Agastya Muni holds an honored place in Hindu tradition. He was the first of the Siddhas, who are followers of Lord Shiva. Agastya was their guru. Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, is said to have bestowed upon him the Siddha medicine system, among the oldest in the world. Agastya therefore is often considered the father of modern Indian medicine. He also made contributions to the field of astronomy. The star of Canopus is called Agastya in Indian astronomy.
Short of stature and with the dark complexion characteristic of southern India, Agastya is revered for his knowledge. A testament to his brilliance is when he was assembled in the north of the country with the greatest minds of the time. Some say it was to celebrate the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, and others that it was to hear Lord Shiva reveal the secrets of the Veda and the Tantra. Whatever the reason, the Earth was thrown into imbalance by the gathering. It began to tilt under the weight of the eminent Rishis; the mountains began to sink and the oceans were in turmoil. To restore stability, Shiva sent Agastya Muni to the south. So vast was the wisdom and spirituality of the sage that his departure alone was enough to counterbalance all who remained in the north.
At the heart of the campus that bears his name, there is a siddhavana around the shrine to the illustrious rishi, invoking Agastya’s spirit of inquiry and his reverence for the surrounding natural world – an inspiration and a daily reminder to all who visit.