A Siddha

Any attempt to convey the inner meaning of one’s spiritual experiences in conventional language is like “sending a kiss” to the beloved by a messenger.

The term “Siddha” comes from the word “siddhi” which means the experience of Siva. Siddhisvara, God of Siddhis, is a name of Siva.

All beings that have taken Jeeva Samadhi are Siddhas. Jeeva Samadhi means dissolving into Light when the tour of duty in a body is done, rather than allowing the body to die. To take the step into Jeeva Samadhi, the Siddhas body is vibrating at such a high and fast frequency it dissolves into Light. This tradition recognizes all beings of all traditions that take Jeeva Samadhi as being a Siddha. This included Jesus the Christ, Mohammad, Elisha, Enoch, Ezekiel, the Buddhists that take a Rainbow Body, Black Elk etc. There are 215 known Jeeva Locations on the planet with 165 in India alone.

As Yogins, the Siddhas are said to have the triple control:

  1. the control of breath,
  2. the control of the seminal fluid, i.e. the control of all passions, and
  3. the achievements of desire-less-ness – we are calling the control of mind.

A Siddha is one who has succeeded in stabilizing these controls in oneself, and maintains equanimity and a sense of equilibrium.

A Siddha is one who has attainted siddhi, a special psychic and supernatural power, which is said to be eightfold in the science of yoga.

The eight siddhis are:

  1. anima, the ability to become as minute as an atom;
  2. mahima, the ability to expand infinitely;
  3. laghima, levitation or the ability to float through the air;
  4. garima, the ability to reach everywhere;
  5. prakamya, freedom of will, or the ability to overcome natural obstacles;
  6. isitva, the ability to create or control;
  7. vasitva, domination over the entire creation; andkamavasayitva, the gift of wish-fulfilment, or the ability of attaining everything desired or to attain the stage of desirelessness.

Siddhis indicate whether the practitioners of yoga have attained a stage to reach the ultimate goal, namely, liberation. It is wrong to think that the Siddhas are magicians or uncouth ascetics credited with supernatural powers. Some people unknowingly think of Siddhas as atheists or agnostics when actually they believe in God, a God beyond this or that religion.

For most of them there is a God, a Siva, without any limitation or attributes, Siva is grammatically and philosophically an impersonal conception. The real name for “Siva” is “It” or “Atu” or “Thatness” or “Suchness”. A genuine Siddha is beyond atheism and faith (theism) alike. A Siddha is a free thinker and a revolutionary who refuses to allow himself to be carried away by any religion or scripture or rituals. A Siddha is one who has attained a stage of realization where he is beyond the bindings of the injunctions of the sastras, and where he has gone beyond the Vedas. At this stage sastras become irrelevant trifles. There is always a gulf between words and the experience, which they stand for. To seek enlightenment in words and ideas is like expecting the sight of a menu card to reach and satisfy the inner processes of a hungry man.

A description can never in itself transmit experience. All the sastras, Vedas, Puranas, and the various religious sects turn humanity into conditioned animals. Truth is felt experience, which fails to be fully translatable in any scripture of any religion or philosophy. As a Doha song says: “Looking at the fruit in the tree different from smelling it. A Siddha is one who enjoys perfect bliss even while he is in his physical body. The body is treated by him as the best medium of realizing the Truth. Similar to the sacred rivers, temples, mountains, etc., a Siddha’s body is a sacred passage to the ultimate Reality.

Siddhas know how to preserve the body through light rays (“mani” in Tamil) sound waves (“mantra”) and medicine (“marundu” or “ausadha” in Tamil). The technique of the preservation of the body is called kaya sadhana: it is an attempt to attain a perfect body called Siddha deha. In short, one who has obtained the power of dematerializing and spiritualizing the body, and knows how to transmute the corruptible physical into the incorruptible super-physical basis of life, is a Siddha.

One can discern certain common characteristics among the Siddhas, which make them distinct from the “learned” poets on the one hand, and sectarian religious poets on the other. To be a Siddha, sectarian affiliation is irreverent. Their philosophy is enlightenment – as distinct from doctrine; it is beyond a theoretical and formalist approach to life and problems.

The Tamil Siddhas are outside system-builders; their whole technique is to jolt people out of their intellectual ruts, and their conventional, barren, morality. They laid before their audience an abrasive, shocking, uncompromising message exhorting them to shed their delusions, pretensions, and empty orthodoxies in favor of an intense, direct, personal confrontation with truth.

They are the “un-tethered”, non-conformist, spiritual aspirants, yearning for a direct and natural approach to, and a more intense experience of, the absolute truth. They reject the value and prestige of the scriptures, which remain the privilege of the few in Hinduism. The Tamil Siddhas may be considered as “scripture less” or “bookless” or nirgrantha school of Hinduism, as they are detached from any scriptural authority. The Tamil Siddhas belong to a non-conformist, “counter-tradition”. What is meant by “counter tradition” is more than that “which opposes tradition”. It is the “tradition which opposes”. The Siddhas challenged many of the accepted beliefs and practices of the Hindu society and thought. They denounced idol and ritualistic worship and petitioner prayers as fetters holding back the soul from liberation. Their language was as unconventional as were their lives. This led many people to think that the Tamil Siddhas were Buddhists in disguise, since Buddhism also criticized vehemently the doctrines of the Hindus. Siddha, sectarian affiliation is rather unnecessary and irrelevant. Yet it is customary to classify Siddhas into the above groups.

To facilitate oral transmission, the Tamil Siddhas used only the common words spoken by ordinary people – unpolished, crude, offensive, indecent and colloquial expressions.

This use of the common speech of the people produces a powerful effect whenever we read Siddha poetry, even though there is an absence of any trace of conscious poetic calculation in the songs of the Tamil Siddhas. Although the Siddha poems are in the common language of the people, the meaning of the poems operates at two levels – one the exoteric and the linguistic – and the other esoteric and the symbolical.

The essential characteristic feature of the language is its polysemantic nature, its multivalence, and its capacity to express at the same time a number of meanings both at the level of ordinary experience and at the level of transcendence.

The suggestive, epigramatic and enigmatic nature of the language itself is mystical in nature, where the highest is clothed in the form of the lowest.

The Tamil Siddhas make free use of typology, wordplay, paradox, repetition, and metaphor to convey to the listener the richness of the reality hidden in the visible terms and symbols. The paradoxical expressions and their explanations are accessible only to the initiated. For some the Siddha poems themselves function as an ‘Initiation’.

The twilight language of the Siddhas is a language for preaching esoteric, mystical doctrines.

Most of the Tamil Siddha songs are written in veiled language, paribhasa. It is a secret language in which the numerals, ordinary words and symbols are deprived of any immediate, naturalistic meaning, and endorsed with a much wider and spiritually richer, inner, mystical significance. The use of numerals to denote mystical experiences is a favorite device of the Tamil Siddhas, and an authentic pattern of Tirumular, a Tamil Siddha par excellence.

The use of numerals to denote mystical experiences is a favorite device of the Tamil Siddhas, and an authentic pattern of Tirumular, a Tamil Siddha par excellence. Alphabet symbolism is also a common technique that we find in Tamil Siddha poetry. We can safely say, that some will experience, the monosyllables that we find in Tamil Siddha poetry are enlightening gibberish. They have a meaning and a message. The poems of Tirumular abound in technical terms conveying mystical experience. The symbolic, twilight language of the Tamil Siddhas has the advantage of precision, concentration, secrecy, mystery and esoteric significance in that the symbols are objective short cuts to the subjective states of bliss.

The symbols, at the hands of the Siddhas, become a form of artistic expression of the inexpressible. The use of the symbolic language is more than merely a protection against profaning the sacred by the ignorant. It also suggests that language, however enriched, is incapable of expressing the highest experience of the spirit. Indeed, language is but a broken lamp. In Sufi terminology, any attempt to convey the inner meaning of one’s spiritual experiences in conventional language is like “sending a kiss to the beloved by a messenger”.

In short, the twilight language of the Siddhas is, in essence, profoundly mystical in nature and contains a “numinous aura” (Numinous (pronounced /njuːmnəs/) is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularized in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige (1917; translated into English as The Idea of the Holy, 1923). According to Otto the numinous experience has two aspects: mysterium tremendum, which is the tendency to invoke fear and trembling; and mysterium fascinans, the tendency to attract, fascinate and compel. The numinous experience also has a personal quality to it, in that the person feels to be in communion with a Holy other. The numinous experience can lead in different cases to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent) and “existential revelations for the man who deciphers their message”.