Siddha Medicine (” சித்த மருத்துவம் ” or ” தமிழ் மருத்துவம் ” in Tamizh) is one of the oldest medical systems known to mankind. Contemporary Tamizh literature holds that the system of Siddha medicine originated in Southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu, as part of the trio Indian medicines – ayurveda, siddha and unani. Reported to have surfaced more than 10000 years ago, the Siddha system of medicine is considered one of the most ancient traditional medical systems.
“Siddhargal” or Siddhars were the premier scientists of ancient days. Siddhars, mainly from Southern India laid the foundation for this system of medication. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers. Sage Agasthiyar is considered the guru of all Sidhars, and the Siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Lord Muruga, son of the Hindu God – Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. So, the Siddhars are followers of Lord Shiva (Shaivaites). “Agasthiyar” was the first Siddhar, and his disciples and Siddhars from other schools produced thousands of texts on Siddha, including medicine, and form the propounders of the system to the world.
In Siddha, a diagnosis is made after a patient’s visit and the manuscripts is referred to for the appropriate remedies which a true blue physician compounds himself or herself from thousands of herbal and herbo-mineral resources. The unique methodology of Siddha thought helped decypher many causes of disorders and the formulation of curious remedies which may sometimes have more than 250 ingredients.
Most of the practicing Siddha medical practitioners are traditionally trained in families and also by different gurus(teachers). When the guru is also a martial arts teacher, he is also known as an Assan. Practicing this special healing art from obscure clinics, they help heal many maladies which are untouched by western medicine.
The Siddhars by their spiritual and yogic practices attained immense knowledge and experience in Vaithiyam (Medicine), Vatham (Alchemy), Jothidam (Astrology), Manthirigam (Thanthric practices), Yogam (Meditation and yogic exercises) and Gnanam (Knowledge about the Almighty).
Siddhars believed in a holistic concept. Accordingly they said
“Food is Medicine, Medicine is Food” (Unave Marunthu, Marunthe Unavu)
“Sound mind makes the sound body” (Manamathu Semmaianal Manthiram sebika vendam)
There are 18 siddhars who are considered as the pillars of siddha medicine according to Tamil tradition. There is no consensus on their exact time era. Their names, contributions, popular beliefs about them and probable place where they attained Samadhi (eternal consciousness) are listed below.
- Agasthiyar is considered as the Father of Tamil Literature. He compiled first Tamil grammar called Agasthiyam.
- He is believed to be direct disciple of Lord Siva.
- Specialized in language, alchemy, medicine, meditation and spirituality (yogam & gnanam).
- There are 96 books believed to be authored by Agsathiyar including classical works like Vaidiya Sigamani, Chendhooram – 300, Mani-400, Sivajalam, Sakthijalam .
- It is believed that the healing spirit of Agasthiya hovers around the mountains of the Courtalam situated in the southern part of Tamil Nadu.
- He is also called the Prince of Mystics. He is said to be the disciple of Nandhidevar.
- His masterpiece Thirumanthiram, deals with the body and soul.
- Thirumanthiram is considered as a Bible of Thanthrik Yoga.
- Thirumoolar is the prime author of famous literary works THIRUMANTHIRAM and SAIVA SIDDHANTAM which framed the basic principles of Siddha system. His hypothesis on Atomic theory is considered to be reinstated as Nanotechnology in recent times. The physiological principles which he mentioned during such ancient times are astonishing.
- Thirumoolar is the only Siddhar who emphasized on ‘sound mind in a sound body’ by which one can achieve mortality by kalpa yoga procedures. Versions of Thirumoolar are certainly appropriate for this modern, stressful world. It is helpful in combating non-communicable diseases such as myocardial infarction, degenerative diseases and depressive disorders. Regular practice of yoga will undoubtedly improve the over-all health.
- His place of Samadhi is believed to be at Chidambaram.
- Bogar is considered as the descendant of Thirumoolar
- It is believed that Bogar travelled up to China and propagated the spiritual philosophy in China.
- It is believed that the statue of Lord Muruga which he created contains Nava pasana (Nine arsenical compounds).
- He also contributed to the field of alchemy, medicine and yoga.
- His contributions on the synthesis of mercury, mercurial compounds and arsenical compounds are note worthy.
- He is believed to author more than 42 works on Siddha medicine.
- He attained Samadhi at Palani.
- Konganar is considered as the son of Bogar. His period is said to be around 4th and 5th centuries B.C.
- He lived probably in Kongunadu in Tamil nadu.
- He wrote more than 40 books that deal with alchemy and the elixir (muppu) of life.
- He also contributed to philosophy, medicine and spiritual practices.
- He attained Samadhi at Thirupathi.
- Therayar is considered to be the master of many fields like astrology, mysticism, alchemy, medicine and language.
- His scholarship and style of the language are considered to be unique.
- He mastered many languages like Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Thulu and Sanskrit.
- His Guru (Master) was Dharmasowmiyar.
- His work on classification of diseases is note worthy.
- He is also called as Korakkanathar
- His major contributions are Korakkar brahma gnanam 1, Korakkar brahma gnana soothiram and Korakkar karpa choothiram.
- He used kanja – Korakkar mooli (Indian hemp) in his preparations like poorna lehyam/choornam and so the herb is named after him.
- He is also known as Karuvur thevar
- His place of birth is believed to be Karuvur
- Edaikkadar is considered to be his disciple
- His main works are Karuvurar vadha kaviyam ,Karuvurar siva gnana bodhakam and Thiru isaippa
- He made significant contribution in the construction of Tanjore Temple . In his memory aspecial shrine has been created( siddhar sannidhi ) in the Tanjore big temple.
- He is also known as Edaikkadu siddhar.
- His place of birth is Thiruedaikkodu
- His place of Samadhi is also at Thiruedaikkodu
- His contribution towards rasavatham and kayakarpam is remarkable.
- He is also known as Kamblichattamuni,Kailasa chattamuni and Sattanadar
- He is considered to be of Srilankan origin
- Sundarandhar is believed to be his disciple
- His major works are Sattamuni pini gnanam 100, Sattamuni vadha kaviyam 1000,Sattamuni vatha soothiram 200, Sattamuni gnana vilakkam 51
- His contributions are mainly in the fields of alchemy and 96 thathuvas
- Sundaranar is also known as Sorupamendra siddhu
- Sattamuni is considered to be his guru
- His contributions are Sundaranar siva gnana yogam 32, Sundaranar vakkya sutram 64
- His expertise in preparation of chunnam is of great astonishment.
- His Samadhi is believed to be in Thiruvarur
- He is also known as Yakob
- His place of birth is believed to be Podhigai hils
- Pulathiyar is considered to be his guru
- His major work is Ramadevar 1000
- He also contributed to the development of kayakalpa
- His probable place of Samadhi is Alagarmalai
- Chattamuni is considered to be Pambatti guru
- Eight unique powers (Attama siddhis) of Siddhars are mentioned in his works.
- His contributions are related with gnana siddhi starting with “Aadu pambe” ( dancing snake)
- His probable place of Samadhi is Sankarankoil
- He is also known as Nondi siddhar
- His place of birth is believed to be Machai desam in Pandya Kingdom
- Sundarandhar is considered to be his disciple
- His main contribution is Machendhra nadhar endra nondi siddhar padal
- His place of Samadhi is Thiruparankundram
- His place of birth and Samadhi is Mayavaram
- His works are more towards spiritual bliss and gnana yoga
- His major contribution is Kudambai siddhar padalgal.
15. Azhuganni Siddhar
- He is also known as Azhugai siddhar
- Edaikkadar is considered to be his guru
- His major contribution is Siddhar gnanakovai
- His place of Samadhi is Nagapattinam
16. Agapai siddhar
- Korakkar is considered to be his guru
- His contribution is mainly about Gnana siddhi
- His place of Samadhi is believed to be Thiruvalankadu
- Nandhidevar is also considered to be the direct disciple of Lord Siva
- His contribution is Nandhi kalai gnanam 1000
- His place of Samadhi is Sri sailam at kalahasti
- He is considered as the guru of gurus
- He is also known as Pusundar
- Agasthiyar is considered to be his guru
- His major contributions are Pusundar mei gnana vilakkam-80 and pusundar gnanam-19
- His place of Samadhi is nagamalai