How many times have you wondered whether there was any way you could have at least one superhuman power?
No, you've probably just laughed the thought away when you realized that superpowers are only found in DC and Marvel superheroes. They don't exist in the real world.
What if I tell you that they do exist but they don't come to you easily?
Years and years of practice, mainly through meditation, can perhaps get you there. Unless, of course, you're born with it, which is quite a rare occurrence.
So, what's this practice that we're talking about?
Well, to understand this, we've to take the help of the ancient wisdom of yoga.
Many thousands of years ago, there lived a sage called Patanjali. He wrote the Yoga Sutra, which compiles a bunch of old-world wisdom based on yoga.
According to his books, human beings can achieve superhuman powers through focus and practice. These capabilities are called siddhis and are highly advanced.
Thus, it's no wonder that in today's world, people who do possess these powers are also very rare.
But it is possible. How?
That's what we're going to talk about today. But first, let's discuss what siddhis are before we go ahead and look at how to attain these superpowers.
What Are Siddhis? Siddhis Meaning
The term siddhi in Sanskrit means accomplishment, perfection, or a feeling of being complete. In yoga, siddhis meaning is explained as gaining supernormal powers. These powers could be anything, being able to tell the future, changing the size of one's body, and so on.
Even though it seems unbelievable, siddhis are not magic. They are as real as the sun and the moon. Siddhis come to those in time who can remain highly focused on someone or something indefinitely.
Siddhis can be classified into three types:
- The first is the ability to perfectly control the mind and the body.
- The second one is clairvoyance or the ability to tell the future or the past and even read someone's mind.
- The third one is using the mind to influence the movement of objects, that is, mind over matter.
Let's take one example of the first kind and see how it works.
Suppose you visit a real mind-reader and ask them to read your mind. You sit across that highly-skilled yogi, who focuses unwaveringly on you.
At one point, due to their years of practice, the veil that separates you from them blurs out and the yogi and you become the same person. You wouldn't feel it, but they would.
And now that they and you are one, they can very well tell you what you've been thinking about, because it's on their mind, too. This level of focus is extremely hard to attain, which is why such advanced yogis are rare, especially in the current century.
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What Are The 8 Major Siddhis (Astha Siddhis)?
Alright, so superpowers exist in the form of siddhis. But what kind of superpowers are we talking about?
Sage Patanjali had listed at least 25 siddhis in his book, of which, there are 8 primary ones.
Let's see what those are:
Through Anima Siddhi, a yogi can reduce the size of their body to as small as an atom. The perfect state of this siddhi is invisibility. Remember when ant-man disappeared into the quantum realm? Well, he needed a suit. A yogi doesn't.
The opposite of Anima, through Mahima siddhi, someone can expand their body infinitely. Their body can become even bigger than the whole universe.
There are many ancient stories where sages and saints could not be moved from their seats. Regardless of whether a hurricane pounded the region or an earthquake occurred, they remained where they were. They did this by increasing their body weight infinitely. And that's what the Garima siddhi is all about.
Here comes the interesting one - levitation! Not only can practicing the laghima siddhi allow a yogi to become lighter than air but also allow them to enter the body of any creature on the planet.
Through prapti, an advanced practitioner can access any place in the world. It also allows the yogi to get anything at any time.
Ah! What would we mere mortals not give to be able to fly? Isn't it? Well, superman isn't the only person (ok, technically he's an alien) who can do this. A yogi who has practiced prakamya can fly as well. What's more, they can walk on water, too!
In simple words, this siddhi means attaining godlike powers. A practitioner who has come this far can control the flow of nature, the movements of other creatures, and obtain supreme influence over everyone and everything.
A person who has attained this siddhi can never be defeated. They can control natural forces, especially her five elements, and even influence life and death.
How To Attain Siddhi Powers?
Siddhis sound wonderful, don't they? After all, who wouldn't like to grab at least one of the eight superpowers, if not all?
But it's not that easy. It requires extreme dedication, which is at times excessively uncomfortable.
Yogis can attain siddhis through any of the following ways:
Often considered the best path to attain siddhis, meditation involves going into that deep, calm place in your soul. And no, you can't attain siddhis by meditating for 15 minutes a day. It takes years and years to reach that place.
Certain ancient herbs are supposed to carry "magical" powers, by consuming which you could attain one or more of these superhuman characteristics. But sage Patanjali said that the effects of herbs could be temporary.
If you go to a yoga guru, many times they give you a mantra, which is either a word or a phrase, which you must repeat quietly to gain control over your mind. The characteristics of the sound of the words, when practiced for a long time, could help attain siddhis.
4. Sacred Symbols
Symbols work similarly to mantras. Instead of sounds, you'd be asked to focus on a sacred image, the most common of which is "Om", to reach the state of self-discipline that is a starting point to attaining siddhis.
5. Ascetic Practices (Self-Control)
Also known as penance, ascetic practices entail living in austerity. It means living in complete denial of physical or emotional pleasures. The practice teaches self-control, from which, focusing on an object becomes easier. And we know by now how important being focused is to obtain siddhis.
Yes, some people are born with it. These are people who can sometimes show glances of their powers through clairvoyance or mind-reading.
They are also able to focus more easily on spiritual practices than their peers. Such people are rare. But those who get one of these abilities by birth, it may be easier for them to obtain the other siddhis.
The Extraordinariness of Siddhis
Gaining superhuman powers seems quite inviting, but with siddhis, there's a word of caution. Remember when Spiderman said, "With great power comes great responsibility"? This statement holds for those who attain siddhis, too.
After attaining siddhis, there's always a constant pressure on the yogi from the non-believing community to prove the powers. Such displays of the powers can feed the ego of the practitioner. And instead of going more towards spirituality, they begin to go in the opposite direction.
Arrogance, corruption, and unethical practices begin to set in and the yogi can become worse for all the powers that they possess.
Further, some siddhis can give godlike capabilities to the practitioner, making them invincible. While most yogis would like to believe that only good can come out of this, unfortunately, ego and pride set in here as well. And this results in the misuse of power.
Having said that, true yogis who have attained siddhis know these pitfalls and keep things simple for themselves.
This is one reason you rarely get to meet a yogi who has attained siddhis as they don't want to prove it to you. Another more obvious reason is, well, as you must've understood by now, it's a truly difficult feat to achieve, and people who can get there are extremely rare.