Ashta Siddhis Are Recipes For Success Without Stress
Sheetal describes a talk by Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, who discusses "Success without Stress" through parts of the Hanuman Chalisa.
Last night, I had the opportunity to attend an amazing talk by Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission. Swamiji has a lovely way of seamlessly integrating various stories into his talk as he makes his point. His talk was entitled “Success without Stress,” and he based it on specific parts of the Hanuman Chalisa. For those who are unfamiliar, Hanuman is one of the most popular figures in the Hindu epic Ramayana, and he is forever beloved by children and adults for his youthful antics and energy. The Hanuman Chalisa extols the glories of Hanuman in his selfless service to Lord Ram.
Swamiji began his discussion by explaining to us the eight siddhis (ashta siddhi) that are mentioned in Patajanli’s Yoga Sutras and can be obtained by very few through countless years of practice and devotion to all eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Siddhi can loosely be translated as accomplishment or a special power or unusual skill. The eight siddhis Swamiji described are:
Anima: Reducing one’s physical self to the size of an atom
Mahima: Growing one’s physical self to incredibly large size
Garima: Making one’s physical self so heavy as immovable by others
Laghima: Becoming almost weightless
Prapti: Being able to go/travel wherever one wants
Prakamya: Being able to obtain whatever one wants
Istva: Possessing lordship
Vastva: Being able to control the minds of others
Hanuman not only possessed all eight siddhis, but was also blessed by Sita as “Ashta Siddhi Nau Nidhi Ke Daata,” or one who can bestow astha siddhi upon others. When Hanuman first reaches to Lanka on his mission to find Sita, he makes use of anima so as to be discrete in enemy territory. He uses it again when he approaches Sita for the first time – reducing his size to that of a schoolboy, so as not to scare her. He uses mahima to outwit and overpower demons. He uses garima to show his power when Ravana, the demon king, temporarily captures him and brings him to the main court of palace. Not even the mighty Ravana could lift Hanuman’s tail.
The stories of Hanuman are many, and Swamiji could have continued on. But instead, he told us that these eight siddhis are the key to success without stress in our life. We just needed to extrapolate the meaning: