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Not to be confused with Siddha medicine or Siddhar.
For other uses, see Siddha (disambiguation).
Virupa (God of Yoga), 16th century
Mahavira's Nirvana from Kalpasutra, 1472

In the Hindu philosophy (of Kashmir Shaivism), siddha refers to a Siddha Guru who can by way of Shaktipat initiate disciples into Yoga. A Siddha, in Tamil Siddhar or Chitthar (see Chit/Consciousness), means "one who is accomplished" and refers to perfected masters who, according to Hindu belief, have transcended the ahamkara (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies (composed mainly of dense Rajotama gunas) into a different kind of body dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation.

Siddhas may broadly refer to Siddhars, Naths, Ascetics, Sadhus, or Yogis and vice versa because they all practice the Sādhanā concept.[1] A siddha has also been defined to refer to one who has attained a siddhi. The siddhis as paranormal abilities are considered emergent abilities of an individual that is on the path to siddhahood, and do not define a siddha, who is established in the Pranav or Aum – the spiritual substrate of creation. The siddhi in its pure form means "the attainment of flawless identity with Reality (Brahman); perfection of Spirit."

According to Jain beliefs, Siddhas are liberated souls who have destroyed all the karma bondings. Siddha do not have any kind of body, they are soul at its purest form. They reside in Siddha-shila which is situated at the top of the Universe.

First usage[edit]

The first usage of the term Siddha occurs in the Maitreya Upanishad in chapter Adhya III where the writer of the section declares "I am Siddha."

Sanasiddha is the name of an upasaka.[2]

The Svetasvatara (II.12) presupposes a 'Siddha body.[3]

Siddha or siddhar (Tamil tradition)[edit]

Main article: Siddhar

In Tamil Nadu, South India, a siddha (see Siddhar) refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar refers to a person who has realised the goal of a type of sadhana and become a perfected being. In Tamil Nadu, South India, where the siddha tradition is still practiced, special individuals are recognized as and called siddhas (or siddhars or cittars) who are on the path to that assumed perfection after they have taken special secret rasayanas to perfect their bodies, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with a form of pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take. The siddha had a special power to fly, which they divided into eight powers called attamasiddhigal.

The well known 18 siddhars are listed below. The head of all siddhars is Sri Kagapujandar

  1. Agasthiyar
  2. Kamalamuni
  3. Thirumoolar
  4. Kuthambai
  5. Korakkar
  6. Thanvandri
  7. Konganar
  8. Sattamuni
  9. Vanmeegar
  10. Ramadevar
  11. Nandeeswarar (Nandidevar)
  12. Edaikkadar
  13. Machamuni
  14. Karuvoorar
  15. Bogar
  16. Pambatti Siddhar
  17. Sundarandandar
  18. Patanjali

Siddha in Jainism[edit]

Siddhas are the liberated souls. They have completely ended the cycle of birth and death. They have reached the ultimate state of salvation. They do not have any karmas and they do not collect any new karmas. This state of true freedom is called Moksha. They are formless and have no passions and therefore are free from all temptations.

According to Jains, Siddhas have eight specific characteristics or qualities (8 guñas). Ancient Tamil Jain Classic 'Choodamani Nigandu' describes the eight characteristics in a beautiful poem, which is given below.[4]

"கடையிலா ஞானத்தோடு காட்சி வீரியமே இன்ப
மிடையுறு நாமமின்மை விதித்த கோத்திரங்களின்மை
அடைவிலா ஆயுஇன்மை அந்தராயங்கள் இன்மை
உடையவன் யாவன் மற்று இவ்வுலகினுக்கு இறைவனாமே"

"The soul that has infinite knowledge (Ananta jnāna, கடையிலா ஞானம்), infinite vision or wisdom (Ananta darshana, கடையிலா காட்சி), infinite power (Ananta labdhi, கடையிலா வீரியம்), infinite bliss (Ananta sukha, கடையிலா இன்பம்), without name (Akshaya sthiti, நாமமின்மை), without association to any caste (Being vitāraga, கோத்திரமின்மை), infinite life span (Being arupa, ஆயுள் இன்மை) and without any change (Aguruladhutaa, அழியா இயல்பு) is God."

Thiruvalluvar in his Tamil book Thirukural refers to the eight qualities of God,[5] in one of his couplet poems.

Siddha Paradise[edit]

The siddhas (liberated souls who will never take birth again, who have gone above the cycle of life and death) go to the top of the universe in a place called Moksha, which is on top of the Siddha-shila after being liberated and stays there till infinity. Siddha is a level of soul above Arihant who possess kevala jñana.

In Hindu cosmology, Siddhaloka is a subtle world (loka) where perfected beings (siddhas) take birth. They are endowed with the eight primary siddhis at birth.

Siddhashila as per the Jain cosmology


Main article: Siddhashrama

In Hindu theology, Siddhashrama is a secret land deep in the Himalayas, where great yogis, sadhus and sages who are siddhas live. The concept is similar to Tibetan mystical land of Shambhala.

Siddhashrama is referred in many Indian epics and Puranas including Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Valmiki's Ramayana it is said that Viswamitra had his hermitage in Siddhashrama, the erstwhile hermitage of Vishnu, when he appeared as the Vamana avatar. He takes Rama and Lakshmana to Siddhashrama to exterminate the rakshasas who are disturbing his religious sacrifices (i.28.1-20).[6][7]

Siddha Sampradaya[edit]

Main article: Siddha Sampradaya

Whenever siddha is mentioned the 84 siddhas and 9 nathas are remembered and it is this tradition of siddha which is known as the Siddha Sampradaya. Siddha is a term used for both mahasiddhas and nathas. So a siddha may mean a siddha, a mahasiddha or a natha. The three words siddha, mahasiddha and natha are used interchangeably.

The eighty-four Siddhas in the Varna(na)ratnakara[edit]

A list of eighty-four siddhas is found in a manuscript (manuscript no 48/34 of the Asiatic Society of Bengal) dated Lakshmana Samvat 388 (1506) of a medieval Maithili work, the Varna(na)ratnākara written by Kaviśekharācārya Jyotirīśvara Ṭhākura, the court poet of King Harisimhadeva of Mithila (reigned 1300–1321). An interesting feature of this list is that the names of the most revered Nathas are incorporated in this list along with the Buddhist Siddhacharyas. The names of the Siddhas found in this list are:[8][9]

  1. Minanātha
  2. Gorakshanātha
  3. Chauranginātha
  4. Chāmarinātha
  5. Tantipā
  6. Hālipā
  7. Kedāripā
  8. Dhongapā
  9. Dāripā
  10. Virupā
  11. Kapāli
  12. Kamāri
  13. Kānha
  14. Kanakhala
  15. Mekhala
  16. Unmana
  17. Kāndali
  18. Dhovi
  19. Jālandhara
  20. Tongi
  21. Mavaha
  22. Nāgārjuna
  23. Dauli
  24. Bhishāla
  25. Achiti
  26. Champaka
  27. Dhentasa
  28. Bhumbhari
  29. Bākali
  30. Tuji
  31. Charpati
  32. Bhāde
  33. Chāndana
  34. Kāmari
  35. Karavat
  36. Dharmapāpatanga
  37. Bhadra
  38. Pātalibhadra
  39. Palihiha
  40. Bhānu
  41. Mina
  42. Nirdaya
  43. Savara
  44. Sānti
  45. Bhartrihari
  46. Bhishana
  47. Bhati
  48. Gaganapā
  49. Gamāra
  50. Menurā
  51. Kumāri
  52. Jivana
  53. Aghosādhava
  54. Girivara
  55. Siyāri
  56. Nāgavāli
  57. Bibhavat
  58. Sāranga
  59. Vivikadhaja
  60. Magaradhaja
  61. Achita
  62. Bichita
  63. Nechaka
  64. Chātala
  65. Nāchana
  66. Bhilo
  67. Pāhila
  68. Pāsala
  69. Kamalakangāri
  70. Chipila
  71. Govinda
  72. Bhima
  73. Bhairava
  74. Bhadra
  75. Bhamari
  76. Bhurukuti

The Siddhas in the Hathayogapradipika[edit]

In the first upadeśa (chapter) of the Haṭhayogapradīpikā, a 15th-century text, a list of yogis is found, who are described as the Mahasiddhas. This list has a number of names common with those found in the list of the Varna(na)ratnākara:[8][10]

  1. Ādinātha
  2. Matsyendra
  3. Śāvara
  4. Ānandabhairava
  5. Chaurangi
  6. Minanātha
  7. Gorakṣanātha
  8. Virupākṣa
  9. Bileśaya
  10. Manthāna
  11. Bhairava
  12. Siddhibuddha
  13. Kanthaḍi
  14. Koraṃṭaka
  15. Surānanda
  16. Siddhapāda
  17. Charpaṭi
  18. Kānerī
  19. Pūjyapāda
  20. Nityanātha
  21. Nirañjana
  22. Kapālī
  23. Bindunātha
  24. Kākachaṇḍīśvarā
  25. Allāma
  26. Prabhudeva
  27. Ghoḍā
  28. Chholī
  29. Ṭiṃṭiṇi
  30. Bhānukī
  31. Nāradeva
  32. Khaṇḍakāpālika

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zimmermann, Marion (2003). A short introduction: The Tamil Siddhas and the Siddha medicine of Tamil Nadu. GRIN Verlag. p. 4. ISBN 9783638187411. 
  2. ^ P. 94 Personal and Geographical Names in the Gupta Inscriptions By Tej Ram Sharma
  3. ^ P. 156 Buddhist sects and sectarianism By Bibhuti Baruah
  4. ^ J. Srichandran(1981),ஜைன தத்துவமும் பஞ்ச பரமேஷ்டிகளும், Vardhamanan Padhipakam, Chennai, Page 18
  5. ^ Ashraf, N.V.K. Tirukkural: Getting close to the original In Spirit, Content and Style,, accessed on 22 March 2008
  6. ^ Vyas, R.T. (ed.) (1992). Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Text as Constituted in its Critical Edition. Vadodara: Oriental Institute, Vadodara. p. 40. 
  7. ^ Hanumanta Rao, Desiraju (1998). "Valmiki Ramayana, Bala Kanda, Chapter 29". website. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  8. ^ a b Dasgupta, Sashibhusan (1995). Obscure Religious Cults, Firma K.L.M., Calcutta, ISBN 81-7102-020-8, pp.203ff, 204
  9. ^ Shastri Haraprasad (ed.) (1916, 3rd edition 2006). Hajar Bacharer Purano Bangala Bhasay Bauddhagan O Doha (in Bengali), Kolkata: Vangiya Sahitya Parishad, pp.xxxv-vi
  10. ^ Sinh, Pancham (tr.) (1914). "Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Chapter 1". website. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  1. - Understanding Varmam Healing
  2. - Therapeutic Siddha Varmam

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