EXCELLENCE OF SIDDHA MEDICINE
Siddha system of medicine is one of the oldest medical systems of India, existed separately in early times. The system has flourished very well in India for many centuries. Although this system declined in later years, in the wake of changing mode of life and modern medicine, it continues to sustain its influence on the masses because of its incomparable intrinsic merits.
Siddha system has its own well developed chemistry and its tireless efforts striving in the direction of the development of ALCHEMY has resulted in the genesis of thousands of mineral and metallic preparations. Thus Siddha system is well equipped to combat any disease, even chronic diseases, which baffle and elude the sophisticated modern medical science.
The foundation of countless prescriptions forms the most impressive bulk of Siddha wisdom. But even modern experts trained in Botany and pharmacology, will find it hard to understand the complex prescriptions that are given and extremely difficult to identify the plants and herbs mentioned by Siddhars (the founders of Siddha system of medicine). An enormous variety of widely differing drugs were mixed in Siddha medicine into a kind of arcanav, as a myth, mystery or secret. To be sure, the myth also reflects the integration of Siddha traditions and gives a symbolic representation, expressing ancient thoughts. It is not merely an irresponsible play of fantasy but teaches in pictorial scripts, an attitude towards life.
Unique Siddha medicinal preparations: For a medicine to be effective, the inorganic substances have to be brought to their atomic form. Siddhars developed the knowledge of bringing inorganic substances into atomic and ionic form which is easily absorbed by the system, when ground with herbal juices and put on the fire. The specialized Siddha preparations are -parpam’, -chendooram’, -chunnam’and -mezhagu’. These are metallic and mineral preparations by transmutation processes of converting the metal to ashes and waxy constituency which exerts therapeutic properties and devoid of any metallic traces. These are also the by products noticed during Siddhars Alchemical practices only.
Muppu: Muppu has a distinct place in Siddha medicine. It is the combination of three rare salts which enhances the efficacy of any Siddha medicine. The preparation and ingredients are a closely guarded secret. It is also believed that -muppu’ also engender yogic concentration, a part of Siddha tradition.
Kaya kalpa: This is similar to -Rasayana chikitsa’ of Ayurveda and -gerontology’ of modern medicine. The word -kalpa’ means -able, competent’. When it is connected with -kaya’ or body, the term means competency or ability of the body. While in Ayurveda, rasayana is different from -vajeekarana’, kaya kalpa does not treat vajeekarana or the science of aphrodisiacs separately. When kayakalpa treatment is undertaken, the vigor of body and mind are restored and so there is no need for separate attention to vajeekarana. Siddhars were more concerned about the ultimate goal of living and less with worldly pursuit of sex. However, kayakalpa is very much capable of achieving the ends of both rasayana and vajeekarana.
The details of kayakalpa treatment are- 1. Preservation of vital energy of the body by diverting the internal secretions to the circulation of blood by control of breathing through yoga 2. Conservation of sperm by using it for regeneration. 3. Use of universal salt -muppu’ for rejuvenation. 4. Use of calcined powder prepared from metal and minerals such as mercury, gold, sulphur, mica, copper etc. 5. Use of drugs prepared by certain rare Indian herbs.
-Food is medicine and medicine is food- and -Prevention is better than cure- were the slug lines of Siddhars and their followers. In the past people had the first hand information of the health and toxic effects of various species of flora and they provided the raw materials to the medical man for compilation. Thus Siddha system is a science perfected into an art, coupled with primitive intuitions into nature’s resources and secrets.
A close look at the eating habits of animals and birds reveals they eat food raw and ripe consisting of all the six tastes where as man eats only food stuff of four tastes, leaving bitter and astringent, which are pre-requisites for healthy circulation f blood. Bitterness fights against bacterial infection and astringency maintains the right blood quality and its constituents. Small quantities of agathi grandiflora, bitter gourd, seeds of solanum xanthocarpum, flowers of neem eaten now and then in small quantities, ward of many microbiological and bacterial infections.
It was a common knowledge for many Indian to possess the rare knowledge of various medicinal properties of ingredients in our culinary preparations and thus many an Indian woman trained in the traditional oriental ways of food preparation is an excellent and masterly physician without any master degree-
As a sampler, when excessive smoking causes dizziness, stomach disorders and makes the male suffer from nicotine poison, immediately the lady knows the sure cure for this disorder and gives him agathi grandiflora leaves, deliciously cooked at regular intervals and thus cures him of his malady, similarly she knows the properties of medicinal food recipes out of edible greens, leaves, barks, berries and other vegetables and the value of pepper, mustard, ginger and a host of other household provisions, rarely men of the past generations were perforce compelled to visit the medical experts and specialists who were scarce and few.
The leafy green mentioned above and several other bitter lasting foods and dishes as in margosa leaves and other plants and medicinal herbs, kill or exterminate the nematodes like thread worm, hookworm and tape worms and similar germs infesting the bowels and alimentary canal.
Religion is an indispensable stand in the web of Hindu Indian life that permeates through the daily life and character of Indians. The wise men of old India have deftly fused in their life certain ablutions, ceremonial rights and codes of conducts for normal healthy life. The Hindu Icons or the Pantheons of various Gods and particular modes of worship with leaves, flowers, milk, butter, honey, ghee, betel and nuts are symbolic and of great significance just as an abacus is used to induce children to learn arithmetic; these observations have been designed to promote for living a healthy life of body, mind and spirit. The practices may seem succinct or stupid to the modern civilization, but they were quite significant and sacred in the past.
The ancient wisdom of our ancestors should not be ridiculed because of our ignorance or non realization of their intrinsic worth. Let me present few examples of these rites and rituals and anyone with faithful, sincere interpretations of facts will come to the conclusion as how the medicine, art, culture, rituals and the way to healthy living with longevity were interwoven during prehistoric period.
While worshipping Lord Shiva, during the chanting and pooja, beal leaves (aegle marmelos) are offered to the Deity and after worship, some of these leaves are eaten by the devotees as -Prasad’ (blessings from God).this intake of beal leaves when followed regularly ensures good health by proper digestion and assimilation of food. It also removes the toxins in the body and is a blood purifier.
While worshipping mother Durga, the Goddess is being invoked with neem leaves and later consumed by the devotees. This is manna from heaven when consumed regularly in small quantities with its essence, as it proves wonderful disinfectant and germicide. Regular intake of this herb in any kind will be a sure elixir of life.
The foremost Hindu Deity Lord Ganesha, first to be propiated before commencing any important human project as per the belief. The Lord is worshipped with a particular type of grass – -Doorva’ (cynodon dactylon), which has been proven scientifically to possess the power of generating electricity in minute degree. When handling it augment one’s personal magnetism. It is of high medicinal value when administered orally. Another instance may seem superstitious but not without truth. Before initiating any auspicious rites, it is customary to make a crude image of Lord Ganesha with a fresh paste of either cow dung or turmeric paste and stick a small tuft of Doorva grass leaves to the person of the Deity. This image is abandoned and left to wither after performing pooja. Normally wet paste of either cow dung or turmeric when left exposed to atmosphere will be infested with bacteria and this does not happen with the sanctimonious Lord Ganesh’s image with the bunch of Doorva grass. It may baffle one’s imagination and one may not believe, but seeing believes!!!
Mango leaves are used in the worship of the Goddess of rivers- Ganga devi. Festoons of mango leave adorn temples and houses during festivals. A tuft of mango leaves dipped in the sacred water after worship Ganga is sprinkled over all the places of the premises and on the devotees. This serves as purificatory process. A decoction of mango leaves taken at regular intervals will cure many bodily illnesses.
The people of -Vishnu cult’ perform pooja of the Lord with -Tulsi leaves’ (ocimum sanctum). After the pooja 3-5 leaves are consumed as -Prasad’- these leaves consumed at regular intervals will build strong muscles and bones. It is also a wonderful prophylactic drug for many ailments. Likewise -Lord Brahma’, the Creator is worshipped with country fig leaves and fruits. The intake of these leaves and fruits will restore the correct blood constituents due to its astringent properties. These few narrations give a glimpse into the astounding possibilities of simple herbal preparations with no intricate knowledge of orthodox Siddha compounds with elaborative preparation processes. With a primary knowledge of hundreds of species in vegetable kingdom and the knowledge of physical body, its physiology and anatomy and simple rules of health and hygiene, any layman can lead a healthy life free from diseases.
Similarly periodic oil-bath promotes real rejuvenation of the physical body, though the modern medical conception put it that the diet we take orally contain oily matter which could suffice for a healthy body. Folds and wrinkles disappear in due course, when taken regular oil bath, giving the person youth, glow and luster. There are many illustrations of Siddhars stating by proper physical exercise and perfect breathing, food habits, evacuation of bowels, many undesirable conditions get eliminated. Siddhars have also propounded many prescriptions for rejuvenating the body and this bulk is called -Kayakalpa’, literally meaning a body like stone. The most intriguing, perplexing and unique phenomenon of Siddha system of medicine is the -Kayakalpa group of herbs’ which is not found in any other systems of medicine in the world. These ensure physiotherapy, psychotherapy, preventive and curative aspects of diseases and pave the way for longevity. There are 108 kayakalpa herbs; many among them in daily use are onion, garlic, ginger, lemon, jequirity and turmeric etc.
On close scrutiny one will struck with much wonder as in how those days where there was not even a microscope, the ancient Siddhars were capable of describing the use of such things rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, hormones, electrolytes and other nutrients grouped them as disease preventives for promoting longevity.
To conclude these scriptures and sciences embody all that was required for human advancements in the world and a study of these ancient literatures will be really productive of lasting benefits. We may confess that we are still ignorant of many things connected with the ancient thoughts and beliefs and it is our ignorance that belittles their greatness.
The revival of ancient systems, be they in medicine or moral code, requires a faithful interpretation of the views of the originators of these sciences and such a movement will be useful and indeed found necessary since modern discoveries still are incomplete and look forward to the ancient works for the -MISSING LINKS’.
The Siddha system of medicine deserves careful and faithful examination since it has in itself many principles which may go a long way to supply the defects and deficiencies of modern conceptions and that may save Indian society and generally the world from many a besetting peril-..
-Authored by Siddha vaidya P.S.Narasimha swamy, Director- Agasthya Siddha literature research centre, #1495, Dr. Ambedkar Road, Krishna murthy puram, Mysore-5700 04 Cell: 09845167119 E-mail: Website: http://agasthiaherbal.tripod.com blogspot: http://healingfromtheroots.blogspot.com
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