Night or nighttime (also spelled night-time or night time) is the period of ambient darkness from sunset to sunrise during each 24-hour day.

Consider the following statement of Vyasa from the Mahabharata

The house-holder should never sleep during the day, or during the first part of the night, or during the last part thereof.

[Section 243, Mokshadharma Parva, Santi Parva, The Mahabharata]

Vyasa is mentioning the first and last parts of the night.

Into how many parts a night has been divided according to scriptures? How much time span does each part take and how to calculate the timings of those parts according to the location?


From Bhagavata Purana 3.11.10:

यामाश्चत्वारश्चत्वारो मर्त्यानामहनी उभे ।
पक्ष: पञ्चदशाहानि शुक्ल: कृष्णश्च मानद ॥ १० ॥

It is calculated that there are four praharas, which are also called yāmas, in the day and four in the night of the human being. Similarly, fifteen days and nights are a fortnight, and there are two fortnights, white and black, in a month.

So, a 24 hour day has 8 prahars (each approximately 3 hours long in duration). The night has 4 as Vyasa Rishi has said.

One may also see Wikipedia on Prahar.

First prahar of the night is nothing but the evening during which one mustn't sleep as Yama Smriti also states:

One should, in the evening, abstain from four works,* viz., from taking meals, sexual intercourse, [and] sleeping [these three], and Vedic study [forming] the fourth. (76)

From taking meals, [at that time], originates a disease ; from sexual intercourse, a very wicked offspring is conceived ; from sleep, prosperity disappears ; [and there is] certain death in Vedic studies. (77)

  • 2
    Yes if we consider 8 prahars then the first starts from sunrise and the fourth ends at sunset. Fifth begins from sunset and the eight ends at the sunrise the next day. @hanugm
    – Rickross
    May 22 at 11:57

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