Since I published my article on the actual length of the “year” for calculating dasha cycles and eras – many people have become stumped. First of all they are stumped over the article itself. Secondly, they are stumped about what it means to the readings I did for them before I realized the correct length of the dasha year, are these readings now “wrong” or what?
Now I will try to clarify both topics.
What Was That Article All About?
Timing Things in Astrology
“Dashas” are eras of your life. Astrology correlates these eras, and the cycles and subcycles within those eras, to specific planets in your horoscope. The way the classics define the lengths of the various planetary eras and cycles is always in years. The Moon’s cycle, for example, lasts “10 years.” Rahu’s cycle lasts “18 years.” Jupiter’s lasts “16 years.”
So, the question, “Well what exactly is a year?” Is extremely important.
Defining “Days” and “Years”
The authoritative text on the measurement of time, for Sanskrit based Astrology at least, is the Surya-Siddhanta. It defines four different types of calendars based on four different definitions of a day. For example, we could define a day as a complete rotation of the earth on her axis. This is actually the most fundamental and accurate way to define a day. There are two ways to measure the rotation of the earth. One is to measure from one sunrise to the next, and the other is to measure the amount of time it takes for the stars themselves to make a complete revolution through the sky. Surya Siddhanta uses the former for informal folk calendars; the later (called properly the “nakshatra day”) for the purpose of accurately measuring the passage of time. This is Surya-Siddhanta’s primary method for measuring normal time.
There are two other ways to define a day, one is to define it based on it being a portion of a month. The other is to define it based on it being a portion of a year. If we divide a month into thirty equal portions and call those portions “days” we have tithis – and these “days” are used for the lunar calendar which keeps track of vows, religious events, and the right timings for beginning various things. If we divide a year into equal portions we get about 365 and a quarter “days” in a year. This is our modern calendar year, based on 1º of the Sun’s movement through the zodiac / Earths revolution around the Sun.
This seems to confuse readers to no end. Maybe the fact that it is not confusing to me makes me ill suited to explain it clearly. I will make one more try:
The confusion arises only when we translate time to our modern calendar. The number of seconds it takes the earth to spin on its axis once is a little bit longer than the number of seconds it takes the earth to move 1º around the sun. But we call of these phenomena “days.” Though they both have the same name, “a day” they do not represent the same exact amount of time. So, “a year” will have slightly fewer days if we go with the definition of day that is slightly longer (one spin on its axis). This is why a “nakshatra year” has fewer of what we could today call a “day” – it has 359.017 of our “days” instead of the 365.242 that we are currently accustomed to.
What it Means to Astrology
If I tell you, “Jupiter’s era of your life will last 16 years.” Isn’t it a little bit important what “year” I am talking about? One type of year is about 6 days shorter than the other. So in a 16 year period we are talking about a difference of 96 days, depending on which year I am referring to. Get it?
Say you are 100 years old. Just say. A hundred of what years? If you are 100 calendar years old that is one thing, but if you are 100 nakshatra years old, that is 600 days less! You would be “98 years old” by our modern calendar! So It does make quite a difference to be clear on what definition of “year” we are supposed to use when we calculate astrological eras.
The Sunrise-to-Sunrise year is for folk calendars, not for precise measurements. The lunar year is for religious functions. The solar year (modern calendar) is for agriculture, because it defines the seasons. The remaining option is the nakshatra year – which is meant for the precise calculation of time, and for the “unfolding of events one after another.” Clearly this is the year meant to be used for calculating astrological timing cycles, especially those based on the nakshatra themselves – such as the most popular system (vimshottari nakshatra dasha).
So, Are My Previous Readings Now Wrong?
I made this discovery about the correct year length in July of 2010. Previous to that I was using the far more common, yet incorrect year length to calculate dashas. Does that mean that all my readings prior to July 2010 are garbage?
How Do We Do “Correct” Readings Anyway?
If my reading to you was solely a report on the dates at which your eras and cycles begin and end, then Yes, prior to July 2010 those would be unreliable (off by roughly 6 days per year of your life, later than they should be). But I never do those types of fact-printout readings.
Some astrologers are scholars, some are priests of rituals, some are intellectuals, others rarely are yogis and true-mystics. What these people have in their favor is the accuracy of their acumen within their given field. That is all. In this day and age (kali-yuga) there is pathetically little acumen available in these departments. Therefore basically these types of astrologers, with respect to what they have gained by their hard work, don’t have much else at all besides that hard work.
I myself am an astrologer who is neither a scholar, nor priest, intellcual, yogi nor mystic per se. I am a bhakta - a lover of Govinda. Bhaktas have the inconceivable krpa (mercy) of Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, even if their acumen has faults and lacking, Govinda makes up for those faults provides results that are generally better than even the pundits, purohits, yogis, tapasvis and jnanis in their own departments.
Please understand that if I have done a reading for you, what I tell you in that reading is what Govinda mercifully allows me to tell you. Far above and beyond and technical knowledge of spinning globes and such, it is the mercy of Govinda which empowers my ability to give astrological readings.
Throughout my practice, since 2007 I have been keenly aware that the dasha cycles I was using seemed to give effects slightly before they were supposed to. Many long-time clients will attest to my even explaining this directly to them. It was because of this that I was hungry to discover the accurate definition of a year, and upon that discovery this discrepancy I observed all along now fits neatly into place. Therefore even technically speaking in earlier readings I was compensating for the fact that the year seemed to be too long, even though I did not have factual confirmation yet of that.
What if I told you that some upcoming period would be good or bad? Now that the upcoming period is redefined, would the prediction change?
1) If I told you something was going to go good or go bad for you at a certain period of time, it is because that is what Govinda allowed me to tell you. Therefore it is what you were destined to hear at the time.
2) Although the new year length does change the durations and borders of the dashas, it does not change the fundamental nature of how the dashas are interpreted. Therefore the bulk of what I said will still be applicable, merely the date ranges may be skewed by a half dozen days per year.
Many of my predictions using the incorrect year system came true. How is this possible?
1) If Govinda wants me to give you a correct prediction he will give it regardless if I use a technique correctly or if I merely flip a coin. If Govinda wants me to give you an incorrect prediction my prediction will be incorrect regardless of how exact and smart I am.
2) There are many other factors in making predictions besides the start and end point of dasha eras and cycles. Therefore many accurate predictions could be made even using the incorrect year system.
What about predictions that did not come true? Could it be because I was using the wrong year length?
Yes, it could have been a factor. A more important factor however is whether or not you are karmically entitled to receive an accurate prediction at the time. No matter how good I might ever become at astrology, I could never give truth to a person who is not entitled by karma to receive it, nor could I give lies to a person entitled to truth, no matter how sloppy and ignorant and astrologer I might be.
With this new, accurate year length, will I make more accurate predictions?
My experience of the astrology is that it is a difficult and complex process of sifting through hundreds of variables, much like looking for a needle in a haystack. My experience of the 359 day year is that it makes the difficult process significantly less difficult.
- Vic DiCara