Messengers Of Happy Augury

A fair and handsome messenger, who is clad in clean and white garments, and belongs to the same caste or spiritual clan (Svagotra) as the patient himself, forebodes the successful termination of the disease (for which the medical aid is needed). A messenger, calling on a physician either on foot or in a bullock cart, and who is contented, intelligent, capable of acting according to the rules of decorum, time and circumstances, and is independent and original in his thoughts and ideas, and carries ornaments, and other auspicious articles about his person, is alone capable of rendering the best services in connection with the calling in of a physician. A messenger, for the first time, interviewing a physician, when the latter is complacently seated with his face towards the east, and on a clean and even ground, should be regarded as a messenger of happy augury.

Raw meat, a pitcher full of water, an umbrella, a Bramhana, an elephant, a cow, an ox and an article of a white colour, should be deemed auspicious sights by a physician on his way to the house of a patient. A mother, a cow with her calf, a small pitcher of water, a decorated virgin, fish, unripe fruits, a Svastika (a cross shaped religious insignia), sweetmeat, curd, gold, a vessel full of sun-dried rice, gems, flowers (according to certain commentators a well disposed king), a blazing fire, a horse, a swan, a peacock, a bird of the Chasha species, chantings of Vedic verses, claps of thunder, blowings of conch-shells, notes of lutes, sounds of chariot wheels, roar of lions, lowings of cows and bullocks, neighings of horses, trumpeting of elephants, cacklings of geese, hootings of owls, and the pleasant conversation of persons going to the palace of a king, should be regarded as lucky sights and sounds by a physician on his way (to the house of a patient).

Similarly, harmonious melodies of birds chirping on the boughs of healthy Kshira trees, bent under the weight of fruit, and looking gladsome with their dowry of beautiful blossoms and foliage, or notes of birds perched on the terraces of palace towers or on the tops of banner poles singing melodiously, or birds following the messenger with their songs or singing seated from the auspicious quarters of the heavens, or following him on his left, should be equally regarded as sights and notes of happy foreboding.

A bird, seated on the withered trunk of a blighted or thunder-blasted tree, or on a thorny knoll covered over with creepers, or on ashes or stones, or amidst ordure or husks of grain, or on dried skeletons, and singing in a harsh voice with its head turned towards the blazing or inauspicious quarter of the sky, should be deemed as portending evil.

Similarly, birds, which are possessed of names of masculine terminations are happy omens if seen on the left by a physician on his way to the house of a patient, while birds, on a similar occasion, whose names have feminine endings, are auspicious if seen by him on the right. A dog or a jackal, seen running from the right to the left, is a happy omen, and so is a mongoose or a Chasha bird if seen on the left. A hare, a serpent, or an owl, seen on either side of the road, is an inauspicious sight. The sight and the sound of a Godha or a Krikalasha (an animal of of the lizard species) are both inauspicious.

If a man, other than a messenger of inauspicious character but possessed of features alike unfavourable, should happen to cross the way of a physician, just starting on a professional call, he should be regarded as equally indicative of evil. The sight of a vessel full of Kulutha pulse, or of husks of grain, or of stone, ashes, clay or charcoal, or of oil, is inauspicious. Similarly, the sight of a vessel filled with red mustard or with wine other than which is clear and mild (Prasanna) should be deemed an omen of evil augury.

Similarly, the sight of a parched corpse, or of a withered tree or Palasha branch, is equally inauspicious. A physician, meeting a member of any of the vile or degraded castes or a blind or indigent person, or a man inimically disposed towards him, should consider the character of the disease to be unfavourable.

A gentle, cool and fragrant breeze, blowing from the direction of his destination, should be regarded as an auspicious omen by a physician. A wind, which is hot, dry, and is charged with the fetid exalations of putrid matter, and which blows from the direction of his starting point, should be regarded as an evil omen.

The word "cut," used by another and accidentally heard by a physician (on his way) to the bed-side of a patient laid up with Granthi (aneurism) or Arvuda (tumour), should be regarded as a good omen; while the term "open", heard under similar circumstances and in connection with a case of Vidradhi (abscess), or Gulma (abdominal gland), or Udara (ascites), should be regarded as an equally auspicious portent. Similarly, the term "stopped" is commended in a case of dysentery or haemoptysis. Thus the physician should interpret the auguries according to the nature of each individual case.

A curse, imprecation, or wailing like "woe to me", as well as sobs, groans, reports of defecation or vomiting, the brayings of an ass, the frightened sound of a camel, an obstacle or impediment in the path of a physician, or a sudden breakage, collapse, or the falling of any article from a cupboard, and a sad or dejected spirit of the physician without any assignable cause, should be regarded as evil omens at the time of his starting.

These omens should be observed or attended to at the time of first entering the house of a patient, or at the threshold or within its walls, but not after the physician has once commenced the medical treatment. The sight of a knot of torn hairs, ashes, bones, wood, stone, husks of grain, cotton, thorns, a bedstead with its legs upturned, wine, water, fat, oil, sesamum, dried grass, straw, a eunuch, a deformed person or one with a broken limb, a nude man, or one with a clean shaved head, or clad in a black garment, should be regarded as evil omens by a physician, whether noticed by him at the time of starting or after getting into a sick room. Pots or utensils placed in pendent brackets, and found to be spontaneously moving about without any definite cause, as well as any other fallen articles digged in, smashed in or thrown out of the sick-room; a physician sitting dejected and gathered up in his seat, and the patient sitting with a downcast face, or pricking his body or at the bed clothes while talking with the physician, or shaking his hands, back or head, or taking hold of or placing the hands of the physician in his own, or on his breast, or interrogating the physician with an up-turned face, or pressing his own limbs, when he is interrogated by the physician in return, should be considered as unfavourable signs.

The patient, in whose house a physician is not duly honoured, can never rally. The due honouring of a physician leads to a speedy recovery. A messenger of good omen forebodes the favourable termination of a disease, while the contrary is indicated by a messenger of the opposite type. Hence a physician shall carefully observe the ominous character of a messenger (despatched to seek his aid .