Article ID: CBB323792796

Mastering Deathlessness: (2017)


The article presents some remarks concerning practices aimed at achieving rejuvenation, longevity and immortality described in the literature of the Tamil Siddhas, with special reference to the medico-alchemical stream of the tradition. The study is based on the philological analysis of selected representative works of Tamil Siddha literature, starting from the Tirumantiram of Tirumūlar (6-12th century). The Tirumantiram is generally acknowledged to be a root text of the Tami Siddha tradition and it contains passages that elaborately discuss the theory and practices of yoga, presenting them as a means of attaining longevity and immortality. It also contains references to medical practices. Further, relevant ideas about rejuvenating, life-prolonging and immortalizing methods found in selected texts of the medico-alchemical stream of the tradition are discussed. The literature of the medical and alchemical lore of the Tamil Siddhas, roughly dated to the period between the 16th and 19th centuries, abounds in practical recipes for the drugs (kaṟpam) for prolonging life. Certain items credited with extraordinary powers connected with rejuvenation and immortalization, such as triple salt (muppu), mercurial jewel (racamaṇi), human urine, special varieties of medicinal plants, etc. are particularly referenced to in the paper. Finally, the concepts relating to “the art of non-dying” (cākākkalai) taught in the works of Vaḷḷalār, the poet-saint born in 19th century and closely linked with the Tamil Siddha tradition, are outlined in the article.

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Article Dagmar Wujastyk; Suzanne Newcombe; Christèle Barois (2017) Transmutations: Rejuvenation, Longevity, and Immortality Practices in South and Inner Asia:. History of Science in South Asia. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Wujastyk, Dagmar
Newcombe, Suzanne
Barois, Christèle
Mutalik, Gururaj
Tillu, Girish
Patwardhan, Bhushan
History of Science in South Asia
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Academic Press
Editrice Bibliografica
MIT Press
Medicine, ayurvedic
Barnes, Carl L.
Levi, Giuseppe
Paracelsus, Theophrast von Hohenheim
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Central Asia
South Asia

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