Appendix B - The Hindu Calendar & Time Scales

The Hindu Calendar

The Hindu calendar year is based on the Vikram era, after King Vikram of Ujjain. The system is still widely used in Northern and Western India. The first year of the Vikram era corresponds to 57-56 BCE.

The 12 months of the year are lunar-based, with each month divided into the bright half (named so because of the waxing of the moon), known as the ‘shukla’ or sudi paksh, and the dark half (named so because of the waning of the moon), known as the ‘krishna’ or vadi paksh. The 15th day of the sudi paksh, the day of the full moon, is known as Punam, while the last day of vadi paksh, the day of the new moon, is known as Amās. In Northern India, the months end on the day of the full moon, while in Gujarat, the months end on Amās, the darkest night. The Gujarati names of the months and their corresponding English names of the months are given in the chart entitled “Months of the Year”. To keep the lunar calendar, in which years are approximately 354 days long, synchronised with the solar calendar, in which years are approximately 365 days long, adjustments have to be made to the lunar-based calendar every 2.5 years. This is achieved by adding an additional month called an ‘adhik mās’ to the calendar. So, for example, in Vachanāmrut Gadhada I-76, ‘the Ekādashi of the first Jyestha’ refers to the actual Jyestha of the calendar. But, in Gadhada I-77, ‘the second Jyestha’ refers to the additional Jyestha month that has been inserted for the sake of synchonisation.

Currently in Gujarat, the new year, after the Diwāli festival, begins with the month of Kārtik. Although losing its prevelance, the Āshādhi system still prevails in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat - in Kutch and Saurashtra. In this system, the new year begins on Āshādh sudi 1. In the Vachanāmrut, the chronological system used by the compilers is of the Vikram era and the Āshādhi year.

The Common Era year corresponding to the Vikram era and Āshādhi year of the Vachanamrut is obtained by subtracting 57 years from the Vikram year if the date falls between Āshādh sudi 1 and December 31st; and 56 years if the date falls between January 1st and Jyeshtha vadi 15.

The Indian Measurement of Time and Cosmological Chronology

In the Vachanāmrut Bhagwān Swāminārāyan has referred to various measurements of time using traditional Hindu time scales, e.g., ghadi, kalp, etc. This section provides a list of Indian time measurements with modern conversion equivalents. In addition, the foldout chart entitled “Cosmological Chronology” provides the time scales of the different types of dissolution, i.e., prākrut-pralay, nimitta-pralay, etc.


1 krati =34,000th of a second
1 truti = 300th part of a second
2 truti = 1 luv (1/150 of a second)
2 luv = 1 kshan (1/75 of a second)
30 kshan = 1 nimish (2/5 of a second)
60 nimish = 1 pal (24 seconds)
60 pal =1 ghadi (24 minutes)
2.5 ghadi = 1 horā (1 hour)
24 horā = 1 diwas (1 day)
7 diwas =1 saptah (1 week)
4 sapta =1 mās (1 month)
2 mās = 1 rutu (1 season)
6 rutu = 1 varsh (1 year)
100 varsh = 1 shatābda (1 century)
10 shatābda = 1 sahasrābda (1,000 years)
432 sahasrābda = 1 yug (i.e., length of Kali-yug, 432,000 years)
2 yug = 1 dwāpar-yug (864,000 years)
3 yug = 1 tretā-yug (1,296,000 years)
4 yug = 1 satya-yug (1,728,000 years)
10 yug = 1 mahāyug = 1 chokdi (4,320,000 years)
1000 mahāyug =1 kalp
1 kalp = 4.32 billion years

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