Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes rohini-yoga which is the twenty-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 24 - On Rohiṇī-yoga

Note: Rohiṇī-yoga means the period of a day when the moon passes through the asterism of Rohiṇī in the dark half of the lunar month of Āṣāḍha..

1. The grove of Mount Meru was rendered agreeable by the humming of bees sipping honey from the flowers of trees growing between rocks of gold, by the sweet music of birds at play and by the melodious voice of the Sylvan fairies.

2. It was in such a grove of Mount Meru (the abode of the Devas) that Nārada communicated to Bṛhaspati the laws of Rohiṇī Yoga; the same laws have since been taught by Garga, Parāśara, Kāśyapa and Maya to numbers of their disciples.

3. Having examined these truths, my purpose is to write a brief treatise on the same adopting the same views.[1]

4. It is part of an astronomer’s duty to examine the weather indications on the day when the Moon passes through the asterism of Rohiṇī in the dark half of the lunar month of Āṣāḍha (June-July) and to predict scientifically the future condition of land.

5. The astronomer should be able to determine beforehand the time of the Moon’s entry into the asterism of Rohiṇī. I have treated of this subject in my work on astronomy. The astronomer must base his conclusions on the nature of the effects of Rohiṇī yoga, on the size, gloss, colour and course of the Moon and by the appearance of any comets or fall of any meteors at the time.

6. The astronomer shall choose a suitable station immediately to the north-east of his town, shall spend[2] 3 days in the worship of fire,[3] shall draw out a figure of the constellations with the planets in them and shall worship it with flowers, perfumed smoke and by gifts and sacrifices.[4]

7. He shall also prepare a raised platform, cover it with Kuśā grass and place in the four points- north, east, south and west (four pots)[5] filled with water, precious stones and medicinal herbs, covering the mouths with tender leaves.

8. He shall then procure every species of seed, sanctify them by means of the Mahāvrata Mantra (referred to in the Atharva Veda), wet them with water rendered pure by contact with gold and Kuśā grass and gently put them layer over layer in a broad mouthed central pot and shall perform Homa in honour of the Gods—Vāyu (the wind), Varuṇa (rain) and Soma (the Moon).

9. He shall, beforehand, ascertain and mark out the several points of the compass and, planting vertically a flag staff—the stick being straight and thrice the length of the cloth which shall be thin, fine and of black colour, he shall ascertain the direction of the wind at the time when the Moon enters the asterism of Rohiṇī.

10. He shall divide the day on which the Moon enters the asterism of Rohiṇī into 8 equal parts (3 hours each) commencing from sunrise—the parts representing severally the eight fortnights of the four months of the rainy season from Śrāvaṇa to Kārttika; and he shall determine on which month or fortnight and how long there will be rain judging from the direction and duration of the wind. If the wind should blow from left to right there will be prosperity in the land; if it should blow in some fixed direction, people living in that direction will be happy.[6]

11. After the Moon has passed through Rohiṇī, the astronomer shall examine the seeds; those that bear sprouts will thrive well in the year and the quantity that will be harvested will be in proportion to the quantity that have sprouted, in the case of each species of seed.

12. After the Moon has passed through the asterism of Rohiṇī, if there should be heard in every direction the sweet sound of birds and of animals, if the sky should be clear and the wind agreeable there will be prosperity in the land. We shall now proceed to state the effects of winds and clouds.

13-20. If, on the Rohiṇī-Yoga day, huge clouds, serpent-like in shape, should appear white-black in certain other parts with the lightning for their tongues and if the clouds should be collected and appear twisted together; if they should appear of the colour of the nut of the lotus, if their neighbourhood should be illumined by the light of the Sun, if clouds of various hues should fill the sky or if they should appear of the colour of the bee, of crimson or of the flower of Kiṃśuka;[7] if the sky should be full of black clouds and if it be marked by lightning or beautiful rainbow thus presenting the appearance of a forest full of elephants, buffaloes and wild fire; if the clouds appear like black mountains or rocks or if their colour should resemble that of the snow, pearls, conch shells and the Moon; or if the clouds should be like elephants with the lightning for the rope of gold, the flying cranes for the tips of their tusks, the rain for their juice (ichor), their sides moving like the sides of the elephants, with the rainbow for their flags of various hues, their dark colour resembling that of the bark of the tamāla tree and the bee; if, immediately before sunrise and after sunset the clouds should appear of the colour of the blue lotus and with the lightning, resemble the dark Viṣṇu dressed in cloths of gold; if there should be heard the sound of the peacock, of Cātaka and of the frog, together with the roar of thunder-clouds filling the whole of the visible sky; if the sky should be overcast by clouds as described above for 3 days or 2 days or a single day, then there will be abundance of rain and mankind will be happy.

21. If, on the other hand, the clouds should be of disagreeable appearance, of small size and dispersed by the wind or if they should be of the shape of the camel, the crow, dead bodies, the monkey and the like[8] and if they should at the same time remain mute, there will be no rain and mankind will not be happy.

22. If, on the Rohiṇī Yoga day, the sky should be clear and without clouds and the Sun exceedingly hot, there will be rain in the rainy season. If on the night of the Yoga day, the sky with its glittering stars should resemble a tank with its lilies, there will also be rain.

23. If on the Rohiṇī Yoga day, clouds should first appear in the east, crops will thrive well. If they should appear in the southeast, destructive fires will afflict mankind; if in the south, the crops will suffer blight; if in the south-east, one half of the crops will suffer and if in the west, there will be good rain.

24. If the clouds should appear in the north-west there will be rain in some places and such rain will be attended by the wind; if they should appear in the north, there will be good rain and if in the north-east, crops will thrive. The same effects are to be assigned to the wind blowing from the several quarters.

25. If on the Rohiṇī Yoga day there should be meteoric falls, lightning, thunder-bolts, mock-fires, cometary and other unusual appearances, or if there should be earthquakes or if the sounds of birds and animals should be hoarse and disagreeable there will be no rain and mankind will not be happy.

26. If, on examining, the waters of the four pots from the north representing the four months from Srāvaṇa should be found full there will be good rain in the several months; if in any pot the water should have oozed out completely, there will be no rain in the month it represents and if incompletely, there will be a proportionate decrease in the quantity of the rainfall.

27. If it should be desired to ascertain the fate of any sovereign or country during the year, there should be placed fresh pots each to represent a sovereign or a country. If on examining, any of these pots should be found split or broken the sovereign or the country represented will suffer miseries; if the water should have disappeared, then also they will suffer and if full, they will be happy.

28. If the course of the Moon should lie to the south of the stars of the Rohiṇī group whether near or far,[9] mankind will be afflicted with miseries.

29. If the Moon should pass just touching the northern-most star of the group, there will be good rain, but there will also be miseries; if she should pass to the north of the group and not in contact with it there will be abundant rain and mankind will be happy.

30. If the Moon should enter the Rohiṇī group and pass through its centre, mankind will be rendered helpless and troubled by the cries of children for food, they will travel to foreign lands, drinking the waters of muddy pools from their broken bowls.

31. If on the night of the Rohiṇī Yoga day the Moon should rise first[10] and the group immediately next after it, there will be happiness in the land and women will become amorous and subject to the influence of men.

32. If on the other hand the Rohiṇī group should rise first and the Moon next after it,[11] men will become amorous and subject to the influence of women.

33. If on the night of the Yoga day the Moon at rising should be found to the south-east of the group, mankind will suffer miseries; if she should be found to the south-west of the group, crops will suffer injuries in various ways; if on the west and north-west the growth of the crops will be moderate; and if in the north-east the crops will thrive.

34. If on the Yoga day, the Moon should pass in contact with the Yogatārā[12] (junction star) of the group, mankind will be tormented with various fears; if the Yogatārā should be eclipsed by the Moon, the reigning sovereign will be assassinated by a woman.

35. If, towards nightfall, on the Rohiṇī Yoga day, when cattle, led out in the morning, re-enter the town, the first animal so entering should be either an ox or a goat of white colour, there will be no rain; if it should be an animal black-white in colour there will be moderate rain; if in the last case the black colour should predominate, the rainfall will be abundant. If the animal that enters first should be of any other colour, there will be slight rain.[13]

36. If on the Rohiṇī Yoga day, the Moon should be rendered invisible by the intervention of thick clouds, mankind will suffer from severe diseases; but there will be abundant rain and crops will thrive.

Footnotes and references:


These prefatory remarks clearly show that what follow are important scientific truths in the eyes of Hindu astronomers : that the weather indications of one single day in a year should form the subject of so much calculation with the Hindus in determining the future agricultural prospect of the land while to the inexperienced eye of a western man of science, the day appears as indifferent or otherwise as any other day of the year argues that modern science is still far behind in its investigations of the laws of nature.


Fasting according to Garga.


By Gāyatrī homa according to the same authority.


According to Garga, the astronomer should observe these religious ceremonies on the 8th lunar day of the dark half of Āṣāḍha.


The pots represent from the north the four months from Śrāvaṇa to Kārttika.


According to Garga, the day alone and not the night, should be divided into four equal parts to represent the four months of the rainy season and the observation should also be made during the day.


Kiṁśuka : the tree Butea frondosa, a tree bearing beautiful red blossoms.


Like rats, dogs, etc., according to commentator.


This will unusually be the case astronomically, according to commentator.


That is, if the Moon’s conjunction with Rohiṇī should take place immediately after rising.


That is, if the conjunction should have taken place immediately before rising.


Yogatārā: This is generally the brightest of the group.


These views accord with those of Garga, but Parāśara adds: If an elephant, a horse or a chariot should enter the town first in the evening of the Rohinī Yoga day, there will be success in war; if a monkey, an ass, a camel, a mangoose, a cat or a dog should so enter there will be troubles. If a blind man should enter first, there will be fear from thunderbolts.

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