“I am Vibishana and you?”
Nadi Shastra is said to have been written by the great Sage Agastya, who is considered as one of the most revered vedic scholars in India. His writings are part of the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Rig Veda, just to name a few. Nadi Shastra is based on the belief that every soul has a individual cosmic constellation that is governed by 150 Nadis (energy strings) that connect us to the cosmic bodies and the all pervading power. Sage Agastya is said to have written down all these individual constellations on palm leaves. This code manifests itself trough our individual thumb print. Our thumb lines and their characteristic provide enough information for the Nadi reader to locate the matching leaf. A lot of leaves are said to have been lost and destroyed during the British Raj. Most of the existing leaves are in the possession of Nadi readers and the Shiva Temple of Vaitheeswaran in Tamil Nadu, which is today the only center for Nadi Shastra Astrology in India.
Curious about this science, our chef Mardhanan of Mantra Koodam took me there by car, since he was too chicken to sit on my motorbike. The village is about 1.5 hours drive trough a pleasant and green country side, dotted with small towns and villages of Tamil Nadu.
SHRI AGASTHIYA MAHASIVA NADI JOTHIDA NILAYAM is written in big letters on a signboard outside the house of the chosen Nadi Jothidar, Mr. Ravi.
We climb the stairs and are welcomed into his small office, where a fluent english speaking gentleman introduces himself as the reader. To feed my innate curiosity I decide to settle for the more intense course that includes my past, present and future.
He stresses the fact that he is not an astrologer, but an interpreter of the texts of Agastya. I give two impressions of my thumb. He disappears to find my leaf, a leaf that is there only for me, no one else in the entire world. For each person they say such a leaf exists. Luckily my leaf is found and I pay the fee of INR 4500.00. No leaf, no pay.
We leave Mardhanan waiting in the office I am am ushered into a small room further down the corridor, where we sit both settle on a thin mat on the floor.
“Are you comfortable?”
Yes, I reply and he begins.
He beams at me; “You know it is my privilege today to meet you, your leaf is special, not many times I get these kind of leaves. Your leaf is exactly that of Vibishana”.
Vibishana is a well known character of the Ramayana. He was a follower of Rama and advised his brother Ravana against the capture of Sita. When Ravana kidnapped Sita he went to follow Rama and his knowledge of Sri Lanka helped Rama to get his wife back and kill Ravana. After the death of Ravana he was crowned king of Sri Lanka. Vibishana was told by Rama to stay back on Earth and to guide them to the path of truth and Dharma. Hence, Vibhishana is considered one of the seven immortal living beings in Hinduism who are to remain alive on Earth until the end of the current Kali Yuga.
I assure myself that this is maybe the story everybody gets to hear, so I decided to sit back and listen.
He looks at me and says; “In your past life you have been in India, (I get to hear that often) and your family are great worshippers of Shiva”, he beams.
I tell him that apart from I doubt that any of my family was even remotely aware who Shiva was.
“No no he says there is Shiva in your life, its written here”.
Fact is, that actually our Family Symbol carries all the signs of Shiva, the Trishul, the new moon and the hill that could be Kailash.
He further tells me that I have to watch my back and that I should not travel long, especially on a motorbike. Remember I was there on car, because Mardanan was too scared to pillion with me, so could not have known of my liking of motorbikes. Truth is that just before my departure to India, I bought another seat for my motorbike, since on long rides I started to have back ache.
We talked about the past, the present and the future. Some things are true, about some I have no idea and some are just not there in my life, however hard I try to find them.
Personally I think it is a wonderful dive into the wealth of India’s manyfold forms of faith. We step into a world that has survived since Vedic times and is practised today probably almost in the same way as 3000 years ago.
South India offers you insights into the oldest surviving traditions of India and especially Kumbakonam is the cradle of the ancient Hindu faith that finally gave shape to the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Hindu faith of Bali.