The fear of a failed monsoon is looming large on India this season (2nd half of 2012) while the world seems to be bracing itself for a season of El Nino which was absent in the last three years. The El Nino phenomenon which takes into account the heat and wind factors over the ocean surface seems to be the cause for the dry spell over India, according to specialists in meteorology, though its reflection over the Indian Ocean is yet to manifest. Reading these information, I thought that it is right time to bring to the attention of the people the much advanced ancient Indian system of weather forecast which prepared the people almost 6 months before the onset of Indian monsoon season. The components of this forecast system are drawn from a wide range of variables to which the meteorological scientists of today must pay attention, for the purpose of improving their techniques.
At the outset I want to point out that present day weather- forecast technology looks at the results of a phenomenon and not at the causes. For example they are observing the temperature –rise over the Pacific and have not paid attention to or not known what could have caused this increase in temperature. That is where the ancient Indian forecast techniques look far advanced. If a vast body of water such as the Pacific Ocean should become warmer, it can be only due to the heat radiation falling on the globe or the kind of trapping of the heat by the clouds or some changes in the upper layers of the atmosphere. The causative factor for this is undoubtedly the Sun. But with Sun being there at all times, we have to look at other causes for this heat trapping mechanism or decimating mechanism. The heating up of a vast ocean can happen only from outside factors and these factors have been identified as the two terrestrial planets that always tow along with the Sun. They are Mercury and Venus.
These two inner planets cross one another regularly and cross the Sun too, forward and backward thereby becoming the potential factors in influencing the solar radiation that reach the earth. The ancient Indian wisdom is that when these two planets are seen one behind the other (as seen from the earth) with the sun either before or after them, it causes wind and cloud formations on the earth in such a way that there will be very good rains. Suppose the sun is behind this formation initially – during which time plentiful rains will be experienced – and moves ahead and comes in-between these two planets, the rains fail and one can see the disappearance of the supportive -to -rain factors during that time. If in this formation, Mercury happens to be in front of the sun, the intensity of wind will increase. One can see the gathered clouds getting shattered due to intense wind circulation near the surface and in upper regions of the atmosphere.
This 3-some combination of the celestial entities must be studied by scientists to know and measure its correlation to the increase in the heat of Pacific Ocean – the foremost El Nino factor. This observation would not only help in forecasting rainfall but also in forecasting intense cold spells in the winter. The forecast of hurricanes can be done years in advance merely by observing the movement of these three entities in space.
To justify this, let me point out to the wet spell experienced not only in India but at many places around the world in the last few days. Presently Mercury and Venus are close to each other with the sun having moved out and gone in front of them. This condition is called as "Budha –Shukra saameebhyam" (closeness of Mercury and Venus) and it is said to cause 'Bahu varsham' (plentiful rain). Earlier such closeness minus Sun in between them happened in May - June when the Indian monsoon arrived. (Between May 28th to June 5th only). But thereafter their closeness was marred by Jupiter and Ketu. A continuous realignment of other planets coming in between or in the front happened and marred the combined effect of Mercury and Venus.
After that the un interrupted closeness started only on 29th July and is continuing until 10th September. Presently we are experiencing rainfall which is raising the hope of a revival of the Indian monsoon. The revival of rains has confused the weather analysts who think that the El Nino is not advancing. But they are wrong as there is going to be a dry spell after 10th September for 2 months! The days of Durga Puja (navarathri) which will normally see rainfall on all days, are going to see dry times because of the shattering of Mercury- Venus closeness by the Sun. At that time Mercury will be moving in front of the Sun. In that position, a spurt in windiness will be experienced. I have not studied the hurricane links to these ancient forecast factors, but with Mercury racing ahead of Sun for some time along with other combinations during the hurricane season of America, I am sure heavy disturbances in wind patterns can be predicted. Saturn – Mars conjunction is also a factor that causes violent storms, fire and lightening. Mercury coming closer to these two in September (next month) must be watched for development of hurricanes.
For India, the brief spell until 10th September would be followed by a disappointing 2-month long dry spell. This is of crucial importance in making decisions on agricultural operations. However sufficient rain will be received late in the season as Mercury and Venus are coming together again on November 18th. This means the last leg of south west monsoon will yield some relief while northeast monsoon will be substantial. Tamilnadu and Indian east coast will be benefited. The closeness lasts until January 19th.
When the closeness happens in winter season, we interpret it as intense winter. In this context I wish to point out how in the past, the Mercury- Venus closeness in December – January has resulted in fierce winters in the Northern latitudes. In the upcoming season with Mercury- Venus closeness extending to January 19th, a very cold winter and heavy snow fall can be experienced around Christmas. After that Mercury overtakes Sun thereby resulting in blizzards.
In the past, the 1981 AFC Championship Game held in Cincinnati was nicknamed the "Freezer Bowl" due to the -9 °F temperature and -59 °F wind chill. The 1982 cold air outbreak – that happened in January 1982 was terrible. Mercury and Venus were very close to each other at that time.
In 1989, the central and eastern USA saw one of the coldest Decembers on record. A 'white Christmas' occurred. One can see the same closeness of these two planets at that time also. Another feature that intensifies the cold spell / snowfall or heavy rains was that these two planets must be in the western sky. They were in the western sky in these two occasions.
White Christmas of 1989
After that, January 1994 was the coldest month recorded over many parts of the northeast and north-central United States, as well as Southern Canada. That time also saw the two planets in very close conjunction in the western evening sky. The next occasion of the closeness happened in January 1997 which saw a very cold winter in northern US. Northern parts of North Dakota saw up to 90 inches of snow on that occasion.
This basic factor – of closeness of Mercury – Venus must be studied and correlated with El Nino. When they have remained away from each other for long, oceans have heated up and El Nino had set in.
When they are close to each other,
(1) there should not be any planet in between them (as seen from the earth),
(2) they must be sighted in the evening sky or to the west of sun
(3) they must be in fixed sign or watery sign to give heavy rainfall. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are watery signs. Scorpio is the only sign which is both watery and fixed.
This year the last phase of Mercury- Venus closeness occurs in Scorpio – in the month of Kathigai – thereby giving us the hope of heavy rainfall only in Karthigai. The monsoon which started well will end well but would play truant in between.
This (Mercury - Venus sameebhyam) is not the only feature that our ancients took into consideration. They observed the skies throughout the year and had given us tips on how to predict rainfall on a day to day basis and also predict the amount of rainfall. They also had given tips on what crops to grow so that they can give results without much loss. This knowledge was widely taught as part of astronomy –astrology in schools throughout India. From the colonial records of India in the 19th century, we come to know that the enrolment in this subject was high. This is the basic knowledge that can bring prosperity to the people and the country. But this knowledge was lost once the traditional schools were replaced by the educational system of the British. This must be revived and made known to the world. Modern day research on this ancient knowledge would not only help the world community in weather forecasting, but also would help in reviving the glory of scientific past of our land.
Before going into the techniques of comprehensive forecast, let me narrate the planet based combinations that can cause or mar rainfall. Rainfall causing combinations are known as "Varsha yogas" or "Ativrishti yogas", while those that cause lack of rainfall are known as "Anavrishti yogas". They can be detected well in advance in this age of computer softwares on planetary positions. People can be forewarned and nations can be well prepared in advance to tackle the situation. Our ancients were well prepared in olden days of an impending famine or a flood based on these yogas. In this context I wish to point out that a set of "eminent historians" wrote an article in The Hindu in 2009 on 'famines' in India caused by Anavrishti and Ativrishti. (Refer :- India was indeed Shining!)
These are nothing but a set of combinations of planets having a bearing on weather patterns on the globe. The knowledge of them helped people in predicting famines well in advance and make arrangements to ensure that people did not starve. Temples were the centers that came to the rescue of the people then, as the grains stored in temple treasury were distributed to people – not for free because eating one's meals for free hurts the self respect of one – but by giving them the job of renovation works in around the temple and in temple owned lands. The said article by the 'eminent historians' is only demonstrative of the intellectual bankruptcy of the ancient Indian wisdom of the current crop of people who are writing history of India.
Now coming to these yogas, Varahamihira's Brihad Samhita and Neelakanta's Prasna Marga are good sources to know of these combinations.
Varsha yogas:- (good rainfall can be experienced on the days when the following combinations are seen)
· Mercury and Venus close to each other.
· Mercury and Venus close to each other in the western sky (evening) or to the west of Sun or in a fixed sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio) or in watery signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces)
· Setting of Mercury and rising of Venus.
· Mercury under retrogression and Venus coming to direct motion after retrogression.
· With this closeness, sun also joins them before or after in the same sign and in the same navamsa.
· If the navamsa in the above combination (or for Mercury and Venus alone) falls in watery signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces).
· In the above combination (Mercury and Venus close to each other with sun in the front or behind) these two planets (or one) are in combustion. When Mercury is within 14 degrees on either side of the Sun, it is said to be combust. It is 10 degrees for combustion of Venus.
· In the above combination (of the three) Venus in front of Sun. That is, in the order from east to west - Mercury, Venus and Sun.
· Mercury -Jupiter closeness or Venus – Jupiter closeness with no planets in between.
· In the rainy season, Mars coming in between Sun and Venus in Leo, Virgo and Libra.
· Mars in Leo with Venus behind it.
· Mars behind the sun.
· All planets behind the sun
· All planets in front of the sun (note that sun coming in between planets spoil cloud (rainfall) formation. When the above two happen in rainy season, heavy floods occur, when they happen in winter, heavy snowfall occurs.)
· Sun, Mars and Saturn must be transiting alternate signs. When moon is transiting at 150 or 180 or 270 degrees from them there will be heavy rains for 2 days before and after those degrees.
· Every new moon and Full moon must be observed. If it rains on a new moon day and the next day, there will be no rains in the dark half. I wish to recall the 11th poem from the sangam text called Paripaadal where the poet describes the planetary position of the day. Moon was nearing Full moon position (180 degrees from the sun) with an impending eclipse. Mercury and Venus were close to each other. It started raining heavily at that time which made the poet say that these combinations were perfectly present as per rules of rainfall. The planetary position as told in Paripaadal is shown below.
· If it rains when the moon is within 8 to 15 degrees from the sun after conjunction (New Moon) or opposition (Full moon), then it will rain for a month till moon reaches the same position again. (In other words if it rains starting form the last 15 ghats of Pratipat / Pradhamai / first thithi untilk the first 15 ghatis of Dwitheeya / 2nd thithi, there will be rains for the 2 pakshas or the full lunar month.) If there is scarce rain within these degrees, same weather condition will be experienced for a month. If it does not rain during this period, there is no rain for the rest of the month.
· In the rainy season, when the Sun is in earthy sign (Virgo / Purattaasi) and Mercury, Venus and Moon are in watery signs (cancer or Scorpio), it will rain heavily if a rainbow is seen in the west.
· Sighting of rainbow is another indicator of the rainy season to be plentiful. In the rainy season the rainbow must be seen in the west. Only then there will be heavy downpour. This means morning air is ridden with high precipitation. In other seasons sighting rainbow in the east ensures good rainfall.
· Similarly on any day of the rainy season, if the sun rises with a halo around it and the midday experiences intense heat, there will be rains later on that day.
Anavrishti yogas:- (Combinations that show lack of rainfall)
· Mutual opposition of planets (180 degrees apart) spoils rains. This can be explained rationally on the premise that planetary rays do cause some changes in the atmosphere of earth leading to changes in weather patterns. Earlier we saw how grouping of planets behind the sun or in front of the sun help in causing more rainfall. There seems to be a combined beneficial effect on the atmosphere of earth when the planets are close to each other on one side. But when the planets are apart by 180 degrees, that effect is reduced. The ancient wisdom of our sages is that when the planets are exactly at equal distance from each other, they result in reduced rainfall.
· For example any planet in opposition to the Sun reduces rainfall in the rainy season. Similarly Venus- Jupiter opposition, Mars – Jupiter opposition and Sun -Jupiter opposition have a tendency to mar the rain forming conditions.
· In the current rainy season, there is going to be one such opposition of planets during the dry spell we predicted between Sep 10th and November 18th, Mars comes in opposition to Jupiter around November 1st. This is in addition to the damaging presence of Sun in between Mercury and Venus. Thus we have more than one factor that is related to a dry spell which is going to last till the middle of November.
· Presence of Mars in Leo during the rainy season reduces rain-cloud formation. It must be noted that Mars was in Leo for quite some time - right from the time of the expected date of arrival of Monsoon. This is also a single strong contributory factor for dry conditions and perhaps a contributory factor for the rise in temperature over the Pacific.
· Mars in front of any planet including the Sun scorches the earth (in astrological terminology we call it as Mars winning a planetary war.)
· Since Mercury and Venus are the sensitive planets helping in rainfall, outer planets namely Jupiter or Mars or Saturn moving in front of them in rainy season causes famine like situations.
· Location of Venus is more crucial for causing rains, while Mercury aids in favorable winds. When Jupiter moves in front of Venus, famine-like conditions prevail. When Saturn is in front of Venus, there will be less rainfall. When Mars is in front of Venus, hot conditions will prevail.
· In the season of dry-spell in October – November, we are going to see Saturn and Mars in front of Venus. This reduces the formation of rain clouds. Thus we have 3 crucial combinations for lack of rainfall coming up in the peak of rainy season. (Mercury – Venus closeness disturbed, Mars – Jupiter opposition, Mars and Saturn in front of Venus). It must be seen if El Nino intensifies at that time. If so it must be because of the planetary influence only.
The Nine types of clouds.
Coming to other notions in ancient Indian observation of weather, cloud patterns are developed in 9 ways over nine years cyclically. According to this notion, a specific cloud pattern (having potential of causing or not causing plentiful rainfall accompanied with or without winds) prevails in a year – relevant to the rainy season in India.
The cloud pattern with its rainfall potential, changes in 9 different ways in nine successive years. In the 10th year the cycle is repeated once again. Specific names have been given these 9 cloud formations in such a way even a lay person in olden days was able to know the kind of rainfall that is going to occur in any year. Since it is said that these patterns are fixed and repetitive, it is assumed that radiation effect from our neighbor planets repeats in a sequence once in 9 years. This offers scope for scientific probe as El Nino is said to have a 9 to 10 year interval in its manifestation in various degrees.
The nine clouds are
1. Tamo megha (தமோ மேகம்) – brings plentiful rains.
2. Vaayu megha (வாயு மேகம்) –less rains. Famine conditions prevail.
3. VaaruNa megha (வாருண மேகம்) – widespread and very heavy rains.
4. Neela megha (நீல மேகம்) – mixed trend. Rains heavily at one place but fails in another place.
5. KaaLa megha (காள மேகம்) –Rains accompanied with storms.
6. DroNa megha (துரோண மேகம்) – Torrential rains causing floods.
7. Pushkala megha (புஷ்கல மேகம்) – Heavy rains.
8. Sangavartha megha (சங்க வர்த்த மேகம்)- Less rains – more winds.
9. Avarttha megha (ஆவர்த்த மேகம்)- scanty rainfall enough to wet the ground.
The current year starting from the solar ingress in Aries in Chithrai is the year of 8th cloud. Less rains and more windiness can be expected.
There are mathematical calculations to arrive at the kind of cloud in any year. These calculations have the beginning of Kali yuga as the base year. The base year had planetary conjunction at Pisces. Based on the movement of planets calculated from that year onwards, they have arrived at this repetitive cycle of 9 clouds. Presently we are in the 5114th year of that base year. Skeptics would like to ignore the concept of Kali yuga. But in the light of havoc caused by weather anomaly to billions of people around the world, it makes good sense to analyze these notions scientifically, starting from the base year or for the years for which we have weather records.
For the ancient Indian sages, weather- forecasting was a continuous process of monitoring and modifying the data regularly. The first observation for the breaking of the Southwest monsoon in May – June starts in the previous December – January itself. The star Arudra (Betelgeuse) is the focus of attention when Moon transits that star in opposition to the Sun (in December – January / Sagittarius) and when the Sun transits that star in June-July.
When Moon transits Arudra in opposition to Sun, that day is celebrated as "Arudra darshan" in our temple nowadays. In olden days worship of Shiva was done with Homa on this day, on the banks of a river.
Paavai nonbu was commenced on that day. This will be the 13th day of Maargazhi (Sagittarius) in a normal year (in the first year after adhik maas is expunged – it happens in the upcoming month of Maargazhi this year) and Sun will enter Poorvashada star on this day. Our ancients called this day as the commencement of conception of rainfall!! It was called as GarbhOttam.
The 14 days that Sun will be transiting Poorvashada are called as GarbhOttam days. From that day onwards a 3- way observation would be commenced on hourly basis. This will go on for 4 months. The 3-way observations cover terrestrial features, atmospheric features and celestial features. For more details refer my old article:-
The terrestrial features include the way the animals and birds behave and make noises. The cool mornings and cold waters of the rivers and tanks must be disturbed to give out some evaporation during this time. Children were encouraged to dive in these waters during this time. The screams and shouts they make are considered as a man-made features necessary to augment the terrestrial features, It must be noted that the famous song of Andal on Paavai nonbu calling the young girls to bath in the cold waters of the river is found in the 13th song (புள்ளின் வாய் கீண்டானை).
Assuming that the 30 songs of Thiruppavai are meant for each day of the month of Maargazhi, the 13th song coincides with the 13th day of Maargazhi (13th degree of Sagittarius) when the Sun would have just entered Poorvashada and GarbhOttam had just begun. Andal calling the young girls to dive into cold waters and play for long while bathing is a terrestrial feature. (குள்ளக் குளிரக் குடைந்து நீராடாதே பள்ளிக் கிட்த்தியோ பாவாய்?)
The mention of rising of Venus and setting of Jupiter at that time is a celestial feature worthy of noting. (வெள்ளி எழுந்து வியாழன் உறங்கிற்று.) The wind, clouds etc are noted as atmospheric features. A long list of these features has been noted down by our ancient sages as indicative of the kind of rainfall or lack of rainfall that occur 195 days after the day they were noted. This information has a vital clue on why clouds or rainfall occur.
It says that the features present on a day will leave an impact on the day coming in the opposite point in space (180 degree apart) when the earth transits that point. This can be depicted as follows.
In the above illustration, the earth in orbit around the sun is shown. Some colored features are shown as features of any or all of the 3 levels on day 1. Some of these are shown on the day side and some on the night side. The imprints of these features continue to hang on that location even after the earth has left that point in place. But when the earth finishes a half round and comes exactly on the opposite side of the day one, it appears that the earth rams into those imprints left on day 1. This is similar the debris of the invisible tail of comet that earth often rams into, long after the comets have left that location.
The features noted on day-1 are experienced in the same direction – but since that happens at the other end of the orbit, they will be observed in the reverse. For example, a wind was experienced as an atmospheric feature on day 1in the night time from the western direction. This feature resulting in rain will manifest on the 195th day with a wind in the day time and blowing from the eastern direction. The features as seen from the location of 195th day are seen form the opposite direction and hence the reversal.
Starting from Maargazhi (on the day Moon enters Arudra / Betelgeuse) the features are noted for 4 months and based on that rainfall is predicted for the 4 months starting the time Sun is in Gemini when the Indian monsoon sets in.
Here again further monitoring happens. When Sun enters Arudra in Gemini, the time, day and the 5 features of the Panchanga are noted to judge the nature of rainfall from then onwards. There are several other observations done from then onwards on specific days of the solar month and moon's position. Wind direction is an important factor noted on those occasions.
The full moon day of Ashada month is another important day to make further corrections in rainfall prediction. On that day the seeds of all crops will be weighed and weighed again the next day to identify which types of crops would grow well in the ensuing season based on the expected rainfall. The ancients even estimated the amount of rainfall that would fall on oceans, tanks and well. The story of Vaivasvatha Manu helping in the transfer of the fish from pot to tank, and from tank to ocean has a meaning in rainfall prediction. Manu predicted an impending flood (due to heavy rainfall) after a long dry spell. That incident related to Manu shows the antiquity of this knowledge of rainfall prediction.
What I have mentioned here is only an introduction to forecast techniques of ancient sages. These techniques were helpful in choosing the ideal crop for a season based on the amount of rainfall and its arrival time. They also helped in preparing the people well in advance for an extreme season. These techniques on Varsha yogas can be prepared years in advance.
What was observed through varsha yogas were continuously monitored and modified from the time of Solar ingress in Aries. The weather forecast based on Solar ingress in Aries for this year for South India is sufficient rain fall. The Solar ingress in Arudra also indicates sufficient rainfall. But the yearly forecast for the current Nandana year is deficient rainfall. There is prevalence of Anavrishti yogas for most part of the rainy season. The relief comes only after solar ingress in Scorpio. That is the time north east monsoon will be active. So the overall observation is that Tamilnadu would receive late rains while rest of India dependent on South west monsoon will get occasional rain that will last until the middle of September and thereafter a drought for 2 months.