AN INTRODUCTION TO SIDDHA PHILOSOPHY
Siddha is a generic term which denotes those who have successfully achieved a liberated state of the mind. But it is a term which has several inter-connected and overlapping meanings. A Siddha is a person who has achieved a state of spiritual enlightenment. He is a completed one, fulfilled and accomplished, a God realised being alive in the world for the sake of mankind and all living beings. It is said that Lord Siva had been called as the first Siddhar. Goddess Umayal, Nandhidevar, Agathiyar, Thirumoolar and other Siddhars were his followers.
According to Sir John Hubert Marshall, who served as the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928 and who was responsible for the excavation that led to the discovery of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, two of the main cities that comprise the Indus Valley Civilization, “among the many revelations that Mohenjodaro and Harappa have had in store for us, none perhaps is more remarkable than this discovery that Saivism has a history going back to the chalcoilthic age or perhaps even further still and it thus takes is place as the most ancient living faiths in the world”.
Saivism, the Dravidian philosophy which is the basis of the Siddhars science, had a system of medicine which catered to the health needs of the people. It was the traditional Tamil system in which Vatham (Alchemy), Maruthuvam(Medicine), Yogam and Gnanam were the four major subjects.
Siddhars aimed at Jeevan Mukthi as a way to Salvation as mentioned by Saint Thayumanavar. Hence the ultimate aim of the siddhars is to have a perfect body, perfect mind maintained by medicines to which they gave the name Karpam.
According to the Siddha Philosophy, all objects in this world are composed of five elements and are subject to three Divine processes namely – Creation, Protection and Destruction, which take place continuously. The world in which the three processes take place is made of five elements namely Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. And again, the body is composed of the five elements. Man is capable of identifying all the five elements through his five sense organs. As an extension to this thought, according to Siddha philosophy, Man is a combination of the 5 elements and there exists a close relationship between the five primordial elements and the human body. As such the human body and mind are constantly interacting with the Cosmos.