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In Indian religions, 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.[1] The term ṛddhi (Pali: iddhi, "psychic powers") is often used interchangeably in Buddhism.


Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as "knowledge", "accomplishment", "attainment", or "success".[2]


The Visuddhimagga is one of the texts to give explicit details about how spiritual masters were thought to actually manifest supernormal abilities.[3] 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.[3] The individual must master kasina meditation before this is possible.[3] Dipa Ma, who trained via the Visuddhimagga, claimed to have these abilities, but her claim was never independently verified.[4]

Usage in Hinduism[edit]

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

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".[5]

Eight classical siddhis[edit]

According to different sources, below are the eight classical siddhis (Ashta Siddhi) or eight great perfections:[6][7]

  • 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.


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."[8]


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[edit]

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.[9]

Ten secondary siddhis, according to Vaishnava doctrine[edit]

In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna describes the ten secondary siddhis:[citation needed]

  • 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 saṅkalpa saṁsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination.
  • ājñāpratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or commands being unimpeded.[10]

Samkhya philosophy[edit]

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:[11]

  1. 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.
  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.

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[edit]

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.[12]

Usage in Sikhism[edit]

In Sikhism, siddhi means "insight". "Eight Siddhis" is a term used for insight of the eight qualities of Nirankar or a.k.a. Akal Purakh mentioned in the Mul Mantar in the Guru Granth Sahib. God has eight qualities: Ek Onkar, Satnam, Kartapurakh, Nirbhao, Nirvair, AkaalMurat, Ajooni and Svaibhang. The one who has insight into these qualities is called Sidh or Gurmukh.[citation needed]

1. Ek Onkar
There is one formless God
2. Satnam
God is True, His remembrance is true
3. Kartapurakh
God alone is creator
4. Nirbhao
God is fearless
5. Nirvair
God has no enmity with anyone
6. Akaal Murat
God is eternal, beyond time
7. Ajooni Svaibhang
God is beyond the cycle of birth and death, God is svayambhu, Self-Existent
8. Gurparasad
God is attained by the Grace of the True Guru

Sidh means the one who has mastered his self.

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 and astral projection, materialization, and having access to memories from past lives.[citation needed]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ White, David Gordon; Dominik Wujastyk (2012). Yoga In Practice. Princeton University Press. p. 34.
  2. ^ Apte n.d., p. 986.
  3. ^ a b c Jacobsen, Knut A., ed. (2011). Yoga Powers. Leiden: Brill. pp. 83–86, 93. ISBN 978-9004212145.
  4. ^ Schmidt, Amy (2005). Dipa Ma. Windhorse Publications. p. Chapter 9 At Home in Strange Realms.
  5. ^ Iyengar 2002, p. 246.
  6. ^ Subramuniyaswami, Sivaya (1997). Glossary - Siddhi. USA: Himalayan Academy. ISBN 978-0945497974. Search: Siddhi.
  7. ^ Danielou, Alain (1987). While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind; Inner Traditions International.
  8. ^ Subramuniyaswami, Sivaya (1997). glossary - Siddhi. USA: Himalayan Academy. ISBN 978-0945497974. Search: Siddhi.
  9. ^ The Concise Srimad Bhagavatam, trans. Swami Venkatesananda, SUNY Press 1989, ISBN 0-7914-0149-9
  10. ^ The Concise Srimad Bhagavatam, trans. Swami Venkatesananda, SUNY Press 1989, ISBN 0-7914-0149-9
  11. ^ The Samkhya Karika, with commentary of Gaudapada. Published in 1933 by The Oriental Book Agency, Poona Archived 1 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Lord Hanuman & Siddhis


  • 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

Further reading[edit]