Siddhi (attainment) is a special power attained through YOGA or refined practice. Tradition-ally, there are eight siddhis: (1) the ability to grow extremely small, (2) the ability to become extremely light, (3) the ability to become extremely heavy, (4) the ability to touch any object however distant, (5) irresistible will, (6) supremacy over body and mind, (7) dominion over the elements, (8) ability to fulfill all desires. Numerous other powers are also listed in the tradition, such as the ability to fly, physical immortality, the ability to enter another’s body, and knowledge of the past, present, and future.
   PATANJALI’s system and certain other yoga systems such as that of the Theravada Buddhists downplay siddhis as distractions from the path of liberation; adepts are warned not to indulge themselves in these powers, lest they be sidelined in their spiritual progress. Certain systems such as the TANTRA, though, encourage the attainment of siddhi and allow its usage to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon the particular sect.
   Further reading: Sri Chinmoy, The Summits of God-life: Samadhi and Siddhi (Jamaica, N.Y.: Agni Press, 1974); H. C. Mathur, Siddhi: The Science of Supernatural Powers (New Delhi: Shree, 1998).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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