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Siddhis are NOT Real

May 25, 2011

Siddhis -supernatural powers acquired through stern spiritual practice- are not real.

How do I know? Well, I don’t really. Just like I don’t know for sure that the earth is not orbited by giant, flying teapots. Or that extraterrestrial lizards from the 4th dimension are not secretly running things on Earth. I just find it very, very unlikely.

The point being: that the burden of proof, when claiming the existence of such phenomena, must lie by the person who claims it.

If siddhis existed, why hasn’t anyone claimed the one million dollar prize for proving the existence of any paranormal phenomenon? It should be easy, if you are truly able to read minds, levitate, appear in two places at the same time, conjure up smells or whatever.

The complete and utter absence of any kind of reliable proof makes it very, very unlikely that siddhis exist. The nature of the human mind, on the other hand, makes it very easy to convince others that they exist. Why? Because we see what we believe, quite often. That makes people extremely easy to manipulate, especially if they are

  1. uneducated or
  2. religious/spiritual (i.e. relying heavily on faith to interpret the world around them)

See this video for a demonstration:

Why do Ravi Shankar want people to believe in his siddhis? Maybe because it gives him power. How are people manipulated into believing in him?

  1. Through greed. People are led to believe that Ravi can give them something: enlightenment, shaktipath, blessings, good luck, protection.
  2. Through fear. People are afraid of supernatural reprisals, if they act against his will. Not doing what he says is Bad Karma.

A central part of the religious belief system in The Art of Living is the alleged,  supernatural powers of Ravi Shankar. That makes him extremely powerful over those that believe in his siddhis, even if they decide to leave him.

Ravi Shankar has nothing that I want, and I am not afraid of him. Thus, he has no power over me. That is a nice feeling.

Ravi is not without power. He has thousands of devotees willing to do his slightest bidding, political connections, lots and lots of money…. But he does not have siddhis. Nobody has, because they are not real. They exist only in religion, and in fairy tales.

So, do not be afraid. free your mind, live in peace,  and have compassion for those unfortunate enough to still live in fear and greed.

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77 Comments
  1. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    May 25, 2011 3:53 pm

    The way I understand it – siddhi is just the growth of natural talents to extraordinary levels- where they start to seem like magic. Charisma, intuition, dominance, presance, perception, artistry, design skills, leadership skills – all these are siddhis – and the idea behind siddhis is that consciousness based education helps these talents flower in you.

    It is not as if one can walk on water, or change coal into gold using siddhis. As you point out – that is B.S

    • May 26, 2011 8:29 am

      Siddhis, as they are described in the scriptures, and as they are attributed to Ravi Shankar, are more than extraordinary talent. They are supernatural.

    • Independent Observer permalink
      June 1, 2011 7:33 am

      When Siddhi’s Don’t work….use the voting mechanism..a recent email from the AOL Matrix

      Dear Ones,

      Check this link [ http://www.manof2011.com/ ] and vote for Poojya Sri Sri ravishankar for the Man of Year 2011.

      Please circulate.

      Warm Regards,

      Communication Team
      Jeevanakala

      web : http://www.jeevanakala.com/
      e-mail : mail@jeevanakala.com | mail.jeevanakala@gmail.com | Skype : jeevanakala

  2. Mac permalink
    May 25, 2011 4:12 pm

    This takes the cake. An absolute mockery of siddhis!

  3. Harshal permalink
    May 25, 2011 4:19 pm

    “If siddhis existed, why hasn’t anyone claimed the one million dollar prize for proving the existence of any paranormal phenomenon?”

    Because if someone had siddhis they will most probably not need one million dollar. you guys are brain-dead zombies who cant think anymore.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 25, 2011 5:54 pm

      Actually Harshal is right for once – why go for a million dollar prize, when you can get billions of dollars by fooling unsuspecting people.

      But don’t you think the burden of proof falls on the people who are claiming these siddhis ?

    • Prakash permalink
      May 26, 2011 3:55 am

      “Because if someone had siddhis they will most probably not need one million dollar. ”

      Neither would he need Rs.5000/- for this course, Rs.3000/- for that course or Rs.50000/- donation to help tsunami victims in Japan.

    • May 26, 2011 8:38 am

      Think about it: you have a siddhi, and you get the chance to prove it to the world: That Mind can really triumph over Matter. Imagine the effect! Millions of skeptics (myself included) will be proved wrong. Their narrow, skeptical minds will open to the possibilities of meditation and spirituality. You will finally receive the respect and adoration that you deserve. The money, you can donate to charity if you wish.

      Why would you not want to do that? Is it because the negative mind of the scientist blocks your powers? Or maybe you are just afraid of being exposed as a fraud?

      • Observer permalink
        May 26, 2011 10:10 am

        Why would you not want to do that?
        Because you know that what are perceived as siddhis ultimately rests only in the faith and belief of the recipient, and that it is all a kind of placebo effect which will not stand up to scientific repeatability.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 11, 2011 12:07 pm

      These Siddhis are obtained by very intense meditation combined with mastery of all pranayamas…They do exist, I have seen them with my own eyes…to those who dont believe, go to Tibet and see for themeselves however those monks purposely dont show it…I was able to see only because someone was in trouble…Some lady had been stuck on top of a cliff like thing. There had been a landslide so the one route to the top was blocked.. Many Sherpas tried to climb it, but they were falling…then this monk came, he mysteriously jumped from bottom of the cliff across the edges and his jump was like 8 times the normal high jump of a person and he bounced so effortlessly, it seemed impossible that he was a human…later a resident of that place told me that he was using “darduri” siddhi and this same siddhi was used by warriors of ancient japan called “Ninjas” to leap from rooftops and scale walls…

      • Anonymous permalink
        August 15, 2011 7:03 pm

        I used to study Ninjutsu (which is the art of the ninja). People used to THINK ninjas could perform magic but they could not. Instead they performed tricks and they were extremely athletic.

        One trick was to carry a mini springboard attached to a rope around their waists. They would run up to a high wall, deftly throw the springboard just in front of the wall. They would then jump on the springboard and immediately pull it up over the wall with them, while immediately concealing the springboard again.

        To someone following them at a distance or in the dark it would SEEM like they had jumped a 16ft wall.

        The disappearing tricks were done using dust, smoke or distraction.

        Invisibility was just camouflage.

        Sorry to annihilate your argument.

  4. May 25, 2011 4:21 pm

    Did anyone see the new Nithyananda scam. He is now teaching levitation just like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi did. Here is the clip; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K78t2-W2jag

    As a former TM-Sidha, I think it is a complete joke. It looks just like we did when we flew with Maharishi’s technique. No one really flew. We just hopped around on foam. If Nithyananda is such a perfect siddha why doesn’t he demonstrate the effectiveness of his own technique and fly around the auditorium?

    It looks like he is trying to restart his flagging movement. What a joke!

    • Jagadish permalink
      June 1, 2011 12:03 pm

      That’s not a new scam, Nithyananda has been pushing his levitation nonsense for some years now. How stupid they all look, hopping around like frogs.

    • freeOne permalink
      June 1, 2011 1:36 pm

      People go to spritual movements to find a purpose of life. I fail to understand what’s the purpose of this hopping business, how it serves anyone? Can they fly and go somewhere (like Spiderman) and help a poor fellow. What’s point of this levitation in GURU business?

  5. Anonymous permalink
    May 25, 2011 7:50 pm

    My dear – Siddhis are not the invention of a person or SSRS. These have been mentioned in all Hindu Shastras and clearly defined. Also, Jesus walked on water, turned water into wine, had miracles everyday, cured people, rose from death, etc. In the Torah also there are several miracles and siddhis mentioned of all the prophets – should we list them?
    God created the world using miracles, powers, “Let there be light, and there was light” how? Magically?

    Such an ignorant post! Get educated.

    • May 26, 2011 9:06 am

      So just because the scriptures say so, that makes it real? As far as I know, all scriptures are written by men, and thus vulnerable to their misconceptions and personal bias, and anyway they are ancient most of them, and do not take into consideration the significant technological, philosophical and ethical advances of the last couple of thousand years.
      In other words, I find it very unlikely that Jesus literally walked on water, turned water into wine and raised the dead. Books written by men, or millions of people saying that it is so, is not proof.

      I find it very interesting why his followers found the need to highlight these alleged siddhis. And I wonder if Jesus accepted people attributing these powers to his person, or if he felt slightly embarrassed.

      Ravi Shankar is not the slightest embarrassed, apparently.

  6. The Doctor permalink
    May 25, 2011 8:50 pm

    If we were to define a miracle as something which does not follow the laws of the universe, then by its very definition it is impossible. This is of course based entirely on the assertion that the laws of the universe are static and cannot be changed, and thus far all our observations have reinforced this view.

    Now, if an individual claims to have witnessed something which may be called a miracle, there are only two possible explanations for this:

    1. Their account is at fault, either because they have somehow been tricked into what they believe they have witnessed, for example through hypnosis or by means of a magical trick, or they are simply lying.
    2. The laws of the universe as we know them are incomplete and have thus far been unable to explain the phenomenon in question.

    I would say that in the majority of cases it is the individual’s account of what they claim they saw which is at fault, and you have already stated a good reason why someone would go about doing this in your post above.

    However, and here I am going against the grain of what a lot of scientists/rationalists believe, I now believe that there is a small minority of these observations which fall under the second category. Why do I believe this? Simply because the truth is, modern science currently does not explain everything. And this I believe is one of the biggest problems in science today, that there are those who believe that our understanding of the laws of the universe and the laws themselves are the same thing. Clearly they are not, but since a large number of reported phenomena cannot readily be explained by what we believe the laws of the universe to be, they are immediately dismissed as nonsense.

    I also realize now that to a great extent science too is plagued by people with egos, and that is the other big problem in science today. Too many scientists are going around telling people that science has the ultimate truth and that any other world view, especially a religious one, is complete nonsense. By far the biggest proponent of this trend is the British biologist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion in which he denounces any and all ideas of God as being completely unscientific and concludes that it is highly unlikely that God exists.

    For most of my life I was a rationalist and for the latter half an ardent scientist. What I discovered through my dalliance with sprituality and even with Art of Living is that as a rationalist-scientist, I was actually very narrow-minded and unwilling to accept any other worldview as being correct if it didn’t follow the laws of science as I believed them to be. I also happened to start reading The God Delusion prior to becoming involved with Art of Living, and when I eventually finished it a few months later I probably became the only person in the world to have gone from being an atheist prior to reading it to being someone who strongly believed in the possibility there might actually be a God after all by the end of it!

    I now realize that in actual fact his book is completely unscientific, as are in fact many modern scientists who are attacking religion. They are stuck in the view that their belief is the correct one, that their path is the highest path and that all others are inferior. Does this in any way sound familiar to anyone?

    Science was previously all about making observations and trying to deduce laws which explain them. These days, however, scientists are doing the exact opposite, finding phenomena to support the laws they think they know, and rejecting any phenomena that cannot be explained by these laws as non-phenomena.

    For my own part, I have experienced a number of things, some of which I have detailed elsewhere, but two things I have yet to mention and which, in spite of all my experiences with AoL to date, still make me believe there is something else which cannot be explained by our current scientific world view.

    The first is meeting Sri Sri for the first time face to face. Prior to meeting him, Rishiji had implanted the idea in my mind that when people meet Sri Sri they are completely lost for words and they just feel overwhelmed and smile. Ok, so the first time I saw Sri Sri was during a satsang where he was just sitting on his throne waiting for the bhajans to end, aftervwhich he gave a discourse. There and then, I felt absolutely nothing amazing whatsover. But when I came to meet him in person, I felt something incredibly strange I’ve never felt before. Not just deep relaxation, but my mind was completely empty of any thoughts, it was beyond any state of relaxation I’d ever felt before or since, and it was so intense. Afterwards I was so overwhelmed I actually cried.

    Now, I described this to a friend who said to me that it was just like meeting a famous person such as a movie star, you would be overwhelmed by this as well. But the truth is I’ve met famous people before and there really wasn’t anywhere near the same feeling as this. I have also tried to work out if it was the seed of the idea which Rishiji had implanted previously. It’s hard to say, but to this day I believe that at that time there was some strange and deeply relaxing energy in the room at it was emanating directly from Sri Sri. Was I somehow tricked into this, and if so how?

    The second thing is something that happened more recently. When I was still with AoL, I signed up to a series of seminars with another organization, the subject of which interestingly enough was Tantra. Recently I attended one of those seminars, and afterwards I asked to be initiated (given a mantra). If anything, I wanted to compare the effects of this with the sahaj samadhi mantra I received from AoL and to see what differences, if any, there were. When I was given the mantra, I was told to practice it daily and repeat the mantra ongoing for 10-15 minutes, as opposed to pick up the mantra maybe 3-5 times in 20 minutes as I’d been advised with sahaj.

    What I discovered with this new mantra was something I found astonishing. You must understand that I was very skeptical especially after my experiences with AoL, however within a few days of practicing this mantra I began to feel it energize every cell of my body, until eventually something even more unexpected started to manifest itself. I had sustained a chronic sports injury which just wasn’t healing at all, however as I was practicing the mantra each morning, I started to focus on the area of the injury, and each day as I came out of meditation I felt around the area and it was getting better. A few days later the whole injury was fully healed.

    The rationalist-scientist in me is still struggling to explain this. I even tried various controls to see if it made any difference. I tried meditating with made up mantras, and it was just like sitting there feeling virtually nothing special. But as soon as I came back to the mantra I was initiated with, an energetic tingling sensation arose in every cell in my body, and at times it would even peak intensely and then level off. I just can’t explain it.

    It is these experiences which make me feel there is definitely something out there we don’t understand and which needs more investigation.

    Based on these observations, I have to ask, are siddhis just miracles, or are they something which we don’t fully understand yet but which some day we might? Well, as a scientist and a rationalist, someone who believes that science should be about discovering the truth rather than assuming we already know the truth, I would honestly say I believe the latter.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 25, 2011 9:28 pm

      Mundane (Rational) knowedge assumes causality. Higher knowledge tells you that the universe is acausal. Siddhis the way people see it is causal. In the spiritual sense – possesion of siddhis just means that miracles have happend around a person – not because of some magic powers – but in an acausal sense.

      So many of these concepts are abused by false gurus to attract flock that it’s better to stay away from talking and gossiping about it. The path of wisdom and inquiry is the safest and most direct path, especially given the times we live in.

    • Meditator permalink
      May 26, 2011 5:49 am

      Science only knows what it has discovered.

      There are so many mysteries that science cannot explain. I do not wish to get into another debate on whether Siddhis are real or not because this is just another belief.

      However, I’d request all of you to read the book “The Secret Life Of Plants” by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. (Download an e-book here http://www578.megaupload.com/files/8d52b825a439f051182748d9164588fe/Secret_life_of_plants.rar).

      A wonderful book which will be very difficult to believe for most. It says that even plants have life and feelings. One simple experiment that I started 3 days ago and is still in progress. Plucked 2 leaves of similar dimensions and health from a plant and placed them on my study table. To one of the leaves I daily give my love and affection and ask it to live. To the other I just give hatred. Amazingly, the leaf which receives love is still fresh while the one which gets hatred has already started drying up.

      This simple experiment is easy for everyone to try. Just let the love be genuine. Can science explain this?

      • May 26, 2011 10:06 am

        Maybe the water vapor and carbon dioxide in your breath nourishes the love-leaf? Or maybe it was just coincidence?

        Try designing an experiment that takes into account these two factors. How many leaves would you have to test, to attain statistical significance, and thus rule out chance? How can you make sure that both leaves receive the same amount of water vapor and CO2?

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        May 26, 2011 10:58 am

        If you want to do this – it needs to be double blind experiment – otherwise it has no value. Your “love” and “hate” can otherwise introduce a cognitive bias in the conduct of the experiment.

        As much as I believe in prayer, the scientific studies on efficacy of prayer have not shown anything. Same is true of homeopathy – yet millions of people believe in it.

        A bit of skepticism is good – one should not settle for easy answers, but investigate things in depth.

      • May 26, 2011 11:37 am

        @PW–

        Don’t you think that there’s an issue present in such studies, a sort of grand-scale observer-expectancy effect?

        homeopathy is basically a tradition of using the mind’s power of belief to heal. If we discredit or doubt it doesn’t work. Does that make it any less real or viable? Well, only if we think it does, right?

        I know it’s hard to get behind medicine that requires your belief– one feels a fool clapping to bring tinkerbell back to life if you know it’s just someone with a flashlight, but the unwillingness to believe *does* kill the fairy.

        is medicine that requires a person’s faith any less valid? then doesn’t that cast aspersions on the entire field, since even things like surgery are no better than placebo in some instances?

        http://www.mindbodyhealth.com/kneesurgery.htm

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        May 26, 2011 5:38 pm

        @Artofleaving

        For sure faith has a big role to play in healing, and should be leveraged properly. But on the other hand, when people are desperate, they are willing to believe anything – and that is guaranteed to drive you nuts in the long term, not to mention lead to flourishing of quacks and snake oil salesmen. The short term gains, if any, come at the loss of sanity – to me it’s a big price to pay. If you believe in homeopathy, then is it so far fetched to believe that earthquakes are caused by promiscuity ? Where do you draw the line between faith and superstition?

        Medicines work irrespective of whether you have faith or not. Science deals with objective repeatable data. It may not be always correct, but at least it is self-correcting. And It does have it’s limitations – it cannot be used to test matters of faith. You’d be surprised that most scientist believe in god. But it is of a different kind of belief – for a scientist god is the source of laws of nature – but maybe he is not a cosmic daddy whose only concern is your well being, and answering your wants.

        I do think you need faith in life – but it has to be an intelligent sort of faith, and should be active. Just faith and no action will not take you anywhere. Just action and no faith will keep you in a state of perpetual worry. Faith and action is golden. Sankalpa is very powerful – and I have seen it in my life. If you really have faith, you don’t need superstitions.

        The only reason I indulge in superstitions, is because they are fun. Silly, but lot of fun – just like santa.

    • May 26, 2011 9:32 am

      Doc, I am not saying that miracles do not happen. They do, sometimes. That is to say, events that has no current natural -scientific- explanation.

      When a miracle happens, a good scientist is thrilled: here is a chance to increase knowledge, and become wiser! And then he starts to look for a natural explanation to the phenomenon. Maybe he finds it, maybe he doesn’t. But he acknowledges the actual miraculous phenomenon, and he keeps looking for an explanation. In that process, his world view may change radically. He is happy with that.

      The bad scientist gets angry when miracles happen, because they threaten his knowledge, his status as scientist, his “faith” in how the world is constructed. He is not curious. He rejects the phenomenon on reflex, without investigation. He is arrogant.

      That way, the bad scientist has a lot in common with the religious person: both will reject facts staring them in the face, and cling to their faith.

      So, let us list the facts about siddhis.
      Do millions of people believe in them, and are they described in ancient scriptures in many different religions? Yes. Is that proof, or evidence of their existence? No.

      Has anyone ever dragged a levitating Baba from his cave, and made him levitate in front of scientists who made sure no cheating was going on? No.

      Has anyone ever been able to prove the existence of abilities such as precognition, telekinesis, mind-reading, materializing things out of nothing? No. No. No. No.

      Is the world full of con-men claiming supernatural powers to gain followers and personal wealth? Yes. Are they routinely exposed? Yes.

      A good scientist is humble, knowing that he knows very little. He is open, and curious. And he is also very, very skeptic. He is waiting for YOU to show him beyond reasonable doubt the existence of a siddhi, and then he can start work on explaining it. He will probably not be satisfied with answers like “God made it so”. He will ask, “Oh! But HOW did God make it so?”

    • senseworld permalink
      July 26, 2011 1:29 am

      @The Doctor, I find yours to be a very reasonable reply. Both science and spirituality have a lot to learn from each other but zealots from either side are not going to find the common ground to talk it through. I am a science dropout turned metaphysician for just this reason. I have a book out in which I try to cover a little of the common ground, or at least suggestively hint that rationalism and spirituality might not be mutually exclusive, and I’d be honored if you would take a look:
      http://senseworldcafe.com/index.php/indiscretions-on-the-path

  7. May 25, 2011 9:08 pm

    Ok here’s the thing. I know I’m going out on a limb here, but so long as I can have tea with Shirley Mclaine I really don’t mind.

    I think that believing our senses can make unerring sense of the universe *is* actually irrational. I believe there is far more to this existence than we can comprehend with our 1000-petaled monkey brain 2.0. And so, to be perfectly honest, I believe that there are things that happen or may happen in this world that are simply beyond our ken.

    Most of these miracles are undoubtedly cons. Most of the miracles ever recorded were probably cons. Does that mean that miracles are impossible? Well– if you define the miraculous as super-natural, as in above the “laws” of nature as most would, we can say that miracles are supernatural, paranormal events that go beyond a rational perception of the universe. No rationalist would ever concede such a possibility. UNLESS… he recognized that a rationalist point of view based solely on our sense perceptions and cognitive capacity is, itself, irrational.

    To make an absolute judgment on this one must assume we already understand the actual laws of the universe, and any quantum/theoretical physicist will admit that that’s not exactly the case. Not yet, anyway! knock wood.

    (see what I did there? ;-D)

    We don’t know why there’s something instead of nothing. So… I’m willing to admit the possibility that there’s a lot more we don’t understand.

    So with the humility to confess how little we truly know, and just enough cynicism to presume that most “miracles” are a hoax and that anyone *boasting* of supernatural powers is trying to sell you something you don’t need, I think we can still have fun on this little rock for however long we’ve got, safely and smiling until we die.

    with love xx Boadicea

  8. May 25, 2011 9:16 pm

    Ok I just want to say that I wrote that whilst our good Doctor wrote more or less the same thing. See that 18 minute gap? That was me getting distracted by websites on theoretical physics.

    Ah well. Let’s agree to agree. Doc, tea with shirley mclaine?
    x
    boadicea

  9. Anonymous permalink
    May 25, 2011 11:29 pm

    Skywalker,

    Your point of view totally negates most scriptures. That’s okay, if that’s what you believe. But it’s only your belief. You have never seen any demonstration of siddhis that was not a con, so you don’t believe. But fact is fact, and siddhis are in fact real, just as the scriptures describe. I am not so uneducated or religious or whatever you claim above, and wanting to believe these things. It just so happens that I’m one of many people who have witnessed things, up close, personal, not possible to be fooled, not a con, in too many places, to deny the existence of some talents (siddhis) in some people. If you told a man 200 years ago that he could sit in a big tin can shaped like a bird, and push some buttons, having read some instructions, and the big tin can would float up in the air making lots of noise, he’d think you were quite stupid or mad. Mankind can do all sorts of things. Siddhis are just talents developed from a subtle level through various practices. Because you have not seen them, you don’t believe in them. That’s probably healthy. Direct personal experience is always best, instead of blind belief. But to simply say they don’t exist, and that everyone who has seen them happen is stupid, is not very broadminded.

    • May 26, 2011 9:46 am

      I spent 10 years with Ravi, watching his every move whenever possible. I never ever saw him perform miracles, or demonstrate siddhis.

      I hung out with people in AOL who themselves claimed to have siddhis. I found them pathetic, deluded and lost. And certainly not in possession of any siddhis.

      I am not saying you are stupid, believing in siddhis. If you have strong, personal experiences, your belief is quite natural. All I am saying is: if for some reason you should wish to convince me, or any other person about the existence of siddhis, go and collect the million dollars, together with your siddhi-abled friends.

      Interesting, that you should describe my non-belief in siddhis as a belief in itself. That probably makes us partners in faith, when it comes to flying teapots and extraterrestrial lizards.

      • anonymous permalink
        May 26, 2011 12:59 pm

        SW,

        You didn’t see it, so it never happened? That’s one way of looking at things, and I still think your skepticism may be healthy for you. But I did see many things with him. It didn’t make him good. It didn’t make him kind or great. It made him “talented” at something subtle and odd and not seen each day. Those ‘talents’ are the result of his arduous practices, chanting particular mantras, etc. You probably have never seen the practices he does mostly in private. I have. They are powerful and do produce these things, given the time and energy. But they are useless for spiritual growth, and in fact, (look at his case!) actually make the person go backwards sometimes. My dislike of Ravi Shankar doesn’t take away facts of what happened while I was with him in close quarters. There were fewer people to impress then. Perhaps when you were there there were just too many people around? Who knows? I’m not asking you to believe me, just that you don’t state that your not seeing negates the existence of the possibility of siddhis in some people.

        I also agree with you that there are many deluded people around Ravi Shankar who claim to have siddhis, and do not. They were just acting out their clone behavior, trying to be more like him. By the way, intuition is a siddhi as stated by Patanjali. Most people have some of it. Few people have it so well developed that they can actually know things that would seem “miraculous”.

        I do not regard the performance of Siddhis as miracles. They are science. And the film you showed is quite funny! I’ve also met people who were fakers, and it was obvious to me.

      • May 26, 2011 7:45 pm

        @ anon:

        “You didn’t see it, so it never happened?”

        No, rather I haven’t seen any EVIDENCE, so my conclusion is that siddhis do not exist. Your testimony to Ravi’s alleged siddhis is not hard evidence. It is anecdotal evidence.

        I believe in lots of things I haven’t seen with my own eyes. Because the evidence weighs in favor of their existence.

        Show me evidence supporting your claim, and I will weigh it carefully. I promise.

  10. stupidseeker permalink
    May 26, 2011 3:48 am

    Are there any Siddhis which can make all ills of society vanish ?

  11. Anonymous permalink
    May 26, 2011 4:19 am

    If you would please just read this one page from Patanjali on Siddhis it will be helpful in this discussion – takes only a few minutes:

    http://www.yoga-age.com/sutras/pata3.html

    Of course there are several other Vedic texts on the subject far ancient and eternal to Patanjali.

    What science is digging into is only rediscovering and reconstructing the eternal knowledge of creation and consciousness. Quantum physics says that time and space are an illusion that nothing exists in true reality. It’s at the breaking edge of a revolutionary discovery that consciousness or being is the basis for creation. If you read the ancient texts it already describes all the quantum physicists and particle physicists are now finding. That to how but not why.

    The more you find out about the subtle microcosm within human and macrocosm i.e. creation, the more siddhis become quite understandable and not such a “miracle”. Scientists can’t explain any subtle phenomenon as how do we hear our thoughts, see images in our mind, what are dreams really, and so many things. And even what is perceptible to the senses is so limited, and knowledge based on inference is also limited. How do you know about history or your great grand parents? You trust books and verbal testimony, you have not directly perceived. In the same way the Vedas are a valid means of knowledge on creation and consciousness.

    There is incredible knowledge out there, and lot of things that are subtle like meditation, deep sleep, samadhi – are experience based. The ancient texts are the guiding principles. Anyone who goes astray from them is not a valid teacher.

    • May 26, 2011 9:56 am

      I always liked Patanjali. As I have also read and enjoyed the Bible. there is knowledge, moral inspiration and lots of good advice on how to live your life.

      But why take these scriptures literally? I mean, what if the lesser degree of scientific insight in those days made these guys misunderstand a lot of naturally occurring events as being Divine Intervention?

      Spiritual circles are very keen on embracing science when it apparently supports their faith. When science threatens their faith, it is put down as “superficial” and “narrow-minded”.

  12. Mac permalink
    May 26, 2011 5:00 am

    If the contributors of these blogs had any real idea about scriptures they would be spending time in a much better way than pursing progressively venomous blabbering. Makes one doubt which one is better or worse. AOL or this blog!

    • Jr. permalink
      May 26, 2011 6:04 am

      If the AOL extremists of these blogs had any real idea about scriptures they would be spending time in a much better way than pursing progressively venomous blabbering.

    • May 26, 2011 8:39 am

      Anyone who uses the “if you were more spiritual you would shut up argument” should shut up because obviously they aren’t very spiritual.

      just saying.
      x

      • Mac permalink
        May 26, 2011 9:40 am

        wow! tit for tit. tat for tat.

        May the person who writes the longest and eloquently take the trophy!

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 26, 2011 11:24 am

      The scriptures also say the world rests on the back of a tortoise !!
      Dogmatic understanding is not going to bring spirituality in your life.

  13. Doubt permalink
    May 26, 2011 12:42 pm

    After a long time our blog has entered in new waters. Very interesting indeed. I am not very sure whether Siddhis are for real or not. To me Siddhis are extra ordinary talents including control over others. One can only be controlled when one is weak. But when one becomes stronger it is very difficult for others to control a person howsoever extraordinary talent they may have. To control a person who is just not willing to be controlled si not possible using such siddhis. Most of the scriptures mentions about siddhi espcially after various stages of Pranayam practice and meditation. To me they appear to be simliar, if one starts body buliding and becomes a great bodybuilder. Only difference it is easier to achieve these physical siddhis is lot more easier than controlling you involuntary autonymic nervous system as has one been demonstrated by Swami Rama in the Menninger foundation. This has been documented in a book “Beyond Biofeedback” execerpts of the same are available at http://www.sadhanamandir.org/BFB2.pdf
    However, this does not mean that just because some one has siddhis one is enlightened. Towards, the end of his life, Swami Rama was accused of sexual harassment and was penalisded by an american court.

  14. Harshal permalink
    May 26, 2011 5:02 pm

    First he says “I am not very sure whether Siddhis are for real or not”

    Then with a great command, in the second sentence (not even in speculative tone) he proclaims, “To me Siddhis are extra ordinary talents including control over others”

    How much more idiotic can he be?

    “if for some reason you should wish to convince me, or any other person about the existence of siddhis, go and collect the million dollars, together with your siddhi-abled friends”.

    I can do this. What is the guarantee though that you will be convinced? For 10 years you were convinced that AOL is all good, now you are ‘de-convinced’. What if the same happens once I collect my million dollars?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 26, 2011 5:44 pm

      “For 10 years you were convinced that AOL is all good, now you are ‘de-convinced’.”

      Brainwashed is the right word. When you live in AOL echo chamber, then that is all you see. If you step out, you get more of a perspective. Btw., this blog has never claimed that AOL is all bad. Just that it is not all good. There is a difference :).

      As far as siddhis are concerned – no need to convince – investigate with an open mind, instead of taking someone’s word for it. But you are not the type to actually seek the truth and live in a state of doubt. You want quick answers – and RS is happy to supply them. Instant Enlightenment!

    • May 26, 2011 7:19 pm

      @Harshal:

      “I can do this (prove siddhis exist and collect the one million dollars). What is the guarantee though that you will be convinced?”

      Either you will convince me, and have the satisfaction of seeing me apologize.
      OR you can call me a hypocrite, and claim moral superiority over me (well, you do that already. But your claim will be so much more convincing).
      Either way, you are one million dollar richer.

      What do you have to lose?

      Except, of course… all credibility when you fail horribly.

      Eagerly awaiting your application

      Skywalker

    • Doubt permalink
      May 27, 2011 12:56 pm

      @ Harshy,

      Why don’t you take a course or two in English as a foreign language? I don’t know whether this will make you see light, but it will definitely improve your ability to understand other bloggers comments in true light and I have no doubt about that.

      • Harshal permalink
        May 27, 2011 1:31 pm

        I can take classes to improve my english, but what are you going to do about your intellectual bankruptcy? Doubt, I doubt that you are going to get a bailout.

  15. Anonymous permalink
    May 26, 2011 5:27 pm

    To Anonymous who wrote:
    “Those ‘talents’ are the result of his arduous practices, chanting particular mantras, etc. You probably have never seen the practices he does mostly in private. I have.”

    For those who don’t have Siddhis nor understand or believe in them – it is good to anyway be educated in what exactly they are. Also to know that anyone can develop them. Yes and mantras, yoga, pranayama, meditation and tantric practices can be used. It is best to be educated so you don’t get dissuaded by them, controlled by them, impressed by them. Ignorance can be extremely harmful. If you have great strength of spirit and have control over your mind, prana, and are established in your self fine – I am not there yet so I stay away from those around whom I recognize Siddhis. And I use common sense to judge also.

    Anyway, to the anonymous who wrote the post that you saw certain practices SSRS did in private – can you elaborate? Also, can you elaborate on what Siddhis, powers, extra ordinary things he did in categories? IT WILL BE OF GREAT BENEFIT to the readers and followers. Remember having developed powers of the subtle realm in no way means a person is GOOD. I would like to request an elaborate post on your observations.

    SSRS greatly differs in public and private. He should practice what he preaches.

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 27, 2011 1:53 am

      At a gathering in New Zealand during 2009, I have seen and heard SSRS saying that he has the ablity to feed hundreds of people even if the food is prepared for only few people. Thereafter, before any one asked any question, he said, “don’t ask me how “. He also put his finger on his lips and sealed his mouth to convey that it is a secret.

      On the very next day, I witnessed him distributing food to people gathered at the same place where he was asking everyone to eat ‘kheer’ (rice pudding) prepared by the devotees and distributing himself. There were a queue of people to receive ‘Kheer’ from SSRS hands. And as it happened, there was no more ‘Kheer’ to distribute. I saw his discomfort on knowing that ‘kheer’ was finished and there were more people waiting in the queee. I was curious to see if SSRS was going to use his miracle powers as boasted by himself a night before. However, I was amused to observe that SSRS stopped distributing ‘Kheer’ himself and left the place on some pretext.

      • Kitapati permalink
        May 27, 2011 9:22 am

        Feeding a crowd from the unlimited pot – Akshaya Patra, this is a standard must do miracle for Gurus and Guru wannabes.
        In the Mahabharatha when Krishna visitied Pandavas in their exile, he performed this miracle. Every indian guru wants to do this so that they can claim to be Krishna or get those links in their shishyas. Sri Sri is no exeception.
        BTW – the other miracle he does on the perfume. That’s an old trick perfected by many sleight of hand fakirs.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    May 26, 2011 6:18 pm

    BTW – I just found this in the Rig Veda it describes a Guru to a great extent:
    “Guru who accepts any kind of donation/money from bribe takers/givers and other avarnas (non-divine people) who are THIEVES of society is a FAKE guru (R.V 1-42-3).”
    http://intellibriefs.blogspot.com/2011/02/vedic-guru-is-preceptor-and-not-dealer.html

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 26, 2011 6:49 pm

      I think you have to cut them some slack on this….Most people are sinners – it is precisely because of their guilt that they give money to ashrams and charities. Most modern institutions are blind when it comes to donations. I assure you – Mr. Rhodes in who donated to oxford generously was quite a controversial guy.

      Sure there is an ethics issue here – but it is more complicated than just a simple yes or no.

  17. Anomi1 permalink
    May 26, 2011 11:11 pm

    There is another organisation who has a Siddhi program. Anybody care to mention it……..
    Yeap transcendental Meditation………..Dear Ravi’s old club. They have golden domes at their university one is actually called patanjali very funny indeed.

    for a look: http://www.trancenet.net/secrets/sutras/

    Mind you no one ever levitated, or perfected any of the 18 sutra’s given

    however the guru’s grace could not prefent at stabbing on campus – so much for heaven on earth (TM) or as they say one world family in (AOL)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maharishi_University_of_Management_stabbing

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 27, 2011 2:02 am

      of course this was because people were not ready for higher knowledge ;).

      • Jr. permalink
        May 27, 2011 2:30 am

        This is interesting to me, because I remember several occasions where advanced course participants were asking questions about the body, energy, etc. The teachers would often answer “This is too deep to be revealed to this group right now” sort of bullshit. They claim it’s because they want people to be mature and ready for it, but we really know all it means is they want you to keep taking course after course so they can slowly milk you for everything and give you a taste of the knowledge.

        Knowledge should be free to all since we’re all equal and deserve the same access to it as anyone else. No one is special, despite what AOL tells its advanced course participants.

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 27, 2011 5:53 am

        @Jr. most teachers in AoL are just puppets, they know the manuals by heart. Most of them don’t have any knowledge of the scriptures.

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 27, 2011 6:52 am

      @Anomi1 – that was a great link:
      http://www.trancenet.net/secrets/sutras/
      there’s a link to hyperventilation – so it came from TM days.

      And yes Siddhis are an obstruction to enlightenment. If you see someone using them I think they r not enlightened.

  18. May 27, 2011 9:39 am

    @PW

    Hi!

    Not to nitpick, but I’m going to have to pick some nits.

    “If you believe in homeopathy, then is it so far fetched to believe that earthquakes are caused by promiscuity ?”

    YES. THAT IS A HUGE, ENORMOUS GARGANTUAN DISPROPORTIONATE ILLOGICAL VERY LARGE DIFFERENCE.

    Former US Senator Santorum (whose name brings so many beautiful thoughts to mind –http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/ — thank you awesome Dan Savage…) used exactly the same kind of non-logic to equate homosexuality with bestiality. A man marrying another man, well is that so far from a man marrying a horse or a pig? Yes, senator, it IS.

    I could now use the same rhetorical trick to call you a homophobic bigot. See how that works?

    It’s not the same thing at ALL.

    Secondly, “Medicines work irrespective of whether you have faith or not. ”

    sorry but you had just said the exact opposite thing, which is that “faith has a big role to play in healing”. Beyond the placebo effect, there is even the “nocebo effect”, wherein a patient’s belief that a medicine will actually cause them harm creates in them the negative side effects they expect which otherwise have NO connection to the physiological effects of the drug itself. Medicine does NOT work irrespective of faith, and science is not that simple.

    x
    Boadicea

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 27, 2011 5:20 pm

      BW,

      The point I was trying to make was simply that when you start to believe stuff like “diseases and accidents are caused by individual bad karma” – it is easy to go from there to “earthquakes caused by societal bad karma kind of nonsense”. When you have Santorums and Pat Robertsons of the world use these sort of arguments to furthur their political agenda – the stuff is no longer benign. A person’s faith is the closest thing to himself – and can easily be exploited by others – in fact it frequently is, because it is the only thing that can cut logic. At some point discrimination has to come in – it is as important as faith.

      Sure Bad Karma > Stress > Heart disease/cancer and promiscuity > teenage pregnancies > lots of problems for society in long run. God may be crazy, but his/her madness has a method to it. There is need of a certain discrimination. Otherwise you lose all your critical faculties – and all of a sudden start believing in everything – from astrology, to numerology, and other voodoo cures, and become prey to snake oil salesmen.

      This is so common in AOL. If you’ve been around senior teachers – the stuff they believe is ridiculous. They seriously believe in every conspiracy theory, as if it is some higher knowledge that only they are privy to. It is funny when you see teachers going from talking knowledge in public, to go to talking about how California was Kapilaranya, and the Illuminati rules the world. And on top of that they joke about people being Bluestars.

      There is a fine line between faith and superstition. I can only define that for myself, not for others. But the question has a lot of value.

      • May 27, 2011 8:51 pm

        Fair enough, agreed for the most part, and I consider myself and the logic fairy appeased 🙂

        Thanks for the clarification and for understanding that a rhetorical disagreement is not tantamount to a personal attack amongst consenting adults. 😉

        Similar to SS’s point about innocence without intelligence being of no value, I believe that discernment and wisdom earned through life experience is necessary to a strong faith– kind of a marriage of the eastern virtue of shraddha with the western virtue of sophia/wisdom/discrimination. I like to think that’s where a lot of the cultural mixing we’re doing is leading us, a balance of our cultural virtues. Or at least, I’m hoping to personally find a healthy balance between discrimination and passionate faith.

        Yet another reason I’m grateful for my AoL experience, it helped me become less vulnerable to con men! 😀

        x
        bw

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        May 28, 2011 3:31 am

        Thanks for the clarification and for understanding that a rhetorical disagreement is not tantamount to a personal attack amongst consenting adults.

        You are welcome :). good thing about having harshal around is it makes us look really good for simply being normal.

  19. Harshal permalink
    May 27, 2011 10:36 am

    @theartofleaving : I have been reading your posts, and you display classical symptoms of ‘dumped girlfriend syndrome’. Don’t go around nit-picking everyone, especially the people who you think are on your side.

    • May 27, 2011 12:24 pm

      Hi Harshy, I’ve heard so much about you, it’s so nice we’ve finally said hello.

      You make a fair point; leaving a cult is comparable in many ways to ending an abusive relationship, in fact the syndrome/collection of psychological symptoms are remarkably similar.

      Secondly, grown-ups are allowed to disagree and to make it clear why and how they disagree. We earned that right when we left our cult, and we can exercise it as we please. I have a great respect for PW and I enjoy many of his insights and always look forward to hearing his perspective, but I also consider it necessary to point out enormous flaws in logic when someone is stating something as if it’s a fact when it isn’t.

      PW is a perfectly nice person but he has a tendency to state things from his perspective as if they are obviously and incontrovertibly the case. I disagree, and that is my right. You like insulting people, and that’s yours. Rock on.

      xx
      bw

      • Harshal permalink
        May 27, 2011 12:54 pm

        @theartofleaving: I have a bad news for you. Cult is not anywhere outside, it was just a thought process you created in your mind. Unfortunately you will carry your mind where-ever you go making-up cults where-ever you go..
        after a while this blog will be a cult for you and you will try to get away from it. You are already showing the signs, by disagreeing with a ‘perfectly nice person’ with ‘enormous flaws in logic ‘ who you *hardly know*.

      • Anon permalink
        May 28, 2011 12:32 am

        “I have a bad news for you. Cult is not anywhere outside, it was just a thought process you created in your mind.”

        How profound! There are no cults actually. Everything is in your mind.

    • zhoro permalink
      May 27, 2011 3:43 pm

      Harshal, it’s quite a curious phenomenon, this personality you a are keen on projecting here, to those of us who know you in real life. There couldn’t be a bigger disconnect.

      When did you pick up expertise in the dumped girlfriend syndrome?

      • Harshal permalink
        May 28, 2011 12:05 pm

        Zhoro: We are not in touch since a while and I have picked up a few things along the way 😉

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 28, 2011 8:30 pm

        Thank you; you echoed my thoughts exactly. Harshal forgets some here know his “proclivities.” Girlfriends? I think not 😉

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 27, 2011 6:40 pm

      Unfortunately you will carry your mind where-ever you go making-up cults where-ever you go..
      after a while this blog will be a cult for you and you will try to get away from it.

      Idiot!. Coming out of AOL is traumatic, but nothing compared to human tragedies like war and childhood abuse. People have an enormous capacity to heal themselves, move on, and thrive in their lives.

      • Jr. permalink
        May 27, 2011 7:46 pm

        Just can’t move on ol’ Harsy? lol You’ve been here for months, spewing the same old shit. Just can’t get this blog out of your mind, mm? 😉

  20. Anoop permalink
    May 27, 2011 10:52 am

    Quoting Feynman

    “Some years ago I had a conversation with a layman about flying saucers — because I am scientific I know all about flying saucers! I said “I don’t think there are flying saucers’. So my antagonist said, “Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it’s impossible?” “No”, I said, “I can’t prove it’s impossible. It’s just very unlikely”. At that he said, “You are very unscientific. If you can’t prove it impossible then how can you say that it’s unlikely?” But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible. To define what I mean, I might have said to him, “Listen, I mean that from my knowledge of the world that I see around me, I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.” It is just more likely. That is all.”
    o The Character of Physical Law. Cornell University Messenger Lectures (1964)

  21. karan permalink
    May 30, 2011 2:50 pm

    Hey guys… i dnt knw much bout AOL and its Sidhhis.. but i need a help frm sumone of u… i had a girlfriend who use 2 love me a lot as if nothing in the world can change her love for me…. we had sum problems and distances due to some issues and meanwhile she joined AOL… I thot its gud for her she will learn how 2 b practical in life n she will b better (as she was vry possesive, hyper-sensitive and over-reactive previously) but after getting back 2 her after a short period i found that the person i knew is no where and she is not ready 2 accept me anymore jus bcoz i have hurted her and left her alone… she says dat love is no more inside me now… i realise all my mistakes but somehow i wnt her 2 b wat she was previously… any help on dis wud really b a great help…!!! Thx…!!

    • Dev D permalink
      May 31, 2011 4:54 pm

      Best thing for you would be to join AOL and greet your girlfriend with ‘JGD’. She is now in the grip of the cult and it wont help if you are outside it.
      I had a similar situation once when my GF was caught up in a pentecostal cult which was just as silly as AOL. I even had to start speaking in tongues to woo her back.

      • karan permalink
        June 1, 2011 1:18 pm

        @Dev D… Thx 4 d help.. but i dint get u.. i mean wat is a cult.. n JGD?

  22. Jagadish permalink
    June 1, 2011 12:06 pm

    Magical siddhis don’t exist. If they did, they would have been studied and would be considered science today. Just like phones without wires or flying metal containers that carry people was sci-fi talk some hundred years ago.

  23. Raghav permalink
    June 2, 2011 1:17 pm

    But..b..but I *like* those sweet little extraterrestrial lizards from the fourth dimension. If I ask Ravi Ravi nicely, will he introduce me to his puppet masters?

  24. Conscience permalink
    June 9, 2011 2:35 am

    Siddhi’s or Psychological powers are real, It is as real as you see the external world. If you meditate earnestly for 6 months everyday 30 minutes, focusing your attention on God or on your heart beat rhythm or on your breathing or by focusing in between eyebrows, you will feel and experience siddhies or power’s of the mind. Of course you should NOT misuse the powers for harming others.

    During 90’s when i attended art of living course in Bangalore Ashram, Sri Sri Ravishankar was there and it was very hot afternoon and evening, the SuMeru was not constructed as it is now seen, it was only the ground floor then, Sri Sri asked participants how’s the weather and people said it is very warm and humid and hot, then Sri Sri casually said it should rain that evening. We have not seen any clouds in the sky. It was scorching heat. But later in the evening there was a heavy down pour and it rained till midnight.

    There are other instances of many people who experienced Sri Sri RaviShankar’s divine powers. Just to oppose some one, it is not correct and it is not good to write and say things condemning.
    i am not an insider, during his recent visit , In New York also some experienced his divine siddhis.

    However everyone is entittled to his/ her opinions. All Roads lead to the God.

  25. Anonymous permalink
    August 16, 2011 2:46 pm

    Siddhi’s simply means perfection in anything. If you study math and can solve a huge math calculation in a matter of second you are said to be siddh in solving maths. Its not really a miraculous thing. If you practice gymnastic and perfect it so much that you can do any gymnastic moves as easily as you eat something from your plate, its called a Siddhi. Similarly there are some yogic siddhis. Which happen when you perfect some pranayaam or mantra. For example experienced Shaolin Monks can break Iron rods with her head, or balance themselves on a spear through breath control. They achieve this though practice of Chi Kung a slow form performed by coordinating body movements with breath. So its not really a miracle. But do Siddhis exist, then I would say yes they do.

  26. Anonymous permalink
    August 24, 2011 11:04 am

    For the rational minds, here’s a question to consider. Please be honest as you rationalize my suggestion.

    The most important things in life are based on belief. Such as:

    1) Are you sure you are who you introduce yourself to be, are?
    2) To be rational and full of proof, have you asked your parents to prove to you that you are after all their offspring?

    I don’t mean any insult or injury with these questions and offer my apologies if it does cause injury to the sensitive minds there. But, please do think about it?

    Why get your pants in a twist about “siddhis” which we can not see/experience? Lets first get proof for things we take for granted. And lets start the rational process with the very first origins of each of our lives.

    Peace!

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