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    An Introduction to Siddha System of Medicine

    By Dr.Senthil Kumar, BSMS., MD (S).,
    Siddha medicines and treatment were found by our ancient saints called Siddhars. Siddha system belongs to Tamizh culture it is embedded with the life style of Tamizhians and has been considered as the sign and symbol of the growth of Tamizh culture.
    In olden days, Tamizh Medicine was honoured with the title "Maruthuvam" and the scholars are named as "Maruthuvar"
    Eg: Maruthuvar Dhamodharanar, Maruthuvar Nallachudhanar etc.

              Archaeological survey by Sir.John Marshall on sindh areas identifies the powder of Asphaltum, some herbal powder, bone powder of certain animals and also powder of some invaluable horns (gw;gq;fs;). Research works prove the spread of Tamizhians and Tamizh culture all over the Indian subcontinent i.e. from Kanyakumari to Sindh.

              The ancient Tamizh scripture Tholkappiam (7th century BC) gives definitions for diseases as follows.

    'igASk; rpWikAk; NehAk; nghUSk;"
                                                                                                                                         - njhy;fhg;gpak;

    Here the term pyul (igAs;;) denotes mental agony and sirumai (rpWik) represents physical agony. It is very interesting and at the same time important to note the titles of famous Tamizh scriptures like Trikadugam, Yelathi, Sirupanchamoolam which are in accordance with the siddha system of medicines.

    Iyyan Thiruvalluvar who belongs to first century B.C. gives the basic principle of siddha medicine.
              'kpfpDk; FiwapDk; Neha;nra;Ak; E}NyhH

     tspKjyh vz;zpa %d;W"                              
                                                           - jpUf;Fws;

    At least two points are inferred from the above  lines.
    1. There might be several books on medicines before Thiruvalluvar.
    2. Among the three basic medicinal codes only Vali (tsp ) is mentioned.  Two others Azhal (moy;) and Iyyam (Iak; ) are left which implies that they were very common among Tamizhians.

    Neelakesi a famous Tamizh scripture talks about the analysis of excreta. Yoga finds place in Tholkappiam.

                  'ehypU tof;fpw; jhgfH gf;fKk;"
                                                                                                                              - njhy;fhg;gpak; 75 : 6

    An interpretter scholar Nachinarkkiniyar gives explanation for this above line.

              mt;twptH $wpa Mfkj;jpd; topepd;W tPL ngw Kay;NthHf;F chpadthfpa vz;tif khHf;fj;J jtk; GhpAq;$Wk;.

              tof;nfd;wjdhd; me;ehypuz;Le; jtk; GhpthHf;F chpadTe; jtQ;nra;J NahfQ; nra;thHf;F chpadTnkd ,U tifantd;W nfhs;f.

              ,dp> NahfQ; nra;thHf;Fupad. ,akk;> epakk;> Mrdk;;> ntspepiy (gpuhzhahkk;)> njhifepiy (gpuj;jpahfhuk;)> nghiwepiy (jhuiz)> epidjy; (jpahdk;)> mwpJapy; (rkhjp) vd vl;lhk;.

              It is clear that the above eight basic codes of  Yoga were shortened and represented as  ehypU tof;fpw;;;;;;;;…… in Tholkappiam.

              So, the concept which advocates the origin of siddha from Lord Siva is ambigous. Most probable the above concept might have been spread to indicate the very long period of existence. Dr. C.S. Uthamarayan HPIM, Ex. Director of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy Department gives explanation in his rpj;j kUj;Jthq;f RUf;fk;  as  follows.

    'njd;nkhop kUj;Jt E}y;fis vOjpa rpj;jHfs; mit gukrptdplkpUe;J ee;jp topahAk; mthplkpUe;J mfj;jpaH> Gyj;jpaH Kjypa rpj;jHfs; topahAk; jkf;Ff; fpilj;jdntd;W vOjpapUf;fpd;whHfs;. ,aw;if> nraw;if xOf;f topfspw; gapd;w ,f;fhyj;J kf;fshfpa ekf;F ,/J xUtpjg; GJikahfNt Njhd;Wfpd;wJ. Vnddpy;> cUtkhfTk; cUtkpd;wpAk; vq;Fk; epiwe;jtuha; ,Uf;Fk; flTsplj;jpUe;Jk;> NjtHfsplj;jpUe;Jk; mf;fhyj;jpy; mk;kUj;Jt E}y;fs; Njhd;wpd vdpd; ,f;fhyj;Jg; ngUk;ghYk; rpjYf;F ,iuahfpa mk;kUj;Jt E}y;fis vy;yhk; kWgbAk; mg;nghpahHfs; Vd; ekf;F mspf;fyhfhJ? vd;Wk;> Nkw;$wpagb flTsplj;jpypUe;J vt;thW ,e;j itj;jpa E}y;fs; cz;lhff; $Lk;? vd;Wk; Nfl;f top Vw;gLjypd;> ,itnay;yhk; Guhzf;fij vd;Nw vz;Zjw;F VJthfpd;wd. MapDk;> kUj;Jtj;jpy; kpf;f NjHr;rpngw;W> ed;Kiwapy; xOfp Nkd;ikAld; Gfo;ngw;W tho;e;j nghpahHfisf; flTisg; Nghd;Nw Nghw;wp tho;jy; jkpo; kf;fspd; ,ay;ghjiy ehk; ,d;Wk; fz;$lhff; fhz;fpd;Nwhk;. MfNt> mf;fhyj;jpy; kpfTk; fPu;j;jp ngw;W tho;e;j kUj;Jtg; nghpahHfisf; flTs; vdNt kjpj;Jf; $wpdH NghYk;."

              Now let us analyse how "Siddha Maruthuvam" is coined. Siddhars are the persons who have attained Siddhi – Extremely knowledgeable persons    (rpj;jk; - mwpT). They lived for abnormally a long time due to their power of yoga. They spread the idea of equality among the people and fought against social injustice and caste system.

    'rhj;jpuj;ijr; Rl;nlhpj;jhy; mtNd rpj;jd;" 
                                                   - mfj;jpaH Qhdk; 75

    'fhrpf; Nfhby; tpid NghNkh? me;jf;

    fq;if ahby; fjpjhDk; cz;NlhNkh?"
                                                    - fLntspr;rpj;jH (15)

    'xd;Nw FyKk; xUtNd NjtDk;"
                                                    - jpU%yH (2066)

    'nrhy;YthH rhj;jpuj;jpy; nrj;j gpd;Nd

                Nrhk;Ngwp Kf;jpnad;W rj;jpaw; $lh

    tps;SthH nja;tgjk; Kf;jpnad;W

                nkd;NkYk; nrj;jgpd;Ng nrhHf;fnkd;ghH

    js;SthH $yj;ij ehw;wnkd;Nw

                jd;Daphpd; rj;JUNt NuhfpNahHfs;

    nfhs;SthH clYf;Fs;Ns Kf;jpjhNd

                Fkhp tpisahLtJ FUtpdhNy"
                                          - fhfGRz;lHngUE}y;fhtpak; (390)
    Siddhars were revolutionary in their thoughts and action. Even though some voices were risen against caste system here and there, the very strong protest were shown first only from siddhars. That is why scholar Kailasapathy call siddhars as 'rebels.'

    Right from saint Thirumoolar Siddhar (6th century AD) to Saint Vallalar Ramalinga Adigalar (19th century AD) almost all Siddhars took Siddha medical treatment as a tool to heal and help down trodden people particularly in Tamizh Nadu.

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