A Glimpse into the Ocean of 'Siddha' Medical System
'Siddha' in Sanskrit and Tamil means 'perfection – success' and the persons who attained spiritual perfection were thus called 'Siddhas' or 'Siddhars' to mean great saints. 'Siddha' medicine upheld the 'knowledge of health' and became one of the oldest and longest living medical systems of the world and attained a Royal or Crownly position. The same bestowed perfect health and longevity close to immortality stopping the cycle of birth and deaths with its tried, true and time honoured remedies for the cure and prevention of the illnesses of the body, mind and spirit. This system took a rich and simple holistic approach to healing considering all aspects of life with an in depth understanding of the human body, its interaction to the surroundings, diet, thoughts, lifestyles, relationships, the five elements of nature – where the earth giving shape to the body including bones, tissues, muscles, skin, hair etc, water representing blood, secretions of glands, vital fluids etc, fire giving the power for motion, vigour and vitality, digestion, circulation and stimulation, along with respiration and the nervous system and ether (space) determining the mental and spiritual faculties of man, the seven humours………………… organs and functional systems. As India has contributed a whole lot of great achievements in different fields of arts and sciences to the entire world and as the expertise between the saints of both north and south within the country was exchanged free, it is very difficult to demarcate a line between the many systems of medicine such as Siddha and Ayurvedha to name a few. Each system had many commonalities and uniqueness and vastness of their own and had made a profound and significant contribution to therapeutics and pharmacy.
Having had a distinguished and unique civilization, the Hindus and the Tamil language attributed these to Sage Agastiya who has been mentioned both in Tamil and Sanskrit languages. He and his eighteen disciples being the proud and protective keepers of the system contributed significantly to humanity and therapeutics through treaties and manuscripts which cannot be ignored.
Strictly speaking 'Siddha' Medicine is the earliest medicine ever documented in the World with its own philosophical scientific methods.
'Siddhas' tradition also believed in that the entire universe was made up of the two essential entities – the matter and energy, ie: male –female which cannot survive independently, further divided into the above mentioned five elements. The system also defines health as a complete balance of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well being of an individual. This resulted in promoting the maintenance of the youthfulness bestowed by nature to us, prevention and cure of disease conditions right into eternal longevity through a discipline called kaaya kalpa – a total body rejuvenation process.
There could have been different levels of suppression, oppression and promotion during the different regimes of rulings in human history masking matters and practices of a country. However, times have changed and currently the Indian government recognizes and supports five other major natural and holistic systems including 'Siddha', Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Arabic (Unani) along with the modern allopathic western system. The aim of it is to create a society of people with youthful vigour both physical and mental instead of a society of old and invalid people.
The scope of the nature's chemical and rejuvenation therapies as defined by the Ayurvedic manuscript writer physician Caraka to maintain the individual's endowment of longevity, memory, intellect, good health, youth, complexion, voice and the strength of sensory and motor organs. This also included an important consideration of fixing the way of living, eating, exercising, massaging, social, career, family, emotional, spiritual relationships and well being. It does not focus on treating the disease only but also the patient as a whole. The preservation and then rejuvenation balances back the youthfulness and the branch of Geriatrics – studying the diseases of aged – becomes unnecessary and all other seven branches of modern medicine is already included.
The 'Siddha' treatment system includes different procedures in achieving this goal.
Internal consumption of the herbal principals, minerals, metals, animal product preparations from the different parts of the source in different forms such as pills, liquids, oils etc. for cleansing and restoring.
The external application of the alike for cleansing, detoxification, pain, hair fall etc., activates the body's innate ability to repair, rebuild and renew itself by balancing out any imbalances of the three main humours of the body - vaatha (air), pittha (fire), and kapha (water). The cellular memory is recollected. Instead of compartmentalizing and specializing in the different organs, system and its diseases – the holistic approach towards the entire system and the person results in an almost no side effect system geared towards cure and prevention and not just providing symptomatic relief, management along with a free load of side effects given, resulting in the storage of harmful substances loading the liver, building resistance to the remedies disabling them to be used in future needs and/or emergencies.
The 'Siddha' medical system expands its capacity to handle the acute – short term/sudden to chronic – long-term and repetitive conditions of all kinds which could go into a long list of names of conditions. The Siddha system makes all the lifestyle corrections and helps the body heal by itself in naturally safe and healthy way through a well understood diagnoses and treatments which are mild, gentle, effective, long lasting and suitable for all ages and diseases. The avoidance of sugar coating in the preparations may make it less palatable but ensures sweet results in the end. As it also includes the spiritual well being based on the ancient Atharva Veda manuscripts, nothing of the soul is left out and all the basics are covered. An attitude of gratitude towards divinity, nature and ancestors ensures the entirety and envelopes the entire cosmos whether we believe, care, connect or not. And thus the system helps not only the sick and unhealthy but also the healthy persons.