See also शकुन

1) General.
In ancient times people in all countries used to consider Śakunas to be harbingers of good or evil things. Today also many people believe in omens. In India Śakuna had developed as a science even in olden days. A general description about omens, good and bad, according to the Indian concept, is given below. Mixed medicines, black grains, cotton, grass, dried cowdung, charcoal, molasses, one whose head is shaven clean or whose body is smeared with oil or who is naked; flesheater; iron, dirt, skin, hair of the head, insane person, eunuch, prison, guard; women, who are either carrying or are widows; oil cake, paddy husk, ashes, skull, bone, broken vessel etc. are evil omens. Broken, fierce or murmuring instrumental music also is a bad omen. It is a good omen to hear the voice of beckoning (come) in front of the traveller, but it is not good if the voice is heard from behind. It is good if the voice of farewell (go) is heard from behind, but is bad to be heard in the front. Disapproving or prohibitive words like “Where are you going, stop, don't go”, “what is to be done by going there?” etc. will cause death. It is a bad omen to see carnivorous birds perched on the top of flag-staff etc. For vehicles to bump, weapons to break and head to get wounded by dashing against doors etc. as also for umbrella or clothes to fall down are ill omens. Praising or worshipping Viṣṇu will do away with the inauspicious results of ill omens. But, if evil omens are seen continuously the traveller should return home. White flowers are good omens. Full pots are the best of omens. Flesh, fish, sound from afar, old man, solitary man, cow, goat, ox, horse, elephant, devas, burning fire, Dūrvā grass, fresh cow-dung, prostitute, gold, silver, gems, Orris root, mustard, medicinal herbs rooted out of soil, Bengal gram, weapon, sword, stool, royal symbols, dead body being carried without lamentation, fruits, ghee, curdled milk, milk, akṣata, mirror, honey, conch, sugarcane, auspicious words, music by devotees, loud thunder and lightning are auspicious omens.
2) Two kinds of omens.
Omens are divided into two varieties, dīpta (glowing) and śānta (quiescent, mild). Glowing omens bring about auspicious results and the other inauspicious results. There are six ways or elements, which make omens dīptam, i.e. velā (time), dik (region), deśa (place), Karaṇa (action), ruta (cry) and jāti (kind). The power or effect of dīpta increases in ascending order. To see creatures, which move about during day time as moving about during night and vice-versa is velādīpta. In the case of stars, lagnas (the dominant zodiac) and planets, those which are virulent are considered to be dīptas. With regard to stars and lagnas, those which the Sun enters into are dhūmita, those wherein the Sun is already present are jvalita and those from which the sun has left are Aṁ ariṇī. These three are dīptas and the rest śāntas. (This is called velādīpta). When dik (region) is dīpta it is called digdīpta. To see forest animals in village and village-animals in forest is digdīpta. To see good brahmins at inauspicious places is deśadīpta. To see some one doing work not ordained to his caste is karaṇadīpta. To hear different horrible voices is rutadīpta. To see purely flesheating animals is jātidīpta. If all the characteristics of dīpta do not synchronise but differ from one another it is called śānta and if the characteristics of dīpta and śānta are mixed up it is called miśra.
3) Birds, animals etc.
If the cāṣa bird (wild crow) makes sound when the king gets out of the palace, he will meet with dishonour. If the sound is heard on the left side, there will be quarrel, but food will be served. If the bird is sighted on the right side at the start of the journey, it is a good omen. If the peacock makes different sounds, threats from thieves will result. If a deer is seen in front of the king going out on a journey, death will happen to him. To see the monkey-bear, rat, tiger, lion, cat and donkey coming in the opposite direction also will bring about death. Donkey braying in awkward notes is also inauspicious. To see kapiñjala bird on the left side is an excellent omen; on the right side also it is not bad. But, behind the person, it is a bad omen. Tittiri bird also on the rear is not good. It is always a good omen if the deer, boar and spotted deer cross the path from the left to the right side; the opposite of it is bad omen. It is a favourable omen if the ox, horse, jackal, tiger, lion, cat and donkey pass from the right to the left side. It is auspicious to see the females of the jackal etc. on the right side and the males on the left. To hear the serpent, hare, boar and wild lizard named is good, but to see them is not so. Contrary to this is the effect to see the monkey, ox etc. The result of the important and powerful omens witnessed at the start of the journey will be experienced the very same day. The omen of the intoxicated, those craving for food, children, people quarrelling and those who stand away from the limits of the road is effectless. To hear the jackal howl once, twice, thrice or four times is a good omen, but to hear it five or six times is bad, The seventh time is good. If heard for more than the seventh time it will have no effect. Dīpta omen facing the Sun will horripilate men, cause fear in the case of vehicles and is to be greatly feared. If sāraṅga (lotus, deer, elephant, peacock, cuckoo, lion, horse etc.) is met as the first thing in an auspicious place its good effect will last for one year, and if these are met at the inauspicious place, the result will be bad. Everybody should see sāraṅga at some auspicious place every dawn. If the crow is found crowing in fear on the left side of camps put up for the army of the King, the head of the army will have to face great threats. If the crow, perches on and pecks on the shadow, vehicle, slippers, umbrella, clothes etc. the owner of those things will die. If they are respected by the crow, honour will accrue to their owner. If the crow flies about the entrance of the house it means that he, who had left the house will return. If the crows bring and scatter red coloured and baked things in the courtyard, the owner of the house will meet with imprisonment. If the crow carries to a house something yellow in colour, gold or silver, the owner of the house will get such things. Whatever thing the crow carries away from the house, such things therein will be destroyed. If the crow vomits raw flesh in the rear of the house, the owner of it will come into possession of wealth; if soil is deposited thus, land will be acquired. If gem is deposited, extensive lands will come to the owner of the house. If the crow flies in the same direction as the one chosen by the traveller, prosperity and success will result to him and if it flies in the opposite direction not only will the traveller not achieve his object but, he will also meet with danger. If the crows come crowing against one starting on a journey, it will be hindered. To see the crow on the left side is a good omen. If it is seen on the right side, the journey will not end in success. It is very good if the crow flies in the same direction as the traveller on his left side, if on the right side the result will be of medium nature. If it flies in the opposite direction on the left side the traveller will face hindrance. If the crow flies into the house when one is about to start on the journey, it means the journey may be begun. The crow which looks at the sun with one eye and perched on one leg is surely indicative of fear for the traveller. If it is in the hollow of a tree great calamities will happen. To dream of crow with its mouth full of excretion is indicative of all-round success. If the dog enters and barks in the house the result will be sure death of the owner of the house. But, if the dog smells on the left side of the man it is good, and if it smells on the right side, it is bad. If the dogs come against the person about to start on a journey, it will cause hindrance to him. If the dog stands blocking his path there will be threat from thieves. If it comes facing him with a piece of bone in its mouth, he will fail to achieve the object of his travel; if it comes biting a cord, the same will be the result. It is auspicious to see dog, which carries a slipper in its mouth or the mouth of which is filled with flesh. Fear will overtake him in front of whom the dog urinates and goes away. But if not a bitch and if, after urination, it goes to an auspicious place, to the shade of an auspicious tree or towards an auspicious thing, then it is a good omen. The same considerations are valid in the case of the jackal etc. If cows cry without cause or reason, it indicates ruin to the master. If the cry is in an awkward tone, death will result. If the ox murmurs during night, it is good for the master. Ox tied to a cord also is good omen. If cows are found to treat their calves without love, it spells ruin for pregnant women. It is a good omen to see cows which have got wet and whose horns are smeared with earth. These considerations apply to buffaloes as well. If elephants indulge in the sexual act in villages, it augurs ill to the villages. If the she-elephant delivers or gets mad in the country, i.e. not in the forest, it spells ruin to king. Ruin to the King will be the result if the elephant objects to his mounting it or runs back home or if the mad elephant is found without madness. It is an auspicious omen if the elephant places its right foot on the left foot of it and also if it holds its tusk with its trunk.