Biological ageing and disease due to ageing are the inevitable natural process. No one knows when old age begins and interesting point is that the biological age of the person is not identical with his chronological age.
Human ageing is the progressive construction of the homeostatic resume of every organ system (Homeostenosis). These changes occur independently and are influenced by diet, environment and personal habits as well as genetic factors. It is the time related deterioration of the physiological functions. Almost affects all systems of the body. Wrinkling of skin, Greying of hair and Baldness are the indications of ageing.
Siddha System and Ageing
Longevity and ageing with elegance is an important speciality of Siddha system. Siddha medicine plays a major role in maintaining the health of elderly under the heading of, ”Muppiyal (Geriatrics)”. The treatment is two types – Preventive and Curative. Siddha system plays major role in preventive rather than curative. Siddha medicine clearly explains the diet and daily routines for preventing disease and ageing under the heading of ,”Pini anugha vithi (Prevention)”.
Siddha has a unique class of Kayakarpam therapy which enhances the life span, delays ageing and keeps mental health in good condition. It also reverses the disease process and prevents recurrence.
The word,”Kayam” means,” Humanbody” and “Karpam” means,” Stone”. The main aim of Kayakarpam is that convert our mortal body in to immortal like stone by following certain principles and procedures. The major benefit of Kayakarpam is that to prevent our body from disease and keep our body away from Narai (Greying of hair), Thirai (Wrinkles of skin) and Mooppu (Aging).
The following lines of oldest Tamil literature Thirumanthiram explains
Karpathai undaal kayam azhiyathu
Karpathinalae kanalaam kailaiyai
Karpathinalae kanalam sothiyai
Karpathinalae kaalayung kattidae.
Kayakarpam consists of two parts – Karpa avizhthangal (medicines) and Yogam (procedures).
- Karpa avizhthangal(Medicines)- In this science of longevity, about 108 herbal and herbo-mineral medicines are recommended both for healthy and diseased persons. It has three major categories.
i Mooligai karpam(Herbal ingredients only )- the noted Mooligai karpams are Ginjer, Neem, Ashvagandha, Amla, Tulasi, Lemon and Kadukkai (Terminalia chebula).
Ii Thathuporul karpam(Mineral ingredients)- Ayasambeera Karpam( Lemon and iron combined preparation) and Ayabringaraja karpam ( Iron, lemon and Karisalai (Bringaraj) combined preparation) are the examples of Thathuporul karpam.
Iii Seevaporul karpam(Animal source)- Cowmilk is the one example for Seevaporul karpam.
It is defined as to achieve the eternal happiness by controlling our five senses from distraction. This is called Attanga yogam or Agathavam ettu(eight types).
The Tamil literature TamilMoovayiram explained clearly as follows
Eyama niyamamae ennilaa aathanam
Nayamuru pranayamam Prathiyagaram
Sayamighu tharanai thiyanam samathi
Ayamurum attaangam aavathumaamae
Eyamam– Mana thooimai (Good Mental thinking or health)
Niyamam– Seyal thooimai ( Good physical actions)
Aathanam – Erukkai payichi ( Physical exercise-Yoga)
Pranayamam– Moochu payirchi ( Breathing exercise)
Prathiyagaram– Pori and Pulan adakkal ( Controlling five sense organs and Senses)
Tharanai– Manamadakkal ( Controlling mind)
Thiyanam – Thannai adakkal (Controlling entire body and mind)
Samathi – Sivayogam (Attining eternity)
Keeeping mind in good condition is very important. Siddha literature insists strongly about mental health of humans.
We realise this fact through the following lines of Saint Agathiyar .
Manamathu semmaiyanal manthiram sebikkavenda
Manamathu semmaiyanal vaayuvai uyarthavenda
Manamathu semmaiyanal vaasiyai nirutthavenda
Manamathu semmaiyanal manthiram semmaiyamae
(Meaning- good mental health alone is enough to attain eternity and no others are important).
Saint Thirumoolar explained as following in his book Thirumanthiram about Pranayamam that we can win even death if we follow proper Pranayamam (Breathing exercise)
Eatri erakki erukalum poorikkum
Kaatrai pidikkum kanakari varillai
Kaatrai pidikkum kanakari valarkku
Kottrai uthakkum kuriyathu vaamae
Pranayamam (Breathing exercise) helps the brain cells to get more Oxygen through lungs and aids both mind and body rejuvenation.
Though the ageing and dying are the regular process in human life cycle, we may prevent and managing geriatric problems to some extent through Siddha Kayakarpam way.