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Uttarayana and Dakshinayana: How is the Theory of Time ‘Kala’ defined in Hinduism?

Time, despite being a purely scientific concept, has a spiritual aspect as well. Hinduism's definition of time is completely distinct from the Lunar definition.

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sundial. Wikimedia

New Delhi, December 5, 2016: Time has many measures in this world. We have a global division of time where each country or continent has its own time schemes. One such time concept is the Hinduism’s concept of time which can be defined in numerous ways and in different perspectives.

In the world, time is somewhere related to the existence of certain species and the number of species existing. However, the Padma Puran states that there are 8.4 billion species under which further bifurcations show, 900,000 aquatic life forms, 2,000,000 trees and plants life forms, 1,100,000 small insect life forms, 3,000,000 beasts and reptiles life forms and 400,000 mammalian life forms.

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For every particular species, duration of time or life stands on a different scale. The concept of time is relative. According to Hindu Mythology, the world of devas or celestials will be governed by different durations of time. Time does not just refer to what happens to the world which helps in the transition from morning to night. It refers to the journey till death. In a world of material existence, time or life span can be exceedingly short, merest fraction of a minute or a few years.

In this context, Hinduism posits time in a variety of ways. One familiar measurement of time is ‘varsh’ or year. Unlike the Georgian year which commences on January 1 and ends on December 31, the Hindu year commences in the month of Chaitra—usually around March. The lunar year is different from the solar year in this respect.

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It is usually a few days shorter than the solar year. As a result, there is an extra month, roughly every three and a half years, and this is known as the Adhik Mas. Hinduism classifies time into two categories, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana.

Uttarayana refers to the northern solstice. This period is propitious for most religious and auspicious events, activities and undertakings. When the sun is in Dakshinayan or the southern solstice, several auspicious actions such as murti installations, upanayana ceremonies are suspended.

Hinduism also uses other concepts to measure time, such as tithi, karana, yoga and nakshatra. For example, the Hindu lunar month is divided into two pakshas (fortnights). The bright fortnight is described as Shukla Paksha and the dark fortnight as Krishna Paksha. Each of these two pakshas or fortnights contains fifteen lunar days. However, the Hindu calendar is very different from the Lunar calendar. While all the days in the solar month routinely has twenty-four hours, the day or tithi in Hinduism has varying durations.

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A ‘tithi’ or lunar day can be for small durations of time or well over twenty-four hours in several instances. The tithi is not fixed for twenty-four hours. The tithi is of great consideration in identifying the various religious observances.

The tithis or dates play a very important role on religious fronts. Many of the religious observances are aligned to the tithi —Chaturthi (fourth lunar day) for the worship of Lord Ganesh, Ekadashi (eleventh lunar day) for the worship of Lord Vishnu, Ashtmi (eighth lunar day) for the worship of Devi (Divine Mother), Chaturdashi (fourteenth lunar day) for the worship of Shiva.

In all instances, the measurement of the time as well as the duration of the ‘tithi’ resolves around the start and end time of each tithi to determine the most appropriate day to observe each religious event.

Calculations of the start and end time of each tithi is very important. The tithis also give a partial knowledge of what activities can be undertaken on a particular tithi. Similarly, nakshatras also play a very important role as it holds a significant role. Each nakshatra is subdivided into four equal parts called ‘charanas’.

Each charan is linked to the astrological conclusions that can be made for a person when the birth chart is drawn. Apart from tithis and nakshatras as units of time, yoga and karma are also important for different reasons in determining what can be done and what should be postponed. Thus, the concept of time remains an important and distinguished part of Hinduism.

– by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

Next Story

Report: Employees, Managers Waste Too Much Time Searching for Executing Routine Tasks

The report surveyed more than 1,100 senior executives across eight countries and industry sectors

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time, tasks
All of this takes time and focus away from people doing what they want -- and are paid to do, the findings showed. Pixabay

Employees worldwide spend more than 25 per cent of their time searching for the information they need to perform their jobs, and managers more than half of their time executing routine tasks, a new report said on Tuesday.

It’s a problem IT has largely created by steadily implementing technology they thought would simplify work, that has only made it more difficult, said the research from desktop virtualisation firm Citrix and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Within a typical company, the average employee needs to navigate four or more applications just to execute a single business process. And accessing them requires managing multiple passwords and interfaces. All of this takes time and focus away from people doing what they want — and are paid to do, the findings showed.

time, tasks
When it comes to creating a world-class employee experience, nearly identical numbers of IT and HR executives indicated they feel personally responsible for improving it. Pixabay

“People today want the freedom to work when, where and how they want. And they expect things to be as easy as they are in their personal lives,” said Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer, Citrix.

“To attract and retain talent in today’s tight labour market, companies need to rethink what ‘workplace’ means and create digital environments that accommodate traditional, remote and gig workers and deliver the tools, and information they need to do their best work in a simple, unified way,” he added.

tasks, time
The report surveyed more than 1,100 senior executives across eight countries and industry sectors. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Yoga Apps to Make you Stay Fit this Summer

The report surveyed more than 1,100 senior executives across eight countries and industry sectors. “Nearly 36 per cent cited enhancing customer experience and satisfaction as the top reason for improving employee experience, just behind productivity and employee engagement (40 per cent), 31 per cent listed profitability, and 30 per cent called out talent retention,” said the report.

When it comes to creating a world-class employee experience, nearly identical numbers of IT and HR executives (74 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively) indicated they feel personally responsible for improving it. (IANS)