Shaktipat is a Sanskrit term referring to energy transfer. Typically, it’s understood around a guru giving a students energy a kick. The classic illustration is the teacher tapping the students third eye. Kazap!
But Shaktipat is much more than this. Another word we might use is grace.
The grace of God or grace of the guru. A flow of source light into the soul. The divine descending into the person in the form of awakening or of certain openings. A few examples come to mind.
A meditation teacher will typically do a ceremony, meditate or otherwise prepare themselves prior to teaching. This ensures they come from as high a level of consciousness as possible. The teaching thus flows “down” and the student receives something of an expansion of consciousness, a bit of grace to kick-start to their practice. The seed is planted very deeply in silence.
This, in addition to the benefits of a teacher to guide them in what is essentially an experiential process. While one may be able to learn meditation from a book, it leaves out the grace or a good start. The seed is planted less deeply, potentially reducing future connection to grace.
There is also the passing along of tradition. Adyashanti talks about this in handing down the Zen tradition from teacher to teacher. What is passed on is not just a teaching but a spark of grace, the light of the lineage. Vedic tradition speaks similarly. This also points to why knowledge is lost. When there is no vehicle to pass the light on to. As the old Sanskrit proverb says, “Knowledge in books remains in books.“
It should be noted that this never flows upwards. The teacher must have a higher consciousness than the student. If the student outgrows the teaching, the flow stops or is much reduced.
Also, such flow is never forced. It must be accepted by the student. They must be open and willing. This is the value of tapas, of spiritual practice. But also of acceptance. I’ve seen many unwilling to accept they may be having an awakening experience. This resistance ends the flow, closes the door.
Now certainly, a new experience can cause us to react with uncertainty. This is not uncommon. But if we push back, it will end.
Grace is thus in relationship. There must be the flow and the receipt. Some teachers speak of keeping an artificial distance, a Lesha Avidya or faint remains of ignorance to maintain the flow with their teacher. This illustrates how grace changes from being the gift of a moment of waking into a continual flow. The greatest light you’ve ever felt, an ongoing experience. God flowing through you.
What’s most interesting is what an individual may require to awaken. This speaks to why some awaken spontaneously and others have a process and different requirements.
Kashmir Shaivism speaks of these gradients of grace.
– Liberation may be complete and instant and the physical life ends.
– It may be done solo, with only God’s grace. Or if uncertain, with followup help from further study.
– It may require the presence of a guru to allow. No instruction, just presence.
– It may require a gurus instruction, a practice, then unity completes at death.
– Further fulfillment of desires may be required, thus some time in paradise before completion.
– Some may still seek worldly pleasures, requiring another life for liberation.
– And some require many lives for grace to work through them.
This is not unlike a vehicle for faith. Some find easy faith with the formless, some express devotion with God in form, and some most easily flow divine love to a person. Each of us has our own journey and requirements. What must be done, what must be released, and what must be allowed. This is the souls journey.
If you recall the recent article Awakening is not Experienced, you’ll know that grace or Shaktipat are not “things to experience”. If there is a big experience, it is the clearing. When there is little effect, it means the channels are open.]