From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Agastya, the first Siddhar
Pambatti Siddhar Sannidhi at Marudamalai Temple

The Siddhar (Tamil (romanized) cittar, from Sanskrit siddha)[1] in Tamil tradition is a perfected individual who has attained spiritual powers called siddhi.

Historically, Siddhar also refers to the people who were early-age wandering adepts that dominated ancient Tamil teaching and philosophy. They were knowledgeable in science, technology, astronomy, literature, fine arts, music, drama, and dance and provided solutions to common people's illnesses and advice for their future.[2] Some of their ideologies are considered to have originated during the First Sangam period.[3][4][5]


Siddhars were typically scientists, saints, doctors, alchemists, and mystics all in one. They wrote their findings in the form of Tamil poems on palm leaf manuscripts. They typically believe in one god, but there are some Siddhars who believe in polytheism. These are still owned by some families in Tamil Nadu and handed down through the generations, as well as being kept in universities in India, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.[6]

In this way, Siddhars developed the native Siddha medicine system. A rustic form of healing that is similar to Siddha medicine has since been practiced by experienced elders in the villages of Tamil Nadu. This is referred to as pātti vaittiyam (grandmother's medicine), nāttu maruntu (folk medicine), and mūlikai maruttuvam (herbal medicine).

Siddhars are also believed to be the founders of varma kalai - a martial art for self-defense and medical treatment at the same time with the application of pressure points.[7]

Tamil Siddhars were the first to develop pulse-reading (naadi paarththal in Tamil) to identify the origin of diseases.

According to regional belief, the Siddhars are said to have resided for many ages upon a mountain called Sathuragiri, near the Thanipparai village in Tamil Nadu.


The Abithana Chintamani encyclopedia states that the Siddhars are of the 18 persons listed below, but Agastya states that there are many who precede and follow these.

The 18 Siddhars[edit]

Murti of Karuvurar

There are 18 Siddhars in the Tamil Siddha tradition:[8][9]

  1. Nandi
  2. Tirumular
  3. Agastya
  4. Kamalamuni (identified with Kalangi Nathar and/or Confucius)
  5. Patanjali
  6. Korakkar
  7. Sundaranandar [ta]
  8. Konganar [ta]
  9. Sattaimuni [ta]
  10. Vanmikar (Valmiki)
  11. Ramadevar [ta]
  12. Dhanvantari
  13. Idaikaadar
  14. Machamuni (identified with Matsyendranatha)
  15. Karuvurar
  16. Bogar (identified with Laozi[10])
  17. Pambatti
  18. Kuthambai [ta]

Apart from the 18 Siddhars listed above, there is another list of 18 Siddhars who represent the 9 Navagrahas (with two Siddhars representing each Navagraha). All navagraha doshas and pariharams are performed to the Siddhars as Siddhar Velvi (Siddhar havan). The details of the 18 Siddhars who represent the 9 Navagrahas are as follows:[citation needed]

  1. Sivavakkiyar - Moon
  2. Kambili - Moon
  3. Bhogar - Mars
  4. Kagabhujanga - Jupiter
  5. Sri Pullipani Siddhar - Mars
  6. Sattaimuni - Kethu
  7. Sri Agapai Siddhar - Jupiter
  8. Alugani - Rahu
  9. Kudambai - Kethu
  10. Vallalar - Mercury
  11. Edaikaddar - Mercury
  12. Pattinathar - Sun
  13. Kaduvelli - Sun
  14. Kanjamalai - Venus
  15. Sennimalai - Venus
  16. Kapilar - Saturn
  17. Karuvurar - Saturn
  18. Pampatti - Rahu

Eight Perfections[edit]

Siddhars are believed to have had both major and minor powers that are described in detail in various yogic and religious texts.[11] [12]

  • Aṇimā: the ability to reduce one's body to the size of an atom.
  • Mahimā: the ability to expand one's body to an infinitely large size.
  • Laghimā: the ability to become weightless or lighter than air.
  • Garimā: the ability to become heavy or dense.
  • Prāpti: the ability to realize whatever one desires.
  • Prākāmya: the ability to access any place in the world.
  • Īśiṭva: the ability to control all material elements or natural forces.
  • Vaśiṭva: the ability to force influence upon anyone.

These eight are the Great Siddhis (Ashtama siddhis), or Great Perfections.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Tamil Lexicon. University of Madras. p. 1410.
  2. ^ Meditation Revolution: A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage. Motilal Banarsidass. 2000. ISBN 9788120816480.
  3. ^ S. Cunjithapatham, M. Arunachalam (1989). Musical tradition of Tamilnadu. International Society for the Investigation of Ancient Civilizations. p. 11.
  4. ^ Journal of Indian history, Volume 38. Dept. of History, University of Kerala. 1960.
  5. ^ Weiss, Richard (2009). Recipes for Immortality : Healing, Religion, and Community in South India: Healing, Religion, and Community in South India. Oxford University Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780199715008.
  6. ^ V. Jayaram. "Study of siddhas". Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  7. ^ Cruz, Edmund A. (16 June 2018). Health, Longevity and the Martial Arts. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-5462-3979-6.
  8. ^ Pillai, M. S. Purnalingam (1994). Tamil Literature. Asian Educational Services. p. 264. ISBN 978-81-206-0955-6.
  9. ^ Venkataramaiah, K. M. (1996). A Handbook of Tamil Nadu. International School of Dravidian Linguistics. p. 139. ISBN 978-81-85692-20-3.
  10. ^ "Siddha Bhoganāthar: An Oceanic Life Story".
  11. ^ Thirumandiram 668
  12. ^ Subramuniyaswami, Sivaya (1997). Glossary - Siddhi. USA: Himalayan Academy. ISBN 978-0945497974. Search: Siddhi.