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Understanding Panchanga [Luni-Solar] through Sankalpa Mantra

Sankalpa is a formal statement of intent chanted before any activity dedicating our actions to the god. On a daily basis, this is done while we perform Sandhyavandanam. You can check out our article on Sandhyavandanam from this link. We decide and focus on our activity and offer it to the god, by designating the time and place of the activity.

In this video let us see how Vedic Calendar or Panchangam is used in listing this chant for each day with the appropriate tithi, nakshatra, vara, yoga, Karana, and other attributes pertaining to date and time.

Sankalpa comprises of four sections:

1. The Time Cycle

Before starting, larger time divisions like yuga, maha yuga, Manvantara, and Kalpa are used to arrive at the current time cycle. This topic is out of the scope of this video. You can understand them by following this link right here. Here, we are interested only in the units of time that change often w.r.t. a human being, which we will be covering soon. We are currently in the 1st Kalpa (Brahma’s day) of the 51st Brahma year, Sweta Varaha Kalpa, and 7th of the 14 Manvantaras, which is Vaivasvata Manvantara and out of the four Yugas, in Kali Yuga of the 18th Mahayuga.

So the Sankalpa starts with 

1Adya BrahmanahaBrahma’s life
2Dwitiya Parardhe2nd Half, that is, post 50 years
3Sri Sweata Varaha Kalpe1st Kalpa (Brahma’s day) of the 51st Brahma year
4Vaivaswata ManvantareThe 7th Manvantara by name Vaivasvata
5Ashtavimshatitame18,000 Yugas, i.e. 18 Mahayugas already completed
6Kaliyuge Prathama Paade1st quarter of the present Kaliyuga

It continues to geographical specifications.

2. Geography

1Jambu DweepeAn Island or a Peninsula called Jambu
2Bharata VarsheThe nation called Bharat or Bharat Varsha
3Bharata KhandeThat part of the land called Bharat
4Meroh Dakshine ParshveTo the south of Meru Mountain
5Asmin VartamaneIn the present
6VyavaharikeFor all practical purposes

We can see in this section, how precise our date and time were w.r.t. nature.

3. Precise Date and Time

This section involves the precise time using Vedic Calendar, which is a Luni-Solar Calendar, i.e. a calendar where we arrive at the time based on the movements of both the Moon and the Sun. 

In India, we have two ancient calendars that are based on the Sun and the Moon. They are Solar Calendar and Lunar Calendar. As a part of unity, both the calendars are followed in all the parts of the country aggregated and called Luni-Solar Calendar. 

This calendar has some parts of Solar and some other from the Lunar Calendar making it what it requires to fulfill a particular activity.

Let us try to understand them one by one.

Lunar Units of Time


The moon revolves around the earth and takes 29.5 days to complete its revolution, which can be rounded off to 30 days. Since the revolution is 360 deg., there is a 12-degree difference between Moon and Sun when viewed from the earth. The time taken by the moon to complete this angle is a tithi and the moon takes somewhere between 19 to 26 hrs each day to accomplish this.


These thirty days are divided further into two fortnights called paksha. When the moon is towards the full moon (covering 180-deg), the Paksha is called Shukla Paksha (the brighter phase), while during the new moon (covering the rest 180-degree), it is Krishna Paksha (the darker phase).

Every fortnight has 15 days that repeat, apart from the new moon and full moon. There are as below.


The collection of 30 moon days is called one Maasa. There are 12 months like in any of the calendars as this is the time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun.

The twelve months are as below:


Two months together make a Ritu (translated to season). There are six Ritus based on different types of seasons. They are as below.

12 moon months together make a year, which is called one Samvatsara. There are 60 Samvatsaras in total, in which the first 20 are dedicated to Brahma, 2nd 20 to Vishnu, and 3rd 20 to Maheshwara. These Samvatsaras are cyclic and there is a shloka mentioning all the 60 Samvatsaras.

It starts like this:

Prabhavo Vibhavasshuklah Pramodutah Prajapatihi Angirasa Srimukho Bhavo Yuvo Dhatustatheshwaraha |
Bahudhanyah Pramathi cha Vikramo Vishuvatsarah Chitrabhanu Swabhanushcha Taranaha Paarthivo Vyayaha ||

Sarvajit Sarvadhari cha Virodhi Vikritih Kharaha Nandano Vijayashchaiva Jayo Manmatha Durmukhau |
Hevilambo Vilambashcha Vikaari Shaarvarih Plavaha Shubhakrit Shobhakrit Krodhi Vishvavasu Parabhavau ||

Plavangah Keelakah Sowmya Saadhaarana Virodhikrit Paridhavi Pramathi Cha Anando Rakshaso Nalaha |
Pingalah Kalayuktashcha Siddharthi Raudra Durmati Dundubhih Rudhirodgaari Raktakshi Krodhanokshayaha ||

Solar Units of Time:


When you look at the moon from the earth, the moon visits different constellations while traveling in its path. There are 27 constellations that the 360-degrees are divided into and each constellation that it visits while it travels is a Nakshatra, which will be 3 deg. and 20 mins. each.

The 27 Nakshatras are as below:

5Punarvasu18Purva ashadha
6Pushya19Uttara ashadha
9Purva phalguni22Satabhishak
10Uttara phalguni23Purva bhadrapada
11Hasta24Uttara bhadrapada


In a similar way, the sky is divided into twelve parts. When the moon visits these 12 constellations in its path, that will be at an angle of 30 degrees each, the name of the 30-degree constellation that the moon visits is called the Rashi. 



There are two Āyanas in one year. As the sun moves from east to west, along with that there is a slight deflection of the sun towards the north and the south, based on the earths rotation. When the sun moves towards the north, the day will be longer and is called Uttarayana. On the contrary, when the sun moves towards the south, the day will be shorter and is called Dakshinayana.

The Sankalpa continues further as follows:

  • Prabhavadi Shashthi Samvatsaranam Madhye – One of the 60 Samvatsaras starting from Prabhava Nama Samvatsara
  • Sharvari Naama Samvatsare – One of the 60 Samvatsaras
  • Uttarayane – One of the 2 Aayanas
  • Vasanta Ritau – One of the 6 Ritus
  • Chaitra Maase – One of the 12 Maasaas
  • Shukla Pakshae – One of the 2 Pakshas
  • Somavasara – One of the 7 Vaaraas
  • Ashvini Nakshatrayuktayam – One of the 27 Nakshatras
  • Prathamyam Shubha Tithau – One of the 30 Tithis

Finally the Activity

Here is where we describe the activity before performing the activity. For e.g. if we are performing pratah Sandhyavandanam, then the Sankalpa will be like:

Sri Bhagavadajnya Bhagavadkainkaryaroopam Pratah Sandhyavandanam Karishye – By god’s order and his service I perform the morning Sandhyavandanam.

This clearly says that the activity is all dedicated to god and we are just a medium to perform them.

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