Enumerating the main features of a successful nation-state Kural 734 states that a country without widespread hunger, epidemics and the danger of enemy incursions is a model worthy of emulation by other entities. Hunger is a product of poverty and is an ailment by itself.
Epidemics on the other hand take a heavy toll on the lives of the people. Cholera which was a menace in the time of the Kural was a dreadful occurrence that upset the peace of the land.
According to the Siddha system of medicine developed by the Tamil people man is a part of the Universe and the human body consists of five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space and the three humours vatha, pitha and kaba. Food is the basic building material of the human body, which gets processed into hormones, tissues and wastes.
Diet and life-style are basic necessities for good health. The body is essential for existence as it is the vessel that retains life. Once the body reaches decay it is dead and life is no more. Food is medicine and medicine itself is food.
The Kural devotes one complete chapter for medicine – Chapter 95. It says good health is the result of a fine balance of the three humors. If the balance is upset sickness sets in and death occurs.
Chapter 95 contains some vital guidelines for a healthy life.
Eat not foods that disagrees with your system, however tasty and delicious it is – Kural 945. A heavy eater invites disease says the next couplet.
In spite of all your care if you happen to fall ill, you should seek a capable physician who is skilled in diagnosis, knows the nature of the illness and gives the proper treatment to restore the good health.
The Kural enumerates five factors in this regard – the patient, the physician, the medicine, the nature of the treatment with special foods etc and the person who nurses the patient – Kural 950.
Today nursing is a major element in healthcare. Medicine is not enough, nursing by a qualified person is essential. The Greek medical pioneer Hippocrates of Kos in his book speaks about the spacious hospital and a specialized nursing element in addition to the medicines administered to the patient. The Kural 950 is on par with the above description which gives prominence to nursing.
The Kural rejects meat for food, devoting chapter 26, listing reasons why meat is abhorrent for reasons of health and spiritual merit. You may perform a thousand religious rituals without any good results if you eat meat. But if you eat the flesh of a living being you lose all the merits you have gained. You should not eat the meat of what you have killed neither shall you eat the meat which others have killed for you is the message of this chapter.
To bring this synopsis to a conclusion, mention should be made of the link between the Cosmos and Man according to Tamil tradition. The five senses corresponds with the five elements – space for hearing, air for touch and life, fire for touch and energy, water for life and sustenance, earth for life, touch, taste and energy.