Symbolic details of the Kālacakra calendar

The Months.

The following table gives in the first two columns the names of the 12 months, first in Sanskrit, and then in Tibetan. The next column gives the season associated with the month, and the final column gives the month number as would be used in the Tibetan "Correction of Error" system.

Phālgunadbo Early-spring 1
Caitranag pa Mid-Spring 2
Vaiśākhasa gaLate-spring 3
JyeṣṭhasnronEarly-summer 4
Āṣāḍhachu stod Mid-summer 5
Śrāvaṇa gro bzhinLate-summer 6
Bhādrapadakhrums Early-autumn 7
Āśvinatha skar Mid-autumn 8
Kārtikkasmin drugLate-autumn 9
MārgaśīrṣamgoEarly-winter 10
PauṣargyalMid-winter 11
MāghamchuLate-winter 12

The lunar mansions.

The following table gives the names of the lunar mansions, first in Sanskrit, and then in Tibetan. The element associated with the mansion from the Indian system is also given - this is different in the Chinese tradition.

Aśvinītha skarWind
Bharaṇī bra nyeFire
Kṛittikā smin drug Fire
Rohiṇī snar maEarth
Mṛigaśirasmgo Wind
Ārdrā lag Water
Punarvasu nabs soWind
Puṣya rgyalFire
Maghā mchu Fire
Pūrvaphalgunī gre Fire
Uttaraphalgunī dboWind
Hastā me bzhi Wind
Citrā nag pa Wind
Svātīsa riWind
Viśākhā sa gaFire
Anurādhā lha mtshamsEarth
Jyeṣṭha snronEarth
Mūla snrubsWater
Pūrvāṣhāḍhā chu stod Water
Uttarāṣāḍhā chu smad Earth
Śravaṇa gro bzhin Earth
Abhijit byi bzhinEarth
Dhaniṣṭhā mon greWater
Śatabhiṣaj mon gruEarth
Pūrvabhādrapāda khrums stodFire
Uttarabhādrapāda khrums smadWater
Revatīnam gruWater

The Yogas.

In this table are the names of the 27 yogas, first in Sanskrit and then in Tibetan. However, there is one small problem with this table. Some Sanskrit copies of the Vimalaprabhā add an extra yoga between Dhruva and Vyāghatā, and leave out Siddhi. This is probably a mistake, as the Tibetan versions follow the more usual listing of the yogas, which is the one given here.

Viṣkambha sel ba
Prīti mdza' ba
Āyuśman tshe dang ldan pa
Saubhāgya skal bzang
Śobhana bzang po
Atigaṇḍa shin tu skrang
Sukarma las bzang
Dhṛiti'dzin pa
Śūla zug rngu
Gaṇḍa skrang
Vṛiddhi'phel ba
Dhruva nges pa
Vyāghatākun 'joms
Harṣaṇadga' ba
Vajrardo rje
Siddhigrub pa
Vyatipāta shin tu lhung
Varīyasmchog can
Parigha yongs 'joms
Śiva zhi ba
Siddha grub pa
Sādhya bsgrub bya
Śubha dge ba
Śukla dkar po
Brahma tshangs pa
Indra dbang po
Vaidhṛiti khon 'dzin

The Karaṇas.

The four stable karaṇas are:

Śakunibkra shis
Catuṣpada rkang bzhi
Kintughnami sdug pa

The seven changing karanas are:

Vava gdab pa
Vālava byis pa
Kaulava rigs can
Taitila til rdung
Gara khyim skyes
Vaṇija tshong ba
Viṣṭi vishti

The elemental yogas, or, combinations.

The following are the possible combinations of the elements of the weekday and the lunar mansion. These are referred to as elemental yogas (khams kyi sbyor ba, or, 'byung 'phrod).

In this list they are given with their Tibetan, Sanskrit and English names for each element combination.

Earth + earth:dngos grub siddhiaccomplishment
Water + water:bdud rtsiamṛitanectar
Earth + water: lang tsho yauvanayouth
Fire + fire: 'phel 'gyurpragatiprogress
Wind + wind: phun tshogssaṃpannaexcellence
Fire + wind: stobs ldanbalayuktapowerful
Earth + wind: mi phrodalābhadeficiency
Water + wind: mi mthunpratikūla discord
Earth + fire: sreg padahanaburning
Fire + water: 'chi bamaraṇadeath

The twenty-eight yogas, or, combinations.

The following are the names for the twenty-eight yogas which are combinations between the weekdays and the lunar mansions.

These are given here with their Tibetan names, English translation of these, and a short phrase indicating the astrological nature of the yoga, taken from Tibetan materials ("dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i man ngag rtsis kyi bstan bcos kun nas btus pa chen po'i rgyas 'grel rin po che'i gter mdzod", by "dpa' bo gtsug lag phreng ba"). It is clear that the names of these yogas are intended to be symbolic indicators of their astrological significance.

kun dga' joy - wealth is found.
dus dbyug time-club - great fear.
dul control - rich with much wealth.
skye rgu humanity - happiness through female relatives.
gzhon youth - all activities accomplished.
bya rog raven - fear and worry through disputes.
rgyal mtshanvictory-banner - excellent clothes and so forth.
dpal be'u eternal-knot - gathering of wealth.
rdo rje vajra - lightning and hail; unhappiness, fear of enemies and thieves.
thob pa attainment - fear of death.
gdugs parasol - enemies will be pacified.
grogs friend - meeting with friends.
yid intellect - attainment of glory.
'dod desire - activities accomplished according to wish.
mgal me firebrand - disputes, quarrlels.
rtsa bton emaciation - (length of) life will be exhausted.
'chi bdag death-lord - death.
mda' arrow - the nose and senses weakened; obstacles to health and luck.
grub success - accomplishment of whatever activities are started.
mdung lance - fear of illness.
bdud rtsi nectar - destruction of enemies.
gtun shing pestle - understand as pounding; loss of life, wealth, deity.
glang po elephant - all intentions fulfilled.
stag mo tigress - a mount is found.
zad pa exhaustion - exhaustion of wealth, food and people.
g.yo movement - all activities accomplished.
brtan stability - destruction of authorities.
'phel increase - increase of wealth.

A brief astrological meaning has been given above for the twenty-eight yogas. As time progresses and more of this material is translated, it will be posted on this website. However, it is worth pointing out that the Kālacakra system expects a general knowledge of Indian astrology. It's two main criticisms of other Indian systems is with regard to the calculation of the calendar and the need to use a tropical zodiac, and with a fatalistic, or deterministic approach to the astrology. General Indian views on the astrological meaning of attributes such as the weekday, lunar mansion and so forth, are to be used in the Kālacakra system. These can be found in works of traditional Indian astrology, such as the writings of Varāha Mihira, and so forth.

E Henning.

Last updated 3 February 2010.

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