Introduction to Siddha fundamentals
The science of medicaine is of fundamental importance to man’s well being and his survival, and so it must have originated with man and developed as civilization advanced. It is therefore rather pointless to try to determine the exact point of time when any system of medicine was evolved and codified. A system of medicineis not a discovery but a gradual evolution during successive periods of history. It owes its progress to great men, who have not only enriched the science, but also society and civilization as a whole.
There are two ancient systems of medicine in india, the Siddha which flourished in the south and the Ayurveda prevalent in the north. Instead of giving the name of any one individual as the founder of either system, our ancients wisely attributed their origin to the creator. The tridosha theory, sapta dhatu physiology and the nomenclature of diseases in the two systems may seem similar. In certain epochs of history, ideas and concepts of striking similarity have developed independently in many regions of the world. The great astrologer, Varaha Mihira in his book ‘Brihat Jataka’ cities the differences are an example to show that certain viewpoints tend to predominate in certain regions of the world and the development of ideas derived from a common source depends on the needs of a particular region and the genius of the people there. The areas in which the Siddha system differ from Ayurveda are no less significant than the areas of similarity. They are indeed fundamental and would support the view that the system has a separate identity.
Traditionally it is said that there were eighteen Siddhas. They have left their imprint not only in medicine but also in yoga and philosophy. It is not known with certainty, when they lived or what their works were. Their complete works are not available now. Some excerpts from them are found in later works. It is also possible that later writers ascribed the authorship of their works to the original Siddhars. Serveral works have been attributed to the sage Agasthya. Not all of them are of the same literary merit or depth of scholarship. Many great men of India were of a self-effacing nature. They preferred to remain anonymous as their aim was service to mankind and not personal recognition. Such men have often attributed their works to their guru or those whom they recognised as great men.
The following is the list of eighteen Siddhars according to one recension:
- Pulikai Isar
Fundamental Principles of Siddha
The universe consist of two essential entities, matter and energy, which the Siddhas call Siva and Sakti. Matter cannot exist without energy inherent in it and energy cannot exist without matter. The two co-exist and are insperable. The universe consists of five elements. These elements should not be confused with the elements of modern chemistry. They are primordial elements – Bhutas. Their names are Munn (solid), Neer (fluid), Thee (radiance), Vayu (gas) and Aakasam (ether). All created or evolved matter in the world, be it animal, vegetable or mineral, falls under these categories. The human anatomy and physiology, the causative factor of disease, the materials for the treatment and cure of diseases, the food for the sustenance of the body, all fall within the five elemental categories. This is the working hupothesis. Hypothesis is defined as “a proposition assumed for a sake of argument; a theory to be proved or disproved byreference to the facts; a provisional explanation of anything.” The whole system of Siddha medicine is built upon the hypothesis of the primal elements which constitute the universe. This hypothesis is entitled to respectful consideration when it is remembered that the principles of diagnosis and treatment derived from it have been giving practical results
The five elements are present in every substance, but in different proportions. In substances which are more solid, the element Munn is present in large proportion. The physical earth, water, fire, air and ether should not be confused with the primordial substances, though they are manifestations of these elements. It is only for easy understanding that such equivalents have to be used.
The human being is made up of the five elements. The various tissues of the body are the combinations of the elements. In one tissue one element may be more predominant than the others. The physiological function in the body is mediated by three substances (dravyas) which are made up of the five elements (Bhutas). They are Vartham, pitham and Kapam. In each cell in the body these three co-exist and function harmoniously. These are called doshas and the tissues are called dhatus. Vatam is formed by the basic elements, Akasa and Vayu. Pitham is formed by Thee and Kapam is formed by Munn and Neer. Broadly speaking, the nervous actions which constitute movement, activity, sensation ect., are due to Vatham, the metabolic activity of the body, digestion, assimilation, warmth, thermogenesis etc., are the functions of Pitham and stability is control of Kapam. If these three function normally, health is maintained; when their equilibrium is upset, the body becomes diseased.
The body consists of seven dhatus:
Kozhuppu (adipose tissue)
Majjai (marrow) and Sukkilam
Artavam (male and female hormones)
In these seven tissues one or other of the three doshas predominate. In the tissue blood, Pitham predominates, in bone Vartham and in the other tissues Kapm. If the dosha is vitiated, the tissue with which it is associated is also vitiated.
96 philosophy of siddha:
- Vizhipu Nilai
- Stomach (Amarvasayam)
- Small Intestine (Pakirvasayam)
- Large Intestine Especially Rectum (Malavasayam)
- Urinary Bladder (Chalavasayam)
- Seminal Vesicle (Sukilavasayam)
- Physical Sheath (Annamaya Kosam)
- Mental Sheath (Manomaya Kosam)
- Respiratory Sheath (Pranamaya Kosam)
- Intellectual Sheath (Vignanamaya Kosam)
- Blissful Sheath (Ananthamaya Kosam)
- Osai (Kettal)
- Ozhi (Paarthal)
- Suvai (Rasam)
- Nattram (Kantham)
Kanmenthiriya Thanmaathirai (5)
- Mala Neerkalithal
- Vindhu Kalithal
Pancha Boothangal (5)
- Porul Patru
- Makkal Patru
- Ulaga Patru
- Arivu (AAnma)