By Swami Harshananda
Hasta-sāmudrikaśāstra literally means ‘the science of prognostication by studying the lines in the palm of the hand’.
Origin of Hasta-sāmudrikaśāstra
The desire to know the future is a natural instinct found in the human beings. It has led to the discovery or invention of many new fields of knowledge. One of them is palmistry. It is called ‘Hastasāmudrikaśāstra’ by the scriptures. It is said that Samudrarāja, the king of ocean, once studied the various marks on the body of Lord Viṣṇu, who was in yoganidrā and explained their specialties to his eager disciples. That is why this science came to be known as 'Sāmudrikaśāstra’.
Treatises on Sāmudrikaśāstra
According to an ancient tradition, Prahlāda, the great child-devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, was the original teacher of this science. Some of the ancient treatises on this science are:
Sections of Sāmudrikaśāstra
The Sāmudrikaśāstra has branched off into three wings. They are:
- Hasta-sāmudrika - It is concerned only with the study of the hasta, the hand or the palm.
- Aṅgasāmudrika - It deals with the study of the characteristics of all the limbs (= aṅgas) of the body.
- Strī-sāmudrika - It deals exclusively with the characteristic signs on the bodies of women.
Regulations of Hasta-Sāmudrikaśāstra
- Anyone who wants to practice Hasta-sāmudrikaśāstra, should be well-conversant with Jyautiṣa or Astrology also.
- Any prognostication has to depend on a study of the palms as well as the horoscopes.
- While studying the hand, the palmist has to see the right hand of men and the left hand of women.
- The palms of children can be examined only if they are past fourteen years of age.
Aspects for Interpretations
The following are the factors which have to be studied carefully with regard to the hand and the palm before drawing any conclusions:
- Length of fingers
- Position of the lines at the finger-joints
- Various mounts or bulged portions generally at the roots of the fingers
- Lines on the palms
- Various signs in the shape of:
Regulations for a Palmist
Experts in this field opine that apart from studying at least five thousand hands, the palmist should also lead a good life, practice yoga and acquire some basic knowledge of Hindu astrology before prognostication based on the study of the hands and palms.
- Yoganidrā means deep meditation.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore