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A siddha is one who has attained siddhi, i.e. "power, prowess, strength, ability", then a special kind of psychic and supernatural, miraculous, occult power. There are eight kinds of super natural powers called as "Ashtama Siddhis."

The basic difficulty of a study of the Siddhas begins with the term Siddha itself, which has several interconnected and often overlapping meanings without any common accepted usages. It is a Sanskrit term meaning "accomplished". A Siddha is a "fully boiled" (vidagdha), i.e., perfected being. He stands for the Indian ideal of perfection. The siddhas know of four types of liberation (mukti):

1. salokya - the status of living in the world of God
2. samipya - the status of being near to God
3. sarupya - the status of assuming the form of God
4. sayujya - the status of being one with the God

The Siddhas are those adepts who have attained the last type of liberation. The first three type of liberation are called padamukti by Tirumular and the last one is named siddhi (" perfection"). Tirumular says that one whose mind is serene and clear like an ocean without waves is a Siddha. In South India it is customary among the Siddhas to trace their origin to Siva, who is also called a Siddha.

A Siddha is one who has realized the non-duality of jiva (the psyche) and Siva. He is one who has realized Siva in himself. He is said to have attained Sivanubhava. Sivanubhava stands for the stare of experiencing the non-duality or oneness between the experiencing jiva and Siva. This is known as jiva-siva-aikya. There is a Tamil saying " Sittan pokku, Sivan pokku" meaning that a Siddha walks or follows the way of Siva.

A Siddha is a yogin. Saint Tirumular says that those who live in Yoga and see the divine power and light through Yoga are the Siddhas. He is an experimental yogin who attains perfection by the method of self-effort. As yogins the Siddhas are said to have the triple control - the control of breath, the control of the seminal fluid ( i.e., the control of all passions and the achievement of desirelessness), and the control of mind. A Siddha is one who has succeeded on stabilizing these controls in oneself and one who maintains equanimity and a sense of equilibrium.

A Siddhas is a free thinker and a revolutionary who refuses to allow himself to be carried away by any dogma, scripture, or ritual. One Siddha says, "A Siddha is one who has burnt the sastras." This is to be interpreted not in the literal sense but in the sense that for a jnanin, "the Vedas are not Vedas." A Siddha is one has attained a stage, of realization in which he is no longer bound by the injunctions of the sastras, and in which he has gone beyond even the Vedas. At this stage, sastras become irrelevant. There is always a gulf between words and the experience for which they stand. To seek enlightenment in words and ideas is like expecting the sight of a menu card to satisfy a hungry man. A description can never in itself transmit experience. All the sastras, Vedas, Puranas, and the various religious sects turn humanity into obedient creatures. Truth is felt experience and cannot be translated fully in any sastra. As a Doha song states, "Looking at the fruit in the tree is not smelling it. Does disease fly away at the sight of the physician?" The Siddhas seem to be opposed to the scriptures, but their temper is devout. They are "pious rebels" inside the field of religion and as such are not atheists. Karai Siddhar draws a distinction between Siddha and a non-Siddha by saying that a Siddha points to the path of experience whereas a non-Siddha points to the path of scriptures.

According to the book "Valmiki Suthira Gyanam" authored by Siddhar Valmiki, "By purifying the mind and attaining perfection one becomes a siddha (Tamil Chittan); He is indeed fit to be called SIVA".

A classical definition of siddhas is given by Siddhar Thirumoolar: "Those who live in yoga and see the divine light and power through yoga are the siddhars (Tamil Chittar)".

According to Kamil Zvelebil, there are some features which are typical for all or almost all siddhars as a body of thinkers.

First, in sharp opposition to the bhakti tradition, they refuse to allow themselves be carried away by idol worship in particular temples.

Second, in contrast to bhakti which emphasizes passionate devotion to God, the siddhar emphasize knowledge, yoga practice, and character, moral behavior, right conduct. Anger, lust and egoism are the worst sins.

Third, almost all siddhar's raise a protest against caste and casteism.

The whole atmosphere of siddha thinking is empirical and experimental. Their writings are not in the nature of clear cut formalized statements of any well defined doctrine. Hence, it is difficult to extricate a philosophical system out of their writings, at least at the present state of our knowledge of their works. However, it is possible to point out a few essential features, and one day, when their writings are better known, it should be possible to state their philosophy more explicitly.

This web site is devoted to publishing the works of siddhars for the internet community. Most of the works are available only in Tamil and it is possible that the author of document interprets things in his own way while translating the original text. An attempt is made to present information about siddhars here.

Siddha is one of the oldest system of medicine practiced in India. This system was developed in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is supposed to have been conceived by the Siddhas or evolved souls ( numbering 18) who lived in the past. The word 'Siddha' comes from 'Siddhi' which means an object to be attained or perfection of heavenly bliss.

Siddhas or Siddhars were great doctors of medicine, philosophers, men with deep knowledge of anatomy and chemistry and savants noted for their wide travel, simple living and high thinking. The Siddhas have their own manuscripts or basic works, written in secret code. Some of the treasured treatises on medicine are poems in palm leaf manuscripts which are now preserved in the Saraswathi Mahal Library, Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. They were the pioneers in the use of metals and minerals in the treatment of diseases.

The systems of Siddha and Ayurveda are very much similar. In both systems, the basis of treatment is the three element theory or 'tridosha' (three humours). The three humours are Vatha (air), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm). It is believed that without these humours an individual cannot exist and imbalance of these may cause diseases. There are number of medicines common to both Siddha and Ayurveda. In both systems medicines are prescribed to set right the imbalance in the three life factors.

In Siddha, diseases are diagnosed mainly with the help of signs and symptoms of diseases. Other factors that help to diagnose diseases are touch, examining the pulse, tongue, colour, speech, eyes, faeces and urine.

The main aim of Siddha is to assure a healthy life to man kind.

"The above pictures and descriptive text regarding the 18 siddhas has been reproduced from the book "Babaji and the Eighteen Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition" by Marshall Govindan, published by Babaji's Kriya Yoga Trust."

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