By Susmita Saha January 2003 The art of reading palms for predictions remains as popular as ever. Are your hands and their lines truly representative of your destiny or are they merely tools cleverly used to absolve us of future responsibilities? On a recent visit to the campus of Delhi University, I saw a small conglomeration of students intensely poring over something. The crowd was so dense that it was difficult to see the object of their interest. I ventured into the gathering and found a bespectacled youngster sitting with a magnifying glass and speculating on the future of his peers by reading their palms. The lure and addictive nature of palmistry was a revelation in itself. Ever wondered why your fate follows a predestined path? Or something you had carefully contemplated for a long time falls apart just because it did not lie in the Supreme Being`s scheme of things. At other times, a bright sunny day, promising many cheerful things, ends in morbidity. Alternatively, when you don`t hope for anything positive to happen, they tumble into your kitty unexpectedly. Says Ramdev Yogiraj, a Kolkata-based astrologer: “You cannot foretell your destiny from its origin. It is only through reading the palms that a wise person can give an indication of the sequence of events that will follow.“ One of the oldest of the occult arts, man`s interest in palmistry can be gauged from imprints of palms found in the innermost parts of the Stone Age Santanda caves in Spain. Palms are also the means of sensitively comprehending the universe for the visually or emotionally challenged. Those who are unable to see can feel these conspicuous characteristics of the palm and can perceive the owner`s personality. Its chronicling began almost 2,600 years ago when Aristotle wrote a book on palmistry for Alexander the Great. That the Greek philosopher who gave his valuable opinion on sublime subjects like poetry and politics, pondered on an apparently superficial aspect like palmistry ascertains its gravity. A scientific insight was, however, provided by a Frenchman, Adolphe Desbarrocles, who eventually wrote a tome on the subject. And the art was finally popularized by the Greek palmist Cheiro, whose name itself is derived from the Greek word cheir meaning hand. The term `chiromancy` was coined as a result of his extensive research on this subject. Cheiro divided the palm into four sections, each of these quadrants being further divided by two lines. Cheiro explains the dichotomy of the human mind, his ambivalence reflected by the lines present on his hand. One is often torn between two worlds-what he believes in and how he expresses these beliefs-the difference between these two being known as `cognitive dissonance`. An individual may feel very strongly, but act otherwise for several reasons. A good example of this can be seen in the Mount of Mars where the Mount of Lower Mars represents an individual`s outward aggression and the Mount of Upper Mars represents his stubbornness and personal beliefs. Both mounts relate to the same belief, but approach it from two different angles. The outward expresses this belief to others, while the inward is a true reflection of the individual`s passions and thought processes. According to Richard Webster, a prolific author on palmistry: “You do not necessarily need to examine the lines on the palm to read a hand. You can know a great deal about a person simply from the shape, resilience, colour and texture of his or her hand.“ Hands are classified, based on their resonance with the four elements of the universe. An earth hand is characterized by a square structure with short fingers, whereas an air hand consists of a square palm with long fingers. Similarly a fire hand refers to an oblong palm with long fingers. According to Webster, there are four major lines on the hand namely the heart, head, life and destiny lines. The heart line stands for a person`s emotional and love life. The head line indicates the thought process of a person whereas the life line reveals how much a person enjoys life. Similarly, the destiny line shows the sense of purpose in an individual. In his widely read book Palmistry Made Easy, Webster says that the interplay of these four lines shows the balance between a person`s emotional, mental and physical senses. He opines that these lines should ideally be well defined, but this is an exception rather than the general rule. R.P. Jain, an astrologer based in Bhopal, also divides the lines into four categories of heart, life, head and fate. He speculates: “Palmistry does not follow any rigid path. We incorporate certain changes keeping in mind the personality of the individual. In India, astrologers prefer to study the left palm of a woman and right palm of a man to predict her or his future. Actually, the hand which is most active in a person will reveal his or her destiny accurately.“ Heart line: The heart line runs across the palm and is nearest to the fingers. It starts at the side of the palm below the little finger, proceeds across the hand, and finishes in the region of the first and second fingers. It can either be a curve or remain comparatively straight. The curved heart line, known as physical heart line, denotes that a person is comfortable expressing his feelings and characterizes a confident and assertive personality. Conversely, the straighter line called the mental heart line indicates a person`s inability to articulate his emotions. Cheiro states that the heart line deals with intangible emotions of man. The presence of a strong heart line denotes that the individual is governed by a strong sense of subjectivity. Head line: Karan Saxena, one of my classmates at college, was perpetually assessing the intellect levels of his peers and would give verdicts regarding the quality of everyone`s brain. If you want to stand up to interfering and intruding pests like him, a thorough knowledge of the head line is a must since it reveals one`s intellect and use of it. It starts between the base of the thumb and the first finger, and crosses the palm towards the little finger side. It may or may not curve towards the wrist. Webster emphasizes that the length of the line is in no way responsible for the degree of intelligence and merely manifests the nature of a person`s intellect. The longer the line, the more detailed the thinking. People with a short head line are shrewd and skim over the surface of matters. A steep, sloping head line is suggestive of a creative, idealistic individual. The reason does not necessarily lie in the slope, but in the area it allocates to the upper, ideal portion of the hand. A steep line will devote much more space to matters of the mind, and consequently decrease space devoted to material concerns. Life line: Once an astrologer of high repute came to the Mughal emperor Akbar`s court and predicted short life for one of Akbar`s most intimate escorts. Upon this, the courtier grew extremely miserable. Akbar sensed trouble and thought of an ingenious solution. He asked the astrologer about his own lifespan. “Oh, I am going to live for another 50 years,“ said the confident astrologer. Akbar immediately raised his sword and severed his head from his body. He then turned to the miserable courtier and said: “No one can predict how long an individual is going to survive.“ Apart from the lifespan, the life line also determines a person`s physical well-being, health and stamina. Sampurna Devi, a noted palmist, comments: “A life line characterises the nature of our life-the obstacles, health problems or emotional disturbances that you might encounter in a certain period of your life.“ The life line starts on the side of the hand between the Jupiter (first) finger and thumb. It then sweeps on a semicircle around the thumb, ending close to the base of the palm, near the wrist. If the area encircled by this line is large, it signifies that the person is endowed with a great deal of vitality. And if small, it symbolizes a listless person. Cheiro opines that the life line is a manifestation of the physical constitution of the body. One who has a well-defined life line inhabits a material world and exhibits certain distinguishable characteristics. He may be obese as a lover of food, or vainly opulent, indulging in luxuries and possessions. A host of other lines enumerated by Webster like sister lines, worry lines and squares describe the obscure characteristics of the complex human psychology. He gives an account of the sister line that runs parallel to the life line and offers protection in times of intense distress. He also mentions worry lines which are lines emanating from the base of the thumb, sometimes even intersecting the life line. Persons with hundreds of worry lines will worry incessantly about things that are least likely to bother them. Agrees Seema Bansal, an architect by profession: “The lines in my palm are not well defined at all. There are thousands of crisscross patterns which increase just before any assignment I get.“ Destiny line: Like someone said: “We are all destiny`s children.“ The destiny line lies roughly in the middle of the palm, starting near the wrist and running towards the fingers. Interestingly, few people in the world possess destiny lines. In certain exceptional cases the destiny line starts later in life. Destiny lines are absent in people who follow an adventurous life. Generally people who are sticklers for discipline and abhor straying from their career have a distinctive destiny line. Somnath Chakrabarti, chancellor of the College of Astrology, Kolkata, says: “People who face continuous mental and spiritual upheavals do not possess a fate line. They have built their life on their own will, unlike people having a distinct destiny line whose lives are most predictable.“ There are other m
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