Definition and Origin of Ashta Siddhi

The “Ashta Siddhi” finds root in ancient Indian philosophy, particularly in yoga and spirituality. “Asht Siddhi” translates to “eight accomplishments” or “eight supernatural powers.” These powers are believed to be attainable through dedicated practice and discipline. Originating from texts like the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and various other spiritual traditions, Asht Siddhi embodies the pursuit of high consciousness and mastery over the self.

image 7  Ashta Siddhi – 8 Siddhi Magic
Bhagwad Geeta: for Self-Realization and Spiritual Enlightenment- [Hard copy link] Bhagwad Geeta: [Kindle edition link]

Historical and Cultural Significance of Asht Siddhi

In exploring the historical and cultural significance of Ashta Siddhi, we delve into a realm where ancient wisdom intersects with human aspiration. Asht Siddhi, originating from the Sanskrit language, translates to “eight accomplishments” or “eight perfections.” Rooted deeply in Indian philosophy and spirituality, this concept holds profound significance in the narratives of yogic practices, mystical traditions, and the pursuit of enlightenment, Not only for its spiritual connotations but also for its implications in art, literature, and folklore. Understanding the essence of Ashta Siddhi provides a window into the rich tapestry of Indian thought and culture, where the human quest for transcendence intertwines with the fabric of existence itself.

The Concept of Ashta Siddhi

The relationship between siddhis (supernatural powers) and spiritual attainment is deeply intertwined.

Like twinkling stars guiding a traveler through the night, siddhis illuminate the path, offering glimpses of higher realms and deeper truths. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna elucidates this notion, affirming that siddhis are divine gifts bestowed upon the sincere aspirant, enhancing their capacity to serve and uplift humanity. Through the practice of yoga and meditation, these powers naturally unfold, empowering the seeker to harmonize with the cosmic flow and deepen their spiritual understanding.

A Sanskrit shloka from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali beautifully encapsulates this idea:

“जन्मौषधिमन्त्रतपःसमाधिजाः सिद्धयः ॥” (Janmauṣadhimantratapaḥsamādhi-jāḥ siddhayaḥ)

  • Yoga Sutras 4.1

This verse conveys that siddhis arise from the refinement of one’s being through practices such as austerities, mantra repetition, and deep meditation. When you use Siddhis with wisdom and compassion, they become uplifting instruments of self and society. They allow the practitioner to cultivate greater awareness, compassion, and empathy, thereby facilitating the realization of oneness with the divine and all beings. As the seeker progresses, siddhis naturally align with the higher purpose of spiritual evolution, guiding you toward the ultimate goal of self-realization and union with the divine.

Understanding Ashta Siddhi in Depth

A. Anima (Ability to become infinitely small)

Anima, one of the Ashta Siddhi described in Indian spiritual traditions, refers to the ability to become infinitely small or to decrease one’s size at will. This concept is deeply rooted in ancient texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and various Puranas. Here, the term ‘anima’ stems from the Sanskrit word ‘anu,’ meaning atom or infinitesimal particle. The attainment of anima is considered a remarkable accomplishment in the yogic journey, representing mastery over the subtle energies and elements within the body.

Anima, the ability to become infinitely small, is a concept deeply embedded in Indian spiritual philosophy. It is exemplified in the legendary tales of Lord Hanuman from the Hindu epic Ramayana. One remarkable instance occurs when Lord Hanuman, in his unwavering devotion to Lord Rama, shrinks his size to cross the vast ocean and reach the island of Lanka.

  1. Scriptural References: The ability of anima is mentioned in various scriptures and mythological tales, where sages and divine beings demonstrate this power. For instance, in the Mahabharata, the sage Markandeya is said to have manifested the power of anima during his encounters with gods and demons.
  2. Yogic Practice: In the context of yoga, the attainment of anima is associated with advanced stages of meditation and pranayama (breath control). Through disciplined practice and inner purification, the practitioner gradually gains control over the subtle elements (tattvas) and learns to manipulate them according to their will.
  3. Symbolism: Beyond its literal interpretation, anima holds symbolic significance in spiritual discourse. It represents the potential for infinite expansion and contraction within the individual consciousness. By mastering the ability to become infinitely small, the practitioner transcends physical limitations and realizes the boundless nature of the self.
  4. Inner Transformation: The pursuit of anima is not merely about acquiring supernatural abilities but also about inner transformation and self-realization. As the practitioner delves deeper into their practice, they cultivate qualities of humility, detachment, and spiritual insight, essential for navigating the complexities of existence.
  5. Ethical Considerations: It’s important to note that in the pursuit of siddhis, including anima, ethical considerations play a crucial role. Spiritual texts emphasize the need for purity of intention and alignment with higher principles such as ahimsa (non-violence) and dharma (righteousness). Siddhis should be used selflessly for the benefit of all beings, rather than for personal gain or power.

B. Mahima (Ability to become infinitely large)

Mahima is one of the Ashta siddhi, or supernatural powers, described in various scriptures and texts. Mahima refers to the ability to expand infinitely in size or to become as vast as the universe. This siddhi holds profound symbolic and metaphysical significance, representing the limitless potential inherent within each individual on their spiritual journey.

  1. Symbolism: Mahima symbolizes the boundless nature of the soul and its capacity to transcend physical limitations. Just as the universe extends infinitely in all directions, Mahima reflects the expansive nature of consciousness beyond the constraints of time and space.
  2. Scriptural References: References to Mahima can be found in ancient texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, where it is listed as one of the siddhis attainable through yogic practices. Additionally, the Puranas and other mystical texts often narrate stories of sages and deities demonstrating Mahima as a display of their spiritual prowess.
  3. Yogic Practice: In yogic traditions, practitioners may cultivate Mahima through advanced meditation techniques, concentration practices, and the awakening of latent energies within the subtle body (kundalini). By transcending the limitations of the physical body and identifying with the infinite consciousness, one may experience the expansion of awareness associated with Mahima.
  4. Spiritual Significance: Mahima is not merely a display of supernatural power but also a reminder of the ultimate goal of spiritual evolution – union with the divine or cosmic consciousness. By attaining Mahima, the practitioner realizes their inherent divinity and interconnectedness with all of creation.
  5. Inner Expansion: On a deeper level, Mahima can be understood as the expansion of consciousness beyond the egoic self. It signifies the dissolution of boundaries and the recognition of the indivisible unity underlying all existence. Through the practice of Mahima, one transcends the limited identification with the physical body and experiences the expansiveness of the soul.
  6. Ethical Considerations: It’s important to note that the attainment of Mahima, like other siddhis, should be approached with humility, wisdom, and ethical integrity. Siddhis are not ends in themselves but means to aid in spiritual growth and service to others. Without proper guidance and moral grounding, the pursuit of supernatural powers can lead to ego inflation and spiritual stagnation.

C. Garima (Ability to become infinitely heavy)

Garima, one of the Ashta siddhi, refers to the ability to become infinitely heavy while maintaining a small physical form. This extraordinary power is often associated with the practice of yoga and meditation, wherein the adept gains mastery over the elements and dimensions of the physical body. Garima enables the practitioner to transcend the limitations of mass and gravity, embodying a state of profound stillness and groundedness. Through the cultivation of inner balance and concentration, the yogi can harness the force of Garima, anchoring themselves firmly to the earth while attaining a heightened state of spiritual awareness.

  1. Physical Manifestation: Garima allows the practitioner to manifest an immense sense of weight, despite their physical appearance remaining unchanged. This ability showcases the profound control over the material aspects of the body attained through advanced yogic practices.
  2. Symbolism of Groundedness: Metaphorically, Garima represents the rootedness and stability attained through spiritual practice. Just as a mountain stands firm amidst turbulent winds, the practitioner of Garima remains steadfast and immovable in the face of life’s challenges.
  3. Inner Strength and Stability: Garima signifies not only physical weight but also inner strength and stability. The adept cultivates a deep sense of inner grounding, enabling them to navigate the complexities of existence with equanimity and resilience.
  4. Yogic Mastery: Attaining Garima requires mastery over prana (life force energy) and subtle body dynamics. The practitioner learns to manipulate the energetic currents within the body, aligning them with the gravitational forces of the earth.
  5. Spiritual Evolution: Beyond its physical implications, Garima symbolizes the evolution of consciousness. As the practitioner delves deeper into the practice of Garima, they transcend the limitations of the ego and align with the universal intelligence that permeates all existence.

D. Laghima (Ability to become weightless)

Laghima, one of the Ashta siddhi described in various Hindu and yogic texts, refers to the ability to become weightless or to levitate. This extraordinary power is believed to be attainable through advanced stages of meditation and mastery over one’s subtle energies.

  1. Scriptural References: Laghima is mentioned in ancient texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Vishnu Purana, where it is listed among the eight primary siddhis. These texts describe Laghima as the ability to reduce one’s weight or to float effortlessly.
  2. Yogic Practice: Laghima is considered a result of intense yogic practices, including pranayama (breath control), dhyana (meditation), and dharana (concentration). Through these practices, the practitioner learns to manipulate the subtle energies within the body, thus gaining mastery over physical phenomena such as gravity.
  3. Symbolic Significance: Laghima is not merely a display of physical prowess but also holds symbolic significance in spiritual development. It signifies the transcendence of earthly limitations and the attainment of higher states of consciousness. By becoming weightless, the practitioner symbolically rises above the material world, attaining spiritual freedom and liberation.
  4. Inner Transformation: The attainment of Laghima is believed to result from profound inner transformation. As the practitioner progresses on the spiritual path, they become increasingly attuned to the subtle realms of existence. Laghima, therefore, reflects not only mastery over the physical body but also a deepening connection with the spiritual dimensions of reality.
  5. Ethical Considerations: In traditional Indian philosophy, the pursuit of siddhis such as Laghima is often accompanied by ethical guidelines and moral principles. It is emphasized that such powers should be used for the benefit of others and in alignment with the greater good. Without ethical grounding, the attainment of siddhis can lead to spiritual stagnation or even downfall.
  6. Integration with Spiritual Practice: Laghima, like other siddhis, is viewed as a byproduct rather than the ultimate goal of spiritual practice. While the attainment of supernatural abilities may be awe-inspiring, true spiritual progress lies in cultivating virtues such as compassion, humility, and selflessness. Laghima serves as a reminder that the ultimate aim of spiritual practice is the realization of one’s divine nature and union with the Absolute.

E. Prapti (Ability to obtain anything)

Prapti, one of the Ashta Siddhi often described as the ability to obtain anything or the power of acquisition, holds a significant place within the spectrum of siddhis in Indian philosophical thought. This siddhi enables the practitioner to access objects or experiences regardless of their distance or apparent inaccessibility. It is believed that through the cultivation of Prapti, one transcends the limitations of time and space, manifesting desired objects or circumstances effortlessly.

Here are some key points to consider regarding Prapti Ashta Siddhi:

  1. Scriptural References: The concept of Prapti finds mention in various ancient texts and scriptures, including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Puranas. These texts often depict sages and divine beings possessing the ability to attain anything they desire through the power of Prapti.
  2. Practices and Discipline: Attaining Prapti is not merely about wishful thinking but involves rigorous spiritual practices and discipline. It requires the cultivation of mental focus, purity of intention, and alignment with higher spiritual principles.
  3. Connection with Other Siddhis: Prapti is interconnected with other siddhis such as Anima (ability to become smaller than the smallest) and Mahima (ability to become larger than the largest). Together, these siddhis represent mastery over the material and subtle dimensions of existence.
  4. Ethical Considerations: While Prapti may seem like a miraculous power, ethical considerations play a crucial role in its practice. The practitioner must exercise discernment and use Prapti for virtuous purposes, avoiding selfish or harmful intentions.
  5. Inner Transformation: Beyond its external manifestations, Prapti symbolizes a deeper inner transformation. As the practitioner progresses on the spiritual path, the desire for external acquisitions diminishes, and the focus shifts towards attaining spiritual realization and liberation.
  6. Symbolism and Allegory: Prapti is often interpreted symbolically, representing the seeker’s journey towards self-mastery and liberation from worldly attachments. It signifies the attainment of inner richness and fulfillment, transcending the pursuit of external possessions.

F. Prakamya (Ability to achieve one’s desires)

Prakamya, one of the Ashta Siddhi the ability to achieve one’s desires, holds a significant place in Indian philosophy, particularly within the framework of yoga and tantra. Here’s a detailed exploration of Prakamya:

  1. Definition and Concept: Prakamya, derived from Sanskrit, refers to the power to fulfill one’s desires or wishes. It is considered one of the eight siddhis (supernatural powers) that arise from the practice of yoga and meditation. This siddhi empowers individuals to manifest their intentions and aspirations into reality through focused concentration and alignment with cosmic forces.
  2. Principles in Indian Philosophy: In Indian philosophy, the concept of Prakamya is deeply rooted in the understanding of the interconnectedness of the individual with the universe. According to Vedanta and Tantra, the universe is seen as a web of interconnected energies, and through the cultivation of Prakamya, individuals tap into this cosmic network to fulfill their desires in alignment with universal harmony.
  3. Prakamya in Practice: The attainment of Prakamya is often associated with advanced stages of spiritual practice, where practitioners have cultivated a high level of concentration, purity of mind, and alignment with divine will. Practices such as visualization, mantra repetition, and ritualistic ceremonies are employed to activate and harness this power.
  4. Ethical Considerations: While Prakamya offers the potential to fulfill desires, its ethical implications are emphasized in Indian philosophical traditions. Practitioners are urged to exercise discernment and align their desires with higher spiritual principles such as Dharma (righteousness) and Moksha (liberation). This ensures that the pursuit of desires is in harmony with the greater good and leads to spiritual evolution rather than mere worldly gains.
  5. Integration with Spiritual Evolution: Within the spiritual journey, Prakamya serves as a tool for self-mastery and transformation. As practitioners progress along the path, they develop a deeper understanding of their desires and intentions, aligning them more closely with the divine will and universal purpose. Ultimately, the cultivation of Prakamya becomes a means for individuals to transcend their ego-driven desires and attain spiritual liberation

G. Isitva (Ability to control all)

Isitva Is one of the Ashta Siddhi , the ability to control all, is a concept deeply embedded within Indian philosophy, particularly in the context of spiritual attainment and enlightenment. Here, Isitva represents the pinnacle of mastery over one’s own self, as well as the external world.

  1. Self-Mastery: At its core, Isitva entails mastery over one’s own mind, emotions, and desires. It is the ability to maintain inner peace and equanimity regardless of external circumstances. Through practices such as meditation, self-reflection, and self-discipline, individuals gradually gain control over their thoughts and actions, thereby transcending the limitations of the ego.
  2. Control Over Nature: Isitva also encompasses the ability to influence and control the forces of nature. This is often depicted in ancient Indian scriptures where enlightened beings, known as sages or rishis, demonstrate extraordinary powers such as manipulating the elements, levitating, or manifesting objects at will. However, it’s important to note that these powers are not pursued for personal gain but rather arise naturally as a byproduct of spiritual evolution.
  3. Alignment with Universal Harmony: True Isitva goes beyond mere displays of power; it is rooted in a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. Those who attain Isitva recognize their unity with the cosmos and act in harmony with the universal order. They wield their abilities not for selfish purposes but for the greater good, guided by compassion and wisdom.
  4. Examples from Scriptures: The concept of Isitva can be found in various Indian scriptures and epics. For instance, in the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna is revered as the supreme embodiment of Isitva, effortlessly controlling the course of the epic war while upholding dharma (righteousness). Similarly, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the attainment of Isitva is described as one of the eight limbs of yoga, where the practitioner gains mastery over the fluctuations of the mind.
  5. Integration with Spiritual Evolution: Isitva is not a static state but rather a dynamic aspect of spiritual evolution. As individuals progress on the spiritual path, their understanding and embodiment of Isitva deepen, leading to greater harmony within themselves and with the world around them.

H. Vasitva (Ability to subjugate all)

Vasitva is one of the Ashta Siddhi, the ability to subjugate all, holds a significant place in Indian philosophical thought, particularly within the context of spiritual attainment and yogic practices. This concept embodies mastery over the external world, the mind, and one’s inner nature. Here are some points to elucidate the significance and implications of Vasitva:

  1. Mastery over External Forces: Vasitva entails the capacity to exert control over external circumstances, events, and individuals. It involves the ability to influence and shape the world around oneself according to one’s will. This mastery extends beyond mere manipulation; it reflects a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all phenomena and the skillful navigation of these interconnected forces.
  2. Dominance of the Mind: Central to Vasitva is the mastery over one’s own mind. This involves transcending the fluctuations of the mind, such as desires, fears, and distractions, and attaining a state of inner equilibrium and clarity. Through practices like meditation and self-discipline, individuals develop the ability to harness the power of their thoughts and emotions, rather than being controlled by them.
  3. Alignment with Cosmic Harmony: Vasitva is not about imposing one’s will forcefully upon the world but rather aligning with the natural order and cosmic harmony. It involves recognizing and attuning oneself to the underlying principles that govern the universe, thereby working in harmony with them rather than against them. This alignment fosters a sense of flow and ease in all actions, leading to greater effectiveness and fulfillment.
  4. Ethical Considerations: While Vasitva confers great power, it also carries ethical responsibilities. True mastery involves using one’s influence and abilities for the greater good, promoting harmony, justice, and compassion in the world. Ethical conduct and integrity are essential aspects of Vasitva, ensuring that power is wielded responsibly and for the upliftment of all beings.
  5. Spiritual Evolution: Ultimately, Vasitva is not an end in itself but a means to spiritual evolution and self-realization. As individuals progress along the path of Vasitva, they deepen their understanding of the interconnectedness of all existence and their inherent unity with the divine. This realization leads to a profound sense of inner freedom and liberation from the constraints of ego and separateness.

The Practice of Ashta Siddhi In Daily Life

Here are the key points regarding the practice of Ashta Siddhi in daily life:

  1. Anima Siddhi: Cultivate humility and adaptability, recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings.
  2. Mahima Siddhi: Expand perspective beyond limitations, embracing the vastness of existence.
  3. Laghima Siddhi: Foster lightness of being, releasing burdens and promoting freedom in actions and thoughts.
  4. Garima Siddhi: Ground oneself in stability and resilience, navigating challenges with fortitude.
  5. Prapti Siddhi: Live mindfully in the present, attuned to the lessons of the past and possibilities of the future.
  6. Prakamya Siddhi: Transcend limitations, exploring new horizons inwardly and outwardly.
  7. Ishitva Siddhi: Cultivate mastery and leadership qualities, guiding oneself and others towards spiritual growth and fulfillment.
  8. Vashitva Siddhi: Develop control over the mind and senses, harnessing inner strength to overcome distractions and obstacles on the path of spiritual evolution.

Example of integrating Ashta Siddhi into daily routine:

  1. Morning Meditation:
    • Begin each morning with a short meditation session.
    • Reflect on interconnectedness with all beings to cultivate humility (Anima Siddhi).
  2. Mindfulness Practice Throughout the Day:
    • Stay mindful and present in daily activities.
    • Focus on present-moment experiences to develop mindfulness (Prapti Siddhi).
    • Remain open to new perspectives and possibilities (Mahima Siddhi).
  3. Handling Challenges:
    • When faced with challenges, practice letting go of attachments.
    • Trust in inner strength and resilience (Garima Siddhi) to navigate difficulties.
    • Maintain a sense of lightness (Laghima Siddhi) by releasing burdens.
  4. Evening Visualization and Intention Setting:
    • Before bed, engage in visualization exercises.
    • Visualize personal growth and expansion (Prakamya Siddhi).
    • Set intentions to transcend limitations and embrace new opportunities for spiritual evolution.

Famous Stories and Legends

  1. Hanuman’s Leaping Ability: In the epic Ramayana, Hanuman ,called as ashta siddhi nav nidhi ke daata, showcases the siddhi of Anima, the ability to become smaller than the smallest. In his quest to find Sita, Hanuman shrinks himself to the size of a cat and leaps across the ocean to reach Lanka, demonstrating the immense power of this siddhi.
  2. Draupadi’s Cloth Miracle: In the Mahabharata, Draupadi possesses the siddhi of Vayu, the ability to control the wind. When her dignity is threatened in the royal court, Draupadi calls upon Lord Krishna for help. He grants her the siddhi, causing her saree to become endless, protecting her modesty and displaying the divine power of this gift.
  3. The Floating Rock of Bhima: Another tale from the Mahabharata involves Bhima, who possesses the siddhi of Garima, the ability to become heavy. Once, Bhima is challenged to lift a floating rock. Utilizing his siddhi, he becomes immensely heavy, causing the rock to sink, showcasing his extraordinary strength.
  4. The Healing Touch of Lord Buddha: In Buddhist tradition, it’s believed that Lord Buddha possessed the siddhi of Prapti, the ability to travel anywhere instantly. Stories abound of Buddha’s miraculous healings, where he would appear before the sick and suffering, offering comfort and relief through his divine presence.
  5. Shiva’s Cosmic Dance: Shiva, the supreme deity in Hinduism, is often depicted performing the cosmic dance, known as the Tandava. This dance represents his mastery over the siddhi of Nataraja, the ability to control the rhythm and flow of the universe. Through his dance, Shiva maintains cosmic balance and order, embodying the eternal cycle of creation and destruction.
  6. The Wisdom of Sage Patanjali: Sage Patanjali, revered as the father of yoga, is said to have possessed the siddhi of Jnana, the gift of divine wisdom. Through his teachings on the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali imparted timeless wisdom on the path to spiritual liberation, guiding seekers towards self-realization and inner peace.
  7. The Teleportation of Saint Kabir: Saint Kabir, a revered poet and mystic, is believed to have possessed the siddhi of Prakamya, the ability to manifest desires instantly. Legend has it that Kabir would often appear in multiple places simultaneously, spreading his teachings of love, unity, and devotion to all who sought his guidance.
  8. The Compassion of Guru Nanak: Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is revered for his boundless compassion and divine insight. It’s said that he possessed the siddhi of Ishita, the ability to control the elements. Stories of Guru Nanak’s miracles abound, demonstrating his mastery over nature and his unwavering commitment to serving humanity.


In today’s world, where the rigorous practices of tapasya and high yogic disciplines may seem out of reach for many, the essence of the Ashta Siddhi can still enrich our lives in profound ways. While we may not be scaling mountains or meditating in caves, we can integrate the fundamental philosophies of these supernatural powers into our daily existence.

Embracing the principles of compassion, wisdom, strength, and self-awareness inherent in the Ashta Siddhis, we can cultivate a deeper connection to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us. By practicing kindness and empathy, harnessing our inner strength and resilience, and recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings, we can elevate our consciousness and contribute to the collective evolution of humanity.

Additional Resources

Here are some recommended books on the Ashta Siddhis and related topics, along with their authors:

  1. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satchidananda – This classic text provides commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, including insights into the attainment of siddhis.
  2. Bhagavad Gita: As It Is by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – This translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita offers insights into spiritual principles, including references to siddhis.
  3. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda – This spiritual classic shares the author’s journey and experiences with various yogic practices, including encounters with individuals who demonstrated siddhis.
  4. The Secret of the Siddhas by Swami Muktananda – This book explores the mystical teachings of the Siddhas, including insights into the attainment of supernatural powers.
  5. Kundalini: The Arousal of the Inner Energy by Ajit Mookerjee – This book delves into the concept of Kundalini energy and its relationship to spiritual awakening, including references to siddhis.
  6. Mysticism: The Spiritual Path by Lekh Raj Puri – This comprehensive guide to mysticism covers various spiritual traditions, including Hinduism, and discusses the attainment of siddhis.
  7. “The Power of Siddhas: How They Taught Me, How They Can Help You” by M.G. Hawking – This book shares the author’s experiences with Himalayan siddhas and their teachings, offering insights into the practical application of siddhis in daily life.
  8. “The Path of the Yoga Sutras: A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga” by Nicolai Bachman – This book provides a practical approach to understanding and applying the teachings of the Yoga Sutras, including insights into the attainment of siddhis through yoga practice.