Siddhis: Definition, Tips, Types and Dangers

Siddhis: Definition, Tips, Types and Dangers

In the hushed whispers of ancient yogic wisdom lies a secret: the human mind harbors dormant potentials of extraordinary magnitude. Through the depths of meditation and unwavering self-discovery, these ancient seekers unlocked a realm known as the Siddhis – divine abilities that dance beyond the shackles of the physical world. From the clairvoyant’s gaze slicing through time to the telepathic whisper across continents, Siddhis unveils the boundless canvas of human consciousness.

Yet, tread with caution, for this path is not for the faint of heart. Pitfalls and snares lie in wait for the careless explorer. Approaching Siddhis demands prudence and reverence, for their power is not a bauble to be grasped haphazardly. So, before embarking on this quest, let us delve into the nature of these abilities, their diverse forms, the pathways to cultivate them, and the whispers of dangers that lurk along the way. Only then can we navigate this fascinating realm with wisdom and responsibility?

What is a siddhi?

The word “Siddhi” in Sanskrit hums with the whisper of achievement, of unlocking hidden pathways within our very being. In the tapestry of yoga, it blossoms into a spectrum of extraordinary abilities, magical whispers whispered in the depths of meditation, yoga, and unwavering discipline. These powers, cloaked in the shadows of the occult, can bloom not just from the fortuitous kiss of fate, but as radiant byproducts of a soul’s unwavering journey towards illumination.

Patanjali, the ancient sage, casts light upon these wonders in his revered Yoga Sutras. Yet, within his wisdom lies a crucial warning: these Siddhis, these shimmering mirages of power, should not be the siren song that lures us from the true shores of our spiritual quest. Self-realization, the union with the divine, beckons us to a loftier horizon, far beyond the grasp of these extraordinary trinkets. For Siddhis, in their dazzling allure, can become tangled vines, ensnaring the unwary with earthly desires and hindering the ascent towards enlightenment.

Therefore, let us see them not as the pinnacle, but as luminous signposts on the path of awakening. Each flicker of superhuman ability, a shimmering testament to our progress, a beacon guiding us ever closer to the radiant embrace of liberation. In this way, we navigate the path with wisdom, embracing the extraordinary while keeping our gaze fixed on the ultimate goal, forever ascending towards the dawn of our true selves.

Types of siddhi

Unfold the mysteries of human potential: Deep within the ancient wisdom of yoga lies a captivating concept – Siddhis, extraordinary abilities transcending the limitations of the physical world. These diverse powers, ranging from heightened intuition to profound spiritual experiences, beckon spiritual seekers from across the globe.

Charting the Landscape of Siddhis: A spectrum of these abilities exists, categorized as lower and higher Siddhis. Lower Siddhis, including enhanced awareness, healing, and clairvoyance, act as stepping stones on the path to enlightenment. However, relying solely on these abilities, often attainable through techniques like potent herbs or specific rituals, is akin to chasing mirages.

Embarking on the True Path: The key to unlocking the true potential of Siddhis lies in deep spiritual practice. As Patanjali, the revered yogi, cautioned, fixating on lower Siddhis can derail the journey towards self-realization and oneness with the divine. It is through diligent meditation, physical and mental purification, and unwavering dedication that the doors to higher Siddhis open.

Reaching for the Stars: These higher powers, encompassing levitation, materialization, and interdimensional travel, transcend the shackles of the physical world. Unlike their lower counterparts, they are not driven by ego but by a yearning for profound spiritual expansion. These abilities become testaments to a soul’s unwavering ascent towards enlightenment, each flicker of their presence illuminating the path forward.

Ashta siddhi

Deep within the revered Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, whispers of ancient wisdom reveal the Ashta Siddhi, eight extraordinary powers beckoning yogis on their journey towards enlightenment. These abilities, transcending the physical realm, ignite fascination and curiosity in spiritual seekers worldwide. Let’s delve into the captivating realm of these eight mystical feats:

  1. Anima: Shrink yourself to the size of an atom, traversing microscopic worlds and unveiling invisible secrets.
  2. Mahima: Expand your form to gargantuan proportions, touching the stars and experiencing cosmic consciousness.
  3. Laghima: Defy gravity’s pull, effortlessly gliding through the air and dancing amongst the clouds.
  4. Garima: Embody unyielding weight, becoming immovable like a granite mountain, a testament to inner strength.
  5. Prapti: Manifest any desire, from the mundane to the fantastical, realizing the abundance of the universe.
  6. Prakamya: Make your deepest wishes a reality, bending fate and shaping your destiny with unwavering willpower.
  7. Ishtva: Command the elements, manipulate nature’s forces, and wield dominion over the physical world.
  8. Vashitva: Subdue the minds of others, influencing their thoughts and actions with gentle persuasion or profound wisdom.

Vaishnava and Samkhya siddhis

The Vaishnava tradition recognizes five primary and ten secondary siddhis, or supernatural powers. These are thought to be bestowed upon devoted practitioners in recognition of their unwavering faith and commitment to the divine. The Samkhya tradition emphasizes the attainment of eight siddhis, which aim to free people from ignorance and bestow them with profound knowledge and bliss. These siddhis are thought to be necessary for guiding aspirants on the path of self-realization and spiritual enlightenment.

List of 31 siddhis

Sanskrit Name



Anima The ability to reduce one’s body to the size of an atom. Classical
Mahima The ability to expand one’s body to an infinitely large size. Classical
Laghima The ability to become weightless or lighter than air. Classical
Garima The ability to become heavy or dense. Classical
Prapti The ability to realize or achieve whatever one desires. Classical
Prakamya The ability to access any place in the world or universe. Classical
Isitva The ability to control all material elements or natural forces. Classical
Vashitva The ability to subdue or force influence upon anyone. Classical
Trikala-jnatvam Ability to know the past, present, and future. Vaishnava
Advandvam Ability to endure extremes of heat, cold, and other dualities. Vaishnava
Para citta adi abhijnata Ability to know and understand the minds of others of others. Vaishnava
Agni arka ambu visa adinam pratistambhah Ability to resist or neutralize the effects of the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, etc. Vaishnava
Aparajayah Remaining unconquered or defeated by others. Vaishnava
Anurminattvam Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily appetites. Vaishnava
Durashravana Ability to hear distant sounds. Vaishnava
Duradarshanam Ability to see distant objects. Vaishnava
Manojavah Ability to move at the speed of thought (teleportation/astral projection). Vaishnava
Kamarupam Assuming any form desired. Vaishnava
Parakaya pravesanam Entering the bodies of others. Vaishnava
Svachanda mrtyuh Ability to die at will. Vaishnava
Devanam saha krida anudarshanam Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods. Vaishnava
Yatha sankalpa samsiddhih Perfect accomplishment of one’s determination. Vaishnava
Ajnapratihtata gatih Orders or commands being unimpeded. Vaishnava
Uuha Attainment of knowledge about the twenty-four tattvas gained by examining the determinable and indeterminable, conscious and non-conscious constituents of creation. Samkhya
Shabda Knowledge gained by associating with an enlightened person. Samkhya
Addhyyan Knowledge gained through the study of the Vedas and other standard ancillary texts. Samkhya
Suhritprapti Knowledge gained from a kind-hearted person, while engaged in the spread of knowledge. Samkhya
Daan Knowledge is gained regardless of one’s own needs while attending to the requirements of those engaged in the search for the highest truth. Samkhya
Aadhyaatmik dukkh-haan Freedom from pain, disappointment, etc. that may arise due to lack of spiritual, metaphysical, and mystic knowledge and experience. Samkhya
Aadhibhautik dukkh-haan Freedom from pain etc. arising from possessing and being attached to various materialistic gains. Samkhya
Aadhidaivik dukkh-haan Freedom from pain etc. caused by fate or due to reliance on fate. Samkhya

Are siddhis real?

The physical existence of siddhis is contested and skepticism exists. While some people believe these abilities are real based on their own experiences or the accounts of others, others argue that they are merely symbolic or metaphorical representations of spiritual progress rather than literal superhuman powers.

There is little empirical evidence to support the existence of siddhis from a scientific standpoint. Because of the nature of these abilities, they are difficult to study using traditional scientific methods. The concept of these yogic powers exists outside of mainstream scientific understanding and is frequently regarded as paranormal or pseudoscientific. These psychic abilities are based on subjective experiences that are difficult to replicate in controlled laboratory settings. Furthermore, the spiritual nature of siddhis makes it difficult.

From a yogic perspective, deep meditation, self-discipline, and mind-body purification can produce altered states of consciousness that manifest as the experience of magical powers. On a psychological level, the siddhis can be perceived as real experiences while not being seen from an outside perspective.

It is critical to approach the subject of siddhis with skepticism. There is little scientific evidence to support the existence of these powers, and empirical research on them is limited. The majority of accounts of people with siddhi powers come from anecdotal evidence or open-ended historical texts. Furthermore, many claims of siddhis have been attributed to deceptions, tricks, and fraudulent claims made by charlatans.

The quest for siddhi

It is critical to approach the quest for Siddhi with a balanced mindset, grounded in the yamas and niyamas and guided by spiritual teachings. To ensure a balanced and ethical journey, the exploration of yogic powers should be approached with humility, a genuine intention for spiritual growth, and under the guidance of an experienced spiritual teacher.

Patanjali states that for the siddhis to manifest, one must first master Samyama—the final three stages of the eightfold path. These stages require a strong ability to maintain concentration, meditation, and samadhi simultaneously, with complete control and focus. Individuals can unlock the psychic powers of the mind through this mastery.

This practice begins with cultivating a deep and steady focus, honing the mind’s ability to focus on a single point. Meditation refines this concentration, allowing for a profound sense of inner calm and clarity. The practitioner gains access to higher states of consciousness and subtle energies of the body as the mind becomes still for long periods of time, tapping into a wellspring of untapped potential within.

Dangers and pitfalls

As we travel along this spiritual path, we must be aware of the potential dangers and pitfalls that may arise when we encounter supernatural powers. While siddhis can be awe-inspiring and powerful, they can also be a source of distraction, confusion, and egoic attachment if not approached with caution and wisdom.

The temptation to become attached to these abilities, leading to a sense of superiority or spiritual arrogance, is one of the primary dangers of progressing in siddhis. This can lead to a false sense of self and impede spiritual growth. It is critical to remember that siddhis are a byproduct of our spiritual practice, not the ultimate goal. To avoid falling, it is critical to maintain a humble and grounded attitude.

Over-reliance and focus on siddhis can impede our overall spiritual progress. The overemphasis on external manifestations and extraordinary abilities can divert attention away from the deeper, inner work required for true spiritual transformation and realizing our true nature. It is critical to remember that these abilities are only tools and should not be the sole focus of our practice. Instead, we should strive for a more balanced approach, integrating our siddhis with other aspects of our spiritual path like mindfulness, compassion, and self-inquiry.

Another risk is the misapplication of siddhis. When we have extraordinary abilities, we may be tempted to use them for personal gain or manipulation. This goes against the ethical principles that underpin spiritual development and can have a negative impact not only on ourselves but also on those around us. It is critical to apply siddhis responsibly and for the benefit of all beings, rather than for personal gain or egoic satisfaction. We must always act in the highest good and use any psychic abilities we may have for the benefit of all beings.

Another danger to be aware of is the possibility of spiritual bypassing or using siddhis to avoid dealing with unresolved emotional or psychological issues. They should never be used to replace inner healing and personal growth. Along with the development of siddhis, it is critical to continue doing the inner work required to address any underlying issues and cultivate emotional intelligence.

The pursuit of Siddhi may also result in physical and mental difficulties such as exhaustion, imbalances, or even spiritual crises. Individuals who become overly focused on developing siddhis are prone to neglecting other aspects of their overall well-being.  As they push their bodies to their limits in pursuit of these supernatural abilities, they may become physically exhausted. It is critical to remember that spiritual development is a multifaceted journey that includes physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

The pursuit of siddhis can sometimes become an obsession, causing people to neglect their responsibilities in favor of spiritual pursuits. It is critical to strike a balance between our spiritual growth and our responsibilities in the physical world. Neglecting our relationships, jobs, and other responsibilities can have negative consequences and harm our overall well-being.

Furthermore, the pursuit of siddhis can lead to mental and emotional imbalances. We can easily lose sight of the importance of cultivating inner peace, compassion, and selflessness as we become more invested in these extraordinary abilities. It is critical to strike a balance between developing siddhis and cultivating qualities that contribute to our overall spiritual development.

Furthermore, spiritual crises can occur when people become overly focused on acquiring siddhis. These crises can manifest as a sense of disorientation, confusion, or even detachment from reality. It is critical to approach siddhis development with a solid foundation in spiritual teachings, guidance from a qualified teacher, and a deep commitment to one’s own inner development.

Tips for safely exploring Siddhis

To avoid the dangers and pitfalls of manifesting yogic powers, it is recommended to practice the following tips:

  • Cultivate humility: Recognize that siddhis are not a measure of spiritual attainment. Stay humble and maintain a sense of gratitude for the progress made on the spiritual path.
  • Seek guidance from a qualified teacher:  Find a spiritual teacher who is familiar with siddhis and can help you navigate the challenges that may arise. Their experience and advice can help you avoid pitfalls and keep your practice on track.
  • Practice the yamas and niyamas:  The yamas and niyamas are ethical principles and codes of behavior that serve as the foundation for spiritual practice. Nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness are among the yamas, or restraints. Purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender to a higher power are among the niyamas, or observances. These ethical guidelines serve as a guidepost to help you navigate the path of Siddhis with a strong moral compass and make sure they’re used for the greater good.
  • Prioritize self-care:  In your pursuit of siddhis, do not neglect your physical and emotional well-being. Maintain healthy relationships, exercise regularly, and make time for self-reflection and self-care practices.
  • Develop discernment: Not all siddhis are equal, and not all experiences that appear to be siddhis are genuine. It is critical to cultivate discernment and distinguish genuine spiritual experiences from mere illusions. This discernment can assist you in avoiding being misled or lured into deceptive practices that may result in negative consequences.
  • Embrace detachment:  Develop a sense of detachment from siddhis and the results they bring. Recognize that they are transient and are not the ultimate goal of spiritual practice. You can avoid becoming consumed by the pursuit of siddhis by letting go of attachment and staying focused on the deeper aspects of your spiritual journey by letting go of attachment.
  • Regularly assess your intentions:  Examine your motivations for seeking and developing siddhis regularly. Make sure your motivations are pure and serve the greater good. If you discover any selfish or ego-driven desires, work consciously to shift your focus to selflessness and service to others.
  • Stay grounded:  Siddhis can be seductive, leading to ego inflation. Mindfulness and meditation can help you stay grounded in the present moment and maintain a balanced perspective.
  • Establish a solid foundation of spiritual discipline: Discipline builds a strong inner container to hold the energies and experiences that may arise as a result of siddhis. Maintaining a regular meditation practice, studying sacred texts or teachings, engaging in self-reflection, and adhering to ethical principles such as nonviolence, truthfulness, and non-attachment are all part of this. By grounding yourself in these practices, you cultivate a stable and clear mind, which aids in the pursuit of siddhis.

Final thoughts

The Siddhi powers become an intriguing topic to investigate as we deepen our understanding and practice of yoga. Use your knowledge of these extraordinary abilities to motivate you to dive deeper into your yoga and meditation practice and study. While siddhis may appear enticing, they must be approached with reverence, self-awareness, humility, and a sense of responsibility.