Hinduism & Super Natural Powers : Siddhi

Sep 2, 2021 - 17:59

In Hinduism, Siddhis (Sanskrit: सिद्धि siddhi; fulfillment, accomplishment) are material, paranormal, supernatural, or otherwise magical powers, abilities, and attainments that are the products of yogic advancement through sādhanās such as meditation and yoga. The term ṛddhi (Pali: iddhi, "psychic powers") is often used interchangeably in Buddhism.

Etymology : Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as "perfection", "accomplishment", "attainment", or "success".

The Visuddhimagga is one of the texts to give explicit details about how spiritual masters were thought to actually manifest supernormal abilities. It states that abilities such as flying through the air, walking through solid obstructions, diving into the ground, walking on water and so forth are achieved through changing one element, such as earth, into another element, such as air. The individual must master kasina meditation before this is possible. Dipa Ma, who trained via the Visuddhimagga, was said to demonstrate these abilities.

Usage in Hinduism

In the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of moral fables, siddhi may be the term for any unusual skill or faculty or capability.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

In Patañjali's Yoga Sutras IV.1 it is stated, Janma auṣadhi mantra tapaḥ samādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ, "Accomplishments may be attained through birth, the use of herbs, incantations, self-discipline or samadhi".

Possible siddhis or siddhi-like abilities mentioned include:

  1. Ahiṃsā: a peaceful aura
  2. Satya: persuasion
  3. Asteya: wealth
  4. Brahmacarya: virility
  5. Aparigraha: insight;
  6. Śauca: sensory control/cleanliness
  7. Saṃtoṣa: happiness
  8. Tapas: bodily and sensory perfection
  9. Svādhyāya: communion with the Divine
  10. Īśvarapraṇidhāna: Samādhi

Eight classical siddhis

According to different sources, seven of the eight classical siddhis (Ashta Siddhi) or eight great perfections are:

  1. Aṇimā: the ability to become smaller than the smallest, reducing one's body to the size of an atom or even become invisible.
  2. Mahimā: the ability to become infinitely large, expanding one's body to an infinitely large size.
  3. Laghimā: the ability to become weightless or lighter than air.
  4. Prāpti: the ability to instantaneously travel or be anywhere at will.
  5. Prākāmya: the ability to achieve or realize whatever one desires.
  6. Īśiṭva: the ability to control nature, individuals, organisms, etc. Supremacy over nature and the ability to force influence upon anyone.
  7. Vaśiṭva: the ability to control all material elements or natural forces.
  8. The eighth is given as either:
  • Kāma-avasayitva (per Kṣemarāja and Vyasa): satisfaction, suppression of desire, or (as Yatrakāmāvasāyitva) wishes coming true.
  • Garimā (per the Rāmānanda Sampradāya): the ability to become infinitely heavy and be immovable by anyone or anything.

In Shaivism, siddhis are defined as "Extraordinary powers of the soul, developed through consistent meditation and often uncomfortable and grueling tapas, or awakened naturally through spiritual maturity and yogic sādhanā."

In Vaishnavism, the term siddhi is used in the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha of Madhvacharya (1238–1317), the founder of Dvaita (dualist) philosophy.

Five siddhis, according to Vaishnava doctrine

In the Bhagavata Purana, the five siddhis brought on by yoga and meditation are:

  1. trikālajñatvam: knowing the past, present and future
  2. Advandvam: tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities
  3. para citta ādi abhijñatā: knowing the minds of others, etc.
  4. Agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, etc.
  5. Aparājayah: remaining unconquered by others

Ten secondary siddhis, according to Vaishnava doctrine

In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna describes the ten secondary siddhis:

  1. anūrmimattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily appetites
  2. dūraśravaṇa: Hearing things far away
  3. dūradarśanam: Seeing things far away
  4. manojavah: Moving the body wherever thought goes (teleportation/astral projection)
  5. kāmarūpam: Assuming any form desired
  6. parakāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others
  7. svachanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires
  8. devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods
  9. yathā saṅkalpa saṁsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination
  10. ājñāpratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or commands being unimpeded

Samkhya philosophy

In the Samkhyakarika and Tattvasamasa, there are references to the attainment of eight siddhis by which "one becomes free of the pain of ignorance, one gains knowledge, and experiences bliss". The eight siddhis hinted at by Kapila in the Tattvasamasa are, as explained in verse 51 of the Samkhyakarika:

  • Uuha: based on the samskaras (karmic imprints) of previous births, the attainment of knowledge about the twenty-four tattvas gained by examining the determinable and indeterminable, conscious and non-conscious constituents of creation.
  • Shabda: knowledge gained by associating with an enlightened person (Guru – upadesh).
  • Addhyyan: knowledge gained through the study of the Vedas and other standard ancillary texts.
  • Suhritprapti: knowledge gained from a kind-hearted person, while engaged in the spread of knowledge.
  • Daan: knowledge gained regardless of one’s own needs while attending to the requirements of those engaged in the search of the highest truth.
  • Aadhyaatmik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain, disappointment, etc. that may arise due to lack of spiritual, metaphysical, mystic knowledge and experience.
  • Aadhibhautik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc. arising from possessing and being attached to various materialistic gains.
  • Aadhidaivik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc. caused by fate or due to reliance on fate. It is believed that the attainment of these eight siddhis renders one free of the pain of ignorance, and gives one knowledge and bliss.

Hindu deities associated with gaining siddhi

Ganesha, Hanuman, various forms of Devi, Vishnu and various other deities are popularly seen as the keepers of siddhis, with the ability to grant them to the worshipper.


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