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For Wives of Ganesha, Siddhi and Riddhi and relationship of Ashta Siddhi with Ganesha, see Consorts of Ganesha.
Not to be confused with the African Siddi or the Karnataka Siddi
Ganesha with the Ashta Siddhi, personified as goddesses - painting by Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)

Siddhis (Sanskrit and Pali; Devanagari सिद्धि; Tibetan: དངོས་གྲུབ, THL: ngödrup,[web 1] Chinese: 悉地, 成就) are spiritual, paranormal, supernatural, or otherwise magical powers, abilities, and attainments that are the products of spiritual advancement through sādhanās such as meditation and yoga.[1] The term ṛddhi (Pali: iddhi, "psychic powers") is often used interchangeably in Buddhism.


Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as "perfection", "accomplishment", "attainment", or "success".[2] In Tamil the word Siddhar/Chitthar refers to someone who has attained the Siddhic powers & knowledge. Chitta is pure consciousness/knowledge in Sanskrit also.


The earliest appearance in Indian history of the idea that magical powers are generated by spiritual practices is the account of the use of jhāna to gain iddhi appearing in the Pāli Canon in the Samaññaphala Sutta of the Digha Nikaya.[3]

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, compiled around 400 BCE from many older traditions, goes into great depth about how to obtain various siddhis.[4][5][6]

The term siddhi is later found in the Mahabharata.[7][8]

Usage in Hinduism[edit]

In the Panchatantra, a siddhi may be the term for any unusual skill or faculty or capability.

Eight primary siddhis[edit]

In Hinduism, eight siddhis (Ashta Siddhi) or Eight great perfections (mahasiddhi) are known:[9]

  • Aṇimā: reducing one's body even to the size of an atom
  • Mahima: expanding one's body to an infinitely large size
  • Garima: becoming infinitely heavy
  • Laghima: becoming almost weightless
  • Prāpti: having unrestricted access to all places
  • Prākāmya: realizing whatever one desires
  • Iṣṭva: possessing absolute lordship
  • Vaśtva: the power to subjugate all[10]

Bhagavata Purana[edit]

Five siddhis of yoga and meditation[edit]

In the Bhagavata Purana, the five siddhis of 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 and so on
  4. agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on
  5. aparājayah: remaining unconquered by others[11]

Ten secondary siddhis[edit]

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

  • anūrmimattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily appetites
  • dūraśravaṇa: Hearing things far away
  • dūradarśanam: Seeing things far away
  • manojavah: Moving the body wherever thought goes (teleportation/astral projection)
  • kāmarūpam: Assuming any form desired
  • parakāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others
  • svachanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires
  • devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods
  • yathā sańkalpa saḿsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination
  • ājñāpratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or commands being unimpeded [12]


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[note 1] are as explained in verse 51 of the Samkhyakarika:[13]

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

The attainment of these eight siddhis renders one no longer in a painful state of ignorance but in possession of greater knowledge and experience of bliss. The aim of Samkhya is to eliminate all kinds of physical and mental pains and to receive liberation.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras[edit]

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".[14]

Hindu gods associated with gaining siddhi[edit]

In Hinduism, both Ganesha and Hanuman possess the eight siddhis[15] and can give one access to them.

Usage in Sikhism[edit]

In Sikhism, siddhi means "insight". "Eight Siddhis" is used for insight of the eight qualities of Nirankar mentioned in the Mul Mantar in the Guru Granth Sahib. God has eight qualities: Oankar, Satnam, Kartapurakh, Nirbhao, Nirvair, AkaalMurat, Ajooni and Svaibhang. The one who has insight of these qualities is called Sidh or Gurmukhi.

Usage in Vajrayana Buddhism[edit]

In Tantric Buddhism, siddhi specifically refers to the acquisition of supernatural powers by psychic or magical means or the supposed faculty so acquired. These powers include items such as clairvoyance, levitation, bilocation, becoming as small as an atom, materialization, having access to memories from past lives. The term is also used in this sense in the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha of Madhvacharya (1238–1317).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ अष्टधा सिद्धिः १५ The Journal of Oriental Research, Madras. 1928. A note on the date of the Tattvasamasa. Pages 146&147.


  1. ^ White, David Gordon; Dominik Wujastyk (2012). Yoga In Practice. Princeton: Princeton UP. p. 34. 
  2. ^ Apte year unknown, p. 986.
  3. ^ White, David Gordon; Dominik Wujastyk (2012). Yoga In Practice. Princeton: Princeton UP. p. 34. 
  4. ^ Wuyastik 2011, p. 33.
  5. ^ Feuerstein 1978, p. 108.
  6. ^ Tola, Dragonetti & Prithipaul 1987, p. x.
  7. ^ White, David Gordon; James L, Fitzgerald (2012). "2". Yoga In Practice. Princeton: Princeton UP. pp. 43–57. 
  8. ^ Jacobsen, Knut A.; Angelika Malinar (2011). Yoga Powers: Extraordinary Capacities Attained Through Meditation and Concentration. Leiden: Brill. pp. 33–60. ISBN 9789004212145. 
  9. ^ Ashta siddhi
  10. ^ Danielou, Alain (1987). While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind; Inner Traditions International.
  11. ^ The Concise Srimad Bhagavatam, trans. Swami Venkatesananda, SUNY Press 1989, ISBN 0-7914-0149-9
  12. ^ The Concise Srimad Bhagavatam, trans. Swami Venkatesananda, SUNY Press 1989, ISBN 0-7914-0149-9
  13. ^ The Samkhya Karika, with commentary of Gaudapada. Published in 1933 by The Oriental Book Agency, Poona
  14. ^ Iyengar 2002, p. 246.
  15. ^ Lord Hanuman & Siddhis[1]


Published sources[edit]

  • Apte, A (n.d.), A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary 
  • Davidson, Ronald M. (2004), Indian Esoteric Buddhism: Social History of the Tantric Movement, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 
  • Iyengar, B.K.S. (2002), Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, Hammersmith, London, UK: Thorsons 


  1. ^ Dharma Dictionary (April, 2010). 'dngos grub'. (accessed: Thursday April 15, 2010)

Further reading[edit]