May 9, 2008

Tirthankar, the Possible Source of 24-Hour Concept

By -Dr. C. Devakumar

I have excerpted the following material from

“No one is certain as to how the idea of planetary hours came into being. The only thing that is certain is that it is responsible for the order of the days of the week and therefore predates the Bible and the Genesis story for the creation.

At some point in the distant past, by what philosophical reasoning is unknown, a sunrise or sunset defined the first planetary hour in history. It has run on uninterrupted in this manner longer than recorded history (Timaeus © 2003 - Zoidiasoft Technologies)”.

My comments: A day is divided into 24 hours; I believe this division owes it to Jain tradition. If it was so, the inference of such a division is a clear message. Remember the Lord every hour. Count the hour in 24 Tirthankars’ names.

A minute (Nimesha or nimisha) is the average time interval between two successive eye-lid winking in a normal process taken by the average man. So, having fixed the duration of a day dedicated to a figure of 24 (Tirthankar), each hour was then divided into 60 minutes. Sixty is mathematically related to a product of 24 and 5 (parameshthi). So the total number of samvatsar (years) in a cycle was also equated to 60.

Seven days constitute a week. In Jainism, seven Tatva is central to the philosophy.
Let us go back to

“The ancient Chaldeans are said to have arranged the planets in this order (now called the descending Chaldean order):
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon.

This is the order of the passing of the planetary hours. After the Moon hour, a Saturn hour starts the cycle over again. Planetary hours are an equal division of the time between sunrise and sunset and again from sunset to sunrise, by 12. This makes 168 hours in a week. Count the hours out and you will see that starting with any day of the week, taking the first hour of the day, after 24 hours have passed, the 25th hour becomes the ruler of the next day. For instance, take Saturday; the first hour is assigned to Saturn (which is why it is called Saturday). The 25th hour from this hour is a Sun hour. This becomes a Sunday. The 25th hour from that Sun hour is a Moon hour. This becomes Monday. The 25th hour after the Moon is Mars. This becomes Tuesday or "Mardi" in French. The 25th hour from this Mars hour is Mercury. This becomes Wednesday. The 25th hour from that Mercury hour is a Jupiter hour. This becomes Thursday or "Jeudi" in French (meaning Jovial). The 25th hour after Jupiter is Venus. This becomes Friday or "Vendredi" in French. (Timaeus © 2003 - Zoidiasoft Technologies)”

Let us then look at the possible correlation between Lords of weekdays and Tatva.

Planet tatva modern astrological protfolio
Sun Soul Atma karaka (father)
Moon Pudgal Mother and mind
Mars Asrava (influx) Initiatives, brother
Mercury bondage business affiliations
Jupiter stoppage rationality, leadership
Venus withering sensual pleasures
Saturn Liberation isolation from worldly activities

Chapter. 81 Brihat Parashar’s Hora Shastra describes the planetary combinations favouring asceticism. It is relevant to note that a Strong Saturn in 9th house from ascendant favours Digambara sainthood, provided Sun is also strongly disposed in janma kundli. The importance of Jupiter and Venus is also stressed with due combinations. It has been my personal experience that Saturn is the ideal planet to focus on Adhyatmika. So called, saade satti or 71/2-years cycle of Saturn transiting through moon rasi is an opportunity to introspect! Alas, we miss it and run after astrologers for gems and remedies!

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