By Swami Harshananda
Muhurta literally means ‘a short unit of time’.
Significance of Muhurta
Measurement of time in certain units has been known to the people since a long time. The word ‘muhurta,’ meaning ‘a short time’, is one such unit known even to the Vedas. However, in course of time, it became fixed as 1/30th part of a day of 24 hours of a duration of 48 minutes.
Muhurta of Days
The 15 muhurtas of a day are different from those of the night. The day muhurtas are sometimes given specific names such as:
Usage of Muhurta
A proper muhurta is one of the four elements, the other three being tithi, nakṣatra and karaṇa needed to be looked into for the success of an undertaking. Muhurtas considered auspicious for various acts, have been mentioned in the works on astrology. For instance:
- For purchasing merchandise
- For the performance of auspicious acts
- For wearing new garments for the first time
- For upanayāna and marriage
It is interesting to note that a work called Muhurtamuktāvali prescribes ‘auspicious’ time even for stealing. However, certain sages have also declared that if there is purity of mind as indicated by faith in God, honoring the holy ones and contentment, all the planets will become favorable and hence there is no need to look for auspicious times.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore