Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Shaktipat or Śaktipāta (Sanskrit, from sakti - "(psychic) energy" - and pāta, "to fall") refers in Hinduism to the conferring of spiritual "energy" upon one person by another. Shaktipat can be transmitted with a sacred word or mantra, or by a look, thought or touch - the last usually to the ajna chakra or third eye of the recipient.
Saktipat is considered an act of grace (anugraha) on the part of the guru or the divine. Its reception cannot be forced though the recipient must be open to such an influx since it also cannot be imposed by force. The very consciousness of the god or guru is held to enter into the Self of the disciple, constituting an initiation into the school or the spiritual family (kula) of the guru. It is held that Shaktipat can be transmitted in person or at a distance, through an object such as a flower or fruit or else by telephone or letter.
Recently I noticed that a well known guru was coming to Boulder and would be giving shaktipat one night. A friend had gone through this initiatory experience with her and reported that it had been extremely helpful in clearing her negative Kundalini symptoms. I thought it might be interesting to go through this experience also, mainly for the purpose of discovering whether or not this person might be a helpful resource for others having trouble with their rising Kundalini. Then I discovered that she charged a fairly hefty fee for her shaktipat.
And so I wondered why this was. Did she have to pay a large sum of money to activate her own Kundalini? Ultimately, divine energy comes from divine source, and, as far as I know, that Source (the guru within) does not charge for its services. Our blessings come from the heavenly realms, and thus are free. Our obligation is to "show up" and to be ready for sacred union when that occurs.
Again, I am confirmed in my view that the best guru is the guru within, and the services of this one are available at no charge at all, other than that you are prepared spiritually and in other ways to receive such blessings.
Here is an interesting classification of shaktipat, from Kashmiri Shaivism (found under "shaktipat" on wikipedia):
Levels of intensity of Śaktipāt
In Kashmir Shaivism, depending on its intensity, Śaktipāt can be classified as:
tīvra-tīvra-śaktipāta - the so-called "Super Supreme Grace" - produces immediate identity with Śiva and liberation; due to the extreme intensity of this grace the physical body dies; such a being goes on to become a siddha master and bestows grace from his abode (Siddhaloka), directly into the heart of deserving aspirants
tīvra-madhya-śaktipāta - "Supreme Medium Grace" - such a being becomes spiritually illuminated and liberated on his own, relying directly on Śiva, not needing initiation or instruction from other exterior guru. This is facilitated by an intense awakening of his spiritual intuition (pratibhā) which immediately eliminates ignorance
tīvra-manda-śaktipāta - "Supreme Inferior Grace" - the person who received this grace strongly desires to find an appropriate guru, but he does not need instruction, but a simple touch, a look, simply being in the presence of his master is enough to trigger in him to the state of illumination
madhya-tīvra-śaktipāta - "Medium Supreme Grace" - a disciple who receives this grace desires to have the instruction and initiation of a perfect guru; in time he becomes enlightened however he is not totally absorbed into this state during his lifetime and receives a permanent state of fusion with Śiva after the end of his life
madhya-madhya-śaktipāta - "Medium Middle Grace" - such a disciple will receive initiation from his guru and have an intense desire to attain liberation, but at the same time he still has desire for various enjoyments and pleasure; after the end of his life, he continues to a paradise where he fulfills all his desires and after that he receives again initiation from his master and realizes permanent union with Śiva
madhya-manda-śaktipāta - "Medium Inferior Grace" - is similar to "Medium Middle Grace" except that in this case the aspirant desires worldly pleasures more than union with Śiva; he needs to be reincarnated again as a spiritual seeker to attain liberation
manda - "Inferior Grace" - for those who receive this level of grace, the aspiration to be united with Śiva is present only in times of distress and suffering; the grace of Śiva needs to work in them for many lifetimes before spiritual liberation occurs
Note: the above classification is derived from the literature of Kashmiri Shaivism, and thus Shiva is referred to throughout. You can substitute other names for Shiva, such as god/goddess or divine reality, and get the same effect.
(image of Shiva found at http://samayatantra.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/inicijacija/)