CHENNAI: We have heard about the much-learned wise sages who lived thousands of years ago. We have also heard about their knowledge in the fields of traditional medicine, astronomy and astrology. Their knowledge and work, preserved through Olai Chuvadigal (palm-leaf inscriptions), has been passed on to successive generations of astrologers who are scattered all across the State.
Among the different forms of jothidams (astrology), Naadi Jothidam (naadi means ‘in search of’ in Tamil) is unique in the sense that one’s future is predicted based on Olai Chuvadigal written by sages of yore. While Vaitheeswaran Koil, near the town of Sirkazhi, is renowned among those who believe in Naadi Jothidam, my tech-friend ‘Google’ reveals that namma Chennai also has quite a few such jothida nilayams or centres.
Having fixed an appointment, I stepped inside Sri Sughar Agasthiyar Naadi Jothida Nilayam in T Nagar at 10.30 am on Monday. The first thing every visitor is required to do is give their thumb impression, using which the astrologer identifies the Olai Chuvadi. Then the wait begins as the astrologer searches for the matching scripture among hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of bundles of palm scripts.
While other nilayams such as the one in Tambaram may require people to come early in the morning and register their impressions, this centre does not insist on it. It would have barely been 10 minutes, before I was beckoned to a room with portraits of Hindu gods and saint ‘Agasthiyar’ on the wall.
“Sir, we couldn’t find a match for your impression. If you want, we can source the Olai Chuvadi from Vaitheeswaran koil. It will take about 15 days,” said Jaya Krishnan, one of the seven astrologers at the centre. Feeling slightly relieved, I asked him why my match couldn’t be found. “We get a maximum of 20 people every day, of which matches can be found for only seven-eight at most,” he said.
As I decline the offer, I notice many people prepared to get their chuvadis read.
“There is nobody among us who lives without problems. Many people are interested in knowing their future. Most people who come here are in the 20-40 age group and have queries on everything from employment to marriage and children,” said Krishnan.
With each session normally taking up to 90 minutes, clients usually opt to hear the Podhu Kaandam (general chapter), which presents an overview of the present and their future. People who wish to know more details about the future can pay an extra amount and hear the prediction.
Krishnan says several well-known personalities from the film industry and politics visit the centre. “We have also had Skype calls with several foreign clients. We have translators who help us communicate with them. Germans and Japanese people are said to be major patrons of Naadi Jothidam,” he said. Looks like nobody is immune to the power of predictions!