There are pieces of Indian art and some recorded hand information dating back 3000 years suggesting the ancients in India had studied hand markings and considered them important. This is believed to be the beginning of hand reading as a practiced art. The wider distribution of Indian palmistry spread in Europe when the Gypsies left India in the 13th century.
Over the centuries, the art of interpreting meaning from the hands evolved into several different modalities and spread throughout the world. Today three of the more common forms of this art are called Palmistry, Palm Reading, or Hand Analysis. Some people claim that reading the hands is scientific and have given the skill more scientific names like Dermatoglyphics and Chiromancy.
Today in India the hand readers are divided into three types of readers:
Many modern Indian hand readers place great emphasis on mainly the thumb lines and configuration. Some Indian palmists claim to read from the thumb the complete karmic history of a person. Many western palmists agree that the thumb provides a huge amount of information, mainly about a person's present inclinations to make things happen and succeed in career and life.
Each hand reader's modality is slightly different in how rules are applied and what is identified. Through the ages, various techniques and opinions about the meaning of various markings came and went. However, some rules for obvious hand marks and configuration of fingers have survived because they have proven to be true through repeated observations over the years.
Perhaps the reason for the continuous popularity of various forms of reading hands (as well as reading tea leaves, head bumps, etc.) is that the reader presumably can come up with secret information not known before by the client. Many readers claimed (for a price!) to be able to tell the details about the client's future and even death.
The Indian form of palmistry focuses on helping people understand where their life is headed in the future and what advantages they have to face obstacles. Of course, this is of major interest to everyone and any advice is welcome. So Palmistry in India is a popular service practiced throughout the country, perhaps even more than in any other country.
The popularity of hand reading in India (as well as other forms of divination of information) is astonishing. Perhaps that is because there is not career counseling and other forms of guidance services widely available to the masses. There is also an apparent trust in these modalities for life guidance that has become accepted as part of the culture over time.
The precise meaning of any specific hand mark, finger shape, etc. varies between hand reading modalities and even between individual readers in any modality. There are no widely accepted certifications and standardization organizations anywhere to monitor and control the hand reading practice as a paid service. However in the U.S., there are uncountable classes and "schools" that may even give you a "certification" that is worth only as much as the paper it is printed on.
In most cases, people pay to learn the skill for either self-interest or to make money themselves as a "certified" hand reader. Prices charged for a reading, either in person or online, vary widely from the cost of a sandwich to cost of a hotel room in a major city. Quality and satisfaction of the offered service has little to do with the price charged in most cases.
A major difference between most hand readings in India and in western countries is that in India there is much emphasis on predicting future events and even forthcoming health conditions. In most western hand reading modalities the emphasis is how conditions are right now and possibly how that MAY affect things in the future. This is an important step away from predicting future events precisely.
© Copyright 2010, revised 2013 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding.
All rights reserved worldwide.