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Animadi Siddhi In Yoga

Animadi Siddhi is extraordinary powers attained through ascetic practices and yoga. Animadi siddhis are obtained by yogi through the practice of sanyama (concentration) as prescribed in yogic texts.

According to Patanjali (Yogasutra, IV. 1), these siddhis are obtained by birth, drugs, mantras, austerity or samadhi. Sage Kapali was a born siddha (one who possessed these superior powers). Mandavya acquired siddhis by drugs and herbs (known as rasayanas). Vishwamitra attained siddhis by repetition of mantras and tapas (austerity).

There are eight siddhis, which are well known in Hindu mythology, scriptures and texts on Yoga, Tantra, etc. These are –

  1. Anima – the power to make oneself minute as an atom
  2. Mahima – the power to expand oneself into space (becoming as huge as a mountain)
  3. Laghima – the power to become extremely light (like cotton)
  4. Garima – the power to become very heavy (like iron)
  5. Prapti – the power of reaching anywhere (power to approach distant objects)
  6. Prakamya - the power of having all desires realized
  7. Isatva – the power to create
  8. Vasitva – the power to command all or perfect control over the elements.

Through a yogi possesses all powers, he is not supposed to interfere with the smooth functioning of this world or Nature’s work. The elements do not obstruct him in any manner whatsoever.

Patanjali warns that these siddhis are obstacles in attaining samadhi (Yoga Sutra, III. 38). He who wants liberation should regard these siddhis as useless. Only when one gives up these siddhis, is the seed of bondage destroyed and one reaches the stage of liberation (Yoga Sutra III.51).