Some dreams are bad omens. In fact, they are nightmares. Examples are: dreams about grass or trees growing on one’s body, dreams in which the dreamer is shaven-headed or is wearing shabby clothes or dreams in which one is falling form above. It is also bad to dream of marriages, singing, the killing of snakes and the killing of chandalas or animals. If you dream that you are drinking oil or eating bird meat, that is also a bad omen. Other examples are: where the dreamer dreams that he is playing with monkeys or chandalas, when he dreams that devas, brahmanas, the king or the guru is angry or when he dreams that his house had collapsed.
Remedies have to be found if one dreams such evil dreams. Brahmanas have to be worshipped, a yajna has to be performed and the dreamer has to pray to Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Ganesha or Surya. Dreams dreamt in the first quarter of one’s sleep normally come true over the next one year. Dreams from the second quarter come true over the next six months and dreams from the third quarter over the next three months. Dreams from the last quarter come true over the next fortnight and dreams dreamt right at dawn come true within the next ten days. If one first dreams a good dream and then an evil one, it is the evil dream the will come true. Therefore, if one dreams a good dream, one should not sleep anymore. One should immediately arise.
There are many dreams that are good dreams. For example, dreams that involve mountains, palaces or snakes. Or the dreamer might dream that he is riding on a horse or a bull. It is also good to dream of white flowers in the sky or to see trees in a dream. Especially good dreams are those of the dreamer’s possessing many arms or many heads or of grass and bushes sprouting form his navel. What if you dream of wearing white garlands or clothes? That too is good. If you dream of eclipses of the sun, the moon or the stars, by all means rejoice. And if in a dream you see that you have caught hold of the enemy’s flag, that surely means that you will triumph over the enemy. And if you actually dream of defeating the enemy, the interpretation is clear enough.
Strangely enough, a dream where the dreamer sees that he is eating rice pudding is a good dream. As is the case with dreams of drinking wine or blood. Or even of eating wet meat. A clear sky in a dream is good. Dreaming of milking a cow or a buffalo with one’s own mouth is also good. The dream continues to be a good one if one dreams of milking a lioness or a she-elephant thus. Other dreams which have good interpretations are, for example, dreams of the dreamer’s receiving blessings form devas or brahmanas or of being anointed with water.
The dreamer who dreams of his coronation is blessed. And he is doubly blessed if he dreams that his head has been cut off or that he has died or even that his house has been burnt down. The relatives of such a dreamer increase in number and he also prospers. It is good to dream of musical instruments being played. Or of riding a bull or climbing a tree. Wet clothes, trees laden with fruit and clear blue skies in dreams are especially good.
Omens and Signs
If one is about to go out of the house, one should take care of any bad omens that there might be. Such bad omens are cotton, dried grass, cowdung, coal, molasses, leather, hair, a lunatic, a chandala, a widow, a dead body, ashes, bones and a broken vessel. If one comes across these as one is about to leave, one should not start without pacifying the elements through prayers to Vishnu. The sound of musical instruments is not an auspicious sound at the beginning of a journey. If the means of transport by which one is travelling breaks down, that too, is a bad omen. If weapons break, perhaps you should postpone the journey. The same is the case if an umbrella held over one’s head happens to fall. If one hits one’s head against the lintel of the door as one is about too cross the threshold, prayers are again indicated. And never call back someone who has just left. That is a bad omen and bodes ill for the success of the journey.
There are good omens for a departure and if one sees these good omens, the journey is bound to be successful. Good omens are white flowers, full vessels, meat, distant noises, an old goat, a cow, a horse, an elephant, fire, gold silver, a sword, an umbrella, fruit, clarified butter, curds, a conch shell, sugarcane, the sound of thunder, lightning and a dead body with no one crying over it.
Omens are important even if one is not going on a journey. A peacock crying on the left means that something is going to be stolen. If a donkey brays with a broken voice, that is good omen and something good will happen. If a boar or a buffalo crosses over from the left to the right, that is a good omen. But if they cross over from the right to the left, that is a bad omen. One’s desires will be attained if horses, tigers, lions, cats or donkeys cross over from the right to the left. jackals, moles, lizards, pigs and cuckoos are good omens or the left and monkeys are good omens on the right. If a jackal calls once, twice, thrice or four times, that is a good omen. It is a bad omen if a jackal calls five or six times. It is a very good omen if a jackal calls seven times.
If crows caw on the left of an army, the soldiers will not be able to win. If a crow can be seen near the door a house, this means that there will soon be a guest. A crow looking at the sum with one eye signifies great danger. A crow covered with mud means the attainment of one’s desires. A dog barking inside the house leads to the death of the householders. A person whose left limbs are sniffed by a dog, will attain riches. If the right limbs are sniffed, there will be danger. A dog blocking one’s path signifies theft. A dog with a bone or a rope in its mouth means the loss of property. But it is a good omen to see a dog with meat in its mouth.
Cows mooing irregularly mean threats to the master of the house. If this happens at night, there will be a theft or a death in the house. If the cows have horns that are wet or daubed with mud, that is a good sign for the householders. A cow that plays with cranes or doves is bound to die. A cow that licks its feet is also destined to die. If an elephant strikes its right foot with its left, that is a good sign. Prosperity comes if an elephant rubs its right tusk with its foot.
There is great danger if an umbrella falls just as one is about to leave on a trip. Journeys are to be avoided if the stars are not favourable.
Once a king decides to go out to battle, seven days are needed for preliminaries. On the first day, Vishnu, Shiva and Ganesha have to be worshipped. On the second day the dikpalas (guardians of all the directions) are worshipped, the Rudras on the third day, the planets and the stars on the fourth day and the two Ashvinis and the rivers on the fifth day. On the sixth day, the king has ceremonial bath in honour of the victory that is to come. And on the seventh day, the king leaves to do battle.
Prior to the marching, the army must always assemble to the east of the capital city. The start of the march must be accompanied with the playing of musical instruments. Once the army has begun to march, it must never look back. After having travelled for a couple of miles, it must stop to rest any pray to the gods and the brahmanas.
The king must never directly fight. Because if the king is killed, the battle is lost. The king must be right behind his army, not too far away from it. An elephant will be guarded by four chariots, a chariot by four horses and a horse by four infantrymen. The infantry will also be at the front of army, followed by archers and then by the horses. The chariots and the elephants come last of all. The cowards in the army must not be in the front, they must be at the back. The front is for the brave soldiers. To the extent possible, one should fight with the sun behind one’s army.
If a soldier dies in the course of battle, he goes straight to heaven. The blood of brave men wash away all sins. To be struck with a weapon is better than to perform many sacrifices. A person who flees form the field of battle performs a sin that is worse than that of killing a brahmana.
The fight should be between equals. Those who are running away should not be killed. Nor should spectators and those who are unarmed be killed. An enemy captured in battle should not be kept imprisoned. He should be released and treated like a son.
Rama had once taught Lakshmana about the duties of a king. The Agni Purana now relates these precepts of Rama’s.
The duties of king are fourfold. Firstly, he has to earn wealth. Secondly, he has to increase it. Thirdly, he has to protect it. And fourthly and finally, he has to donate it. The king must also be polite and politeness comes through the conquering of the senses. The king must be humble. The senses are like mad elephants. If the senses are pampered, like mad elephants, they trample politeness and humility underfoot.
The king must also be non-violent, truthful, clean and forgiving. He should take care to observe all the rituals. He should give food to those who are poor, he should protect those who seek royal protection. He should always use words that are pleasant to hear. The body is here today and gone tomorrow. Stupid is the king who deviates form the path of righteousness to give pleasure to a body that is transient. The curses of unhappy people are enough to bring down a king.
There is only one difference between gods and animals. Gods use pleasant word, while animals use rough words. The king must use pleasant words like a god. And he must use pleasant words not only for those who are his friends or are good, but also for those who are his enemies or are evil. With obeisance the king pleases his guru, with good behaviour the righteous, with duties the gods, with live the servants and with alms those who are inferior.
The kingdom has seven components. These are the king, the ministers, the friends, the treasury, the army, the forts and the state itself. Of these, the most important is the state and it has to be preserved at all costs. The king must be extremely careful in the choice of the ministers and the royal priest. The king must not choose or consult ministers who are stupid.
The king’s signs are his golden rod or sceptre and an umbrella that is held over his head. The umbrella should be made of the feathers of swans, peacocks or cranes, but the feathers of different types of birds should not be mixed in the same umbrella. The throne should be made of wood and should be embellished with gold. A bow can be made of iron, horn or wood. The best bow is one that extends over four armlengths. The king can spend upto one year’s tax revenue on armaments and flags.