Before you get to know what an Olai Chuvadi is, you need to know about Naadi Jothidam. I went to see Naadi Jothidam, in India , Vaitheeswaran kovil, when I was 13 years old. Apparently every human being’s life story is written in leaf or wooden parchments. These were written by an ancient sage (Agathiyar) who lived in India many centuries ago. He had enough wisdom to foresee how many people were to be born into this world and he wrote all of their life stories. It is unbelievable and unimaginable thing to do. Out of interest my family and I went to see the Naadi jothidar.
Naadi’ means, ‘In search of’ in Tamil.
Since a person goes ‘in search of’ his scripture(Olai chuvadi), using his thumb impression, it’s called ‘Naadi Jothidam’.
First, Thumb impression(right for male, left for female) are taken, and the astrologer identifies the pattern in the impression and identifies the category in which the scripture(Olai chuvadi) will be found.
Olai chuvadis are tied in bunches of 100(much like stapling 100 papers).
Each bunch has 50 Olais(leafs) and it has contents written on both sides, counting to a total of 100.
So each bunch will have information of 100 persons(one leaf (Olai) for each person).
The first chuvadi is like an index.
The astrologer asks few questions, for which you have to respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and he eliminates the non-matching index Olai’s and finally he might end up in one Olai in which all the questions will end up with getting a ‘Yes’ from you. At that point, they have identified your ‘Olai Chuvadi’.
Then they get the detail scriptures(another bunch of chuvadis) and read it for you.
What wikipedia says:
“Nadi Astrology (‘நாடி ஜோதிடம்’ in Tamil), (nāḍi jyotiṣa) is a form of Hindu astrology practiced in Tamil Nadu, India. It is based on the belief that the past, present and the future lives of all humans were foreseen by Hindu sages known as siddhars in ancient time.
The texts are mainly written in Vatelettu, which is an ancient Tamil script. There are different schools of thought as to the author of these leaves. They were written by a Tamil sage called Agathiyar who is said to have had divine revelations. This doctrine of astrology was made famous by astrologers around the Vaitheesawaran Temple in the state of Tamil Nadu. Based on the thumb impression, Nadi leaves are found.
These Nadi leaves were initially stored in the premises of Tanjore Saraswathi Mahal Library of Tamil Nadu. The British rulers later showed interest in the Nadi leaves concerned with herbs and medicine, future prediction etc.; but ironically left most of the Nadi prediction leaves to their loyal people. Some leaves got destroyed and the remaining were auctioned during the British rule. These Nadi leaves were obtained and possessed by the families of astrologers in Vaitheeswaran Temple. This was passed down the years from one generation to the other.