Who can give Shaktipat?

A guru who can give shaktipat initiation is rare. The word “shaktipat” might sound esoteric, but it is a sacred initiation, common to all religions. This initiation has been passed down from guru to disciple, called lineage or Guru Parampara, through the ages.

To understand who can give shaktipat, it is important to know that the original source of shaktipat is the fifth cosmic power of God – the power to bestow grace. The five cosmic powers are: 1. power to manifest; 2. power to maintain; 3. power to dissolve; 4. power to conceal; and 5. power to bestow grace.

According to Kshemaraja’s Shiva Sutra Vimarshini, verse 2.6, “Guru paramesvari anugrahika shakti,” which means Guru is the grace-bestowing power (shakti) of God.

The term Guru is used in two senses. The inner Guru, with a capital “G,” refers to the cosmic energy that is the substratum of all beings and all things in the whole universe. The outer guru with a lowercase “g” refers to an individual, who acts as a medium of the cosmic energy. Truly, when one receives the grace of the outer guru, one receives the grace of the inner Guru.

The outer guru hails from a Guru Parampara or the lineage of gurus. Only those who have received shaktipat can give shaktipat. It must be emphasized that such a shaktipat guru is always an urdhvareta yogi. According to Swami Sivananda (1887 – 1963), “An urdhvareta yogi is one in whom the seminal energy has flown upwards into the brain as ojas shakti.”

The outer guru is the pure medium through whom shaktipat happens. If an outer guru claims to be the original source of giving shaktipat, it is as if an electric light bulb is claiming: “I am the electric current.”

In Sanskrit, shakti refers to energy or power, and pat means to descend. Shaktipat is, therefore, the descent of shakti, which leads one back to one’s divine source.

When shaktipat happens, the infinite energy of God descends through the medium of the outer guru to awaken the sleeping spiritual energy (kundalini) within an individual. This awakened spiritual energy rises up the central channel (sushumna) of the spine. It travels all the way to the topmost energy center at the crown of the head known as the sahasrara (crown chakra).

A mere awakening of the kundalini is not enough; it must rise to the sahasrara. Only then can the union, called a full kundalini awakening, take place. When this happens, a person enters a state called samadhi and experiences the ultimate state of union with the Absolute. After this samadhi experience, the kundalini never becomes dormant again.

Shaktipat initiation is like sowing a seed. Just as a seed contains a tree in a tiny form and ultimately grows into a tree, the same can be said of what happens with shaktipat initiation.

Many people wonder how to find an outer guru who can give them shaktipat. If an individual becomes a worthy seeker through meditation on the inner Guru, an outer guru is bound to appear one day. The saying that the master appears only when the disciple is ready is absolutely true.

The insights described above are based on my book, Building a Noble World. In its Chapter 4, you will find my shaktipat experience, which describes transcending the physical body and mind and experiencing absolute reality. Actually, it is my shaktipat experience that led me to write this book.

May you be blessed by the inner Guru!

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