Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes signs of rainbows (indrayudha-lakshana) which is the thirty-fifth 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 35 - Signs of Rainbows (indrāyudha-lakṣaṇa)

1. The many coloured rays of the Sun falling upon the clouds and being broken by the winds take the shape of the rainbow in the sky,

2. In the opinion of certain writers[1] the rainbow (indrāyudha) is formed of the expired breath of certain serpents of the divine order; princes that march out for fight in the direction of the rainbow will suffer defeat.

3. If two rainbows, similar to each other should appear perfect, unbroken, bent towards the Earth, bright, glossy, thick and variegated in colour, there will be abundant rain.

4. Rainbows appearing in particular quarters of the sky will cause the death of the persons represented by such quarters,[2] and if the rainbow should be seen in places other than the sky, there will be deaths in the land; if it should appear white-red, mankind will suffer from weapons; if yellow, from fire; and if blue, from starvation.

5. If the rainbow should be seen in the middle of water, there will be drought; if on earth, crops will be injured; if on trees, there will be disease in the land; if on ant hills, there will be wars, and if seen at night, ministers will perish.

6. If the rainbow (indrāyudha) should appear when there is no rain, there will be rain, and if while it rains, the rain will cease. If it should appear in the west, there will also be rain.

7. If at night the rainbow should be seen in the east, kings will suffer; if in the south, the commander-in-chief will die; if in the west, masters will suffer; and if in the north, ministers will suffer.

8. If, at night, the rainbow should appear white, red, yellow or black, the Brāhmaṇas, the Kṣatriyas, the Vaiśyas and the Śūdras will suffer respectively. If at night the rainbow should appear in particular quarters of the sky, the rulers in those quarters of the Earth will perish

Footnotes and references:


Kaśyapa and men of his school.


These are given in a subsequent chapter, viz: the chapter on Śakuna. They are: King–East; First prince–South East; Commander-in-chief–South; Messengers–South West; Head-men–West; Spies–North West; Brāhmaṇas–North; the principal of a sacrificial fire–North East.