1. AYANAMSA is a angular distance between two points which is measured along the Ecliptic.

2. Now at this point of time, it may be safely assumed that one point is Vernal Equinox (the point on the celestial sphere at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator).In modern Astronomy it is called “THE FIRST POINT OF ARIES”. This point   is receding with a mean rate of 50”.29 sec. per Tropical year. Modern astronomy claims that this point is being measured with a accuracy so that the difference in the catalog and observed values is reduced to less than 0″.o4.
 3. The another point is to be defined by Vedic Indian Astrologers  for Mahurta and predictive purposes. Since ancient times, even when V. E. Point was moving in Kirttika Nakshatra, it was the practice that Indian sidereal Zodiac will commence from Nakshatra Asvini. The sidereal zodiac sign Aries will also  commence from INITIAL (ZERO) POINT of this Nakshatra. This will mean that Nakshatra Asvini and the sidereal Zodiac sign Aries  will commence from same point. The only problem is to determine, which should be the reference point. The following are main considerations:
      A. Every point on ecliptic has some inherent natural potential but a point which should act as initial of sidereal zodiac should be with reference to some prominent star and have some special features.

B. Near the junction point of Nakshatra Revati and Asavini, star Revati is located. It is a feeble star of brightness of 5.24 mag. This was not favored by most of the savants to act as reference point. (In Surya Siddhanta, sidereal longitude of Star Revti is shown as 359 deg 50’. This seems to be incorrect. Modern value is 21 deg 1’15”).

C. Yoga-Tara of Nakshatra Asavini is nearly 10 deg. away  from junction point and its latitude is over 8 deg. Due to these reasons, this star was not also selected as reference point.

D. The star Citra (Spica 16) is almost opposite to junction point and has a brightness of 0.98 mag. and its lat. is only 2 deg.

In Suraya Siddhanta, Varah Mihira has placed this star in the middle of Nakshatra Citra (Chapter 8).As such it appears to be certain that Siddhanta has recommended it as reference Star.

E. Star Moola (Scorpii) is a very prominent star. The centre, around which solar system is revolving in the galaxy, is in the direction of this star. This is the reason that proper motion of star Moola appears to be zero, when viewed from earth. Niruti-death is believed to be the Lord of this Nakshatra. It was for this very reason that the ‘Atharvaveda’ identifies “Aristam Mulam”.

This is the reason that there are prophecies of many forth coming  Aristha’s as Winter solstices are approaching near to this star (Axis Moola-Niruti and Ardara-Rudra). This also one reason that these stars were not considered as reference star.

F. Varaha Mihira again indicates that the longitude of the Star Magha (a Leonois) is the 6th degree in Magha Nakshatra. If the longitude of Chitra is taken to be 1800, the longitude of star Magha will be 1250 59′ – nearly 1260.

G. Vedanga Jyotish says that the star Dhanistha (Delphini) is at the beginning of Dhanistha Nakshatra. This condition of Vedang Jyotish is also fulfilled if the Citra star becomes opposite to the first point of sidereal Aries (Asavini Nakshatra).

There are other points which need to be mentioned here:

1.  If we take the longitude of Star Revati as shown in Siddhanta calculations (!3 deg !0 min. in its own Nakshatra ), this shows that even if this star is  assumed to be  too  close to initial  point , it was not selected as reference point as  it  is a feeble star.( In fact it is away about 10 deg. From the junction point)
2. It is a misnomer that they were measuring star positions as reference point ‘pole star’ in the era of Siddhantic period. In fact there are three methods of measurements:
a. All measurements are made from V.E. Point as reference in
modern days:
i. A perpendicular is dropped from the celestial body to the plane of ecliptic. Length of Perpendicular and angular arc is measured up to the point of intersection of  perpendicular from V.E. Point. These are called celestial latitude and longitude respectively.
ii. When a perpendicular is drawn on celestial plane of equator,these distances are called declination and Right Ascension respectively.

b. In Pre and post Siddhantic  days  , All measurements were done from the initial point of Asvini Nakshatra as It was not practicable to measure from a point of intersection which is not visible in the sky.(this is the very reason that they were  following mean Rahu).
Siddhanta had suggested the use of polar Longitudes which starts from pole of celestial sphere ( and not the Pole star).
The Siddhanta suggested a new method. The Polar longitude  which passes through any celestial body will form a    perpendicular on the celestial plain on the equator and will also cut and pass through ecliptic plain on a point. It was suggested that the POLAR LONGITUDE BE MEASURED FROM THE INITIAL POINT OF ASVINI NAKSHATRA UPTO THIS POINT  on the ecliptic AND BE CALLED  AS ‘DHRUVAKA‘ AND DISTANCE FROM CELESTIAL BODY UPTO THIS POINT AS ‘Vikshepka‘.
As in Siddhanta they have indicated distances of commencing of Nakshatra from its yoga Tara in chapter 8 and adopted a single unit of TEN minutes to INDICATE angulararc. It is therefore clear that Siddhanta values give rough – ‘STHUL’ idea of location of YOGA- TARA’S.

3. It was a mistake to assume that polar longitudes were based on Pole star. It was based on polar longitudes of celestial sphere. Once we realize this, then there will not be any confusion on the longitudes of yoga -tara’s as given in  chapter 8 of Siddhanta.
4. It is now clear that initial point of Asvini is required to be  defined. As there is no star near that point, then only a
star opposite to it will get first preference. Then Star Citra (Spica 16), which is located in the middle of Nakshatra
Citra meets all requirements. It is a very large and bright (of mag. 0.98) star and very clearly visible in the sky.

The Taittiriya Samhita 7.4.8 says:

“Chaitra full moon is the mouth of the Samvatsar.”

 Panchang-makers in India are following this dictum of the Samhita till to date.

This clearly proves that the initial point of Indian Sidereal Zodiac is the junction point of Nakshtra Revati and Acvini and reference Star is Citra.

In BPHS chapter 3 verses 4 and 5 means:

“As the lunar months are linked to the nakshatras, Parasara divided the zodiac into 27 nakshatras, each having an equal sector of 13020′.  He also divided the zodiac into 12 sidereal rasis of 300 each. The nakshatra chakra thus commenced from Asavini and the sidereal rasis from Aries (Mesha). Asavini nakshatra and Mesha rasi commenced from the same reference point, which was fixed on the Ecliptic on a background of stars.”


The Era of Varaha Mihira

Varaha Mihira was a great astronomer-cum-astrologer. He lived in the early years after Christ though authorities have different views about his actual Era. But one thing is certain, which is that both the tropical and the sidereal zodiacs were almost coincident during his time. His name is respected even today and is taken along with those of other great rishis of the Vedic Era like Garg, Vishwamitra (in the field of astronomy) and Parasara, Bhirgu, Jaimini (in the field of astrology).
In fact he summed up in his works the advancements made upto his Era in the field of astrology.

The principal works of Varaha Mihira are:

(1) Panch Sidhhantica (2) Brihat Samhita (3) Brihat Jataka

(4) Laghu Jataka   and (5) Yoga Yatra

In Chapter 1 Verse 4 of Brihat Jataka says:

“ The (Twelve) signs of the Zodiac, commencing with the first point of Aries and of  (the asterism of ) Ashvini, and consisting, each, of nine stellar quarters and forming a circle, are respectively the head, face, breast, heart, belly, navel, abdomen, genital organ, two thighs, two knees, two ankles and two feet of Kalapurusha. (The terms) Rashi, Kshetra, Griha, Riksha, Bham, Bhavana, are synonymous terms.”

5. In ancient times, astronomers were not measuring Tropical Longitudes of celestial bodies. It was not possible to find out the Ayanamsa correctly. In those days, astronomers were depending Sun dials, Lankodaya, Charantra , Velantra and Ahargan and other parameters to find out Sidereal longitudes. One can study these methods, from Siddhanta Granths.

6. Some authorities are adopting different types of calculation to work out Ayanamsa value. Some savants are justifying that they are getting more precise predictions based on a particular value of Ayanamsa. Yet another set of savants are justifying their Ayanamsa values based on the parameters given in Siddhanta. I explained that these parameters are no more valid. I may retreat that any value of Ayanamsa which is not based on some fixed star should also not be adopted.

All the authorities have established the importance of the correct and true value of the ayanamsa. Hence our classics say that Ayanamsa must be updated from time to time through observations.

It is arrogance at its worst that some so-called modern authorities have given their own names to the Ayanamsa by altering its value a little. The Vedic and scientific Ayanamsa had not been given a name before the nineteenth century. All Ayanamsa(s) are, in fact, either Chitra Paksheeya or Suryasiddhantika only.

The Surya Siddhanta says that the VE oscillates like a pendulum 27 degrees east and west, but according to the description given in the Shatpath Brahmana, the VE point has been found to have shifted by 67 degrees. Therefore Munjala, Bhaskaracharya, Ketkar and, in particular, modern astronomy accept that the VE point always moves backwards due to the precession of the Equinoxes with an annual mean motion of 50.3 seconds per year, completing the circle in about 26,000 years. There is no hesitation in saying that the assumption of the Surya Siddhanta that the VE point oscillates is not correct or there is some other purpose for making this observation.. At present, the old Surya Siddhantika Ayanamsa’s are calculated in a self-willed manner (according to the old length of the year). The values of such ayanamsa’s are in the range of 22 degrees 25 minutes in 2003 AD.

 The Chitra Paksheeya ayanamsa is proved to be authentic by scientific research and is eminently compatible with the dicta of our ancient sages and scriptures.

a. Definition of Ayanamsa

The angular distance between the fixed initial point of sidereal Aries and the VE point or, in other words, the tropical longitude of the fixed initial point is called Ayanamsa. The fixed sidereal initial point of Aries is always exactly opposite to the longitude of the star Chitra of date. This definition of Ayanamsa is according to astrological requirements.

 The above can be restated, in the following words, to make the definition more rigorous, accurate and authentic, free from controversies, and also to incorporate the advances of modern astronomy:

“When the true tropical longitude of  star Chitra (Spica – 16, Viginis) is reduced by 180 degrees, the remainder will be the true value of the Chitra Paksheeya ayanamsa of date.”

The accuracy of the Ayanamsa is therefore dependent on the correct measurement of the true position of the VE point and the true tropical longitude of star Chitra on a given date. Modern astronomy has taken the following corrective steps for the accurate measurement of these very important and vital parameters. The steps are explained below in brief.

b. Measurement of  the Equinox

The determination of the correct longitude of any celestial body depends on the correct and proper measurement of the VE point. As all of us know, the Vernal Equinox point has a nearly uniform retrograde motion of about 50.3 sec per year due to the precession of the Equinoxes and an oscillatory motion due to nutation. This gives rise to the mean Equinox of date and the true apparent Equinox respectively. Similarly, the inclination of the Ecliptic to the Equator, known as the obliquity of the Ecliptic is also variable. The inclination suffers slow uniform diminution of about half a second per year as well as an oscillation due to nutation of obliquity.

The catalogue Equinox is an empirical approximation to the dynamical Equinox. There is always some difference between the two due to the limited accuracy of observation. The International Astronomical Union introduced new methods of compilation from the year 1985 A.D. This ensures that the difference between the two Equinoxes is less than 0.04 seconds.

 c. Precession

Indian astronomers call the precession of Equinoxes Akashchalana. Newcomb has given a formula to find out the precession for a particular year after 1850 AD. A major change, having far reaching consequences for fundamental astronomy, is the adoption of a new value for the constant of general precession from the year 1985. This constant is based on the latest determination of luni-solar precession and planetary masses.


Similarly the new IAV (1980) theory of nutation has been adopted from 1985 onwards for better accuracy.

The new nutation theory thus includes all externally forced motions of the Earth’s rotational axis while no geophysical (internally induced) or free motion is included. The new reference pole shall be referred to as the “Celestial Ephemeris Pole (CEP).”


Aberration is the displacement of the position of a celestial object due to the infinite speed of light. The planetary observation is also computed by interpolating the geocentric ephemeris.

d. Apparent Geocentric Longitude and Latitude of Celestial Bodies

The modern ephemeredes give these values based on the true Equinox and Ecliptic of date and are corrected for planetary aberration.

Apparent or true places of stars are now given in the Ephemeris calculated on the basis of the new values of precession, aberration and obliquity of the Ecliptic as per IAU (1976) and the 1980 theory of nutation.


This is the reason why I have suggested that Ayanamsa should be obtained by deducting 180 degrees from the modern value of the true tropical longitude of star Citra.

The work of astrologers is to provide a definition of Ayanamsa. Astrologers cannot measure the longitudes of the above two essential and vital parameters. This is the work of astronomy. Modern astronomy is quite advanced and all ephemeredes provide the tropical longitude of stars for each Epoch, from which the true value of Ayanamsa can easily be deduced.

However, the following aspects are examined before arriving at this definition of Ayanamsa:

 The stars in the sky are not absolutely fixed but move slowly in all directions when viewed from the Earth. Their motion is known as proper motion of stars. Star Chitra also moves, and the annual value of its proper motion in longitude, taking the oscillation of the Ecliptic into account was -0.024 sec. in 1988 and -0.028 in 2001 AD. According to the Lahiri Ephemeris for 2003 AD, the tropical and the sidereal zodiacs were coincident in 285 AD. It is calculated and confirmed by renowned observatories of the world that the longitude of star Chitra was 1800 00′ 03”.0 on 22nd March, 285 AD, the VE day. The longitude of star Chitra with reference to the above reference point has however diminished by 60” during the period of 1718 years from 285 AD.

 In view of the appreciable shift of Chitra from its original position in 285 AD, it is necessary to give serious consideration to the proposal of correcting the present position of the initial or zero point on the Ecliptic so that it is brought to the position exactly opposite to star Chitra.

 The correction can be made in two ways:

(1)   Making a correction at an interval of 100 years, or any other appropriate period.

(2)   Tropical longitude of star Chitra for any particular year or day may be deducted      by 1800, the resultant value will represent the true value of the ayanamsa of date.

The second option is now quite feasible and practical for Panchangmakers, as this data can easily be obtained from astronomical observatories and the required values can be easily calculated with help of computers.

 The various values of Ayanamsa on different basIs on 1.1.2010 are as under: –

True Chitra Paksheeya                23° 58’ 51”.35

Lahiri                                           23° 59’ 48”.24

Krishnamurthi                             23° 54’ 04”.55

Raman                                         22° 33’ 02”.54

 These are sound and valid reasons to accept Citra as a reference star having a longitude of 1800 in the sidereal zodiac.

These are my views and I have all the respect to other views.

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