According to Dawson’s dictionary on Hindu Mythology, Siddhars are equivalent to the Magi of Europe. They were people who strived for spiritual perfection to reach the highest goal of life. They are said to be 70,000-80,000 in number.
They were perfected human beings who have reached their full potential and have achieved all of the 8 supernatural powers:
- Anima – is the state of becoming as small as an atom and being invisible to others
- Mahima – is the state of becoming very big
- Ilagima – is the state of becoming weightless
- Karima – is the state of becoming very heavy
- Praapthi – is achieving impossible things
- Praghamiyam – is obtaining desired things
- Vasithuvam – is the ability to make others think in the way as the person himself/herself thinks
- Easatuvam – is becoming one with the supreme
In South India they were followers of the Shiva cult. It is said that Lord Shiva was the first Siddha. He has imparted his knowledge to His consort, Goddess Parvathi, and from Her to Nandi Thevar and the Navanath Siddhars. These Siddhars in turn, spread their knowledge to the famous 18 Siddhars.
There are various classifications of the most famous 18 Siddhars. The 2 different lists of Siddhars are given below.
The first school of thought
The second school of thought
According to Gnanakovai, the list of Siddhars is altogether different.
The knowledge and practice of Siddha medicine has been passed on from teacher to disciple for the majority of the time and the records which are now available are limited altogether.
Many of the hills in the South have been the favourite haunts of the Siddhars where they have been in caves to perform their penance or collect their valuable herbs in the surrounding forests.
Sage Agasthiyar is associated with Pothegai hills, Bogar with Palani hills, Kalanginathar with Kanja Malai, Ramadevar with Alagar Malai, Sattanathar and Korakkar with Saturagiri, Konganavar with Konganapuram hills and Pambatti, Korakkar, Agasthiyar and Avvaiyar with Kolli hills. Till today people believe and have witnessed that the Siddhars visit their hills and caves in the form of light. Trekking to their hills and meditating in their caves helps one to progress in his/her spiritual path with their guidance and blessings.