Development of Embryo – Siddha Medicine & Modern Science

Siddha medicine is the most ancient and primitive medical system. Our Siddhars through their extraordinary perception and vision have understood the science and mechanism of Metabolic processes, growth development, onset of diseases, treatment etc. They have explained those experiences in the form of verses or poems in Tamil.

One of the most interesting happening in the nature is the union of male and female, who are just like the tools in the hands of Almighty or Supreme to create the offspring. A union or fusion of just two cells during the physical union of male and female results into a new creation. It is just like a marathon race when thousands of sperms entering the genital of a female compete to reach the ovum. Only one sperm meets the destiny though the others struggle for the same. The one sperm which enters the ovum among the thousands is responsible for the fate of the sex of the child. The embryo formed in the mothers womb which undergoes a series of changes and after a period of approximately ten months it develops into a fully mature baby. The mother during this period undergoes various changes as a preparation to receive the offspring. Her uterus acts as a prime home and nurse to the fetus until it makes its debut. Physically, lots of changes occurs in the maternal body which is essential during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby.

Modern science had established the science of Obstetrics and Embryology by doing various research and experiments on animals. Latest techniques like Ultra-sonogram is the quickest and accurate method applied today by the gynecologist and Obstetrician to examine the patient. In a pregnant lady, each and every aspect of the baby like heart rate, its movements, blood supply, any birth defect etc are recorded easily by this technique. Hence the chances of genetic defect in children and risks of pregnancy are managed well almost accurately.

But, it is really proud as a Siddha doctor to say that without any modern techniques or experiments, the great Saint Agasthiyar had explained the entire development of embryo in detailed manner thousands and thousands of years ago. The evidence of this was found in his verses of “Agasthiyar Vaidya Vallathi 800″ known as “Agasthiyar Pindolpathi”.

“Aanmai yentri mankaiyorkal pookkum kalam
antrumudal pathinalu naalum antru
Thanmaiyentru pathinaaru ithazhai nintru
thamarai pol malarthirukkum satraikelu
Kaanmai yentri dinam ontru ithazh thanondru
karuvana karukkuzhithan innatkullae
Panmai yentri vindum kerum poothu
payumappa vanniyodu vayuvum thane”

In a mature girl, the process of release of ovum or egg occurs in 14 days (approx) after the onset of menstrual bleeding each month. During these fourteen days, the internal genital organs appear like a lotus of 16 petals as described by Saint Agasthiyar in the first four lines. It may be well understood that after the onset of menstruation, the uterine layer undergoes proliferation or thickening with increased vascularisation. Hence the uterus appears like a lotus this time.

From the 15th day each petal of the lotus starts closing each successive day. During these days (15th – 30th day), the chances of pregnancy may occur if the sperm enters the genital tract and unites with the mature released ovum after sexual intercourse. The sperm comprising of air and fire element moves in the direction to meet the ovum. As soon as the sperm enters the ovum, the petals of the lotus closes together as per the next four lines.

This is how the zygote is formed as per the modern concept i.e the fusion of sperm and ovum. Siddhar Agasthiyar emphasize on the composition of sperm with Air and Fire element based on the panchabhootham concept. This is because of the high motility and the power of penetration the sperm possess. Today, the structure of sperm and its composition is well explained. Especially the hyaluronisidase and proteolytic enzyme present in the acrosome of sperm which diffuses with the zona pullucida of ovum. The high motility of sperm is due to the presence of long tail . Though such a vast explanation is not available in Siddha text but the great Siddhar used the significant terms of Air and Fire element for the explaining the penetrating and mobile nature of sperm through His Supersensory perception.

“Vayuvodu vindu sentru malarkut sernthal
malarilulla ithazhkal ellam moodikollum
Theyuvodu vindu nintru thirattum pare
seppiyamthan dinam ontril kadukupolam
Sayumeda naalirandil malli polam
thappamal naal montril milagu polam
Seyyumeda nalam naal avarai vitham
ser aintham naal kumizhi polakume”

In these lines Saint Agasthiyar explains how the sperm enters the female genital tract and what changes occur in the first 5 days following fertilization. Not too scientifically, but the comparison of the stages of embryo with the products of nature had been done which resembles with the modern embryological development also.

The sperm moves freely into the genitalia after coitus and reaches the ovum with high speed or motility. This is due to the presence of vayu or air element in it. As soon as the sperm fuses with the ovum, the petal like appearances closes said by Agasthiyar. Technically this may be explained as dissolving of corona radiata of the ovum when the sperm penetrates it. This is how the zygote is formed. The penetration of the sperm occurs due to the presence of Theyu or fire element in it.

Saint Agasthiyar through his extra ordinary perception explains the various changes occurring in a fertilized ovum. Siddhar explains, the very first day the fertilized ovum or zygote appears like a mustard seed. In modern concept, the term one cell stage or single cell stage is mentioned. Second day, it appears like a coriander seed. Here two cell stage is described. There after it changes to pepper seed on the third day, mentioned as many cell stage or morula stage as per modern science. On the fourth day the fertilized egg or embryo changes to morphological structure of avarai or bean seed. This means that an outer covering to the embryo had appeared. Scientifically, zona pellucida covering blastomere is seen on the fourth day. Fifth day, Siddhar Agasthiyar compares the embryo with a bubble. It can be well understood that a space inside the embryo had developed comparing to the stage of blastocyte.

“Aakume aarunal nellikkai pol
aana nal ezhukku punnaikkai polam
Ekume ettam naal panchabhootham
ithilundam panchavarnam ithile thondrum
Pokume navadinathil kakkai muttai
polakum pathumudal ainthu naalum
Veegume kozhianda vadivamakum
villukiren thingalondril vazhaipoove”

Saint Agasthiyar compares the sixth day embryo as a Nellikkai or a gooseberry. This stage is explained as formation of germ disc as per modern science. On the seventh day the embryo is compared to a Punnaikkai, having a thickened outer covering. As per modern the outer layer of blastocyst or trophoblast occur during this time. On the eighth day Panchabhootham appears in the embryo or development of the elemental parts with natural colour occurs. This stage may be compared as the implantation of blastocyst into the endometrium of the uterus along the anterior or posterior wall. The trophoblast differentiates into cryo-trophoblast and syncio-trophoblast. Amniotic cavity appears. On the ninth day embryo looks more or less round like a crow’s egg. Comparison of the embryo with crow’s egg may denote the presence of yolk sac . Modern concept explains about the primitive yolk sac during this time. The last few lines of the poem tells that Embyro appears like a Hen’s egg from 10th to 15th day. This may be due to the various developmental changes which occur during this time in the embryo.

If we look at the embryonic development of 11th and 12th day, the blastocyst completely gets embedded in the stroma. The trophoblastic lacunae at the embryonic pole are in open connection with maternal sinusoids in Endometrial stroma. Proliferation of extra embryonic mesoderm occurs between the inner aspect of trophoblast and extra coelomic membrane. At the site of 15th day embryo, the 3 germ layers are clearly visible as a narrow groove with slight bulging on either side.

Guru Agasthiyar so technically compared this stage as a hen’s egg where the shell, the white and yolk parts indicate the 3 germ layers of a 15th day embryo.

By one month, the embryo appears like a plantain flower. If we look into the embryological changes nearing one month, the cephalic and caudal poles are emerging and by the end of one month, hind limb buds appear. This structure resembles a plantain flower with broad base and thin apex.

“Poovile irandu thinkal kazhthuundam
pukazhsirasam urappakum moontram thinkal
Tavile santhukaal kai undakki
satagampol vadivagi viralundam
Navile vai nakku mooku undam
navilukiren mathamainthil seviundakum
Paalile aaru thinkal kuiyya tuvaram
palukkum ezhukkum narambu thane”

Agasthiyar Guru describes in the first line that the plantain flower like structure undergoes changes. In the second month Head, neck, back and shoulders are formed.

In the third month, Hip, legs and fingers of the baby emerges. During fourth month, mouth, tongue, nose and foot develops. In the fifth month, eyes and ears are formed. In the sixth month, genitalia is fully formed with anal orifice, urethral orifice and nails. Nails also appear. In 7th month, Naadies, arteries, veins and plexus develop.

“Narambuthan ezhupathimayiranthan
nadi ettanthinkal mayirundakum
Urambave taipusikku manarasam
uchivazhi thanirangi udalperukkum
Varambave onpathile uyirthanvanthu
marainyan mundam uchi vazhi mootum
Nirambave tasamatham sentralinthu
neruppodu vayuminji tavizhuntane”

By 7th month, the 72000 narambu or blood vessels develops. During the eighth month, a communication between mother and fetus develops. The baby receives the nutrition from the food which the mother takes through the placenta into its own developed digestive system.

In the ninth month, Siddhar Agasthiyar beautifully explains the concept of Life and Soul. During this period life springs up that is the soul generates in the body. Consciousness and Sensibility emerges. Fetus is blessed with the soul and innate wisdom occurs through the vibrating nervous energy. The openings of skull closes.

In the 10th month, Air and fire element in the uterus strengthens and forces the abanan or keezh vayu to alter and pushes the baby out of the uterus.

Conclusion :

The changes and stages of development said or described in the poem “Agastiyar Pindorpathi” is more or less similar to what we see in modern Embryological development if we analyse and compare both.

Siddha is not so easy to understand because the verses written by the Siddhars have a deep inner meaning. Ever since human life existed on earth, reproduction is universal.

Long back, deliveries were conducted by experienced people who were not doctors but noble ones. With successive years of development of science and technology, Gynecology, Obstetrics, Embryology etc were established due to which the mortality rates are almost nil today and this is definitely a great achievement for us. But, if we just think about the origination of these Sciences, even before that, this poem existed. This article is not written in an intention to prove the supremacy of any particular medical system. The motive of our saying is the unity of all medical systems so as to bring the best to human race.

It is still more to meditate, realize, and go deep into our literature where we can find even more amazing things which our Great Siddhars have contributed. This is the reason why Siddha is said to be a real mystery but a true history- A way of life formulated by Siddhars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

15 + fifteen =

Watch Siddham Videos