You are on page 1of 4

To Dr Raman With Love Series

History & Origin Of Palmistry


By
N. L. Desai, B.Com.
(Taken From Astrological Magazine Of Raman Saheb, Jan 1957 Issue)

SA Reviewer: Raj Rao


almistry is the science of divining the fate of human beings as indicated by the signs
and lines on the palm. Fate is nothing but an inevitable result of an unending series
of effects of past causes in a predetermined order over which evidently man has no
control. In a closely knit sequence of events in our life, happy and otherwise, nature from
time to time rewards us or punishes us for our sins of omission or commission.
The more important and chief use of palmistry, however, is that it unfolds before the
eyes of the seer in a very systematic and infallible manner the various mental and emotional
traits that go into the making of human behavior and characteristics. The science of
palmistry further predicts events as they occur and affect the earthly progress of an
individual's life. While explaining the striking differences in men with their wisdom or
follies and foibles, magnanimity or meanness and virtues or vices, it suggests whether a man
has been born of physically diseased or financially poor parents or with a silver spoon in his
mouth. With its simple yet logical exposition of the most innate psychological complexities
it enables one to accurately judge the reactions of different persons to various events.
In the East and especially in India, the line of knowledge and the trend of thought in the
realm of palmistry appear to have arrived at more comprehensive an endeavor than in the
West. In China, the science appears to have been known 2000 to 3000 years before Christ. In
India this ampler maturity can be still seen intact in the remarkable systems of predictions
embodied both in Shaivite and Jain Samudrika texts.
The history of the origin of Samudrika Shastra is lost in antiquity and to the extent that it
is known, it is closely linked up with the mythological lore of the Hindus. Shaiva Samudrika
is attributed to Lord Shiva who narrated it to his beloved spouse Parvathi at her request.
In the books on Jain Samudrika, references are encountered to Shaiva Samudrika and
Meghavijaygani the author of Hasta-Sanjivani believed that original Samudrika Shastra was a
creation of a saga named Samudra. Yet another version has it that it was created by Skanda
the son of Shankar but as there was a reference to Ganapati at the Inception of the Shastra,
Shankar threw it in the sea out of anger, and it was finally restored due to the entreaties of
Lord Indra. It is also stated that Lord Vishnu himself took birth as a Brahmin named Samudra
who presented to posterity a tract on this science.
P
In Samudrika Tilak it is observed that Samudra, the Sea Lord who provided the abode for
Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, having been enamored by the grace and handsomeness of
Vishnu or Narayan representing the God in Man who lived constantly associated in a dual
unity with Nara meaning the human being, and who had so completely won over and
possessed Lakshmi that she would not be willing to be separated from Him even for a
moment, conceived an idea and concluded that on Mrutyu Loka if there be persons more or
less resembling in appearance Lord Vishnu, they would be blessed by Shree or Lakshmi, who is
indeed the personification of the feminine principle of the God-head greatly connected along
with Her Lord with Samudra or water, suggesting gestation and Moon.
Having been so inspired, Samudra perceived that in the world of mortals if he could
oblige human beings it could only be by offering them a science for the study of human
characteristics and for revealing the past, present and future of individuals, and accordingly
he presented that wonderful science called " Samudrika Shastra" after his name. It has further
been enriched by commentaries by great sages like Narada, Lalla, Varahamihira, Mandavya,
Kartikaswami, Raja Bhoj, Sumant, Durlabhraj and others.
Jain Samudrika is not much different from Shaiva Samudrika, both systems having bad
contemporaneous progress. Sometime during the eighties of the seventeenth century all the
available literature on Jain Samudrika was compiled, collected and rearranged by Shri
Meghavijaygani, who, besides being a great palmist was a distinguished astrologer and a
tantric as could be seen from his works, namely, Hasta-Sanjivanl ( ), Prashna
Sundarl ( ), Varsha Prabodhanl ( ) and Arjuna-Pataka (
). In his work Hasta Sanjlvani he has also relied on some ancient works such as Hasta
Bemba (), Hasta Chinha Sutra ( ), Karrekha Prakarana ( )
and Vlveka Vilas ( ) and references are encountered to Samudrika Bhushan
( ) and Shaiva Samudrika ( ) the oldest known work on the
science of palmistry in India.
There is yet another portion of the ancient Indian Palmistry the knowledge of which can
be gathered from the study of "Nashta Jataka" () in which the system of erecting
horoscopes and of preparing astrological charts is elaborately worked out with almost
mathematical precision and which yields astonishing results on observation of the lines and
markings on the palm, the predictive side being dependent not directly on the lines but on
the horoscopes so obtained. Much reliance, however, is placed on the three primary lines,
namely, the lines of Life, Head and Heart, respectively known as "Pragoodha" (),
"Vyaghra Vilas Leela" ( ) and "Shilgun Swarupa" ( ). The
month of birth is obtained by the combined study of the lines of life and head while the line
of heart yields the day and time of birth in relation to the mounts of Sun, Moon, Saturn and
Jupiter.
In the West, the study of palmistry and belief in it was found in a developed form during
the period of old Hellenic or Greco-Roman civilization, which survived the tests of cen-
turies, notwithstanding the existence of a vast mass of humanity in whose minds the germs
of barbarian habits lay. It was practised and preached in one form or another in Greece about
the middle of the fourth century before Christ, and reached Rome along with its twin sister
astrology, before the beginning of the Christian era.
It is believed that the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. between Greeks and the Persians
marked the turning point in the history of humanity, which would never have seen the
Greek and Roman cultures if Greece had been defeated. Greecians deeply studied the
sciences known to the Persians, one of them being the science of palmistry.
Anaxogoras, a famous Greek Philosopher of the Ionic School who flourished during 500
to 428 B.C learnt and practiced palmistry, and Aristotle, who lived between 388 and 322 B.C.,
had thought it to be a study worthy of him and wrote a treatise on the subject. Aristotle,
however, was in a better position to study the science and to write about it than Anaxogoras,
as Alexander the Great had sent him several works on various sciences from Persia and
other Eastern countries that he had conquered, for his study and research.
Aristotle and other Greek writers on the subject therefore learnt the science from Persia
after its final defeat by Alexander in 331 B.C. when he marched to Babylonia and once more
defeated Darius III, over-running the whole Persian Empire. He destroyed the magnificent
palace of Darius and burnt the great books of the Persians.
The science grew in importance in the region of the Nile at the hands of Egyptians ajid
Arabs from seventh to the thirteenth century. Arabs had no literature and little art or
learning; they had no independent sources of knowledge of any science, much less of
palmistry, but in the early centuries of the Christian era, they translated many of the
Persian, Greek and Indian works on all occult subjects, which finally in the name of Arabian
sciences, were found in a flourishing condition during the 11th and 12th centuries in Spain
and other countries. Cordova in Muslim Spain had about 70 libraries each consisting of
books on occult sciences. Arabs preserved such Persian and Greek works by translating them
at a time when the original works were destroyed, thus forming a connecting link between
the ancient culture and modern civilization. They kept burning the torch of higher
intellectual life and of the secret sciences when Christian West was fighting desperately
with barbarism, but at times claiming originality for the plagiarized material.
In Europe, palmistry was further developed during the 14th and 15th centuries at the
able hands of persons like Prof. Hartliech, who embodied his life work in a book entitled
"Die Kunst Ceremonia" sometime during the latter part of the fifteenth century.
Thereafter the science lay in the safe hands of learned authors such as Dr. Rothman. H.
Fludd, S. Cardam, Sommers and others during the 17th century and as for the next century,
the name of the astrologer Patridge is generally associated with the study of palmistry.
Since the middle of the last century the knowledge of palmistry has been enriched by
sincere writers like Adolf Desbarolles, Hansburg and Capt. S. D. Arpantaigny, who
laboriously researched on the shape and formation of the human hand. It is believed that the
word "Cheirognomy was for the first time coined by D. Arpantaigny, who greatly emphasized
the importance of the thumb stressing the point that great men possessed long thumbs and
as an instance in point he mentioned the case of Voltaire Desbarolles, his contemporary,
associated man's will power with the thumb while agreeing with D. Arpantaigny that certain
types of great men who took a direct and active part in human affairs, possessed long thumb
e g., Dantan, St. Simon, Descartes, Newton and Leibnitz who all are well known among the
physiognomists.
Society from times immemorial, not being static but dynamic, changes are continually
being wrought which leave their deep impress on the sands of time, making an individual's
life much more complex and varied, thereby necessitating further investigation and novel
interpretations in the realm of palmistry. The twentieth century writers therefore, are
devoting their time and attention in skillfully and industriously gathering reliable evidence
in the form of hand-prints in support or corroboration of the various theories propounded or
being explained by them. The science has therefore, at present reached a stage

where it is
capable of discovering the secret movements and the dynamic

supernormal possibilities of
the mind, nay of life itself.