The term is first attested in the Mahabharata.
As a term in the Manusmriti, it refers to the settlement of a debt.
The various powers attainable – namely,
Even the mighty powers of the "eight siddhi" are known as the "lesser siddhi," since the greatest of all siddhi is full Liberation (mahanirvana) from the bonds of phenomenal Life and union with the Paramatma, which is the supreme object (paramartha) to be attained through human birth.
[[File:Siddhielix.jpg|thumb|250px|Magical accomplishment siddhi nectar elixir transmission.
accomplishments, fulfillment's, attainments") are rendered in English by Iyengar (1966, 2002: p. 246) thus:
- Accomplishments may be attained through birth, the use of herbs, incantations, self-discipline or Samadhi.
- tri-kāla-jñatvam: knowing the past, present and future
- advandvam: tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities
- para Citta ādi abhijñatā: knowing the minds of others and so on
- agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: checking the influence of Fire, sun, water, poison, and so on
- aparājayah: remaining unconquered by others
== Eight primary Siddhis ==
- Aṇimā: reducing one's Body even to the size of an atom
- Mahima: expanding one's Body to an infinitely large size
- Garima: becoming infinitely heavy
- Laghima: becoming almost weightless
- Prāpti: having unrestricted access to all places
- Prākāmya: realizing whatever one desires
- Iṣṭva: possessing absolute lordship
- Vaśtva: the Power to subjugate all
- Uuha: based on the samskaras of previous births the attainment of Knowledge about the twenty-four Tatwas gained by examining the determinable and the indeterminable conscious and the non-conscious constituents of creation,
- Shabad: Knowledge gained by associating with an enlightened person (Guru – upadesh),
- Addhyyan: Knowledge gained through study of the Vedas and other standard ancillary texts,
- Suhritprapti: Knowledge gained from a kind-hearted person, while engaged in the spread of Knowledge
- Daan: Knowledge gained regardless of one’s own needs while attending to the requirements of those engaged in the search of the highest Truth,
- Aadhyaatmik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain, disappointment, etc; arising due to lack of spiritual, metaphysical,mystic Knowledge and experience,
- Aadhibhautik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc; arising by possessing and being attached to various materialistic gains,
- Aadhidaivik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc; caused by fate or due to reliance on fate,
- anūrmi-mattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily disturbances
- dūra-śravaṇa: Hearing things far away
- dūra-darśanam: Seeing things far away
- manaḥ-javah: Moving the Body wherever Thought goes (teleportation/astral projection)
- Kāma-rūpam: Assuming any Form desired
- para-Kāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others
- sva-Chanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires
- devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods
- yathā sańkalpa saḿsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination
- ājñā apratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or commands being unimpeded
Term for a type of spiritual and/or mental accomplishment that we can best approximate with modern expressions such as ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) and/or with Colin Wilson's (b. 1931) Faculty X. Phrases such as mystical power, paranormal potential and magical skill are also often used to cover these phenomena.
Vajrayana texts speak of eight types of siddhi only, but one can find a much more detailed classification in the Hindu Tantras, where 84 are recognized. Among these, several phenomena can be found which correspond to those charted by contemporary para-psychology, for example psychokinesis, telekinesis and the astral 'double'.
All of these, of course, we also find when studying shamanism - and there is little doubt that Tibetan Buddhism has been very much influenced by that ancient, ‘magic’ oriented religion. The following list shows the Sanskrit names for some of the better known siddhis.
anima: decreasing one's size at will
antardhana: making oneself invisible
kamarupitva: assuming forms at will
kamavasaita: power to control one's passion
khecara: the power to fly
kramana: the power to enter another person's body (i.e. possession)
laghiman: the power to cancel out gravity (i.e. levitation)
mahima: increasing one's size at will
mohana: rendering a person unconscious
manojavitva: achieving high speed
padalepa: to move about anywhere, unnoticed
prapti: the power of obtaining everything
prakamya: irresistible willpower
stambhana: causing temporary paralysis in someone
vasitva: control over others
vikaranadharmitva: infinite mental powers