Mysterious but believed to be powerful, Varma Kalai is an ancient art and immense knowledge of martial art and esoteric healing art originated from Tamil Nadu in South India. The name translates to “The Art of Vital Points”. By using this art one can be healed or harmed by using the vital points in one’s body.
Legend says Lord Shiva developed this art and resurrected an elephant. He taught this art to his son Lord Murugan. Murugan passed the knowledge of Varmams to the sage Agastya in disguise of an old man. Agastya then recorded it and disseminated the skill among his students. Agastya was deemed as the leader of all Vedic sages in Hinduism and the pioneer of many Siddha disciplines including the Varmakalai.
List of Varma kalai
- Thodu Varmam
- Padu Varmam
- Thattu Varmam
- Nooku Varmam
Varma Kalai has been classified into 4 types:
A) Thodu Varmam: It has 96 vital points which are not deadly but can affect the victim by disabling the body, organ movements, and function.
B) Padu Varmam: It has 12 vital points that are fatal and cause immediate and severe effects upon the victim.
C) Thattu Varmam: It has decisive vital points which can be used only by an aasan. These are kept confidential until the aasan pass on the knowledge to the selected disciple
D) Nooku Varmam: It is the most advanced and difficult part. It consists of triggering vital points by concentrating on the target. It takes several years of practice to become an expert in Nooku Varmam.
Varma Kalai teachers known as Aasan and Periyaasan are very selective in the choice of students. Disciples must meet a large number of pre-requisites. Beyond martial arts competence, they are required to have an understanding of biology, physics, chemistry, maths, political science, astronomy, yoga, military tactics, horsemanship, elephant riding, and Hindu philosophy, etc. The Varma Kalai martial artist is not allowed to teach the art to others until he receives Deeksha from his Aasan as recognition of him as an Aasan.
The art was taught only to selected individuals, but due to the strict requirements for new students, it never gained large numbers of adherents. Due to its secretive nature, Varma Kalai remained largely unknown even in India until the release of the movie Indian, in which Kamal Hassan played the role of a Varma Kalai expert. The film’s popularity resurrected interest in the art. Currently, Varma Kalai is practiced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, usually as part of Kuttuvarisai and Kalari training.
According to Varma Kalai aasans, our body has 350 therapeutic Varma points and 108 lethal Varma points which can be attacked. These points are also called Marma. Application of pressure or insertion of needles on the Marma points which are on the body surface will affect the flow of vital energy along our Nadis. An attack on these points can render the receiver immobile after the attack. Results can vary from person to person. It also depends on the force and velocity used to strike.
This is an art with endless possibilities. It can win a war. It can heal an outbreak. It can make the world a better place. Or it can kill someone and used as a tool for mass destruction. It only depends on the way it is used. To protect it from falling into wrong hands it has been always kept secret. It has been forgotten by its creator. In this fight of keeping it away from evils, it is being perished.