Brihat Samitha 28-36


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Signs of an Earthquake

1Some hold that an earthquake is caused by huge animals living in the midst of the ocean, while others opine that it is the result of the rest that is availed of by the elephants of the quarters tired by the weight of the earth.
2Yet, others there are who hold that it is caused by the atmospheric wind colliding with another and falling to the earth with a booming sound. There are still others who maintain that it is occasioned by some unseen power. Some more there are who declare as follows:
3-7In days of yore, the earth, being shaken severely by the winged mountains which flew up and down, spoke bashfully to the creator in the assembly of the Gods—“My lord, the name that has been given to me by you— namely immoveable—is not quite right, for it is falsified by the flying mountains and I am unable to put up with this misery.” Hearing these words of Mother Earth who was choked with tears, whose lower lip quivered slightly, and observing her face hanging down with tears trickling down from her eyes, the Creator spoke thus: “Indra, remove this humiliation felt by Mother Earth; throw your thunderbolt and chop off the wings of the mountains.” At this, Indra saying ‘So be it’, comforted her with the word “Don’t you fear; but Wind, Fire, myself and Varuna will shake you in the four parts of the Day and Night put together respectively in order to reveal the good and bad effects to the world.”
8-11The circle presided over by the Wind-God consists of the seven asterisms, viz., Uttara, Hasta, Chittra, Swati, Punarvasu, Mrigasiras and Aswini, (that is, whenever an earthquake occurs in any one of these stars, it has to be construed that it is due to the Wind Circle). The following symptoms of this circle will be revealed a week in advance: the quarters are covered with smoke; a wind blows lashing with the dust of the earth and breaking trees; and the Sun does not cast bright rays, touring an earthquake of the Wind Circle the decay of crops, water, forest and herbs, the outbreak of swellings, asthma, madness, fever, phlegmatic affections and trouble to the trading community will ensue. So also, concubines, warriors, physicians, women, poets, singers, traders, artisans, the Saurashtras, Kurus, Magadhas, Dasarnas and Mathsyas will suffer.
12-15Pushya, Krittika, Visakha, Bharani, Magha, Purvabhadra and Purvaphalguni belong to the ‘Fire’ Circle. This also reveals its symptoms a week in advance. They are the following: the sky is covered with the fall of stars and meteors; owing to the fire in the horizon, the sky appears to be illuminated; the fire with the aid of wind rages over the land. During an earthquake of the Fire Circle the clouds will be destroyed; lakes and tanks will dry up; kings will be at loggerheads with one another; herpes, scab^ fever, erysipelas and jaundice will prevail; men of great vapor, hot-tempered persons, the Asmakas, Angas, Bahleekas, Tanganas, Kalingas, Vangas, Dravidas and hill, men of various tribes will be affected.
16-19The asteristns Abhijit, Sravana, Dhanishta, Rohini, Jyeshta, Ashadha and Anuradha appertain to the circle of Indra. The following is the token: the clouds resembling moving mountains, sending forth loud peals of thunder, containing flashes of lightning and appearing like buffaloes horn, swarm of bees and serpents, pour down rain. An earthquake of Indra’s Circle will ruin men of celebrated families and castes, famous persons, kings and heads of corporations. It produces dysentery, swelling of the neck, diseases in the face and violent vomiting. It will also bring trouble to the people of Kasi, Yugangdhara, the Pauravas, Kiratas, Kiras, Abhisaras, Halas, Madras, Arbudas, Saurashtrians and Malwas, but it will give desirable rain.
20-22The asterisms Revati, Purvashadha, Ardra, Aslesha, Moola, Uttarabhadra and Satabhishak constitute “Varuna’s” circle whose symptoms are the following: huge clouds resembling blue lily, bees and Collyrium in hue, rumbling softly, shining with streaks of lightning, send down slender lines of water resembling sharp sprouts. An earthquake of this circle will kill those that are dependent upon the seas and rivers; it will yield excessive rain. People will forget their mutual hatred It will ruin the Gonardas, the Chedis, Kukuras, Kiratas and the people of Videha.
23An earthquake shows its effect in six months, and a portentous thunder in two months. Other sages have included other portents also in the above circles.


24-26The other portents referred to above are enumerated here—meteors, aerial city, (Harischandra pura), dust, portentous thunder, earthquake, fires in the quarters, violent winds, solar and lunar eclipses, unnatural phenomena in the case of any star or groups of stars, rain without clouds, anything unnatural in the firmament, excessive rain, smoke without fire, flames without sparks, (?) entry of wild creatures into a village, sight of a rainbow at nights—unnatural phenomena during twilights, fragmentary circles (halos) round the Sun or the Moon, contrary flows in rivers, sounds of musical instruments in the heavens. Any other phenomenon which is contrary to nature and its effects should be included in the above circles .

24An earthquake of Indra’s circle counteracts one born of the Wind’s period (vide slokas 3-7 supra) and vice versa. Similarly, the earthquakes of Varuna’s circle counteract one born of the Fire period and vice versa. Thus, the earthquakes of particular periods and circles as stated above cancel each other .
25During an earthquake of the ‘Fire’ circle and ‘Wind’ period or vice versa (‘Fire’ period and ‘wind’ circle), a celebrated king will die or suffer calamity; and the subjects will be troubled by the dread of famine, by pestilence and drought.
26By an earthquake of ‘Varuna’ circle and ‘Indra’ period or vice versa, there will be plenty of food, prosperity, rain and contentment in the world. Cows will yield plentiful milk and kings will sink their differences.
27Where the time-limits for the happenings of the effects arising from certain omens have not been specified, they will be felt in the course of two months, if the omens arise in the ‘wind’ circle; in three fort-nights, in the ‘Fire’ circle; in a week, in ‘Indra’s’ circle; and those of the Varuna circle on the same day.
28An earthquake of the ‘Wind’ circle shakes the earth to an extent of 200 Yojanas; one of ‘Fire’ circle 110 Yojanas; one of, ‘Varuna’ 180 Yojanas and one of ‘Indra’s 160 Yojanas.
29If there be another earthquake on the 3rd, the 4th, or the 7th day, or at the end of a month, fortnight, or three fortnights, it will bring about the destruction of prominent kings.