Very recently I had the privilege of meeting an extraordinary human being called Sai K Narayanan at Anna Nagar in Chennai. He is a versatile Vedic Scholar and Medico-astrologer. Sai Narayanan’s father Dr V N Krishna Iyer (1901-1969) was a legendary Doctor in Trichur town in the old Cochin State.
He was in the forefront of all cultural activities in Trichur. After his return from England after completing his higher studies in Medicine, he established a Polyclinic in Trichur in 1948 as a Private Limited Company. His sole aim was to establish a multi purpose medical centre with the latest infrastructure facilities to provide the best available medical care to the common man at affordable cost. Sai Narayanan’s mother Saraswathi hailed from a family of great Sanskrit Scholars and her grandfather’s younger brother was Sabdikatilaka Panditaraja Ayya Sastriyar who was one of the greatest Sanskrit and Vedic Scholars in South India, in the first half of the 20th century.
Born on 9 July 1942, Sai Narayanan has just completed his 66 years. What is astounding about him is that when he was studying in Regional Engineering College in Calicut in early 60’s, he became suddenly blind and lost his power of sight in both his eyes for a life time. Not withstanding this great personal tragedy, he has pursued his chosen profession of astrology with rare commitment, irrepressible enthusiasm, unmatched dedication and boundless zeal for three decades and more. Endowed with profound knowledge in the fields of Hindu Philosophy, Hindu Religion and Ayurveda, Sai Narayanan is also an original and brilliant musicologist with several outstanding musical compositions in Tamil to his credit. As a linguist, he knows several languages like Tamil, English, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Hindi and German.
He has composed more than 12000 devotional songs—nearly 9000 of them in Tamil and the remaining 3000 in Malayalam and Sanskrit. He has composed and published two ‘Villupattu’ books which were released and rendered by Kalaimamani Sri Subbu Arumugam at Sri Ayyappa Seva Samajam, in 1991 and 1992 respectively. He has also published two volumes of his Kritis in Tamil set to Svara and Music under the title Manikanda Gaanam. Sangeetha Kalanidhi K V Narayanaswamy has rightly observed that Sai Narayanan has made it easy for all the performing artists to sing the Kritis composed by him in a limpid and delightful manner. In this extraordinary effort of the spirit over the flesh, of will power over physical infirmity, Sai Naryanan has been inspired and sustained by that noble woman, his devoted wife Lakshmi, whose high ideals have always marched with his own for a life time. To both of them, the world of enriched knowledge, culture and music owes a deep depth of thanksgiving and gratitude.
When I met Sai Narayanan at his residence, he gave me two volumes of his English translation of an ancient treatise on AYURVEDA (with appropriate references to astrology) called VEERASIMHAAVALOKAHA. This great Sanskrit work on Medico-astrology was written in 1383 by the renowned Rajput King Veerasimha, a scion of the Tomar Dynasty of Rajputs in Gwalior. He was the son of Devavarmaraja and grandson of Kamalasimha. According to history and tradition, Veerasimha was quiet young when he wrote this treatise based on his thorough knowledge of the Vedas, Purusharthas, Astrology and Ayurveda. According to Dr Nedungadi V Haridas Rajput King Veerasimha was one of the worthy precursors of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore (1813-1846) in the 19th century.
Sai Narayanan has stated in his introduction to his great work of English translation: ‘The intention of the author in writing this treatise, Veerasimhaavalokaha, was to help humanity, by providing information on planetary combinations indicative of specific diseases and the causes, symptoms and cures for such diseases. Such information is essential, to maintain bodily and mental health, enabling individuals to follow their Dharma, the most important PURUSHAARTHA....The author of this book has come across translations in Hindi and Malayalam. The intention of translating the Malayalam version, into English, is to make it available to a wider public, mainly students and practitioners of Ayurveda, who will find it a very valuable and useful book of reference. Further, Ayurveda, widely followed in India, has started attracting great global interest, as an alternative system of medicine. Those involved in research in this system of alternative medicine, will find this book, replete with information, of help in their research. Students and practitioners of Hindu Astrology will find in it, nuggets and data, linking this hoary science with diseases and their treatment. Of special interest of this group, will be the portions of the text, prescribing the measures to be taken, for propitiating ill placed planets-specific mantras to be chanted, homas to be performed, austerities to be observed, like the Krishchra Chaandraayana Vritha and the gifts to be made and to whom’.
In ancient times, Astrology was used to diagnose diseases much before those could happen and also to take remedial measures to ward off these diseases. Classical books like Brihat Prashar Hora Sastra, Sarvartha Chintamani, Jatak Parijat, Gadavali, Jatak Tatwa, Brihat Jatak, Saravali, Uttrakaalamrit, Jatak Alankar etc. have lot of combinations to diagnose a variety of diseases including tuberculosis, cancer and even Aids. Effective remedial measures adopted in time can be useful to ward off or combat these diseases to a great extent. The extraordinary insight medical astrology affords the Doctor into the nature of the whole of his patient has to be experienced to be believed. The quick insight he can obtain in differential diagnosis will save his time. For instance, Saturn in Libra afflicting Mercury, induces very obscure spasms in the blood vessels of the kidney which frequently is confirmed only after many tests of the blood samples simply because the condition goes on changing with the movements of the planets. Similarly, in respect of different kinds of appendicitis, thousands of horoscopes have been studied and the fundamental astrological ingredients of the disease have been defined. Rahu and Mars prominent in respect of the 6th House reveal one’s susceptibility to appendicitis and it will manifest under the directional influences of the afflicted planets. Endowed with this advanced knowledge, one should adopt a suitable plan of fine-tuned operation to counter act these influences. King Veersimha in his Veerasimhaavalokaha made an integrated attempt to collect the various astrological combinations given in the classical books and to show how they were relevant and applicable to the diagnoses and treatment of various diseases, which he dealt with in his medico-astrological treatise.
Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras studied astrology and Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, said: ‘The man who is ignorant of the science of astrology, deserves to be called a fool, rather than a physician’.
Authentic evidence shows that Chinese Emperors were chosen according to their skill in astronomy. Many of them were great Astrologists as well. The noted Egyptian Ptolemy (about 150 AD) blended astrology with his great work on astronomy and from this time onwards, books on astrology based mainly on the beliefs of Babylonians and Egyptians began to multiply and spread from the Mediterranean to Europe. The Romans swore by Astrology. Spurinna was the name of the Astrologer who warned Julius Caesar to beware of the Ides of March for, on that day, he would be in danger, but if he took care, all would be well. Gjamas was a renowned Astrologer in the Court of the King of Persia and foretold the advent of the Messiah and the Birth of the Prophet Mohammed. J Ross Tyler, an American Astrologer has testified: ‘In the early years of the 20th century, astrologer Sepharial predicted the outbreak of great I World War in 1914 and advised his clients to clear out of government securities and invest in colonial stocks’.
The world famous Palmist Cheiro, in his book ‘World Predictions’, wrote in 1927 anticipating the future events, about India’s Independence: ‘England will be attacked in all her Mohammedan possessions, she will rend that country from end to end, until it becomes equally divided between the Mohammedans and the followers of Buddha and Brahma’.
Let me now come back to the medico-astrological treatise in Sanskrit written by Rajput King Veerasimha in the last quarter of the 14th century. Veerasimhaavalokaha is an outstanding treatise on Medico-astrology. This work clearly defines the principles and procedures for the Astrological Diagnosis and Treatment of different types of diseases like Fever, Diarrhoea, Sprue, Indigestion, Worm Infections, Anaemia Spectrum, Bleeding Disorders, Tuberculosis, Cough and Asthma, Throat Infections, Unconsciousness, Alcoholism, Insanity, Epilepsy, Rheumatism, Gout and Tumour etc.
English translation of a Medico-astrological treatise in Sanskrit like Veerasimhaavalokaha is indeed a very complex, complicated and difficult task. Despite his great physical handicap, Shri Trichur Sai K Narayanan has succeeded in translating this ancient work in a thorough and meticulous manner, which is an index of his vast learning in the field of Vedic Heritage as well as Astrology. Thus, through his assiduous and marvellous English translation, he has rendered a great service to humanity, not only in intellectual but also in the spiritual sense in which the great Russian Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko described it: ‘Mankind is essentially a single organism, a single body, a single soul. But can we imagine a body surviving if it were hacked into little pieces (even if in these little pieces artificial dams were to be constructed, for normal blood circulation)? Would anybody withstand such bestial torture? Yet mankind endures, somehow; even hacked to pieces it somehow exists, and its separate little pieces pulsate, breathe, hope, strive to coalesce. Clearly mankind is a special kind of organism, a special kind of body and soul, possessing supernatural powers of survival. The translation of various literatures from language to language is a mysteriously powerful mutual transfusion of blood between the sliced-up pieces of the single body of mankind. Were this not so, mankind would not survive’.
(To be contd...)
(The writer is a retired IAS officer)
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