The Beginner's Guide to Vedic Astrology

Chapter 2: Concept of time

Astrology - Time

The concept of time in Indian systems is cyclical and non-linear, in contrast to the linear and progressive concept of time in Western thought. In Indian philosophy, time is viewed as a continuous flow of events that repeat themselves in cycles of varying lengths. This cyclical nature of time is reflected in the Hindu concept of samsara, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

Vedic astrology uses the lunar calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon. The Indian year is divided into 12 months, each of which is 29.5 days long. The months are named after the nakshatras, which are the 27 lunar mansions. The Indian day is divided into 12 hours, each of which is further divided into 30 ghatis. A ghati is approximately 24 minutes long. The hours of the Indian day are not fixed in length, but instead vary depending on the length of the day and night.

Smaller units of time:

One of the most basic units of time in Indian timekeeping is the ghati. A ghati is equal to 24 minutes, or 1/24th of a day. Ghatis are used to measure time in a variety of contexts, including religious rituals, cooking, and everyday life.

In addition to ghatis and panchangs, there are a number of other units of time used in Indian timekeeping. These include:

  • Palas: A pala is equal to 24 seconds, or 1/60th of a ghati.
  • Muhurtas: A muhurta is equal to 48 minutes, or 2 ghatis.
  • Prahars: A prahar is equal to 3 hours, or 8 ghatis




A panchang is a Hindu almanac that contains information about the lunar and solar calendars, as well as other astrological information.

Panchangs are used to plan religious ceremonies, as well as for other purposes such as choosing auspicious dates for weddings and other important events.

Panchangs typically include a wealth of information, encompassing:

  1. Tithis and Pakshas: Tithis represent the lunar days, while pakshas refer to the lunar fortnights. These divisions are crucial for determining the timing of Hindu festivals and rituals.
  2. Nakshatras: Nakshatras, also known as lunar mansions, are the 27 divisions of the zodiac along the moon’s path. They are associated with specific characteristics and influences on individuals’ lives.
  3. Yogas: Yogas are combinations of lunar and solar positions that are believed to influence the outcome of actions undertaken during those times.
  4. Karana: Karana represents half of a tithi and is considered significant in determining the auspiciousness of specific activities.
  5. Vaar: Vaar refers to the day of the week, each named after a Hindu deity and associated with specific energies and influences.
  6. Sunrise and Sunset Timings: Panchangs provide the precise timings of sunrise and sunset, which are essential for determining the appropriate time for certain rituals and activities.
  7. Auspicious and Inauspicious Times: Based on astrological calculations, panchangs identify auspicious and inauspicious times for various activities, such as weddings, travel, and business endeavors.
  8. Astrological Signs and Planetary Positions: Panchangs include the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets at sunrise and sunset, providing insights into their astrological influences.
  9. Festivals and Holidays: Panchangs list the dates of major Hindu festivals and holidays, ensuring that individuals can plan and participate in these important celebrations.