Friday, May 27, 2011

Time Cycles

[Now that the hot season according to the Hindu Calendar of Rithus, has begun this week at Tiruvannamalai, below are some extracts from, 'Health and Longevity' by renowned Ayurvedic practitoner, Robert E. Svoboda, to explain the process of seasons in Ayurvedic terms].

“Ayurveda calls space a substance because, in our world, space possesses qualities, like cold and wetness. Climate is one quality of that space; another is orientation, which is governed by the Earth’s magnetic field. Magnetic fields, both natural (generated by the Earth, the sun and the moon) and artificial (human-generated), also affect our brain waves, pineal secretions and other physical and mental functions. The gravity of the sun and the moon also affects us, as do their heat and cold, their light and darkness, and the seasons that all these influences together generated. The seasons control Earth’s rasa, from which we derive our rasa.

Rhythm is essential to life. The lungs and heart work rhythmically, the intestines produce peristaltic waves and the brain generates brainwaves, all of which are intricately interrelated with one another and with the external environment. Rtam, the rhythm of the universe, appears in our little world as rtu, or season, a ‘time to every purpose under heaven’. The Vedics created the image of cosmic rtam on Earth by establishing a system of days, months and seasons that ‘calendrifies’ the Gods. Ayurveda recognizes four main seasonal cycles: day and night, the seasons of the year, age and digestion.

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Seasons of the Year

Charaka divides India’s three seasons; winter, summer and the rains, into 6, 2-month seasons to integrate the lunar calendar with the solar year. There are actually two slightly different sets of season. The first contrasts the three intense seasons – cold, hot and wet – with the three milder ‘should’ seasons that separate them. The other emphasizes the natural progression in rasa in the environment, which develops as a result of the cold, heat and wetness of the seasons.

The sun is said to capture rasa from our planet, and the moon to release it again to us. During the 6 months from the Winter to the Summer Solstice, as the sun, the lord of the fire element, grows stronger daily, it progressively withdraws ‘juice’ from the world, drying it out. From the summer to the Winter Solstice, the sun’s power grows daily weaker, releasing that ‘juice’ again to us. This half of the year is ruled by the moon, which is the lord of the water element. The terrestrial environment and its denizens must perpetually adjust to this cyclical withdrawal and release of ‘juice’.”


The following Ritus (Indian Seasons) are ruled by these planets:

Vasanta by Venus
Greeshma by Mars and Sun
Varsha by the Moon
Sharath by Mercury
Hemanta by Jupiter
Sisira by Saturn

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