Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes signs of twilight hours (sandhya-lakshana) which is the thirtieth 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 30 - Signs of Twilight Hours (sandhyā-lakṣaṇa)

1. That period which precedes the moment when the Sun has just half risen and that which succeeds the moment when the Sun has just half set, during which the stars are invisible is known as Sandhyākāla or twilight period. From the peculiar indications of this period effects may be predicted as follows.

2. These indications are connected with animals, birds, the wind, the halo, the parhelion or mock-sun, the Parigha,[1] the Abhravṛkṣa,[2] the rainbow, the Gandharvanagara, the Solar rays, the Daṇḍa[3] and dust clouds, their gloss and color.

3. If during the period of twilight (sandhyā) animals should continue to howl fearfully, the village will perish; if these animals remaining to the south of an army should so howl with their faces turned to the Sun, such army will meet with ruin.

4. If either animals should remain quiet or the winds should blow gently on the north side of an army there will be wars in the land; if this should take place on the south side of an army such army will be reinforced; if it should take place on both sides there will be rain.

5. If at day-break birds and animals should howl with their faces turned to the Sun, the country will perish; if they should so howl on the south side of a town such town will fall into the hands of enemies.

6. If immediately before sunrise or after sunset violent winds should blow breaking the tops of towers, trees and houses, carrying sand and pebbles along their course, howling fearfully and bringing down birds in flight there will be misery in the land.

7. If during the twilight hours either gentle winds or no winds should blow, or if birds and animals should either sound gently or remain quiet, there will be prosperity in the land.

8. If during the twilight hours such appearance as the Daṇḍa, lightning, clouds fish-like in shape, parhelion, halos, the rainbow and the appearance known as Airāvata (an imperfect rainbow) and solar rays should appear bright and glossy there will be immediate rain.

10. If, when the sky is clear, the rays should shoot into the sky and should be clear, straight, long and turning to the right, there will be happiness in the land.

11. If the rays of the rising, setting or mid-day Sun should be white, glossy, unbroken and straight the rays are known as Amogha (excellent) rays.

15. If the dust raised by the wind at sunrise or suset should be very red or very black, and if such dust should appear to move in the direction of the Sun, mankind will suffer from various diseases; if the dust should be white, there will be happiness in the land.[4]

16. Daṇḍa is an appearance in the sky of the shape of a rod caused by the wind bringing together clouds and solar rays; if this should appear in the south-east, north-west or north-east, rulers will suffer miseries; if it should appear in the east, south, west or north, the Brāhmaṇas will suffer.

17. If it should appear at sunrise or sunset or midday (in one of the corners), there will be wars in the land; if it should be white, red, yellow, or black, the Brāhmaṇas, the Kṣatriyas, the Vaiśyas or the Śūdras will suffer respectively; countries to which the Daṇḍa points will also suffer.

18. If the appearance known as Abhrataru (cloud-tree) should be seen with its ends of the colour of coagulated milk, the body being black, and if it should conceal from view the midday-sun, there will be abundant rain; also if the clouds should appear of beautiful yellow colour and thick at the bottom, the rainfall will be abundant.

19. If the appearance of Abhravṛkṣa should for some time move regularly and then disappear, the king that marches out for fight will perish; if it should appear like a young tree, princes and ministers will perish.

20. If the twilight sky should be of the colour of the blue lotus, of the cat’s-eye gem, or of the nut of the lotus, and if the Sun should have either begun to rise or should not have set, there will be immediate rain.

21. If during the rainy season the twilight hours should be marked by the appearance of clouds shaped maletically,[5] if the clouds should assume shapes known as Gandharvanagara (air-castles), and if the sky should be filled with snow, dust and smoke, there will be drought; if the same things should occur in any other season, there will be wars in the land.

22. If in the Śiśira (dewy) and other seasons of the year, the twilight sky should be naturally red, yellow, white or variegated in colour, or of the colour of lotus or of blood, there will be prosperity in the land during such seasons; but if the colour be not a natural one, that is, brought on by dust-storms and the like, mankind will suffer miseries.

23. If a cloud shaped like a man with a weapon in his hand should appear broken and in this state move in the direction of the Sun, there will be fear from enemies; if the sun should appear to enter clouds of the shape of a white town, the ruler will get a new town and add it to his possessions,

24. If white, thick clouds should come forth from the south and conceal the Sun, there will be rain; if clouds bush-like in shape and rising in quarters other than that in the direction of the Sun and conceal the Sun, there will also be rain.

25. If at sunrise the appearance known as Parigha should appear white, the reigning prince will suffer; if of blood color, his army will revolt; and if of the colour of gold, the army will gain in strength.

26. If the appearance known as parhelion (mock-sun) should be seen on both sides of the Sun and be large, there will be much rain; and if it should appear all round the Sun, not a drop of rain will fall.

27. If at sunrise or sunset the clouds should appear of the shape of a flag or umbrella, a mountain, an elephant or a horse, the chief ruler will triumph in war; if they should be of blood colour, there will be wars in the land.

28. If at sunrise or sunset clouds should resemble columns of smoke of burnt straw and be of agreeable appearance, the army will gain in strength.

29. If at sunrise or sunset clouds should appear to hang above the horizon and of the shape of trees and red and of disagreeable appearance, there will be prosperity in the land; if the clouds should assume the shape of towns, mankind will be happy.

30. If birds, the she-jackal and other animals should howl turning to the Sun, if the twilight sky should be marked by dust and by the appearances, Daṇḍa and Parigha, and the sun should appear for several days of altered appearance, the chief ruler will die and there will be famine in the land.

31. Generally, effects assigned to indications connected with the morning twilight hours will come to pass at once, and those of the evening twilight hours, either in the night or within 3 or 7 days; but effects assigned to halos, to dust-storms and to Parigha, will either come to pass at once or take 3 or 7 days; those assigned to the solar rays, to the rainbow, lightning, to parhelion, to clouds and to winds will take effect that same day; those assigned to birds will take 8 days; and those assigned to animals, 7 days.

32. The twilight sky is visible for a yojana (5 miles); lightning for 6 yojanas; the roaring of the clouds will be heard at a distance of 5 yojanas; and there is no limit to the extent to which meteors might fall.[6]

Footnotes and references:


This is an appearance in the sky of the shape of an iron bar.


An appearance resembling a tree in shape assumed by the clouds.


An appearance in the sky resembling a club.


Parāśara says that if the rising or setting sun should be covered by dust resembling the white powder of conch, princes will triumph in war and mankind will be happy.


Like a crow., a vulture, an ass and the like.


Accordingly, Devala says that effects assigned to meteoric falls are not confined to particular localities, but are felt throughout the land.

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