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Sec.3.2/Part 2. Miracles/
Date: Fri Jun 19 1998 - 13:27:46 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
Presented below is Section 3.2/Part 2 Miracles from my book "Myths, Miracles
and Mysticism"
Anbil Ramaswamy
Though several Siddhis have been identified, the most important ones are eight
in number called
Ashta Maha Siddhis. They are
i. Anima (Becoming Small) : Reducing one's size to the point of an atom (anu).
This is said to be achieved by meditating on the Lord as pervading the
Tanmatras -Sabda,  Sparsa, Rupa,Rasa,  and Gandha.
ii. Mahima (Becoming Big) : Expanding one's size to unimaginably giant
proportions. This is said to be achieved by meditating on the Lord as mahat
tatva or Cosmic mind.
iii  Laghima (Weightlessness or Levitation ) : Making oneself light in weight
so as to float or fly about  in air without any support like a feather in the
wind.  While this phenomenon is known in other religions like Islam,
Christianity and Buddhism, it is in Hinduism that it has been traced to
'Aakaasa', the ethereal Universal  force which adepts are able to control.
This weightlessness is said to be achieved by meditating on the Lord as
inherent in atoms. 
iv. Garima (Heaviness) : Making oneself incredibly weighty so that nobody can
move the Sadaka.
v. Praapti (Pervading) : Also known as Vyaapti` penetrating through barriers
and obstacles. This is said to be achieved by meditating on the Lord in his
aspect of Satvika ahankara.
vi. Praakaamyam (Materializing or Apport ) : To bring unseen objects within
the view of all.Objects include  Vibhuti ( holy ash), coins, jewelry, pebbles,
icons of lingams and other religious idols made of stone or metal, rings,
strings of beads, flowers, books, edibles, sandalwood paste and even live
birds like doves and pigeons.  It is true that quite a few practitioners have
been proved to be frauds and exposed. But, not all are frauds and quite a few
of them are as a result of  ' Siddhis' attained by Yoga practices. This is
achieved by meditating on the Lord as the Sutradhari or controller.
vii Eesitvam (Lordship) : Having control over others. This is achieved by
meditating on the Lord as the Lord of Trigunas.
viii. Vasitvam (Subjugation) : Attracting others. This is achieved by
meditating on Lord as primal Lord "Adhi purusha".

Besides these, there are several other  Siddhis like :

 i.  Being able to hear even distant sounds.( also known as Clairaudience).
This refers to the ability to hear sounds not audible to normal hearing. It is
believed that this is experienced when the Kundalini reaches the 5th Chakra
located at the Oto-laryngological site
ii. Being able to see things far away. (also known as Clairvoyance or Remote
Viewing). this refers to the ability to perceive objects, events, or people
not recognizable through normal senses. It can be in the form of seeing
distant visions and images which are, in fact, out of sight. Instances of
crystal gazing by which the location of missing persons or objects are seen by
adepts is an example.
iii.. Being able to perceive smells, taste, touch, emotions, and physical
sensations that collectively impact on the practitioners an overall psychic
impression. Also known as Clairsentience, or ESP it refers to the capacity of
intuition. By a flash of hunch, a person comes to know of coming events
without being able to explain how and why he acquires the knowledge. This can
operate on physical, mental, emotional or even spiritual levels.
iv.  Being able to know a future happening through extraordinary means like
trance and divination. This is also known as Precognition and is akin to  the
above with the difference that it is induced not by hunch or intuition but by
some extraordinary event. Precognition can forebode the happening of a
specified event, but Premonition is a general feeling which even lay folk
experience when they ' sense' some unknown, unpleasant event likely to happen
in the near future. The latter is always accompanied by anxiety, restlessness,
and an intense feeling of warning too subtle to be noticed in a conscious
state. This does not fall under the "Siddhi' category.
v. As Precognition is the ability to see into the future,   there is also the
ability to see or sense into the past, even the remote past. To the person
with this ability, suddenly the present surroundings vanish and scenes out of
the past appear as vividly. Several murders and suicides have been traced and
solved by this flashback phenomenon, which is also called Retrocognition.
Instances have been reported wherein people have envisioned buildings,
bridges, parks etc. that had long  fallen into disuse and demolished.
Archeologists have used persons with this ability to reconstruct ancient
civilizations. Psychists have solved unsolved mysteries of crime with the help
of persons with such abilities.
vi. Being able to foretell the future, tracing missing objects and persons.
This art of Divination has been used by almost all civilizations from the
ancient times to this day. This is an attempt to communicate with the divine
or supernatural force with a view to know the will of God. One method is to
cast a  handful of stones, shells, or dice and depending upon the count,
predict whether the outcome would be favorable or not. Another practice is
called " Prasnam' in which the high priest would ask for an indication like
the color of the flower falling from the garland adorning the idol of the
deity as is done in the temples in Kerala, India. Yet another is the practice
of placing one's palms down at the entrance end of a niche with eyes closed.
The palms would slowly slide down to a predetermined spot at the other end of
the niche without the volition of the subject. If this happens, the outcome
will be favorable. Otherwise, the palms would not move at all for  any length
of time.
vii. Another method of divination is to consult deities or supernatural beings
through a human medium. From time immemorial, several civilizations have
resorted to this (e.g.) Delphic Oracle. The ability itself goes by the name
"Oracle'.  A sheaf of palm leaves will be divided in a random manner by means
of a thread divider or bookmark ( as they do while playing cards). The
writings on the leaf  where the thread falls will be read. If the context
relates  to something pleasant or auspicious, it points to a favorable
outcome; if it relates to an unpleasant episode or saying, the opposite result
is indicated. This is also akin to the fortune cookies served in some Chinese
restaurants. If you need a modern example,  you can refer to the practice of
tossing a coin in cricket matches to determine which side should start
batting. But, all these are without invoking divine counsel whereas oracle is
based on divine intervention and the ability is attained through 'Siddhis'.
viii. Another divinely inspired ability is 'Prophecy'. Prophecy can be made
affecting  individuals or group of individuals or whole races, or countries or
even the entire world by qualified adepts. Almost all cultures have relied on
prophecies from Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Islam and Mormon. Unlike that
prophet of doom , Nostradamus, who prophesied the end of the world by the turn
of the 20th century, the Siddhi prophets base their prophecies on  divine
ix. Being able to obtain information about people, places and events with
reference to objects associated with them. Also called Psychometry, this power
enables tracing the  whereabouts of missing persons  by examining intimate
apparels worn by them. This is somewhat like the power of police dogs that can
smell and track criminal fugitives. Persons with this ability can read the
contents of letters contained in opaque and sealed  envelopes . 
x. Being able to speak in a foreign language which one had not learned at all.
This power is also sometimes called Cryptoscopy and  Xenoglossy. We have
reports of illiterate persons being suddenly able to compose  and sing songs
in chaste literary form and it is believed that this is the result of "
Siddhi' acquired in a previous life manifesting in the current life. (e.g.)
Kaalidasa, Tirunavukkarasar and the like. Adepts communicating with animals,
birds and reptiles through languages they could understand have also been

Other abilities achieved through 'Siddhis' are :-
xi. Achieving incredible speeds.
xii. Taking the forms of other persons /  beings.
xiii. Entering the bodies of other persons / beings.
xiv  Indulging in erotic pleasures with nymphs.
xv  Dying at the point of time desired (as in the case of Bhishma).
xvi.  Achieving whatever is desired.
xvii  Exercising unfettered authority over those coming into contact.
xviii Knowing about the past, present and the future of those coming into
xix. Bearing extreme heat or cold easily.
xx. Reading the minds of others.
xxi. Preventing the effects of poison, water, fire and even Sun.
xxii.Obtaining protection from weapons (Bhagavatam ch XI - 15).

These Siddhis are inevitable but are in fact distractions to which a Mumukshu
(One desirous of Moksha) should not succumb. These are like hurdles in the way
to Moksha. Some fall for them, half way in their journey. Satisfied with
these, they go about demonstrating their feats like magicians forgetting their
ultimate aim. 

Whereas magic is based on trickery like sleight of hand, mesmerism,  hypnotism
etc., these `Siddhis' represent real powers like Clairvoyance, Clairaudience,
Telepathy, Mind reading, Levitation,  Materialization, Out- of - Body-
Experiences, Superhuman strength, and even knowing the exact moment of one's
death etc. that can be wielded. Even these fade away after a period of time.
And the practitioner will be a non-starter all the time having lost both these
powers and the ultimate goal of `Moksha'.

These Siddhis have nothing to do with enlightenment; they help in merely
showing off and the pride generated by such stupid feats is clearly inimical
to spiritual progress.

Non- Siddhi Miracles
Besides the Siddhi miracles that are inspired by 'Siddhis' acquired through
yogas,  there are Non Siddhi miracles revealed for the benefit of humanity by
the supernatural force, we call God. Theseare actually not miracles but are
mysteries and will be discussed elsewhwere.