Siddhars and Supernatural Abilities Part 1

I was delighted to find that Dr. Kulreet Chaundary included a brief description of the famous Siddhars in her new book, Sound Medicine. The word is not well known but their abilities have been portrayed in epics and in folklore and in sci/fi.  Huh?  You say?  Think back to the old Superman comics and the original TV series.  NOT that old, eh?  Well, I grew up watching Superman in black and white.

Superman was able to “leap to the top of tall buildings”.  And he could fly.  Always thought it looked odd until I watched how Lord Hanuman (Sri Hanuman or Hanuman-ji) has been depicted flying in the Ramayana.

Yes, yes.  I’ll talk about the Siddhars – just be aware that one of their abilities is FLYING!

George Reeves made Superman famous.  Unfortunately, it appears Reeves was murdered. Reeves’s death was a HUGE scandal when I was little. Oddly enough Christopher Reeve, who also portrayed Superman, had a nasty twist of fate. But if go into all the weird “coincidences” we find in history, I’ll never get this post published.

Take a look at how each actor is portrayed flying.  Now I understand we are dealing with actors but even in old illustrated manuscripts, this is how flying is depicted.  IF you have ever had a lucid dream where you’re flying, try to recall if this is the position you were in.

And not to belabor the point but Peter Pan teaches Wendy to fly the same way.

Now let’s quickly jump or take a flying leap to see Sun Wukong, the Great Sage of Heaven. He uses a magical cloud as a flying skateboard.  This clip is from my favorite version. Here in the opening scene of the 1986 CCTV Journey to the West starring Zhang Jin Lai as Monkey* and Xu Shao hua as the Tang dynasty monk, Sanzang, also called Tripiṭaka. Sanzang has been charged with traveling to India to bring back the Buddhist sutras. In this clip, we see Sun Wukong doing multiple somersaults at first and then skateboarding or surfing on a cloud.

This is far different from just levitating.  Both Hanuman-ji and Sun Wukong were able to fly great distances.  They were also both able to shrink to very tiny, TINY sizes – even as small as a fly or gnat or even a grain of sand.  The first of the eight Siddhas translated as supernatural powers is called Aṇimā.  Hanuman-ji was a master of Aṇimā.

Both Hanuman-ji and Sun Wukong were masters of Mahima – the ability to assume a gigantic form.  Hanuman-ji expanded his form multiple times.  In this scene Rama’s brother, Lakshman, stands on Hanuman-ji’s shoulder in order to battle a gigantic asura (demon) called Kumbhakarna.

I can’t find the scene where Sun Wukong matches Erlang’s cosmic size but it is well described by Jim R. McClanahan who writes one of the most well researched blogs on any subject I have ever found.

Although not on the list of the 8 Siddhis, shapeshifting into everything from an animal, insect, other person or “being”, or even something like a teapot or plant is one of the transformations described in the Taoist tales. 

Oddly enough, Sadguru (Jaggi Vasudev), founder of the Isha Foundation, was asked about Hanuman-ji and here is the clip of his answer. 

I watched this and had flashbacks to reading every single book by and about Carlos Castaneda and a rabbit hole I went down in the archives of the University of Texas El Paso where I found Daniel G. Brinton’s 1894 86-page manuscript.  Back then it was not a well known work so I made a photocopy.  Today you can download it.  Nagualism: A Study in Native American Folklore and History by Daniel G. BrintonNaguals were reported to be able to shapeshift into animals. 

If you want to lie awake at night, watch this video of Navajo Ranger Jonathan Dover. At the moment I can’t find the one where two rangers are describing HOW someone becomes a skinwalker but it involves brutally killing close relatives and loved ones.  Murder as a means for obtaining “powers” is not unlike how Bhandasur was told to throw his very young daughter, Rashmiprabha, off a cliff into a pit of fire in order to obtain a weapon that would resurrect several demons and an arsenal of weapons to try to kill Goddess Parashakti.

Now that you have watched Sadguru talk about shapeshifting and why you should not choose to become a chicken or you might end up as someone’s tandoori lunch, take note of how Sun Wukong almost ended up as a fried fish!

If you think this topic is just too strange for words, keep in mind that Dr. Chaundhary is working with the avatar of Narayani, Amma, translating palm leaves written by the siddhars about MEDICINE! Plus, there are multiple websites describing siddhis – some look like they have cut and pasted but others like this one seem “grounded” enough to share.


*If you are a fan of Sun Wukong, I highly recommend you watch this video. It is AMAZING!


2 thoughts on “Siddhars and Supernatural Abilities Part 1

  1. It was my understanding that George Reeves committed suicide.
    I think most of us wish we could fly but I agree with the Chinese that flying standing up is more reasonable.
    As for those that kill others in order to gain their powers, those are some sick people. As for flying in our physical bodies. don’t think so. Otherwise we would see objects and people levitating right and left. I do believe that Saint Theresa of Avila levitated. It was observed so many times. but she did it while in rapture. maybe that’s the key.


  2. Thank you for linking to my research blog. It has been suggested by one scholar that Sun Wukong’s jumping is based on the real life acrobatics of monkey street performers as seen by the novel’s author in the Ming-era market place. I agree because this is likely the origin of Hanuman’s magnificent leap across the sea to Lanka. Langur monkeys can jump amazing distances.

    I occasionally have dreams about flying, but I don’t lay prone like Superman; I actually sit cross-legged and can go in any direction I want on the XYZ axis.


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