Learning and Teaching Varmam

Knowledge of varmakalai (the art of varmam) is passed through generation after generation. People who have mastered the art are called asaans (masters). Varma asaans are also known as varmaanis.

Qualities of Varma Asaans

Varma assans are extremely calm in nature; will involve themselves in worship of God. Even in words, they will not show their anger. They are very hesitant in revealing their knowledge; they do not boast themselves. They show their talents only to their students.

If one needs to become a good varma asaan, he/she should have at least minimal knowledge of these arts:

After learning these arts, one will become humble. He / She will automatically become a loving person. It requires at least twelve years to learn these arts.

Varma Student

A varma student has to search for a proper asaan. Most of the time, he/she will end up with fake teachers. It is the duty of the student to find the right asaan. After learning for at least twelve years, a student might know one hundredth of the vast knowledge of varmam. After that, based on student's interest to learn and student's quest for search, he/she might be able to learn the remaining. To achieve that, not only that the student has to go in search of different asaans, additionally student might have to spend lot of money. A lot of time and money has to be spent in learning. May be for that reason, varmakalai is not vastly spread.

Learning Varmam

The student, who wants to learn varmam, should meet the gurukkal (priest) on a new moon day with guru thachinai and kaanikkai (fees). Gurukkal will perform pooja and rituals to either Akasthiyar or Bohar and then the kaanikkai will be offered to the gurukkal. Later varma asaan (varma teacher) will get kaanikkai. Then, asaan will teach the rituals to worship sathguru's like Akasthiyar and Bohar. At that time, starting prayer method (thozhukai murai) in kalari and the varmam point 'kumbidu kaalam' will be taught. At the end of the first day's lessons, student has to touch the feet of asaan. By doing so, he/she will get blessing of a touch known as 'Sparisa Theekshai'. When he/she gets blessings, the student will be taught about another varma point known as 'bhoomi kaalam'. Everyday, the student has to mentally feel both kumbidu kaalam and bhoomi kaalam. This is the starting stage of learning varmam.

Then student will be taught kalari for three years. During that period, asaan will observe characteristics of the student and accordingly will teach him/her about varmam points. It is not easy to remember the varma points, which are not indicated to the student through touch of asaan. Asaan will not apply any pressure on those varma points. Asaan will dip a small wooden point in rice flour and touch the varma points on the student's body, just sufficient enough to make impression using rice flour.

The varmam lessons taught to the student are based on asaan- student relationship. Only after seven years of study, the student will be taught about varma thiravukol (key to unlock). Only after completing twelve years of study, after taking vows, student will be secretly taught about the inner thiravukols and thiravukols that shows eternity. After that phase, he will be given 'guru nilai theekshai' (blessings to be teacher) and he/she will be announced as a varma asaan to the society by his/her assan. Even after becoming asaan by him or herself, the relationship between the asaan and student will continue forever.



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