Shaktipat

Shaktipat or ?aktip?ta is a Sanskrit word in the Hindu spiritual tradition that refers to the act of a guru or spiritual teacher conferring a form of spiritual "power" or awakening on a disciple/student. ?akti translates as spiritual energy and "p?ta" as descent(to fall down). Shaktipat can be intermediated by the spiritually enlightened master either by transmission of sacred word or mantra, a look, a thought or by touch. The touch is usually given to the ajna chakra or third eye of the disciple. Shaktipat can be transmitted in person or at a distance, through an object such as a flower or fruit, or via telephone or letter.

?aktip?t as an act of free will of God

?aktip?t is an act of Divine Grace (anugraha), completely undetermined. It cannot be forced to come by any action but it always comes of the free will of ?iva. However, the attitude of the recipient must be open towards such influx of illuminating ?akti, otherwise it will not be imposed by force as every human being is endowed with free will, including the freedom to reject God.

?aktip?t as a contact of consciousness

The guru passes his knowledge to his disciples by virtue of the fact that his purified consciousness enters into the selves of his disciples and communicates its particular characteristic. In this process the disciple is made part of the spiritual family (kula) - a family which is not based on blood relations but on people of the same knowledge.

Levels of intensity of ?aktip?t

In Kashmir Shaivism, depending on its intensity, ?aktip?t can be classified as:

Type of spiritual grace
When is the moment of liberation?
What one needs in orderto attain liberation?
What is the defining qualityof the recipient?
t?vra-t?vra-?aktip?taSuper Supreme Grace
immediate
nothing exterior, onlythe grace of ?iva
capability to abandon duality
t?vra-madhya-?aktip?taSupreme Medium Grace
immediate
nothing exterior, onlythe grace of ?iva
intuition of nonduality (*)
t?vra-manda-?aktip?taInferior Supreme Grace
after meeting a perfect guru
the presence ofa physical guru
total surrender for his guru
madhya-t?vra-?aktip?taMedium Supreme Grace
at the end of life in this physical plane
the initiationand instruction of a guru
intense spiritual aspiration
madhya-madhya-?aktip?taMedium Middle Grace
after living for some time in a paradise
the initiationand instruction of a guru
spiritual aspiration is more intense than worldly desires
madhya-manda-?aktip?taMedium Inferior Grace
in the next physical incarnaiton
the initiationand instruction of a guru
lower aspiration thanworldly desires
mandaInferior Grace
after many lifetimes of incremental progress
the initiationand instruction of a guru and lots of time

(*) Abhinavagupta distinguishes here two sublevels:

Modern accounts

See also

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