Folk Medicine and Biodiversity




Komal Kothari




National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC) is a nongovernmental, non-profit organisation, registered in Chennai dedicated to the promotion of Indian folklore research, education, training, networking and publications. The aim of the centre is to integrate scholarship with activism, aesthetic appreciation with community development, comparative folklore studies with cultural diversities and identities, dissemination of information with multidisciplinary dialogues, folklore fieldwork with developmental issues and folklore advocacy with public programming events. Folklore is a tradition based on any expressive behaviour that brings a group together, creates a convention and commits it to cultural memory. NFSC aims to achieve its goals through cooperative and experimental activities at various levels. NFSC is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. CONTENTS Editorial.....................................................3 Dohada (Pregnancy Cravings)........................5 Hot / Cold ..................................................6 Dreams.......................................................7 Indigenous Knowledge Erosion .....................10 Medicinal Plants ..........................................12 An Introduction to the Tamil Siddhas...............14 Folk Medicinal Wisdom ................................19 Green Health Boom.......................................21 Book Review......................................23 Review Books ................................................24 C O V E R I L L U S T R AT I O N
Front: Medicine Buddha or Bhaishajyaguru is considered to be the physician of human passions, the unfailing healer of the ills of samsara. He is dark blue in colour and holding a myrobalan (arura) plant in his right hand and a bowl of amrita medicine in his left hand. Courtesy: A Hand Book of Tibetan Culture (1993, London, Sydney, Auckland and Johannesburg: Rider)

Director, Rupayan Sansthan, Folklore Institute of Rajasthan, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Ajay S. Mehta
Executive Director, National Foundation for India, India Habitat Centre, Zone 4-A, UG Floor, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Ashoke Chatterjee

B-1002, Rushin Tower, Behind Someshwar 2, Satellite Road, Ahmedabad

N. Bhakthavathsala Reddy Dadi D. Pudumjee

Dean, School of Folk and Tribal Lore, Warangal Managing Trustee, The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust, B2/2211 Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Deborah Thiagarajan Jyotindra Jain

President, Madras Craft Foundation, Chennai Professor and Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Molly Kaushal

Associate Professor, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, C.V. Mess, Janpath, New Delhi

Munira Sen

Executive Director, Madhyam, Bangalore

K. Ramadas

Deputy Director, Regional Resources Centre for Folk Performing Arts, Udupi

P. Subramaniyam

Director, Centre for Development Research and Training, Chennai

Y. A. Sudhakar Reddy Veenapani Chawla

Reader, Centre for Folk Culture Studies, S. N. School, Hyderabad Director, Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Research, Pondicherry

M.D. Muthukumaraswamy

Assistant Directors
T.R. Sivasubramaniam Administration Miriam Nelken Programmes (Volunteer) Eva Glanzer Programmes (Volunteer)

V. Jayarajan Kuldeep Kothari Moji Riba K.V.S.L. Narasamamba Nima S. Gadhia Parag M. Sarma Sanat Kumar Mitra Satyabrata Ghosh Shikha Jhingan Susmita Poddar M.N. Venkatesha



The focus of April – June 2003 issue is on Folk Medicine and Biodiversity. Visual motifs courtesy: Sangs-Rgyas Stong: An Introduction to Mahayana Iconography (1988, Gangtok (India): Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology), and A Hand Book of Tibetan Culture (1993).

Programme Officers
M. Ramakrishnan Gita Jayaraj




Programme Assistants
Primadonna Khongwir Rita Deka

The theme of the July - September issue of Indian Folklife is Folklore and Biopolitic. The forthcoming issue proposes to explore how folklore expresses the rich symbolism of the human body that exists as a way for social groups to express about their relationship to community, nature and state in a hierarchical society. Closing date for submission of articles is September 10, 2003. All communications should be addressed to: The Editor, Indian Folklife, National Folklore Support Centre, 7, 5th Cross Street, Rajalakshmi Nagar, Velachery, Chennai 600 042 (India), Tele/Fax: 91-44-22448589/ 22450553, email: info@indianfolklore.org/ muthu@md2.vsnl.net.in/ nfsc_india@yahoo.co.in

R. Murugan

Archival Assistant
Ranga Ranjan Das

M.D. Muthukumaraswamy Editor M. Ramakrishnan Associate Editor K. Kamal Ahamed Page Layout & Design

Volunteer (Research Project)
Rengin Aktar

Support Staff
Y. Pavitra P.T. Devan K. Kamal Ahamed V. Thennarasu C. Kannan

h t t p : / / w w w . i n d i a n f o l k l o r e . o r g

It is this hermeneutics that reveals the cultural processes at work because it shows how cultural signs never cease to implicate themselves. basil and Yercum traverse through all the three realms. pumpkin pictures and yellow twines. Ramanathan. a highly virulent microbe responsible for half of all episodes of bloody diarrhoea in young children.avatara. jamoon plum nut. the Original Teacher of Ayurveda possible stomach ailments. For the familiar eye the shops represent a mindset. Medicine. originally. a worldview and a luxury fast disappearing in the countryside. Yercum is believed to be the most favourite plant of Ganesh. The shops themselves are semiotic delights as they assemble a wide range of sacred objects used in worship along with folk medicine.org 3 . turmeric. Nobody has ever proved it yet. lotus stem wick. Arugam grass. Ganesh figurines made out of Yercum stems are considered to be of extraordinary significance and auspicious quality. pertinent and systematic marks. In fact.charts out an unstated vision of alternatives. actually. one folksong refers to Yercum as one of the herbs that may be used to abort an unwanted child. dry ginger and neem flower make up common list along with items that would ward off evil eye such as black twines. then. Nonetheless no plausible explanation exists in the folklore of Ganesh that would connect him to Yercum. It is possible that Yercum kills shigella. the remover of all obstacles. If sacred things varying from basil bead garlands and holy ash pockets to lamps and wicks form yet another set available. Floating they are. On the contrary there is quite a body of negative folklore surrounding Yercum. gallnut. one of the fast growing hi-tech suburbs of Chennai city. Tying a Yercum fibre twine around the hip of a child is believed to cure diarrhoea and ward off any Lord Dhanvantari. Mills. Peter J. Claus and Sarah Diamond. bael. place and purpose in life’s moments. Yercum sports small white flowers with violet veins along the edges of the petals.Muthukumaraswamy veryday as I walk to the Centre for work I pass through two folk medicine shops in Velachery. The domain shift results in several problems. Page 76 Song number 412). LIGHTING A YERCUM FIBRE WICK Courtesy: http://www. Abithanachintamani. Lighting a Yercum fibre wick in front of Ganesh is believed to bring boons unparalleled. Yercum is a Tamil cultural sign that subscribes to certain incompleteness and so to infinity of interpretations. Indian pennywort. they gain meaning. Lighting a Yercum fibre wick in front of Ganesh or tying a Yercum fibre twine around the hip of a child may emerge from someone’ moments of despair s facilitated by tradition. as it is feared to be poisonous. Yercum is yet to make its place in any encyclopedia including the Tamil one. belief and worship shape the syntax of these shops and certain objects like turmeric. Yercum fibre wick. Yercum’s transference from a sacred/feared plant to a medicinal herb is a path familiar to a hermeneutic that wraps itself in itself and enters the domain of languages. Especially when it comes to the case of folk medicine the main argument revolves around its scientific verifiability. Yercum is a milky plant that grows even in a mound of trash all over the Tamil landscape. (Volume 3. Let me first of all name some of the herbs sold in these shops. basil. If culture were to be seen as a dynamic process we cannot believe that cultural signs exist primarily. Malabar nut. Although ruthlessly destroyed if it is Yercum Plant E found in the backyard of any house. During Ganesh Chadurthi festival there is sudden demand for Yercum flowers. The ambivalent position of Yercum in Tamil culture exposes this fundamental nature of cultural signs. as coherent. The city’s economy and vastness have facilitated the business of these shops and their sheer presence – anachronistic to those who belong to the popular realm . Often they cannot and do not stand the test of scientific testimony.Editorial LIGHTING A YERCUM FIBRE WICK M. Children are often advised not to play with the milk of Yercum plant.D. traditional almanacs. climbing brinjal. Indicators of a larger paradigm basil and turmeric have found entries in the encyclopedia of South Asian Folklore (2003) edited by Margaret A. astrological chapbooks and books of prayer songs complete the picture. In the recently published ten-volume collection of Tamil folksongs (2001) edited by Aru.

October 8.. There has been such an erosion of knowledge that often the relation between the cosmic philosophy of these systems and the actual medical practices do not make sense. Daniel and J. Visvanathan. Mills. Chaudhuri. pp.. Brush. ed. Indigenous Vision: Peoples of India. Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century. 1986. Chaudhuri. The Ecologist. New Delhi: Inter-India. Michael. B. Note I gratefully acknowledge my colleague Mr. body and nature. Jan Slikkerveer and David Brokensha. Technology and Development. 1988. “Intellectual Piracy and the Neem Tree”. Hyderabad: Academy of Gandhian Studies. Claus. “Tribal Health. South Asian Systems of Healing. Geeti. 1992. and S. Nandy. often folk medicinal herbs are collected from particular surrounding only as the Agasthiyar. In B. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 ... The patenting severely restricts the free. When particular herbs are isolated for mass production their necessity of unique habitat is brutally ignored. 18.. Tribal Health: Socio-Cultural Dimensions. eds. unlimited and creative uses of the said medicines in any given culture. Disease and Treatment: A Review Study”. Peter J. 2000 Let me light a Yercum fibre wick towards the accomplishment of this goal. mechanistic and science based medical system and a plurality of context-dependent folk medicines. London: Intermediate Technology Publications. Shiva and Holla-Bhar 1993. Bibliography Barsh. South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia. 1984. 1995) and for the cultural value of alternative sciences (Nandy 1988. However. Thanks to the works of very fine scholars new respect for indigenous knowledge systems (Barsh 1997.. rational. Ashis. ed. Aru. 1993. Delhi: Oxford University Press. eds. Vandana and Radha Holla-Bhar.. 56 (Spring): 28-37. A Carnival for Science: Essays on Science. 1995. 23(6): 223-7. Two.V. Peter J. “Indigenous Knowledge of Biological Resources and Intellectual Property Rights: The Role of Anthropology”.. Warren. eds. Vi s i t Our Renovated We b s i t e www. Sen. These are issues in addition to the conceptual divide between a single modern. Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity. Chaudhuri.. Brush 1993. 1997. Science. Shiv. At the moment only collections listing folk medicines exist in print. ed. New Delhi: Sage Publications. 1983 (1971). American Anthropologist. Siddha or Unani-Tibb) that links cosmos. 60-72. the job of the folklorist in decoding medicinal signs is yet to be done. 1997. Actually the prescriptions for the surroundings are the prescriptions for the preservation of biodiversity as well. Dharampal. The Cultural Dimensions of Development: Indigenous Knowledge Systems. “Medical Anthropology and the Ethnography of Spirit Possession”. eds. 2001 Nattupurapadal kalanchiyam Volume 1-10. L. Ramanathan. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Visvanathan 1997) has diminished confidence in scientism. Russel. In E. Dharampal 1983. Chidambaram: Meyyappan Thamizhayvakam. 95(3): 653-71. Sen 1992.. Courtesy: The Hindu Folio.. folk medicine is embedded in a system (say. 37-52.E. ed. 1993. D. Stephen B. Attitudes to Environment. Three. 2003.. Pugh. Human Organization.One. Shiva.org 4 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO.indianfolkore. when the curative properties of some of the folk medicine do stand the tests of verifiability they are immediately patented in today’s context of global economy. New York: Routledge. Murugan’s help in collecting some of the data required for this essay. Claus and Sarah Diamond.. Margaret A.. “The Epistemology of Traditional Healing Systems”. Ayurveda. the patron saint of Siddha medicine ‘surrounding’ consisting of certain soil condition and accompanying plants contribute towards their curative properties. Warren et al. Contributions to Asian Studies (Leiden) vol.

or dohada may be feigned to trick the husband. Similar tales are found in the world’ folk and popular literature. having no obvious influence on the main events of a story.net D (This article was originally published in the encyclopedia of South Asian Folklore (2003). p. 1957. Dohada is often satisfied by deceit. The dohada is fulfilled when the mother drinks a reflection of the moon.. the queen. “The Dohada or Craving of Pregnant Women: A Motif in Hindu Fiction”. dohala (Prakrit. vol. is discussed in Sanskrit treatises on medicine and love.) South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia Edited by Margaret A. “unreasonable demands of pregnant women”.” Many stories involve feigned dohada. Dohada incidents often serve as a start motif. Bloomfield. searches for a suitable proxy to rule for him. Ph. may involve auspicious cravings for pious acts. Jerome H. “giving milk. and her son. a woman feigns pregnancy and dohada in order to improve her status in the household. to a child who is destined to kill his father and seize his throne. Cases of inauspicious or evil dohada are more numerous. The Vipaka Sutra (a Svetambara Jain canonical text) contains many especially sinister dohada stories. The author can be contacted at jeromebauer@sbcglobal. many poetic descriptions of spring feature the pregnancy longings of blossoming trees. especially in the religious literature of the Hindus. Sometimes a dangerous dohada is satisfied by trickery. where it is often interpreted as transfer of karmic substance (especially by Hindus) or as coordination of two people’s karma (especially by Jains). or the craving of a Buddhist woman to entertain the monks. or are used ornamentally. The Ocean of Story. to augur the birth of a hero. Tawney. is named Candragupta. dohala (Pali). Prince Ajatasatru’s mother has a dohada to drink blood from her husband King Bimbisara’s knee. and Jains. References Bauer.” “nausea. and Sarah Diamond 2003. Bloomington: Indian University Press. Stith. in the Thusa Jataka.DOHADA (PREGNANCY CRAVINGS)* Jerome H. tr.D. Bauer Jerome H. ensuring a safe and auspicious birth. In the Kathasaritsagara. Tawney’s translation of Somadeva’s Kathasaritsagara (or Ocean of Streams of Story). the dohada motif is used as a stock embellishment. and Canakya promises to fulfill it if the infant is given to him to raise. she gives birth. Mills.. and in religious literature. In the Vidhurapandita Jataka.” Dohada is sometimes a euphemism for pregnancy. In the Nigrodha Jataka. Examples of auspicious or good dohada are the craving of a Jain woman to hear continuously the Jain teachings. wishing to hear the sage Vidhura discourse on the Dharma. who must perform heroic deeds to satisfy his wife’s cravings. Dohada stories usually involve inauspicious. 5. s (See MotifT571. Being C. 5 . Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.5. especially in a Jain context.. the Machiavellian political theorist Canakya (Kautilya). Dohada stories usually involve some direct or indirect danger to the husband. dangerous cravings. plotting to destroy the Nanda dynasty. Stories of pregnant humans and animals in dohada also abound.H. Karma and Control: The Prodigious and the Auspicious in Ivetambara Jaina Canonical Mythology. Journal of the American Oriental Society 40 (1): 1-24. “Moon Protected. “two-heartedness. pages xxx + 710 New York. 1998. Peter J. feigns dohada. or perhaps from Sanskrit doha + da. and the kadamba tree for the first thunder of the monsoon. “sickness of heart.diss. which is satisfied by her husband. The asoka tree longs for the touch of a maiden’s foot in order to blossom. University of Pennsylvania. 163. like dreams. Claus.” or “evil-hearted”. ch. DOHADA ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ohada (Sanskrit). The condition of having a second heart. from Sanskrit daurhrda. causing vicarious cravings in the mother. and to spend money for religious purposes. Thompson 1957: 402-403). St. Motif-Index of Folk Literature. Hindi). In the Parisistaparvan. when the will of the foetus influences the moods and desires of the mother. Thompson. where they often have a formulaic character.H. Maurice. Queen Mrgavati has a dohada to bathe in a lake of blood. which is satisfied. but.” is the pregnancy whim. For example. literally “having two hearts”. For example. Buddhists. In literature.. London: Routledge. C. The word is probably derived from Sanskrit (dvi + hrd). the future Mauryan emperor. A village chief’s daughter has a dohada to drink the moon. who makes for her a lake of red colored lac. serving. 1920. Bauer is Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at Washington University. doladuk (Sinhalese).Louis. after an unsuccessful attempt at abortion.

Hot/cold may refer to either selective qualities or the overall qualities of an item being described. Eastern Anthropologist. Hot/cold also provides specialists with a widely understood reference point enabling communication with laypersons unable to grasp the complex relationships underlying expert practice.S. liquor. plants. 1986. hot/cold facilitates communication between expert domains of knowledge such as astrology. medicines. related to various humoural imbalances. evaluations of the qualities of soil to deliberation about the use of various types of fertilisers. medicines). times.. Babb. foods. Wandel. A flexible. burning sensation: hot) as well as subject to personal interpretation. parboiled rice: cold. 1969. The hot/cold conceptual framework constitutes an excellent example of an interpretive “model of” serving as a “model for” (Geertz 1973) practice. and exorcism wherein associations between the hot/cold properties of stars. Each may be thought of as hot in relation to other members of a class. The author can be contacted at Mnichter@u. white: cold). At issue is when the model is invoked. 14: 93-140. Hindu rituals follow a logic that demands particular types of offerings representing hot/cold qualities matching the characteristics of a deity or the intent of a particular sequence in the ritual. celestial bodies. minerals.. A. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ot/cold is a conceptual framework widely adhered to throughout South Asia. follow practices influenced by hot/cold reasoning at times associated with states of vulnerability. Margareta. For example. “Heating and cooling foods in relation to food habits in a southern Sri Lanka community”. Hot/cold reasoning is further employed to explain new phenomena (e. stages of development.g. Peter J. Khare and M. In R. animals. meats. each domain analogous to an octave on a musical scale. References Beck. Rao. . Within Asian medical systems. such as body sensation. Brenda. Lawrence. child care. Ayurveda medicine. hot/cold reasoning guides behaviours ranging from folk dietetic practice to bathing habits. and it serves as a guide for experimentation.g. which are more immediate (e. Man 4: 553-572. a grain such as wheat may be classified as hot. South Asians do not spend their lives strictly abiding by rules of healthy living underlain by hot/cold conceptualisation. domestic health care to the interpretation of how medicines work. Geertz. user-friendly conceptual framework. Durham: Carolina Academic Press. red: hot. and Sarah Diamond 2003. The Interpretation of Cultures. A point of comparison may be implicit (rice is cool in relation to wheat) or explicit when an index object is noted in conversation.. “Modes of Food Classification and the Diet-Health Contingency: A South Indian Case”. 1973. Hot/cold reference is often relational. Claus. Research in South Asia suggests that predispositions toward hot/ cold reasoning are embodied through a complex of practices. Items tend to be classified within domains (vegetables.arizona.. pp. especially those associated with pregnancy and delivery.S.g. beer: cool. Food. and bodily states may be drawn. Society and Culture. “Colour and Heat in a South Indian Ritual”. particular colours and tastes are widely associated with states of hot/cold (e. how birth control pills work). hot/cold descriptors are used to denote the qualities of people. To the lay population.. Thus. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. Consensus is greatest for items involved in rituals.) South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia Edited by Margaret A. Significant intra. Clifford. 289 . rum: hot). pages xxx + 710 New York. but these attributes may be eclipsed by others. milled rice: hot. 6 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. but their qualities may not be seen as identical. et al. “Heat and control in Chhattisgarhi ritual”. London: Routledge. places. New York: Basic Books. spirits. although each may be described as causing a heating effect on the body if consumed in excess. gender-based proclivities. Princeton University. Mills. Symptoms are recognised as signs of internal heat and cold manifest in myriad forms.edu H (This article was originally published in the encyclopedia of South Asian Folklore (2003).. hot-cold constituting a continuum along which one item may be described in relation to others within a common domain (e. A point of comparison may be implicit (rice is cool in relation to wheat) or emerge as an anchor point in conversation. For example. eds. 1973. 1984. and bodily sensations as well as symptoms and types of illness.as well as interregional variation exists in the classification of specific items and phenomena as hot/cold. there is more of a pattern in the way the framework is employed than in the specific rules for its application.g. as may a meat such as chicken and an oil such as mustard seed oil.290. seasons. They do. and illness.HOT / COLD* Mark Nichter Mark Nichter is teaching at the Department of Anthropology. Nichter. 26: 11-28. Mark. however.

most people distinguish meaningful from meaningless dreams. a type of dream frequently encountered in the biographical literature of the Buddhists and Jains. An especially rich text in terms of dreams and folk beliefs is the popular biography of the Tibetan yogi and poet Milarepa (eleventh through twelfth century). when nothing existed but a vast ocean and Lord Narayana (Brahma. Manorathapuraii (V. having a dream DREAMS 7 .296-297). This text is actually structured by the dreams that begin and end it. and this is taken as confirmation of the first dream (II. Vishnu) sleeping on the coils of a great snake. God’s dream is the basis of our reality.DREAMS* Serinity Young Serinity Young is Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at American Museum of Natural History. Folk beliefs about dreams in South Asia are similar to those found in the classical traditions of South Asia as well as in other cultures from around the world. While examples of such dreams can be found in other cultures. A second example of this type is the conception dream of the Buddha’s mother that is said to have been dreamt by the mother of the preceding Buddha.12).xx. as when the Buddha has five dreams said to be the same dreams had by Buddhas of earlier eons recorded in Lalitavistara (I. Marpa. he dreams. shared dreams also appear in stories about famous Buddhist religious figures in Tibet.205). as well as anchor its pivotal centre. Equally famous are the Maya. in which the Buddha’ father. is the well-known idea that we are all participating in God’s dream of creation.136). have the night before s Milarepa arrives to ask Marpa to be his guru. In these examples shared dreams are used to dramatize the essential sameness of all Buddhist heroes. Marpa dreams of a vajra (a tantric ritual implement). vol. For example. Additional examples of such transtemporal shared dreams are contained in the Lotus Sutra and the Arya svapna nirdesa nama mahayana sutra (bKa’ ‘gyur. most of the dreams in Somadeva’ s Kathasaritsagara story collection take place at dawn and are sent by the gods. New York. As he sleeps. The author can be contacted at sy108@earthlink. Shared Dreams One type of dream preserved in various stores is the shared dream. Overshadowing these theories in Hinduism.25. Dakmema. their progress along the path leading to enlightenment is marked by dream signposts. in other versions. Indeed.19-20). which describe the dreams of Bodhisattvas. s wife. which describes the beginning of this kalpa (eon). These basic ideas about dreams are also found in ancient texts such as the Caraka and Susruta Samhitas (medical texts) and in early Buddhist works such as the Samantapasadika (I. Examples from the Kathasaritsagara include: two Brahman cousins who perform austerities to Karttikeya and then receive a shared prophetic dream telling them where to find a guru (I. Dipamkara. emphasizing the importance of dreams that occur around dawn and dreams sent by gods over those caused by bodily disorders. the mother of Buddha. Correspondingly. religious symbols appropriate to announcing a Buddhist saint. a dream that appears on the same night to more than one person. and Marpa’ wife. One version of this idea is contained in the Kurma Purana.com reams are pervasive in South Asian folk literature. who remain virtuous wives even though they have been abandoned by their husbands. while the Palija takas are particularly rich in the dreams of women. It also contains the shared dreams that Milarepa’s guru. One group of such dreams centres on Padmasambhava’ departure from home s when both his adopted father and his wife have frightening dreams. and a wonderful lotus grows out of his navel from which arises all that exists. however. while Dakmema dreams of a stupa (Buddhist reliquary). Conception Dreams Some of the dreams presented thus far are also examples of the conception dream.520-529).75). Shared dreams also occur in Buddhist stories such as the Mahavastu. mentioned in Mahavastu (I. South Asia is an especially rich source for them. a king and queen worship Siva in order to obtain a son. and he appears in both their dreams.6). and Milindapanha (IV. predicting they will have a son. Another type of shared dream is one that transcends time. and aunt all have dreams portending his D departure from home (II. when Milarepa passes from being a disciple to becoming a guru himself.129-131). such as indigestion. Later the queen dreams that Siva gives her a fruit.net Courtesy: http://www. share a dream from Siva (I. three Brahman women.tibetshop. text 48).

46). VIII. and Queen s dream pollution is to transfer it to Trisala. the idea that saying the dream out loud will Propitiation and Diagnosis contribute to or hasten its dreaded effect.tibetshop. a celestial abode. they assert a negative position.16. use dreams as a Buddhism. my excellent subject. and the period. This dream is for removing the effects of bad understood to be a prediction of the dreams (X. When Queen Trishala death that are similar to those seen in the epics and tells her dreams to her husband and asks him to folktales. her right side with its trunk. the state. The Buddhist belief in diagnostic tool. V. is able which recommends a particular grass to enter her womb. The main Some of the earliest references to dreams are point. which are still Marpa. Of particular recommendations to avert the influence of dreams.com . 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 Courtesy: http://www.7). Maya’ dream are among the earliest s The medical texts of ancient images preserved in Buddhist India. Her words and actions are device. an idea that persists from Vedic times dreams (II. She says. another object or to associate the founder of the Jains. certain dreams day. a white bull. Significantly. a garland. the text also has universal emperor or a jina (a Jain hero).1. but for treat dreams as effluvia when them. examples of premonitory dreams of disease and a heap of jewels.240). a dream may be the first say the dreams mean the child will be either a symptom. however. as in many other cultures. X.9. Many versions of (VI.17. person. on the night that Mahavira enters dreams were used as a diagnostic tool by such wellQueen Trishala’s womb she has fourteen sequential known ancient Greek doctors as Galen and dreams of a white elephant.4-5. This is not an idea unique to ancient IndiaIn the Jain case. the mother of Mahavira. and X. 1968: I.4). in which the detailed telling of dreams. he says they mean that the couple In the SS. as well as by ancient Mesopotamian goddess Sri. the Hippocrates.3). in part due to a be viewed as part of the effluvia related belief that dreams can of the night that must be purified reveal the onset of illness. agreeable stories about gods and religious men” especially those thought to be inauspicious. a vase. pious. though here they are in relation to auspicious recommendation itself would seem to be connected to dreams. auspicious. dreams seem to be caused by illness as will have a son who will be a great king. the Caraka Samhita and Susruta iconography and texts. In her dream. In the Arthava Veda other As we have seen.dreams of Queen Maya. probably due in equal part to the Ayurvedic approach to the whole person. by striking found in the Taittiriya-Araiyaka. the moon. meditating on a holy interprets her dream. interpret them. The philosophical texts dreamt of the dead. and in the Atharva birth of a son who will be a world Veda. a lake. is the notion that dreams have a contained in the Rg Veda.47. The next well as being symptoms of it. contact with the dead is polluting mainly referring to them as and such pollution can occur in useless illusions or as useful only dreams as well as in the waking Fourteen Dreams of Queen Trishala 8 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. and Samhita (CS and SS).82. in which several hymns lingering effect that can be avoided by appealing to appeal to various deities to dispel the effects of evil divine power. in which popularity of Maya’ dream and earlier indigenous s dreams are considered a meaningful part of the beliefs. a lion. or washed away during morning Ancient Indians also sometimes ablutions. citing dream interpretation books. “These. a large doctors. This does not. interest is Trishala’s behaviour after her husband such as reciting the Gayatri. the founder of the Kagyu School representations of this dream kept in use today as part of the Ayurvedic of Tibetian Buddhism up an even pace with the spread of system of healing.com Courtesy: http://www. Queen Maya sees a magnificent Examples of this kind of thinking are white elephant. In other words.” although this is “Accordingly she remained awake to save her dreams challenged by the evidence of Indian folk and literary by means of [hearing] good.28. the CS contains many flag.14-18. shall not be counteracted by nights. and a fire. X. texts. which. and to the present. Sudhir Kakar’s recent work has conception dreams is also well documented in later shown the persistence of these ancient ideas and the Tibetan biographies. dream with something ephemeral. the milk ocean. however. which states. Fortunately. preclude someone reminiscent of similar ritual activities from the Vedic from keeping silent about his or her dreams. the sun.4. or sleeping in a temple for three consecutive and preeminent dreams. “We transfer ruler either through kingship or every evil dream upon our enemy” renunciation. contact with the dead) or it may IV. It also recommends that “an evil dream other bad dreams. the king sends for the official dream appearing to a healthy person indicate the onset of interpreters who. illness.10. this appeals for protection from bad lingering effect may also be a dreams are directed toward source of pollution (such as healing plants and salves (VI. is a stock (Jacobi.36.” The narration continues.panjokutch. One of the ways to get rid of Buddha’ mother. should not be related to another. though.

for example. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Varanasi (India): Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series. Claus. New York and London: Routledge) and the authors. More research needs to be done on all these aspects of dream life... The “objective” quality of dreams is perhaps most clearly expressed when dreamers say they “saw” (drs) the dream rather than Milarepa. Serinity. define character. anana. the Editors of the South Asian Folklore – An Encyclopedia (2003. In spite of the lively interest in dreams in the Vedas and related texts.: Dharma Publishing. in which the hero continually receives dream visitations from Buddhist deities who offer him advice which he follows. The few dreams in the Mahabharata also belong to secondary or even liminal characters such as Karna and Bhisma.169.. Dreams.. Tagore. London: Chas. New York: Dover Publications. Lotus Sutra. ubiquitous in the Tibetan epic of Gesar (Kesar). DREAMS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ for signifying how real and powerful a force illusion (maya) is in waking life. 1984. and Practice.. tr. (n. tr. vol.] Berkeley. tr. Not infrequently. Bloomfield. Jadish.. tr. The Ramayana of Valmiki. 1959. Anne-Marie... 1963. Yeshe. tr. Tawney. Bauer. (Original: Lalitavistara) Berkeley.com 9 . acting as a deus ex machina to shift the action. Sharma. At the same time. seeing a woman dressed in red. 1977. Lobsang P. Atharva Veda. Boulder. Wendy Doniger. or Saddharmapuidarika (The Lotus of the True Law).(2nd edition). Mills. Bhishagratna. 1980. J. Claus. Divination Because they link the internal and subjective emotional life of an individual with what appears to be objective outer events and symbols. using the same images contained in the ancient Indian medical texts.. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1979 (1897).. C. London: Pali Text Society.J. Vols..M.: Dharma. J.) Kurma Purana. Mahavastu.25. tr. Colo. few dreams actually occur in the epics.H. Hermann. dreams are believed to be a particularly potent form of divination. Esnoul. however.. Griffith. Shastri. Margaret A. The Hymns of the Rg Veda. but of the gods’ enduring concern with the affairs of humanity. Calcutta: Firma KLM. 1980. 1978. Gwendolyn. Bolling. Lhalungpa. tr. Ralph T.5. In Les Songes et leur interpretation (Dreams and Their Interpretation) Paris: Editions du Seuil. London: Routledge. they are the vehicles for divine appearances that reassure the audience not only of the immanence of divinity. 1953-1957. dragging someone toward the south.. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. both announce deaths. 1971 (1889). Oakland. tr. 1983. Calif. 1984. Varanasi (India): Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office.K. Jerome H. New York: Dover Publications.. Caraka Samhita. The Life of Milarepa. bKa’ ‘gyur. Varanasi. a twelth century poet-saint of Tibet “had” a dream. for protection from troubled dreams. Dream-Symbolism in the Sramaiic Tradition: Two Psychoanalytical Studies in Jainist and Buddhist Dream Legends. Jaina Sutras. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. India: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series. California: Dharma Publishing. dreams are a useful narrative device. The Voice of the Buddha: The Beauty of Compassion. * We sincerely thank Professors Peter J. R. Vol.. feels compelled to describe the experience and to seek an interpretation that resolves it. Mark Nichter and Serinity Young for giving us permission to reprint these articles. II.. tr. Dreams are.) South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia Edited by Margaret A. Imagery. Calif.tibetshop. “Dreams and Sleep (Vedic)”. however.B.(This article was originally published in the encyclopedia of South Asian Folklore (2003). 1968 (1884). London: Shantisadan. text 48. 1913. Mills and Sarah Diamond. Van Buitenen. 166 . Sushruta Samhita. 1999. J. Illusion and Other Realities. 1963 (1884). In James Hastings. Ganesh Vasudeo. Two dreams that do occur in Valmiki’s Ramayana are of minor characters. Boston: Wisdom Publications. H. Kern.9 of the Atharva Veda that appeals to an eye ointment..H. References Bays. Jones. 1975-1978. ed.. This thinking is expressed in hymn 4. Jacobi.A. pages xxx + 710 New York. Dreaming in the Lotus: Buddhist Dream Narrative. 2 & 3. The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava.. and Bhagwan Das.[Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays from the French of Gustave-Charles Toussaint. tr. and express the inevitability of what follows. 25. G. tr. Tsogyal.R. Kaviraj Kunjalal. Kathasaritsagara (The Ocean of Story). Sharma. and London: Shambhala Publications. The dreamer is totally engaged in the dream activity and. and then they play a very minor role. The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. The Mahabharata. 278-279. pp. Young.d. and Lee Siegel. text 48) that recommends preparing and using a certain eye ointment when seeking an auspicious dream. and Sarah Diamond 2003.. and in the Tibetan Tangyur (vol.. Courtesy: http://www. especially through interviewing living people about their dream beliefs and experiences. Sawyer. thereby lending them a possibly divine authority. H. 1949-1956. New York: Charles Scribner.545-550. upon awakening. 1924. tr. Maurice. Les Songes et leur interpretation dans l’Inde. This use of language expresses the idea that dreams are experienced as given to individuals rather than created by them and emphasises the external rather than the internal origin of the dream.. Peter J. O’Flaherty.

the communities tend to lose vast amount of unrecorded traditional knowledge because of the ageing of the elders and maintenance of secrecy Courtesy: http://tbgri.INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE EROSION Jyoti Kumari Jyoti Kumari is a freelance researcher and doctoral candidate researching ‘Environmental History of Colonial Punjab’ at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in New Delhi. and Indians. which authenticate the presence of their rich socio-cultural and medical heritage. In the absence of basic healthcare facilities in villages. and globalisation. the traditional medicine practices provide an alternative health security to millions of people. And. In fact. The gradual erosion of traditional knowledge has serious repercussions on the subsistence patterns. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 80 per cent of the world population depend on traditional medicine for some aspects of primary health care. In fact.com he indigenous communities in India are the original inhabitants of the natural region and they have been maintaining a historical continuity with pre-industrial societies by following traditional patterns of life. and non-governmental organisations. they constitute around 8. a treatise on folk medicine traditions. There is an urgent need to collect. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 . The contribution of indigenous knowledge in the modern systems of medicine has been underestimated and it is ironical that the scientific community has treated the ‘foundation of scientific medicine’ as ‘unscientific’. In addition. the unrecorded traditional knowledge they carry with them will become completely useless in view of new ecosystem. This article emphasises on the revival of folk medicine tradition that is happening with the help of pharmaceutical companies. The conservators of the postcolonial period also promoted the same legacy further. the majority of them are forest dwellers. However. The author can be contacted at jyotikm202@rediffmail. When indigenous people are forced to displacement.8 per cent of the total population and with a few exceptions. The first historical evidence of traditional knowledge about medicinal plants has been found in Rg Veda. document and preserve this medicinal knowledge keeping in view of the future generations and this needs to be done immediately with the help of individuals.com Kani people and TBGRI scientists after the first transfer of licence fees and royalties in 1999 about medicinal plants and forest products. Deforestation during this period led to the disappearance and extinction of several medicinal plants and the reduced access to natural resources further aggravated the situation. there is a need for an objective evaluation to get maximum benefit of the traditional INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. that is. Scattered all over the country. Folk knowledge about pharmaceutical diversity is as old as civilisation itself. Various development projects taken up in the postindependence period have displaced thousands of local and tribal communities. The colonisers’ ideological principle of ‘scientific forestry’ was based on the conception that all traditional practices of conservation were wasteful and they would destroy the forest wealth. The sacred rituals and healing practices are very much visible in their culture. voluntary organisations. 10 T whereas the traditional systems of medicine received a major setback. modernisation. it was during the British rule that the exploitation of natural resources and unfriendly forest laws adversely affected the indigenous communities’ access to medicinal plants and heralded an era of gradual knowledge erosion. Even in the medieval period there was an exchange of traditional medical wisdom between Arabs. the allopathic system of medicine was promoted and legitimised during the British rule. explains various herbal formulations that are still in use. Erosion of indigenous knowledge has been taking place in India for the past two hundred years and there is no effort by the government to promote and protect these anonymous but unique knowledge holders of the society. They have preserved their culture through their indigenous knowledge systems. Chinese. However. the Atharva Veda. it reduces the self-sufficiency of indigenous people by making them depend on urban societies. the forced resettlement of indigenous and tribal people in a different ecological zone poses a great threat to the existence of their indigenous knowledge system and intellectual property rights. Their sociocultural identity has remained unaffected by forces of colonisation. government agencies.

2000. Economic and Political Weekly. In Darjeeling. such as. which disagree with the notion that indigenous people should be paid for their knowledge. Forestry for Tribal Development. June 22. The traditional literature and folklore of indigenous medicine and medicinal practices have positively contributed to the discoveries of many allopathic medicines.. Access to this knowledge should have had enough safeguards to protect the interests of indigenous people. The nexus between pharmaceutical companies and policy makers highlights the implications of knowledge exploitation and they promote each other at the cost of traditional knowledge of the local population. Sharma. “Digital Library on Indian Medicine Systems: Another Tool for Biopiracy”. The whole process would become successful only when it is legally controlled. Devinder. 2002. For meeting the future needs of rare medicinal herbs. However. Routledge. Courtesy: http://avpayurveda.. Though the whole arrangement is not free from controversy. Digoxin. As far as patent laws are concerned. Morphine. the pharmaceutical and Courtesy: http://www. David L. There is no provision for providing compensation or recognition to the original knowledge holders and it has resulted in disproportionate sharing of benefits. Shukla. The revival of traditional medicine is extremely difficult under the current system of intellectual property rights. After giving license to a local drug manufacturer. The already explored knowledge of indigenous people must be protected through national or international laws and they must be recognised as unique Jeevani or the only possessors of this knowledge. There should be a fair arrangement of profit sharing between indigenous communities and pharmaceutical companies. If new discoveries are made on the basis of this knowledge. it is still the first and only example of giving recognition to the intellectual property rights of an indigenous tribe. Ephedrine and Reserpine. R. by the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI). References Gosling. is manufactured from the extract of snakeroot plant. A number of research institutions and nongovernmental organisations working on herbal medicines and indigenous systems of curing have been exploring and promoting the value of traditional medicines. The Arokyapaccha plant (Trichopus zeylanicus) controversy between the Onge tribe of Andaman and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) over the discovery of herb that cures cerebral malaria is a case in point. the TBGRI shared fifty percent of the license fee and royalty on the drug with the Kani tribe. many species have been lost even before their true value was recognised. New York.medicine system. Washington. a not-for-profit organisation in Rajasthan. the Catholic Health Association of India in Andhra Pradesh has successfully developed a medicine based on tribal formulations to cure kala-azar (the Central Drug Research Institute has confirmed its effectiveness). The Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions in Bangalore has been doing commendable work in documenting and encouraging the cultivation of medicinal plants. Religion and Ecology in India and Southeast Asia. Human Development Report 2001: Making New Technologies Work for Human Development. The developing countries are unable to institute their own laws on such rights since they are under the pressure of national and multinational companies which have been exploiting this knowledge for their own profit. New Delhi: Wheeler Publications. The Raulfia. then there should be a proportionate benefit sharing among the patent holders and knowledge holders. and a combination of them can render development more cost effective. there are no provisions for any compensation for the communities whose knowledge has been stored in it and will now be freely available at global level without giving the local communities their rightful due. the documentation of traditional medicinal knowledge has long been suggested by national and international organisations. equitable as well as more sustainable. the use of Banjauri plant (Vivoa indica) as an oral contraceptive by the Bihar tribals has been confirmed by scientists of the Indian Institute of Science and the Georgetown University Medical Centre.com INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE EROSION 11 .com herbal companies are commercialising the cultivation of medicinal plants and in the process. a pharmaceutical product for lowering blood pressure. it is mandatory for the patent holder to disclose the source or origin of information regarding the property. S. But this would require recognition of intellectual property rights of tribal communities by the government and corporations. 2001. Jagran. Oxford University Press. London. is promoting indigenous healers. one example of such profit sharing arrangement is that the local Kani tribe in Kerala is given recognition as discoverer and knowledge holders of the medicinal plant. The folk knowledge about cinchona bark led to the discovery of Quinine for curing malarial diseases. which has been used by indigenous communities for centuries. UNDP.holistic-online. which gives the drug called Jeevani. The Indian government has set up a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library to facilitate wider access to this knowledge and to save it from bio-piracy. The indigenous and modern systems of medicine are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary. Trichopus zeylanicus travancoricius. 2001. However.

BOTANICAL NAMES ENGLISH NAMES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 Abies Weebbiana Abrus Percatorius Acacia Arabica Acacia Catechu Acacia Concinna Acacia Farnesiana Acave Americana Achyranthes Aspera Aconitum Ferox Aconitum Heterophyllum Acorus Calamus Adhatoda Vasika Adiantum Capillus-Veneris Adina Cordifulia Aegle Marmelos Aerua Lanata Agaricus Campestris Aglalia Roxburghiana Ailantus Malabarica Aloe Littoracis Aloe Vera Alpinia Chinensis Alpinia Galanga Althaea Officinalis Amarantus Gangeticus Amarantus Viridis Amomum Sublatum Anacylus Pyrethrum Andrographis Paniculata Andropogon Muricatus Anisochilus Carnosus Anthemis Nobicis Apium Graveolens Argyreia Malabarica Argyreia Speciosa Aristolochia Barcteata Artanema Sesamoides Asparagus Adscendens Asparagus Racemosus Atylosia Barabata Baliospermum Axillare Balsamodendron Mukul Balsamodendron Roxburghi Bambusa Arundinacea Barringtonia Racemosa Basella Alba Bassia Longifolia Benincasa Cerifera Berberis Aristata Bergera Koenigii Betula Bhojapattra Bixa Orrellana Blepharis Edulis Boerhaavia Diffusa Bombax Malabaricum Boswellia Glabra Brassica Alba Brassica Campestris Brassica Nigra Brunella Valgaris Bryonia Epigoes Bryonia Seabra Butea Frondosa Butea Superba Caccinia Glauca Caesalpinia Bonduc Caesalpinia Bunducella Himalayan Silver Fir Jequirity Babul Tree Catechu. BOTANICAL NAMES ENGLISH NAMES TAMIL NAMES INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. Black Catechu Cassia Flower American Aloe Rough Chafftree Indian Aconite Indian Atees Sweet Flag Malabar Nut Maiden-Hair Fern Bael Fruit Small Aloe Lesser Galangal Galangal Marsh Mallow Ceylon Cardomum Pellitory The Creat Cuscus Grass Thick-leaved Lavender Chamomile Celery Elephant Creeper Worm-Killer Mashaparni Salaitree.Kadambe Vilvam Sirupulayur Naikoddai Priyangu Mattipal Musambaram Kattalai Chitharathai Perarathai Tukme Kitmee Thandukkirai Kuppaikkirai Periyayelaky Akkirakaram Nilavembu Vettiver Karpooravalli Babuna Ajmoda Paymoostey Samudra Pachai Adu-Tinna-Palai Neermulli Tannirvitan Kilangu Shatavari Peruidukol Adavi-Amudan Gukkulu Kumuda Moongilarisi Samutra Palam Pachalai Illupai Kalyan-Pooshini Mara Manjal Karuveppilai Bhuja Palva Jaffra Vedai Utanjan Mukkaratai Elevam Mani Kundrikam Vendadugu Kadugu Kadugu Ustukhudus Akashakarudan Musumusukkai Murkampoo Kadimumukan Gaozaban Kazhar-Shikkay Gajakay 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 Caesalpinia Sappan Canarium Cummune Canarium Strictum Canscora Decussata Capsicum Frutescens Carthamus Tinctorius Carum Carui Carum Capticum Carum Nigrum Cassia Tora Celastrus Chenopodium Album Cichorium Intybus Citrus Medica Cassia Absus Coccinia Indica Cocculus Cordifolius Cocculus Suberosus Coptis Teeta Corylus Avellan Coscinium Fenestratum Cotula Anthemoides Croton Tiglium Cryptocoryne Spiralis Cucumis Trigonus Curculigo Orchioides Curcuma Amada Curcuma Aromatica Curcuma Zedoaria Cynodon Dactylon Cyperus Pertenuis Cyperus Rotundus Datura Alba Delphinium Denudatum Dendrobium Macrael Dolichos Biflurus Eclipta Alba Elaeocarpus Ganitrus Elaeocarpus Tuberculatus Elettaria Cardamumum Embelia Ribes Euphorbia Lathyris Euphorbia Pilurifera Eurycoma Longifulia Exacumlawii Feronai Elephantum Ferula Assafuetida Foeniculum Vulgar Gardenin Gummifera Garlinia Mangostana Garlinia Morella Gelidium Cartilagineum Gentiana Kurroo Gloriosa Superba Glycine Suja Glycyrrhiza Glabra Gymnema Sylvestre Gynocrd Odorata Hedysarum Gangeticum Helianthus Helicteres Isora Hemidesmus Indicus Herpestis Monniera Hibiscuc Cannabinus Hibiscus Abelmonschua Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis Holarrhena Antidysenterica Hydnucarpus Wightiana Sappa Wood Java Almond Tree Black Damar Chillies Saf-flower Bishop Weed Staff Tree Goose Foot Endive. Wild Chicory Citron Chaksoo Heart-leaved Moonseed Indian Berry Gold Thread Hazel Nut Tree Turmeric Purgative Cotton East Indian Root Bitter Gourd Black Musale Mango Ginger Wild Turmeric Round Zedoary Bermuda Grass Indian Cyperus Nut Grass Thornapple Horse Gram Australian Asthma-Weed Elephant or Wood-Apple Indian Sweet Fennel Dikamali Mangosteen Indian Gamboge Agai Agai Superb Lely Soybean Sweet Wood .Liquorice Hind Sun Flower East Indian Screw-Tree Indian Sarsaparilla Thyme-Leaved Brown Indian Hemp Musk-Mallow Chineses Rose Kurchi Jangli Badam Pathimugam Jangli Badam Karuppu Gunguliam Shankhini Milagai Kusumphool Shimayi-shombu Omam Ajmud Ushittagarai Valuluwai Parupu Kire Kasini Virai Maphal Mulappalvidhai Kovai Sindilkodi Kakakulli Peetharohini Findak Mara Manjal Babuna Nervalam Nattu-Ativudayam Kattu-Tumatti Nial-Panai-Kizhangu Arukamlaka Kasturi Manjal Kichili Kilangu Arugu Mutta-Kachi Korai Kizanghu Umatham Jadwar Jivanti Kollu Karisalai Rutthraksham Elakkay Vayu-Vilamgam Burg-Sadab Amum-Patchaiaressi Usi Thagarai Marukozhunthu Vilvapazham Perungayam Shombu Dikamalai Mangostan Rival Chinipal Katukarohini Kanveli Vadai Ati-Maduram Siru-Kurunja Chaulmugera Sarivan Surya Kiranti Valumbirika Nannari Neer Brahmi Oulimanji Kasthuri Vidhai Sembaruthi Kasppu-Vetpalarishi Nirattimuthu Sl. Gu-Gugul Bamboo Indian Spinach Mohua White Gourd Melon Indian Barberry Curry Leaf Anotta Seed Sperading Hog-Weed Silk Cotton Tree Indian Olibanum White Mustard Rape Seed Black Mustard Lavender Flower Bryoms Bastard Teak Molucca Bean - .12 MEDICINAL PLANTS TAMIL NAMES Sl. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 Talispatri Gundumani Karuvelum Kasikatti Sheeyakay Avarampoo Anekatalai Nayuruvi Vashanavi Ativadayan Vasambu Adhatodai Hansraj Manja .NO.NO.

N. Isapgol Seeds Rose Coloured Lead Wort Indian Beech Guava Babchi Seeds Bishop’s Weed Pomogranite Quince Oak Null. Aniseed White Pepper - Nirmulli Kurarani Omam Anasipoo Terada Kodikakkatan Siva-Narvaymbu Neeliouri Vellai Kilangu Shivadai Kattu Malli Akrottu Kachhola Kilangu Nirbishi Tukme . Rajan & Co. Manjitti Arvada Koranti Shenkottai Parnagichekkai Kandan Kattari Manathakkali Thuthulai. BOTANICAL NAMES ENGLISH NAMES TAMIL NAMES ENGLISH NAMES TAMIL NAMES 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 Hydrocotyle Asiatic Hygrophica Spinosa Hyoscyamus Niger Illicium Verum Hook Impatiens Balsamina Impomoea Hederaceae Indigofera Aspalathoides Indigofera Tincoturia Ipomoea Digitata Ipomoea Turpethum Jasminum Angustiflolium Juglans Regia Kaempferia Galanga Kyllinga Monocephala Lallemantia Royleana Lavandula Stoechas Lawsonia Alba Lepidium Sativum Lippia Nodiflora Litsea Sebifera Macrotomia Benthami Matricaria Chamumice Matthiolaincana Melia Azadirachta Melissa Paruiflora Mesua Ferrea Mimosa Pudica Mimusopa Elengi Mollugo Cerviana Mollugu Lerviano Momordica Charantia Morindia Citrifolia Moringa Oleifera Morus Nigra Mucuna Pruriens Murraya Koenigll Myrica Nagi Myristica Fragrans Myristica Malabarica Myrtus Caryophyllus Nardostachys Jatamansi Nereta Ciliaris Nigella Sativa Nymdhaea Lotus Ocimum Album Ocimum Basilicum Ocimum Sanctum Oldenlandia Corymbosa Onujma Bracteatum Origanum Majorana Osbeckia Cupularis Parmelia Perlata Pavonia Zeylanica Pedalium Murex Pedalium Murey Peganum Harmala Permina Integrifolia Petruselinum Satiucm Peucedanum Graveolens Phaseolus Royburghi Phoenix Dactylifera Phyllanthus Niruri Physalis Minima Picrorrhiza Kurrooa Pimpinella Anisum Piper Alum Piper Chaba Indian Pennywort Henbena Star Aniseeds Pharbitis Trueindigo Bidarkand Turpeth Root / Indian Jalap Walnut Arabian or French Lavender Henna Cress Neem Cobra’s Saffron Senitive Plant Bitter Gourd Indian Mulberry Drumstick Seed Mulberry Cowhage or Cowitch Plant Bay Berry. Bitter Sweet Shaggy Putton Weed Eastindian Globe K Nux-Vomica. Importer and Pharmaceutical Supplier of Herbs #1. BOTANICAL NAMES Sl. Tudavullay Nutti Choorie.Sl. Box Myetle Nutmeg Bombay Mace Cloves Musk Root Small Fennel or Black Cumin Sweet Basil Holy Basil Two-Flowered..Balunga Dharu. Chennai . Sweet Fennel. Poison Nut. Exporter.NO. Vayilettu Banafsha Nochi Draksha Amukkuram Dhathiripoo Veppal Arisi Sukku Unnab Jathipathri MEDICINAL PLANTS Courtesy: R. Quaker Clearing Nut Tree Lodh Tree Himalayan Yew Beleric Myrobalans Myrobalan Fenugreek True Valerian White Dammer Tree Purple Fleabane Aharanthus Roseus Wild Violet Five Leaved Charti Tree Grapes Winter Cherry Sweet Indrajao Dry Ginger Jujub Berries Nutmace Thipplee Milagu Rumi Mastaki Akasa Thamarai Ishappukolvirai Shivappu Chittramulam Pungamaram Siruthekku Priyangu Goyyapazham Karpokarishi Omam Bidarikand Madulam Karupali Shimai-Madalaivirai Machakai Marukkallan-Kai Mullangi Chivan Melpodi Variyattu Karkada Singi Amanakku Rojappu. Indian Madder Wild Marjoram Stone Flower Pau Syrian Rue Parsley Dill Black Gram Edible Date Cape Gooseberry Anise. Magic Nut Emetic Nut Radish Sarpagandha Himalayan or Indian Rhubarb Galls Castor Oil Plant Damask or Persian Rose Indian Madder Garden Rue Marking Nut Tree China Root Wild Eggs Plant. Kattup-Pepudal Vendayam Asaroon Vellai-Kungiliyam Kattu Shiragam Nithia Kalyani Vayilethe.1 13 . Golappu Manditta.NO. Kumarappa Maistry Street. Narrai-Churi Vishukrianthi Akalkem Penai Mavum Sambirani Yetti-Kottai Tetan-Kottai Thuthuvalai Nilavembu Shilajetu Lodhrapattai Nandhiavattan Niradimuthu Talispatri Tanrik-Kay Kadukay Shindilkodi Milagaranai Devadaru Shekakul Pudel. Alaphajana Dharu Maruthonri Alivirai Poduthuvalai Maida-Lakti Gaozaban Babuna Todri Safeed Vembu Badurangboya Sirunaga Poo Thotta Suringi Magudampoo Parpadgam Pavakka-Chedi Nuna Murangai Vidhai Shetuta Poonaikkali Karuveppallai Marudam Pattai Jathikay Rampatri Kirambu Jatamashi Zufa Karunjeeragam Lilly Ganjankorai Tiruniru Pachai Tulasi Parpadagam Gauzhban Maruvamu Chirkualathi Kalpasi Chitta Mutti Peru-Nerinjal Neurnji Shimai-Azha-Vanai-Virai Munnay Sadakuppi Ulundu Perichchangayi Kizhkay Nelli Siruthakkali Katukarogani Shombu Vella Milagu Chavyam 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 Piper Longum Piper Nigrum Pistacia Lentiscus Pistia Stranotes Plantago Ispagula Plumbago Rosea Pongamia Glabra Premna Herbacea Prunus Mahaleb Psidium Guyava Psoralea Coryifolia Ptychotis Ajowan Pueraria Tuberosa Punica Granatum Putranjiva Roxburghi Pyrus Cydonia Quercus Infectoria Randia Dumtorum Raphanus Sativus Rauwolfia Serpentina Rheum Emodi Rhus Succedanea Ricinus Communis Rosa Damascena Rubia Cordifolia Ruta Graveolens Salacia Reticulata Semecarpus Anacardium Smilax China Solanum Jacquinii Solanum Nigrum Solanum Trilobatum Spermacoce Hispida Sphaeranthus Hirtus Spilanthes Oleracea Sterculia Foetida Strax Benzoin Strychnos Nux-Vomica Strychnos Potatorum Sulanum Trilobtum Swertia Chirata Swertia Decussata Symplocos Racemosa Tabernaemontana Coronaris Taraktogenos Kurzii Taxus Baccata Terminalia Belerica Terminalia Chebula Tinospora Cordifulia Toddalia Aculeata Toddalia Bilocularis Trachydium Lehmanni Trichosanthes Cucumerina Trigonella Foenum Graeceum Valeriana Officinalis Vateria Indica Vernonia Anthelmintica Lochnera Rosea Viola Odorata Viola Serpens Vitiex Negundo Vitis Vinifera Withanis Somnifetra Woodfordia Floribunda Wrightia Tinctoria Zingiber Officinale Zizyphus Vulgaris Myristica Fragrans Long-Pepper Black Pepper Mastiche Tree Tropical Duck Weed Ispaghula.

who is a “cittar” because the very nature of God is consciousness. Later they became associated with a class of more adept human being. as all the while tantra looms large in the background as the loom on which the tapestry is woven. Hindu. Rather. Here they form a distinctive part of a larger 14 movement that spread throughout South Asia. Likewise. meaning “consciousness. simplistic survey of some of the major thematic elements that the Tamil Siddhas emphasise and invariably reinscribe with their own unique visionary exegesis. This takes the form of an unapologetic celebration of the immediacy of subjective experience and the fluid application of a variety of mutually exclusive philosophical viewpoints all simultaneously arrayed before the reader. Berkeley.” there is no single philosophical orientation propounded in their works. often an accomplished yogi. Here the term is applied not only to one of the 18 categories of divine beings but also to God Shiva himself.AN INTRODUCTION TO THE TAMIL SIDDHAS: TANTRA. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 . innumerable philosophical threads are stretched. This brief introduction presents. All of them are part of a “pan-Indian tantric yoga movement” which Eliade described as formulating over a five hundred year period (between seventh and eleventh centuries).”3 This appellation is evident even in the Shaivite devotionals known as the Tevaram hymns of the sixth and seventh centuries that would later become part of the Saiva Siddhanta canon. The Tamil Siddhas remain an ill-defined.org Bhogar instructs Siddhars language lacks the aspirated consonants of Sanskrit so the word has been written and pronounced by the Tamils as cittar. between the seventh and eleventh centuries. A growing number s of temples now seem to have taken on their token Siddha tomb to celebrate the ever-imminent return of the deathless ones. Though there are innumerable texts claiming to represent some nebulous Tamil Siddha “tradition. It is in this context that this paper touches upon the irreconcilable social conflict that has raged outside the Tamil Siddhas and the perpetual role their imaginative process takes in reconciling the conflict the rages within. and Jain Siddhas everywhere share certain commonalties mostly in the realm of “(subtle) body image. interwoven and unwoven again in a phantasmagoric tapestry of subjectivities. The author can be contacted at anjaneya11@yahoo.” so the noun came to refer to one who had attained perfection. This has led the Tamils to associate the word more with the Sanskrit term cit. ALCHEMY.com P rint culture and oral temple tales of the past century have largely been responsible for shifting the Siddhas from the most peripheral crevices of Tamil religious imagination into the limelight of a nationalistic religious awareness. So while frustrating all attempts to attribute to them a cogent cosmological theory. a technology of the ancestors to surpass that offered on the neo-colonial global market. but fully flowering only after twelfth century. By the twelfth to thirteenth century the term has taken on new INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO.1 Local television programming offers the convenience of a daily consultation with Tamil Siddha doctors in the comfort of one’ living room. The term had been derived from the Sanskrit root sidh meaning “fulfilment” or “achievement.2 Within the South Asian literary context the name Siddha originally denoted one of the eighteen categories of celestial beings. In the modern imagination the Siddhas offer an ancient spiritual science for a modern secular world. These beings of semidivine status were said to be of great purity and their dwelling was thought to be in the sky between the earth and the sun. POETICS AND HERESY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF WIDER TAMIL SHAIVA WORLD Layne Little Layne Little is a Fulbright scholar and doctoral candidate in the South Asian Studies Department at the University of California. incongruous body of religious specialists found in the southern part of India whose origins can be only tenuously traced back to the seventh or eighth century. free-floating quality to their processes of relating to life and the greater universe. it describes the devotee as also being a “cittar” since his consciousness is always immersed in the divine presence. from Sri Lanka in the South to Tibet in the north. an albeit. Because the Tamil Courtesy: http://palani. Buddhist.” transmutational wonder tales. But is there some coherent theocratic integration beyond the vogue of pop-parlor speech and name-dropping the words “Tamil Siddha” as a kind of magic invocation of cultural authenticity? The Tamil Siddhas have no central authority or unifying doctrine. and physical and mental manipulations of yogic savvy. there is a kind of buoyant.

At times the Siddhantins have even engaged in an organised effort to eliminate the Siddhar faction. Srinivasa Iyangar did in 1914 when he wrote that the Siddhas are “mostly plagiarists and impostors” and in addition. The Siddhas would be scoffing at temple worship. One of the most basic characteristics of Tamil composition.com . flowing through the subtle body. the term “siddha” or “cittar” has the same connotations as it does when referring to the 84 Siddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism. being fundamental to the Tamil Siddha. while the Saiva Siddhantins would berate the Siddhas much as M. The rift between the two orders may have been rooted in the Saiva/Shakta dichotomy that conflated gender conflict to cosmic proportions. manipulated and directed. Because each component image is presented so as to be viewed autonomously and in relationship both sequentially and to the totality of the verse. such as this. Many of the Tamil Siddha compositions whether defining philosophical viewpoints. is the tendency to layer the work so that each word or image builds upon the last. systematically sought out any copy of the writings of the heretical Siddha-poet Sivavakkiyar. observed in the latter half of the nineteenth century. and the Hatha Yoga and Pranayama disciplines expounded by the ascetic saint Goraknath. Both sectarian groups emphasized different aspects of the teaching and could spin a theological line that became more and more widely divergent. Tirumular is pervasively revered in the diverse literary world of the Tamil Siddhas. But it seems that the stylistic inconsistencies of the Siddha authors may also have steered scholars away from these works. the Natha Siddhas of North India. and one that is also relevant to Siddha poetry. magic. and his work.meaning as we learn from the writings of Perumparrapuliyar Nambi who describes the God Shiva as the cittar alchemist who is working strange miracles in the city of Madurai. But one should not overlook caste conflict and more terrestrial political dynamics. And certainly the term has a newfound currency amongst (usually nonBrahmin) Tamil religious organisations and temple institutions. yogic practices. Indian Alchemy. or the medieval alchemists known as the Rasa Siddhas. she can propel the consciousness of the Siddhar into union with the Absolute.4 Essentially though. the term is often applied to any form of unorthodox mystic or saint. Although. “Being eaters of opium & dwellers in the land of dreams. many of these groups did th not come into their own until the 12 century. few scholars have ventured to address the Tamil Siddhas and then only as Thirumular mere curiosities. the Tamil Siddha compositions pattern this imagery to expound the subtle complexity of their shifting viewpoint or to map out the terrain of the inner landscape which is dominated by the dormant serpent energy. their conceit knew no bounds”. as well as the pop-culture yoga institutions flourishing in the west. As the serpent power Kundalini. While much of the recent explosion of interest in the Siddhas centres around modern invented traditions offering tenuous ties to the older established Siddha orders. Because of the enigmatic nature of the Siddha imagery.” The goddess alone is envisioned in her manifestations5 hidden both within the shifting tides of external forms as well as abiding within the body itself. Shaivite Tantrism. Though this seems to undermine the aesthetic quality and overcomplicate the simple act of enjoying poetry. nonsense words that clumsily maintain the rhyme scheme. Notions.himalayanacademy. and proclaiming the injustice of caste. A perplexing aspect of the Tamil Siddha cult is that the text which is identified as the root text of its tradition had been also amended to the orthodox Saiva Siddhanta canon (Tirumurai) to give the Siddhantins a philosophical orientation that could hold up against the Sri Vaisnavas’ Vashishtadvaita doctrine of Ramanuja. For example. as he is worshipped as vetta veli or “vast space. the Tirumantiram (7 th 8 century AD) maintains a significant number of references that are unmistakably well rooted in this wider South Asian Tantra/Siddha complex. the images of the poem may appear to some as being slightly disjointed and contradictory. and clues to control the dangerous feminine power through breath manipulation or the recitation of the Goddess’s secret names. may have struck the Shaivite orthodoxy as heretical. Here she can be coaxed and subdued. This text also 15 AN INTRODUCTION TO THE TAMIL SIDDHAS Courtesy: http://www. It is a movement born of a synthesis of Vajrayana Buddhism. references to Kundalini. reliance upon Brahminical authority. one movement. The Saiva Siddhantins had included him as one of the 63 canonised saints or nayanmars. and promptly destroyed them. There are vibrant jewels shining in the rough but even the more popular siddha works are riddled with endless repetition. the Tirumantiram was posthumously represented by them as fully defining the Tamil Saiva tradition of the time. Though the orthodox Saiva Siddhantin may content himself with the worship of Shiva in the temple through the rituals of the priest. and jarring incongruities in the narrative portions of the texts. in the present era. And though the image of a unified succession of Tamil Siddha sages is particularly tenuous. Though difficult to measure the full extent of interpolation that the text has undergone to make it more form-fitting for the conservative sectarian context. where he may become Shiva himself. Many of the Siddhas propitiate Shakti or the creative potency of the primordial essence while Shiva is elevated to a (“no-where”) position of absolute abstraction. the Siddha placates the goddess to intercede on his behalf and expand the consciousness of the Siddha beyond all limitation. and their philosophy often being structured in direct defiance of human logic. or presenting alchemical recipes for herbal tinctures and base metal amalgams are riddled with tantric imagery.

The conscious ones capable of abandoning sleep need not die. Tantra appears in its more seminal form around th the 4 century. like blossoms flowering on the vine of the spine. It represents a profound refinement of the symbol systems of Hindu-Buddhist South Asia. but begins only after the two streams flow into the central current as we learn from verse 801 of the Tirumantiram.. at the crown of the head. when he relates that it is the human body itself that is the temple of the Goddess Shakti.In Shakti’s temple if you control the left and the right you can hear a lute in the centre of your face. but its real beginnings seem to reach back much earlier. th in this excerpt from her 14 century work Vinayagar Agaval. the Siddhas have viewed these same passages as the most critical in formulating their esoteric doctrines on the arousal of the serpent energy. All the Gods that oversaw the mechanism that is this universe were hidden in the lotus centres of the body’s chakras. conceived of as both the nectar of spiritual ecstasy and the elixir of immortality. the expression also means the “elephant’s trunk. the Siddhantins were confronted with the tantric orientation of their philosopher Tirumular.. On the other hand. is contained within the body of the individual. in all its totality. flows into the solar and lunar currents which run from the right and left nostrils down to the base of the spine and are there brought into union. It superimposed universal symbols over the human body to help demonstrate this relationship. Shashumna is sometimes envisioned as the trunk of Ganesha raised aloft and holding the full-blown lotus of enlightenment. as Tutikkai.6 Elements of tantric thought had already pervaded the south by the time of Tirumular. Left hand Right hand Both hands. each corresponding to a higher and more expansive state of consciousness. Sahasrara. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 . Here she relates how the elephant-headed god has reconciled the dualistic nature of the universe as the various manifestations of Shiva were 16 Courtesy: Victor M.. as they had seeped into yogic theory and practice at some antecedent time and even impacted temple ritual and the budding bhakti cults. Courtesy: http://palani. Change! He who eats with the hand of worship need not be depleted. is said to reside in the body at the base of the spine. What is eaten is amrita. the sect has always had a difficult time fully integrating the many passages which discuss the worship of the Goddess and the Kundalini Yoga practices so characteristic of Tantrism. I swear upon Sada Nandi we have spoken the truth. along which the shashumna or central channel ran. He became a patron of Kundalini yoga in the South and was invoked by the female Siddha mendicant Auvaiyar. Tuti is a verb meaning “to worship.. But it was the portly god Ganesha. It’s emphasis on the experiential aspects of the individual’s religious experience collided with the Shaivite orthodoxy like the Gnostic heresy did with the early Christian Church as it sought to establish an internal selfpolicing system of sanctioning only those subjective experiences that towed the orthodox line. And Shiva will come out dancing sweetly.” This interpretation is equally viable in that Ganesha. carrying one of the vital airs known as prana. In an effort to demonstrate that the macrocosm is reflected within the microcosm. This energy is moved by the union of these solar and lunar streams of vital breath that have entered the central current at Muladhara and will ascend upwards through the six chakras. The point of this union is at the root chakra Muladhara.org became the 10 book of the Saiva Siddhanta canon. The term used to denote the ‘hand of worship’ is Tutikkai. who guarded the gate to the inner world.. the elephantheaded god of gateways and new beginnings.. at the root chakra Muladhara where the two currents flow together and enter central current Shashumna. The spine. It is a kind of inner journey towards the infinitude of the Divine. Tantra began to emphasise that the universe. Though it was the one work outlining the philosophy of the Siddhantins. Fic’s The Tantra (2003) INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. the Tirumurai. Together. Kundalini Yoga they can live forever. The individual awareness is sublimated into divine union at the crown of the head.. Tantra was more deeply rooted in a fluid set of symbolic constructs than a static enunciation of doctrine. th Kalangi Nathar teaches Bhogar Siddhar Here Tirumular discusses the basis of Kundalini Yoga whereby the breath.. the first of six chakras or nerve plexuses through which the Kundalini energy will flow. As we can see in verse 730.” kai is the noun meaning “hand”. became the cosmic axis.

stands within. was purportedly establishing a shrine to the God Murugan on the top of Palani Hill. Grandfather (Tirumular) said. who had supposedly migrated from China8 along with his guru Kalangi Nathar. even in the midst of his alchemical operations. placing it there as though you were putting oil in a lamp.. to come within your house.. He and breath merge into one. 9 The green-hued Vallabai will become subservient and bow down. Breath and God becoming one. like ripe sugarcane. They shall meet. In my ear he renders limitless bliss. clarified my intellect. He has revealed the Shiva Lingam within the mind.” I took what was given me10 and put it in my mouth. was providing “the greatest Mogal persecutor of Hinduism in history” a regular supply of treated mercury which promised to confer longevity. The Great Awareness becomes Siva. through the intercession of the Goddess. they often emphasised the pursuit of bodily perfection and the preparation of the elixir of immortality as the Chinese alchemists had sought... he was at the same time extending his protection to an obscure Hindu monastery in the Punjab. and Siddha medicine. Entering the universe of fire and light. Fic’s The Tantra (2003.taught to be part of her inner savouring. He has concentrated my mind. Shiva clearly elucidated the nature of this universe. “Enter the tenth one.9 It was here that he is thought to have composed his 7000 verses on Kundalini Yoga. The Siddha could. And a bunch of mercurial amalgams I tied onto my wrist. the outer space. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE TAMIL SIDDHAS 17 . the Goddess Vallabai. and said... Though now. Off I went. The larger that the largest. If the basis of Muladhara is perfected. At the time in question Anand Nath. “Light and Darkness share a common place. Look and see. If you are unwavering. And he has revealed that.. as Aurangzeb set about to expand his kingdom throughout the subcontinent and free the land of heretics. Nearly a thousand years after Tirumular. the Kundalini is personified as the consort of Ganesha. The universe that appeared before me was arranged in layers. placated by manipulation of the breath. The smaller than the smallest. In the Sleepless Sleep all subtlety can be perceived. The Serpent Power Kundalini alchemy. You can go anywhere. All impurities will be removed and the six chakras will become visible to the eye. wandering freely throughout the three worlds. Bhogar is still wrestling with the serpent energy. we find him describing a visionary experience involving the ingestion of an unidentified substance and the wearing of mercurial amalgams. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications) Consciousness was seen to ride the vehicle of breath into union with the absolute in the Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head. Here is one of the closing verses of Bhogar’s discussion of Kundalini Yoga… 94 Invite the breath. He has revealed Sada Shiva within the sound. In about 1661. For the sake of all beings there is a path that becomes a vehicle for the five senses.7 Simultaneously in the deep south the Tamil Siddha alchemist Bhogar.. Courtesy: Victor M. The gold-coloured alchemy will heed your every word. the abbot of the monastery and a Natha Siddha alchemist. The dull-hued body will mellow and shine. Like wind becoming breath there is no individual intelligence.. They often viewed their experience of the inner processes of Kundalini Yoga as mirroring the chemical process of the alchemical work. And though the Indian alchemists also sought to develop the chemical processes of transforming base metals into gold as in Europe and the Middle East... 80 Bhogar’s Leap Into the Universe As the Principle of Intelligence itself I leapt into the cosmos. In a particularly odd verse of Bhogar. By medieval times Indian alchemy had come into vogue much like tantra had done almost a millennium earlier. She’ll tell you the appropriate time for the appropriate chakra.” He presses me down into the grace giving ecstasy. expand consciousness to the point where it becomes what is called the Maha Citta or “Great Awareness” which is the God Shiva himself.

he perpetrated the greatest of heresies by blatantly revealing the true face of God veiled within volumes of tantric lore. we see a different side of the heretical Siddhas. He. intimate and distinctly feminine force that could propel the invocation along the proper channels of the inner cosmos. Becoming sky. The gentle Ramalingar was dragged into court. that views the Siddha’s experience of union as the distilled essence of life’s sweetness. was somewhat iconoclastic. and standing there.org Bhogar Siddhar . who had a profound influence on Ramalingar and Siddha devotionalism in general. were confident that he could expose the fallacy of Ramalingar’s teaching and defrock the heretical saint. How can I praise Him? Courtesy: http://members. 18 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. One with me when I sing Nectar of sugarcane One with honey One with milk and one with the sweetness of the fertile fruit One with my flesh One with my soul Insatiable is that sweetness! Although Ramalingar’ hymns were penned in s praise of the God Siva.11 Ramalingar was born in 1823 near Chidambaram.It is this light becoming breath that redeems the soul. Eventually though. began to outrage the orthodox Saiva Siddhantins in the area. Wind and light… Becoming flesh and spirit. At the shrine he established at Vadalur. sometimes hailed as the 64th nayanmar. they were often addressed to a feminine audience with unqualified personal designations such as ‘Amma’ or ‘Akka’. behind the curtain that housed the holy of holies. In this final work of Ramalingar. not adequately deferential to temple or Brahminical tradition. Not the enigmatic ramblings or harsh riddles of the ascetic. The fact that his songs began to be sung in the schools. Manikkavasagar’s name th means “He who’s utterances are rubies” and in the 9 century he beautifully wrote this mini creation myth in flowing verse. the heretical nature of his teaching and the growing number of his disciples caused the protest of temple officials and a variety of Saiva Siddhanta institutions throughout the region. This fervent merging. the orthodox religious leaders throughout the area. The nature of Ramalingar’s heresy is found to be all the more insidious when we learn that he also cherished and called his own the devotional hymns of Saiva Siddhanta saints other than Tirumular. As a Tamil scholar and Saivite authority. your words.tripod.com In this poem Ramalingar praises Manikkavasagar and weaves his verse with a complex echoing of sound as he speaks again and again of the sweetness of his mystic absorption experienced when hearing the poetry of the saint. ‘Mother’ or ‘Sister’. Forgoing the objectified image by capturing the subjective gaze itself. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 Courtesy: http://palani. as with many outspoken Tamil Siddhas. easily won the case. Eventually they were forced to call in Arumuga Navalar from Jaffna to put an end to Ramalingar. “I” and “mine” Dance in the show. One with sky Manikkavasagar. He did not perpetuate the traditional modes of linga worship. arguably the greatest of all Saivite temples. but eloquently speaking in his own defense. was Manikkavasagar.. he established a single flame’s light to illuminate a mirror that would reflect the image of the worshipper as the secret face of god and final mystery of the Tamil Siddhas. from the verb root kala meaning “to flow together”. Surely this is the truth of Siva Yoga! In the last century the poet-saint Ramaligar had much to do with bridging the Siddha-Saiva gap and making the Siddhas more palatable to the mainstream Tamil religious world.. All that truly is and all that which is not Becoming the Lord… He makes those who say. as it also denotes a sexual union... towards Siva’s secret abode. villages and even the temples of 19th century Chennai. Perhaps indicating that the hymn was meant for an internal. “to make as one”.. One of these. but a tender ode. Arumuga quickly set about organising public meetings to provide a platform on which to abuse Pambatti Siddhar Ramalingar and a horde of pamphlets were circulated issuing public warning about this dangerous little man.. savoured by the ecstatic Ramalingar is described with the adverbial participle kalantha. Arumuga was forced to take legal action and filed a suit against the saint. Naturally. Becoming sky and earth.

Wheat powder mixed in Calotropis leaf juice is applied on the chest to prevent pleurisy Vavili (Vitex negundo) and Allamu (Zingeber oficinale) (Onti Talanoppi . the Palanitalapuranam (the Mythic History of Palani) makes no mention of its supposed founder (though it does make passing reference to Gorakhnath). 10. 9.levity. 2. 1996: 1. Most of the Tamil Siddha works popular today were written only in the last two centuries. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Layne. R.com/ alchemy/.” invoking a religiousrevolutionary persona that was intrinsically “Tamil. London: Rider. an expert in curing dog bite & snake bite AN INTRODUCTION TO THE TAMIL SIDDHAS 19 . 42 & 45. called himself a “cittar. See the Tiruvilaiyadal sections 13. Ibid.shashumna nadi. Now in popular secondary s sources on the Tamil Siddhas the China origin of Bhogar is strongly refuted with the characteristic nationalistic fervour of the present day. (For willing patients who want to give up alcohol different therapy is administered ) Jatamansi . 7.. Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. Mircea.Vedavathy is President of Herbal Folklore Research Centre at Tirupati. 1990.Apiaceae (Teliviki .: 3. Little. Bhogar’s 7000 tells of his repeated visits to China but does not provide even a single cultural detail that demonstrates he has any first hand knowledge of the region. David Gordon. The people in these centres are service oriented and they do not accept money for their service. 1990: 1.. 2. Zvelebil. R. As Manonmani. ome of the folk medicinal treasures found in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradhesh are given here: Tagubothulaku Natu Mandu (Psidium gujava) Myrtaceae (Medicine for alcohol addicts) Leaf juice is secretly added with alcohol and given to the person who is addicted to alcohol. This therapy is called as mandhu noone and the Gesthampalli village is famous for it. Brill. Bhogar makes no mention of Palani in his 7000 and has always been associated in the Tamil Siddha literature with Sathuragiri mountain. it’ customs. A significant percentage of works purported to be “rediscovered” are modern forgeries.J. etc. The person starts vomiting and feels irritation. 1994. a pill often made of treaded mercury in solid form. anticipating the more elaborate kundalini system to come. The two centres in the district.Notes 1.Bone fracture Every village in the Chittoor district has one medicine man who knows the treatment for dislocated and broken bones. Some see the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad as containing enough of the key elements of tantric cosmology to represent the earliest strain of a definitive Tantric tradition complete with the hitta functioning as a proto. 3. have become famous because of the devoted families. The Mission and Message of Ramalinga Swamy.The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India.. 6. The author can be contacted at vedavathy@hotmail. 4. Also its circulation on the internet surely added to over simplifying the subject with faults that are entirely my own. Madurai: Ennes Publications.com the affected parts also.Brain Tonic) Dried plant is powdered along with Piper nigrum seeds in 10:1 ratio and a mixture of 2 to 3 Photo by the Author Saramma. I’ve tried to briefly rectify the overtly erroneous statements that I had made and have attempted to elaborate on some of the more reductionistic portions of this work. and the Mysteries of the Breath in Bhogar’s 7000.” References Eliade.. etc. Parapparai. Subramaniya Bharathi. Vallabai. S Medicine for Emukalu virigithe . White. FOLK MEDICINAL WISDOM OF CHITTOOR DISTRICT. The Poets of the Powers. Dayanandan. Valai. 8. Parai. 1973. T. ——1975. one at Puttur and another at Kalluru. 1996. Kanuga (Pongamia pinnata) – Fabaceae (Keella noppulu & Ollu noppulu .Arthritis and Body Pains) The root bark boiled in gingely oil is stored in earthen pot and given to patients suffering from chronic body pain and arthritis. Further.Migraine) Juice extracted from the leaves of vavili and rhizome of allamu is mixed in equal proportions and few drops of the juice are instilled into the nostrils to cure migraine. ANDHRA PRADESH S. David Gordon White. Venkataraman. Francis. 11. Venkataraman. The oil is given both internally and applied on Saraswathi aku (Centella asiatica) . Another notable entry into the modern literary sphere comes when freedom-fighting poet. Presumably he is referring to one of his gulikais.(Nardostachys jatamansi) Valerianaceae (Gundello nemmu Pneumonia) Decoction of the root powder is given two or three times a day and it is continued until the fever subsides. If the therapy is repeated two or three times. This introduction to the Tamil Siddhas was written nearly ten years ago and reflects many of the misconceptions surrounding the siddhas that were popular at the time. the person develops a sort of aversion towards alcohol. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Princeton: Bollingen. 5. A History of the Tamil Siddha Cult. Kamil V. 1990. Shaking the Tree: Kundalini Yoga. 9. 1969. Spiritual Alchemy. Available also at http://www. Vedavathy S. Leiden: E. Tamil Literature.

Moraceae (Nallamanduku virugudu .Malaria) A glass of root decoction is given twice a day to subside the malarial fever in 4 or 5 days. Emblica officinalis and latex of Calotropis gigantea (Sanna jeevalu rakunda . rats and scorpions. roots of Reppala (Wrightia tinctoria) and seeds of Pokalu (Areca catechu) (Moorcha . The plant parts mixed in equal proportions are dried in shade and powdered. Half a spoonful of powder with honey is given for forty days. The bandage is removed in the morning. Ravi (Ficus religiosa) . Fruit rind of Dhanimma (Punica granatum).Large. leaves of Tamala paku (Piper betel) and Honey (Recheekati . This is repeated for a period of two weeks.Graminae (To remove a dead child from the womb) Leaf paste mixed with water is given to women for whom delivery becomes difficult leading to the death of the child in the womb. Within two to three months the white patches will disappear and turn into the colour of the skin. depending upon the condition of the patient. fruits of Terminalia chebula. Seeds of Sompu (Foeniculum vulgare). spoons of the powder and a glass of cow’s milk is given in the early morning. The Somala village is famous for this therapy. bone setting Leaves of Saraswathi aku (Centella asiatica).drug addicts (Bhang and Opium) Decoction of stem bark is given for relief. scorpions and mosquitoes) The plant parts are dried and powdered when the powder is burned its fume drives away mosquitoes.Combretaceae (Rakthapotuku -Hypertension) Bark decoction with milk is given to the patient in the early morning. for a week or a fortnight. Nelausiri (Phyllanthus amarus) .Leucoderma) Leaf juice is applied on the white patches and exposed to the sun for an hour. The wound is washed with the Myrobalan fruit decoction and the entire wound is drenched with the latex obtained by cutting the new branches of Banyan tree. Alum and Camphor An Yanadi woman with ‘Madana Kameswari‘ plant (Rommulu gattipadataniki . Stem bark of Tellamadhi (Terminalia arjuna) . Terminalia bellerica. Adavimalathi (Aganosma dichotoma) .Night blindness) All the plant parts in equal proportions are added with honey to make paste. This is repeated.Epilepsy) The plant parts in equal proportion are mixed with old jaggery and made into paste with water.Root bark of Kasinatha (Cassia occidentalis) Caesalpiniaceae Enugukalu (Filariosis) Photo by the Author A spoonful of paste made with ghee is given twice a day and Mimosa pudica leaf paste is applied on the affected feet until relief is achieved.Stones in the urinary tract and bladder) Root powder is given with milk in the early morning for a period of two weeks. Photo by the Author Vayuvidangalu (Embelia ribes). The paste is kept in a clean bottle and the paste is applied on the eyes daily. A soap nut size paste is given daily for a fortnight.Fabaceae (Pandu rogam . the latex is taken internally daily in a prescribed quantity. Gurivinda (Abrus precatorius) .Apocynaceae (Mutrasayamlo rallu . The paste is applied over the breast late in the evening and bandaged.Euphorbiaceae Pasiricalaku (Jaundice) A spoonful of paste is given early in the morning on an empty stomach along with buttermilk.Lamiaceae (Chali jwaram . 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 . For noothi or chronic ulcer. The fresh latex is poured on the wound by holding the cut branches on the wound. Hard breast) The fruit rind is made into paste with alum and camphor in 8:2 proportion. Latex of Banyan (Ficus bhengalensis) and fruit decoction of Myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) (Healing wounds) Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) . dried rhizome of Allamu (Zingeber officinale) and fruits of Pipallu (Piper longum) (Clear Voice) Leaves of Veduru (Bambusa arundinacea) . Photo by the Author Cotyledons of Gacchakai (Caesalpinia crista). Yanadi people on the way to plant and animal collection 20 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO.To drive away rats. Punicacease. Kalluru. Leaves of Banyan (Ficus bhengalensis) (Healing wounds and binding damaged tissues) The tender leaves are warmed in fire and wrapped around the wound or any deep cut and then the wound or deep cut is bandaged.

and 100 as incense and perfume. Bhela.500 species. if we understand the basics of biodiversity itself. Wounds. one can observe variation in ethnic names and use of local species. At the folk level. The author can be contacted at darshan. Piles Number of users* Millions 7 lakhs 3 lakhs 60. Their task was to return with all the plants they encountered. 300 as pesticides. the World Health Organisation estimates that four-fifths of the world’s population uses nature for a substantial part of its medicinal and health requirements. 400 as fodder. Indeed. Haritha and Ksarapani. Jatukarna. Parasara. Biodiversity-based health traditions From 1986 to 1996. an All India Coordinated Research Project on Ethnobiology was carried out by the Department of Environment of the Indian government. Balasubramanian is Director. the distinguished Ayurvedic Aachaarya had six disciples. . It is said that on one occasion. that had no medicinal use. plants like Aconitum violaceum and Rheum spiciforme. 13 grasses and 16 lower plants. tribal) usage. Mental Diseases. of which the single largest use category . Chennai. Acacia senegal and Capparis decidua in Folk medicine: a continuing tradition Traditional Carrier Housewives and elders Traditional birth attendants Herbal healers Bone-setters Graphics by the Authors Subject/Usage Home remedies Food and nutrition Normal deliveries Common ailments Orthopaedics Natural poisons Eyes. lakes and rivers. Health is therefore implied in the very “existence” of biodiversity. Fistula.medicinal plants . This link can be clearly seen. Even in this day of increasing spread of allopathic medicines. “Nature is so (benevolently) organised that it has provided every micro-environment. Agnivesha was thus considered the foremost disciple of Atreya. Striking illustrations of ecosystem knowledge include the Thakur tribals of coastal Maharashtra.” Biodiversity and health are intrinsically linked. Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions. Respiratory. This project concluded that tribal communities alone (who constitute only a small percentage of our population) use over 9. scorpion. which is not necessarily codified into formal systems. are partly based on the distinct ecological niches that different medicinal plants occupy. The author can be contacted at ciks@vsnl. and so on. in every ecosystem from the trans-Himalayas to the coast. firstly.com T he words of a tribal song say: “I love the forests. and is known today as the Charaka Samhita.number over 7.shankar@frlht. are found in the transHimalayan areas. indicating the intimate and independent appraisal that local communities have made of their local resources. Balasubramanian Darshan Shankar is Director.000 60. It has been redacted by Charaka and then by Drdhabala. coasts. Besides this. my animals and my fields healthy .in A. V. Bangalore. animals and micro-organisms exist in a “healthy” way in their own natural habitats. Agnivesha returned empty handed. So for instance. Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems. GIT.org. Agnivesha. Agnivesha’s work is the most outstanding.V. 3. Liver. flows an understanding of the relationship of biodiversity to human health. who use over 500 species of plants. There is a verse in the Ayurveda classic Charaka Samhita that explains how local communities understood and explored nature’s gift of medicinal plants: “Yasmin deshe tu yo jaatah tasmin tajjoshadham hitam”. the Aachaarya assembled all his disciples and bid them to set forth in various different directions. including 168 trees. seas. A variety of life forms exist and flourish across diverse ecosystems: mountains. 525 for fibre and cordage. there are hundreds of millions Graphics by the Authors Note: The outer box represents the total folk (e.900 are for edible use. 105 climbers and creepers. Millions of species of plants.GREEN HEALTH BOOM Darshan Shankar A. the natural resources (in the form of plants. 207 shrubs and herbs. . local communities have keenly studied the medicinal plants found in their locality. Every 100 km or so. throughout the country. From this simple yet powerful principle. He said that every single plant that he examined had some medicinal use. While each of the six disciples prepared a compendium of Ayurveda.000 species of wild plants. they keep me. 300 as gums and dyes. Dental. namely. forests.000 1000 in each area Visha Vaidyas (Snake. While five disciples came back with several plants. The distinctive health traditions of diverse communities in India. 700 for material and cultural requirements. the inner circles are of the formal systems. Punarvasu Atreya.” Another tale from ancient texts is even more powerful. animals and minerals) necessary for the typical health needs of the people living in that environment. of people in India who are dependent on biodiversity for their health needs (see Table).g. Arthritis. dog) Specialists G R E E N H E A LT H B O O M 21 . Skin.

The economic value of such functions. The most obvious link is nutrition. there was no instance of appendicitis. Myristica malabarica and Vateria indica in the swamps of the western coast. Capparis aphylla and Balanites roxburgii in the scrub jungles of Karnataka. It is in this context. but simply that haphazard replacement of such systems by allopathic ones creates serious imbalances and loss of control. The Soligas also use over 300 herbs for medicinal purposes. Though not very systematically documented. We sincerely thank the Editor of The Hindu for giving us permission to print this article. to human health and welfare. 2001. for instance. occurring only in high altitudes. and human/livestock health. for instance. so the loss of cultural diversity in the face of the increasing spread of “modern” monocultural systems. as is happening with alarming rapidity across the world. the neem. arid and hot habitats. have also not been estimated. again. and that this was because they still had access to a diversity of forest foods (tubers. colonic cancers. despite having much less access to “modern” health facilities. to prepare a plan to conserve the biodiversity of the region and thereby secure the livelihoods. villagers are beginning to prefer the pill and the injection over plant-based medicine. and of medicinal plants. are a key focus. and other stress-induced illnesses. Neem (Azadarichta indica). water plants like Ipomoea aquatica in the Konkan areas of Maharashtra. and so on. the use of chemicals creates other health problems! Biodiversity loss. semi-wild species (such as shrimps and frogs in paddy fields). would encompass such studies and related action. due to loss or disturbance of natural habitats. And if one were to take a less human-centred attitude. Half a billion people still use neem branchlets as a toothbrush. and the replacements from the market do not necessarily make up for this. whereas there are many studies on the specific bio-resources used by ecosystem people for health needs. traditional agriculture provided a range of crops.This article was originally published in The Hindu Sunday Folio dated May 20. nutrition and health The link between biodiversity-based nutrition and health in dramatically illustrated in two examples. 22 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. ideally suited to correct the health imbalances that could occur in such environments. This means that the value of neem datuns alone is a billion rupees per day. that even in remote areas. Add to this the hundreds of other uses of neem. the area Melghat region in eastern Maharashtra was rocked by a few hundred deaths of tribal children. ask elders in any village. With the change in agricultural systems to monocultural plantations. that the ongoing National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) process (see Introductory essay) is attempting to bring back focus on the above issues. or that biodiversity has the answer for all diseases. Maharashtra. and the natural surrounds in which they lived. Cassia fistula and Anogeissus latifolia in the deciduous forests of the Deccan. also leads to a direct loss of people’s knowledge that relates biodiversity with health. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ the desert regions of Rajasthan. government officials and NGOs. Traditional communities have used biodiversity not only to deal with the health needs of humans. fruits. has cooling properties. Various nutritional inputs needed by the human body. though this is not yet clear from the mandate of the Board. Unfortunately. in this issue). doctors have found that Soliga tribals inside the Billigiri Ranganaswamy Temple Sanctuary have a much better health profile than their counterparts in the adjacent villages and towns. per day per person. sexual diseases. there are hardly any studies that have shown the epidemological effects on humans and other species. The spread of the lure of allopathic medicine is so strong. To replace this with a commercially available toothbrush and toothpaste. and security of lakhs of villagers. health. a people’s health organisation is doing a series of consultations with villagers. Biodiversity. the health of ecosystems as a whole and of their individual members is affected. The reason. and its value would be magnitudes more than the medicinal exports of India. illustrated in the setting up of a National Medicinal Plants Board. and in turn healthy ecosystems provide the conditions for plant and animal species to flourish. medicinal plants and health traditions. Pandanus tectorius and Thespesia populnea in the coasts of Kerala. livestock-related products.1 each. In the lush Biligiri Hills of Karnataka. this diversity and the related nutrition are lost. The plant Epedera vulgaris. has a broncho-dilatory property. At Vidarbha. At many of the State and substate levels at which the NBSAP process is being carried out. Take the example of just one use of one plant. they would have to spend about Re. A specialist Thematic Working Group is drafting a national level action plan on Biodiversity and Health. Health and biodiversity links are a sub-set of the larger relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity. one would realise that the diversity of life itself is a major component of the health of natural ecosystems. externally controlled one. To illustrate. Nature has also situated bio-resources almost as if knowing what humans needed. occurring in dry. It was soon found that children inside the forests of the Melghat Tiger Reserve had a much smaller incidence of this than those outside. and other inputs (see article on Agricultural Biodiversity. and they will tell you how their traditional diversity of food was so much more nutritious than what is available from the markets now. but also those of livestock and for needs of crop plants in agriculture. A cheap and locally available input is being replaced by an expensive. In the mid 1990s. was access to a diversity of wild and semi-wild foods. health and culture When biodiversity is destroyed or eroded. On top of this loss. . This is not to say that all health problems can be tackled by local traditional health systems. were provided by such a diversity of produce. very useful in rarefied atmospheres. there is a clear relationship between biologically diverse agriculture. etc. Across large parts of India (though there were also traditional pockets of malnutrition and under-nutrition).) even when agriculture had failed. caused by malnutrition during drought seasons. It is to be hoped that the new-found enthusiasm of the Indian government.

facilitated Roseman to say that ‘illness experiences. Professor of Music and of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Living in small settlements of 25 to 150 inhabitants along the five major rivers. Los Angeles. female chorus members. the inhabitants are allowed to marry within or outside the village group. the lost soul should be shown the ‘right’ path and led it back home. millet. In order to understand the moment of articulation between medical and musical domains exemplified by healing A view of Temiar settlement ceremonies. Ramakrishnan is Programme Officer for Publications at the National Folklore Support Centre. as well as the relationship of the self with society and cosmos. 1993. a lost or waylaid detached head soul can cause illness is similar to getting lost or losing paths can be fatal for a person. recorded and participated in numerous singing and trance-dancing ceremonies. The Temiars speak the Austroasiatic. gather jungle products for their own use and also for exchange. constituting the health care system. animals (upper and lower souls). practicener-patient transaction and the healing process are sociocultural phenomena.’ A major technique of healing involves singing/ trance-dancing ceremonies in which mediums sing tunes and texts given to them during dream by spiritguides. Marriage or kinship links the villages that consist of extended families with a core sibling group. maize. that is. and other crops. London: University of California Press. Value Structure. It is believed that the souls of other entities can meet the detachable soul of the dreamer and can express their desire to become the dreamer’s spiritguide. plants (leaf and root souls). power. This study is an outcome of Roseman’ twenty-month field research s among the Temiars of Ulu Kelantan between 1981 and 1982. It also helped her to understand the relations between humans and the rainforest environment. a cultural system integrating interrelated with local patterns of meaning. The ceremonial performance links the person and spiritguide. hill rice. they are basically horticulturalists who cultivate tapioca. The relatively egalitarian Temiars live in the agamous type of villages. and 23 . T his thought provoking ethnomusicological research of Marina Roseman. performance.Book Review Emergent Structure. that is. Generally. and social interaction. which transforms the dreamer into a medium for the spirits to diagnose and treat illness. This is confirmed through the bestowal of a song from the spiritguide to the dreamer. which occurs outside the ceremonial A Temiar man stands as medium context. The Temiar community belongs to the Senoi ethnic division of the Aboriginal Orang Asli of peninsular Malaysia. and labour are given to others with the expectation that other members will be equally generous in the future. the healing performances provided an entry point into the domain of Temiar illness and well-being. MUSIC AND MEDICINE THE OVERLAPPING DOMAINS OF MUSIC AND MEDICINE Healing Sounds from the Malaysian Rainforest: Temiar Music and Medicine by Marina Roseman (Berkeley. During her stay in the field she has observed. involves singing by the medium. which studies how particular groups of people conceptualise and deal with the concept of health and illness. and patients with the spirits of the jungle and the settlement. Roseman points out that some of them even today receive additional sanction as headman from the Department of Orang Asli Affairs. delineates the role of sound in the healing performances of Temiar. letting performance acts and native exegesis. Mon-Khmer language of Central Aslian stock. an ethnic community living in the Malaysian rainforest. They conceptualise the concept of illness in terms of the path in the jungle. and landforms (such as summit and underground souls of mountains) ‘enables dream and trance encounters. Roseman has analysed the ceremonial performances of Temiars in terms of Symbolic Structure. They also hunt. The ethnomedical approach. the relationship between the detachable souls among humans (head and heart souls). Through her research Roseman has explored not only the articulation between the Temiar concept of illness and their strategies of diagnosis and treatment but also the indigenous ideas about musical composition. The economic system practised by the Temiars allows for generalised reciprocity in which food. Roseman has integrated theories from interpretative anthropology and performance theory with ethnomedicine and ethnomusicology. For her. promoting song composition and precipitating illness. Role Structure. fish.’ For the Temiars. This symbolic power of the image of the path arises from their daily travel along land and river routes running through the jungle and settlement. trance-dancers. pages xviii + 234) M. The Temiar songs are considered ‘paths’ that link mediums. the elders of the core sibling group play a major role as village leaders. Even the treatment of less serious cases. manufactured implements. During the ceremonial singing as a treatment.

D.Indian Folklife Regd. Pages viii + 200 Ploughshares of Gods: Ladakh.. Chennai 600 041. and printed by M. Pages 144 ISBN 81-7017-424-4 The Performance of Healing Edited by Carol Laderman & Marina Roseman New York. No. Pages xiv + 142 ISBN 81-8069-023-7 Chanted Narratives: The Living ‘Katha-Vachana’ Tradition Edited by Molly Kaushal New Delhi: IGNCA & D.N. Editor: M. 13 ISSUE 4 APRIL-JUNE 2003 . Ltd. 1) Sanyukta Koshal New Delhi: Om Publications 2001.422-3 Tamil Nattuppuraviyal Ayvin Varalaru (History of Tamil Folklore Research) A. No.D. Art and Diffusion. Pages 290 ISBN 81-246-0182-8 To review the above titles the potential reviewers may contact the Editor Published by M. Victor M.7. Fic New Delhi: Abhinav Publications 2003. Muthukumaraswamy for National Folklore Support Centre. R. Pages vi + 330 ISBN 0-415-91200-8 From Majapahit and Sukuh to Megawati Sukarnoputri Victor M.. Pages 488 ISBN 951-746. Theories.. (For free private circulation only). Pages xxiv +644 ISBN 81-86867-46-5 The Tantra: Its Origin. Printworld (P) Ltd 2001. Fic New Delhi: Abhinav Publications 2003.. Thiruvanmiyur. Pages 360 ISBN 81-7017-404-X Changing Tribal Life Edited by Padmaja Sen New Delhi: Concept Publishers 2003. Kalki Krishnamurthy Salai.S.. Raju Seshadrinathan at Nagaraj and Company Pvt. Velachery. Chennai .600 042 (India). London: Routledge 1996. Rajalakshmi Nagar.K. Fifth Cross Street. # 22 (153-A). (Vol. Muthukumaraswamy 24 INDIAN FOLKLIFE VOLUME 2 SERIAL NO. Pitchai Chennai: IITS 2003. TNENG / 2001 / 5251 ISSN 0972-6470 REVI EW BOOKS The Kalevala and the World’s Traditional Epics Edited by Lauri Honko Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society 2002.