U.G.'s maternal grandfather, Pantulu, was always eager to know what the future might hold for Krishna, or 'Kittu', as he called him [his grandmother called him 'Ramdu'], and had complete faith in Nadi astrology. One day, he took him to a Koumara Nadi astrologer he knew in Roypet. The astrologer received them cordially and inquired about their welfare. Seeing Krishna, he asked, 'Is he your grandson, Sir?' Pantulu replied, 'Yes, he is my daughter's son. I have brought him to you to know his future life. Here is his horoscope.' So saying, Pantulu handed the horoscope to the astrologer. 'Good, please wait.' The astrologer took the horoscope and went to search for the corresponding palm leaf book from ancient times.
It is said that the word 'nadi' means search. In Dravidian languages, particularly in old Tamil, these books were written on palm leaves (they were also written in Sanskrit, and though rarely, in Telugu). Many such books are popular in the Vaitheeswaran Koil area of Tamil Nadu. According to legend, Lord Shiva once incarnated as Bhrugu Maharshi. The Maharshi made earnest penance for a long time, attained higher levels of knowledge and powers, and prepared horoscopes of great people and future prophets on palm leaves. Pantulu consulted the Bhrugu Samhita, otherwise known as the Koumara Nadi astrologer. This gentleman was believed to have inherited the original literature of ancient times from his ancestors.
After an hour, the astrologer emerged with palm books written in Tamil. He was sweating profusely and apologized to Pantulu for the delay in searching for the correct horoscope. Wiping the sweat off his face with his upper cloth, he wrote down the whole horoscope of Krishna in Tamil, as written on the palm leaves. Afterwards, he translated it from Tamil to English and read it out to Pantulu before handing it over to him.
Pantulu paid the astrologer lavishly and took leave of him. He and Krishna walked to a typing institute. As the astrologer's manuscript got typed, Krishna observed the machine. The typist was not looking at the keyboard, though he typed speedily. Krishna keenly observed how his fingers were moving on the entire keyboard. He was surprised at the skill of the typist. Then they returned to Adyar.
On the return from Roypet, Pantulu was thoughtful and silent. Krishna attempted to talk to him and walked around him. He asked what the typed papers meant. Pantulu looked at Krishna silently for a few moments and spoke to him softly, 'Kittu, they say that if you read well, you will become a famous and a great person. So concentrate all your attention on your education. You must work hard. Do you understand?' Pantulu was imagining the great banyan tree lying dormant in the small seed.
Krishna expected something else from his grandfather. Had that Tamil astrologer babbled only this nonsense for so many hours? He suspected that his grandfather was hiding something from him and decided to find out the truth for himself in due course. Slowly, he left the room and walked out on the veranda. A number of children were at play there and he watched them attentively for some time.
Pantulu recalled his daughter's last words. On her deathbed, she had told him the same thing as the astrologer—the one matched with the other exactly. Her prophesy was not an imaginative wish. It was now clear that her words were destined to take shape in the future as reality.
Koumara Nadi Reading (1925)