Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes undercurrents (dakargala) which is the fifty-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 54 - On Undercurrents (dakārgala)

1. We shall now proceed to treat of the science of undercurrents (dakārgala) by which man may get at water and observe the duties of life and be happy. Just in the same way as there are arteries for the circulation of blood in human bodies, there are water courses running in all directions above and below within the Earth.

2. Water that falls from the clouds is of one colour and one flavour; after contact with the Earth, both the colour and the flavour vary with those of the ground through which it flows. This will be found to be the case on actual examination.

3. The lords of the eight quarters of the horizon beginning from the east and going round from left to right are—Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirṛti, Varuṇa, Vāyu, Soma and Īsāna.

4. There are eight currents bearing the same names as those of the eight Dikpatis (lords) above enumerated, and there is a big current in the centre known as Mahāśirā. Besides these there are hundreds of well-known minor currents bearing distinct names.

5. There are four currents issuing from the centre of the Earth and reaching the east, south, west and north. These are good currents. There are four other currents running towards the north-east, south-east, south-west and north-west. These produce evil. We shall now proceed to state the several indications leading to the discovery of undercurrents.

6. At a distance of 3 cubits to the west of the Vetasā[1] growing dry lands and at the depth of a man and a half, there runs a current westwards.

7. In the course of digging will be found a white frog at the depth of half a man; below it there will be yellow-earth, below it again there will be a piece of stone blocking up the current, and under it there is good water.

8. At a distance of 3 cubits to the north of the Jambū and at the depth of two men, runs a current eastwards. While digging, the earth will be found to be white and of the colour of metal and there will be a frog at the depth of a man.

9. If there be an ant-hill to the east of the Jambū and near it, there runs a current to the south of the ant-hill at the depth of two men. The water will be very sweet.

10. In digging, there will be a fish at the depth of half a man; as far below it, there will be a stone of the colour of the dove; below it again there will be black soil; and below it there will be water which will last for years.

11. At the distance of 3 cubits to the west of the Udumbara and at the depth of two men and a half, there runs a current of good water. In digging, there will be found a white snake at the depth of a man; below it there will be a piece of stone black as collyrium.

12. If there be an ant-hill to the north of the Arjuna tree, there will be a current at the distance of 3 cubits to the west of the hill and at the depth of 3 men and a half.

13. In digging there will be found a white alligator at the depth of half a man; below it, at the depth of a man, will be found loose black earth; below it will be found soil yellow-white in colour and of good odour, and below it there will be much water.

14. If the plant known as Nirguṇḍī be seen to grow on an anthill, there will be a current at a distance of 3 cubits to the south of the hill and at a depth of two men and a quarter. The water will last for ever and will be sweet.

15. At intervals of the depth of half a man there will be found a red fish, yellow earth, white soil, earth mixed with pebbles and finally water.

16. If there be an ant-hill to the east of the Badarī, then, to the west of it there will be water at the depth of 3 men. In digging there will be found a white house lizard at the depth of half a man.

17. If both the Palāśa and the Badarī be seen to grow together, there will be water on the west side at a depth of three men and a quarter. In digging there will be found a frog at the depth of a man.

18. If the Bilva and the Udumbara be seen to grow together, there will be a current at a distance of 3 cubits to the south and at a depth of 3 men. In digging there will be found a black frog at the depth of half a man.

19. If an ant-hill be seen at the foot of the Kākodumbari, there will be a current at the spot at a depth of 3 men and a half running westward.

20. In digging, at the depth of half a man, the soil will be found yellow white; below it there will be a stone of the colour of milk; and below it there will be found a rat of the colour of the Kumuda.

21. If, on dry lands, the tree Campilla be seen to grow, there will be a current at the depth of 3 cubits to the east of the tree and the current will run southwards.

22. In digging, at the depth of a cubit the soil will be of the colour of the blue lotus, or of the dove. Below it there will be seen a fish of the smell of the goat and below it there will be a small quantity of salt water.

23. On the north-western side of the tree Śoṇaka, at a distance of 2 cubits and at a depth of 3 men, there runs a current known as Kumuda.

24. If an ant-hill be seen on the southern side of the Vibhītaka and near it, there will be a current at the depth of a man and a half to the east of the ant-hills.

25. If an ant-hill be seen at the distance of a cubit to the west of the Vibhītaka, there will be a current at the depth of four men and a half running northwards.

26. In digging, there will be found a white Viśvambhara, at the depth of a man; below it there will be a crimson-coloured stone. The current that runs on the western side will dry up in three years.

27. If an ant-hill overgrown with the Kuśa grass be seen on the north-eastern side of the Kovidāra, there will be a current at the depth of four men and a half between the tree and the ant-hill and the water supply will be inexhaustible.

28. In digging, there will be a snake of the colour of the inside of the lotus and at the depth of a man; below it the soil will be red; below it, will be found a precious stone known as Kuruvinda.

29. If an ant-hill be seen surrounding the foot of the Saptaparṇa, there will be a current to the north of the tree at the depth of five men and the indications are given below.

30. In digging, there will be seen a green frog at the depth of half a man; below it the soil will be of the colour of yellow orpiment; below it there will be found a stone of the colour of the clouds, and below it there will be a current of good water running northwards.

31. Generally, if a frog be seen below a tree, there will be a current at the distance of a cubit from the tree and at the depth of four men and a half.

32. In digging there will be found a mongoose at the depth of a man; below it there will be black soil; below it there will be yellow soil; below it there will be white soil; and below it will be found a stone resembling the skin of the frog.

33. If a snake hole be seen to the south of the Karañja, there will be a current at the distance of 2 cubits to the south of the hole and at the depth of three men and a half.

34. In digging, there will be found a tortoise at the depth of half a man; below it there will be a current flowing eastward and another of sweet water flowing northwards; below it there will be a green stone and below it there will be water.

35. If a snake hole be seen to the north of the Madhūka, there will be a current at the distance of 5 cubits to the west of the hole and at a depth of seven men and a half.

36. In digging, at the depth of a man there will be found a cobra; below it the soil will be red-black; below it there will be a stone of the colour of horse-gram; below it there will be a current flowing eastwards—an ever-running stream covered with foam.

37. If there be a fine ant-hill overgrown with the kuśa grass and the dūrvā grass to the south of the tilaka tree, there will be a current to the west of the hill at the depth of five men running eastward.

38. If a snake hole be found to the west of the Kadamba, there will be a current at the distance of 3 cubits to the south of the hole and at a depth of five men and three quarters of a man.

39. The current runs in a northerly course; the supply of mineral water is inexhaustible; in digging there will be yellow soil at the depth of a man; below it there will be frog of the colour of gold.

40. If either the palm or the coconut be surrounded by an anthill at its foot, there will be a current at the distance of 6 cubits to the west of the tree and at a depth of four men.

41. If there be a snake hole to the south of the Kapittha, there will be a current at a distance of 7 cubits to the north of the hole and at a depth of five men.

42. In digging, there will be a snake of many colours at the depth of a man; below it there will be black soil; below it there will be a stone blocking up the current; to the west of the stone there will be white soil and below it runs a current northwards.

43. If to the north of the Aśmantaka there be seen either the Badarī or a snake hole, then, at the distance of 6 cubits to the south of such tree or hole, there will be a current at the depth of three men and a half.

44. In digging, at the depth of a man. there will be a tortoise; at an equal depth below it there will be a stone covered with dust; below it again, the soil will be a mixture of sand and mud; and below it there will be seen first a current flowing southwards; and to the north of this there will be another current running eastwards.

45. If to the north of the Haridra there be seen an ant-hill, there will be a current at the distance of 3 cubits to the east of the hill and at a depth of five men, and three-quarters of a man.

46. In digging, at the depth of a man, there will be a black snake; below it there will be a stone green as emerald; below it there will be black soil; below it there will be a current flowing westwards, and to the south of this current there will be another current.

47. If in the middle of an arid tract of land there be seen to grow plants or trees which generally grow in wet places, or if Vīraṇa and the Dūrvā grass be seen to grow luxuriantly, there will be a current at the spot at the depth of a man.

48. There will also be a current at the distance of two cubits to the south of the Bhārṅgī, Trivṛtā, Dantī, Sūkarapādī, Lakṣmaṇā and Navamālikā, and at a depth of three men.

49. Where trees are seen to grow luxuriantly with low branches and short twigs, there will be undercurrents (dakārgala) in the neighbourhood; but where trees are seen with holes and stiff leaves and of disagreeable appearance, there will be no water near.

50-51. If the trees—Tilaka, Āmrātaka, Varuṇa, Bhailātaka, Bilva, Tinduka, Aṅkolā, Piṇḍāra, Śirīṣa, Añjana, Parūṣaka, Vañjula and Atibalā, be seen to grow luxuriantly and surrounded by ant-hills, there will be a current at the distance of three cubits to the north of the trees and at a depth of four men and a half.

52. If there should appear a spot covered with grass where there is usually no grass or a spot devoid of grass while there is grass all round, there will respectively be under such spot a current or a treasure.

53. If a thorny tree or plant should grow without thorns, or if thorns should appear on trees or plants that are without them, there will respectively be a current or a treasure at the distance of three cubits to the west of the spot and at a depth of three men and three quarters of man.

54. Where the ground when struck with the foot produces a loud sound, there will be a current at the spot flowing northwards at a depth of three men and a half.

55. If a branch of a tree should either be low or white, there will be a current directly under it at the depth of three men.

56. If the fruits or flowers of a tree should be of extraordinary growth or luxuriance, there would be a current at the distance of three cubits to the east of the tree and at a depth of four men. Under the current there are stones and yellow soil.

57. If the Kaṇṭakārikā should be seen to grow without thorns or with white blossoms, there will be a current at the spot at a depth of three men and a half.

58. If the Kharjūrī should be seen to grow with only two branches in the middle of an arid tract, there will be a current to the west of the tree at a depth of three men.

59. If the Karṇikāra or Palāśa be seen with white blossoms, there will be a current at a distance of two cubits to the north of the tree and at a depth of three men.

60. Where there is heat or smoke, there will be a current at the spot at a depth of two men. The current will be one of great dimensions carrying a large body of water.

61. Where the crops are found to die out or appear over-luxuriant or very white, there will be a large current at the spot at the depth of two men.

62. We shall now proceed to describe the undercurrents (dakārgala) in arid tracts of land. The currents are generally of the shape of the camel’s neck.

63. If an ant-hill be seen to the north-east of the Pīlu tree, there will be a current to the west of such ant-hill running northwards at a depth of five men.

64. In digging, the soil will be found to be of the colour of a mixture of green and yellow at the depth of a man; then at equal depths there will be, one below the other, green earth, then a stone, and then water.

65. If an ant-hill be seen to the east of the Pīlu tree, there will be a current at the distance of four and a half cubits to the south of it and at a depth of seven men.

66. In digging, at the depth of a man, there will be a snake spotted black and white and of the length of a cubit; to the south of it there will be a large current of salt water.

67. If a snake hole be seen to the north of the Karīra, then to the south of it there will be a current of sweet water at a depth of ten men; in digging there will be seen a yellow frog at the depth of a man.

68. If a snake hole be seen to the west of the Rohītaka, there will be a current at a distance of three cubits to the south of the hole and at a depth of twelve men running westwards.

69. If an ant-hill be seen to the east of the Indrataru, there will be a current at the distance of a cubit to the west of the hill and at a depth of fourteen men; in digging there will be seen an alligator of brown colour at the depth of a man.

70. If a snake hole be seen to the north of the Suvarṇa tree, there will be a current at the distance of two cubits to the south of the hole and at a depth of fifteen men.

71. The water in the above spot will be saltish; in digging, there will be a mongoose at the depth of half a man; below it there wifi be a copper-coloured stone; below it there wifi be red soil, and below it there will be water running southwards.

72. If the Badarī and the Rohita be seen to grow together, though there may be no ant-hill in the neighbourhood, there will be a current at the distance of three cubits to the west of the trees and at a depth of sixteen men.

73. In digging, there will be seen a scorpion at the depth of a man; below it there will be white soil; below it there will be a stone resembling a ball of flour, and below it runs a current of sweet water flowing southwards; to the north of this current there will be another current.

74. If the Badarī and the Karīra be seen to grow together, there will be a large current at a distance of three cubits to the west of the trees and at a depth of eighteen men flowing in a northeasterly direction.

75. If the Pīlu and the Badarī be seen to grow together, there will be a current containing an abundant supply of salt water at a distance of three cubits to the east of the trees and at a depth of twenty men.

76. If the Kakubha be seen to grow with either the bamboo or the Bilva, there will be a current at the distance of two cubits to the west of the trees and at a depth of twenty-five men.

77. If either the Dūrvā or the Kuśa grass be seen to grow white on ant-hills, a well may be sunk at the spot and the current runs at the depth of twenty-one men.

78. Where the Kadamba is seen to grow or ant-hills are found overgrown with dūrvā grass, there will be a current at the distance of three cubits to the west of such tree or hills and at a depth of twenty-five men.

79. If the Rohītaka tree be seen to grow in the middle of three ant-hills with three other trees, there will be an undercurrent at the spot.

80. In digging, there will be a stone at a distance of four cubits and sixteen digits to the north of the central spot and at a depth of forty men.

81. If the Śamī is found covered with knots and an ant-hill be seen to the north of it, there will be a current at the distance of five cubits to the west of the hill and at a depth of fifty men.

82. If of several ant-hills in a spot, the central one be white, there will be a current at the spot at the depth of fifty-five men.

83. If the Palāśa tree be seen to grow with the Śamī tree, there will be a current to the west of the trees at the depth of sixty men. In digging, there will be seen a snake at the depth of half a man and below it there will be yellow soil mixed with sand.

84. If the white Rohītaka tree be seen surrounded by ant-hills, there will be a current at the distance of a cubit to the west of the tree and at the depth of seventy men.

85. If the Śamī be seen white and full of thorns, there will be a current to the south of the tree at a depth of seventy-five men. In digging there will be found a snake at the depth of half a man.

86. It would be wrong to proceed to judge of undercurrents in dry but fertile lands from the several indications given for arid lands. As regards the Jambū and the Vetasā, the depths of undercurrents given for these trees shall be doubled if the trees are seen to grow in arid lands.

87-88. If the trees—Jambū, Trivṛtā, Maurvī, Śiśumārī, Sārivā, Śivā, Śyāmā, Vīrudhī, Vārāhī, Jyotiṣmatī, Garuḍavegā, Sūkarika, Māṣaparṇī and Vyāghrapadā are seen to grow by the side of snake holes, there will be an undercurrent to the north of the holes at the distance of three cubits and at a depth of three men and a half.

89. The above apply to purely wet lands. But if the trees are seen to grow in dry but fertile lands, the depth of undercurrents will be five men and in arid lands the depth will be seven men.

90. In the case of lands in which neither trees nor plants are seen to grow, in which no ant-hills are found to grow, and which present a smooth and even appearance, there will be undercurrents in those spots where the appearance of the soil is of an unusual nature.

91. For instance, if the spot appears wet or hollow or sandy, or if it be found to resound to the tread of foot, there will be a current at the depth of four and a half or five men.

92. There are undercurrents (dakārgala) containing an abundant supply of water to the south of trees of luxuriant growth and at the depth of four men. In places full of trees, if the ground should present any unusual appearance, the existence of the current may be determined as stated above.

93. In dry but fertile lands as well as in wet lands, if the ground be found to sink under the foot, there will be a current at the depth of a man and a half; and if while there are no houses in the neighbourhood, worms are seen in large quantities, there will be an undercurrent at the spot.

94. If the ground be felt both hot and cold, there will be hot and cold currents at the spot at a depth of three men and a half; and if a rainbow, a fish or an ant-hill be seen at the spot, there will be a current at the distance of four cubits from them and at a depth of three men and a half

95. If, of a number of ant-hills about a spot, one be seen above the rest, there will be a current under it, and there will also be currents in places where crops do not grow.

96. If the Banyan, the Palāśa and the Udumbara trees be seen to grow together, there will be a current under them. If the Banyan and the Pippala trees be seen to grow together, there will be a current to the north of the trees.

97. If a well be situated to the south-east of a village or a town, there will be much suffering from various fears and from thirst.

98. If the well be situated in the south-western quarter, children will perish. If in the north-west, women will suffer. Wells situated in the north-east will conduce to prosperity.

99. I have thus stated in the Āryā metre the views of the Sage Sārasvata on the subject of undercurrents. I shall now proceed to state the views of Manu on the same subject.

100. Wherever trees, shrubs and creepers are seen to grow luxuriantly, with glossy and uninjured leaves, there are undercurrents; and there are also undercurrents in places where the Padma, Kṣura, Uśīra, Kulā, Guṇḍrā, Kāśā, Kuśā, and Nalikā are seen to grow.

101-102. There are undercurrents (dakārgala) in places where the Khaṛjūra, Jambu, Arjuna and the Vetasā trees are seen to grow, or where there grow milky trees, shrubs and creepers or where the Chatra, Ibha, Nāga, Śatapatra, Nīpa, Sinduvāra and Naktamāla trees are seen to grow. Again, where the tree Vibhītaka or Madayantikā is seen to grow, there will be a current at the spot at a depth of three men. If rocks are found one over the other, there will be undercurrents at a depth of three men at their foot.

103. Where the earth is found overgrown with the Muñja grass, with reeds and with the Kuśa grass, the soil black and mixed with pebbles, as well as in places where the soil is black or red, there will be undercurrents containing a large supply of sweet water.

104. If the soil be red and mixed with pebbles, the water will be astringent in its flavour; if it be brown, the water will be saline; if white, it wall be saltish; and if black it will be sweet.

105. Wherever the trees—Śāka, Aśvakarṇa, Arjuna, Bilva, Sarjā, Śrīparṇī, Ariṣṭa, Dhava and Śiṃśapa are found to grow, or where the leaves of trees, bushes and creepers are found perforated with holes, or where such trees, bushes and creepers put on a forbidding appearance, there will be no water in the neighbourhood,

106. If the ground be seen of the colour of the sun, fire, ashes, camel or ass, there will be no water in the locality. But if the Karīra be seen to shoot out, of a red colour, or if the soil be found red, there will be undercurrents lying immediately under stones.

107. Where there are found stones of the colour of Vaidūrya, kidney-bean or of the clouds or of the colour of the fruit of the fig tree when about to ripen, or of the colour of the bee or collyrium or of brown colour, there will be water in the neighbourhood.

108. If the stone be of the colour of the pigeon, of honey, of ghee, or of white silk, or of the colour of the Soma plant, there will be an abundant supply of water in the neighbourhood.

109. But if the stone be red or with spots of various colours, or of the colour of the white ashes or the camel, the ass or the bee, or of the colour of the Aṅguṣṭhika flower or of the colour of the sun or fire, there will be no water in the neighbourhood.

110. Where stones are found of the colour of the moonlight or crystal or pearl or gold, or of the colour of Vermillion or collyrium, or of the colour of the rising sun. or of the colour of Haritāla, that is, sulphuret of arsenic, there would be prosperity. Thus have we stated the views of Manu on the subject of undercurrents.

111. Stones which cannot be broken and which conduce to prosperity, are dwelt in by the Yakṣas and the Nāgas at all times. Countries in which such stones are found will never suffer from drought.

112. If stones that cannot be broken be heated in the fire fed by the dry leaves and the wood of the Tinduka tree and then drenched in lime water, they can be easily broken.

113. Or, mix the ashes of the Mokṣaka tree with water and heat the mixture, add to it the juice of reeds and drench the stones seven times with the preparation, then heat the stone it will become brittle.

114. Or, mix together butter-milk, boiled rice water and liquor, and throw into the mixture a quantity of horse-gram and the fruit of the Badarī, keep the mixture for seven days and then drench the stone with it and heat it, it will become brittle.

115. Soak in the urine of the cow the leaves of the margosa as well as the sesamum plant, and the plants Apāmārga, Tinduka and Guḍūcī and obtain a decoction. After drenching the stone with it six times heat the stone, it will become brittle.

116. From a mixture of the juice of the plant Calotropis gigantea, the black powder of the burnt horn of the ram, the excrement of the turtle dove and of the rat, rub this over the stone cutter’s chistle, stir it in oil and then temper the instrument. It will neither break nor become blunt when worked in stone.

117. Or, mix together the juice of the plantain or butter milk. Allow the mixture to remain so for a day and then temper in it any cutting instrument which shall afterwards be rubbed against the whetstone. The instrument will never break when worked in stone or metals.

118. There will be an abundant supply of water under the bank at the foot of a mountain, if the bank runs from east to west and not if it runs from north to south. Where there may be streams running along the bank, the bank breaks generally when the waves strike against it. In the absence of such streams water shall be collected by the side of the bank by means of dykes constructed of stones or wood. The water shall then be stirred up by horses, elephants and other animals, the waves dashing against the bank will break it.

Along the margin of a pond or other piece of water shall be grown the Kakubha, the Banyan, the Mango, the Plakṣa, the Kadamba, the Nicula, the Jambū, the Vetasā, the Nīpa, the Kurabaka, the Tāla, the Aśoka, the Madhūka and the Bakula.

120. In the case of tanks, an outlet for water shall be erected of stones in one spot. It should be capable of being closed by means of thick beam shutters or plants thrust between stones, and when closed the other side shall be covered with earth to prevent the escape of water.

121. The fragrant plants of Añjana, Musta and Uśīra together with the powder of Rājakośātaka and Āmalaka and with the fruit of the Kataka, shall be thrown into wells.

122. If the well water be muddy, bitter, brackish, without flavour or of bad smell, it will become clear, sweet, fragrant and possessed of other good properties.

123. The work of sinking wells shall be commenced when the Moon passes through one of the asterisms of Maghā, Anurādhā, Puṣya, Dhaniṣṭhā, Uttaraphālguni, Uttarāṣāḍhā, Uttarabhādrapadā, Rohiṇī and Śatabhiṣaj.

124. Pūjā shall be performed to God Varuṇa, and a pike of the Banyan or Vetasā shall be driven into the ground at the spot directly over the current after due pūjā to it with flowers, sandal paste and perfumed smoke.

125. I have already treated of the subject of rains, adopting the views of Baladeva, and now by the grace of the sages, I have well treated of the subject of Undercurrents (dakārgala).

Footnotes and references:

1.

The names of over 100 trees are given in this chapter. They are explained in the glossary printed at the end of Chapter 55.

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