Nadi Shastra: Ancient Leaves of Destiny
A fascinating and incredible mystery is linked to ancient India, a journey into the remote past of a land that still has to reveal to the whole of humanity many of its 'stories' and its wonders. The so-called Leaves of Destiny, or Nadi Shastra, constitute a millennial archive, a timeless mystery preserved in many libraries and centres scattered throughout the Indian territory, where the destinies (past, present and future) of men are recorded.
In his journey of research and rediscovery of Eastern knowledge, the present author encountered one of the most fascinating and obscure themes of the variegated Indian world. In an attempt to conduct research that was both anthropological and historical, investigative and documental, he searched for the ultimate meaning of the Leaves of Destiny. The Nadi Shastra is a cultural heritage and a mystery that delves into the very origins of India as well as human culture. The Leaves of Destiny constitute a knowledge preserved over millennia by wise and learned men whose sole purpose was to give mankind a system to help them in their personal and subjective journeys, to discover their own animic and spiritual paths.
This is one of the oldest surviving and dated palm-leaf manuscript in Sanskrit (828 AD). Discovered in Nepal, the bottom leaf shows all the vowels and consonants of Sanskrit (the first five consonants are highlighted in blue and yellow).( Ms Sarah Welch / CC BY-SA 4.0)
The Tradition of Palm Leaves or Ola
This information was written down on palm leaves called Ola, handed down and transcribed over thousands of years in the ancient and sacred Indian language, Sanskrit. Hundreds of thousands of leaves are collected in libraries and entrusted to custodians, interpreters or readers of the destinies of those who want to know their own story. For centuries Westerners have been accustomed to use instruments such as astrological charts, tarot cards, horoscopes or various divination forms. The palm leaves scripts are unique in the whole world panorama, being the oldest divinatory form known today, which integrates various systems and instruments, suitable to read, and not foresee, the path taken by a soul in this and in its previous lives.
Nadi Shastra is practiced mainly in the Tamil Nadu region, in Kerala, but also in several other Indian regions. In Tamil Nadu, these texts were written in the Vatteluttu language, an ancient form of Tamizh of the Tamil language.
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ENRICO BACCARINI is a journalist, writer and editor. He has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and a Bachelor's degree in Asian Studies. He is Professor of Oriental Studies, at the Maitri University. He is the author of 17 books published in Italy UK, USA, Brazil, including Leaves of Destiny.
Top Image: The system of Nadi Shastra start from the thumb fingerprint. Right thumb for the man and left for woman. Then the Brahmins find 108 points to correlate with the palm leaf scripts for the destiny reading. (Image: Courtesy: Enrico Baccarini)