Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes motley miscellany (mayuracitraka) which is the forty-seventh 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 47 - Motley Miscellany (mayūracitraka)

1. I have stated the effects of a number of stellar, atmospheric and terrestrial phenomena, and of the motions, conjunctions, courses and the like of the planets to some extent.

2. An attempt at recapitulation of the above will be deemed a fault in Varāha-Mihira, who is so well-known for his brevity in composition. It is no doubt improper to restate what has been once stated, but Jyotiṣakas will not deem it a fault on the present occasion. For it is a well-known fact that every work on Saṃhitā must have a chapter of this nature, technically known as Mayūra Citraka.

3. Mayūra Citraka is a repetition of what has been once said. If I should omit this Chapter, even then, I should be open to the fault of an omission of what ought to find a place in a work on Saṃhitā.

4. If the five planets should be of brilliant appearance and should pass through the northern path, there would be prosperity and plenty in the land; if they should be of dim appearance and pass through the southern path, there would be famine and deaths in the land and mankind would suffer from robbers.

5. If Venus should pass through the asterism of Maghā while Jupiter passes through that of Puṣya, rulers would cease to be hostile to one another and would become happy, and the people would be freed from diseases and would become happy too.

6. If the Moon and the five planets should oppress[1] any of the asterisms of Kṛttikā, Maghā, Rohiṇī, Śravaṇa and Jyeṣṭhā, iniquity would prevail in the western countries[2].

7. If in the evening, the planets should appear of the shape of a flagstaff in the eastern sky, the eastern rulers would be at war with one another; if the planets should be seen of the same shape but of disagreeable appearance and in midheaven, the people of Madhyadeśa would suffer miseries. But if the appearance should be agreeable, there would be no suffering.

8. If the planets should so appear in the southern sky, there would be drought in the southern countries; and if the planets should appear of small ugly discs, the rulers would be at war with one another; but if the discs should be large and bright, there would be prosperity in the land.

9. If the planets should be seen of bright appearance in the northern sky, the northern rulers will be freed from evils; but if the discs of the planets should be small and of ashy colour, the rulers would suffer with their countries.

10. If the constellations, the stars and the planets, should appear to smoke, to burn or to be covered with sparks of fíre, or to lose their light for no apparent cause, the rulers and the world would perish.

11. If two Moons should be seen in the sky, the Brāhmaṇas would prosper; if two Suns should be seen, the Kṣatriyas would be at war; if three or four Suns should be seen in the sky, the world would come to an end.

12. If a comet should be seen to pass through or be in contact with the constellation of Ursa Major (the Saptaṛṣis), the Abhijit, the Pole-star and the constellation of Jyeṣṭhā, the clouds would be destroyed; there would be good deeds in the land and men would suffer from grief. If the comet should appear in contact with Āśleṣā, there would be drought in the land; and the people with hungry children would quit their countries and travelling to foreign lands, would perish there. This is certain.

13. When Saturn is seen to retrograde through any of the seven asterisms from Krittikā, there will be famine in the land and mankind will suffer from great fears; friends will become hostile to one another, and there will also be drought in the land.

14. When the course of Saturn or of Mars or of a comet should lie through the circle (Śakaṭa) of the constellation of Rohiṇī, the whole world would sink in a deep sea of misery and perish; and how can I adequately describe the condition of suffering of humanity then!

15. If a comet should continue visible for a long time, or if it should pass through all the constellations, all the creatures together with all the moveable and immoveable objects would suffer miseries in accordance with their previous karma.

16. If the Moon should appear like a bow, be of disagreeable aspect and of blood color, mankind would suffer from hunger. People living in the direction of the bow string would become powerful and successful in fight. If the Moon’s horn should point downwards, cows and crops would suffer; if it should appear to blaze or smoke, rulers would perish.

17. If the Moon should appear bright, glossy and of large disc, and if both her horns should be alike, broad and elevated, and if the course of the Moon should lie through the north of the Nāga Vīthi and if she should be within sight of beneíīc planets and free from the influence of malefic ones, mankind would be happy.

18. If the course of the Moon should lie to the south of the asterism of Maghā, Anurādhā, Jyeṣṭhā, Viśākhā or Citrā, there would be misery in the land; but if her course should lie through the middle or to the north of the same asterisms, there would be prosperity in the land.

19. The line of clouds across the Sun’s disc at rising or setting is known as Parigha; Paridhi is also known as Pratisūrya or parhelion, and Daṇḍa is an appearance of the shape of a straight rainbow.

20. The long rays of the rising or setting Sun are known as Amogha rays and Airāvata is an appearance resembling a long straight broken rainbow.

21. Sandhyā is the period of time when the stars continue invisible both before sunrise and after sunset.

22. If the appearances of Parigha and the like should be seen during the period of Sandhyā (twilight), there would be prosperity in the land, and if the appearances should be glossy, there would be immediate rain; and if of disagreeable appearance, there would be wars and the like in the land.

23. If the appearance known as Parigha should be perfect and unbroken, if the sky should be clear, the solar rays blue and glossy, the rainbow white, if lightning should be seen in the north-eastern sky, and if the appearance known as Abhravṛkṣa (cloud-tree) should be glossy and covered by the rays of the Sun, and if the evening Sun should be hid by clouds, there would be immediate rain.

24. There would be anarchy in that country in which the Sun should appear broken or of irregular shape, or black or small, or with spots of the shape of the crow and of disagreeable aspect.

25. If a swarm of carnivorous birds should follow an army marching out for fight, such army would suffer defeat in battle, but if the birds should fly before the army, there would be success in battle.

26. If at the hour of sunrise or sunset the army resembling cloud castles should hid the solar disc, the king would be entangled in a fearful war.

27. If birds and animals should cry aloud in the direction opposite to the Sun, and if the twilight sky should be of bright appearance and rendered agreeable by gentle winds, there would be prosperity in the land. If on the other hand, such twilight sky should be covered with dust or of the colour of the blood or of disagreeable appearance, the country would suffer miseries.

28. Of the many truths stated by Ṛṣis in this chapter entitled Mayūra Citraka. I have rejected those which were mere repetitions and stated the rest. Even after hearing the musical note of the cuckoo, the crow is not mute and when it caws, it is not with a view to imitate or excel the cuckoo.

[Note—It may be well to add here certain notes relating to the phenomena of nature culled from other Śāstras.]

[Appendix 5: Notes relating to the phenomena of nature]

Footnotes and references:


Oppress: This means cutting through, retrograde motion, conjunctions and the like.


Western countries: also there would be famine, the crops would fail and rivers would become dry.