Thursday 23 January 2014

Siddha System of Medicine: Eco Friendly and Patient Friendly

The stall set up by the Central Siddha Research Institute in Chennai was one of the more popular stalls in the just concluded Bharat Nirman PIC atKaraikkalPuducherry. According to officials who manned the stalls, an average of about 150 patients had consultations at the stall itself, each day of the campaign.
            Dr Jagat Jothi Pandian, director, Central Siddha Research Institute, said that one of the reasons for the new found acceptance of Siddha Medicine is its scientific foundation. According to Dr Pandia, the science of Siddha Medicine is akin to the science behind daily, ordinary life.
            For example, Dr Pandian points to the practice of finishing off the traditional lunch in South India by having a serving of Rasam – which is actually a kind of soup. The Rasam consists of various ingredients that act as initiators of proteolysis – the breaking down of protein. This helps in making the digestion of meals as well as in generating a feeling of well being in the minds of the people who have enjoyed the meal.
Science of Siddha
            The scientific basis of Siddha has a long and varied history. Tradition says that it is the oldest traditional treatment system generated from Dravidian culture. Palm leaf manuscripts say that the Siddha system was first described by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvathy.  Parvathy explained all this knowledge to her son Lord Muruga. He transferred the whole gamut of his knowledge to his principal disciple, the august sage AgasthyaAgasthya taught 18 Siddhars and they spread this knowledge among human beings.
The word Siddha is derived from the term Siddhi that roughly means the attainment of a specialized ability. The term also refers to the eight supernatural powers, the attainment of which is one of the ultimate aims of human endeavor.
 Those who attained or achieved the above said powers are known asSiddhars. There were 18 important Siddhars in olden days and they developed this system of Siddha medicine.
Historically, it is believed that there were 18 main Siddhars. The saintAgasthya is believed to be the father of siddha medicine. Siddhars were of the concept that a healthy soul can only be developed in a healthy body. So they developed methods and medication that are believed to strengthen their physical body and thereby their souls.
The manuscripts of Siddha point out that gradually the teachings of the 18 Siddhars coalesced into a cogent system of medicine. Today there are recognized siddha medical colleges, run under the government universities, where siddha medicine is taught.
Basic Principles                                                                                                                 
Siddha medicine means medicine that is perfect. Siddha medicine claims to be proficient in revitalizing and rejuvenating diseased organs and in maintaining the ratio between the three basic qualities of human nature and physique – the VaadhamPitham and Kapham.
Generally the basic concepts of the Siddha medicine are almost similar to that of the other Indian health science called ayurveda.. The only difference appears to be that the siddha medicine recognizes predominance of Vaadham,Pitham and Kapham in childhood, adulthood and old age, respectively, whereas in ayurveda, it is totally reversed: Kapham is dominant in childhood, Vaathamin old age and Pitham in adults.
The National Institute of Siddha
National Institute of Siddha is a premier institute of Siddha medicine. It functions from Tambaram in Chennai. The main aim of the institute is to provide research and higher studies facility and help in securing global recognition for the Siddha system of medicine. It is one of the seven apex national-level educational institutions that promote excellence in Indian systems of medicine. It is also the national headquarters of the Central Council of Research in Siddha (CCRS), the exclusive body for Siddha research.
In 2010, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) declared the institute, which is located on the remains of megalithic burials sites, as a protected monument, resulting in a ban imposed by the National Monuments Authority (NMA) on renovation or repairs of the existing buildings at the premises.
Till 2010, the research council of Siddha was functioning under the CCRAS in New Delhi, which was established in 1978. In March 2010, the AyushDepartment of the Union Health Ministry decided to bifurcate CCRAS to create an exclusive body for Siddha research called the Central Council of Research inSiddha (CCRS), after a long period of pressure from the Siddha community in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. The new council was headquartered in Chennai, and the council was officially formed in September 2010.
World Siddha Day                                                                      
The First World Siddha Day was celebrated on 14 April 2009. It was inaugurated by Shri Surjit Singh Barnala, the then Governor of Tamil Nadu. Aiming at emphasizing the relevance of Siddha Medicine in modern times and celebrating its eco friendly nature, the dya is being celebrated annually in a befitting manner. The third Siddha Day was celebrated in TrivandrumKerala, while the World Siddha Day celebrations in 2012 had Chennai as its venue.

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