Siddha Medicine – a traditional system of healing that originated in South India and is considered to be one of India’s oldest systems of medicine. The Siddha system is based on a combination of ancient medicinal practices and spiritual disciplines as well as alchemy and mysticism. It is thought to have developed during the Indus civilization, which flourished between 2500 and 1700 BCE. According to this theory, it came to South India when the Dravidian people migrated southward.
Practitioners of Siddha Medicine are known as Siddhars (or Siddhas). According to Tamil tradition, there initially were 18 Siddhars; these individuals often are portrayed as having received their knowledge of the Siddha system indirectly from the deity Shiva. Siddhars held that the object of their study was to preserve and prolong life. To do so, they believed, required humans to live according to the laws of nature. They led simple lives themselves and were unconcerned with caste, creed, colour, or nationality. They contributed not only to a system of medicine but also to the knowledge of eternity, alchemy, and Yogic living.
Siddhars possessed ashtama siddhi, the eight great supernatural powers. These powers may have been attained at birth (because of one’s previous karma), by chemical means, by the power of words, or through concentration. Meditation on the elements, beginning with the “gross” and ending with the “subtle,” enabled the siddhars to gain mastery over the elements. Many of the ancient philosophical tenets of the Siddha system continue to be relevant to modern practitioners.