Miracles do Happen !

By london swaminathan

List of Hindu Miracles

Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh has translated into English a poem by  Tamil saint Thayumanavar, who lived in southern India two hundred years ago. This gives an idea of the miracles done by Hindu saints, particularly Siddhars.

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.


Some examples for each category:

You can control a mad elephant

Appar did it. Uthayanan did it. Kanchi Pramacharya did it when the Mutt elephant was in ruts.

When a raging mad bull came running through a narrow lane, everyone else ran helter-skelter. Swami Vivekananda stood still and it went back the way it came.

You can shut the mouth of bear or tiger

Ramana Maharishi did it. He lived with tigers. Sastha/Ayappan did it.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda gives details about a Tiger Swami.

You can ride a lion

Goddess Durga did it. King Bharata (India is named after him) did it.

You can play with the cobra

All the Hindu Gods have cobra on their bodies. Hindu saints tamed cobras. They meditated in forest and anthills formed over them over the years. Cobras use ant hills as their home. A cobra entered saint Ramana’s ashram and went back when he stared at it.

You can make a living by alchemy

Adi Shankara brought rain of gold coins.

Vidyaranya got bars of gold established Hindu Empire through Harihara and Bukka.

Appar and Sambandhar got gold coins from nowhere.

You can wander through the world incognito

Krishna multiplied himself hundreds time to be with all the Gopikas at the same time. Narada travels to three different worlds incognito and suddenly appear before devotees.

You can be ever youthful

Markandeya was ever 16 years old (Is that why we call sweet sixteen?)

You can walk on water

Padma padacharya ( Lotus Footed) did it when Adi Shankara called him.

When he rushed to serve his Guru he walked on the river and lotus flowers came out to hold his feet.

You can live in fire

Adi Shankara did drink boiling iron to teach his disciples a lesson, who were blindly imitating everything he did.


List of Eight Types of Miracles (Ashta Ma Sddhis)

Hindus are the only race in the world to categorise the miracles and gave examples for every kind of miracle in the mythologies or in the life of hundreds of saints. Though we hear about miracles done by other religious leaders, Hindus divided them into eight crystal clear types. They took this branch of science more seriously than others.

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 smaalest 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.Prakasyam : 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.


Miracles by Saints

William Joseph Jackson has beautifully summarised the Hindu miracles into several categories in his book “Thyagaraja: Life and Lyrics”. Following is the gist from his long introduction:

1. A miracle of origins: A god appears, often in a dream, and commands the parents to undertake an action or announces the imminent birth of a great soul. The musical trinity Sri Thyagaraja, Muthswami Dikshithar, Shyama Shastry and Vaishnava saint Vedanta Desikar, Telugu composer Kshetraya are also remembered as being announced in this way. ( in many saints’ life the dream plays a main role in the miracles either through the devotees or the saint himself). Mothers of Buddha, Mahavira and Adi Shankara had strange dreams.

2. Aid from an ascetic: Intervention by a long dead sanyasin (ascetic) or by a mythical figure. A holy man appears and gives a magical spell (Mantra) or gives his powers to the new person. Most of the saints see someone in dream or under a tree or in the guise of a devotee who they consider as people sent by god. Saint Ramanuja repeated Om Namo Narayana and became greater than his Guru. Manikkavasagar met someone under the tree and became his disciple. Mathurakavi did the same when he met Nammazvar under the greenwood Tamarind tree.

3. Learning from an extraordinary Guru: They receive education from some famous people or become the disciple of a great person. English educated atheist Swami Vivekananda was guided by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Adi Shankara was taught by his guru Govinda Bhagavathpatha. It is like cutting raw diamonds to shape and polish them.

4. Trial and Vision: Even though they are guided by a famous or a mysterious Guru, they also do their own penance. Saint Thyagaraja did repeat Rama’s name 960 million times. Adi Shnakara did long penance/tapas and went to various holy shrines. Valmiki did penance till anthills grew over him.

5. Tests and Trouble: Before becoming famous they were tested by God in many ways. Either the king or someone in power gives them all the troubles, but yet they come out unscathed. Pallava King gave lot of troubles to Appar, a great Saivite saint. Many saints were thrown into prisons by the kings, but yet they came out as pure as gold. Bhadrachalam Ramdas, Saint Mirabhai and saint Thyagaraja went through such hassles.

6.Performing miracles: They show their influence on nature. They can control all the five elements. They can bring rains like Muthuswami Dikshitar or they can make the floods subside like Adi Shankara. Kulandhaiyananda Swamikal of Madurai stalled a train. Only when the British officer realised his greatness and apologised to him the train moved.

7. Recovery of lost Objects: They can recover long lost objects or create new things from nowhere. Adi Shankara recovered some Spatika lingas (Crystal Lingas) and installed them in temples. He made a shower of gold coins when he saw a poor lady. Several saints did this type of miracles.

8. Power of music: They pour out their feelings in poems. They are in thousands. Since there were no stenos or voice recorders in those days, out of the thousands of poems we have recovered only a few thousands. Whether it is Vedas or Thevaram or Thiruppugaz, or the songs of great composers what we have got today is only a fraction of their productions- tip of an iceberg.

9. Predicting Future: Saints knew when they are going to leave the mortal frame. They tell their close devotees or hint at it. They also predict future. We have several instances in every saint’s life. Lot of saints tell their near and dear devotees what is going to happen in future—but only good things.

We can see a pattern in all these miracles. I started listing the miracles of Hindu saints, but half way through, I realised it is going to be a never ending task. We need huge volumes of writings to list all the miracles. India was/is/will be full of miracle men. Every village or town had at least one great man in the past. The number of historically recognised or recorded saints itself will run into thousands. Let’s at least accept MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!

Please read my previous articles on Miracles in the blogs:

1.Time Travel by Two Tamil Saints 2.Saints who Entered Fire 3.Mysterious Tamil Birdman 4.Do Hindus Believe in ETs and Alien Worlds? 5.Do Our Dreams Have Meanings? 6.When Animals worship God, Why not Men? 6.Two Mangoes that Changed Tamil World 7. Mysterious Disappearance of Hindu Saints 8. Mysterious Messengers for Ajanta, Ellora, Angko Wat 9. Amazing Power of Human Mind 10.Miracles! You can do it.

Contact swami_48@yahoo.com  or  swaminathan.santanam@gmail.com

*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.