The Siddha System of Medicine (Traditional Tamil System of medicine), which has been prevalent in the ancient Tamil land, is the foremost of all other medical systems in the world. Its origin goes back to B.C 10,000 to B.C 4,000. As per the textual and archeological evidences which indicate the remote antiquity of the Dravidian civilization of the erstwhile submerged land Kumarikandam, that is the Lemuria continent situated in the Indian ocean, the Siddha System of Medicine is contemporaneous with those of the submerged lands Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese and Grecian medicines. The uniqueness of Siddha System is evident by its continuous service to the humanity for more than 5000 years in combating diseases and also in maintaining its physical, mental and moral health while many of its contemporaries had become extinct long ago.
The roots of the ancient Siddha System are intertwined with the mythology and culture of the ancient Tamil civilization that existed in the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, predating much of recorded history.
Mythically, the origin of Siddha is attributed to Lord Siva, who is supposed to have handed it down to his consort Parvathi (Shakthi), who in turn passed on the sacred knowledge to Nandi, from whom it was transmitted to the first of “Siddhars”. Siddha is a Tamil word derived from “siddhi” — attaining perfection in life or heavenly bliss.
The system is said to have emerged in antiquity, from the highly evolved consciousness of the Siddhars. The clarified intellect and heightened intuition of the Siddhars, resulting from their yogic powers, enabled them to explore the world around them and exploit its natural resources for the sake of humanity. Their findings on the characteristics of plants, metals, minerals and animal products and their knowledge of the properties of drugs, its purification, processing, fixing dosage, toxicity, antidote and clinical application, were preserved in the form of verses for the use of the posterity.
This unique legacy was bequeathed to select disciples or “chidas” by word of mouth. It is believed that there was a line of 18 siddhars, with Agasthya being the foremost and a large portion of Siddha lore is credited to him. With time, this oral tradition was transcribed on palm leaf manuscripts that now serve as the major repository of the knowledge.
The contributors of Siddha system, the Siddhars, of Tamil land, were mystics, yogis, poets, devotees, seers and medical men of various combinations and various statures. They were super human beings who possessed supernatural powers (like Eight types of Siddhis). They were the greatest scientists of ancient times and were the guardians of the world and they existed, and still exist, for the benefit of the public at large. They were men of great practical knowledge and wisdom. They had full awareness of the nature and activities of all the objects in this planet and of all times-past, present and future. They were mainly responsible for the growth and development not only of Tamil medicine that includes alchemy, medicine, yoga, kayakalpa (rejuvenation therapy), philosophy, astronomy, astrology, varma, muppu, thokkanam etc., but also for many other sciences of public utility.
There has been a resurgence of traditional medical systems the world over, based on the holistic nature of their approach to healing. The efficacy of indigenous systems has been proved in various contexts. They tend to use locally available, cost effective materials for treatment. Hence, the Siddha system which also has strong cultural and historical bonds with the people of Tamil Nadu is becoming increasingly relevant.
நோய்நாடி நோய்முதல் நாடி அதுதணிக்கும்
வாய்நாடி வாய்ப்பச் செயல்.
Test disease, its cause and cure
And apply remedy that is sure. Kural 948