Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes the course of the moon (candra-cara) which is the fourth 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 4 - On the course of the Moon (candra-cāra)

1. The moon (candra) is always below (nearer to the Earth than) the sun. It is spherical in shape. One half of it is always illumined by the light of the sun, while the other half is dark owing to its own shadow, just like a pot placed in the sun.

2. The rays of the sun falling on the watery moon remove the darkness of the night (on Earth) just in the same way as light reflected from a mirror (placed in the sun) removes the darkness (from) within a room.

3. The moon after quitting the place (direction) of the sun becomes illumined by the sun from below and she then also rises after the sun.

4. Thus the lunar disc appears more and more illumined day by day by the sun according to her change of place, just in the same way as the western half of a pot becomes gradually illumined by the sun in the afternoon.

5. If the moon should pass to the south of Jyeṣṭha[1] (the 18th constellation), Mūla (the 19th constellation) and the two Āṣāḍhas (20th and 21st constellations) she destroys seeds, creatures in water and forests; and there will also be fear from fire.

6. If the moon should pass to the south of Viśākhā (the 16th constellation) and Anurādhā (the 17th constellation) she will bring on evil. If she should pass through the middle of Maghā (the 10th constellation) or of Viśākhā (the 16th constellation) she will bring on prosperity.

7. In the six lunar mansions beginning from Revatī (the 27th) the stars are towards the east; and in the twelve beginning from Ārdrā (the 6th) they are in the centre; and in the nine beginning from Jyeṣṭhā (the 18th) they are in the west of the several mansions; and the moon’s conjunction with the several lunar mansions is said to take place when the moon is in the middle of these mansions.

8. If[2] the two horns of the moon should appear but slightly raised and far from each other presenting the appearance of a boat, she brings trouble on the sailors but prosperity on mankind at large.

9. If the northern horn of the moon should be higher than the other by one-half, the moon appearing like a plough, ploughmen will then suffer. They and their prince will be friendly and there will be prosperity in the land.

10. If the southern horn should be higher than the other by one half, the appearance of the moon is also said to be plough like but of evil consequences. The ruler of Southern India will die and his army will engage in war.

11. If, on the first lunar day after new moon, both horns should be alike and of equal height, there will be the same prosperity and rain throughout the month as on such first lunar day. If the moon should appear like a rod, the cattle will suffer and the sovereign will rule with a severe rod.

12. If the moon should appear like a bow, there will be war in the land; and those will succeed whose places lie in the direction of the bow-string. If the moon should appear stretched from north to south presenting the appearance of a carriage pole there will be earthquake (within that month).

13. If, when the northern horn is a little higher than the other and bent aside, the southern horn is straight like a carriage pole, pilgrim parties will suffer and there will be no rain.

14. If one of the horns should appear higher than the other and bent down at the end, cows will suffer.

15. If the horns should together appear like a circle then the provincial rulers will have to quit their places.[3]

16. If the northern horn should be higher than the southern one otherwise than as stated already, the crops will flourish and there will be good rain. If the southern horn should be similarly higher there will be famine and fear in the land.

17. If, to any person who observes on the first lunar day after new-moon, the moon should appear of only one horn, or if one of the horns should appear bent downwards or if she appear like a full moon (when in reality such is not the case) the person dies.

18. Having thus described the shape of the moon we next proceed to describe her size (generally): if the moon should appear small there will be famine, and if big, prosperity, in the land.

19. If the middle of the moon (candra) should appear small, there will be hunger in the land and princes will be afflicted with cares. If the middle should appear big she will cause prosperity and plenty.

20. If she should appear broad, she will increase the prosperity of the princes; if she should appear big there, will be happiness in the land, and if small, there will be abundance of that grain which men like most,

21. If, during the waxing moon, Mars should be eclipsed by a horn, the border (Mleccha) princes as well as wicked rulers will suffer; if Saturn should be so eclipsed there will be fear from weapons and from hunger; if Mercury should be so eclipsed there will be drought and famine in the land; if Jupiter should be so eclipsed eminent princes will suffer; and if Venus, the minor princes will suffer. As regards the waning moon the subject has been elsewhere treated.

22. If Venus should be eclipsed by the lunar disc the people of Magadha, the Yavanas, the Mlecchas, men of Pulinda (a barbarous tribe), the Nepālīs, the Bhṛṅgīs and the Mārwārīs (Marus), the men of Kaccha and of Surat, the Madras,[4] the Pāñcālas, the Kaikayas, the Kulūtakas, the Cannibalas (Pūruṣādas) and the men of Uśīnara (Gāndhāra) will suffer miseries for seven months.

23. If Jupiter should be eclipsed by the lunar disc the men of Gāndhāra, of Sauvīraka,[5] of Sindhu and of Kīra, (Kāśmīra) the rulers of the Draviḍa countries and Brāhmins as well as food grains and mountains will suffer for ten months.

24. If Mars should be so eclipsed the rulers of Traigarta (Lāhora) and of Mālavā, with their fighting men in their cars, the chiefs of Kulinda, the rulers of Śibi, of Audha, of Kuru (Delhi), of Matsya and of Śukti will suffer for six months.

25. If Saturn should be eclipsed by the lunar disc, the ministers of Yaudheya, the Kauravas, the Arjunāyanas as well as the men of the eastern countries will suffer miseries for ten months.

26. If Mercury should be so eclipsed the men of Magadha, of Mathurā and those on the banks of the river Veṇa will suffer miseries while the rest of the land will enjoy the happiness of Kṛtayuga.

27. If the Moon (candra) should be eclipsed by Ketu[6] she will destroy prosperity, health and plenty. Artisans will perish and thieves will suffer greatly.

28. If while the moon is eclipsed, she be crossed by the fall of a meteor, that prince will die in the star of whose nativity the moon then happens to be.

29. If the lunar disc be of ashy colour, of sharp rays or red, or rayless, or red black, or appear broken there will be fear of hunger, of war, of disease and of robbers.

30. If the lunar disc should appear white and of the colour of the snow, of Kunda[7], of Kumuda[8] and of crystal he brings prosperity on the land.

31. If the disc of the moon that regularly waxes and wanes should appear white resembling the colour of the Kumuda flower or that of the stem of the lotus or if the moon’s course or disc or rays should suffer no irregular change there will be prosperity in the land.

32. During the waxing moon, the Brāhmins, the Kṣatriyas and mankind at large will prosper; and during the waning moon, they will suffer miseries. The increase of prosperity will commence after the new-moon and of adversity after the full moon.

Footnotes and references:


The Moon can never pass, the commentator adds, to the south of the four stars mentioned in the text ordinarily and that wherever the phenomena described in the text clash with astronomical calculations they should be treated as abnormal.


The author now proceeds to state certain unusual appearances of the moon.


In all the above cases, the observation is to be made on the first or second lunar day and these unusual phenomena will produce evil only when they clash with the calculated phases of the moon and not otherwise.


A country to the north-west of Hindustan proper.


Probably, the rulers inhabiting the country on the west of the Indus.


This refers to the lunar eclipse when the moon is in the descending node.


A species of white flower.