siddhi or siddhiḥ (Sanskrit:सिद्धि; "perfection", "accomplishment", "attainment", or "success") — extraordinary powers of the atma (Self), developed through consistent meditation and deliberate, grueling, often uncomfortable tapas, or awakened naturally through spiritual maturity and yogic sadhana.
Through the repeated experience of Self Realization, siddhis naturally unfold according to the needs of the individual. Before Self Realization, the use or development of siddhis is among the greatest obstacles on the path because it cultivates ahankara, I-ness, and militates against the attainment of prapatti, complete submission to the will of God, Gods and guru. The mastery of specific Siddhis is taught to be attained through the right kind of Samyama. There are eight primary siddhis, and ten secondary siddhis and five siddhi's specific for concentration in yoga.
Nine main siddhis
As mentioned in the Puranas there are nine forms of Siddhis. They are:
- Parkaya Pravesha: Parkaya Pravesh means one’s soul entering into the body of some other person. Through this knowledge even a dead body can be brought to life.
- Haadi Vidya: This Vidya or knowledge has been mentioned in several ancient texts. On acquiring this Vidya, a person feels neither hunger nor thirst, and can remain without eating food or drinking water for several days at a stretch.
- Kaadi Vidya: Just as one does not feel hungry or thirsty in Haadi Vidya, similarly in Kaadi Vidya a person is not affected by change of seasons, i.e. by summer, winter, rain, etc. After accomplishing this Vidya, a person shall not feel cold even if he sits in the snow-laden mountains, and shall not feel hot even if he sits in the fire.
- Vayu Gaman Siddhi: Through this Siddhi a person can become capable of flying in the skies and traveling from one place to another in just a few seconds.
- Madalasa Vidya: On accomplishing this Vidya, a person becomes capable of increasing or decreasing the size of his body according to his wish. Lord Hanuman had miniaturized his body through this Vidya while entering the city of Lanka.
- Kanakdhara Siddhi: One can acquire immense and unlimited wealth through this Siddhi.
- Prakya Sadhana: Through this Sadhana a Yogi can direct his disciple to take birth from the womb of a woman who is childless or cannot bear children.
- Surya Vigyan: This solar science is one of the most significant sciences of ancient India. This science has been known only to the Indian Yogis; using it, one substance can be transformed into another through the medium of sun rays.
- Mrit Sanjeevani Vidya: This Vidya was created by Guru Shukracharya. Through it, even a dead person can be brought back to life.
Eight Primary Siddhis
There is the concept of the Ashta Siddhi (eight siddhis) in Hinduism. These are:
- Aṇimā: reducing one's body even to the size of an atom
- Mahimā: expanding one's body to an infinitely large size
- Garima: becoming infinitely heavy
- Laghimā: 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.
In Hinduism, Hanuman possesses the ability to bestow the eight siddhis and the nava nidhi (nine types of wealth).
Ten Secondary Siddhis In the Srimad Bhagavatam Lord Krishna describes the Ten Secondary Siddhis as:
- anūrmi-mattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily disturbances
- dūra-śravaṇa: Hearing things far away
- dūra-darśanam: Seeing things far away
- manaḥ-javah: Moving the body wherever thought goes (teleportation)
- kāma-rūpam: Assuming any form desired
- para-kāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others
- sva-chanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires
- devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the Apsaras
- yathā sańkalpa saḿsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination
- ājñā apratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or Commands being unimpeded
Five Siddhis of Yoga and Meditation
In the Srimad Bhagavatam the Five Siddhis of Yoga and Meditation are described as:
- tri-kāla-jñatvam: Knowing the past, present and future;
- advandvam: Tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities;
- para citta ādi abhijñatā: Knowing the minds of others and so on;
- agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: Checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on;
- aparājayah: Remaining unconquered by others;
Siddhi powers are said to be obtainable by meditation, control of the senses, devotion, herbs, mantras, pranayama, or good birth.
A detailed instruction for obtaining various Siddhis is given in the Vibhuti Pada (the 3rd Chapter) of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The mastery of specific Siddhis is attained through properly aimed Samyama.
Lord Krishna states that:
For a sage who has conquered his senses, breathing and mind, who is self-controlled and always absorbed in meditation on Me, what siddhi could possibly be difficult to achieve?
Seeking siddhi powers is often discouraged and considered to be an impediment to spiritual advancement. J Krishnamurti warned about siddhis in the context of meditation, comparing them to candlelight in the Sun. Six siddhis in particular are considered primary obstacles to samadhi:
- adarsha siddhi or divya siddhi (clairvoyance),
- shravana siddhi or divyashravana (clairaudience),
- pratibha siddhi (divination),
- vedana siddhi (super-feeling),
- asvadana siddhi (super-taste),
- varta siddhi (supersmell).