SUPERNATURAL POWERS OF SAINTS- FROM RIG VEDA TO THAYUMANAVAR (Post No.5057)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 29 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 10-14 am

 

Post No. 5057

 

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POWER OF TAMIL SIDDHAS AND SEERS IN RIG VEDA

Rig Veda is the oldest book in the world and it is dated between 1500 and 6000 BCE. It has got several hymns where the Yogic powers are beautifully described. Though lot of saints in later ages have sung about the mystic powers of saints and seers in North and South of the country, this is the oldest to document such powers. This hymn describes SUN in terms of earthly Yogis and Munis.

 

Psychic power of Levitation

1.Here is the hymn (RV 10-136)

 

The long haired one (Kesi) carries the fire;

The long haired one (Kesi) carries the poison;

The long haired one (Kesi) carries heaven and earth;

The long haired one (Kesi) carries all the sky which is to be seen;

The long haired one (Kesi) is called the Light.

 

2.The Munis (seers) wind girdles, wear soiled yellow garments; they follow the course of the wind when the gods have entered them.

 

3.Transported through the practise of Muni- asceticism, we mount the winds; you mortals see only our bodies.

4.He flies through the air looking upon forms of every sort, the Muni, who has become a friend to benefit every god.

5.The Wind’s horse (Vata), the Wind’s (Vayu) friend is then the Muni, incited by the gods. In both oceans he dwells, the eastern and the western.

6.Wandering on the path of the Apsarasses, the Gandharvas (in the sky), and wild beasts (thick forests), is the long haired one, who knows every desire, a friend sweet and more intoxicating.

7.Vayu, has churned for him; for him he pounds things most hard to bend, when the long haired one drank from the cup of poison with Rudra.

 

(Lord Shiva drank poison to save Devas and Asuras (demons and angels) when they churned the Milk ocean for Amrta (Ambrosia). Goddess Uma stopped it half way through the neck of Siva and he had it in his neck for ever and he is called Neela (bluish black necked) Kanta.

 

Like most of the hymns of the Rig Veda this hymn has also different translations. It is sung by Sapta Rishis. But all the translators agree on one point- the mystic powers of saints are explained here and the Sun is compared with them or used as a symbol for them. One interpretation is that the Yogis get the power of Sun, Wind etc through their practices.

Buddhists’ Six Supernatural Powers

 

Buddhists also describe six super natural powers in Digha Nikaya of third century BCE.

“With thoughts thus concentrated, purified, cleansed, stainless, free from contamination, impressionable, tractable, steadfast, immovable, he inclines, he bends down, his thoughts to the acquisition of the various kinds of Magic Power. He enjoys, one after another, the various kinds of magical power, the several varieties thereof:

Being one man, he becomes many men. Being many men, he becomes one man.

He becomes visible; he becomes invisible.

He passes through walls and ramparts and mountains without adhering thereto, as though through the air.

He darts up through the earth and dives down into the earth, as though in the water.

He walks on water without breaking through, as though on land.

He travels through the air cross-legged, like a bird on the wing.

He strokes and caresses with his hand the moon and the sun, so mighty in power, so mighty in strength.

He ascends in the body even to the World of Brahma”.

 

What the Rig Veda described in an archaic language (Vedic Sanskrit)  is described here in a plain language.

A yogi can pass through walls

Can become invisible

Can ascend to the Brahma loka with physical body

Can become many

Can walk on water and fly through the air.

 

Such is magical power, the first of Six Supernatural powers, of which the others are the Heavenly Ear, Mind-reading, Recollection of Previous States of Existence, the Heavenly Eye, the Knowledge of Means of destroying the Three Contaminations.

 

Jain Supernatural Powers

The Jains called such supernatural powers as ‘labdhi, sakti, rddhi’. We have the description of such powers in Hemachandra’s Trisatisalaakaa purusacarita:–

 

“They (Jain sages) were able to reduce themselves into so minute a form that they could pass, like a thread, even through the eye of the needle.

They could heighten their bodies to such an extent that even Mount Sumeru would reach up only to their knees.

They could make the body so light that it was even lighter than air

The gravity of their bodies surpassed that of Indra’s thunderbolt, and hence their strength (i.e. strong blow) could not be borne by the Gods of Indra and others.

Their power of extension was such that they could touch while standing on earth, the planets or even the top of Mount Meru with their fingers as easily as we touch the leaves of a tree.

 

Their strength of will was so great that they could walk on water as on land, and could dive into or come out of the ground as if it were water.

Their supernatural powers with regard to worldly glory were such they could gain for themselves the empire of a Cakravartin (Universal Monarch) or of an Indra.

Unprecedented was their power by which they brought under control even wild beasts.

Their motion was so irresistible that they could enter into a mountain as easily as into a hole.

Their power of becoming invisible was so unchecked that they could fill in the space of the universe with their multiple forms”.

 

This is more elaborate description of what we found in the Rig Veda (3-33 and 10-36)

Following is reproduced here from my old posts:–

Eight Types of Supernatural Powers

 

Hindu Yogis are very familiar with the eight types of powers called Ashtama Siddhis.

Siddhar is one who attained Siddhi i.e. special psychic and supernatural powers, which has been defined to be eight-fold in the science of yoga.

 

 

1.Anima :power of becoming the size of an atom and entering into smallest life.

2.Mahima : power of becoming mighty and co-extensive with the universe.

3.Laghima : capacity to be light, though big in size

4.Garima : capacity to be heavy though seeming small in size

5.Prapthi : capacity to enter all the worlds from Brahmaloka to Pathalam

6.Prakamya

: power of disembodying and entering into other bodies and going to heaven and enjoying whatever one wants from one place

7.Isithvam :  having the creative power of God and control over the sun, the moon and the elements

8.Vasithvam : power of control over kings and Gods.

Tamil Saint Thayumanavar sings about the Supernatural powers in one of his verses:

You can control a mad elephant

You can shut the mouth of bear or tiger

You can ride a lion

You can play with the cobra

You can make a living by alchemy

You can wander through the world incognito

You can make vassals of the gods

You can be ever youthful

You can walk on water

You can live in fire

You can achieve all Siddhis at home

But to control the mind is rare and difficult.

 

(*Tamil original is given at the end)

Controlling mind is harder than doing miracles. When a person starts doing severe penance he gets lots of temptations from the angels. (Kanchi Paramacharya says in one of his lectures that the angels hover around you and beg you to use them). Anyone who falls a prey to such temptation is trapped with women or gold or some strange desires such as building a new temple or starting a new movement or creating a Utopia. Those who ignore and go beyond that temptation will reach God. But there are some saints, who come back from that stage to awaken the mankind. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that knowing that there is a big ocean of ever bliss, they rush back to the world to announce: Please Believe me, Please come with me, Please Join me to merge with the Nithya Ananda=Bliss forever.

 

*Tamil Original of Thayumanavar song:

கந்துக மதக் கரியை வசமா நடத்தலாம்;

கரடி வெம்புலி வாயையுங் கட்டலாம்;

ஒரு சிங்கம் முதுகின் மேற் கொள்ளலாம்;

கட்செவி எடுத்தாட்டலாம்

வெந்தழலின்  இரதம் வைத்தைந்து லோகத்தையும்

வேதித்து விற்றுன்ண்ணலாம்;

வேறொருவர் கானாமல் உலத்துலாவரலாம்

விண்ணவரை ஏவல் கொள்ளலாம்;

சந்ததமும் இளமையோடிருக்கலாம்

மற்றொரு சரீரத்திலும் புகுதலாம்;

சலமேல் நடக்கலாம்; கனல் மேலிருக்கலாம்

தன்னிகரில் சித்தி பெறலாம்

சிந்தையை அடக்கியே சும்மா இருக்கின்ற திறமரிது.

–Subham–

 

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