Beware of Wagtail Birds: Prediction by Varahamihira!

Whit browed WagtailBP1

Written by London swaminathan

Article No.1661; Dated 19th February 2015.

Varahamihira, the author of Sanskrit encyclopaedia Brhat Samhita deals with lot of scientific things; but yet he has devoted several chapters to omens and beasts, omens and birds. It is nothing but the reflection of his age. Tamil literature and the modern Panchang (ephemeris) also contain bird and lizard predictions. Several communities including the Etruscans believed in such things. It is easy to spot a street astrologer with a caged parrot in Indian streets.

Varahamihira did not ‘write’ this. He just compiled people’s beliefs and the books available at his time, i.e 1500 years ago.

White Wagtail 2-757101.jpgassam

He begins the chapter by saying

“I shall now expound the effects, enunciated by ancient sages, of the first sighting of the bird called wagtail.

A variety of wagtail named Bhadra, which has a stout body and a black raised neck, is auspicious.

One which is black from the face to the neck is called Sampurna and fulfils one’s ambition.

The one with the dark spots on the neck and white cheeks is named Rikta (empty) and causes disappointment

The one called Gopila which is yellow in colour produces troubles when sighted.

If a wagtail is sighted in the following places it will bring prosperity: Flowering trees, fruit trees, holy lakes and rivers, on the back of elephants, horses, cows and serpents; on temples, gardens, mansions, cow pens, places of sacrifices, assembly of virtuous men.

yellow wagtail

To get your dream girl

When the wagtail is seen perched on

Silt- one will enjoy sweet food

Cow dung – one will enjoy milk and milk products

Green grass – clothes

On a cart- devastation to country

Roof of the house – loss of wealth

On a piece of hide – imprisonment

On the backs of goats and sheep – immediate union with one’s beloved

perched on a brach

Negative effect

If the wagtail is seen sitting on a buffalo, camel, donkey, bones, burial ground, clod of earth, turret, heap of ashes, compound wall – the result would be disastrous.

If it is seen flapping its wings – inauspicious

Seen drinking water – auspicious

Sighting in the morning – beneficial

Sighting in the evening – harmful

drinking water

Do you want to find Treasure?

There will be a treasure underneath the place where the wagtail copulates; mica, where it vomits and charcoal, where it voids its excrements.

Every rule has an exception; for every sin there is some atonement. Even if a king sees a wagtail in an inauspicious place, he can avoid the negative consequences, by worshiping  Brahmins, Gurus, and pious men and avoid non vegetarian meal for a week.

on buffalo

Al like any bird prediction, Varahamihira also gives predictions for the people who wanted to leave early.

Source book: Brhat Samhita translated by Prof. M.Ramakrishna Bhat.

Can Birds Predict Your Future?

By London Swaminathan

Kili Jothitam (Parrot Astrology)


South Indians, particularly Tamils, have some strange beliefs. It is ironic that they believe in nuclear physics and astrophysics and at the same time believe in the following four as well:


Birds can predict your future

Lizards can predict your future

Eyes can predict your future

Sneeze can predict your future


Is there any science behind it? Well, as far as I know, birds and animals can predict earth quakes and weather. Lot of scientific proof is available for both weather and EQ. Just before the onset of South West Monsoon certain kind of birds are seen in Kerala. All the Indian news papers report it every year and the rains also start in the next few days. If animals behave strangely, then some natural catastrophe like earth quakes will happen. This is also documented by the scientists. People in the western countries have some beliefs about at least 15 types of birds. In Tamil also we have lots of proverbs on birds and animals. Crow is praised and insulted in Tamil proverbs. I have posted 200+  Proverbs on elephants from among the 20,000 Tamil Proverbs.

Tamil Panchang (traditional calendars with Hindu festival days etc.) has got two pages devoted to Pancha Pakshi Shastra (Prediction by Five Birds) and Lizard Predictions. Nobody has done any scientific research into it to prove it or disprove it. The Bird astrology divides the day into five parts allocating one each to vulture, owl, crow, cock and peacock. Actually there is more to it. They tell you what would happen depending upon the nature of flights of birds. It is an interesting area for research students.

If we go to the Lizard astrology page, the Panchang divides it into two parts. It tells you what would happen if a lizard falls on you and if the lizard calls (makes sound). It tells you something good or bad would happen depending upon the part of the body it touches or the direction of the sound. Big tabular columns are in the Panchang for birds and lizards predictions.

Fluttering Eyes

Flutter of eyes also is taken into account to find what is going to happen next. This is supported in Sanskrit literature as well. Tamils are not alone in it. One thing is common in all these strange predictions. Left is good for women and right is good for men. Probably the logic for this is Ardhanari principle of Lord Shiva, i.e. Shiva’s left side is shared by Parvathy. Bible also supports it by saying the woman is made from the left rib of man (For more, please read my Sanskrit in Bible posts)



If a person sneezes they say “Bless you” in western countries. Actually it started in India. We have enough proof for this in Tamil and Sanskrit literature.

Tirukkural, the most famous book of the Tamils, says in Chapter FEIGNED:

When I continue to be receding, he sneezed and thought I would then wish him long life (Kural 1312)

I sneezed; “Live long”, she blessed. Then suddenly she wept saying, “You sneezed thinking of some other lady” (Kural 1317)

I stifled my sneeze. She wept saying, “Is it to hide from me the thought of thee in the mind of thy beloved” (Kural 1318)

(Ladies! Beware of your husband’s sneezes! Watch him and count the number of sneezes!!)


Parrot Astrology

Let me finish with Parrot Astrology. In nook and corner of Tamil Nadu you can see Parrot  Astrologers sitting under a banyan tree or by the side of the temple wall. No foreigner misses a photo with them. Parrot astrologers carry a cage with three parrots. If you are ready to spare a few Paise (olden days) or rupees (modern days), he will predict you whether you would pass in the exams, get a promotion, succeed in the job interview, cure your cancer or get your heart throb!!

He simply calls the parrot to pick a card from the deck of cards he keeps ready. Say for example, if I go to him, he will ask my name first and tell the parrot, get good a card for Mr Swaminathan. The parrot walks majestically and picks a card, gives it faithfully to the astrologer, gets a bribe of one or two nuts or grains and walks back into its cage (slavery again for a faithful service!). He reads the card and Voila, You know your future!

(Please read my posts (1) Why Animals worship Gods?, (2)Animal Einsteins Part 1 and Part 2 and (3) Can Parrots recite Vedas?)

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