On the auspicious occasion of ‘Siddha Day’, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society in collaboration with the Department of Tourism & Department of Art and Culture, Government of Puducherry organized an International Conference on ‘Siddhas: Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Spiritual Significances’ from 29-30 December 2023 at Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.
The program was started with the auspicious Vedic chanting. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, welcomed the dignitaries
and participants of the conference and said that the tradition of the Siddha culture involves various Rituals that blend spiritual practices with healing. Highlighting the vision of Sri Aurobindo on the Siddhas, he said that the Siddha Tradition also reflects traditional Knowledge Systems that have been passed down through generations integrate spiritual aspects into healing practices and is considered as an important part of the cultural and spiritual heritage of humanity.
Sri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry highlighted the views of Sri Aurobindo and said that Siddha tradition is the tradition that has given something intangible to the world. Sri Pradeep Narang spoke on the significance of the traditional knowledge system and its application to the contemporary world.
Thirukailaya Paramparai - Mailam Bommapura Atheenam Sri Sivagnana Balaya Swamigal spoke on various topics ranging from the significance of spirituality and how spirituality contributes to welfare of the society. He also expounded on the importance of hymns across India, highlighting the necessity for discipline and responsibilities in our daily lives. Sri-La-Sri Kanagasbai, Swamigal Ambalathadum Swamigal Thiru Madam, Puducherry and Smt. K. Swarnambika, Deputy Secretary, Auroville Foundation graced the occasion.
During his speech, Shri K. Lakshminarayanan, Minister of Tourism, Government of Puducherry delved into why Pondicherry holds a special place and how it serves as a convergence point for many esteemed seers. He justified labeling it a "Spiritual Bhoomi" and explored the concept of spiritual tourism. Concluding his remarks, he extended warm wishes for a happy new year to all.
Shri N. Rangasamy, Honourable Chief Minister, Government of Puducherry commenced his address by extending New Year greetings to the audience. He attributed this prosperity to the "grace and blessings" of the spiritually significant land of Puducherry. The Chief Minister paid homage to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, highlighting their influence. He further elaborated on the abundance of samadhis of Siddhars in Pondicherry and underscored the significance of Siddha in medicine. In conclusion, he emphasized that everything ultimately relies on the grace and blessings of the great Siddhas in the sacred land of Puducherry.
Shri V. Kaliaperumal, Director, Dept. of Art & Culture, Govt. of Puducherry highlighted the importance of Siddha heritage and appreciated the efforts undertaken by Sri Aurobindo Society for the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Puducherry.
Mrs. Charu Tripathy, Associate Director, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society presented a brief report of the ongoing project in documenting the Siddha heritage. Some of the recommendations were given by Sri Aurobindo Society during the occasion, including the nomination of Siddha Heritage Sites under World Heritage, Siddha Practices under the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Siddha Manuscripts under the Memory of the World Register of UNESCO.
Scholars and stakeholders representing various academic institutions and government agencies participated in the event and spoke on Siddha tradition, Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Spiritual Significances, Siddha System of Medicine and healing, Siddha Medicinal Plants: Ecological Perspectives, Literary Heritage of the Siddhas: An Analysis, Rituals, Traditions and Symbolism’ by the Pandits of Selected Siddha Temples, Preservation of the Siddha Heritage, Temples and Community Culture and Siddha Heritage and Spiritual Tourism.
Ministry of AYUSH observes Siddha Day every year on the birthday of Siddhar Agathiyar, the father of Siddha Medicine. As part of the conference, two lectures were delivered by Shri Velu Narayanan, Founder Siddha’s Way of Life Orientation Society, Arokya Homeiopathic Clinic, Ariankuppam and Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.
The valedictory session was attended by Dr.Jayanta Kumar Ray, IAS, Secretary, Government of Puducherry, Prof. K. Tharanikkarasu,Vice-Chancellor (i/c), Pondicherry University, Dr Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, Shri V. Kaliaperumal, Director, Dept. of Art & Culture, Govt. of Puducherry and Dr. Sateesh Kumar, Assistant Professor and NSS Officer, Government of Puducherry. Dr Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society presented a brief report of the proceedings of the conference and mentioned proposed activities including research, documentation, publication and nomination of Siddha heritage to UNESCO. Dr.Jayanta Kumar Ray, IAS, Secretary, Government of Puducherry said that the Siddha system has a wide range of subjects that need to be addressed by the academic community in a more specific manner. He ensured that the Department of HRI will also make significant efforts for the preservation of temples and heritage sites related to the Siddha system. He said that Siddha is a type of medicine which was preserved through generations. He emphasized research, documentation and digital preservation of the Siddha heritage. He also focussed on the integration of the Siddha system with wellness and spiritual tourism with special emphasis on the community culture.
Prof. K. Tharanikkarasu,Vice-Chancellor (i/c), Pondicherry University emphasized on the contribution of the Siddhas in the areas of medicine and healing. Highlighting the glory of the Siddhs tradition, he spoke on the spiritual legacy and explained about the process of self-realization through the teachings of the Siddhas. Shri V. Kaliaperumal, Director, Dept. of Art & Culture, Govt. of Puducherry appreciated the efforts initiated by Sri Aurobindo Society in preserving the Siddha heritage and mentioned that many such events may be organized in the future to popularise the Siddha system. He significantly mentioned about the Siddha heritage Sites of Puducherry and focussed on the intercultural understanding between communities and cultures. He mentioned creating ‘Herbal Gardens’ which will promote the Siddha medicinal plants.
Dr. Sateesh Kumar, Assistant Professor and NSS Officer, Government of Puducherry emphasized Herbal garden in every academic institution. He said that the Siddha system of medicine has a significant contribution to the ancient people and there should be specific emphasis on the preservation of this heritage in a more significant manner.
Research on the unexplored areas related to the Siddha system, promotion of the ancient knowledge system in the contemporary world, preservation, and community outreach activities were some of the focussed areas of the valedictory session of the conference.
Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati and Smt. Charu Tripathy Associate Director, AuroBharati facilitated the conference.