Brihat Samhita

by N. Chidambaram Iyer | 1884 | 135,584 words | ISBN-13: 9788171104215

This page describes the course of the sun (aditya-cara) which is the third Chapter of the English translation of the Brihat-samhita. This work, written by Varahamihira in the 6th century, is classified as jyotisha literature, also known as Indian astronomy. It contains however, also content regarding astrology, palmistry, agriculture, gardening, perfumes, medicines and various other encyclopedic topics.

Chapter 3 - On the course of the Sun (āditya-cāra)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. At one time, the Sun’s southward course commenced on his reaching the middle of Āśleṣā (the ninth constellation) and its northward course on its reaching the beginning of Dhaniṣṭhā (the twenty-third constellation). This must have been the case as we find it so recorded in ancient books.

2. Whereas at present the one course of the sun (āditya) commences at the beginning of Cancer, and the other at the beginning of Capricornus. That it is so, and different from what it was at one time can easily be ascertained from actual observation as follows:

3. Either from observing some distant point in the horizon where the sun rises or sets or from observing the ingress or the egress of the end of shadow of a perpendicular rod placed at the centre of a big horizontal circle (the change in the sun’s course can be detected).

4. If the Sun should change his course before reaching Makara (Capricornus) he will bring evil on the west and south; and if he should do so before reaching Karka (Cancer), he will bring evil on the north and east.

5. The Sun when he changes his course from north to south and when in his usual condition will bring on prosperity and increase of crops; but when he undergoes a change either in his usual course or in his usual appearance[1] he causes fear to mankind.

6. Even on other than new-moon days the Ketu named Tvaṣṭā eclipses the solar disc. Then seven princes and their subjects will perish by the sword, by fire and by famine.

7. The dark spots, also known as Ketus, the sons of Rāhu are Tāmasa, Kīlaka and the like, and are 33 in number. How they affect the earth depends upon their color, position and shape.

8. If these spots should appear on the solar disc, mankind will suffer miseries; if on the lunar disc mankind will be happy; but if they take the shape of a crow, a headless human body, or a weapon, mankind will suffer even though the spots should appear on the moon.

9. When the spots appear on the solar disc the waters will get disturbed; the sky will be filled with dust; high winds capable of breaking down the tops of mountains and of trees, will carry pebbles and sand along their course.

10. The trees will fail to yield in their appropriate seasons; birds and animals will appear to be burning; there will be an appearance of false fire all round; and lightning and earthquake will afflict mankind.

11-12. If there should appear on the solar disc Ketus[2] other than the thirty-three already mentioned, or spots pike like in shape the effects of these and of solar eclipses are the same as those assigned to them in the Chapters (V and XI) on Rāhucāra and Ketucāra. The princes of the countries in which the spots are visible will be afflicted with miseries.

13. Even Ṛṣis, reduced to mere skeletons by starvation, giving up their pious course of life, with fleshless infants in their arms.

14. Deprived of their property by highway men, with long sighs, closed eyes, emaciated bodies, and with their sight dimmed with the tears of sorrow will proceed with difficulty to other lands.

15. Men, reduced to mere bones and as named to beg will be harassed both by their own princes and by the princes of other lands. Some will begin to speak disparagingly of the character and deeds of their own sovereign.

16. Even though there should be indications of good rain, the clouds will yield little rain; the rivers will fall and (food) crops will be found (only) here and there.

17. If the spots should be of the shape of a rod the prince dies; if of the shape of a headless body mankind will suffer from disease; if of the shape of a crow they will suffer from robbers; and if of the shape of a pike, they will suffer from famine.

18. If the solar spots should be of the shape of the emblems of royalty such as Chatra (umbrella), Dhvaja (flag staff) and Cāmara (hairy fan) and the like, the reigning prince will be dethroned and a foreign prince will begin to reign. If the spots should appear like sparks of fire, like the smoke and the like, his subjects will suffer.

19. A single spot will bring on famine; if two or more spots should appear, the reigning prince will die; if they should appear white, red, yellow or black then the Brāhmaṇas, the Kṣatriyas, the Vaiśyas or the Śūdras will suffer respectively.

20. Only those parts of the earth will suffer in the corresponding parts of which on the solar disc the spots happen to appear.

21. If, when the rays are turned away from the earth the colour of the sun be that of copper the commander-in-chief dies; if it be green or yellow the king’s son dies; if it be white the royal chaplain dies.

22. If the sun (āditya) be variegated in colour or of the colour of smoke there will be either immediate rain or mankind will suffer from robbers and from weapons.

23. If in Śiśira (February, March) the sun be of copper colour or red black, if, in Vasanta (April, May), blue crimson, if, in Grīṣma (June, July), slightly white and of gold color, if, in Varṣā (August, September), white,

24. If, in Śarada (October, November), of the colour of the centre of the lotus, if, in Hemanta (December, January), of blood color, mankind will be happy. If, in Varṣā (August, September), the rays of the sun be soft, mankind will be happy even though the sun should be of any of the colors mentioned above.

25. If, in Varṣā, when the rays are sharp, the sun be white then the Brāhmins, if of blood colour the Kṣatriyas, if yellow the Vaiśyas, and if black the Śūdras will perish. If, as said above, the rays be soft, mankind will be happy.

26. If, in Grīṣma, the sun be of blood colour mankind will be afflicted with various fears; If, in Varṣā, he be black there will be drought on the Earth; If, in Hemanta he be yellow there will be immediate fear from disease.

27. If the solar disc should be crossed by the rainbow the princes of the land will be at war with one another. If in winter the disc be clear there will be immediate rain.

28. If in Varṣā the colour of the sun be that of the flower Śirīṣa (Mimosa flexuosa) there will be immediate rain; if the colour be that of the peacock’s plume there will be no rain for twelve years to come.

29. If, then the sun be black there will be fear from worms and reptiles; if it be ashy pale there will be fear from foreign princes; if the sun should appear with a hole that prince will perish in the star[3] of whose nativity the sun then happens to be.

30. If at other times than rising or setting the sun be of the colour of the blood of a hare there will be war in the land; if he should appear like the moon, the reigning prince will be killed and a foreign prince will succeed immediately.

31. If the sun should appear like a pot; he brings on hunger and death; if he should appear broken, the reigning prince dies; if without rays, mankind will be afflicted with fears; if like a gate, then the capital city, if like an umbrella then the country, will perish.

32. If the sun should appear like a flag staff, or a bow, or quivering or of sharp rays he will bring on wars; if there should appear black lines on his disc the reigning prince will die by the hand of his own minister.

33. If, at rising,[4] the sun should be crossed by the fall of an aerolite, or thunderbolt, or by lightning, the reigning prince will die and a foreign prince will succeed.

34. If, for several days, there should appear a halo round the sun both at rising and setting or if the sun should, at such periods, be of blood color, the reigning sovereign will be dethroned and a foreign prince will succeed.

35. If at rising and setting the sun should be hid by clouds of the shape of implements of war, he will bring on strife; if these clouds should appear like a deer, a buffalo, a bird, an ass or a young camel, mankind will be afflicted with fears.

37. The planets, when subjected to the hot rays of the sun are freed from their impurities just as gold is purified by the action of the fire.

38. If the halo should be to the north of the sun there will be rain; if to the south there will be wind; if on both sides there will be fear from floods; if above the sun (towards the meridian) then the king, if below it (towards the horizon), then his subjects, will perish.

39. If the sun (āditya) should be of blood colour when in mid-heaven, or if he should appear red by a dust storm the reigning prince will die.

Footnotes and references:


The recent phenomenon of the blue or green rayless sun is an instance.


This term is applied both to comets and to solar spots.


The star of a person is that constellation in which the moon is at the time of his birth.


Or setting, according to commentator.

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