Definition - What does Siddhi mean?

Siddhi is the term given for a spiritual or seemingly magical power or capability, which is obtained through rigorous and accomplished spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation. The Sanskrit word means “perfection,” “accomplishment” or “success” in English. It refers to the fact that siddhis are the fruit of the perfect achievement of spiritual practices.

Siddhis are generally powers to control the self, others and the natural world. It is said that, although they appear to be supernatural, they are actually accessible to all humans and can be explained in rational ways. They arise naturally when, through spiritual practices, the emptiness and openness of the mind is realized.

Yogapedia explains Siddhi

Siddhi is an important concept in Buddhism, Hinduism and yogic teachings. Buddha taught that there are two types of siddhis:

  1. Normal siddhis - the forces of the world that transform elements; and
  2. Extraordinary siddhis - the ability to open up for the truth that leads to realization and enlightenment.

Siddhis can be powers such as the power to fly, to become invisible or to walk on water. Buddha is clear that in order for these to be manifested, the spiritual practitioner must attain perfection in their spiritual practice, bringing themselves to a state where their thoughts are in complete quiescence.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the process of attaining a range of different siddhis is outlined in great detail. He states that they may be reached through:

  • Birth - some people may be born already possessing spiritual abilities or powers because of their karma.
  • Herbs - the use of certain substances, for instance hallucinogens, can spontaneously trigger siddhis, although this may be in an uncontrolled manner which may be traumatic.
  • Mantras and self-discipline - the use of mantras or other spiritual disciplines can develop siddhis in the most natural and desirable way.

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