The ‘Exact Science’ Of Nadi Jothidam

Written by October 30, 2008 7:46 pm 219 comments

Nadi Jothidam is the name of an ‘exact science’ by which all details about a person can be told by consulting palm-leaf inscriptions attributed to Agastya Muni, a very famous ancient sage from the South. There is, supposedly, one palm-leaf inscription for every human on this earth, past present and future! Taking into account population explosion, the whole place should be chock full of palm leaves, but miraculously this is not so. This could mean two things- either the ancients had the foresight to know as to who would visit the place and hence only the bio-data of those visitors would be available,or the leaves are preserved in some format wherein terabytes of data could be compressed and stored. The prints would be taken after the candidate arrives on the spot!

Either way it goes to show the remarkable wisdom of our ancients! Anyway, after one arrives at the place their thumb impression is taken along with their date of birth. Then, the palm leaf pertaining to the individual is searched for. This is the source of the name Nadi- search. There are a number of write-ups praising its accuracy and there are blogs testifying to the same. There have been numerous accounts stating that the practitioners of Nadi have an accurate method of telling all about the past, present and future of any individual. All they need for identifying the right leaf is the thumb-print of the person and the date of birth.

On my travels with my friends, we happened to be passing by near where it was supposed that the ‘original’ Nadi leaves were kept- the Vaithishwara Temple near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. I decided to look into this matter here, along with Rajendran and Murugan from the Tamil Nadu Science Forum. I decided to follow Rajendra’s contact’s advice and look for Shiva Swami of station road who was supposedly the best of the lot and would charge only Rs. 500 per consultation.

When we reached the place at the entrance of the village there were numerous signs inviting us to the ‘original nadi jothidam’, ‘the one and only Nadi consultant’, ‘beware of touds’ [sic] (touts!) etc. On enquiring further, we found out know that the place was full of Shiva Swamis as it seemed to be the most popular name around. Thinking “a rose by any other name…”, we went to the nearest Shiva Swami. This too was probably already entered in my leaf! It was a toud who ended up taking us to this place despite our caution.  On entry, we were told that we had come to the right place as it was the place where Agastya Muni had deposited his original collection of palm leaves. We were also told that it was a holy place, a madam- a hermitage (not to be confused with madam!), and not a commercial enterprise. On enquiry as to how much it cost, we were informed that it depended on what we wanted. If the interpretations were to be made in Tamil then it would be Rs.200 (~ $5, US), if translations were to be made it would be more. It would be fifty rupees extra for audio tape recording. I included the condition that the payment would be made only if what was said was correct, and this was agreed upon.

I was told to write my date of birth on a sheet of paper and two thumb impressions of my right hand were taken. That was all that was needed to look for the palm leaf with my life story written on it. It was, however, subject to availability I was told, as I was asked to sit down in a fixed place while the search for it was on. We declined this invitation and told them that we would go around the place and come later. When we came back after ten minutes, we were told that I was lucky as my leaf had been found, and that it would be read. When I asked the permission of the person reading it for it to be photographed, he declined. When I asked whether he would pose for a picture he was vehement in his refusal. Luckily, I had already managed to take a few pictures of the place and its fixtures.

The standard declaimer was put forth before the reading started. I was told that although all efforts had been made to get the script of my life, there could be some errors in interpretation. So, I had to answer yes or no to statements made about my life.

First I was asked where I came from. When I replied Udupi, he said that had been accurately mentioned in his leaf. The next question was whether I was a Brahmin or not. When I asked what the leaf said, I was told non-brahmin. When I said yes, he made the very earth-shaking declaration that I was a non vegetarian! I asked him to go on and he said that both my parents were alive. Since, both of them are no more, he said that the inference had been probably arrived at, by the presence of their souls on earth! I had made no attempts to send them to heaven by performing the required rituals. I was also informed that my father had been a government servant and had retired. That would have been news to him if he were alive. He had never worked for anyone else in his lifetime. Then I was told that I too had been in government service and ha retired (that last part is not a very difficult conclusion going by my age!) The Pais of Manipal who had been my employers at Manipal University would be glad to hear of this elevation in their status from an influential family to a government organization. The next statement was about the day of my birth and I was told that I had been born on a Monday and under Makara Rashi. When I replied I did not know whether either of them was true or false, I was told that I am a Muslim!

Then I was told the following:

1. I owned the house in which I live (true) and so did my father (false).

2. I had two wives (I haven’t met the second one yet)

3. I had two children from my deceased first wife and for their sake married for the second time. I misled him here saying that my first wife was not deceased, but I had divorced because she had no issue. The children were of my second one. The interpreter of Nadi fell into the trap and agreed with me. He also said that there was a small error in his reading.

4. I had two brothers and one sister. This is true but when I said it was wrong he changed it to one brother and one sister.

5. My fathers name starts with one of the dozen alphabets listed. When I said no, he followed with a dozen other alphabets. When I replied in the negative again, he was flabbergasted.

About thirty minutes had passed and getting tired of this, I told the Nadi reader that most of what he had said was nonsense. He got angry at this and told me that I should have been honest with him. I replied that he should have known about this because his own Nadi leaf would have contained the information that his powers would be tested on that day. When I asked him whether I had to pay for all the rubbish that he had told, he flounced out of his own establishment with the Nadi leaves pertaining to my life under his arm, leaving us there. After waiting for a few minutes for him to come back, we came out. By then I had gathered how the so called Nadi fortune tellers manage to make ‘accurate predictions’ of the past and future.

The leaves are just a prop for them. They are covered in scribbles which only the Nadi reader can supposedly interpret. The information about the client is gathered by the following methods:

  1. The client and those accompanying them are asked to wait until the proper leaves are found. During this time they are asked to wait in a room which is wired and the conversation is spied upon.
  2. The interpreter is a clever ‘cold-reader‘. He notes the reactions of the client and those who accompany them, to check the accuracy of the predictions.
  3. Pointed questions are asked to ‘predict’ the background of the clients- questions like caste, religion etc.
  4. Names and other specific details are rooted out by trying to guess the first alphabet of the word followed by the second one and so on by a process of elimination.
  5. Most of the information is provided by the client from our reactions to yes or no questions or from subconscious body signals. In my case, since I am quite experienced in providing misleading body signals and since those accompanying me had no knowledge about my personal matters, the reader was not in a position to acquire any knowledge about me by this method, thus playing into the trap.

Once the Swami realized that he was being misled and that I was a hard nut to crack, he backed out. So much for the ‘accurate science’ of Nadi Jothidam!

This post was written by:

- who has written 109 posts on Nirmukta.


  • ..and they took no money before my leaf was found. They specifically told me that if my leaf was found, they’d call me and ‘if’ I requested a reading, only then will I be charged. The first time (when the person provides their thumb print), I took a friend along.

    They called around 10-15 later and told me my leaf was found but not my friend’s. I decided to take the reading.

    The fee was INR 2000 as far as I can remember.

  • Narendra Nayak

    What were the predictions?

  • Since they’re of a personal nature, could we discuss this somewhere less public?

  • Ramasubramanian

    I went along with my wife during the year 2011 in Bangalore to see naadi for her. Till that date, she, me and her parents knew her date of birth to be 11th December. And when the astrologer started telling the predictions, he told her birthday to be 14th December. We told him it is not correct. We also got doubt about the naadi astrology. He asked us to check my wife’s birth date in her palm leaf which was written when she was born. When we reached our home in the night, I checked her birth palm leaf. It was 11th December. I called the astrologer and told him the birth date is not exact. He said, whatever came in naadi is correct. So, he told 14th December is the correct birth date. I lost hope in naadi because it was not matching with the date in the palm leaf. But the next day in the afternoon I again checked my wife’s birth palm leaf in sunlight. Oh my god. I could not believe. It was 14th December. The previous day and all along, everyone looked at 14 as 11 because of the palm leaf inscription was not clear. When I carefully looked it in the sunlight, it was very clearly inscribed as 14th December. Her birth date in the certificate is 14th July though she was born in December because during old times, to admit in school, they increase the age accordingly. Then I realized, the birth date should be 14th December and not 11th December. Then, I started believing naadi 150%.

    What do you say about this? Can you say the astrologer did fraud?

    • Mr. Ramasubramanian,
      First of all, the date December 14 should not be in a palm leaf written by ancient saints . This is english/eupropean date system that was never used in ancient India. the fact that you have a georgian calender date in the palm leaf tells me that it is recent and written by one of the factories that manufacutre palm leafes near vaitheeswaran koil. (there is a documentray from Sun TV exposing this palk leaf scam).
      Also you cannot be 150% of anything. that is mathamatically incorrect.
      Either you are ingorant or peddeling Nadi for the astorlger scammers.

      • Ramasubramanian


        May be I did not explain you clearly. The birth palm leaf which I mentioned where 14th December was inscribed is the palm leaf which was written by an astrologer upon the instruction of my wife’s parents when she was born. It is the custom in every house in Tamilnadu that when a child is born, the first thing they do is, hire an astrologer and write the birth chart of that child in the palm leaf. This birth chart contains the child’s date of birth, time of birth, place of birth, rasi chart, the name of that child came in Panchaanga according to these parameters etc.

        I also have a birth chart cast by an astrologer upon the instructions of my parents when I was born. Everyone in Tamilnadu has one. This is what I referred. NOT the palm leaf the nadi astrologer had in his hand. I do not know how to read that old Tamil verses from that palm leaf. I never asked him to show me that and I never had a chance to see one.

        Moreover, I am not a Tamilian. I am a Sourashtrian. My ancestors came from Gujarat and settled down in Madurai very long ago. During the recent times, we adopted the Tamil culture in everything (including names, food, festivals etc.). We know Tamil, but we speak Sourashtra at home and within my community people. So, I speak only Sourashtra with my wife. There is no chance of the astrologer hearing what I was speaking with my wife and understanding because, the astrologer does not know Sourashtra.

        Later some other day, I went to the same astrologer to see nadi for my sister’s son. During the telling of predictions, the astrologer told us that my sister’s son has two names. We were surprised. My sister’s son has exactly two names. The astrologer also told us his second name. That was also exact. We never spoke about that in that place anytime and we never told him about that anytime. How does the astrologer know that? Do you tell me that, he would have sent someone to Madurai from Bangalore to collect information? It is funny. I paid him only 1500 rupees. The cost of the bus fare from Bangalore to Madurai on a simple normal bus was 350 rupees one way during that time. Will he spend 700 rupees for this? It is really funny. And I booked the appointment only a day before and went the next day. How could he send the person to Madurai and collect information in such a short span of time?


  • Navnath Kumbhar

    Dear Ramasubramanian
    Seems you are able to read Tamil scripts in palm leaf. Here some person has provided some Tamil verses some time back of some foreigner. Could you please check those poems and confirm that they are really in Tamil language and what matter stated therein.
    We the non believers do not accept the truth with verifying the facts. Hope you will do the needful asap.

  • Nadi astrology is complete rubbish. I have experience of going to a nadi kendra and getting my leaf. When they started with giving hints of who I am. alot of the info was right. But their prediction till now has been all wrong. 70% of their prediction is wrong. Now when i look back, i realise that a lot of what they said while checking if the leaf is mine or not was based on permutation and combination. I visited the Nadi kendra in Gurgaon. My real life experience says it is false and whtever predictions are right are basic things that any pandit will tell after seeing ur horoscope.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated. Please see our commenting guidelines