Death and Nurturance in Indian Systems of Healing

Charles Leslie and Allan Young

in Paths to Asian Medical Knowledge

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780520073173
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910935 | DOI:
Death and Nurturance in Indian Systems of Healing

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This chapter describes the tenets of four indigenous systems of healing in India, as its practitioners use it and as they appear in the texts. The four systems are as follows. Firstly, Ayurveda, a classical Sanskrit system of medicine based on texts composed in North India between the time of Christ and ad 1000. Secondly, Tamil Saiva bhakti, a devotional worship of Siva in Tamil Nadu, which is inspired by the poetry of the Tamil Saiva saints. Modern Saiva gurus are often approached for solutions to life problems, including illness. Solving such problems through both mystical and rational means is their service to the world. Thirdly, Siddha medicine, a system of medicine in Tamil Nadu based on the writings of certain yogis. Finally, Trance healing by mediums of the smallpox goddess Mariamman, which is a tradition that claims no written texts as its own, priding itself instead on its grass-roots character.

Keywords: indigenous system; healing; Ayurveda; Tamil Saiva bhakti; Siddha medicine; Mariamman

Chapter.  14866 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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