Sadhguru speaks about Ayurveda and Siddha, two of India’s ancient medical systems which are amongst the oldest on the planet. He compares the efficacy of Allopathy, Ayurveda & Siddha in various situations, and explains how they differ from each other.
Questioner: (Speaks in Tamil – not transcribed) On metals being used in siddha medicine, how does siddha impact our system in comparison to allopathy and Ayurveda?
Essentially the difference between Ayurveda and siddha and allopathy is just this – allopathy is purely chemical, chemical manipulation of the system. When it’s an emergency, you must use it. But if it’s a long… you know if it’s a chronic ailment which is going to be with you for a long time and you’re going to take some medicine for a long time, definitely popping pills for long periods of time is not a good thing.
So Ayurveda is herbal; herbs are also chemicals but in natural form. It’s way better than taking it in a synthetic form. Ayurveda needs a certain amount of application and knowledge because there are over three hundred thousand… okay? Three hundred thousand Ayurvedic formulations according to the ancient texts. Three hundred thousand formulations you have to understand if you have to really prescribe Ayurveda.
So prescribing or practicing Ayurveda is a… it needs a lifelong involvement. These days I see people come from outside the country; they study Ayurveda for one-and-a-half months and they are certified ayurvedic teachers or doctors, practitioners, which is a very dangerous thing to do. Three hundred thousand formulations, how to give it, to whom to give it, when to give it is not a simple thing to understand, it takes a lot. Above all you need a phenomenal understanding of the body to be able to prescribe this.
Siddha is very different in the sense, siddha is essentially elemental in nature. This… there are herbs but essentially it’s elemental in nature. It comes more from the yogic science because the fundamental of yogic science is in Bhuta Shuddhi or in cleansing of one’s elements. This is an evolution from the yogic science and siddha vaidya was essentially formulated by Agastya Muni and they say Adiyogi himself practiced it and Agastya brought it to the south and only in the south, it lived; nowhere else. And it’s elemental in nature, which… which needs less study but more internal mastery for the person, who practices it, which is again a problem today. We hope these young people, who are starting their sadhana at the age of six and they are going to be in sadhana throughout their growing period, these kind (kinds?) of people can take to siddha very effortlessly because the necessary sadhana is there within them.
Siddha vaidya cannot happen without sadhana. Today they have set up colleges for siddha vaidya, which… it will not work like that. They’re picking up bits and pieces from the text and trying to practice that – quackery… siddha quackery is happening; siddha vaidya is not happening because siddha vaidya has to be practiced by a siddha. It is a siddha who can practice siddha vaidya. Siddha means an established one; one who is firmly established within himself because it’s elemental in nature. Because it’s elemental, it’s not really a medicine as such. You are dealing with the fundamental material which makes the body – you are not trying to infuse some other medicine into it.
So usage of metals is very much prevalent in siddha. I know the western medicine will immediately brand it as nonsense but in siddha, all the things that you consider as poisonous are used as a part of their medicine. Nine deadly poisons – you heard of Nava Pashana – all the nine deadly poisons are used as medicine. Lead is very frequently used; mercury is regularly used. So Rasa Vaidya is very much part of siddha vaidya and for those of you who’re calling for God’s help when I mention the word mercury, mercury is not poisonous, it is just with mercury oxides people have poisoned water. It is irresponsible usage in the industry, which has done this.
There is mercury in the soil, okay? We did not import mercury from Mars, it’s always been in this planet. It is not poison. It is mercury oxides, which are irresponsibly used in industry and let out into the rivers and lakes, which poisoned the waters on this planet. Now they think mercury is poison. No, mercury is not poison but if you drink it, it’ll kill you not… not because you can absorb it as poison; it is because of its sheer weight. If you put it into the stomach it will not go through the pipe, it will just drip through the stomach because of its sheer weight, because it’s specific gravity is almost fourteen times that of water, because of that… because of sheer weight – if you place it in your hands it just goes into your hand through the pores. Similarly if you put it into the stomach it will go through the stomach, it will not go through the intestine. Because of that, it may kill you because it bores holes, not because it’s acidic, simply because of sheer weight. But consumption of mercury is very much a part of the yogic system and very much a part of the siddha vaidya. I am still alive only because of mercury, not otherwise.
So siddha is a very completely different kind of medicine system than anything that you’ll find on the planet but it needs a siddha to give siddha medicine. If you are not established, if you can’t hold the mercury, you don’t give mercury to somebody else. (Laughs) Yogic system has always used mercury. Mercury and yogis are always together. you cannot… even you will see traveling yogis will carry a little bit of mercury with them always, if not in liquid form, in solid form, solidified mercury. People do practices, keeping it in their mouth and doing things and whatever. There’re various aspects to it. Nobody try that here, okay? We don’t want you dead. It’s not just bad things that kill you, good things that you’re not ready for can kill you.
Editor’s Note: Subscribe to the official Sadhguru YouTube channel to watch new videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.