Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes the features of men (purusha-lakshana) which is the sixty-eighth 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 68 - On the features of Men (puruṣa-lakṣaṇa)

1. A learned person shall examine a man’s—(1) Kṣetra (body), (2) Mṛja (complexion), (3) Svara (voice), (4) Sāra (strength), (5) Saṃhati (joints), (6) Sneha (gloss), (7) Varṇa (colour), (8) Anūka (shape of the face), (9) Unmāna (height), (10) Māna (weight), (11) Prakṛti (disposition) and (12) Gati (gait) and then predict his fortune.

(1) Kṣetra (Physical features)

2. If the feet be dry, with soft soles, of the colour of the lotus, with close toes, beautiful, red nails, beautiful heels, always warm without visible sinews, with invisible ankle and raised like the turtle, the person will be a king.

3. If the feet be like winnows, crooked or bent, covered with sinews, dry, with toes not close and with nail white and not glossy, the person will be poor. If the feet be large, he will walk much; if of brown colour, his family will perish; if the soles be

of the colour of burnt clay, he will murder a Brāhmaṇa; and if the colour be yellow, he will have sexual intercourse with women under prohibition,

4. If the shanks be covered with hair, thin and scattered, and if they be round, if the thighs be like the trunk of the elephant, and if the knees be large and both alike, the person will be a king. But if the shanks resemble those of a dog or a jackal, the person will be poor.

5. If a single hair grow from each cell over the body, the person will be a king; if two hair grow from it, the person will be learned and will scrupulously observe the duties of life as prescribed in the Vedas; if three or more, the person will be poor and afflicted with grief The same remarks apply to the hair of the head.

6. If there be no flesh in the knees, the person will die in his travels; if the knees be small, he will become popular; if broad, he will become poor; if sunk, he will be subject to women; if covered with flesh, he will become a king, and if large, he will live long.

7. If the penis be small, the person will be rich; if large he will have no sons; if it be inclined on the left side, he will be poor; if not straight, he will be without sons and without money; if straight, he will have sons; if pointing to the ground, he will be poor; if covered with muscles, he will have very few sons; if the nut of the penis be large, he will live in comfort, and if the penis be soft, he will die of urinary and the like diseases.

8. If the nut be invisible, he will be a king; if the penis be long and fallen, he will be poor; and if either straight and round or small and with sinews, he will be rich.

9. A person with a single testicle will suffer death by drowning; if the testicles be not alike, he will be fond of sexual intercourse; if both be alike, he will be a king; if they be raised up, the person will not live long; and if they hang down he will live to the age of 100 years.

10. If the nut of the penis be red, the person will be rich; if it be either white or of dim colour, he will be poor. If the urine fall with noise, the person will live in comfort; and if without noise, he will be poor.

11. If the urine fall in two, three or four lines and twisting from left to right, the person will be a king; and if it fall broken and scattered, he will be poor.

12. If the urine fall in a line and twisted, the person will get a very beautiful son. If the glands of penis be glossy, raised and even, the person will enjoy wealth, women and gems.

13. If the glands of penis be depressed in the middle, the person will get daughters and will be poor; if raised in the middle, he will possess many cows; if it be not very large or very much raised, he will be rich.

14. If the urinary orifice be dry, the person will be poor and ugly; if the semen smell like a flower, the person will be a king.

15. If the semen should smell like honey, the person will be very rich; if it smell like fish, he will have many children; if it be thin, he will get daughters, and if of the smell of flesh, he will live in great comfort.

16. If it be of the smell of alcohol, the person will perform sacrificial fire ceremonies; if of the smell of salt, he will be poor. A person whose sexual intercourse lasts for a short time, will live long; if otherwise, he will die early.

17. A person whose rump is large, will be poor. If the rump be full of flesh, the person will live in comfort; if it be half the average size, he will be sickly; and if it resemble that of a frog, he will be a king.

18. If the loins resemble those of the lion, the person will be a king; if they resemble those of the monkey or the camel, he will be poor; if the abdomen be even, the person will live in comfort; if it be like a pot, he will be poor.

19. If the sides be not defective, the person will be rich; if they be depressed and bent, he will have no enjoyment; if the belly be even, the person will live well; if it be depressed, he will have no enjoyment.

20. If the belly be high, the person will be a king; if it be uneven, he will be a man of perverted understanding; if it be like that of the serpent, he will be poor and gluttonous.

21. If the navel be broad and high all round, the person will live in comfort; if it be small and if the pit be not visible, the person will be afflicted with miseries.

22. If the navel be in the middle of a fold of the skin or if it be depressed, the person will suffer from belly-ache and will be poor; if the navel turn from right to left, the person will be a cheat; if it turn from left to right, he will be a man of good perception and strong memory.

23. If the navel extend on both sides horizontally, the person will live long; if it extend vertically upwards, he will be rich; if vertically downwards, he will have cows; and if it be like the colour of the lotus, the person will be a king.

24. If there be one, two, three or four folds of skin in the belly, the person will die wounded by a weapon, will enjoy women, will become a teacher and will be vastly learned respectively. If there be no folds, the person will be a king.

25. If the folds be not straight, the person will be wicked and will have sexual intercourse with women under prohibition; if they be straight, he will live in comfort and will never covet the wives of other men.

26. If the sides be fleshy and soft and if the ringlets of hair over them turn from left to right, the person will be a king. If otherwise, he will be poor and wretched and will serve under others.

27. If the nipple of the breast be not high, the person will be popular; if the two nipples be long and not alike, he will be poor; if they be large, whether high or sunk, the person will be a king and will live in comfort.

28. If the bosom be high, broad, fleshy and firm, the person will be a king; if otherwise and covered with stiff hair and muscles, the person will be the meanest of mankind.

29. If the bosom be even, the person will be rich; if large, he will be a hero; if small, poor; if uneven, he will be poor and die by a weapon.

30. If the collar bones be not alike, the person will be wicked; if the joints of the bones be large, he will be poor; if they be high, he will live well; if depressed, he will be poor; and if large, he will be rich.

31. If the neck be flat or dry or covered with muscles, the person will become poor; if it be like that of the buffalo, he will be a valiant soldier; and if it be like that of the ox, he will die by a weapon.

32. If the neck be like the conch shall, the person will be a king; if it be hanging, the person will be a glutton; if the back be even and without hair, the person will be rich, otherwise, he will be poor.

33. If the arm pits be dry, large, high, of good smell, both alike and with much hair, the person will be rich; if otherwise, he will be poor.

34. If the shoulders be without flesh, covered with hair, sunk and small, the person will be poor; but if broad, high and close, he will live in comfort and be powerful.

35. If the two arms be round, like the trunk of the elephant, large, both alike, and hanging down to the knees, the person will be a king; but if they be short and covered with hair, he will be the meanest of mankind.

36. If the fingers of the hand be long, the person will live in comfort; if they be without skin folds, he will be popular; if small, he will be intelligent; and if flat, he will serve under others.

37. If the fingers of the hand be large, the person will be poor, and if bent upwards, he will die by weapons. If the hands be like those of the monkey, the person will be rich, and if like those of the tiger, he will be wicked.

38. If the wrists be invisible, firm and close, the person will be a king; if otherwise and if the joints be loose, the hands will suffer sword-cut; and if they should crack, he will be poor.

39. If the palm of the hand be hollow, the person will not inherit his father’s property; if it be round and hollow, he will be rich; and if high, he will be generous.

40. If the palms of both hands be alike, the person will be poor and wicked; if red, he will be rich; if yellow, he will cohabit with women under prohibition; and if dry, he will be poor.

41. If the nail resemble the husk of paddy, the person will be a hermaphrodite; if flat and split, he will be poor; if of bad colour, he will be of wrong views; and if red, he will be a king.

42. If, in the middle of the thumb, there be lines of the shape of a barley, the person will be rich; if the same be found at the root of the thumb, he will have sons. If the joints of the fingers be long, the person will be popular and will live long.

43. If the lines in the palm of the hand be glossy and deep, the man will be rich; if otherwise, he will be poor; if the fingers be not close, the person will be poor; and if close, he will earn much money.

44. If the three lines issuing from the wrist reach the middle of the palm, the person will be a king, and if there be two marks of the shape of the fish in the middle of the palm, the person will daily feed many people.

45. If the lines in the palm be of the shape of vajrāyuddha, the person will be rich; if they be of the shape of the tail of the fish, he will be learned; if of the shape of a conch shell, an umbrella, a palanquin, an elephant, a horse or a lotus, the person will be a king.

46. If the lines in the palm of the hand be of the shape of a pot, the stem of a lotus, a flag or the hook of the elephant driver, the person will be a guardian of treasure. If the lines appear twisted like a rope, or if the lines be triangular in shape, the person will be rich,

47. If the lines in the palm of the hand be of the shape of the discus, the sword, the axe, the club, the spear or the bow, the person will be a commander of armies; if the lines be of the shape of a mortar, the person will perform sacrificial fire ceremonies.

48. If the lines in the palm of the hand be of the shape of a crocodile, a flag, or a cow-shed, the person will be very rich; if the lines at the root of the thumb be of the shape of a Vedī (sacrificial altar), the person will perform sacrificial rites.

49. If the lines in the palm of the hand be of the shape of a tank, a temple and the like, or if they be triangular in shape, the person will do acts of charity. The big lines below the thumb indicate sons and the small lines daughters.

50. Lines reaching the root of the forefinger indicate the age of the person to be 100; if the line be of shorter length, the age shall be ascertained by proportion. If the lines be broken, the person will fall from a tree; if there be either many lines or no lines, the person will be poor.

51. If the chin be very small and long, the person will be poor; if covered with flesh, he will be rich; if the lower lip be red and straight, the person will be a king; and if small he will be poor.

52. If the lips be split or appear cut or of bad colour or dry, the person will he poor. If the teeth be glossy, close, sharp and regular, the person will be happy.

53. If the tongue be red, long, smooth and even, the person will live in comfort; but if it be white or black and dry, he will be poor; the same remarks apply to the corners of the mouth.

54. If the face be beautiful, slightly open-mouthed, clear, smooth and even, the person will be a king; and if otherwise, he wilt be afflicted with grief; if the face be large, the person will be happy.

55. If the face be like that of a woman, the person will have no sons; if it be round, he will be a cheat; if long, poor; and if timid, wicked.

56. If the face be oblongular in shape, the person will be a cheat; if depressed or sunk, he will have no sons; if very small, a miser; and if full and beautiful, happy.

57. If the hair about the face be not split at the ends be soft, and bent, the person will be happy; and if it be red, not glossy and small in quantity, the person will be a thief.

58. If the ears be without flesh, the person will die an unnatural death; if like a cup. he will live in comfort; if small, he will be a miser; and if they taper in a point like a cone, the person will be a king.

59. If the ears be covered with hair, the person will live long; if they be broad, he will be rich; if covered with muscles, he will be wicked; and if they hang and be fleshy, he will live well.

60. If the cheek be not sunk, the person will live in comfort; if it be fleshy, he will become a minister. If the nose be like that of the parrot, the person will live in comfort; and if it be dry, he will live long.

61. If the nose appear as if cut, the person will cohabit with women under prohibition; if it be long, he will be wealthy; if bent, he will be a thief; and if flat, he will be killed by a woman.

62. If the end of the nose be bent, the person will be rich; if it be bent on the right side, he will be wicked and gluttonous; and if it be straight, with small holes and appear beautiful, the person will be wealthy.

63. If the sneeze occur twice or thrice at a time and the sound be not disagreeable, the person will be rich; and if it be long and of the same sound throughout, he will live long.

64. If the eyes be like the petals of the lotus, the person will be rich; and if the corners be red, he will be wealthy and prosperous; if of the colour of honey, he will be exceedingly rich; and if they resemble the eyes of the cat. the person will be wicked.

65. If the eyes be like those of the deer or round or squint, the person will be a thief; if they see obliquely, he will be wicked; and if they be like the eyes of the elephant, the person will be a king.

66. If the eyes indicate courage, the person will be rich; if they be of the colour of the blue lotus, he wall be learned; and if the eyes be exceedingly black, the person will become blind.

67. If the eyes be large, the person will be a minister; if red-black, he will be wealthy; if they appear to be meek and imploring, the person will be poor; and if glossy, he will be very rich and will live in comfort.

68. If the brows be high and not broad, the person will die early: if high and broad, he will live in comfort; if both brows be not alike, the person will be poor; and if they be bent like the young moon, he will be rich.

69. If the brows be long and do not meet, the person will be rich; if they appear broken, he will be poor; and if they be bent in the middle, he will cohabit with women under prohibition.

70. If the temples be high and broad, the person will be rich; and if sunk, he will have neither sons nor money. If the forehead be not even, the person will be poor; and it be like the half moon, he will be rich.

71. If the forehead be like the pearl oyster and broad, the person will be a preceptor: if covered with muscles, he will be wicked; and if the muscles be high and triangular in shape, he will be rich.

72. If the forehead be low, the person will be assassinated or put in prison and will be addicted to cruel deeds; It be high, he will be a king; and if narrow, he will be poor.

73. If the weeping be without tears, agreeable to the ear and not of an imploring nature, the person will be happy; if otherwise, he will be miserable.

74. If the laughter be unattended by the motion of the body, the person will be happy; if it be attended by the closing of the eyes, he will be wicked: if it be of frequent occurrence, he will be happy; and if it be repeated at the end, he will become mad.

75. If there be three long lines in the forehead, the person will live for 100 years; if four lines, he will be a king and will live for 95 years.

76. If the lines be broken, the person will cohabit with a woman under prohibition; if there be no lines in the forehead, he will live for 90 years; and if the lines be near the hair of the head, he will live for 80 years.

77. If there be five lines in the forehead, his age will be 70; if the lines be of the same length, his age will be sixty; if there be many lines, the age will be 50; and if the lines be bent, it will be 40.

78. If the lines in the forehead be in contact with the brows, the age will be 30; if they be bent on the left side, it will be 20; if short, the person will meet with early death. If the lines be imperfect, the age shall be ascertained by proportion.

79. If the head be round, the person will possess many cows; if it be broad and round like an umbrella, he will be a king; if flat, he will lose his parent when young; and if long, he will live long.

80. If the head be like a pot, the person will be fond of meditation; if it appear as if two heads were joined together, he will be poor and wicked; if sunk, he will be a great man; and if exceedingly sunk, he will meet with ruin.

81. If the hair of the head grow singly, be glossy, black, curling, with no split ends, soft, and not too much in quantity, the person will live in great comfort or will be a king.

82. If the hair grow several together and if they be not of the same length or be of brown colour or thick, split at the ends, not glossy, short, curling too much and too much in quantity, the person will be poor.

83. If the limbs be of disagreeable appearance without flesh and covered over with muscles, the person will be unhappy; and if otherwise, happy.

84. To be a king three places must be broad, three things must be deep or high, six places high, four small, seven red, five long and five soft, as follows

85. The breast, the forehead and the face must be broad; the navel, the voice and strength must be deep or high.

86. The breast, arm-pit, nails, nose, face and the nape of the neck must be high; the penis, the back, the neck and the shanks must be short.

87. The corners of the eyes, soles of feet, palm of the hand, the corners of the mouth, the lower lip, the upper lip and the tongue must be red. Teeth, fingers, hair of the head, the skin and nails must be soft or smooth.

88. The five viz., the mouth, the eyes, the arms, the nose and the part between the nipples must be long.

(II) Mṛja (Complexion)

Vide note at the end.

89. Complexion (mṛja) in man, animals and birds is detected by persons learned in the matter and indicate both good and evil and is like a lamp placed within a crystal vessel throwing its light on the objects around.

90. The complexion discernible in shining teeth, skin, nails and hair of the body and of the head will be attended with good smell if it be caused by the element of earth. It will make the person happy, rich, prosperous and virtuous.

91. The complexion which is glossy, white, clear green and agreeable to look at is caused by the element of water; it will make all creatures possessing it happy and successful in all their attempts and will produce wealth, comfort, luxury and prosperity.

92. The complexion which indicates fear and is unbearable and of the colour of the lotus, gold or fire, and which also indicates strength, power and valour, is caused by the element of fire.

93. The complexion which is dirty, not glossy, black and of bad odour is caused by the element of air. It will cause to the person death or imprisonment, disease. ruin and loss of wealth. The complexion which is of the colour of the crystal, noble, clear and indicating wealth and generosity, is caused by the element of ether (Ākāśa). It will give a person all that he desires.

94. Thus has been described the complexion caused by the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether—five in number. Some writers treat of five more complexions caused by the Sun, Viṣṇu, Indra, Yama and the Moon, and they have described in detail the properties of each.

[Appendix 7: The five elementary principles that compose the physical man]

(III) Svara (voice)

95. If the voice (svara) be like the sound of the elephant, the bull, the chariot, the drum, the lion or the clouds, the person will be a king; but if it be hoarse and rough like the braying of the ass, the person will be poor and unhappy,

(IV) Sāra (Strength)

96. Strength (sāra) consists in seven things—in the serum of flesh, the marrow of bones, the skin, bones, semen, blood and flesh. We shall now describe the properties of each.

97. If the mouth, lips, gum of teeth, tongue, corners of eyes, the anus, the hands and feet be red, the person is strong in blood; he will live in comfort and will be married, wealthy and with sons.

98. If the skin be glossy, the person will be rich; if soft, he will be happy and prosperous; and if thin, intelligent. Such a person will be strong in marrow. He will possess a fair body. Persons strong in the serum of flesh will be rich and will have sons.

99. If the bones be large, the person will be strong in bones. He will be strong, learned and beautiful. If the serum be thick and much in quantity, he will be happy, prosperous, learned and beautiful.

(V) Saṃhati (Joints)

100. A person of full growth will be learned, rich and beautiful. He will be strong in flesh. If the joints (saṃhati) be close and well-fitted, the person will live in comfort and ease.

(VI) Sneha (Gloss)

101. If the five parts—mouth, tongue, teeth, eyes and nails be glossy (sneha), the person will have sons and will be rich, happy and prosperous; it they be otherwise, he will be poor.

(VII) Varṇa (Colour)

102. If the colour (varṇa) be very bright and glossy, the person will be a king; if moderately so, he will be wealthy and will have sons; if the colour be disagreeable to the eye, he will be poor; if of a single colour, he will be happy; and if mixed, miserable.

(VIII) Anūka (Peculiarity of Character)

103. The peculiar character (anūka) of a person must be ascertained from his face; if the face be like that of the cow, the ox, the tiger, the lion or eagle, he will defeat his enemies, be successful in fight, and will become a king.

104. If the face be like that of the monkey, the buffalo, the hog or the goat, he will have sons, will be rich and will live in comfort; and if the face be like that of the ass or the camel, the person will be poor and unhappy.

(IX) Unmāna (Height)

105. If the height (unmāna) of the person be 108, 96, or 84 of his own digits (breadth of finger), he is respectively a superior, an average and an inferior man.

(X) Māna (Weight)

106. If the weight (māna) of the body be half a bhāra or 80 lbs., the person will live in comfort, if less, he will be afflicted with grief; if the weight be a bhāra (160 lbs.), he will be rich; and if it be a bhāra and a half (240 lbs.), he will be an emperor.

107. The measurement of both height and weight is to be taken at the age of 20 in the case of women and 25 in the case of men, or it may be done in the last quarter of life.

(XI) Prakṛti (Innate Disposition)

108. Man is of the nature (prakṛti) of the earth, water, fire, wind, ākāśa (ether), the Devas, the Naras, or the animals and birds. We shall describe each.

109. A person of the nature of earth will be of the odour of good flowers, will indulge in sexual intercourse, and will be of good breeding and of firm mind. A person of the nature of water, will drink much water, will be fond of women and will eat juicy meals.

110. A person of the nature of fire will be hasty and thoughtless, wicked and cruel, angry, hungry and gluttonous. A person of the nature of the wind will be fickle-minded, thin and of irascible temper.

111. A person of the nature of Ākāśa will be able, open-mouthed, skilled in a knowledge of sound and with holes in his limbs. A person of the nature of the Davas will be liberal in gifts, slightly angry and attached to friends.

112. A person of human nature will be fond of music and jewels and inclined to share his wealth with his fellowmen.

113. A man of demoniac nature is very hot-tempered, of wicked deeds and sinful. One of devilish nature is fickle-minded, uncleanly, given to prattling and of a corpulent body.

114. A man of bestial nature is cowardly, ever-hungry and gluttonous. Thus has been explained the nature of men which the scholars of characteristics call Sattva, inner mettle.

115. Men become kings, if their gait resembles that of lions, swans, intoxicated-elephants, bulls or peacocks; rich, if their gait is slow and without any sound; and indigent, if their gait is brisk and leaping.

116. Those that are learned in the science of human characteristics call a man highly blessed and endowed with auspicious features, if he gets in time a conveyance, when he is fatigued; food, when hungry; drink, when thirsty; and protection, when in danger.