Nadi or Naadi Shastra or Palm leaf Astrology is an ancient Indian method of recording data. It is believed that by reading through the writings on these leaves one can learn about one’s past, identify the present and predict the future. It is said that thousands of years ago, the great sages of India had the power to look into the past and future of the entire universe. It is believed that they done this and recorded the life of each human being who has lived, is living and of some one who is yet to be born. These predictions were written on palm leaves in an ancient Tamil script, which can now only be deciphered by expert Nadi astrologers.
INaadi in Tamil means in search of. It is believed that an individual goes in search of his details of his past and seeks to know more of the unknown future. Hence it is a search. These palm leaf inscriptions are scattered throughout India. Some of these inscriptions can be found in Tamil Nadu. These ancient scripts were standardized, ordered and classified in Tamil Nadu nearly 1000 years ago during the reign of the Cholas in South India. There are a number of Nadis who are named after the rishis. They are the Agasthiya Naadi, Suka Naadi, Brahma Naadi, Kaushika Naadi and others. There are only a few Naadi readers available who can interpret the inscriptions that are written in in poetic Tamil.
Each Naadi or set of leaves is made up of ola or palm leaf, written in Vatta ezhuthu, a Tamil script, with a sharp, nail-like instrument called ezhuthani. Rubbing peacock oil on auspicious occasions preserves the palm leaves. These palm leaves are still preserved in the Saraswati Mahal Library in Thanjavur. The primary centre for Naadi Shastra is in Vaitheeswaran Koil.
The palm leaf inscription of an individual can be identified as being meant for the person by lifting a copy of one?s thumb impression. It is well known that the whirls and loops of the fingers of people on the earth are unique and they cannot be replicated. It is believed that these prints are classified into 108 types. The Naadi palm leaves are arranged according to these types. The Nadi readers identify the particular types of lines on the thumb and finding the corresponding set of palm leaves are taken. The time duration to pick up your leaf depends upon the identification of the thumb impression. Some impressions are identified easily and the corresponding leaves are found soon, there are others that may take months or even years to locate.
The leaves are not just records for Indian nationals but also for people of other nationalities, religions and creeds. It is also stated that about 40% of the people in the world are likely to get these results. The other leaves might have been damaged or may have been lost in the course of time.
The origin of the Naadi inscriptions can be traced back to approximately 2000 years ago. It is said that the ancient Indian rishis or sages had written the life patterns of each person on palm leaves using their yogic and intuitive powers.
During the British Rule, the British sold these leaves to the locals who were interested in getting them. People belonging to the Valluvar community in Tamil Nadu and were specialized in astrology bought most of these leaves. The astrology families in Vaitheeswaran Koil also acquired some of these. The leaves were found in Vaitheeswaran Koil around the 13th century. Those interested in Astrology realised their values and copied the contents on palm leaves and made exact replicas. These leaves have been handed down over generations to make predictions about the future. They earned their livelihood through Naadi Shashtra. They got trained by their elders to do the reading.
The then Mahratta king Sarabhoji and Chola Kings patronized this form of astrology and translations. It is said that the Naadis had originally written on animal skins and it was later copied on palm leaves.
The primary centre for Naadi Shastra is in Vaitheeswarankoil, near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, a state in South India. Here Lord Shiva is said to have assumed the role of a vaidhya or doctor, who alleviated the miseries of his devotees.
Vaitheeswaran Koil – 24 km from Chidambaram, the place is famous for the Shiva temple dedicated to Vaidyanatheeswarar, the healer of all diseases and his consort Thaiyalnayaki. It is believed that a bath in the holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex will cure all diseases. Nadi Jothidam is a traditional skill popular here.