Brihat Samhita

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

This page describes general rules (shakuna) which is the eighty-sixth 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 86 - Omens (1): General rules (śākuna)

Summary: General rules and omens through birds and beasts (śākuna or śakuna).

1. Ṛṣabha has written a treatise on omens (śākuna) embodying the views of the Devas, Śukra. Indra, Bṛhaspati, Kapiṣṭhala and Garuḍa and of the Ṛṣis—Bhaguri, Devala and others.

2. Śrīdravyavardhana, the Mahārāja of Avanti (Ujjain) has written a treatise on omens embodying the views of Bhāradvāja.

3. There are also treatises on omens by the seven Ṛṣis; numerous treatises are also found on the subject written in ancient and modem languages. Then there are the treatises of Garga and others who have written works on Saṃhitā.

4. Having examined all the above treatises, I proceed to write clearly this brief treatise on omens for the enlightenment of my pupils.

5. Omens (śākuna) indicate to travellers the good or evil effects of their karma (deeds) in a former birth.

6. Omens are creatures dwelling in villages and forests, in waters, in land, in the sky, moving by day or by night or by both day and night. Their sex shall be ascertained by their sound, gait, look and speech.

7. It is often difficult to ascertain the sex of the creature and the Ṛṣis have laid down general rules for this purpose in the following two stanzas.

8. The male creatures are generally those possessing large, high and broad shoulders, large neck, fine breast, short but deep sound and uniform gait.

9. The female creatures are those possessing a small neck, head and breast; also a small face, legs and strength; and also, a shrill but soft sound. Other creatures belong to neither sex.

10. In the present treatise on omens, I shall confine myself to matters relating to travels. What are domestic animals and what are wild, shall be ascertained from a general knowledge of creatures.

11. The effects of omens occurring in roads affect the traveller and those of omens occurring in armies affect the king. Omens occurring in towns affect the king or the village deity; and omens occurring before a gathering of men affect the leader; if there be no leader and if the persons be all of equal rank those of superior caste, education or age will be affected by the omens.

12. Dividing the circle of horizon into eight equal quarters beginning from the east and going round, corresponding to the eight Yamas (a Yama is 3 hours) from sunrise to sunrise, the quarter which corresponds to a particular Yama of the Sun in his daily motion is known as Dīpta (malefic). The quarter next before it just quitted by the Sun is known as Aṅgāri and the quarter next after Dīpta is known as Dhūmini. The other five quarters are known as Śānta (benefic). The first three, viz., the Aṅgari, the Dīpta and Dhūmini quarters relate to bad events past, present and future respectively according as the omen occurs in such quarters.[1]

13. Omens (śākuna) occurring in the three 5th (opposite) quarters from the Dīpta quarters relate to good events past, present and future. If the omen occur in one of the remaining two quarters, the effects are good or bad according as the place more approaches the Śānta or the Dīpta quarter.

14. Effects of omens occurring in low places will be felt soon; those of omens occurring in high places will be felt late. The increase or the decrease will follow the increasing or the decreasing character of the place occupied by the omen.

15. If the hour, the lunar day, the Nakṣatra, the wind and the sun be malefic, the omen is known as Deva-Dīpta (a) and the effects will be of an increasingly evil character. If the gait, place, sound and motion of the omen as well as the memory (of the Astrologer) be bad, the omen is known as Kriyā-Dīpta (b) and the effects will also be of an increasingly evil character.

[Notes: (a) That is if, at the time of occurrence of an omen, the hour be that of a malefic planet, the lunar day be a malefic one, the Moon pass through a malefic asterism, the wind blow hard and the Sun occupy a malefic quarter.

(b) That is, if at the time, the gait of the animal or bird be bad or directed towards bad places, if the place occupied by the omen be bad, if the person’s memory fail, if the sound of the animal or bird be hoarse and if it should strike its legs or wings or scratch its face and do the like.

16. If the character of the omen be the opposite of what has been described above, the omen is known as Daiva-Śānta or Kriyā-Śānta respectively. Creatures subsisting on leaves and fruits are known as Saumya (benefic); and those subsisting on flesh and excrement are known as Raudra (malefic). And creatures subsisting on rice and other grains are known as Saṅkirṇa (mixed).

17. Creatures found in storyed houses, temples, palaces of kings, places of marriage and the like, in beautiful spots and on trees where there may be honey, juice, milk, fruits or flowers, indicate good luck.

18. If day-creatures be seen to occupy the tops of hills by day, the effects will be strong; if night creatures be seen to occupy waters by night the effects will be strong. The effects will be of increasing strength according as the creature is a hermaphrodite, a female or a male.

19. Creatures remarkable for speed, genius, strength, place occupied, merriment, nobleness of mind or good sound are strong when in their own places; the same rule applies to useful animals. If the character of the creatures be otherwise or if they be injurious and if they do not occupy their own places, they are weak.

20. The cock, the elephant, the Pirili (a bird), the peacock, the Vañjula, the musk-rat, the duck and the Kūṭapūrī are strong in the east.

21. The jackal, the owl, the Hārīta pigeon, the crow, the ruddy goose, the bear, Piṅgala (a king of crane), the dove, as well as moans, cries and disagreeable sounds are strong in the south.

22. The ram, the swan, the osprey, the francoline partridge, the cat, as well as festivities, music and laughter are strong in the west.

23. The crane, the deer, the rat, the antelope, the horse, the cuckoo, the blue jay and the porcupine as well as the sound of sweet-bells and of the conch-shell are strong in the north.

24. Wild creatures shall not be treated as domestic if they are found in towns, and domestic creatures shall not be treated as wild if they are found in woods. Similarly, day-creatures shall not be confounded with night creatures and vice versa.

25. Creatures afflicted with the dvandva (copulation?) disease, frightened animals and those that go about seeking for fight or prey as well as creatures separated by a river and rutting animals shall not be treated as omens.

26. The fox, the goat, the ass, the deer, the camel, the antelope and the hare shall not be treated as omens (śākuna) in the Śiśira season (from middle of January to middle of March). The crow and the cuckoo shall not be treated as omens in the Vasanta season (from middle of March to that of May).

27. The pig, the dog, the wolf and the like shall not be treated as omens in the month of Bhādrapada (middle of August to middle of September) nor shall the swan, the cow and the curlew be treated as omens in the Śarat season (middle of September to the middle of November); nor the elephant and the Cātaka bird be treated as omens in the month of Śrāvaṇa (July-August).

28. The tiger, the bear, the monkey, the leopard, the buffalo, and the serpent, as well as the young of animals other than human shall not be treated as omens in the Hemanta season (from middle of November to middle of January).

29. The space between the eastern and the south-eastern points of the horizon shall be divided into 4 equal parts by three points. These points are known respectively as those of Kośādhyakṣa, Analājīvi and Tapoyukta.

30. The space between the south-eastern and southern points of the horizon shall be divided similarly by three points known respectively as those of Śilpī, Bhikṣu and Vivastra Strī and the three points between the southern and the south-western points of the horizon are known as those of Mataṅga, Gopa and Dharmasamāśraya.

31. The space between the south-western and western points shall be similarly divided by three points known as those of Strī, Sūti and Taskara; and the three points between the western and the north-western points of the horizon are known as those of Śauṇḍika, Śākunī and Hiṃsrā.

32. The space between the north-western and northern points of the horizon shall be similarly divided by three points known as those of Viṣaghātaka, Gosvāmi and Kuhakajñā; and the three points between the northern and north-eastern points of the horizon are known as those of Dhanavān, Kṣaṇīka and Mālākāra.

33. The space between the north-eastern and eastern points of the horizon shall be divided equally by three points known as those of Vaiṣṇava, Caraka and Vājirakṣaka. These twenty-four points together with the eight points of the compass give us thirty-two quarters in all.

34. The eight points of the compass beginning from the east and going round are known as those of the king (east), the first prince (south-east), the commander of armies (south), the messenger (south-west), the headman (west), a spy (north-west), a Brāhmaṇa (north), and an elephant driver (north-east). Again, the four points of the compass are known as those of the Kṣatriyas (east), the Vaiśyas (south), the Śūdras (west) and the Brāhmaṇas (north).

35. The omen (śākuna) in a particular quarter indicates that the person who observes it whether he be going or seated will soon meet with the person presiding over such quarter.

36. If the sound of the creature be broken, timid, low, caused by pain, harsh, feeble or dull, it indicates evil. The natural sound of a joyous animal indicates prosperity.

37. The jackal, the cuckoo, the Ralā, the Chucchu, the icheumon, the lizard, the sow, the Kokila, and the male of animals and birds in general indicate good luck when on the left side.

38. The vulture, the dog, the monkey, the Śrīkarṇa, the muskrat, the peacock, the Śrīkaṇṭha, the Pippīka, the Ruru, the hawk and the females of animals and birds indicate good luck when on the right side.

39. Hissing sound, clapping of hands, auspicious music and the sound of the conch-shell indicate good luck when on the left side. Other auspicious sounds indicate good luck when on the right side.

40. The Madhyama, Ṣaḍja and Gāndhāra notes indicate good luck; the Ṣaḍja, Madhyama, Gāndhāra and Ṛṣabha notes also indicate good luck.

[Note—The Gāndhāra note is found only in Devaloka, The Niṣāda, Pañcama and Dhaivata notes indicate evil.]

41. If the sound of the sky-lark, the ram, the peacock, the mongoose and the king-fisher be heard or if the names of these creatures be heard or mentioned or if the creatures be seen, there will be gain of wealth; if the blood-sucker be seen in front of a person, there will be misery.

42. If the names of the chameleon, the snake, the hare, the hog or the iguana be heard or mentioned, prosperity is indicated; but the sound and the appearance of these creatures indicate evil. On the other hand, if the names of the monkey and the bear be heard or mentioned, evil is indicated, while both the sound and the appearance of the creatures indicate prosperity.

43. If an odd number of animals, birds and the mongoose be seen to move from left to right, prosperity is indicated and according to Bhṛgu, the blue jay, the mongoose indicate good luck if found to move from right to left in the afternoon.

44. Chikkara (musk-rat), Kūṭapūrī and Pirilī indicate good luck if found to move from left to right by day, and the hog, the iguana and the snake indicate good luck if found to pass on the right side,

45. The horse and articles of white colour indicate good luck when in the east; corpse and flesh indicate good luck when in the south; virgins and curdled milk indicate good luck when in the west; and the cow, the Sādhus and the Brāhmaṇas indicate good luck when seen in the north.

46. Persons living by the use of the net and by dogs indicate evil when seen in the east. Those who live by weapons and by acts of torture indicate evil when seen in the south. Liquor and hermaphrodites indicate evil when seen in the west. And wicked men, seats and ploughs indicate evil when seen in the north.

47. On auspicious occasions and on occasions of the meeting of persons, of battle, of return journey and of search after articles lost, the omens that pass in the reverse order to that mentioned for yātrā (journey) generally indicate good luck. We shall however state the exceptions, and noteworthy points.

48. On the several occasions mentioned above, omens connected with the deer, the Ruru and the monkey appearing by day shall be treated as in yātrā and omens connected with the blue jay, the Vañjula and the dog appearing at the beginning of day shall also be similarly treated.

49. Omens (śākuna) connected with the Naptṛka. the owl and the icheumon appearing at the end of night shall be treated in the same way as in yātrā. In matters connected with women, omens described for men apply in the reverse order.

50. On occasions of visits to the king of return-journey and of entry into mountains, woods and rivers, the omens mentioned for yātrā apply.

51. Omens on the left side stated to be auspicious for yātrā are auspicious for other occasions if they are found in front; and omens on the right side stated to be auspicious for yātrā are auspicious for other occasions if they are found behind. Two birds flying one on each side of a traveller form an omen known as parigha. It is Kriyādīpta in nature and points to the death of the person starting on a journey.

52. If these omens be of gentle sound and of agreeable motion, they indicate the gain of wealth and are technically known as Śakunadvāra.

53. According to some, the term Śakunadvāra is applied to omens that remain on the right and left sides, that are of the same genus and whose sound and motion are agreeable.

54. If an omen be favourable and another be unfavourable, bad luck is indicated to the traveller. He shall he guided by the more powerful omen of the two.

55. If a person starting on a journey should first note an omen stated to be auspicious for return journey and then note one stated to be auspicious for onward journey, success of object is indicated. Similarly, if a person starting on a return journey should first note an omen stated to be auspicious for onward journey and then note one stated to be auspicious for return journey, good luck is indicated.

56. If an omen should first be found to be auspicious and if the same should then stop the journey, the person who proceeds nevertheless will either suffers death by his enemy or will engage in fight or suffer from disease.

57. Dīpta (malefic) omens proceeding from left to right indicate fear; and if such omens appear at the commencement of a work, such work will suffer injury at the end of a year.

58. If the lunar day, the wind, the sun, the Nakṣatra, the places and Ceṣṭā (motion) be unfavourable, wealth, army strength, limbs, friends and business will suffer respectively.

59. If the malefic omens occur when the clouds roar there will be fear of injury from strong winds. Malefic omens occurring during twilight hours indicate injury from weapons.

60. If the creatures be found in funeral pyres, hair or skull, there will be death, imprisonment or suffering from torture respectively and if the creatures be found on thorns, wood, or ashes, there will be quarrel, suffering from hard work and grief respectively.

61. If malefic omens be found on objects hollow and weak or on stones, new fear or failure of objects is indicated; but if the omens be benefic, good luck is indicated.

62. If the creatures be found to pass stool, there will be failure of object; if they be found to eat anything, there will be success of object. Again, if a creature be seen to move away crying from a person, it indicates good luck to the traveller; but if it be found coming towards him, it indicates that the person might return from his journey.

63. If the sound of the creature be found to be bad, there will be quarrel; if the place occupied by the creature be bad, there will be fight. If the cry of the creature be loud at the beginning and weak at the end, there will be theft of property.

64. If the omen (śākuna) be bad and found to remain crying in the same place, the village in the neighbourhood will meet with ruin after seven days, and the chief town, the country and the king will also meet with ruin after a month, six months, and one year respectively,

65. If the creatures be those that eat the flesh of their own kind, other than snakes, rats, cats, and fish, there will be misery.

66. Except in the case of an ass and a mare for the generation of a mule and the case of a man and a woman of different castes joining in sexual union, if a creature of one species be found to copulate with a creature of another species, the country will meet with ruin.

67. If the creature be found to pass near the feet, breast or head of a person there will respectively be imprisonment, torture and fear; if it be found to drink water there will be immediate rain; if it be found to cat grass there will be theft of property; if it be found to eat flesh the person will get wounded, and if it be found to eat rice there will also be imprisonment.

68. If the creature be seen in any of the eight quarters beginning from the Dīpta (malefic) quarter and going round, there will respectively be a meeting with offenders, wicked men, ministers, kings, preachers of Purāṇas, old men, cruel men and violent men.

69. If the omen (śākuna) be the approach of an object with excellent fruits and the like, there will be gain of wealth and strength. If the same object be found bright, mild and with the eyes turned to the ground, the person will do wicked deeds.

70. If the omen be the cry of an inauspicious creature, in one of the corners (south-east, south-west, north-east, north-west,) reciprocated by the cry of a creature on a left side of a person, there will be intimacy with a woman of the class belonging to such corner.

71. If the omen be the cry of a creature in a Śānta (benefic) quarter reciprocated by the cry of a creature in the Dīpta (5th malefic) quarter, there will be success in fight and a meeting with persons belonging to the Sānta quarter. If the reverse be the case, there will be misery.

72. If the omen be the cry of a creature before a person reciprocated by the cry of a creature on his left, there will be fear of troubles from kinsmen; but if the cry of such creature be reciprocated by the cry of a creature on the right side, there will be fear of troubles from the person’s enemies; and if all the three creatures be heard to cry together, there will be death.

73. An omen occurring on the top of a tree indicates the arrival of an elephant; if it occurs in the middle of a tree, the arrival of a horse is indicated, and if in the foot of a tree the arrival of a chariot is indicated; if the omen occurs in a long object, the arrival of human bearers is indicated; if in one of the productions of water, the arrival of a boat is indicated, and if the omen occur on a headless object, the arrival of a palanquin is indicated.

74. An omen occurring in waggons, in high places and in shadows, indicate the gain of an umbrella. Omens occurring in the east and south-east, in the south and south-west, in the west and north-west and in the north and north-east take effect after a day. three days, five days and seven days respectively.

75. The lords of the eight quarters beginning from the east are respectively—Indra, Agni (fire), Yama (god of death), Nirṛti, Varuṇa (god of rain) Vāyu (the wind), Soma (the Moon) and Īśāna (Śiva). The four prime quarters (east, south, west, north) are masculine and the four sub-quarters (south-east, south-west, north-east, north-west) are feminine.

76. Omens (śākuna) occurring in the eight quarters beginning from the east refer to wood in general, the palm, split bamboo, cloth, productions of water, arrows, leather, and shawls, and to letters of advice regarding them. Omens occurring in any of the thirty-two points of the horizon indicate dealing or business with the persons referring to them.

77. Effects of omens appearing in the eight quarters beginning from the east will occur respectively in place of physical exercise, fire, indistinct sound, quarrel, water, fetters, mantras and cows. The four prime quarters are respectively red, yellow, black and white, and the colour of a sub-quarter is a mixture of the colours of the two adjacent prime quarters.

78. Omens appearing in the eight quarters beginning from the east, take effect respectively in caves, water, hill, places of sacrifice and the abodes of shepherds; these are also places of meeting, fear, loss and the like referred to in connection with several quarters.

79. When the question refers to women, omens appearing in the several quarters beginning from the east point to women who are big, young, of defective organs, dirty, dressed in blue cloth, mean, tall and widowed respectively.

80. The four prime quarters beginning from the east refer to silver, gold, sick patients and to women and also to sheep, carriage, sacrificial rite and cow-shed. The eight quarters beginning from the east refer to the banyan tree, the red tree, the Rodhra, the bamboo, the mango, the Khadira, the Bilva and the Arjuna trees respectively.

Footnotes and references:

1.

The three quarters are sometimes spoken of as Dīpta quarters.

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