The Glory of Indra’s Banner ||43||

1The Gods submitted to the Creator: “Oh Lord, we are unable to withstand the Demons in battle. We, therefore, have come to you, the protector of the helpless.”
2The Lord spoke to the Gods thus: “Lord Narayana, reposing on the milky ocean, will grant you a banner, at the sight of which the Demons will not stand before you on the battlefield.”
3-5The immortals with Indra at their head, having received the boon from the Creator, repaired to the milky ocean and eulogized the lord, who has the mark of Srivatsa on his breast, which is brightened by the rays of the Kaustubha gem, who is the consort of Goddess Lakshmi, who is incomprehensible, peerless, impartial, unknowable to all beings, the greatest Being (Supreme Soul), without a beginning, all pervasive and whose end is unknown. The Lord, being pleased with their invocations, vouchsafed to them a banner which would prove as the Moon and the Sun respectively to the lotus-like faces of the demonesses and the Goddesses.
6Indra was highly pleased on receiving the Banner, which was born of Vishnu’s power, mounted on a dazzling and gem-bedecked carriage of 8 wheels, and shining verily like the Sun in autumn.
7The Lord of Gods, viz., Indra, put the host of enemies to death in battle with the aid of the Banner, which was erected aloft, bedecked with groups of small bells, and which bore wreaths, umbrellas, bells and ornaments.
8-9Once Indra gave a bamboo flagstaff to the King of Chedi, known as Uparichara Vasu—who could travel in the sky. The king worshipped thati in due form.
10Being pleased with the worship, Indra spoke thus: “Those kings who act like Vasu will become prosperous with all kinds of wealth and will have their commands obeyed implicitly on earth. Their subjects also will be happy, free from danger and disease, and have plenty of food. The Banner will by itself show by signs—good and ‘bad—effects in the world.”
11I am going to expound on the authority of the Sastras the method according to which the worship of the Banner was performed in days of yore by kings, who wished for power, prosperity and victory at the behest of Indra.
12The following is the method of making Indra’s Banner: An astrologer and a carpenter should go to the forest at an auspicious Karana, day, asterism and at a holy Muhurta (48 minutes), when there are good omens for the journey.
13-14The following trees are not commendable for making Indra’s Banner: Those that grow in pleasure gardens, temples, cemeteries, ant-hills, roads and sacrificial places; those that are very short, withered at the top, thorny, entwined by creepers, and parasitical plants; those that contain numerous birds’ nests, hollows, those that are spoiled by wind and fire, and those that bear feminine names.
15The best trees are Arjuna, Ajakarna, Priyaka, Dhava and Udumbara (Indian fig). Any one of these trees or some other of approved qualities can be made use of.
16A Brahmin should approach in the first part of the night the tree that has grown on white (red?) or black soil on a lonely spot, worship it according to rules and recite the following hymn, touching the tree.
17-18“Hail to all beings living in this tree! Salutation to you. May you change your abode after receiving this gift. O great tree# hail to you! The king chooses you for the banner of the king of the Gods. Kindly accept this worship.”
19At dawn, facing the East or North, he (the carpenter) should cut the tree. A rough and creaking sound of the axe is not auspicious, but a soft and full one is favourable.
20If the tree falls down, unspoilt, unbroken and without being entangled in other trees, it will yield victory to the king; one that falls down under contrary circumstances should be discarded.
21The tree must be chopped at the top to the extent of four inches, and at the bottom, of eight inches, and then the trunk must be put into water. After taking it out, it must be taken to the town-gate through cart or by men.
22If the spoke of the cart-wheel give way when the tree-trunk is being carried, the king’s army will be shattered; if the rim breaks, the army will be destroyed; if it is the axle, the king will lose his wealth; and if the axle-pins give way, the carpenter will come to grief.
23-24On the eighth day of the bright half of the month of Bhadrapada, the King in the company of the citizens, the royal astrologer, ministers, chamberlains and prominent Brahmins, all dressed in auspicious garments should cause the Standard of Indra, covered with a new cloth and honoured with wreaths, perfumes and incense, to be ushered into the town by the citizens to the accompaniment of the sounds of conchs and musical instruments.
25-26The town into which the standard is taken should be adorned with beautiful flags, triumphal arches and leafy wreaths, have the people jolly and happy, the thoroughfares cleansed sanctified, and filled with gaily dressed courtesans, possess shops sanctified, be resounding with the noise of the chanting of Punyaha hymns, and possess junctions of roads filled with actors, dancers and songsters.
27Flags hoisted in the town, if white, lead to victory; if yellow, to disease; if mixed in colour, to success; and if red, to the raging of swords.
28If the tree trunk, while entering the town, is felled down by elephants or other animals, there is danger impending; and if boys clap their hands, or if animals fight each other, there will be war.
29-30Then the carpenter should plane the trunk and mount it on a platform so that it is held horizontally on it. On the eleventh day of the month, the king should cause vigil to be observed at night. The royal priest dressed in white cloths and wearing white turban should offer oblations to the Fire with hymns addressed to Indra and Vishnu, and the astrologer should observe the symptoms of the fire.
31If the fire be fragrant, glossy, thick, full of flames and have the shape of auspicious things (such as umbrella), it will be beneficial; if it be otherwise, it will be inauspicious. This subject has been dealt with by me in detail in the Yatra (work entitled Yoga-Yatra).
32If the fire at the time of Purnahuti, i.e., final oblation, blazes forth of its own accord, is glossy and has its flames turning to the right, the king will bring under his sway the whole earth with the girdle of the oceans and the beautiful pearl -necklaces of the waters of the Ganges and the Jumna.
33When the fire shows the hue of gold, Asoka flower, Kuranta blossom, lotus, beryl or blue lily, darkness will find no place inside the King’s palace, as it will be dispelled by the rays of the gems. (Such a fire is auspicious and will confer on the King gems and other riches).
34Those kings whose sacrificial fire emits sound similar to that of a group of chariots, oceans, clouds, elephants or drums, will in their march darken the quarters, being thronged with herds of intoxicated elephants.
35If the fire resembles a banner, pot, horse, elephant or mountain, the Kings (whose sacrificial fire is referred to here) will bring under their control the earth having the rising and setting mountains for her lips and the Himalayas and Vindhya for her bosoms.
36If the fire has the smell of elephant’s ichor, mud a lotus, fried grains, ghee or honey, the King will have the earth in front carpeted, as it were, with the rays issuing from the crown-jewels of prostrate potentates.
37These good or bad omens observed from the features of the sacrificial fire on the occasion of raising Indra’s Banner should be taken into consideration also at the time of a birth, sacrifice, propitiatory ceremonies for the planets, marching or journeys and marriage.
38On the 12th lunar day synchronous with the asterism of Sravana or without it, the Banner should be raised, after honoring the Brahmins with jaggery, sweet meats, a sweet drink prepared with milk and such other things as well as with Dakshinas (gifts of money).
39-40Manu has. laid down that five or seven minor Standards should be made under the name of Daughters of Indra by skilled artisans. Of these two called Nandee and Upanandee measure respectively three-fourths and a halt of the height of the main Banner. Four others viz., Jaya, Vijaya and two Vasundharas are taller (than Nandee) by a sixteenth. In the middle there is one called, ‘Indra’s mother’ which is taller than the previous by an eighth.
41The ornaments of varied colours that were put on the celestial Banner by the Gods who were delighted in days of yore should be given in their order to this Banner also.
42-49The first ornament of the hue of the red Asoka flower and of quadrangular shape was given by Viswakarman (the celestial architect); Brahman and Siva gave severally a girdle of many colours. The third ornament, octangular and bluish-red, was given by Indra. Yama conferred the fourth gift, vis., a dark and lustrous (name of an ornament on Indra’s Banner). Varuna gave the fifth ornament, a sexangular and madder hued one, resembling the waves of water. Vayu bestowed the sixth gift, vie., an armlet, made of peacock feathers and as dark as cloud. Lord Subrahmanya gave the Banner his own multi-coloured armlet as the seventh. The God of fire gave the eighth, a circular ornament resembling the flame of Fire. Indra gave another ornament, wiz. the ninth, a necklace looking like beryl. One of the Sun-Gods, .by name Twashta, gave a lustrous ornament, looking like the wheel of a chariot, as the tenth. The Viswedevas gave the eleventh ornament called Udvamsa, resembling a lotus. The sages bestowed the twelfth gift named Nivesa bearing the lustre of blue lily. Jupiter and Venus adorned the head of the Banner with the thirteenth ornament slightly bent at the two ends (or endowed with short bottom and top), broad at the upper end and shining like molten red lac. Whatever ornaments were created by the Gods severally for the sake of the Banner, are to be understood by the wise as being presided over by the respective deities.
50The first ornament has a circumference which is a third of that of the Banner itself; and each succeeding one should be smaller than the preceding one by an eighth.
51One in the know of the science germane to Indra’s Banner should equip it with ornaments on the fourth day thereafter, i.e., on the 15th lunar day and recite devoutly the following hymns sung by Manu according to the Sastras.
52-55“Accept with a gladdened heart these auspicious ornaments on the occasion of this Sacrifice in the same manner as you did, being honoured with excellent gifts of brilliant forms, by Siva, the Sun-God, Yama, Indra, the Moon, Kubera, the Fire God, Varuna, multitudes of great sages, the deities presiding over the quarters, nymphs, Venus, Jupiter, Skanda and the hosts of Maruts (winds or Gods). You are without birth, imperishable, eternal, of immutable form, all-pervading the great Boar, ancient being, the God of Death, the destroyer of all things, fire, thousand-headed, indra and adorable. I invoke the seven-tongued seer, viz., Fire, who is the protector; I invoke the mighty Indra, the ruler of the Gods, the destroyer of Vritra and leader of a mighty army, who protects us carefully. May our heroes be crowned with success.”
56The King observing fast should recite the above auspicious hymns in front of the Banner, when it is decorated, erected, brought into the town, bathed, decked with garlands and when it is removed.
57-58The Standard which is bedecked with umbrellas, flags, mirrors, fruits, crescents, multi-coloured garlands, plantain trees, sugar canes, figures of snakes and lions, ornaments, windows and the images of the protectors of the quarters in their respective regions should be raised being fastened with strong ropes and hard wooden props on both sides, along with the minor standards called ‘Indra’s daughters’ made of strong and unbroken wood; The arch at the bottom must be fastened with tight nails.
59The King should raise the banner to the accompaniment of the unceasing shouts of crowds drowning all inauspicious sounds through the auspicious benedictions and invocations, the loud sounds of drums, tabors, conchs, kettledrums, etc., and through the repeated chanting of Vedic hymns by Brahmins.
60For the destruction of the enemy, the King should cause the banner to be erected in such a manner as to point to the city of the enemy with its tip the banner being surrounded by the citizens who bow their heads in homage and who invoke it with fruits, curd, ghee, fried grains, honey and flowers in their hands.
61The raising of the Banner is auspicious when it is neither too slow, nor too fast, not shaky, and when its garlands, decorations and ornaments are not spoiled. If otherwise, it forebodes evil; and the royal preceptor should mitigate it through expiatory ceremonies.
62-66The wise declare that, there is great danger in store for the King if a carcass-eating bird, owl, dove, crow or vulture sits on the Banner. If it be a blue jay, the danger is for the Yuvaraja; an eagle sitting on it, will deprive the King of his eyes. The King will die if the umbrella on the banner breaks or falls down If honey-bees cling to it, there will be danger from thieves; a meteor falling on it augurs the preceptor’s death; a lightning, that of the queen. The fall of a flag denotes the queen’s death, while that of an ornament augurs drought. If the staff should break in the middle, top and bottom, the ministers, the King and the citizens will respectively meet with their end. When the staff is covered with smoke, there is danger from fire; when with darkness, mental aberration will be the result. The ministers will be destroyed if the figures of the snakes fall or break. If portents are observed in the north and other quarters, Brahmins and other castes will suffer. If any of the staffs called ‘Indra’s daughters’ break, courtesans will die If the ropes should give way children will suffer. If the prop at the bottom breaks, it indicates trouble to the King’s mother. Whatever good or bad is done by boys or actors will have corresponding effects.
67After worshipping the erected Banner of Indra for four days, the King should cause it to be removed on the 5th day in the presence of his ministers for the prosperity of his army.
68If a king observes this vow established by Uparichandra Vasu and followed by other kings, without any break, he will not have any trouble from his enemies.