematical sciences, astronomy, calendrical system and many others, still intact.

Can the knowledge from this ancient civilization not throw some light on the other sister civilizations of that period – the Mayan civilization, its people and structure of its calendar, which is a high point of discussion in this year 2012?

If this were to be possible, then there should have been connections between the ancient Mayan civilization and the ancient Indian civilization, for us to draw conclusions from.

A host of European scholars, starting from Baron Alexander von Humboldt, Donald Mackenzie and American scholars such as Miles Poindexter, the ambassador from USA to Mexico in 1930 who authored the book “Arya Incas”, have through their independent research suggested that the Mayans of Central America were descendants from ancient Indian clans. Even the name Mayans and the fact that they were great builders corresponds with the builders in ancient India who were known as Mayasura through the ages. The ancient texts of India – the Purana and Itihasa, credit many of the cities of ancient India and Lanka to the Mayasura clan of builders.

The skills and the underlying knowledge therefore would have been similar between these two civilizations who were connected eastwards from India onto the west coast of Central America over the Pacific, through all the lands and islands in between. This connection had continued through many millennia till the last millennium.

For people to travel across oceans, what is essential are large ships. The Nava Sastra texts of India speak of ship building techniques and there are a host of references to sea faring right from the Vedic texts onwards, which go beyond 5000 years ago.

When people had travelled that far across millenia, there are bound to be telltale signs enroute, left behind. These are available to us in the form of similar local names, practices and pyramidal structures all across from India to the islands of South East Asia, to the Pacific islands to Central and South America.

All these and more, go to show a connect across times, across civilizations. This ancient connect gives us the key to connect back to the Mayans of Central America, their civilization and their calendar, today.

For the ancient Indians, calendars were many and each had a purpose. The underlying principle was to use the rhythmic motions of the astral bodies to mark passage of time and to tune oneself to the rhythm in the cosmos, Nature, right from days, to nights, to months, to seasons, to years and to eras. Indians called such windows or scales of time as Yuga.

Juxtaposing Indians on the Mayans, we see that the Mayan civilization of Central America too was based on similar principles of staying in harmony with the cosmic rhythm. Only the objects of reference were different.

The very word “calendar” itself is similar to the Samskrt word Kalantara. Kala means “time” and Antara, “gap”- like the time gap between January 1st and December 31st marks a year for modern understanding.  End of a calendar marks the end of a time window, not the world. One calendar ends only to usher in the next calendar for the next time window.

This understanding of what a calendar really is can help us bridge the Kalantara, timegap between the ancient Mayan civilization and the present, to lead us to a new understanding for the people of the present day world. It presents us with a bridge to cross over barriers, natural and manmade, through the elapse of time and reach out to people world over. The yearnings of the people across millennia, across civilizations, across oceans are after all similar and in this new millennia, in the coming new Knowledge Era, in the coming new Global Village like scenario, people will yearn and learn to live as a global family, Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam.

This isthe message, hope and ideal the new Mayan calendar would have given us had the Mayan civilization outlived this calendar to put up the new one. There is hope still left.

If the Indian hand can join the hand from across the Pacific, not only will they join in prayer but the resounding clap can make everyone stand up and take notice of ancient wisdom and what it has to offer troubled mankind today.

 The authors D K Hari and D K Hema Hari have authored a book, 2012-The Real Story, which speaks of this old connect and the new path ahead.

Doomsday Phobia – Whether world will end on 21st Dec 2012 as per Mayan Calendar?

World over rumours are getting spread through mainline and social media about the ‘Doomsday’.   The news is getting spread that as per Mayan Calendar, the world will end on 21st December 2012.

Reports are also coming that many people in developed countries have donated their properties for  charities, to get ready for the ‘Doomsday’.

Mr D K Hari, Founder of Bharath Gyan has recently authored a book  ‘2012 – The Real Story‘.  In this book, Mr D K Hari has dealt about this phobia.  Mr Hari is a researcher in the ancient wisdom.

According to Mr Hari, Mayan Calendar has the joint origin of India and Central America.  In an exclusive and very interesting interview to PodUniversal, Mr Hari has brought out the scientific facts behind the Mayan Calendar.  He says that as per this calendar, the one era (yuga) ends on 21st December 2012 and the new era starts on the next day.  Unfortunately, few people are spreading the panic among the entire world as if the world is going to end on that day.

In this interview, he has also brought out how Maya clans had the origin from India and how they were engaging themselves in building huge cities, ships, bridges, etc. According to Mr Hari, Srilanka City, Dwaraka city, Ram Setu, Pyramids were built by them.

 Please listen to his very interesting interview.