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Friday, July 23, 2010

SRI SAI NARAYANAN - A VERSATILE MUSICOLOGIST COMPOSER AND MEDICO ASTROLOGER



V SUNDARAM I.A.S.

INTRODUCTION

“Who is there that, in logical words, can express the effect music has on us? A kind of inarticulate unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the INFINITE, and lets us for moments gaze into that!”—Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)


Sai K Narayanan

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.


DR.V.N.KRISHNA IYER (1901-1969) SMT.SARASWATHI KRISHNAN(1913-1944)

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.

My friend, Sri Sai Narayanan, despite his cruel handicap of blindness, has been a creative genius. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was right when he said that towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions unexplored. The definition of genius is that it acts unconsciously and those who produce immortal works do so without knowing how or why. Genius is gifted with a vitality which is expended in the enrichment of life through the discovery of new worlds of feeling. In all these senses Sri Sai Narayanan is a remarkable genius. In 2008, I wrote two articles on his creative endeavors and achievements in the field of medicoastrology. Subsequently, I had the good fortune of reading his musical compositions in Tamil. In this monograph, I am going to touch upon the different facets of his genius as a composer, as a musicologist, as an astrologer, medicoastrologer and above all as a profound scholar.

There is a Chinese proverb to this effect: There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the really great man is the man who makes every man feel great. Sri Sai Narayanan is such a great man.

I would end this introduction by quoting the words of Will Durant (1885-1981): “Great men speak to us only so far as we have ears and souls to hear them; only so far as we have in us the roots, at least, of that which flowers out in them”.
Chapter 1


Sri Sai Narayanan in a Divine Laya Mood

In November 2008, I wrote two articles on Sri Sai K Narayanan, a versatile Vedic scholar and medico-astrologer, in an Eveninger from Chennai. Sai Narayanan’s father Dr V.N Krishna Iyer (1901-1969) was a legendary Doctor in Trichur town in the old Cochin State.


Sri Sai Narayanan is very well known as a great scholar and medico-astrologer. What is not so well known is that he is also an exceptionally brilliant and original musicologist and composer of music. As a linguist, he knows several languages like Tamil, English, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Hindi and German. THOUGH HE LOST HIS POWER OF SIGHT IN HIS EARLY 20’S, YET WITH GREAT FORTITUDE, TREMENDOUS SPIRITUAL COMMITMENT, ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM, HE HAS DEDICATED HIMSELF TO THE SACRED CAUSE OF NAADA-BRAHMAN DURING THE LAST 5 DECADES.


Sri Sai Narayanan and Shrimathi Lakshmi Sai Narayanan


Sri Sai Narayanan has composed more than 12000 devotional songs—nearly 9000 of them in Tamil and the remaining 3000 in Malayalam and Sanskrit. 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 debt of thanksgiving and gratitude.

He has composed and published 2 ‘Villupattu’ books in Tamil titled ‘Sundara Kaandam’ and ‘Nei Abhishekha Mahimai’ which were released and rendered by Kalaimamani Sri Subbu Arumugam at Sri Ayyappa Seva Samajam,

SRI SAI NARAYANAN WITH VILLUPATTU MAESTRO SUBBU ARUMUGAM

























FRONT COVERS OF VILLU PATTU BOOKS AUTHORED
BY SRI SAI NARAYANAN

Sri Sai Narayanan has also published two volumes of his Kritis in Tamil set to Svara and Music under the title Manikanda Gaanam, Saidasan Krithigal’. Sangeetha Kalanidhi K V Narayanaswamy wrote a foreword to Volume – I of ‘Manikanda Gaanam’. In his perceptive foreword written in Tamil he observed as follows: “Sri Sai Narayanan started composing beautiful songs in Malayalam, Sanskrit and Tamil from the age of 14. Endowed with Divine Grace, he has composed 28 soul-stirring Kritis in Tamil dedicated to many Hindu Gods and Goddesses, the Nine Planets etc. as his personal offerings to them as an ardent devotee. These Kritis have been set to music in the appropriate aesthetic framework of Raaga, Swara and Taala which makes it easy for all the performing artists to sing the Kritis composed by him in a limpid and delightful manner”.

Front Cover of ‘Manikanda Gaanam,    Front Cover of ‘Manikanda Gaanam,

     Saidasan Krithigal’ (Volume I)              Saidasan Krithigal’ (Volume II)



SRI K.V.NARAYANASWAMY RELEASING SRI SAI NARAYANAN’S BOOK

In his very evocative introduction Sri Sai Narayanan has rightly stated that in the world of classical Sanskrit learning, Sangeeta and Sahitya are two sides of the same coin. It is interesting to note that right from his childhood days, he had the unique opportunity of listening to the live performances of the great masters of Carnatic music at his own residence in Trichur from 1947 to 1965. His father Dr V.N Krishna Iyer was a great connoisseur of Carnatic music and he used to invite legendary musicians like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, G. N Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, M.L Vasantha Kumari and other doyens of Carnatic music to his residence at Trichur for giving their scintillating performances year after year. It is not therefore surprising to see that the letter and spirit of Carnatic music were able to penetrate and permeate the soul of Sri Sai Narayanan with such verve and ecstasy as to get duly reflected in his Kritis.

Sri Sai Narayanan is an ardent devotee of Lord Aiyappa and he has sung several songs in praise of Lord Aiyappa. I have no doubt that Lord Aiyappa has conferred upon him his special Divine Grace without which he could never have composed such beautiful songs in classical Tamil. The relation of faith between subject and object is unique in every case. Hundreds may believe, but each has to believe by himself. Faith speaks when hope dissembles; faith lives when hope dies dead. Sri Sai Narayanan is a man of absolute and irrevocable faith in Lord Aiyappa. Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. It has been so with him for a lifetime. I am presenting below a song dedicated to Lord Aiyappa (Please see page 72 of Volume I of Manikanda Gananm)



In particular I have been moved by his songs on Ambaal (Please see page 88 of Volume I of Manikanda Gananm). I am presenting the text of this Kriti in Tamil below.
In Volume II of ‘Manikanda Gaanam, Saidasan Krithigal’, there are 52 Kritis in Tamil. Sri T.S Parthasarathy, the veteran musicologist and former Vice President of the Music Academy, Chennai, has written a brilliant foreword to Volume II. The senior and respected Carnatic musician Smt Prema Hariharan has written a Preface to this Volume II. She has also composed the music for these 52 Kritis in Volume II of this work. She has observed as follows: “Shri Sai Narayanan is endowed with Divine Grace, exceptional versatility in the field of Carnatic Music, and exquisite felicity of unique expression. It is not therefore surprising that he has been able to compose beautiful and sublime songs dedicated to several Hindu Gods and Goddesses with a spontaneous, natural and unique aplomb all his own. No one can fail to notice the fact that there is a naturally splendid and easy flow in the Sahitya of Shri Sai Narayanan. I would appeal to all the performing artistes to sing these songs in order to popularize them among the larger public.”

I have been greatly moved and touched by Sri Sai Narayanan’s composition dedicated to Lord Shiva. (Please see page 36 of Volume II of Manikanda Gananm). I am presenting below the text of this song.




Among the many exquisitely beautiful Kritis in Volume II of ‘Manikanda Gaanam, Saidasan Krithigal’, I have been especially captivated by the Kriti dedicated to Goddess Saraswati in Saraswati Raaga. When I went through the text of this Kriti, instantaneously summoning the underlying and inherent music of this Kriti to the recesses of my soul and inner being, I came under its spell. I found myself in a state of sudden spurt of joy and ecstasy, with an absolutely fresh new blood coursing through my veins. In this context, the following words of the great English poet, W.H Auden (1907-1973) rushed to my mind and heart: “A verbal art like poetry is reflective, it stops to think. Music is immediate; it goes on to BECOME.”

I am presenting below the text of this song dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi (Please see page 50 of Volume II of ‘Manikanda Ganam).



The beautiful Kritis flowing out of the majestic soul of Sri Sai Narayanan in interminable succession, in a grand, glorious, gleaming and glowing manner shining through the gloom of his sightless physical darkness, lifts us all to unimagined flights of joy, ecstasy, understanding and peace. In a poem dedicated to the great blind Greek poet Homer, John Keats (1795-1821) wrote as follows:


“There is a budding morrow in midnight

There is a triple sight in blindness keen.”


Perhaps Sophocles, the ancient Greek playwright (497 BC- 407 BC) had blind composers like Sri Sai Narayanan when he wrote as follows:


“As they say of the blind

Sounds are the things I see”.

SRI SAI NARAYANAN WITH SANGEETHA KALANIDHI DR.BALAMURALIKRISHNA

Despite the great disability caused by near total blindness from the late 1960’s, Sri Sai Narayanan has composed more than 12000 songs in Tamil, Malayalam and Sanskrit. His achievement in the field of music and song, brings to my mind the instance of John Milton (1608 –1674). He became blind in 1654 forcing him to dictate his verse and prose to amanuenses (helpers), one of whom was the poet Andrew Marvell. One of his best-known sonnets, On His Blindness, is presumed to date from this period. That sonnet is worth quoting:


“When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent which is death to hide

Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest he returning chide,

"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts: who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed

And post o'er land and ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Surdas (1479 - 1584) was also a blind Hindi poet who lived in Vraj around Mathura. He is an important poet in India’s Bhakti Movement. Whatever little knowledge we have of Surdas's life comes from Ain-e-Akbari and Munshiat-e-Abul-Fazl, both written during the time of Akbar. Surdas has been called the Sun in the sky of Hindi literature. He was best known for collection of his composition 'Sursagar'. This famous collection is originally said to contain 100,000 songs, though, only 8000 poems remain today. These songs present a vivid description of childhood Lilas of Lord Krishna. Sri Sai Narayanan also revels in beautiful and detailed descriptions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses like Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Parvati. He is able to visualize and describe these Gods and Goddesses because of his original creative genius. Recently I came across a Persian proverb that I feel was perhaps conceived only against the background of creative geniuses battling against their disabilities like Sri Sai Narayanan: “One may have good eyes and see nothing. A blind man who sees is better than a seeing man who is blind”.


We may certainly see God in all arts and in all sciences, but in music alone we see God free from all forms and thoughts. In every other art there is idolatry. Every thought, every word has its form. Sound alone is free from form. Every word of great poetry forms a picture in our mind. Sound alone does not make any object appear before us.


What do we see as the principal expression of life in the beauty visible before us? It is movement in line, in colour, in the changes of the seasons, in the rising and falling of the waves, in the wind and in the storm. In all the beauty of nature there is constant movement. It is this movement which has caused day and night and the changing seasons. This movement has given us the comprehension of what we call time. Otherwise there would be no time - for it is eternity. The divine music makes us all part and parcel of this eternity.



SRI T.V.GOPALAKRISHNAN RELEASING SRI SAI NARAYANAN’S CASSETTE

What makes the soul of a blind musician like Sri Sai Narayanan dance? What makes him compose and sing beau¬tiful songs? IT IS THE INSPIRATION THAT HE GETS EVERYDAY EVERY MOMENT FROM DIVINE FAITH AND DIVINE BEAUTY. What has been the wine of his life? The divine beauty of music: beauty in tonal form, line and colour, in imagination, in sentiment, in feeling, in passion. Beauty and sublimity are the two cardinal characteristics of the compositions of Sri Sai Narayanan.


The sheer beauty of his compositions in Tamil calms the conflicts of our rational mind. We are borne aloft by their simple melody, showering their mercy of grace and love across the face of a harsh, hard and loveless world. They are all shafts of egoless light; they seem to sparkle and dance, giving us radiant messages with words that shimmer and weep. I can say with conviction and certainty that their sublime beauty reveals, affirms, charms, delights, enlightens, enfranchises and emancipates us all.


The sublime quality of his compositions gives cubic content to the following beautiful words of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): "For the beautiful in nature we must seek a ground external to ourselves but for the sublime one merely in ourselves". Their ‘sublime’ aspect inspires in all of us an almost infinite desire, a yearning for completion which is always beyond our reach. This ecstatic mood or moment was described by Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) as ‘That sadness, that dissatisfaction, that underlined aspiration towards an undefined deal, that capacity for finding only in music the answer to all our vital problems --- we swim on the shore less sea of passionate scepticism looking for a harbour we never find’.


Sri Sai Narayanan’s daily prayer to the Goddess of Music seems to be:


'You are the life of my life

The heart of my heart

The peace of my mind

The joy of my heart

My creator and protector

And the pilot who takes me across

The stormy ocean of my life'

Sri Sai Narayanan’s love for music and creative genius for beautiful compositions have brought him in close touch with some of the leading musicians in the performing world of Carnatic music.

Sri Sai Narayanan greeting Sri K.J.Yesudas

Sri Sai Narayanan is a great fan of Shivaji Ganesan (1927- 2001). In his career spanning 6 decades, Shivaji Ganesan donned the roles of innumerable Characters--- Puranic, Historic, Political, Social, Cultural, Religious, and Spiritual-with extraordinary distinction. When Shivaji Ganesan received the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Award from the French Government, Sri Sai Narayanan composed a beautiful song in Tamil by a way of his tribute to the multi-faceted genius of Shivaji Ganesan as an actor. He not only composed this beautiful song but also went to the residence of Shivaji Ganesan and sang the song in person, sending that versatile actor and all the members of his family into raptures of joy and happiness.


Sri Sai Narayanan putting a ponnadai on Shivaji Ganesan

I am presenting below the text of that Tamil song. I have heard him sing this song at my residence. The lilting and majestic sweep of this song which leaves no detail of Sivaji Ganesan’s acting career untouched puts us all in a state of thrall. I am giving below the text of this beautiful Tamil song.



I would end this personal tribute by quoting the immortal lines of Khalil Gibran (1883-1931).

‘Oh Your Music!

In Your depths we deposit our heart And Soul

Thou has taught us to see with our Ears

And hear with our hearts’.



                                                            Chapter 2


SAI NARAYANAN - A SCHOLAR AND MEDICOASTROLOGER





SAI NARAYANAN


Born on 9 July 1942, Sai Narayanan has just completed 68 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.


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.





















Veerasimhaavalokaha VolumeI                    Veerasimhaavalokaha VolumeII

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, Sri 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’.


Chapter 3



SAI NARAYANAN - A SCHOLAR AND MEDICOASTROLOGER

SRI SAI NARAYANAN


Astrology or Jyothisha Sastra, as developed by the Maharishis of ancient India, makes a precise study of the position and inter-relation of the stars and planets. It perceives by intuition certain facts which western science can barely demonstrate.


That is why B V Raman rightly says that Astrology may be considered as a science of sciences in as much as it tends to give objective form to man’s desire for a better knowledge of the future. As Dr Castigilini observes in his great work: ‘Adventures of the mind’- ‘Modern research in radiations emitted by the spectrum, the hypotheses that have been recently advanced concerning the relations between solar spots and extraordinary historical events, the publications by Swaboda and Fliess on the laws of septennial periods, all these lead us to think that the intuitive and profoundly human conception, deriving directly from man’s immediate sensitivity to the action of the stars may have a vaster and deeper foundation of truth than was realised when this primitive idea of inter-cosmic solidarity seemed to be forgotten’.


These thoughts rushed through my mind like a cyclone when I read the two volumes of Sai Narayanan’s brilliant English translation of the medico-astrological treatise in Sanskrit called VEERASIMHAAVALOKAHA written by Rajput King Veerasimha of Gwalior belonging to the Tomara Dynasty in 1383. In completing this arduous and exacting work of English translation, Sai Narayanan has been assisted in a magnificent manner by Sri K Ramachandran IA & AS, formerly Finance Director of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL). Sai Narayanan told me during the course of my interview ‘Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was fortunate in finding a James Boswell (1740-1795) to write his famous biography. I have been fortunate in getting the blessing of Sri K Ramachandran’s enlightened assistance based upon his sympathetic and focussed understanding of my total visual disability arising from my blindness’.



VEERASIMHAAVALOKAHA VOLUME I       VEERASIMHAAVALOKAHA VOLUME II

There is no doubt that King Veerasimha’s treatise is an integral part of the origin, history, theory and practice of medicine and astrology dating back to our Vedic heritage and more particularly the Atharvaveda.
The longevity of man’s life upto 100 years has been referred to in the Yajurveda:


And how that span of life can be attained, is given in the Ayurveda, the science of life, with all its therapeutical hints and prescriptions given in the Atharvaveda (in a nucleus form). The extent and object of introducing medical knowledge, therefore, in the Atharvaveda is abundantly clear.


The sage Dhanvantri tells Sushruta that this science of medicine should be studied for the sake of affording relief from suffering to humanity in its pursuit of happiness, for the sake of prolonging our lives and for the sake of the general good of the people.
What are the three causes responsible for all diseases? According to Atharvaveda Samhita, they are:

1.Excretionary matter that could not be ejected out of the body becomes poison and results in the diseases. It is essential that the Doctor should be able to diagnose what the poison is, where it is located and what the treatment is.

2.Microorganism is a cause for diseases. The organism that enters the human body through food material causes the diseases.

3.The TriDoshas—vata, pitta and kapha— are the third cause for the ill health. Several statements in Ayurveda stand as proof confirming the theory of TriDoshas.

We can find all the above ideas suitably analysed and incorporated methodically into the medico-astrological framework of astrological finding, symptomatic finding and diagnosis, and treatment with medicines and/or with sacred rituals furnished by King Veerasimha in his Veerasimhaavalokaha.

The whole text can be sub-divided in the following pattern, in respect of each disease analysed in this Sanskrit treatise:

A.REASON: Sanchitha (past karma)
Just physical—in which there is disorder of vata/pitta/kapha are their combinations.

B.FINDING: Astrological planetary positions
Symptomatic by Dharshana/Sparshana/Prashna method.

C.TREATING: Japam/Homam/Daanam
Preparation of medicines and method of treatment.

King Veerasimha has clearly defined the attributes/qualities of a good Doctor. He has said categorically that more important than naming a disease is diagnosing the exact problem and treating the system correctly. I am giving below the relevant verses from Veerasimhaavalokaha with the relevant English translation done by Sai Narayanan:


The Duty of the Doctor is to relieve the patient’s discomfort and pain whatever be the methodology he adopts.

The above verses of King Veerasimha relating to the professional attributes of a good Doctor can be compared with the following observations of Doctor McDonald Critchley on Sir William Gowers at National Hospital, London: ‘Once again he would go over the points in the history, elucidating, elaborating. His own examination would follow—full, detailed, but without the tedious slowness of some other neurologists. A clinical point, or any unusual symptom or sign would attract his attention…. There was nothing flashy or meretricious therefore in his bedside technique. Hence it was that his diagnostic accuracy proved uncanny’. Can anyone doubt that King Veersimha, more than 800 years ago, was the real precursor of Sir William Gowers?

King Veerasimha, after explaining the Saptha Dhatus, TriDoshas, and Panchaboothas, goes on to explain different types of Fever, according to different etiology and symptoms. Step by step, he goes to other diseases like dysentery, indigestion, worm infestation including jaundice and anemia, tuberculosis, asthma, skin diseases, loss of consciousness, insanity and epilepsy, paraplegia etc.

VEERASIMHAAVALOKAHA VOLUME II

In the second volume of Veerasimhaavalokaha translated in English by Sai Narayanan, he has dealt with the tougher aspects of the work relating to the following.

a.Finding the disease from the astrological position of the planet as per the horoscope

b.Finding the disease from the position of the stars at that particular time when the person approaches the Doctor/Astrologer.

c.How to propitiate or nullify the effect of Sanchita Karma (Poorva Janma Kritam Papam Vyadhi Roopena Jayate).

d.The etiological and other reasons for a particular disease (the present karma)

e.The diagnosis (mentioning the disturbance of humoral principles) of the disease.

f. The treatment methods.

Dr Nedungadi V Haridass has paid this legitimate tribute to Sai Narayanan in these words: ‘Sri Sai Narayanan has applied his mind and soul, to completing the work of translating the tougher section of the book in record time—A TAPASYA INDEED! It is really creditable, that he has been as meticulous as ‘Perunthachan’, the best carpenter the world has ever seen, known for his carved designs in wood’.

Sai Narayanan has made it clear that though Veerasimhaavalokaha is a well-known text for ‘Astro Diagnosis of Diseases’, yet it is not meant for Astrologers but for Vaidhyas (Doctors). But the translation can definitely be used by Astrologers also, in diagnosing the diseases with the planetary positions and thereby prescribe the Prayaaschitta Karmas and then refer to a Doctor for treatment. The names Sai Narayanan uses in the text, for the diseases and medicine, are Malayalam, but Appendices are given at the end, with Botanical names and widely used English words. Hence the book is very user-friendly.

Sri Sai Narayanan’s known expertise in the field of medico-astrology has brought him into close touch with very eminent persons from all walks of life. I am presenting below the photographs of two eminent personalities interacting with Sri Sai Narayanan.


Sri.Sai Narayanan and Smt.Lakshmi Sai Narayanan with Tamil Nadu Governor Dr.P.C.Alexander


Sri Sai Narayanan and Smt Lakshmi Sai Narayanan with Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar

Despite his great physical handicap arising from total blindness, Sai Narayanan seems to give us all this meaningful and inspiring message through his personal example and life of unremitting toil: ‘To manage others successfully, a man must first manage himself. Personal efficiency is creative self-management. It is not getting ahead of others, but getting ahead of yourself. It is having the drive to get started on the task at hand. Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia. It is experimenting to find the best, easiest and quickest ways of getting things done. It is putting first things first, doing one thing at a time and developing the art of concentration. It is not being a slave to a system, but making system a slave to you. It is seeking the counsel of wise men in person and through their writings and using their wisdom and experience to help you to live efficiently. It is guiding your life instead of drifting. It is organising your personal life for efficient living in all the important areas—work, play, love and worship. It is making TIME live for you by making the most of every minute’.

About one week ago I had requested Sri Sai Narayanan to record his Testament Of Faith and to send it to me. He has responded magnificently as only he can with such tremendous verve, passion and emotion. I view it as a privilege to publish the full text of his



Sri Sai Narayanan’s Testament Of Faith

“ ‘Master of my fate and captain of my destiny’ is my philosophy of life. Do not mistake me. I am not a nonbeliever. I sincerely believe in God. But that God resides inside me, as he does inside every being. Every being is an abode of God. So are temples. If the atmosphere in a temple, sanctified for millennia, by poojas and prayers, chantings and offerings, gives you peace of mind, please do go to Tirupathi or Sabarimala or wherever, with your luggage of entreaties. In many cases, the boons sought for by you are granted, as these ancient sites, have been chosen by sages, for the easy passage of boons, from the dimension in which we live and the dimension, from which grace emanates. If going to a temple, chanting mantras, doing poojas is what you believe are essential for a a happy life, please continue. I do not believe in dictation or even in gentle persuasion, in this area of an individual’s relationship with the divine. I believe that this area is sacred, individual, private and personal.


I have read that alpha waves, emanating from our brains are responsible for bad karmas. If we can stop them, our lives will become purer. You are at peace with yourself and the world. Is that not what all of us are aiming at? Talking of beliefs, I also believe in doing good. I believe it will come back, manifold, from sources not necessarily including the persons whom you benefited.


The fact that I move around my house without any help, have a speaking watch that tells me the time, am able to answer and use the cellphone with felicity and take part in all social interactions and am able to carry out my flourishing profession as an astrologer, with minimal help from my ever-supportive wife, Lakshmi, goes to show the level of adjustment I have achieved. The translation of books that I have done and the devotional music I have composed, (two books and a CD full), are further proof of my living a normal life. Thanks goes to the strength given to me, by my philosophy, my personal world view and the God residing in me. All this, without the slightest thought of my being deprived of sight, left behind and long forgotten.


There are any number of persons, deprived of limbs or faculties, who have achieved international fame - lame persons, whom the doctors predicted will never walk, having won international prizes in cycling, deaf persons composing music of world fame, handless persons who paint with their legs. One thing common to all of them is that they all had the will and tenacity of purpose to live and succeed You may call it will. I call it the divine spark residing inside us who holds your hand and leads you to your goal, provided you have the commitment.


I also believe that, everyone gets the same allotment of the invaluable asset, time. What is important, is what you make of it. The claim, that one had no time to accomplish a particular thing, is an idle excuse, that often is a cloak for lack of sincerity.


I also believe, that everyone should reinvent himself or herself by reviewing the day’s events and happenings, before going to bed, taking care to see that one does not become judgmental in the process. If one becomes judgmental, there is always the danger of developing feelings of guilt or riding high. Both are to be avoided, by being objective during the process.


I recognise that I am no Helen Keller or a world mover or shaker. I have, however, the satisfaction of living a normal life, though disabled by blindness. I shall be the happiest person, if my life, inspires other differently abled persons, to do good and live life to the full. ”


Faith always implies the disbelief of a lesser fact in favour of a greater. Faith can also be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurance of the improbable. A little mind often sees the unbelief, without seeing the belief of a large one. Faith of great and noble souls like Sri Sai Narayanan is a living fountain, an unshakable belief in the Grace of God.


Sri Sai Narayanan’s Testament of Faith reminds me of the beautiful poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


“Faith – is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what we see
Up to the scene
That we do not.”

Surveying the life and work of Sri Sai Narayanan, I am only inspired to quote what that great American jurist and shaper of American Law, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935), had to say about ‘The Secret Isolated Joy Of The Thinker’: ‘No man has earned the right to intellectual ambition until he has learned to lay his course by a star which he has never seen—to dig by the divining rod for springs which he may never reach. In saying this, I point to that which will make your study heroic. For I say unto you in all sadness of conviction, that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alone—when you have felt around you a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and in despair have trusted to your own unshaken will,—then only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that, a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten, men who had never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought,—the subtle rapture of a postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army. And if this joy should not be yours, still it is only thus that you can know that you have done what lay in you to do,—can say that you have lived and be ready for the end.’


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