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Recipes for ImmortalityHealing, Religion, and Community in South India$
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Richard S Weiss

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335231

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335231.001.0001

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Secrecy, Hereditary Education, and the Immortality of Siddha Medicine

Secrecy, Hereditary Education, and the Immortality of Siddha Medicine

Chapter:
(p.151) 6 Secrecy, Hereditary Education, and the Immortality of Siddha Medicine
Source:
Recipes for Immortality
Author(s):

Richard S. Weiss (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335231.003.0006

Siddha medical knowledge has been transmitted for centuries within the paramparai, the hereditary lineage. The knowledge of the lineage was carefully guarded, as knowledge held in secret was an advantage in a competitive medical environment. Siddha vaidyas today continue to draw on the luminous authority of secrecy to promote their medicine, claiming to possess cures for cancer and AIDS and even promising bodily immortality. This chapter explores secrecy in siddha medicine, paying particular attention to the most extraordinary of siddha medical formulations, muppu, an alchemical preparation that is said to cure all ailments. Premodern Tamil medical texts provide much of the source material here.

Keywords:   secrecy, muppu, authority, obscurity, hereditary transmission, immortality, esotericism, lineage, palm-leaf manuscripts

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