Varma kalai, Varmakalai, marma kalai, Marma Adi- The art of South Indian martial art
Varma Kalai, also known as Marma Adi ,is one of the oldest and
deadliest forms of South Indian martial art in history developed in
TamilNadu India) . The tamil word “Varma Kalai” literally means The Art of
Vital Points. Varma Kalai uses
pressure and precise strikes to vulnerable pressure points on the human body to
heal, maim or even kill someone depending on what part of he body is it and how
much pressure is applied based on periodic energy flows (time-dependent)
streaming through the body along meridians.
Varma adii or marma adi (also called Varma Kalari ) or Varma Kalai is practised in old Travancore including present day Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and is called the southern style of
kalarippayattu. Its a unique Neuro Martial Art in warfare practised by the Royal Thiruppad Nadans to defeat/kill the enemy without any external injuries are called
Varmam. Varma Kalai is the master of all arts, royal to its name, practised by Asaans ( masters). An Asaan of special rank is a master over 108 Kalaries. These Asaans were the real kingmakers and known as Gramavadins or Gramanis, a term applied to communities like Nadars and Devars. They were the very ancient rulers of South India.
Varmam or Marmam
When one is affected by Varmam, it stimulates or blocks one or more of the 10 Vayus (air) governing the life centers of the body, which in turn acts on the Sapta Dhathu (Seven Vitals) of the body namely Ninam, Kapham, Majjai, Suklam, Moothiram Pethi and Viyarvai (blood, lipid, marrow, semen, urine, stools, sweat) respectively, and makes the desired effect to the enemy and causes his death or unconsciousness.
This Art is the one mentioned in the 300000 Grandhas (Books) of the early Sidhas. More than 75% of the original Sastras have been either lost, sold out or destroyed due to negligence and also through the over conservative character of the people who handled this Art. Yet, there are sufficient quantity of these rare Grandhas, in the form of Palm-Leaf Texts in Southern India, especially in Malabar, South, and Central Travancore. The Asaans of Kanyakumari, Kollam and Trivandrum Districts, although getting weaker at present, are still alive to the standard of these rare records. In order to learn this Art, it was necessary to work with an Asaan for a minimum period of 12 years in those days.
This Art was not taught to anyone who came forward.
There are some quality specified for the student of the Art, as specifid in the following verses related to this art:
"Sishyanentru panirandu varidam kaathal, Mathiyan puthi avanil irunthuthanaal, Appane karuthudan porul vanki Nool than Eiiye, Eiiyvado Yerukkappa, Sivayogikke, Igathile Chandalarku Eiinthayanaal, Chavu- Adupol, Paazh naragil veelntai sonnen."
This can be translated somewhat like:
Who is the worthy one to be taught? Keeping for years twelve, under you, And if you find in him the quality desired, My son, spare the secret knowledge to him, But, who the one to be taught by you? None, none, but a Saint! - a Shiva Yogi Beware it be not given to the unjust of this world, Lest thou be fallen into the pits of hell-fire
Although most of the vital Marma Sastra treatise is lost, presently more than 100 are traced out. Each book (in Palm-Leaf Text) consists of 100 to 1000 verses, written in Malayalam using Tamil scripts with Tamil phonetics.These Sastras were not available to common men until the recent past when it was openly published by some of the Asaans. One of such publications made by K.Kochukrishnan Nadar, in the year 1970, in the Malayalam language, but with Tamil phonetics, is given below:
1.Brahma Nila Sutram, 2. Vahada Nidanam, 3. Marma Nidanam, 4. Kadikaram (Kannadi), 5. Marma Sutram, 6. Marma Sutra Thiravukol, 7. Agastiya Thiravukol, 8. Marma Thiravukol, 9. Marma Aani Thiravukol, 10. Marma Kandi, 11. Marma Bheerangi, 12. Marma Bheerangi Thiravukol, 13. Marma Narambarai, 14. Ulpathi Narambarai, 15. Odi Muri Chari', 16. Kettu Mura Chari, 17. Odivu Murivu Kettu Suttiram, 18. Murivu Kettu Thiravukol, 19. Narambarai Suttiram, 20. Kaivallyam, 21. Marma Alavu Nool, 22. Naalu Mani Mathirai, 23. Marma Kuru Naadi Sasthram, 24. Kuru Naadi Sasthram.
It is surprising to notice that the Marma Sastra treatise contains a lot of philosophical treatment in addition to its human anatomy and medicinal prescriptions. The Palm Leaf record is mostly in the form of crude poetical recital. The prayers offered to god or goddess is noteworthy:
Aadi mudal antham, mudivillatha gnanam, Anaithu uyirkum uyiragi Aan pen yillanagi, Othi mudiyatha sakti, Umayagi, Omkaram athil thontri ulakukkellam, Niidam udan sristi, sthiti, samharam Cheyyum nimalar moovar paadam adipanichu Karimugana tholuthu Kodi Anda Pindam Kaappu thane
To translate it:
To that infinite, fothomless abstract Of Gnana from the Alpha to Omega, And, which the Gnana by itself Is the Omega and Alpha, and That which has sprung up as life, In the whole beings of Universe, but Which by itself is neither male nor female Yet, works as male and female in everything, And that light which is the cosmic power beyond praise One which is the Shakti born as Universal Mother, Within the Cosmic letter Om-supreme, And that power which has spread out into three For creation, preservation and destruction To you, I bow down and submit myself, for thy help May the help come from the Cosmic supreme to me .
The origin of this Varma Kalai is not possible to be strictly specified.
In most of the Sastras, different Sages tell to their children or disciples, specially using the term, "ente makane kelkoo", meaning, "hear my son". This allows us to think that this branch of science was handled by specific family attached to Saintly Rulers because the subject deals with wars, wounds, cures, and saving the life. It also maintains a link with god because we observe that whenever an Asaan needs to revive a semi-conscious or unconscious victim, he pleads with the god-supreme to make his attempt a success. This connection links up the material body with the spiritual 'life' or Soul, through the mediums of panchabhootha or five elements activating the movement of "life" within the body, carried through the ten vayus. As a matter of fact, this is the fundamental principle of Yoga and Samadhi connected with Saints. To cite an example to this special character:
Indriyam lingathil kandidilo Enthan Guruveai Uzhl ninainthu Munthi thilartham ara yira kiil, Puramaa murayai elakka sugamaame.
Naakkathu ulle vaankidukil Nalamaai Edathu kaal thudaiporuthil Ethamaai vithi murayai thaakka Thaanulle amartha chariyagum
If semen appears to ooze out from the male organ, due to an infliction on Marma spot, think your Master: pray to god, and slowly press on half measure below the "Thilartham", touch and soothen the place, and the victim will get well, and the oozing of semen will stop.
If the tongue gets pulled in, due to infliction on marmam, press and kick the hip joint to the correct measure; and the tongue will retain its normal position.
What a strange phenomenon to play with the hip joint to rectify the defect at the root of the tongue! The Masters of Marma Kalari are very thorough with the number and position of human veins, arteries, ligaments and the activation of life centres. The following version explains to it:
Solvom Naadi njarampin thohaye kelu, Kelappa, Chenni thanil Aayiramaagum, Chirantha Chevi rantilum Moovayiram, Chirana Kan randil naalayiram, Cheppukiren Mookkathil moovayirathu munnooti muppathakum, Aagume Thol, pidari Aayiram thaan, appane karuvinil mulathavare
Vaarana kantathil Aayiramentrum, Vantha karam rantilum moovayiram Valar thozhin kiil Thoppilin mel kurana pidariyin kiil Yennayiram Kurippaga Vila mudal moovayiramaagum Verana Lingam athil Yiirezhayiram entru esampinaare
It explains that:
The veins for chin-1000, Ears-3000, Eyes -4000, Nose-3330, Soulder-1000; Neck-1000, Arms -3000, Soulders to Navel-3000, and in the Linga or the Male Organ-14000 etc
The list goes on like this, explaining details of every part of human body, including the hairs. It is very surprising to see that the Marma Kalari Asans had knowledge of a crude form of genetics or germinalogy. The following stay witness to it:
Thanentra vinduvodu Vaayu sentru, Malarkkul viilnthal, malarilulla Ethalkalellam moodikollum Thenentra vaayu vodu Theyu nintru thirattum thane: Sol periya thinam ontril kadugu polam, Thinam naanil Malli polam Mattumaintham Nalathile Mani polam Amappa thinamaaril Nellikkai polai, Aana thinam Ezhukku Punnaikkai pol. Omappa, Ettam naal Panchapootham, Ormayudan Ehil thontrum Panchasharam Pathu mudal Ainthu naalum Kozhi anda vadivathagum Achappa Aaru thinkal Guda dwaram Narampu than Ezhupathiirayiramaachu, Charam petra Onpathile Uyir than vanthu. Santahmaru gnanam undaam Uchivazhi muttum Uram petta Vindu aachu, Utta thayar avarkalkku aayasamachuu
In the first day of union of the male and female eggs, it takes the form of mustard seed, fourth day as coriander seed, and in the sixth day as amlaki. In the eighth day the five elements (Panchabhootham) takes charge; Ninth day it takes the size of a crow's egg. In the 10th to the 15th day, it grows to the size of a hen's egg. In the sixth month the excretory system of anal opening develops; and in between the sixth and seventh months the veins take form-totalling 72000. In the ninth month life comes to stay with six types of knowledge in it, and the mother feels tired.
So this Sastra deals with every details of the human body from its first day of formation to its end, studying all the required aspects of its growth, infliction and the remedies. The Sastra does not encourage harming any man through the application of this Marma Kalari. But it urges to use it only as a self-defence. It recommends avoiding a confrontation.
Thanakku Yethiri yar vanthalum thaninthu pinvankum Nallon pole, Naay entru unnai avan yesinalum Nayakane entru nee pottikondu suruthy solli Nee poga ethirppanagil, thurisamudan Nee saiyyum muraiyum solven
Even if your enemy charges you, say welfare to him, but, if the enemy still attacks you, I teach you the ways to handle him quickly.
This is a very noble character, which was found in the early Jains and the Buddhists. Peace was the aim of the community. But, if someone violates the codes of peace, nothing wrong to arrest his pride for which the Marma Kalari may be applied.
There is a form of Kalari with sticks (Chilambam). There are many branches under it. Dr.J.David Manuel Raj has written a book on it " History of Chilambam Fencing". Sticks or swords can be used as the offensive weapon. When applied with sticks, the infliction of marmam is very effective. For example:
Valatha eduthu valathu veesi, Edatha madakki othiram. Mugathinu, kaalinu, kaalinu mugathinu. Edatha madakki Othiram, kadathala, Munathala, Pirathara.
This is the first step, which slowly increases into 12, 108, and 1008 etc, each aiming at the Marma centres of the body.
Yet another example of applied Varma Kalari is given below:
Pakarume Kaattinile maattan vannu Pazhi kedu chathidave thuninthaanakil Agam pathri Odiye nee pnaalumthan Avan nenne vidillanna ennu kandaal Jagathile en Guruve thuna nee ennu Chuvadu moonnu avanayume chutti vannu Ugathile ninaichu randu cuvadu edamaai Udanodi kaal chippi arukilthaane Arukathinil chuzhi athile kai perukki Appane peru viral kondu uuntril Thiramaaga vizguvaane, vizhunthittalo Chippiyile neererum, kaal asainthidaathe Varukume chippikkarukethan Valarnthintha lingam athu churungi pokum Karuvaana mookku thanil neerolikkum Kan sivakkum, kaal asaiyamal tharikkum
It prescribes that:
If you are attacked suddenly in the jungles, and if you are not spared even at the point of extreme humble requests, my son, take the three crucial steps of the Martial Art, circling your opponent; suddenly take two steps to the left and charge your enemy with your toe at the kuzhi of the Kaal chippi.. Your enemy will fall down; swelling will appear on the spot with pain of snakebite. His leg will become numb and motionless. His male organ will be pulled in, and he will bleed through his nose with lipid, his eyes will become red and he will surely die.
Vikada thala Kadamunain Oramaaga Anukki thaakkil, pozhuthu uthikkum Tharunamathil Ezhumpum lingam Poovayarai kandayudan paayum vinthu, Azhum, chirikkum, koothadumappa, Athalathil murivuttal apatham pare
This is an application during the course of Chilampam, or fight with sticks. It says:
If the enemy is attacked at the side point of Kadamuna, in twenty-four hours the male organ will become erect, and on the first sight of a female, he will ejaculate. The victim will cry, he will also laugh and behave like in epilepsy and there is no cure for him.
The following Sastra reveals the secret nature of expression maintained in Varma Kalari:
Chenkathali poothirukkum vanam than pakkam Attham athe kuzhiyin mele, Aakatha Chandi ennaal anainthu paaru, Adiyatta maram pole vizhuvaan maiye
If your enemy is too strong for you, just press him at the small dent of the Poonkathali forest, you will see him fall like an uprooted tree!
So much severe and incredible are the effects of application of Varma Kalari and that much, even more, are the quality, patience and character required to maintain, preserve and handle such an Art. It is totally meaningful that Sainthood is prescribed for the Super-Masters of this Art, like the Saints of Buddhism and Jainism. Four stages are prescribed to become a Super-Master. At the end of the fourth stage he attains the perfect Sainthood observing the sacred codes of "Ahimsa" or Non-Violence, which declares the noble principles of Varma Shastra. By practicing these noble principles of the Varma Shastra, a man shall be enlightened of the true mission of his life on this earth.
Varma Kalai siderable amount of time to learn the healing and combat aspect which has stymied the popularity of this martial art with the youth who choose to study less time-consuming martial arts. So much severe and incredible are the effects of application of Varma Kalai and that much, even more, are the quality, patience and character required to maintain, preserve and handle such an Art. Today this extremely powerful art is losing much of its heritage and is slowly fading away due to lack of transmission of knowledge and deceasing of authentic masters.
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