Nizha Periaswamy

Have you ever heard of the term "ashta siddhi"? You probably would, in religious, spitirual, or fantasy-based movies.

However, this term, which translates into "eight powers" is not mere screen fodder, but is rooted in truth in Hindu scriptures.

Siddhis can give someone advanced capabilities through sādhanās such as meditation and yoga.

In Shaivism, siddhis are "Astonishing powers of the soul. These powers are developed by consistent and effortless meditation, taxing tapas, spiritual maturity; yoga sadhana and also as a birth gift."

The eight most powerful siddhis in the Hindu scripture are: Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Istiva, and Vasitva.

Now, let's have a quick look at the type of siddhis and what they can do:

1) Anima

This is the ability to shrink one's body size, even to the size of an atom. Becoming smaller than the smallest was described in Srimad Bhagavatam by Lord Krishna.

A common example of anima is when Lord Hanuman reduced his size when searching for Sita in Sri Lanka.

2) Mahima

The complete opposite of Anima, Mahima is becoming larger than the largest - as also described by Lord Krishna in Srimad Bhagavatam.

Lord Hanuman also assumed this form to set Lanka ablaze, and to fight Kumbha Karna.

3) Garima

This is the ability to become very heavy by will, that one is rendered immovable by anyone, or anything.

This is documented when Lord Hanuman made his tail so heavy that even the extremely strong Bhima couldn't lift it.

4) Laghima

Laghima originates from the root word "laghu", which means small, or light. This siddhi can make one's body also weightless. Levitation and flying are the extended powers of this siddhi.

5) Prapti

This is the ability to obtain anything, anywhere. We might have read in the Hindu scriptures, or watched in mythical-themed shows, the Gods materialising things out of thin air - thanks to prapti siddhi.

6) Prakamya

The ability to obtain anything desired, and realising dreams. It is also the powers that enables one to live in water, and the power to enter the body of another person. For example, Sri Sankara entered the body of Raja Aamruka of Benares, and Tirumoolar entered the body of a sheperd using this siddhi.

7) Isitva

Referring to the "power of lordliness", this siddhi is about power of absolute lordship over the entire creation. One of the greatest siddhis, Isitva enables crossing over the laws of nature and it overlaps the other siddhis. For example, this capable enables one to separate their soul from their body at will.

8) Vasitva

This is the ability to have anything under control, especially the physical manifestation of the five elements. This is the siddhi that can conquet any/or all beings in the universe.

The above-mentioned are the primary siddhis in the yoga tantric. Besides this, there 10 secondary siddhis, and thousands, and even millions of other siddhis according to Saivism and Vaishnavism.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Pixabay