Indian Palmistry

The General Shape of the Hand

Palmistry in India has a history going back thousands of years. It is also known as hasta rekha. There are more than one major system in use based on ancient writings. The most popular school is known as samudrika sastra, based on the writings of Samudra. A popular school in the south of India is sariraka sastra based on the writings of Kartikeya. This system is also known as skanda system.

Followers of sariraka sastra claim that this system is the oldest and most authentic, and that samudrika sastra has been diluted and simplified from the original teachings. Sariraka sastra places great emphasis on the rekhas or the lines on the palm. Up to 153 are recognised. In addition, the life line, or the atma rekha or rohini, is read from the base of the palm moving upwards.

Hindu Signs

Signs on the hand play an important part in Hindu palmistry. Old treatises on palmistry discuss 23 different signs, only some of which are part of tradition Western palmistry.

  • Yav At the base of the right thumb yav means a son, at the base of the left thumb yav means an adopted son, when found at the base of the fate line indicates loss of parents at an early age
  • Fish Wealth, prosperity and a comfortable life.
  • Conch Money and fame. A rare mark.
  • Trident A fortunate sign denoting wealth and fame.
  • Lotus or Padma A rare sign with the same meaning as the trident with the added meaning of greatness. Reputed to be on the feet and hands of Lord Krishna or Sri Rama.
  • Canopy Power, wealth and respect. Reputed to be on the feet of Lord Krishna. A rare mark.
  • Circle A rare mark. On the Mount of the Sun this is an auspicious sign but found elsewhere it is not. On the mount of the Moon it indicates death by drowning. One indicates cleverness, two beauty, three luxury, four poverty, five wisdom, six intelligence, seven love of solitude, eight pverty, nine a king, ten a Government servant!
  • Shell or Whorl Also called Shankha. These are found on the tips of the fingers. One shell indicates a king, two wealth, three spiritual power, four poverty, five wealth, six spirituality, seven poverty, eight wealth, nine spirituality, ten poverty.
  • Flag Strength of character, renunciation and purity as well as wealth and success.
  • Bow A rare mark found on the hands of royalty, millionaires and great people.
  • Tree An indicator of success, especially if the branches shoot up.
  • Temple Also known as Shivalaya. A mark of success and wealth in a high position of society.
  • Triangle On the line of Life indicates acquiring a property. On a rascette indicates accession to wealth of others and honour. On the Great Triangle between the Line of Life and the Fate Line indicates military renown.
  • Serpent Opposition from enemies.
  • Sword Also known as Kuther Rekha. On the Mount of the Sun indicates troubles in life.
  • Scales Wealth and prosperity.
  • Moon and Sun Honour, respect and appreciation by others.
  • Swastika Respect, wealth and fame.
  • Diksha Rekha The line of Renunciation found under the Jupiter finger. Indicates intelligence, judgement, wealth, knowlede of the occult sciences and a half rekha indicates an unwillingness to work for material advancement.
  • Hanwant or Kapi Rekha Triangles found on the upper end of the Line of Life, Fate Line, Head Line and Sun Line indicate a highly religious person wiht a clear vision of his deities.
  • Ring of Saturn Encircles the base of the Saturn finger. Magic and occult powers.


Other signs of good luck include the scissors, the arrow, the fishtail, the pitcher, the spearhead and the anklet.

Other signs to look out for are the octagon, Star of Shiva, the signs of the planets, dagoba, cartwheel, lentils, necklace, sunrays, umbrella, double fish-tail, kite, seed, flower, garland, door, mountain and 8-cornered star.

On women's hands, the appearance of the arrow, double square, scales, sword, lotus and 8-cornered star indicate prosperity and long life.

Contrary to a common misconception, there is no instruction to read the left hand on women and the right hand on men. In Ancient India, matters concerning destiny were seen as affecting both men and women equally. The left hand was seen as representing who you are in this world and the right hand, who you will be in the next.

How to find the Ascendant

  • Count the number of vertical lines on the second and third phalanges of the Mercury finger on both hands.
  • Multiply that figure by 13 and add 5.
  • Divide by 12 and find out the remainder.
  • This remainder is used to discover the sign of the Ascendant. The remainder is counted from Aries. 0 = Aries, 1 = Taurus etc.

Names of Lines of the Hands in Various Traditions

Modern WesternMedieval EuropeanIndianPsychodiagnostic
Life LineLine of Life Mother Line
Line of Life
Thenar Line
Heart LineTable Line
Mensal Line
Line of Fortune
Line of FortuneUpper Transverse Line
Head lineNatural Line, Liver Line Father Line
Liver Line
Lower Transverse Line