Calculation of the date of Shivaratri
tryambakam yajAmahe sugandhim puShTivardhanam
urvArukamiva bandhanAn mRtyor mukShIya mAmRtAt ||
(Sri Rudra PraSna of the
Krishna Yajur Veda )
We worship Siva, the three-eyed God who has a sweet
fragrance. He nourishes (the devotees physically,
mentally and spiritually). May we be liberated
from agony of death just as a ripe cucumber gets
freed (slips away easily) from the stalk which binds it.
May we not be separated from Immortality.
namah somAya ca rudrAya ca namastAmrAya cAruNAya ca
namah SangAya ca paSupataye ca nama ugrAya ca bhImAya
ca namo agrevadhAya ca dUrevadhAya ca namo hantre ca
hanIyase ca namo vRkShebhyo harikeSebhyo namastArAya
namah SambhavAya ca mayobhavAya ca namah SankarAya ca
mayaskarAya ca namah SivAya ca SivatarAya ca ||
(Sri Rudra PraSna of the
Krishna Yajur Veda )
Obeisances to Siva who is known as soma because He has
all opulences, Rudra because He makes the wicked weep,
tAmra because He abhors sin, aruNa because He practices
all virtues, Sanga because He provides food, PaSupati
because He protects the cows and other animals, ugra
because He is fierce to look at, Bhima because He is
awe-inspiring, agrevadha because He kills (the enemy)
from the front, dUrevadha because He kills (the enemy)
from afar, hantR because He destroys (the wicked),
hanIyas because He destroys the evil-minded enemies, the
green-haired warriors, tAra because He delivers (us) from
misery, Sambhava because He is the source of happiness,
Mayobhava because He is the source of delight, Sankara
because He is the bestower of happiness, Mayaskara
because He is the bestower of delight, Siva because He is
All Auspicious, Sivatara because He is the Most Auspicious
I posted the following a year ago. I am reposting it
Note : In the first part of this series, I described the
method for calculating Sri Vinayaka Chaturthi in a foreign
country. This part deals with the correct date calculation of
Shivaratri. This year Maha Shivaratri is to be observed on
February 27,(1995) in North America.
The Hindu Calendar or Panchanga usually lists the dates of
observances or festivals based on calculations for a particular
place. For example, a Panchanga prepared in Pune gives the
dates of observances that are actually for Pune and a Panchanga
prepared in Mysore gives dates for Mysore. However, India is a
tropical country with only one time zone, and the variation in
latitude and longitude will not, in most cases, affect the dates
as given in the Panchanga. But the dates must be recomputed for
a distant place in a foreign country , say New York, USA, so that
a person staying in the distant place may observe the festivals and
other religious events correctly.
In what follows, I discuss the calculation of dates of some of the
important religious festivals and observances based on the lunar
calendar (Chaandramaana). The lunar month has 30 lunar days,
consisting of a bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) and a dark fortnight
(Krishna Paksha). Each fortnight consists of 15 lunar days or
15 tithis. A period of one lunar month is said to have elapsed when
the moon, beginning from the celestial longitude of the sun completes
one revolution around the zodiac and coincides with the position
(celestial longitude) of the sun. The celestial longitude of a
celestial body is the position of the body in the zodiac and is
expressed in degrees of arc, minutes and seconds. So the celestial
longitude is a value between 0 and 360 degrees.
What determines the lunar tithi is the DIFFERENCE between the celestial
longitude of the moon and the celestial longitude of the sun.
If the difference is then the tithi is:
0-12 Pratipada (Shukla Paksha Begins)
36-48 Chaturthi or Chauti
168-180 Poornima (Shukla Paksha ends)
180-192 Pratipada (Krishna Paksha begins)
348-360 Amavasya (Krishna Paksha ends)
Example 1: The celestial longitudes of the moon and the sun are
256 degrees 45 mins and 121 degrees 22 mins respectively.
What is the lunar tithi? The difference is 135 degrees 23 mins.
The tithi is Shukla Paksha Dvadashi.
Most Panchangas give the ending times of tithis in local time
or standard time. In such cases, it suffices to compute the
the duration of a tithi at the place where one is residing.
Example 2: A person is residing in New York, USA but has a Panchanga
which was prepared in India. The Panchanga gives the ending of
Krishna Paksha Trayodashi as 04 hrs 45 mins Indian Standard Time (IST)
on Jan 3, and the ending of Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi as 04 hrs
30 mins (IST) on Jan 4. What is the duration of the Chaturdashi IN
NEW YORK ? New York follows EST on the dates involved. EST is
10 hrs 30 mins behind IST. This means the ending of the Trayodashi
is at 18 hrs 15 mins EST (28 hrs 45 mins - 10 hrs 30 mins) on
Jan 2 and the ending of the Chaturdashi is 18 hrs EST (6 PM) on Jan 3.
The Hindu day begins at sunrise (and not 12 Midnight) and ends
at the following sunrise. Local newspapers usually give sunrise and
sunset times as part of the weather report. The period from sunset to
the following sunrise is calculated first. Adding 2/5ths and 3/5ths of
this period gives the beginning and ending of Madhya Ratri Kaala or
Example 3: Sunset on Jan 2 and sunrise on Jan 3 in New York are
respectively at 16 hrs 27 mins and 7 hrs 27 mins. The difference
is 15 hrs 0 mins. Dividing 15 hrs 0 mins by 5 gives
3 hrs 0 min. So Nisheetha Kaala extends from (16hrs 27 mins +
6 hrs ) to (16hrs 27 mins + 9 hrs) ie, from 22 hrs 27 mins on
Jan 2 to 1 hr 27 mins on Jan 3.
RULE FOR CALCULATING THE DATE OF SHIVARATRI
Most Hindus celebrate Maha Shivaratri on the fourteenth lunar tithi of
the dark fortnight of the month of Magha. Some Hindus also
follow the custom of worshiping Shiva on the 14th lunar tithi
of the dark fortnight of every month, not just Magha. The
rule for computing the date on which Shivaratri is to be observed
is as follows:
On any day, if (Magha) Krishna Chaturdashi prevails during the
Nisheetha Kaala, then Shivaratri is to be observed on that
night. If (Magha) Krishna Chaturdashi prevails during two successive
Nisheetha Kaalas then Shivaratri is to be observed on the day on
which Trayodashi ends. If (Magha) Krishna Chaturdashi does not
extend over the Nisheetha Kala of any day, then Shivaratri is
to be observed on the day Chaturdashi ends.
Example 4: Consider the data in Example 2 and Example 3 above.
When should Shivaratri be observed by the person in New York?
The Krishna Chaturdashi extends from 18 hrs 15 mins on Jan 2 to
18 hrs on Jan 3 in New York. From Example 3, it is known that
Nisheetha Kaala on Jan 2 is from 22 hrs 27 mins to 25 hrs 27 mins.
This means Shivaratri is to be observed on Jan 2 in New York.
When should Shivaratri be observed by a person in India ?
From the data in Example 2, Krishna Chaturdashi prevails during the
entire period of daylight on Jan 3 and ends at 04 hrs 30 mins on
Jan 4. In this case, a person in India would observe
Shivaratri on Jan 3.
From the example above, it can be seen that the same observance
can possibly be on different dates in different places. So one
must apply the rule mentioned above to calculate the correct
This year (1995), Magha Krishna Chaturdashi begins at about
9:30 AM on February 27 and ends at about 7:30 AM on Feb 28, the
times in EST. Since this period includes the Nisheetha Kala of
practically every place in North America, Maha Shivaratri must be
observed on the night of Feb 27.
Note: In the foregoing discussion, I have assumed the Amaanta
system of lunar calendar, whereby the lunar month consists of
the Shukla Paksha followed by the Krishna Paksha.