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Siddha (Sanskrit: सिद्ध siddha; "perfected one") is a term that is used widely in Indian religions and culture. It means "one who is accomplished."[1] It refers to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. In Jainism, the term is used to refer to the liberated souls. Siddha may also refer to one who has attained a siddhi, paranormal capabilities.

Siddhas may broadly refer to siddhars, naths, ascetics, sadhus, or yogis because they all practice sādhanā.[2]

The Svetasvatara (II.12) presupposes a siddha body.[3]


Further information: Siddhashila

In Jainism, the term siddha is used to refer the liberated souls who have destroyed all karmas and have obtained moksha.[citation needed] They are free from the transmigratory cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra) and are above Arihantas (omniscient beings). Siddhas do not have a body; they are soul in its purest form. They reside in the Siddhashila, which is situated at the top of the Universe.[4] They are formless and have no passions and therefore are free from all temptations. They do not have any karmas and they do not collect any new karmas.

According to Jains, siddhas have eight specific characteristics or qualities. Ancient Tamil Jain Classic 'Choodamani Nigandu' describes the eight characteristics in a poem, which is given below.[5]

கடையிலா ஞானத்தோடு காட்சி வீரியமே இன்ப
மிடையுறு நாமமின்மை விதித்த கோத்திரங்களின்மை
அடைவிலா ஆயுஇன்மை அந்தராயங்கள் இன்மை
உடையவன் யாவன் மற்று இவ்வுலகினுக்கு இறைவனாமே

The soul that has infinite knowledge (Ananta jnāna, கடையிலா ஞானம்), infinite vision or wisdom (Ananta darshana, கடையிலா காட்சி), infinite power (Ananta labdhi, கடையிலா வீரியம்), infinite bliss (Ananta sukha, கடையிலா இன்பம்), without name (Akshaya sthiti, நாமமின்மை), without association to any caste (Being vitāraga, கோத்திரமின்மை), infinite life span (Being arupa, ஆயுள் இன்மை) and without any change (Aguruladhutaa, அழியா இயல்பு) is God.

The following table summarizes the eight supreme qualities of a liberated soul.[6]

Quality Meaning Manifestation
Kśāyika samyaktva infinite faith or belief in the tattvas or essential principles of reality manifested on the destruction of the faith-deluding (darśana mohanīya) karma
Kevala Jnāna infinite knowledge on the destruction of the knowledge-obscuring (jnānāvarnīya) karma.
Kevaladarśana infinite perception on the destruction of the perception-obscuring (darśanāvarnīya) karma
Anantavīrya infinite power on the destruction of the obstructive (antarāya) karma
Sūksmatva fineness manifested on the destruction of the life- determining (āyuh) karma
Avagāhan inter-penetrability manifested on the destruction of the name-determining (nāma) karma
Agurulaghutva literally, neither heavy nor light manifested on the destruction of the status-determining (gotra) karma
Avyābādha undisturbed, infinite bliss manifested on the destruction of the feeling-producing (vedanīya) karma

Because of the quality of Sūksmatva, the liberated soul is beyond sense-perception and its knowledge of the substances is direct, without the use of the senses and the mind. The quality of avagāhan means that the liberated soul does not hinder the existence of other such souls in the same space.

A soul after attaining siddhahood goes to the top of the loka (as per Jain cosmology) and stays there till infinity. Siddhas are formless and dwell in Siddhashila with the above-mentioned eight qualities.


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In Hinduism, the first usage of the term siddha occurs in the Maitreya Upanishad in chapter Adhya III where the writer of the section declares "I am Siddha."

Siddha or siddhar (Tamil tradition)

Main article: Siddhar

In Tamil Nadu, South India, a siddha (see siddhar) refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar, refers to a person who has realised the goal of a type of sadhana and become a perfected being. In Tamil Nadu, South India, where the siddha tradition is still practiced, special individuals are recognized as and called siddhas (or siddhars or cittars) who are on the path to that assumed perfection after they have taken special secret rasayanas to perfect their bodies, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with a form of pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take. Siddha were said to have special powers including flight. These eight powers are collectively known as attamasiddhigal (ashtasiddhi). In Hindu cosmology, Siddhaloka is a subtle world (loka) where perfected beings (siddhas) take birth. They are endowed with the eight primary siddhis at birth.

The 18 siddhars are listed below.[7]

  1. Agasthiyar
  2. Bogar
  3. Kamalamuni
  4. Thirumoolar
  5. Korakkar
  6. Konganar
  7. Sattaimuni
  8. Machamuni
  9. Sundaranandar
  10. Vanmeegar
  11. Ramadevar
  12. Nandidevar
  13. Edaikkadar
  14. Karuvoorar
  15. Pambatti Siddhar
  16. Kuthambai
  17. Dhanvanthri
  18. Patanjali

Kashmir Shaivism

In the Hindu philosophy (of Kashmir Shaivism), siddha refers to a siddha guru who can by way of shaktipat initiate disciples into yoga. A siddha, in Tamil siddhar or chitthar (see cit), means "one who is accomplished" and refers to perfected masters who, according to Hindu belief, have transcended the ahamkara (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies (composed mainly of dense Rajotama gunas) into a different kind of body dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation.


Main article: Siddhashrama

In Hindu theology, Siddhashrama is a secret land deep in the Himalayas, where great yogis, sadhus and sages who are siddhas live. The concept is similar to Tibetan mystical land of Shambhala.

Siddhashrama is referred in many Indian epics and Puranas including Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Valmiki's Ramayana it is said that Viswamitra had his hermitage in Siddhashrama, the erstwhile hermitage of Vishnu, when he appeared as the Vamana avatar. He takes Rama and Lakshmana to Siddhashrama to exterminate the rakshasas who are disturbing his religious sacrifices (i.28.1-20).[8][9]

Siddha sampradaya

The famous mahasiddha Virūpa, 16th century
The famous mahasiddha Virūpa, 16th century

Main articles: Nath and Mahasiddha

Whenever siddha is mentioned, the 84 siddhas and 9 nathas are remembered, and it is this tradition of siddha which is known as the Nath tradition. Siddha is a term used for both mahasiddhas and Naths So a siddha may mean a siddha, a mahasiddha or a nath. The three words are used interchangeably.

The eighty-four siddhas in the Varna(na)ratnakara

A list of eighty-four siddhas is found in a manuscript (manuscript no 48/34 of the Asiatic Society of Bengal) dated Lakshmana Samvat 388 (1506) of a medieval Maithili work, the Varna(na)ratnākara written by Jyotirishwar Thakur, the court poet of King Harisimhadeva of Mithila (reigned 1300–1321). An interesting feature of this list is that the names of the most revered naths are incorporated in this list along with Buddhist siddhācāryas. The names of the siddhas found in this list are:[10][11]

  1. Minanātha
  2. Gorakshanātha
  3. Chauranginātha
  4. Chāmarinātha
  5. Tantipā
  6. Hālipā
  7. Kedāripā
  8. Dhongapā
  9. Dāripā
  10. Virūpa
  11. Kapāli
  12. Kamāri
  13. Kānha
  14. Kanakhala
  15. Mekhala
  16. Unmana
  17. Kāndali
  18. Dhovi
  19. Jālandhara
  20. Tongi
  21. Mavaha
  22. Nāgārjuna
  23. Dauli
  24. Bhishāla
  25. Achiti
  26. Champaka
  27. Dhentasa
  28. Bhumbhari
  29. Bākali
  30. Tuji
  31. Charpati
  32. Bhāde
  33. Chāndana
  34. Kāmari
  35. Karavat
  36. Dharmapāpatanga
  37. Bhadra
  38. Pātalibhadra
  39. Palihiha
  40. Bhānu
  41. Mina
  42. Nirdaya
  43. Savara
  44. Sānti
  45. Bhartrihari
  46. Bhishana
  47. Bhati
  48. Gaganapā
  49. Gamāra
  50. Menurā
  51. Kumāri
  52. Jivana
  53. Aghosādhava
  54. Girivara
  55. Siyāri
  56. Nāgavāli
  57. Bibhavat
  58. Sāranga
  59. Vivikadhaja
  60. Magaradhwaja
  61. Achita
  62. Bichita
  63. Nechaka
  64. Chātala
  65. Nāchana
  66. Bhilo
  67. Pāhila
  68. Pāsala
  69. Kamalakangāri
  70. Chipila
  71. Govinda
  72. Bhima
  73. Bhairava
  74. Bhadra
  75. Bhamari
  76. Bhurukuti

Siddhas in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika

In the first upadeśa (chapter) of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a 15th-century text, a list of yogis is found, who are described as the Mahasiddhas. This list has a number of names common with those found in the list of the Varna(na)ratnākara:[10][12]

  1. Ādinātha
  2. Matsyendra
  3. Śāvara
  4. Ānandabhairava
  5. Chaurangi
  6. Minanātha
  7. Gorakṣanātha
  8. Virupākṣa
  9. Bileśaya
  10. Manthāna
  11. Bhairava
  12. Siddhibuddha
  13. Kanthaḍi
  14. Koraṃṭaka
  15. Surānanda
  16. Siddhapāda
  17. Charpaṭi
  18. Kānerī
  19. Pūjyapāda
  20. Nityanātha
  21. Nirañjana
  22. Kapālī
  23. Bindunātha
  24. Kākachaṇḍīśvarā
  25. Allāma
  26. Prabhudeva
  27. Ghoḍā
  28. Chholī
  29. Ṭiṃṭiṇi
  30. Bhānukī
  31. Nāradeva
  32. Khaṇḍakāpālika

See also