Q: What are the ‘Ashta siddhis’, can you please elaborate?
A: The ‘Asta siddhis’ that are described in our ancient yoga books are: Anima, Mahima, Laghima, Garima, Prapti, Prakamya, Ishitva and Vashitva. ‘Anima’ gives one an ability to make ones body incredibly small, even smaller than an atom. ‘Mahima’ gives one the ability to make ones physical body as big as one wishes. It is a known fact that with such amazing power Lord Krishna displayed his ‘Vishwa Roop’ in the battlefield of Kurukshetra to Arjuna.
With Laghima, a yogi can make his physical body as light and with Garima as heavy as one wishes. With Prapti, one can acquire any material items in the world. Prakamya gives power to satisfy any wish one has in his mind while with Ishitva he can rule over any one. With Vashitva a yogi can control anyone’s mind and make him work according to his wish.
Q: Are there any other siddhis besides the ones you described?
A: In ancient yogic scriptures, there are descriptions about some more siddhis. For example, a yogi can have control over ‘panch tatva’ - pruthvi (Earth), pani (Water), agni (Fire), vayu (Air) and akash (Sky). He can win over hunger and thirst. He can win over sleep, diseases & can escape from the effect of ageing. He can travel anywhere in the world as per his wish. He can see the past, present and future of anyone. He can visualize objects far off and can hear voice spoken in any corner of the world. He can comprehend the language of birds and animals.
Q: According to you, which is the greatest sidhdhi?
A: According to me, self realization is the greatest sidhdhi. Without which all kinds of sadhana is incomplete. One can not have satisfaction and complete fulfillment of human life. Winning over lust, anger, attachment and envy or winning over the self is the greatest of all siddhis. Other siddhis may hamper progress of an aspirant, but the one I am talking about helps immensely. That’s why they are most significant according to me.
Q: Can one help others with these supernatural powers?
A: Yes. A Sidhdha who is blessed with such powers can use them for the benefit of others; he can make others free from diseases or pain. However, he also has to use his discrimination power, he has to differentiate between good and bad, he has to comply with the law of nature and karma. He also should not forget that the ultimate sidhdhi is the attainment of self.
Q: Are siddhis inevitable in the progress of yoga sadhana?
A: No. These siddhis are not inevitable. What is inevitable for the progress on the path of Yoga is the purity of mind, control over senses and unquenchable thirst for the realization of the self without which efforts will not result in success.
Maharshi Patanjali has said that all spiritual aspirants should overlook these siddhis with renunciation. Sometime siddhis become a hindrance for spiritual aspirants. Fascination about siddhis makes them fall short of achieving their destined goals. The ultimate aim of an aspirant is not the achievement of supernatural powers but in the realization of the supreme self, the master of all siddhis.