Aṣtasīddhis

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(Redirected from Astasiddhis)

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Astasiddhis, AStasIddhis, Ashtasiddhis


Aṣtasīddhis literally means ‘eight supernatural powers’.

Works on Yoga describe various ‘siddhis’ or supernatural powers. Patañjali in his well-known Yogasutras has devoted the whole third chapter to describe such sīddhis, apart from parts of the second and fourth chapters also.

Of the several such powers described, a group of eight, has been specially designated as ‘aṣṭasiddhis’ or eight supernatural powers in Yogasutras of Patañjali.[1] They generally go together. Patañjali himself administers a warning that these powers are incidental in spiritual life and will prove to be formidable obstacles to self-realization.[2] They are :

  1. Aṇimā - Power to assume minute forms
  2. Mahimā - Power to expand to huge proportions
  3. Garimā - Power to grow heavy or big
  4. Laghimā - Power to become light or weightless
  5. Prāpti - Capacity to obtain even the most difficult things
  6. Prākāmya - Having irresistible will
  7. Īśitṛitva - Perfect mastery over the body, senses and, capacity to create or destroy outside objects
  8. Vaśitva - Full control over the movement of physical objects

The list varies from work to work. The other powers that are sometimes included (the total of course, being always eight) are :

  1. Kāmāvasāyitva - Power of immediate fulfillment of desires
  2. Prakāma- vṛiṣṭi - Power to bring rain at will
  3. Akṛṣṭa- pacya - Power to get crops without cultivation
  4. Uhā - Capacity to acquire knowledge without a teacher


References

  1. Yogasutras 3.45
  2. Yogasutras 3.37
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore