Agastya, the first Siddhar
Agastya, the first Siddhar
Pambatti Siddhar Sannidhi at Marudamalai Temple
Pambatti Siddhar Sannidhi at Marudamalai Temple

The Siddhar (Tamil: சித்தர் cittar, from Sanskrit: siddha)[1] in Tamil tradition is a perfected individual, who has attained spiritual powers called siddhi.

Historically, Siddhar also refers to the people who were early age wandering adepts that dominated ancient Tamil teaching and philosophy. They were knowledgeable in science, technology, astronomy, literature, fine arts, music, drama, dance, and provided solutions to common people in their illness and advice for their future.[2] Some of their ideologies are considered to have originated during the First Sangam period.[3][4][5]


Siddhars were typically first scientists, saints, doctors, alchemists, and mystics all in one. They wrote their findings in the form of Tamil poems on palm leaf manuscripts. These are still owned by some families in Tamil Nadu and handed down through the generations, as well as being kept in universities in India, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.[6]

In this way, Siddhars developed the native Siddha medicine system. A rustic form of healing that is similar to Siddha medicine has since been practiced by experienced elders in the villages of Tamil Nadu. This is referred to as Paatti Vaitthiyam" (grandmother's medicine) "Naattu marunthu (folk medicine) and Mooligai marutthuvam (herbal medicine).

Siddhars are also believed to be the founders of Varma kalai - a martial art for self-defense and medical treatment at the same time. Varmam are specific points located in the human body which when pressed in different ways can give various results, such as disabling an attacker in self-defense, or balancing a physical condition as an easy first-aid medical treatment.

Tamil Siddhars were the first to develop pulse-reading ("naadi paarththal" in Tamil) to identify the origin of diseases.

Siddhars have also written many religious poems. It is believed that most of them have lived for ages, in a mystic mountain called Sathuragiri, near Thanipparai village in Tamil Nadu.


The Abithana Chintamani encyclopedia states that the Siddhars are of the 18 persons listed below, but sage Agastya states that there are many who precede and follow these.

The 18 Siddhars


There are 18 siddhars in the Tamil Siddha tradition. They are[7][8]

  1. Nandeeswarar
  2. Tirumular
  3. Agastya
  4. Kamalamuni
  5. Patanjali
  6. Korakkar
  7. Sundaranandar
  8. Konganar
  9. Sattamuni
  10. Vanmeegar
  11. Ramadevar
  12. Dhanvanthri
  13. Idaikkadar
  14. Machamuni
  15. Karuvoorar
  16. Bogar
  17. Pambatti Siddhar
  18. Kuthambai

Apart from the 18 siddars listed above, there is another list of 18 siddars who represent the 9 navagrahas (two siddars represent each navagraha) all navagraha doshas /pariharams are performed to the siddars as Siddar Velvi (siddar havan). The details of the 18 siddars who represent the 9 navagrahas are as follows:

  1. Sri Siva Vakya Siddar - Moon
  2. Sri Kailaya Kambili Sattai Muni Siddar - Moon
  3. Sri Bhogar siddar - Mars
  4. Sri Kagabhujanga siddar - Jupiter
  5. Sri Pullipanisiddar - Mars
  6. Sri Sattai Muni siddar- Kethu
  7. Sri Agapaisiddar - Jupiter
  8. sri Azhugani siddar -Raghu
  9. Sri Kudambai siddar - Kethu
  10. Sri Vallalarsiddar - Mercury
  11. Sri Edaikaddar siddar -Mercury
  12. Sri Pattinathar siddar- Sun
  13. Sri Kaduvelli siddar- Sun
  14. Sri Kanjamalai siddar - Venus
  15. Sri Sennimalai siddar- Venus
  16. Sri Kapilar siddar -Saturn
  17. Sri Karuvoorar siddar-Saturn
  18. Sri Pambatti siddar -Raghu

There is a universal shrine for all the 18 Siddars at Madambakkam in Chennai called SriChakra Mahameru Sri Seshadri Swamigal 18 siddars Vrindavana Sakthi Peedam built under the instruction from Sathguru Sri Seshadri Swamigal by Guruji.[citation needed]

The supreme Siddhar is Lord Shiva himself.[citation needed]

Powers of siddhar

The siddhars are believed to have had both major and minor powers which are described in detail in various yogic and religious texts.[9] They also are said to have the power of converting their mass to energy and thereby traveling to different universes.

  1. Anima (shrinking) -- Power of becoming the size of an atom and entering the smallest beings
  2. Mahima (illimitability) -- Power of becoming mighty and co-extensive with the universe. The power of increasing one's size without limit
  3. Laghima (lightness) -- Capacity to be quite light though big in size
  4. Garima (weight) -- Capacity to weigh a lot, though seemingly being small in size
  5. Prapti (fulfillment of desires) -- Capacity to enter all the worlds from Brahma Loga to the nether world. It is the power of attaining everything desired
  6. Prakasysm (irresistible will) -- Power of disembodying and entering into other bodies and going to heaven and enjoying what everyone aspires for, simply from where he stays
  7. Ishtavam (supremacy) -- Have the creative power of God and control over the Sun, Moon and the elements
  8. Vashitavam (dominion over the elements) -- Power of control over kings and gods. The power of changing the course of nature and assuming any form

These eight are the Great Siddhis (Ashtama siddhis), or Great Perfections.[10]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Tamil Lexicon. University of Madras. p. 1410.
  2. ^ Meditation Revolution: A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage. Motilal Banarsidass. 2000. ISBN 9788120816480.
  3. ^ S. Cunjithapatham, M. Arunachalam (1989). Musical tradition of Tamilnadu. International Society for the Investigation of Ancient Civilizations. p. 11.
  4. ^ Journal of Indian history, Volume 38. Dept. of History, University of Kerala. 1960.
  5. ^ Weiss, Richard (2009). Recipes for Immortality : Healing, Religion, and Community in South India: Healing, Religion, and Community in South India. Oxford University Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780199715008.
  6. ^ V. Jayaram. "Study of siddhas". Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  7. ^ "18 siddhars". Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Siddhars". Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  9. ^ Thirumandiram 668
  10. ^ "Ashtama Siddhis". Retrieved 22 June 2013.