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Brihat Samitha 46-54

Brihat Samitha 46-54

– 46 –

Portentous Phenomena

1I shall how treat of portents enunciated by Atri and expounded by Garga after him. The following is a summary of them: anything contrary to nature is termed a portent or Utpata.
2Sins accumulate as a result of wrongful actions committed by men: and troubles arise from them as a consequence. The three kinds of portents, viz, celestial, atmospheric and terrestrial, foreshadow, such troubles.
3Displeased with the misdeeds erf men, the Gods create these portents. The King should cause expiatory ceremonies to be performed in order to ward off their evil consequences.
4The celestial portents consist of the unnatural behavior of planets and asterisms, meteors, thunders, storms and halos; the atmospheric ones, of aerial cities, rainbows, etc.; and the terrestrial ones arise from the moving and the stationary objects. This last class can be warded off through expiatory rites; the atmospheric can be mitigated, while the celestial according to some cannot be so assuaged.
5Even the celestial portent might be warded off by the profuse gifts of gold, food, cows and lands; by the ceremony of milking cows in the precincts of a Siva temple and by Koti Homi (crore of minor sacrifices).
6A celestial portent wields adverse influence on the King in 8 ways, viz., on himself, his children, treasury, vehicles, his town, consorts, preceptors and subjects.
7The breaking, moving, sweating, shedding tears, falling, muttering, etc., of Siva Lingas (Siva’s emblems), Idols of Gods and Temples, without any cause fore-bode the ruin of Kings and their lands.
8The breaking or falling down of the axle, wheel, yoke and flag of the car during a temple-festival or the being twisted, the destruction and the entanglement above things, do not lead to- the well-being of the King as well as of his country.
10-14Any unnatural behavior observed in the images of sages, Yama, Manes and Brahman foreshadows evil to the Brahmins; one in the images of Siva and the protectors of the quarters, to the cattle one in the images of Jupiter, Venus and Saturn to the priests; of Vishnu, to the people; of Skanda and Visakha, to the potentates of principalities of Sage Vyasa, to the minister; of Lord Ganapati to the commander of the army; of the creator and Wishvakarman betokens the destruction of the people. Any unnatural feature seen in the idols of Gods, in the figures of boys, girls, women and servants indicates the ruin of the King’s sons, daughters, harem and servant. Similary one seen in the idols of demons, goblins, Yakshas and serpents, leads to theme result. All these portents produce their effects in eight months.
15-16On seeing portents in the idols of Gods, the priest, being clean after a bath, and fasting for three days, should worship them (idols) with ablutions, flowers, pastes and garments. He should also propitiate them with the offerings of Madhuparka, (a mixture of five ingredients, eatables and other presents, and offer into, the Sacred fire, cooked rice according to rules, with the hymns addressed to the deities.
17If kings perform properly the expiatory rites for 7 nights along with worship and Dakshina to Brahmins and Gods, and also with songs, dance and festivities whenever they see a portent of Gods, they will not experience the evil effect of the portent.
18If there be flames without fire and fuel in any country, it forebodes trouble to the King and his dominions.
19If fire is observed on water, flesh or anything wet, it indicates the King’s death; on weapons, a sanguinary war; and if the fire goes out in military camps, villages or towns, there will be danger from fire.
20If temples, houses, triumphal arches, flags and the like are burnt, without fire or by lightning, there will undoubtedly be an invasion by a foreign enemy.
21Smoke produced without fire, dust and darkness seen at daytime, the disappearance of the stars on a cloudless night and their appearance at daytime, tend to very great peril.
22Flames proceeding from towns; animals birds and men are said to forebode danger, and smoke, fire and sparks observed in beds, cloths and hairs, the owner’s death.
23The blazing, moving, sounding, rushing out of the sheath, trembling or any other unnatural phenomenon of the sword foreshadows a dreadful war and confusion in the near future.
24The expiation to be performed for portents of fire, i etc., consists of a sacrifice to the fire with white mustard seeds, ghee and the twigs of milky trees, to the accompaniment of hymns addressed to the Fire. God, and of gifts of gold to the Brahmins.
25If the branches of trees break down all of a sudden (without any cause), preparation for war should be foretold; if the trees produce a laughing sound, ruin of a country will be the result; and if they produce a weeping sound, there will be a rich crop of diseages.
26If trees yield flowers (and fruits) out of season, the country will be thrown into confusion (disintegration); if a tender plant blossoms very luxuriantly, children will die; and if milk flows from trees, all substances will be destroyed.
27If wine flows from trees, vehicles will be destroyed; if blood, there will be war; if honey, diseages, if oil, threat of famine; and if water, there will be great misery.
28If withered trees sprout up again and healthy ones wither away, there will be the decay of strength (powerful men) and food, and if fallen trees stand erect by themselves there is fear of divine visitations.
29If a worshippable tree should bear flowers and fruits out of season, or if there be smoke or flame on it, the destruction of the King is indicated.
30The walking or talking of trees presages the annihilation of the population. The portents of trees bear fruit within ten months.
31-32Putting an umbrella over it, the tree should be worshipped with garlands, perfumes, incense and cloths. An image of Siva should be placed under it and the hymn called Rudra chanted repeatedly; and only six offerings made with the fire with the hymn “Hail to the Rudras.” Then the King should feed Brahmins with Payasa, honey and ghee. The Dakshina laid down by those interested in the weal of the country in connection with the portents of trees, is in the form of gifts of land.
33If the stalk of lotus, barley or wheat has a branch or two, it forebodes its owner’s death; so, does a double fruit or flower.
34If there is an overluxuriant growth of crops and varieties of flowers and fruits on a single tree, there will certainly be an invasion by a foreign power.
35When sesamum seeds yield only half the quantity of oil or no oil at all, and food loses its taste, one should know that there is great danger impending.
36-37An unnatural flower or fruit should be removed from the village or town. For the expiation of the portent, cooked rice should be offered to Soma and a goat sacrificed. On seeing any unnatural phenomenon in the crop, the field itself should be made over to Brahmins at first; and at the centre of the field, the owner should make an offering of cooked rice to the Earth. By so doing, he will not experience the evil effects of the portents.
38Drought foretells famine; excessive rain, famine and threat of foreign invasion; untimely rain, disease; and rain without clouds, the King’s death.
39Cold in the hot season and heat in the cold season, and the seasons not functioning properly; foreshadow danger to the kingdom, fear of disease and divine visitation in six months.
40-41Continuous rain for seven days in any season but the rainy, denotes the death of the chief sovereign. If there be a rain of blood, there would be war; of flesh, bones, marrow and the like, epidemics; of corn, gold, tree-barks, fruits, etc., peril; and of burning coal and dust, the particular town Avill be destroyed.
42When there is a rain of stones without clouds or of unnatural animals, or during an excessive rain when there is some spot without any rain whatso ever, the crops would get the six-fold pest.
43When there is a rain of milk, ghee, honey, curds and hot water, the ruin of the country is to be predicted; and when there is one of blood, war among kings will be the result .
44If trees cast no shadow even when the Sun shines brightly, or if the shadow is in the same direction as the Sun, it should be predicted that great calamity is in store for the country.
45If there be rainbow in a cloudless sky by day or night, in the east or west, then there will be great peril from starvation.
46A sacrifice to the Sun, the Moon, Cloud and Wind has been ordained at the time of a portentous rain. If gifts of corn, food, cows and gold are also made to Brahmins, the sin arising from the above portent will disappear.
47-48The receding of rivers from a town and the drying up of never-drying rivers or other places such as lakes, make the town desolate before long. If the rivers carry oil, blood or flesh, be turbulent or filthy and flow upwards, they indicate attack by a foreign enemy after six months.
49If wells show flames, smoke, ebullition, crying sound, shouting, singing and talking, they are said to tend to the mortality of the population.
50When water springs up from the earth without any digging, when the taste and smell of it undergo a change, or, when there is some unnatural occurrence in tanks, etc., great danger is to be apprehended. The following is the remedial measure to be adopted in that case.
51During a watery portent, Varuna should be worshipped with hymns addressed to him and with the same hymns meditation (Japa) and offerings to the Fire should be made. By so doing, the sin can be warded off.
52When women give birth to monstrosities, or two, three, four or more children at a time, long before or after the usual period, ruin befalls the country and the family.
53If mares, camels, she-buffaloes, cows and cow-elephants bring forth twins, it augurs the death of these mothers. effect of such births will come to be felt six months later. The following two verses of Garga deal with the expiation therefor.
54-55Such of the women as give birth to twins should be removed from the place and left in another country by one that wishes for happiness. He should also please Brahmins with things desired by them and cause an expiatory ceremony to be performed. As for the quadrupeds, they should be removed from their flock or herd and left in other countries; otherwise they will ruin their town, owners and herds.
56-57If quadrupeds mate with animals of different kind, or cows with cows, oxen with oxen, or a dog sucks a calf, it is inauspicious and forebodes foreign invasion undoubtedly in three months. The following two verses have been taught by Garga for counteracting the evil effects of such portents.
58-59Abandonment, expulsion or making a gift of such quadrupeds will immediately remedy the portent. The owner should in such a contingency also worship Brahmins and cause recitation and sacrifice to be gone through. The priest should make offerings of cooked and sanctified rice and of a goat chanting hymns addressed to the Creator, and feed Brahmins sumptuously with generous gifts.
60When a carriage moves without horses, or does not move when dragged by them, or when the wheels stick in the mud or give way, there is imminent danger to the realm.
61When sounds of singing and musical instruments are beard in the sky; or moving objects (such as carts) become stationary, and stationary objects (like trees) move, it forebodes disease or death. When musical instruments produce unnatural sounds, there will be defeat at the hands of an enemy.
62When musical instruments produce sounds without being struck, or produce no sounds even being struck or produce multifarious notes, there will be invasion by a foe or the King’s death.
63When ox and plough get entangled, when ladles, winnowing baskets, etc., and cooking utensils show portentous changes, or when they (above utensils) produce a sound similar to the howling of jackals (or when jackals howl), there will be danger from weapons. The following is the instruction of Sage Garga for remedying the portent.
64-65During these aerial portents, the King ought to worship the Wind-God with flour of barley; and the Brahmins, being devout and pure, should recite repeatedly the five hymns beginning with The King should worship Brahmins with Payasa and Dakshina. Similarly, offerings should be made unto the Fire with devotion and efforts, along with Brahmin-feeding and Dakshinas on a large scale.
66-67Village birds roaming in the forest, jungle birds getting freely into the town or village; day birds (crows) flying at night; night-birds (owls, etc.) flying at day time; and birds or beasts forming circles at dawn and twilight, or howling in groups facing the Sun, presage danger.
68When eagles appear to be weeping, jackals facing the Sun howl hideously at the gates of the city, or when a pigeon or owl enters the King’s palace, danger has to be apprehended.
69-70Cocks crowing in the evening, Cuckoos warbling in the beginning of the dewy season (Hemanta), and vultures and the like flying in a circle from right to left in the sky, denote danger. If groups of birds sit on houses, sacred trees, arches and gates, or if honey, anthill and lotus are produced in houses, etc., ruin will overtake the place.
71When dogs bring bones or parts of dead bodies into houses, epidemics will be the result; and when quadrupeds and weapons talk like human beings, there will be the King’s death. The following is the Sage’s advice for assuaging the evil effects of such portents.
72-73During the portents of beasts and birds sacrifices should be performed along with Dakshina. Five Brahmins should repeat the hymn beginning with the words and one the hymn “Sudevah, etc.” (vide Valakhilya 6 4). Or, they may recite the Sakuna hymn, the prayer, etc. Or the Atharva Siras. The priests should be given cows and Dakshina.
74The falling down or breaking of Indra’s standard, door-bolt, pillar, door, door-leaves, arch or flag indicates King’s death.
75Brilliance at dawn and Sunset, the rise of smoke in the forest without fire, the splitting of the earth without breach and its tremor cause danger.
76The country whose ruler is a friend of heretics and atheists, who has abandoned the right conduct, is obtempered, malicious, cruel and intent on war will go to ruin.
77The place where boys strike one another holding weapons, sticks and stones in their hands and crying strike! undo!, cut!, pierce!” will’ have immediate danger.
78A house where figures of monsters or ghosts are drawn with charcoal, red-chalk, etc., or a picture of the house-owner is drawn with charcoal, etc., will ere long be destroyed.
79That house, which is full of cobwebs, where there is no worship of Gods at dawn and Sunset, where there is constant quarrel and where there are unclean women every day, will meet with destruction.
80When goblins are seen, pestilence is said to be imminent. For averting these portents, Sage Garga has laid down the following expiation.
81The King should cause great espiations, oblations and large quantities of eatable to be made. There Indra with his consort should, bs worshiped.
82The appearance of portents at the time of the death of a king, devastation of the country by a hostile army, the rising of Ketu or of a solar or a lunar eclipse, and also the appearance of the following ones peculiar to the respective seasons, are not inauspicious.
83One can understand the portents which are occasioned by the peculiar nature of the seasons, and so do not lead to evil effects, from the verses composed by Sage Rishiputra and summarized here-under.
84-85The following portents seen in, the months of Chaitra and Vaisakha (i.e., the spring season) are conducive of good results: Thunderbolts, lighting, earth-tremor, bright glare at twilight, sounds of loud thunder, haloes, dust, smoke (in forests), the Sun being crimson at rising and- setting, the appearance of food sweet juices, oil and abundant flowers and finite on trees and increased lasciviousness on the part of, bulls, and birds.
86-87The following portents seen in Summer, i.e., in Jyeshta and Ashadha, are said to be auspicious: the sky tarnished with shooting stars and falling meteors; the orbs of the Sun and the Moon being tawny; blaze and explosion without fire, smoke and dust filling the sky; the twilight red like the red lotus; the sky resembling the ocean with surging billows; and the drying up of the waters of the rivers.
88-89The following portents are not harmful in the rainy season Rainbow, haloes, lightning, the sprouting up of withered trees, trembling, upheaval and unnatural appearance, rumbling and splitting of the earth; rising, overflowing and inundations of lakes, rivers and wells; and breaking of mountains and houses.
90-91In autumn, the following portents augur well: The sight of celestial nymphs, spirits, Gandharvas, aerial chariots, marvelous things and planets, asterisms And stars by day in the sky i sounds of singing and musical instruments in the forests and on mountain slopes; increase of crops and decrease of water.
92-93In the dewy season, the following prove beneficial: cold blast, frost, cries of birds and beasts sight of demons, Yakshas and such invisible beings aerial voice, the quarters with the sky, forests and mountains darkened with smoke and the high rising and setting of the Sun.
94-95The following phenomena in winter are productive of good effects: snowfall, unnatural winds, the sight of deformed and wonderful beings (divine ones) ; the sky resembling dark collyrium, and variegated with the fall of stars and meteors; wonderful births from women, cows, goats, horses, beasts and birds; and unnatural changes in leaves, sprouted and creepers.
96The aforesaid phenomena arising from the special features of the seasons produce good effects, if seen in their respective seasons. On the other hand, if they are observed in other seasons, the portents prove very dreadful.
97The utterances of madcaps while singing talks of children and the words of women do not fail of producing their effects.
98This Goddess of Speech is always truthful; and does not speak, unless induced; for first she travels among the Gods and then (being induced by them) goes to the mortals.
99Though a person does not know how to calculate the positions of the planets, he becomes a favourite of kings and renowned, by observing carefully the portents. Thus, the secret teachings in the words of file sages have been given and by knowing this a man can look into the past, present and future.

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