A book by Changampuzha Krishna Pillai is set to be published next month, more than 60 years after the poet’s death. While Changampuzha’s romantic poems such as Ramanan were read and sung by all, the new book will showcase his expertise in astrology. Titled ‘Panchanga Ganitham,’ the book talks about the mathematics of astrology.
“We found the original manuscript written in Changampuzha’s own hand. He talks about the mathematical aspects of astrology. It is a guide to astrology,” says Ashok Kumar of Kairali Books, which is bringing out the book.
Few people knew about the poet’s great belief in astrology. Even fewer people knew about the existence of the poet’s own writing on the subject. Those who did know searched for the manuscript at the poet’s home at Edappally or at libraries in Thrissur, the last known home of the manuscript.
While the elusive search went on for years, the original manuscript was in the custody of Edakkad Narayanan, an astrologer and former journalist from Kannur.
“I came by the manuscript in 1972 when I went to Thrissur to see about the publication of a magazine I was bringing out,” says Mr. Narayanan. The manuscript was given to him by a man named Iype, who ran Saraswati Vilasam Press in Thrissur, so that it could be published in serial form in the magazine. The manuscript could not be published then due to copyright issues and it remained out of public eye for long.
While the book made its way to Kannur, a researcher named C. Karunan was hunting for it in Changampuzha’s hometown. “I met his brother and searched among the poet’s books at his house. But I could not find it. I finally traced it to Mr. Narayanan in Kannur,” he says.
Mr. Karunan made a copy of the fading manuscript. “Changampuzha usually preferred to write in violet ink. It was almost a mania with him. This work, strangely, is written using black ink,” he says. The copy he made of the work came in handy as it began falling apart due to age.
Mr. Karunan says that the poet’s fascination with astrology began after the birth of his first son. “He became interested in the subject after he saw his son’s horoscope being prepared. He then learnt the science of it and even began writing horoscope for others,” he says.
The poet is said to have found out that his own horoscope predicted an early death for him. Foreseeing an early death, the poet believed in enjoying the pleasures of life to the fullest. He wrote, “Enthu vannalum enikkaswadikkanam munthiricharu polulloree jeevitham.” [Come what may, I will relish the sweet wine that is life]. The poet died at the age of 36 in 1948. His work, however, continues to excite scholars and laymen alike. The book will be released in May.