Modern Vedic Jyotish

Friday, March 11, 2005

PASSING AWAY OF A LEGEND

By Madhu N Nair


Professor N.E Muthuswami, the father of Astrological renaissance movement of Kerala passed away on 28th February 2005. He was the beacon light, crusader and guiding personality of Astrology in Kerala. He held a proactive role in the growth and development of astrology in Kerala. He brought distinction and luster to the astrological discipline through his tireless and persistent work.

Introduction
Muthuswami was born as the third child of Sri N.S.Ewasara Iyer and Smt.A.V. Anandalexmi ammal on 26th December 1925. After primary education he took Mahopadhaya ( in Vyakarana and Tarka) with flying colours from Government Sanskrit college Trivandrum. Later he did D.I.M a six year course from Ayurveda College Trivandrum. In the mean while, he privately passed Hindi Sahithya Ratna and Hindi Vidwan course. Had a brief stint as lecturer in Mar Ivanios College Trivandrum, Quilon S.N.College and ST Hindu College, Nagercoil. He joined as Hindi lecturer in University College Trivandrum in 1954; and later served as the principal of Government Hindi college Thrissur and as a Professor in Pattambi Sanskrit College and finally as an editor in Ayurveda College Trivandrum. He retired from service in 1981.

Debutant of Prof.Muthuswami

Subsequent to his retirement he was actively involved in teaching and publication of astrological textbooks, He established Jyothisha Prachara Sabha in 1984 for the propagation of Astrological wisdom. At a time when astrology in Kerala had lost its ancient glory and was languishing Prof. Muthuswami made his debutant. Astrology, at that time, was practically confined to few Sanskrit scholars with limited clientele. It was due to Prof. Muthuswami’s effort, astrology was brought to the door step of lay men. Prof. magnified the ingredients of the Jyothish both in his pith and content and revived the dying subject to re-emerge in Kerala’s social life in a dynamic and vibrant form. It could be rightly said that Prof Muthuswami laid down the foundation of applied astrology in Kerala in the closing decade of last century.

He was a true scion in the illustrious linage of Keralite astrological scholars like Thalakulathur Bhattathiri, Kaikulangara Rama Warrier Punnasseri Nilakanda Sharma. However he excelled them in the number of astrological publication and was responsible for the democratization of astrology that was hitherto accessible only to the privileged few.

Invaluable contributions
Through his incisive writings, brilliant translation into Malayalam critical classical astrological textbooks and the scintillating lecturers he gave in his classes, he established a case for astrology. He has translated or written more than 70 books in Astrology. Specific mention may be made about “Jyothisha phala Nikandu’ an annotated dictionary of predictive astrology. This book is considered to be a milestone in astrological literature and is often treated as a mini encyclopedia rather than as a dictionary.

Secular and Progressive Outlook

Though Prof. Muthuswami was a Brahmin to the core and never deviated from the bramanic way of life, he had a very progressive and secular outlook. This is evident from his disciples coming from various caste and religion. Perhaps for the first time in Kerala without gender bias, astrology was taught to the women also.

A Pedagogue par Excellence

Professor’s classes were verily an un-describable experience. Since he encouraged scientific amateurism, countless men and women from engineering, medical, law and other branches of knowledge were attracted to astrology and used to attend his classes.

Social Commitment

None of his predecessors in Kerala had exhibited social commitment, in the manner Prof.Muthuswami did. Being a visionary with missionary zeal, he organized single handedly, more than 60 astrological seminars to create awareness of astrology among public and was pioneer in rendering nearly 40 astrological classics in Sanskrit, in audio cassettes, so as to facilitate the correct rendering of the same; a useful addition, both to the novice and practitioner. He leaves behind a rich legacy through his 70 and odd writings. He had taught and trained thousands in astrology in his inimitable manner.

He was instrumental for bringing astrological luminaries to Trivandrum including revered Dr.B.V.Raman, the father of modern astrology, Mrs.Gayathri devi Vasudev, the editor of renowned Astrological magazine, V.S.Kalyanaraman IPS the eminent astrological scholar etc.

I am sure he will be spoken with great respect in the top echelon of astrologers and will be long remembered by the astrological posterity of Kerala.