Kirtan: “Katak De Puranmasi Mela Nankanae Da” by Bhai Gurbachan Singh Ji “Laali” (Delhi Walle). Thank you Ji for the wonderful shabad. (Source: Karanpreet Singh 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 and we have made a conceptual level proposal for the Sikh Calendar. In this post, we will consider Gurpurab dates and other festivals in relation to the proposed calendar.
We will continue with the figure numbers from Part 7.
We use the Jagannatha Hora for sidereal method of determining planetary positions and the Star Fisher for tropical method. The Jagannatha Hora is set to default calculation method.
The date for sidereal calculation is based on sunrise-sunrise and for tropical calculation is 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 Jagannatha 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/
The importance of a calendar is marking of events so as to represent as accurately as possible the actual timing of the event. We know and have shown that the tropical method is the appropriate method of the marking of events on earth as compared to the sidereal method which is almost exclusively in use in marking of events of most of the calendars in India.
The proposed Sikh calendar uses the tropical method as its basis.
We have also learnt that the best mark of an event is to use the NATURAL markers, i.e the planets of which the SUN and MOON are the most common.
Solar year uses the SUN as the marker and lunar year will use the MOON as the marker.
In the Solar year the position of the SUN will repeat itself on a yearly basis. This means that if the Sun was at 20 degrees 9 minutes LIBRA then this position will repeat yearly; e.g in 1998 it will be 20 degrees 9 minutes LIBRA and in 1999 it will also be 20 degrees 9 minutes LIBRA and so on yearly.
However if the MOON was also at 20 degrees 9 minutes LIBRA in 1998, then it is not expected that in 1999 the MOON will also be at 20 degrees 9 minutes LIBRA. This is obvious since the MOON will only repeat its position every lunar year; the solar year and the lunar year being of different lengths.
If there is a need for the MOON to repeat itself, then we have to use the lunar year. Essentially what this means is if we truly want the event marker to follow the NATURAL marker moon, then we should follow the lunar year based on the tropical method.
On the other hand if we want to mark the event using the NATURAL marker SUN, then we should follow the tropical solar year which uses the tropical method. The sidereal solar year as we already know is not suitable for event marking from the earth’s perspective due to the drift.
A mixed lunar and solar, i.e. lunisolar has the problem of periodic celebration of events based on NATURAL event markers (SUN and MOON). There is a need for human intervention to make adjustments to match the lunar month onto the solar year. A good example is Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday which uses the NATURAL event marker MOON, but celebration is based on SOLAR year. This results in an aperiodic celebration of the event with the solar year as the base needing human intervention to make adjustments. The issue has been detailed in part 7.
On the other hand for example, the nee pathar or foundation stone of Harmandar Sahib was laid on 1st Maagh 1588 AD. This is a solar date, the celebration of this event will be periodic on 1st Maagh every solar year (ignoring the drifts due to sidereal method which is presently used to mark the solar months).
It is important to understand this concept of periodic and aperiodic events.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday marked by the phases of the moon will be an aperiodic celebration on the solar year basis and the Harmandar Sahib foundation stone laying will be a periodic celebration on the solar year basis.
The conceptual level Sikh Panth calendar has been proposed where
- the month CHET starts on 21st March,
- each following month VAISAKH, JETH, … PHAGAN start on the 21st of each of the Gregorian months APRIL, MAY, … FEBRUARY respectively.
- the number of days in the month have the same number of days in the Gregorian month e.g CHET follows MARCH, VAISAKH follows APRIIL ….. PHAGAN follows FEBRUARY.
Having laid this framework, it is now necessary to reflect the Sikh Gurpurabs and other important festivals onto the proposed Sikh Calendar. This involves conversion from the original event timing information (which is based on sidereal method) to new event timing information (which will be based on the tropical method). Then this original timing event can be used for yearly (periodic or aperiodic) celebration of the events.
We will look at this in the following sections.
THE STEPS FOR THE CONVERSION
For conversion of the original event dates to the new proposed calendar dates, we will follow the process outlined in the following steps.
- Obtain the date/year of the event as known originally. Check validity of this date from available sources most likely historical records plus any analysis/computation as necessary.
- Determine the position of the SUN using the sidereal method, we will use Jagannatha Hora (JH). Remember this is the drifted position. For this, the date will be based on sunrise-sunrise day.
(Note: The drifted information will be shown with a “-D” included at the end for example “LIBRA-D” is drifted position obtained from the sidereal method)
- Check the validity of the available event information. This will possibly involve looking at historical record/information. If need be repeat steps 1 and 2 with different/ corrected/ updated event information.
- Find the position of the SUN from earth’s perspective, i.e. use the Star Fisher (SF) to do this. This will give the correct position of the SUN on the same date.
- This correct position of the SUN will be the date of the event that will be used in the proposed Sikh Panth calendar. This date will be based on midnight-midnight day (as internationally practice).
We will show the conversion based on the steps above with three examples
- Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthdate
- Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthdate
We will start with Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthdate.
GURU NANAK DEV JI’S BIRTHDAY
Step 1: Obtain the event date and check validity
The birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is commonly celebrated on
- Katak Puranmasi 1526 Samvat.
Other dates that have been considered are
- Vaisakh Sudhi 3 1526 Samvat (by modern scholars)
- Vaisakh 1, 1526 Samvat (by PUREWAL) it also being CHET Sudhi 15 (Puranmasi). The common Era date is 27 March, 1469 (Julian)
PUREWAL states: With this date one does not have to stretch one’s imagination to interpret the word ‘vasoaa’ in Bhai Gurdas’s famous line ‘Ghar ghar andar dharamsaal hovai keertan sadaa vasoaa‘! ‘Vasoaa‘ means ‘Vaisakhi‘ or Vaisakh 1, and nothing else.
There are a number of dates. Let us analyse these dates.
Katak Puranmasi 1526 Samvat
First determine Katak Sangrand. Then obtain the Puranmasi date.
The planetary information for Katak Sangrand is reflected in Figure 47 (red boxed outline).
KATAK-D Sangrand date is October 9, 1469 (JH gives October 10 at 0:45 AM so it is October 9, sunrise to sunrise; SUN in 0 degrees LIBRA-D).
Figure 47: KATAK-D Sangrand – Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
The planetary information for Katak Puranmasi is reflected in Figure 47 (red boxed outline).
KATAK-D Puranmasi falls on October 29, 1469 (JH gives October 30, 1469 at 5:20 AM, SUN in 20 degree 10 minutes LIBRA-D and MOON in 20 degrees 10 minutes ARIES-D). Puranmasi is when the SUN and MOON are on the opposite sides of the earth.
This appears to be a valid date.
Figure 48: KATAK-D Puranmasi – Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
Vaisakh Sudhi 3 1526 Samvat
Sudhi 3 cannot be Puranmasi. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born on Puranmasi according to Bhai Gurdas (Kabit 345 refers – see discussion below). This date is not valid.
Vaisakh 1, 1526 Samvat (by PUREWAL)
VAISAKH-D Sangrand is on April 6, 1469 (time: 1:27 PM; SUN in 0 degrees ARIES-D). Figure 49 refers (red boxed outline)..
Figure 49: Vaisakh Sangrand: Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday is Vaisakh 1st which is 6 Apr-1469 1:27 PM.
Note the following about this date.
- SUN is 0 deg ARIES-D and MOON is 5 degrees 56 min LIBRA-D (see Figure 49).
- Puranmasi SUN 29 degrees 31 min PISCES-D and MOON 29 degrees 31 min VIRGO-D falls on April 5 (JH gives April 6 1:32 AM). See Figure 50 (red boxed outline).
Figure 50: Puranmasi one day before Vaisakhi – Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
Therefore Puranmasi in April falls one day earlier i.e on the last date of CHET-D. SUN is still in CHET-D at 29 degree 31 minutes PISCES-D. VAISAKH-D starts in 0 degree ARIES-D later on at 5:20 AM.
VAISAKH-D Puranmasi falls on May 5, 1469 (at 3:08 PM) SUN is 28 degrees 14 min ARIES-D and MOON is 28 degrees 14 min LIBRA-D. See Figure 51 (red boxed outline).
So since VAISAKHI, April 6, 1469 is not Puranmasi, then April 6 is not a valid date.
Figure 51: Vaisakh Puranmasi – Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
CHET Sudi 15 (pooranmasi) 1523 Samvat (PUREWAL)
This is the date that Purewal gives and analysis reveals as follows
- CHET-D Sangrand is on March 6 1469 (March 7, 1469 at 4:15 AM, SUN in 0 degree PISCES-D). See Figure 52 (red boxed outline).
- CHET-D Massia is on March 22, 1469 (March 23 at 2:24 AM). See Figure 53 (red boxed outline).
- CHET-D Sudhi 15 falls on 6-April-1469 but this day is not Puranmasi, Puranmasi being on 5-April-1469 in CHET-D (see above discussion above Figure 51).
Again CHET-D Sudhi 15 does not fall on Puranmasi. This is not a valid date.
Figure 52: CHET-D Sangrand – Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
Figure 53: CHET-D Massia – Snapshot from Jagannatha Hora
Sidetracking, let us analyse PUREWAL’s statement, referring to CHET Sudi 15 (pooranmasi) 1526 Samvat, in his document “gnsbirthdateall.pdf”. Purewal’s statement is reproduced below.
With this date one does not have to stretch one’s imagination to interpret the word ‘vasoaa’ in Bhai Gurdas’s famous line ‘Ghar ghar andar dharamsaal hovai keertan sadaa vasoaa’! ‘Vasoaa’ means ‘Vaisakhi’ or Vaisakh 1, and nothing else.”
Purewal says the word “vasoaa” means Vaisakhi or Vaisakh 1. Using this meaning the English translation of the phrase works out to be
In every home there will be a Dharmic place (place for spiritual upliftment) ghar ghar andar dharamsaal, where kirtan is always kirtan sadaa, Vaisakhi/ Vaisakh 1st vasoaa.
Where kirtan is always VAISAKHI? What? Does this make sense?
The sentence does not make any sense.
What was the intent of making such a senseless translation? Mislead the reader?
Now let us see what the sentence actually means.
In every home there will be a Dharmic place (place for spiritual upliftment) ghar ghar andar dharamsaal, where there is vasoaa (root word is vassda ਵਸਦਾ) kirtan always kirtan sadaa, meaning where there is recitation of the praises of God always.
See how the entire sentence now makes good sense now.
This appears to be a “cheap shot” of a so called scholar to mislead people into thinking that Bhai Gurdas supports the Vaisakhi as the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Actually Bhai Gurdas in his Kabit 345 says
Kartik mas rut sarad puranmashi, ath jam, sathghari, aj teri bari hai.
Let us look at the meaning of this Kabit from credible sources.
The Punjabi explanation of this verse by Sant Sampuran Singh is as follows:
ਬਿਰਤਾਂਤ ਉਚਾਰਣ ਲਗੇ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਮ ਵਿਚ ਆਣ ਕੇ ਮਾਨੋ ਪ੍ਰਤੱਖ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਦਰਸਦੇ ਬੋਲੇ ਹਨ: ਕਤੱਕ ਦਾ ਮਹੀਨਾ ਰੁਤੱਸਰਦ ਤੇ ਪੁੰਨਯਾ ਦਾ ਦਿਹਾੜਾ ਸੀ, ਇਸ ਭਾਂਤ ਅਠਾਂ ਪਹਿਰਾਂ ਤੇ ਸਠਾਂ ਘੜਿਅ ਵਿਖੇ ਜਿਥੇ ਕਾਲ ਵਰਤ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ। ਐਸੇ ਮਿਰਤ ਲੋਕ ਉਰ ਅੱਜ ਤੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਹੋਣ ਦੀ ਭੀ ਵਾਰੀ ਆ ਗਈ ਭਾਵ ਦੂਸਰੇ ਪੂਰਬਲੇ ਅਵਤਾਰਾਂ ਤੌਂ ਨਾ ਹੋ ਸਕਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਕੰਮ ਨੂੰ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰਨ ਖਾਤਰ ਓੜਕ ਨੂੰ ਅਜ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਪਣੀ ਵਾਰੀ ਭੀ ਆ ਕੇ ਹੀ ਰਹੀ।
The English translation by Sant Singh Khalsa is
In the month of Kartik, and winter season with full moon night. In these eight watches, here is your chance to meet your beloved at any time. (Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born on this day).
It is understood by scholars and Gurmukhs that this Kabit is pointing to the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhai Gurdas cannot contradict himself, can he? Absolutely not; not Bhai Gurdas.
This is further evidence that Purewal’s misleading meaning of “vasoaa” is WRONG.
Such “cheap shots” are not expected of true scholars.
Conclusion from Step 1
From the analysis in Step 1, it is evident that Katak Sudhi Puranmasi 1526 Samvat seems to be the only valid date.
Step 2: Determine position of the SUN using sidereal method
We will use the Jagannatha Hora (JN) to obtain this information (sidereal date). The information is as follows. See Figure 47 and related comments for this information.
KATAK-D (drifted and leap adjusted) Puranmasi October 29, 1469 (JH gives October 30, 1469 at 5:20 AM).
Step 3: Check validity of the event information
The validity check of the number of dates has been performed in Step 1. The event information in step 2 is valid event information (sidereal date).
Step 4: Determine position of SUN using the tropical method
We will use the Star Fisher for this, using the data obtained from JH (note this is drifted and solar month leap adjusted) i.e.
KATAK-D PURANMASI October 29, 1469 (JH gives Zodiac sign LIBRA-D, date October 30, 1469 at 5:20 AM).
The tropical method gives the following information:
SUN in 6 degrees 36 minutes SCORPIO and MOON in 6 degrees 24 minutes TAURUS.
NOTE: Theoretically we should get MOON 6 degrees 36 min TAURUS, but MOON is at 6 degrees 24 min TAURUS. The 12 minutes difference in the angle of the moon is due to different software.
This is reflected in Figure 54 (red arrows). Note zodiac sign SCORPIO is the sign for the solar month KATAK. Unlike the sidereal method, the tropical method correctly identifies the zodiac sign for KATAK.
Figure 54: Tropical equivalent of the sidereal Puranmasi (30-Oct-1469 at 5:20 AM) – Snapshot from Star Fisher (the 12 minutes difference in the angle of MOON position is due to different software)
We will assume that Guru Ji was born in the morning at 2 am. This gives information for the SUN and MOON using Star Fisher (SF) tropical method as follows. See Figure 55 (red arrow).
SUN in SCORPIO 6 degrees 28 min and MOON in TAURUS 4 deg 27 min.
Figure 55: SUN in SCORPIO on 30-October-1469 at 2:00 am – Snapshot from Star Fisher
The tropical method gives the month of KATAK (zodiac sign SCORPIO) and POORANMASI is on 30-Oct-1469 at 5:43 AM. Therefore, based on the tropical method, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday falls in Katak. See Figure 56 (red arrows and red box)
NOTE: Katak starts on 23-Oct-1469 (SCORPIO 0 degrees at 3:06 PM) by planetary position but 21-Oct-1469 based on the proposed Sikh Panth calendar.
Figure 56: KATAK Puranmasi from tropical method – Snapshot from Star Fisher
Step 5: Date of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday
From the analysis in step 4 we can conclude as follows. Recall that we will use the solar day for the proposed Sikh Panth calendar as being from midnight-midnight.
Assuming Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birth time is 2:00 AM, on 30-Oct-1469, the SUN is in SCORPIO 6 degrees 28 min using the tropical method. This in the month of KATAK (zodiac sign SCORPIO). Note that POORANMASI occurs at 5:43 AM on the same date. Therefore, based on the tropical method, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday falls in Katak.
Conclusion Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birthday converted to the proposed Sikh Calendar
Based on the assumption that Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birth time is 2:00 AM, on 30-Oct-1469, the SUN is in SCORPIO 6 degrees 28 min using the tropical method. This in the month of KATAK (zodiac sign SCORPIO). POORANMASI occurs at 5:43 AM on the same date.
Therefore, based on the tropical method, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday falls in Katak.
According to the tropical method, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in the month of KATAK on 30-Oct-1469.
Using the steps outlined, we are easily able to convert Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday to the proposed Sikh Panth Calendar. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday falls on 30-Oct-1469, which was a Puranmasi day.
We have two options of celebrating the yearly celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday.
Periodic celebration of this event can be performed on 30th October yearly. Note that Puranmasi may not fall on this day but the position of the SUN will be the same as on the birthdate. This will result on the same celebration date every year.
Aperiodic celebration of this event can be performed on PURANMASI day in the month of Katak that is between 21st October and 20th November yearly. However it is important to note that, with option 2, the SUN as well as the MOON is not in the same zodiac sign position as on the day of Guru Ji’s birthday. In the event there are two occurrence of Puranmasi, one at the beginning and one at the end, the first occurrence is taken as celebration of the birthdate. In this option the celebration date will change depending on the Puranmasi day. This day is easily available from many sources that give moon phases using the tropical method (e.g. https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/ which currently lists this information up to 2038) is known well in advance. An example from the mentioned website is shown below in Figure 57. Puranmasi shown arrowed.
Figure 57: Moon phases in 2018 – Puranmasi in Katak (Oct-Nov)
The advantage in option 2, which still uses the lunar phase, is that there is no complication of intercalary months which need special knowledge and dependence of calendrical experts to make the decision. The decision can be made well in advance from very simple sources.
The Sikh Panth shall decide on the option to use.
We will stop here for now.
In the next post, part 8B, we will continue with Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthdate and Vaisakhi
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