If what is being articulated by some representatives of the Hindu community were to be realized, then, for the first time in Guyana, there could be two celebrations for Diwali on different nights. The date on the calendar, as prepared by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha is November 11, 2015. However, the other Hindu Organizations are disputing this, claiming that the correct date is November 10.
I have examined the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s arguments for Diwali to be observed on November 11. Dr. Vindhya Persaud of the Dharmic Sabha claims that the Sabha’s findings are based on the Bhavani Shankar Panchang (ephemeris). I very much doubt this. Bhavani Shankar Panchang does not conflict or differ from the 100-year, Kaashi, or any other Panchangs for that matter.
Everybody agrees that Diwali is celebrated in the evening of Amavasya, (15th lunar day), in the month of Kartik (November). The logical thing to do is to determine the evening of Amavasya. To do this, you have to firstly establish the duration of Amavasya – its starting and finishing time – in order to situate Diwali within this period. I know of no other method. Every event within the Hindu calendar is located within an Astrological time-frame. Time in Hinduism is Lunar, measured by the phases of the moon.
I shall use the very Bhavani Shankar Panchang to show that Diwali is in fact November 10. The starting figure is given in the ephemeris. The formula is standard. I start with ‘Chaturdasi’ (14th lunar day), then go over to ‘Amavasya’ (15th lunar day) to establish the duration or time-frame of Amavasya.
Duration of ‘Chaturdasi’ Duration of ‘Amavasya’
Tues. Nov. 10 Nov. 11
36:05 x by 2 = 72:10 40:48 x by 2 = 81:36
Divided by 5 = 14::26 Divided by 5 = 16:19
Add Rising Sun 06:38 Add Rising Sun 06:38
= 21:04 = 22:57
Less 9:30hrs. Less 9:30hrs.
Ends at 11:34 AM Ends at 13:27hrs
(Chaturdashi ends at 11:34 AM,
(Amavasya ends at 1:27PM)
And Amaavasya begins at 11:34AM).
From the calculation above, we see that Amavasya begins at 11:34 AM on November 10, runs the entire night of November 10, and finishes at 01:27 PM on November 11. Which evening, then, is Amavasya? November 10, of course! This is supported by all other Hindu Organizations, viz, Pandits Council, Viraat Sabha, Maha Sabha, Pandit’s Sabha of Region 3, Gandhi Youth, and Cove & John Ashram.
To perform Lakshmi Puja in celebration of Diwali at 6:00pm on November 11 is to celebrate Diwali outside of Amavasya, i.e. after the duration of the new moon. Even Dr. Persaud has admitted this in her statement, “performing Maha Lakshmi Puja at 6pm on November 11 would, therefore, be 4 hours later than the exact Amavasya/new moon moment …”
There will be no confusion or “breach of Hindu tradition”, as claimed by Dr. Persaud, in the celebration of Yam Deep, Narak Chaturdasi, Diwali, Goverdhan Puja and Bhai Dhuj. Doing the calculations, these days will be observed as follows:
Day 1 – Yam Deep. Trayodasi – Sunday 8.
Day 2 – Narak Chaturdasi. Chaturdasi – Monday 9.
Day 3 – Diwali. Amavasya – Tuesday 10
Day 4 – Goverdhan Puja. Pratipada – Wednesday 11.
Day 5 – Bhai Dhuj. Dwitiya – Thursday 12.
According to the above, and supported by all the Panchangs, Chaturdasi and Diwali will be observed on different days – the evenings of the 9th and 10th, respectively.
That some organizations in the U.S.A. will be celebrating Diwali on November 11 is not cogent reason for us in Guyana to follow suit. On the other hand, there are over one hundred Mandirs in North America who will be celebrating Diwali on November 10.
Dharmic Sabha’s case for celebrating Diwali on November 11 is very much flawed and leaves much to be desired, to say the least. It is based more on sentiment and not on any of the Panchangs.
Pt. R. Balbadar
(Sanskrit and Vaidic Theology, Dip.)