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Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri – Story – Great Kerala Astrologer

Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri was a famous astrologer (Jyotisha panditan) who lived during the 13th century CE in Kerala. He lived at Alathiyoor village near Thirunavaya. As per some scholars, he was born in 1537 CE and died in 1632 CE.

Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri is famous for this commentary on the first 10 chapters of the Brihat Jataka of Varahamihira. The text is famous as Dasadhyayi. He also wrote Muhurtaratnam and some other astrological texts. This is mentioned by Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer in his Kerala Sahitya Charitram. 

He did higher studies in astrology from Thanjavur Alwar.

It is said that Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri could predict even the death time of a person after writing the horoscope of the person. It is said that Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri had a child in a Ganika woman and as result of this relationship he became an outcaste.

Pazhoor Kanniyanmar in Kerala claim that they are from the lineage of Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri.

It is said that Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri predicted the time of his death and he was buried in Pazhoor Padippura.

Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri Story

Once, Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri went through his horoscope and realized that he was going to lose his status in his community very soon. He was a Brahmin and according to the custom prevailed then a Brahmin will lose his status if he indulged in physical relation with a woman belonging to lower caste. Being an astrologer he knew that he cannot avert fate. Still he wanted to challenge fate. He decided to go for a pilgrimage. His plan was to never to stay at place and therefore there would be no chance of making acquaintance with women.

On the day mentioned in the horoscope, he reached the village of Pazhoor. He decided to spend the night there with his friends. To avoid fate they hired a traditional snake boat of Kerala and moved in the Pazhoor River. They decided to spend the whole night in the river itself. So there will not be any chance for Bhattathiri meeting a woman.

At midnight climate changed suddenly and there was heavy rain. In the heavy rain and storm the boat turned upside down. Bhattathiri managed to reach the river bank. He walked and soon saw a light from an oil lamp kept in the padippura of a house. As he entered in that padippura he saw a mat. As he was so tired he slept on the mat.

The head of that family was a drunkard. He came there in inebriated condition in the evening and had a fight with his wife and left the house. So his wife was alone in the house and she was waiting for him. Soon she came out of the house to check if her husband had returned. She saw someone sleeping on the mat at padippura. She thought it was her husband. She went and slept on the mat.

As it was cold they moved closer to each other and in deep sleep Bhattathiri mated with the woman. In the morning Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri realized that he had mated with a non-brahmin woman as written in horoscope. The woman was a Kaniyathi – who practiced astrology.

Bhattathiri revealed who he was and told her about his findings in his own horoscope. Then he consoled her saying it was fate and no human being can escape it. Then he blessed her saying that she will give birth to a boy from their relation and that boy will become a famous astrologer. He then left for pilgrimage.

In due course of time, the woman gave birth to a boy child. He completed his education and took up astrology as his profession.

Once, a Brahmin approached the young astrologer. He wanted to know if his wife would give birth to a boy this time. The young astrologer agreed to help him and went to the Brahmin’s house. Brahmin introduced the young astrologer to a gypsy saint who was staying with them for a day.

After studying horoscope and performing rituals, the young astrologer predicted that this time too it will be a girl child.

The gypsy saint interfered and told that it will be a boy. This started a debate between the young astrologer and the gypsy. The gypsy asked the Brahmin to allow him to stay there till his wife delivered. Brahmin allowed it.

The day of delivery arrived. As both the gypsy and the young astrologer were waiting to see the result of their predictions, they heard the loud voice of a servant who was shouting that a cow was about to deliver. Then the Brahmin asked both of them about the calf. Young astrologer told that it will have a white patch on the forehead. Gypsy told that it will not be a white patch on the forehead but with white hairs on the tail.

To the surprise of the young astrologer it was a calf with white hairs on the tail. And soon the wife gave birth to a baby boy. The young astrologer was so sure that he did the correct studies as per the texts and he performed all the rituals correctly before giving the prediction. Then he suspected the identity of the gypsy. He was sure that the gypsy is no ordinary man. Soon, he realized the gypsy was his father Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri.

The young astrologer was happy to meet his father for the first time in his life. He insisted that his father should come to his home. Bhattathiri agreed and they proceeded to Pazhoor. On the way he asked his father about the wrong predictions. In reply Bhattathiri told him that it was lack of observation power that resulted in wrong predictions. When a fetus is less than three months old its gender can be changed. He advised his son never to make prediction if the fetus is less than three months.

Again he pointed out that when the calf was inside the womb of the cow its tail had come to its head and he mistook the white hairs as white patch on the forehead. 

Enjoying the hospitality of his son and his mother, Bhattathiri stayed there for two days. Then he decided to leave. But his son was not ready to let his father wander again and insisted he stay with him. Thalakkulathur Bhattathiri spent his remaining days with his son, giving him advice in astrology. 

As time passed Bhattathiri realized that it was time for his death. He told his son about it and asked him not to cremate his body but to bury his body in the padippura. So, that his soul would remain there forever. And all the predictions made by the family sitting inside the padippura will be accurate. Saying this Bhattathiri went to the padippura and laid himself on the floor and died

As per Bhattathiri’s directions, his son buried his body inside the padippura. It is believed that even now Bhattathiri’s soul is there and the predictions made inside the padippura by the family members will be accurate.