The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, March 30, 2003
Lead Article

Tough and turbulent times ahead
Sansar Chandra

I FEEL elated to extend my heartiest felicitation and good wishes to the readers while hailing the new Vikrama Year 2060, traditionally known as samvatsara. Although the first lunar day of Chaitra commenced at 00 : 48 a m on the night between April 1 and 2, but according to the norms governing the Vikrama calendar it must coincide with the sun rise to be designated as samvatsara. The point worth noting here is that Vaar-pravritti — the start of the day concludes with — sunrise and not with midnight, as we find in the Christian calendar.

So, for all intents and purposes, the samvatsara celebrations shall take place with the first ray of the sun on April 2 and not earlier. The solar date that will start is Chaitra 20th. The first spring Navaratra also falls on the same day while Baisakhi, the first day of the new solar year, falls on April 14.

CLICK TO ENLARGEThe most significant characteristic of the Vikrama Calendar lies in its flexibility. Basically lunar, like the Hijri calendar, neither its beginning nor its end sticks to a specific date or point of time. Its length varies and continues to fluctuate from year to year. The Christian calendar, on the other hand, is inflexible and adheres strictly to a fixed pattern. Its length, to be more concise, is 365 days 6 hours 10 minutes and 9.6 seconds during non-leap years and 366 days, during the leap year, which comes every four years.


Devoid of any hard and fast bar on its limit, the Vikrama Calendar is approximately 354 days. It may surprise our readers to find that it is shorter than the Christian year by 12 days during the leap year and by 11 days during the non-leap years. The gap between the two is bridged after 32 months 17 days and 36 minutes through an additional month known as inter-calary month (Malamsa). Thus the total days in this year go upto 385 days or a little more. In the case of Hijri there is no such provision to cover up the decrease or to bring it on a par with the solar year. It is obvious that the Hijri follows the lunar pattern most rigidly while the Vikrama is a finest blend of both, lunar and solar norms.

Among the current Indian calendars, as far as I know, Vikrama is the oldest and as such has a glorious past. It is older than the Christian calendar by 56 years, 8 months and 16 days during the leap year while one day more is added to it during the non-leap years. It is older to the saka samvat by 135 years and stands far ahead of the Hijri era by about 636 years. After Ramrajya, it was King Vikramaditya who was revered by his subjects as the noblest ruler of his times. We, no doubt, had Maurya, Malva and Gupta calendars, but these vanished along with their dynasties. It was Vikrama alone that survived and flourished.

After the advent of the British, it was replaced by the Christian calendar officially but its impact on public mind remained as deep and abiding as ever. It still maintained its dominance in most of the Indian states even in those times. Since it remained closely linked with our beliefs and traditions, its restoration to its former population of supremacy was but natural after the exit of the British.

The new Samvatsara assumes a special significance this time because this is going to be Kumbha mahaparva year. Last time the Kumbha was celebrated at Hardwar but now it is the turn of Nasik to hold it on the bank of the Godavari. It is a religious fair and our scriptures have spoken volumes on its sanctity and grandeur.

The Kumbha mahaparva will be held on August 27 this year when sun, moon and Jupiter, the trio responsible for the celebration of this sacred day, enter Leo. It is, therefore, obvious that the auspicious time to bathe in the holy water of the Godavari will be from dawn to dusk.

A spate of hopes and joys accompanies the New Year but the future always lies in oblivion. Much of the excitement in life is caused by doubts and uncertainties that plague us. It is said much of what happens is predestined but what is predestined is beyond our comprehension. Our ancient sages have tried to enlighten us on this score on the basis of certain sciences, including astrology — the science of stars that helps in predicting the future.

I have been a student of astrology for decades and have been sharing my views with the readers of The Tribune since 1989. The purpose behind such a sharing of information is to guide the people and to prepare them for facing the future with greater courage and wisdom than what they would normally exhibit in the event of total ignorance. Sometimes it could come as a warning, an advice or suggestion against some situations and could also be used to take preventive and remedial measures.

The new samvatsara which extends to 354 days 3 hours and 22 minutes spread between 00:48 a m on April 2, 2003 and 4:10 a m on March 21, 2004, is called Durmukha in astrological parlance. Durmukha means one who conveys bad news, thinks foul, acts foul and talks foul. Durmukha in the role of samvatsara takes its cue from Saturn, a hawk. So the year will be a tumultuous one. It may shatter peace and intensify the chances of war. People from far-flung areas will be forced to move out due to war hysteria, internal strife and fear created by terrorists, foreign agents, smugglers, saboteurs and insidious elements.

The next potential factor is the King and the cabinet headed by him. The kingship this year falls in the lap of Mercury which is debilitated and is sighted by Mars — a rash, and excitable planet. Saturn’s combination with Rahu in the 6th house — the house of disease and enemies — is another factor that is ominous for the central authority. Samvatsara horoscope’s lord (both lagnapati and rashipati — Jupiter — also occupies the eighth house, the house of death. Jupiter besides being retrograde has practically gone motionless. Its pace has sharply come down to 00:20 degrees. This is one of the major rajabhanga yogas and is considered most inauspicious for the party in power.

This is, no doubt, a bad time — arishta yoga — for the ruling class and its chief. The grim, freaky and perilous starry position that exists today reminds me of the year 1997. If I remember right, there was not much difference between the two. On April 6, 1997, I had observed in the columns of The Tribune as under:

"It can inflict a stunning blow to the party in power. There will be chaos and anarchy in the corridors of power. The stars controlling the destiny of national parties seem in no mood to oblige them. Their future may continue to be afflicted with uncertainties for a longer span than expected. While the decline of some parties will become imminent, the BJP will have an edge over its nearest adversary. It will, however, take time for the Congress to recover lost ground".

The solar horoscope does show some promise. Jupiter, the main star, who was on a back-track in samvatsara horoscope, has shaken off its retrogression. Its snail-paced movement that had touched 0:20 degrees is now nearing 2 degrees. Jupiter’s stay in the ascendant is another plus point. Despite all this, it is still being chased by Mars — a rash and excitable planet. So, in sum, we can say that the solar horoscope shows mixed trends.

Jupiter’s gaining lost ground vis-a-vis the solar chart indicates that these might be some relief from terrorist violence, both nationally and globally. This relief might be visible in J & K also. Those at the helm of affairs will mean business but their efforts are likely to bear fruit only partially. Divergent ideologies by different ideologies professed coalition partners obsessed with regional prejudices will restrain the Government from acting more objectively. Fence-sitters or those led astray by money, religious propaganda etc. could, however, stage a comeback and join the mainstream.

Besides some starry afflictions pointed out as above, what we see around is also awe-inspiring. The air is thick with rumours. A dreadful war with a strong potential to devastate human life on a large scale is being talked about.

The in-depth study of both lunar and solar horoscopes reveals that the war-clouds that have gathered shall continue to thunder and intimidate peace-loving people for a long time. In this connection, the role of two stars — Mars and Jupiter — is very pertinent. The former is a war-monger and the latter a harbinger of peace. The tug-of-war between the two is going on but who will succeed finally is still not clear. Obviously the stronger between the two will be a winner. In the jagat (world) horoscope both are exalted and are equally strong, while in India’s chart, exaltation has obliged Jupiter only. Mars is also nearing exaltation but is not quite there. Although it is a neck-to-neck race but my fear is that before these lines get into print, the US might already have taken on Iraq.

At home, in spite of claims and high-pitched sloganeering, no single party will be able to win the confidence of the electorate. The mandate in both centre and state elections will be a fractured one. The gap between the leaders and the led will widen and there will be shortage of charismatic leadership. As a result a coalition will be formed. This will promote horse-trading and other malpractices. Money, muscle and mafia might be used by candidates to improve electoral prospects. Party bosses will face a tough time keeping their party workers together especially at the grassroots level. They will depend on small groups to capture power. The coalition culture could again become the order of the day.

With the authority of the government at a low ebb, some of the religious leaders will take into their hands. Their communal role may damage the national image. With the threat of religious fundamentalism looming large, ethnic discord, riots, genocide, mayhem and cross border terrorism will keep the country traumatised.

Corruption, as usual, will remain all-pervasive. Besides politicians, crime-detecting agencies will catch many top-ranking bureaucrats for misusing their authority and amassing wealth, disproportionate to their legitimate sources of income. Communalism, factionalism, parochialism, vote-bank politics, criminality, and political killings shall also become more rampant.

Crimes against women will increase. Cases of molestation, rape and abduction may become common. It will become difficult for those living in remote areas to save themselves from anti-social elements. But it cannot, however, be denied that it is a year of roaring success for Indian women. Moon’s Gajakesari yoga this year will prove a shot in their arm. They will march ahead, acquire legislative protection and widen the area of their influence and authority.

The Aardra-entry horoscope is another important method used to estimate the impact of natural resources on the life of human beings. The areas of trade, commerce, industry, agriculture, ecology, come under the purview of this chart. You can expect a bumper crop. The prospects of trade and industry are fairly bright under the influence of Gajakesari yoga. Trade bottlenecks will be removed and there will be considerable foreign investment both direct and indirect. The foreign exchange position will also improve dramatically, and non resident Indians will look towards their homeland and start investing with greater zeal and vigour.

There will be plenty of rainfall and we can expect our land to remain fertile.

Aavarta, as one of the clouds kanwal as one of the nagas and jackal as samvatsara’s mode of travel are negative factors. These indicate wide-spread recession. Due to a disorganised public distribution system, the consumers shall not get any relief. So the scarcity of food and other items of consumption can be attributed either to poor administration or to the hoarders’ or black marketeers’ and not to the natural calamities.

Those interested in the sale-purchase of stocks, should be prepared to take uncertainties in their stride. With the market becoming more volatile things could be uncertain. The market shall dance to the tune of foreign investors. Political uncertainty war, phobia and the governments’ apathy might leave investors high and dry.