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We are always curious to know the meaning of the Sankalp that we take before the start of a Poojaa or ritual. To know this, firstly, we need to know the Hindu Cosmic cycle.

Age of Cosmos
1 Mahaa Yug = Sum of 4 Yug (Krit, Tretaa, Dwaapar and Kali) = 4,320,000 years.
1000 such Mahaa Yug comprise a day-time of Brahmaa also known as a Kalp.
A Kalp is ruled by 14 Manu in succession. The reigning period of one Manu is called one Manvantar which is 71.42 Mahaa Yug.
There is an equivalent night-time of 4,320,000,000 years.
The day-night of Brahma together constitutes Brahmaa's one day or one Brahm day (8.64 billion years).
360 Brahm days constitute a Brahm year while
100 Brahm years represent the lifetime of Brahmaa - which is the life of the cosmos.
Doing this simple mathematics gives the age of the cosmos to be 311 trillion years.

Carl Sagan, the noted scientist says in relation to this, ""The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahmaa, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still."

We are presently in the Shwet Varaah Kalp, in the reigning period of Vaivaswat Manu - the 7th Manu (there are 14 Manu).
In this Manvantar we are in the 28th Mahaa Yug (there are 71.42 Mahaa Yug).
As per our Cosmology, Brahma is supposed to have completed 50 Brahm years and he is in his 51st year. That is why he is called "Parardha-dvaya-jeevee" (ie) he lives for two Paraardh. A Paraardh is half of his life. Two halves make one. He is called so as he has completed one half of his tenure. These terminology makes better sense in relation to the Sankalp.

The Sankalp
The actual Sankalp Mantra and its meaning runs like this --
".... Dwiteeya Paraqrdhe - in the 2nd half of Brahmaa's life
Shwet Varaah Kalpe - in the Kalp of Shwet Varaah
Vaivaswat Manvantare - in the reining period of the current Manu Vaivaswat
Ashta Vinshati tame - in the 28th Mahaa Yug of the current Manavantar
Kali Yuge - in this Kali Yug
Prathame Pade - in the first quarter of this Yug
Jamboo Dweepe - this denotes the place where the ritual is performed. India was known as Jamboo Dweep
Bhaarat Varshe, Bharat Khande - in the land of Bharat
Shakaabde Mero, Dakshine Paarshwe - to the South of the Meru mountain
Asmin Vartamaane Vyavahaarike - in the current period now reigning
Prabhavaadi Shashti Samvatsaranam Madhya - among the cycle of 60 years starting from Prabhav
Naam Samvatsare - the name of the year in the 60 year Hindu calendar
....Ayane - Dakshinaayane (Aadi to Marghazi) or Uttaraayane (Thai to Aani)
....Ritau - denotes the 6 seasons or Ritu - Vasant, Greeshm, Varshaa, Sharad, Hemant and Shishir
....Maase - one of the 12 Lunar months
....Pakshe - either Shukla Paksh (day after Amaavasyaa till and including Pooornimaa) or Krishn Paksh (day after Poornimaa till and including Amaavasyaa)
....Shubh Tithau - one of the 15 days between Poornimaa and Amaavasyaa (Prathama, Dwiteeyaa, Trithiya, Chaturthee, Panchamee, Shashthee, Saptamee, Ashtamee, Navamee, Dashamee, Ekaadashee, Dwaadashee, Trayodasi, Chaturdashee, Poornimaa or Amaavasyaa)
....Vaasar Yuktayam - one of the days of the week (Bhaanu, Som, Bhaum, Saumya, Guru, Bhrigu and Sthir)
....Nakshatra Yuktaayaam - the day's star or Nakshatram.

After saying the above, the name of the ritual is said. The Paramaachaarya says the Sankalp is a kind of record of what you performed with finer details going down to the day and location of the ritual. It seems the forerunner for a kind of bookkeeping or a system of maintaining minutes of a meeting.

Sankalp: Detailed explanation
Let us understand the meaning of the phrases that the Sankalp is comprised of. To understand the phrases in the Sankalp we need to understand the concept of the Cosmic Cycle and Cosmic time calculations.

Cosmic Cycle
Time, as per Hindu practices, has evolved and revolves around the life cycle of Brahmaa, the Creator. This is known as the Hindu Cosmic cycle. Cosmic cycles are infinitely recurring periods of the universe, comprising its creation, preservation and dissolution.

Time Calculations
We start by using a calendar year as the basis. Unless otherwise specified, the year shall mean a Calendar Year.
1 year for humans represents 1 day for the divine beings (Devataa).
360 such divine days make one divine year.
12,000 such divine years makes a Mahaa Yug comprising the 4 Yug of Krit Yug, Tretaa Yug, Dwaapar Yug and Kali Yug.

Means - each Yuga comprises of the following calendar years:
Kali Yug         =   432,000 years
Dwaapar Yug  =   864.000 years
Tretaa Yug     =  1,296,000 years
Krit Yug         =  1,728,000 years.

Total for one Mahaa Yug (Also called Chatur-Yug) = 4,320,000 years or 4.32 million years.
72 Mahaa Yug constitutes one 'Manvantar' (i.e.) the life of a Manu, the law giver ( we are in the 28th Mahaa Yug)
14 such Manvantar make one day or Kalp of the Creator Brahmaa.
2 Kalp  = 1 day and night of Brahmaa (called Ahoraatra )
360 Ahoratra  = 1 year of Brahmaa

Half the life span of Brahmaa, OR 50 Brahm years. We are in the 51st Brahm Year, OR the second or Dwiteeya Pararaadhe
Two Paraardhe = Life span of Brahma ie 100 years
After that, Pralaya equal to the duration of 2 Paraardh takes place, and at its end, a new cycle starts.

Jamboo Dweepe
Then, the Sankalpa refers to the geographical position of the place where the ritual is performed. This could be the historical or mythological name of the place. Bhaagvat Puraan deals with the geography of the world in a great detail. It divides the world into seven Dweep. AND India is in Jamboo Dweep ,and America is in Kraunch Dweep.

Bhaarat Varshe, Bharat Khande, Shakaabde, Mero, Dakshine Paarshwe
In the geographical part to the South of the Meru Mountain in the land of Bhaarat. Meru is the mythological heavenly mountain, and our planet Earth is in South of it. Technically, this also means that this particular term Mero: Dakshine Paarshwe would be applicable to all parts of the world.

……Naam Samvatsare
Resuming the reference to time, the Sankalp proceeds further as follows: Samvatsaram is a Year. Hindu calendar has a 60 year cycle. Next year is Nandan year corresponding to the Year (2012 -2013)

……Ayane (Ayan)
As per calendars based on the solar system the year is divided into two halves in accordance with the movement of the Sun, Northwards and Southwards. The former is termed Uttaraayan and the latter is known as Dakshinaayan.
Uttarayan (6 months) - Jan Sankraanti to Jul Sankraanti
Dakshinaayan (6 months) - Aug Sankraanti to Jan Sankraanti

.…..Ritau (Ritu)
The year is divided into 6 seasons or Ritu, which correspond to 2 months each of the Lunar or Solar calendar. These are as follows:
Chaitra and Vaishaakh = Vasanta Ritu (March-April, April-May)
Jyeshth and Aashaadh = Greeshm Ritu (May-June, June- July)
Shraavan and Bhaadrapad = Varshaa Ritu (July-Aug, Aug-Sep)
Aashwin and Kaarttik = Sharad Ritu (Sep-Oct, Oct- Nov)
Maargsheersh and Paush = Hemant Ritu (Nov-Dec, Dec-Jan)
Maagh and Phaalgun = Shishir Ritu (Jan-Feb, Feb-Mar)

..…Shubh Tithau (Tithi)
These are days of the month calculated from the day after Pournami, till Amaavasyaa, or vice versa.
Poornimaa to Amaavasyaa (1: Prathamaa, 2. Dwiteeyaa, 3. Triteeyaa, 4. Chaturthee, 5. Panchamee, 6. Shashthee, 7. Saptamee,  8. Ashtamee 9. Navamee, 10. Dashamee, 11. Ekaadashee,  12. Dwaadashee, 13. Trayodashee, 14. Chaturdashee,  and 15. Pornimaa OR Amaavasyaa.

……Maase (Lunar Months)
Chaitra (Chitirai) – Mesh April - May
Vaishaakh (Vaikasi) – Rishabh May – June
Jyeshth (Aani) – Mithun June - July
Aashaadh (Aadi) – Kadakam (Kark) July - August
Shraavan (Aavani) – Sinham August - Sep
Bhaadrapad (Puratasi) – Kanyaa Sep - Oct
Aashwin (Iypasi) – Tulam (Tulaa) Oct - Nov
Kaarttik (Karthigai) – Virchikam (Vrishchik) Nov - Dec
Maargsheersh (Markazhi) - Dhanur Dec - Jan
Paush (Thai) – Makaram Jan - Feb
Maagh (Masi) – Kumbham Feb - March
Phaalgun (Panguni) – Meenam March – April

……Pakshe (Paksham)
There are only two Paksh oin a Maas (month)
Shukla Pakshe: day after Amaavasyaa till and including Poornimaa
Krishn Pakshe: day after Poornimaa till and including Amaavasyaa

...…Vaasar (days of a week)
There are seven days only in a week, so specify the day
Sunday: Bhanu Vaasar; Ravi Vaar
Monday: Indu / Som Vaasar; Som Vaar, Chandra Vaar
Tuesday: Bhaum Vaasar; Mangal Vaar
Wednesday: Soumya Vaasar; Budh Vaar
Thursday: Guru Vaasar; Guru Vaar, Brihaspati Vaar
Friday: Bhrigu Vaasar; Shukra Vaar
Saturday: Sthir Vaasar, Shani Vaar,

……Nakshatra Yuktaayaam (Nakshatram)
There are 27 Nakshatra, so specify the Nakshatra also
Aswani / Ashwinee ,
Bharani / Apabharanee ,
Kaarthikai / Krittikaa ,
Rohinee / Rohinee ,
Mrugaseersham / Mrigashiraa ,
thiruvAdhirai / Aardraa ,
Punarpoosam / Punarvasu ,
Poosam / Pushya,
Aayilyam / Aashleshaa ,
Makam / Maghaa ,
Pooram / Poorv-Phaalgunee ,
---- / Uttaraa-Phaalgunee ,
Hastham / Hast,
Chittirai / Chitraa ,
SvAthi / Swaati ,
VisAkam / Vishaakhaa ,
anusham / Anuraadhaa ,
KEttai / Jyeshthaa ,
Moolam / Moolaa ,
PoorAdam / Poorva-Aashaadhaa ,
UttharAdam / Uttar-Aashaadhaa ,
ThiruvONam / Shravan
Avittam / Dhanishthaa,
Sathayam / Shatabhishaa,
PorrattAthi / Poorva-Bhadraa ,
UttharattAdhi / Uttar-Bhadraa ,
Revathy / Revatee .

The following is a worked out example of the Sankalp. This is for Yajur Upakarm for Saturday, 16th August, 2008. The Ritual Year was Sarvadhaaree, it was Dakshinaayane (since it was Aadi month) Kataka Maase, the ritual name for the month of Adi, Shukla Pakshe since it was Poornimaa and Paksh would change the next day, Paurniasyam, the name for Poornimaa, and since it was Saturday, it was Sthir Vaasar. The star of the day was Shravan.

Shree Govind Govind Govind
asya Shree-bhagavata:
mahaa purushasya
vishnor Agjnayaa
aadya braahman:
dwiteeya paraardhe
Shree Shwet Varaah Kalpe,
Vaivasvat Manvantare,
Prathame Paade,
Jamboo Dweepe,
Bhaarat varshe,
Bharat: Khande,
mero: dakshine Paarshwe
asmin vartamaane vyaavahaarike,
Prabhavaadi Shashthee Samvatsaraa Naam madhye
Sarvadhaaree Naam Samvatsare
Greeshm Ritau
Katak Maase
Shukla Pakshe
Pournamaasyaam Shubh Tithau
Sthir Vaasar
Shravan Nakshatra
Shree Vishnu Yog,
Shree Vishnu Karan,
Shubh Yog, Shubh Karan,
Yevam gun, Visheshan vishishtaayaam,
Asyaam ……Asyaam Shubh Tithau,
Shree Bhagavad Ajnayaa, Shree Bhagavat kainkarya roopam



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 8/9/09
Updated on 05/13/12