Recently, the festival of Janmashtami was celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India and abroad, on two dates 1st Sept, as well as on 2nd Sept. Vrindavan celebrated Janmashtami on 1st Sept, while Mathura & Birla temples celebrated it on 2nd Sept. Majority of people around the world celebrated this festival on 2nd Sept, as the government declared holiday in lieu of Janmashtami on this day. Our religious scriptures have described in detail the computation of righteous day of celebration for all the festivals.
According to treatise “Nirnaya Sindhu”, 1st Sept. was the correct day for celebrating Janmashtami this year. Generally, this type of irregularity arises in the celebration of those festivals which are evening or midnight festivals like - Shivratri, Holi, Janmashtami, Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdasi and Deepawali etc. This irregularity is often seen in Deepawali and Janmashtami festivals because both are celebrated at mid night. Mostly, the lunar day (tithi) which starts at the time of sunrise, changes by night and another tithi starts. This is the root cause of confusion. The second reason is the ineconvenience of celebrating a festival on a holiday. So, the Government’s negligence in deciding the calendar is the second major reason for irregularities with respect to festivals.
Let’s find out, what do our religious scriptures say in this respect. That is, which one was the right day for celebrating Janmashtami -1st of Sept. or 2nd of Sept. According to Nirnaya Sindhu :-
1. There are two kinds of Krishnashtami - Janmashtami and Jayanti. Fasting should be done on Krishnashtami.
2. Incase, Rohini Nakshatra does not fall at all during the day time Janmashtami should be celebrated on the ashtmi, when Moon rises at night. Fasting should be done on Ashtami only.
3. If Rohini Nakshatra falls on Krishnapaksha Ashtami of Bhadrapada month, it is called Jayanti. If Rohini Nakshatra appears in day time and stays till night, it is best. If it falls only in mid night, then it is good, if it appears only in day time, it is considered inauspicious.
4. If, Rohini Nakshatra does not make a complete association with Ashtami Tithi in Ahoratri (sunset to next sunrise), but appears only for short time during the said time, in that case fasting should be done on that day only.
5. If Rohini Nakshatra falls at midnight, it is called Jayanti. There is no alternate rule for jayanti.
6. If Rohini Nakshatra falls on both the days, earlier day as well as on the next day, in that case Janmashtami falls within Jayanti and fasting should not be done separately for Janamastami.
7. Sins of three births are removed by performing Krishna Pooja at the time, when Ashtami falls at midnight. If this yoga does not appear on earlier day, then poojan should be done next day.
8. For Janmashtami, mid night ashtami must be accepted as this time only is said to be the main time. Madhviya has written that Ashtami and Shivratri should be celebrated even if it falls for a short while before mid night. Bhavishya purana says sins of three births get destroyed by performing Krishna Pooja on Ashtami midnight in Rohini Nakshatra. Vashishta Samhita says ashtami with Rohini Nakshatra at midnight is important since God himself appeared at that time.
9. There are two kinds of Ashtami.
1. Ashtami excluding Rohini Nakshatra.
2. Ashtami including Rohini Nakshatra.
Ashtami excluding Rohini Nakshatra is of four types-
1. Ashtami which falls on previous day at midnight.
2. Ashtami which falls on next day at mid night.
3. Ashtami which falls on both the days at midnight.
4. Ashtami which does not falls on eitherday at midnight.
For first two cases, we should take day of ashtmi as day of fasting because Bhrigu Rishi writes that in this case Janmashtami and Shivratri fasts should be observed of ashtami with Saptami.
For last two cases, we should take next day as ashtami, because during the morning time, there will be time of Sankalp.
Again, Ashtami including Rohini Nakshatra is of four kinds :-
1. Ashtami with Rohini nakshatra falls on previous day at midnight.
2. Ashtami with Rohini Nakshatra falls on next day at mid night.
3. Ashtami with Rohini Nakshatra falls on both the days at midnight.
4. Ashtami with Rohini nakshatra does not lall on either day at midnight.
According to Padam Purana and Garura Purana, fasting should be started in the combination of Saptami Tithi & Rohini Nakshatra. According to Vahni Purana, if in the midnight, there is Rohini Nakshatra and both the Tithies - Saptami and Ashtami fall at that time. Ashtami is as sacred as Sun & Moon. So, in first and second case, we should celebrate Janmashtami on first and second day respectively, i.e. on the basis of Ashtami, festival should be celebrated. In case of third, we should consider next day, in fourth case, there will be three kinds of Ashtami.
1. In previous mid night, there is Ashtami only and Rohini Nakshatra on next day.
2. Next day there is Ashtami tithi & Rohini Nakshatra is on previous day.
3. Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra on both days but not in midnight.
In the first case, due to Jayanti yoga falling next day, Janmashtami should be celebrated next day. In second and third cases, Ashtami fast should be observed on second day only.
On 1st Sept. 2010, Sun rose at 5:58 hrs in Mathura and set at 18:38 hrs. Saptami Tithi ended at 10:50 hrs on 1st Sept. and thereafter Ashtami Tithi started. Rohini Nakshatra started at 13:19 hrs on 1st. Both Ashtami & Rohini Nakshatra were present on 1st Sept. at midnight. Ashtami ended 10:42 hrs on 2nd Sept. and Rohini Nakshatra also ended at 13:47 hrs. At mid night of 2nd Sept, Mrigshira Nakshatra and Navami Tithi were present. So according to the points (8) and first part of (10), the right day for celebrating Janmashtami was 1st Sept. only and not 2nd September.
Hindu Religions scriptures describe a very accurate and detailed calculation in respect to the celebration of festivals. They do not leave on iota of doubt. Celebrating Janmashtami on 2nd Sept. was only a mistake due to the government's negligence. In such situations, Pandits are advised to celebrate festivals according to religious scriptures and not according to calendar.
In order to bring out the uniformity in celebrating festivals and other traditions, Future Point has started publication of Panchang named ‘Future Panchang’ which is fully computerized. We hope this Panchang will prove very helpful in astrological calculation and confirming the date of festivals.
Note : A miniature Future Panchang Patrika will be provided free along with Deepawali special of Future Samachar.