The Skeptic's Dictionary while arguing that astrology is nothing more than a superstition brings up some interesting questions:

Astrologers emphasize the importance of the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, etc., at the time of birth. However, the birthing process isn’t instantaneous. There is no single moment that a person is born. The fact that some official somewhere writes down a time of birth is irrelevant.

  1. Do they pick the moment the water breaks? The moment the first dilation occurs? When the first hair or toenail peeks through? When the last toenail or hair passes the last millimeter of the vagina? When the umbilical cord is cut? When the first breath is taken? Or does birth occur at the moment a physician or nurse looks at a clock to note the time of birth?

  2. Why are the initial conditions more important than all subsequent conditions for one’s personality and traits?

  3. Why is the moment of birth chosen as the significant moment rather than the moment of conception?

I'm looking for answers to some or all of the above with regard to Hindu astrology.

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    @KeshavSrinivasan better to avoid commenting in subjects which you are not familiar with. the moment is very important because the birth chart is not based on position of moon but mainly on the ascendant or "lagna". Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 19:55
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    @KeshavSrinivasan janma rashi is not much useful. it can be only used for transits and its effects. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 7:38
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    Edit your Q to remove references to the skeptic's dictionary and ask for jyotisha's take. I don't believe compare and contrast is allowed on this SE. Hinduism need not satisfy any skeptic.
    – user1195
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 12:22
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    @moonstar2001 See this question as an example: K.S. Bhagavan's critique of Adi Shankara. So all questions from critics, atheists, skeptics etc. are allowed on this forum, although may not be welcome. 'Hinduism need not satisfy any skeptic' - true, but this site doesn't have a monopoly on Hinduism and is not just for followers of Hinduism. Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 22:35
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    @sv. You are quite right that atheism, doubts and questions are welcome and should be welcomed in Hinduism. If no question is raisen , then Hindu philosophy would turn no less than a Heresy.
    – user9392
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


The first breathe coming out of the body is the one we must look for because breathe is a unit of time measure as per the Rishis.

The below is from Surya Siddhanth : Chapter 1 verse 12 in Phanindra Ganguly's translation.

  1. And sixty nadis make a sidereal day and night....

The manuscripts without commentary insert, as the first half of v. 11, the usual definition of the length of a respiration: " the time occupied in pronouncing ten long syllables is called a respiration. '

The table of the divisions of sidereal time is then as follow: 10 long syllables (gurvaftshara) = 1 respiration (prana, period of four seconds); 6 respirations = 1 vinadi (period of twenty-four seconds); 60 vinadis = 1 nadi (period of twenty-four minutes); 60 nadis = 1 day.

  • 1
    You should cite proper source i.e with verse/Sutra from Pantanjali's Yogasutra
    – Pandya
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 9:49
  • What has Yoga got to do with Astrology/Jyotisha? Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 14:09
  • I have edited my post with proper Jyotish reference. Still learning the ropes in this site. Thanks for the comments.
    – Rama27
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 15:56
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    I have just connected prana to first breathe based on the above time units used by rishis. This is my belief . There are others who have different opinions.
    – Rama27
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 16:05

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