Shakti- The divine power

Aparna Chatterjee

Mystics all around the world have thrived on the concept of duality. Parties on the opposite side of the see-saw and the balance between them dictated the equilibrium of the human mind as well as that of the society. India, for one, has come far by accepting these concepts a little more than others in its culture and religion. Although the traditions and the ancient mythology might not be in great synchronicity, the importance of Shakti has never been undermined.  

Life- Energy or Prana, has its dual forms- Shakti and Shiva. Where Shakti is the energy and Shiva is the conscience.

The names may differ from place to place. People call it Yin-Yang, Hun-Po from East Asia, Ka-Ba from Egypt, or Olympic – Chthonic in Ancient Greece. It meant that both Feminine and Masculine characteristics should be balanced. Although, there were other interpretations, where duality consisted of good and evil and the balance of it. The whole idea is that both good and evil are necessary to maintain balance in the world.

Feminine and Masculine energy-

Shakti- the Feminine aspect has always been associated with chaos, emotions, freedom, and motherly traits. Hence, in almost all ancient religions, a female deity is associated with both love and war. Because a mother will care for her children day and night, but if any danger comes, she will fight for them. Just like we have Devi Parvati- a docile manifestation of Shakti who is worshipped for the protection of children and pregnant women, Devi Kaali- a warrior manifestation of Shakti who is known for slaying demon Raktbeej. We have goddesses of similar nature in ancient Greek mythology as well. We have Athena- the goddess of war and Aphrodite- goddess of love and fertility. The same goes for ancient Mesopotamian mythology. Inanna was the first goddess of Love and Sumerian goddess for both love and war. 

Shiva- the Masculine aspect has been associated with order, logic, clarity, and paternal traits. In Sanatana Dharma, we have the holy trinity for maintaining law & order and conserving life. We have Lord Brahma- the creator, Lord Vishnu- the protector, and Lord Shiva- the destroyer. It is believed that in every yug, a new alter of Shiva and Vishnu came to protect control and destroy the evil. In ancient Greek Lord Shiva is also known as Dionysus or ‘God of the Orient’. People also drag out the similarities between Poseidon and Lord Shiva. While we have very specific reasons that one might worship Shakti, Masculine counterparts are worshipped for anything from abundance to and removal of obstacles. Lord Ganesha, for instance, is called ‘Vighnaharta’, which means the one who curbs all your problems. We can also see similar attributes associated with Lord Shiva and ancient Egyptian God Atum and God Seth. These gods in all manner were worshipped for materialistic needs as well as were associated with justice, destruction of evil, and so on…

Names of the deities may change from religion to religion, from culture to culture. Different demigods and manifestations are present for one to choose and pray as per their needs. The only thing that stays common in all the ancient religions is the concept of duality. In simple terms, Shiva is a portal, and Shakti is the fuel one needs to get there.

Concept of Chakras

Yoga has been developed to make one’s body ready to use and enhance Shakti in a certain way. Chakras or nodal points have been identified that help gives a map for the one who is pursuing them. There are 114 chakras in total from which 7 chakras are in the alignment of the spine that is most prominent and relatively easy to work on. Each chakra is associated with various emotions, colors, mantras which can be used to ease the passage of energy or Shakti through them. For example, if you’re feeling low in confidence or feeling guilty for not sticking up for yourself, working on the Solar plexus chakra which is situated near your navel will help on it. It is associated with the color yellow and sound RM. When you come across phrases like ‘Chakra is blocked’, ‘Energy blocks’, it primarily means that the flow of energy or Shakti is not efficient there. Crystals can be used as well.

Mysticism all around the world has explored these areas in different ways. While some were called witchcraft, some managed to establish well-operated cults that helped others to explore this inner energy we all have.

Fasting-

Fasting has been important in almost every religion we know. People fast on a specific auspicious day, or a day of the week, some fast for days in a row. Science, now, has found out multiple benefits of fasting. The practice of Intermittent fasting, water fasting, dry fasting is famous worldwide. Fasting has been proven to render people with better health, clarity and has been shown to improve neurogenesis as well. The energy which is used to digest loads of food in the body is then utilized to heal ailments. According to mystics, fasting helps us have better antennas to receive energy and keep the vessel(body) clean to store and flow the energy. Fasting helps in the flow of energy in the body. Ancient Yogic traditions promote fasting and eating more energy-prone food like fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables, etc. 

Universal Consciousness-

Universal consciousness is the idea that we are a part of the same entity/ energy/ consciousness that we worship. It is in parallel with Newton’s first law of energy- Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The energy changes its form from one to another. The entire concept of energy, its dual types, its balance, and that it is the part of the universal energy has been changed in one form or the other. Spirituality is the salient fabric of any religion. But spirituality is mutually exclusive of any religion. It is beyond the physical aspects of a human being. Hence it is seen as something sacred and omnipresent.  

As someone who has become too busy in the mundane world, some spiritual practices can bring an ounce of peace and clarity. The purpose is not to outdo someone else or even gain something of higher purpose; the aim is to be your true self and enrich what you are. Being this far ahead in life, we are sure that we are not merely here to fight for our survival and die. Being that said, what is the use of the gift of life if one couldn’t understand its true nature?

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