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Palmistry or hand reading as it is ordinarily called, has been known to mankind from time immemorial. Though its origin is ascribed to India by all, it is known to have been practiced in other parts of the world as well, pretty early-perhaps in a modified form. The irony of it is that whereas the rest of the world has taken pains to sustain and improve that science, in India the indigenous methods are well now forgotten. Nay, there is a systematic attempt on the part of those who are fortunate enough to know something about it, to see that that knowledge does not get beyond them. If the science is still having a lease of life in India it is mainly through the efforts of Western writers of our times and those of the last century.

The discoveries in the fields of graphology, psychology, and allied subjects have created a fresh interest in the science of hand reading. People have lately tried to put palmistry on a scientific basis and incidentally they have come to lay more stress upon the psychological side of palmistry than on the predictive. Some have openly expressed doubts as regards the latter.


Even at the present time, there are some palmists at any rate in who could tell you on examination of your hand, the date on which you were born, your nakshatra and your horoscope to boot. They could tell the spell-bound listener how many brothers and sisters he had, how many died, how many are surviving, and much more. But there is a snag. The particular people whom I have in mind can tell all those things only by reference to the old manuscripts in which these predictions are written in verse.

Apparently, our predecessors had evolved an elaborate system by which they had codified and categorized the signs on the palm giving each detailed description. It is a Himalayan task and speaks eloquently of their industry and ingenuity. These manuscripts are in the from of a dictionary and each line or rekha as it is called, is given detailed readings. These details have come amazingly true up to the time of examination.

We know little of the system by which they correlated the lines to the prognostications given by them, for they have not written them. It is up to us to glean what we can of the unknown system and try to systematize them with a view to evolving a formula however empirical.


It is an interesting to note that a similar attempt has been made in the West from another end. Their attempts proceed from two sets of known facts, namely, a pair of hands and known events of the life and character of the owner. This process, of course, involves the assumption of a connection between the two sets of facts. Is there any basis for their assumption?

Now it may be permitted to ask as a counterblast whether there is any basis for the assumption that the body and mind are correlated. And yet we have come to accept it as an axiom. Why? It is a matter of experience. Even so, we have to admit the effect of lines on the palm on the person's life and character.

In the Indian treatise called Samudrika Shastra it is definitely stated that in the case of men or women, everything that happens to them- life and death, gain and loss, joy and sorrow-mostly happen through the lines of the palm.


The relation between astrology and palmistry has been the subject of controversy. There is, however, strong evidence in favour of the school of thought, which holds that astrology and palmistry were practiced conjointly, to say the least. The naming of the mounts on the hand after the planets is not as arbitrary as the opinion to the contrary. If we remember the fact that horoscopes could be cast from the examination of the palm, and other astrological uses are actually being made of it, there is a strong suggestion of a greater affinity between the two sciences.

Even in the West men like the late Dr. Vaschide favoured the view that astrology and palmistry grew together.


Many theories have been put forward on the formation of lines and mounts on the hand. Aristotle would have it that "the lines emanate from the influence of heaven and human individuality". St. Germain speaks of "the lines emanate from the influence of heaven and human individuality." St. Germain speaks of " a vital fluid which permeates the external world and which penetrates man's body leaving its marking in the palm, runs up to the brain." Some are inclined to call this invisible force or fluid, as "astral fluid", and thereby try to connect the lines with the stars.

Indian writers consider the three main lines on the palm to be the counterparts of the three great rivers of Hindustan , namely, Ganga , Jumna and Saraswathi and the space between the thumb and the forefinger where they end, as Akshaya theertha.


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