Shabad Kirtan: “Nanak Tina Basant Hai ” by Bhai Gagandeep Singh Ji Sri Ganga Nagar Wale. Thank you Ji for the wonderful shabad. (Source: deramithatiwana on YouTube)
By Harnaak Singh
We will now continue with the study of calendars. We have thus far seen and highlighted the problems associated with the present system used in the Sikh Panth calendar. We have indicated that the TROPICAL METHOD for the determination of the NATURAL event markers is the way to go. We will in this part commence making a conceptual level proposal for the Sikh Calendar.
We will continue with the figure numbers from Part 6.
We use the Jagannath Hora for sidereal method of determining planetary positions and the Star Fisher for tropical method. The Jagannath Hora is set to default calculation method. The date is based on midnight-midnight unless otherwise stated. The location is Amritsar, Punjab. All dates are Gregorian unless otherwise stated.
The software we will use in ensuing analysis are the Star Fisher and the Jagannath Hora. These programs are available for free download at
STAR FISHER: http://www.starfisher.cz/starfisher/en/download.htm
JAGANNATHA HORA: http://www.vedicastrologer.org/jh/
Reference is also made to Drik Panchang, a website that details the Hindu Calendar, besides other Indian calendars. This site gives panchang details back to 1600 using Gregorian dates. Drik Panchang uses the sidereal method in making the calculations.
DRIK PANCHANG: https://www.drikpanchang.com/panchang
The Solar calendar the Sikh Panth uses to fix the Sangrand dates is based on the Sidereal method of determining planetary positions. This method has inherent drift with time resulting in shifting dates. Therefore the position of NATURAL markers as perceived from the earth is not realised.
This means that if the sidereal method states that the Sun is at 22.96 degrees Sagittarius at 12 noon on 2-Dec-1667, this information is as viewed from the perspective of the chosen reference STAR. It does not reflect the position of the Sun which is 12 degrees Capricorn, at the same time, as viewed from the earth. For us to mark events we must use the earth’s perspective (not the reference STAR’s perspective). It is extremely important to understand this discrepancy.
It must be pointed out that there is nothing wrong with the sidereal method. It is important to know the intent and technique and purpose of any method. The sidereal method is more suitable if there is a need to position the plants from the reference STAR’s perspective. The tropical method is more suitable to position the planets from the earth’s perspective.
Presently the sidereal based date is 24 days ahead of the tropical based date. This means that if the sidereal method says it is 24-Feb-2019; the position of the SUN is that as of 31-Jan-2019. We have also shown that the tropical based date accurately (within limits of leap year adjustment) tracks the position of the sun. Thus the Sangrand has also drifted by as many days. Another point to consider is the CHET paradox. We shall address this first.
The paradox of the month CHET
CHET is the first month so it should start with ARIES but it is presently starting with PISCES. There must be a rational explanation for this. The Surya Siddhanta implies that CHET is the first month and it starts with ARIES see Figure 41.
Fig 41: Surya Siddhanta definition of relationship between month and zodiac sign
In Figure 42 are presented the Hindu months of the various parts of India and the corresponding zodiac sign and Gregorian dates.
Fig 42: Indian month and zodiac sign – English name in red (source: Wikipedia)
Notice that the south Indian “Tamil” part (green box) still defines Aries as CHITHIRAI (Punjabi CHET). The other parts, mainly northern parts have changed CHET to PISCES. Also the northern parts the first month of the year is VAISAKH while for TAMIL the first month of the year is CHET.
Leap adjustment of CHET to VAISAKH
My guess is that the northern parts are subject to the four seasons while the southern “Tamil” part being close to the equator does not experience the seasons. So possibly at some point in time in the past, the calendar experts of the north realised that solar month CHET was not aligning to seasons and decided to shift is to PISCES i.e. introduced a leap adjustment. This can be easily done by changing CHET to VAISAKH at an appropriate time.
The table in Figure 43 below shows the scenario if such a change occurred in 1071 CE, when on Sangrand 1st April, CHET was SKIPPED and changed to VAISAKH. This could have been done any other time maintaining the dates with the same result but the most opportune moment is when the sun moves into the next zodiac sign whence it is a matter of dropping one solar month (CHET in this case).
Fig 43: A scenario of leap adjustment in the Hindu calendar
|YEAR||SIDEREAL START DATE ARIES||Drift||Remarks||TROPICAL START DATE ARIES|
|285 CE||20th March
|1068 CE||31st March CHET||20th March
|1071 CE||1st April
|Change CHET to VAISAKH||The next CHET Sangrand is 0 degrees Pisces next year i.e. 1st March 1072||20th March
|1285 CE||3nd April
|1469 CE||6th April
|1699 CE||9th April
|20 days drift|| 20th March
|2018 CE||14th April
|24 days drift||CHET Sangrand falls on
14-Mar-2018 (1:44 pm)
Note according to the Hindu panchang (Drik Panchang – drikpanchang.com) the 2018 Sangrand in March is on 14th March and in April is 14th April. The Drik Panchang was used to check the sangrand date given in the table above.
The south “Tamil” part calendar experts did not have this issue and did not introduce leap correction. The south part of India maintained the definitions in Surya Siddhanta, i.e. CHET starts in 0 degrees ARIES and retained the sidereal solar year drifted dates.
Interestingly the Sikh Panth still maintains CHET as the beginning of the year but uses the dates based on leap adjustment. Truly the Sikh Panth calendar which is supposed to be based on Bikrami, is not a Bikrami based calendar. It is a mix match of the SOUTH AND NORTH calendars.
Summary of CHET Paradox
The CHET PARADOX has been explained above. Further the fact that South India “Tamil” part did not apply the leap adjustment is further evidence that such a leap adjustment did take place in the northern part of India.
TROPICAL METHOD MOST APPROPRIATE FOR SIKH PANTH CALENDAR
The study so far has clearly shown that the sidereal solar calendar is not appropriate for calendrical purposes for the Sikh Panth. There are too many variables which have to be changed to use it as an event marker on earth making long term planning more difficult. These have been discussed in detail in the previous parts but we can surmise the main issues as follows.
- The drift of dates in the sidereal method.
- The CHET Paradox.
CHET Sangrand of the Sikh Panth Calendar
We are now convinced that the tropical method is the way to go for the Sikh Calendar. Then next point is “how do we fix the sangrand dates?”
We will analyse this from there different angles which we shall refer to as Check 1 to 3.
Sangrand date – Check 1: Hindu Calendar Drift
We should maintain the Sangrand dates in line with the Zodiac signs, i.e. CHET should start with the spring Equinox which fall generally on March 20/21 in Amritsar based on the tropical method.
Is this correct or rather the date for CHET presently, which is 14th March, correct? The table in Figure 43 gives us a hint as to which is correct.
In 285 CE both the sidereal and tropical method gave the same date 20th March for CHET. This means CHET was on spring equinox long time ago. The sangrand for CHET kept drifting until some point in time (e.g. 1071 in Figure 43) when drifted CHET-D was replaced by drifted VAISAKH-D whence VAISAKH-D fell at 0 degrees ARIES. CHET-D was moved back by one zodiac sign to PISCES. This was an attempt to align CHET-D with the seasons.
This shows that the drift with the sidereal method does not truly reflect the conditions on earth. This points to that the date 14th March for start of CHET-D is most likely incorrect as far as marking the event from earth is concerned.
Therefore Spring Equinox 20th March is the appropriate start date for CHET.
Sangrand date – Check 2: Vaisakhi 1699
Historical records state that Khalsa was initiated on Vaisakhi 1, 1699. This date is the start of VAISAKH which is Sun moving into drifted 0 degrees Aries according to the Sidereal method. Using Jagannath Hora, this Sangrand is given as 9th April, 1699. This is confirmed with the Drik Panchang (drikpanchang.com). This is the first day of drifted Vaisakh-D. But remember the dates given by the sidereal method are drifted dates and additionally after moving VAISAKH-D to CHET-D.
This drift and man-made adjustment has resulted in confusion of the actual date of the event Vaisakhi.
When is Vaisakhi in actual fact?
We have to use the NATURAL EVENT marker, the SUN, to get us out of this quagmire.
The actual date using tropical method is determined as follows.
- On 9th April (Sidereal), the Sun is at 19.63 degrees ARIES as shown by the tropical calculation.
- This for Sun 19.63 degrees ARIES shown is not for Vaisakhi because VAISAKH 1st should fall at the start of Taurus, i.e. 0 degree TAURUS.
- 0 degree TAURUS falls on 20th April 3:35 am if we use midnight-midnight (international practice) time and 19th April sunrise to sunrise (as per Hindu method).
So VAISAKH 1st should fall on 20th April 1699 which is the closest VAISAKH to 9th April 1699.
The drifted and adjusted date of Vaisakh-D 1st lies at 19.63 degrees Aries using tropical method.
This is the actual tropical position of the sun on 9th April 1699 and reveals that KHALSA was proclaimed in CHET; CHET should span 20th March to 20th April. The date would be CHET 21st 1699 CE based on 20th March being CHET 1st.
The position of the Sun in Taurus representing the start of VAISAKH on 20th April 1699 then fixes CHET which is 0 degrees Aries to 20th March 1699. This is the SPRING EQUINOX date.
This also supports the Spring Equinox 20th March as start date for CHET.
Sangrand date – Check 3: Drifted VAISAKH-D replacing drifted CHET-D leap adjustment
If VAISAKH-D did not replace CHET-D, then Vaisakhi being 9th April 1699 was actually CHET-D 1st. The drift of the sidereal calendar in 1699 was 20 days. Adjusting for the drift the actual date for CHET 1st is Spring Equinox 20th March 1699.
Again the date for CHET 1st is Spring Equinox 20-Mar-1699.
Summary Sangrand date
From the above analysis, the proposed date for the 1st of CHET is Spring Equinox date of 20th or 21st March every year.
Analysis for the proposal of Sangrand dates for the month CHET, VAISAKH, … PHAGUN
In part 5 we compared the days per month proposed by Purewal and the Gregorian days per month. The table referred to is reproduced in Figure 44.
Fig 44: Days per quarter in a normal (not leap) solar year
The number of days/month according to the Gregorian calendar seems an attempt to equalise the number of days in each quarter. There is some merit in this from the financial perspective (generally companies have quarterly performance results – it is helpful to compare quarterly performance if the quarter is of close to equal number of days).
The proposal is for the Sikh Calendar to maintain the same number of days per month as the Gregorian. This, not only gives it a financial conformance, but the Sikh calendar dates will not be shifting every month in relation to the Gregorian dates. This has the advantage that then the number of days difference between the Gregorian date and the Sikh calendar date is the same on any day of the year.
In view of this it is necessary to look at a period of 4 years to compare the number of days per month with the actual given by the Sangrand calculated with the position of the Sun. The result of this computation for the period 2017-2018 to 2020-2021 is shown in Figure 45. The proposed number of days per month are shown in pink text. The maximum drift with this choice is about 2 days in Poh, Maagh and Phagan.
Fig 45: Days per month for years 2017-2018 to 2020-2021
From the tables in Figure 45 we find that the maximum drift of the Sangrand dates will be towards the months of POH, MAAGH and PHAGAN. The actual and the proposed dates are produced in the table in Figure 46. The proposed days per month are also shown in this table.
Fig 46: Sangrand dates (calculated and proposed) years 2017-2018 to 2020-2021
The calculated (using Star Fisher) Sangrad date (red text) and the proposed days per month and Sangrand date (magenta text) are shown in the table in Figure 46.
The proposal is to fix the Sangrand date to the 21st of every month. By keeping the number of days per month the same as the Gregorian, we find that the proposed Sangrand dates are the same. The maximum difference from the calculated is 3 days in Phagan (February) in some years just after the leap year.
This also gives a very simple method of changing between Sikh Panth dates and Gregorian dates. Adding 20 to the Sikh Panth date gives the corresponding Gregorian date and subtracting 20 from the Gregorian date gives the Sikh Panth date. Likewise adding 2 to the Sikh Panth month number (CHET = 1, VAISAKH = 2, … PHAGUN = 12) gives the corresponding Gregorian month (JAN = 1, FEB = 2, … DEC = 12) and subtracting 2 from the Gregorian month gives the Sikh Panth month. Because the Gregorian month straddles the Sikh Panth month, the Sikh Panth month is taken to correspond to the Gregorian month in which the Sikh Panth month starts.
We have clarified the CHET Paradox. It is explained by the application of a leap adjustment in the Northern parts of India. CHET was replaced by VAISAKH long time ago to as an attempt to align the drifted sidereal month with the seasons.
A calendar based on the tropical method of calculation is more suitable for the Sikh Panth. Analysis using three methods shows the CHET was supposed to commence on the Spring Equinox day.
The Sangrand dates and the number of days per month have been proposed. The first date of CHET proposed is 21st March Gregorian date. Every subsequent month VAISAKH, JETH, …. PHAGAN starts on 21st of April, May, …, February Gregorian month. The number of days per month proposed is the same number of days as the Gregorian month the Sangrand falls in. These are clearly shown in Figure 46.
This proposal also makes it very easy to convert from Gregorian month/date to Sikh Panth month/date.
We will stop here for now.
Sangrand dates and days per month have been proposed based on analysis outlined.
In the next post, we will consider Gurpurab dates and other festivals.
Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed the discussion.
Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification if you would like to understand further any of the concepts or information presented above.
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹਿ
To be continued