The Magic of Shaktipat, Part 2

The following is an excerpt from a book written several years ago. If you should find what appear to be inconsistencies in excerpts from my books, they are not due to informational changes, but changes in my own way of putting things.

Divine Energy  

Sanskrit, ‘the language of the Gods’ according to scholars, has several words for energy according to its function. Three of these are shakti, prana, and kundalini.

Shakti—The Activating Power

The word shakti means ‘power.’ Shakti is the Divine Energy whose function is to make things happen. Put another way, energy is called shakti when it instigates activity. Because it is shakti that gets things going, the word ‘shakti’ also implies initiation. In the Christian tradition, this same activating energy is known as the Holy Spirit.

Prana—The Sustaining Power

We do not have a word in English for the life energy. We have tried calling it ‘life force’ but neither word, ‘life’ or ‘force,’ has much to do with what it is that keeps us alive. In Sanskrit, the life energy in the body is called prana.  Put another way, when energy functions in the capacity of maintaining and sustaining life, it is called prana. Prana is responsible for healing and for keeping us alive. She has the power to sustain life indefinitely. When she leaves the body this is known as ‘death.’

Kundalini—The Evolutionary Power

Kundalini is what we call the Divine Energy acting in its evolutionary capacity. The word kundala from which the word kundalini is formed, means a circle, ring, coil, snake, or spiral. The word kundalini means ‘the little coiled one.’ Coiled up, it lies dormant at the base of the spine. After it has been awakened, the energy can rise up and begin the evolutionary process. Ordinarily, evolution takes place slowly with the birth of new bodies, but if kundalini can be awakened it has the opportunity to evolve the being in the current lifetime.

Harnessing the Life Energy

When prana is free to act on its own, it becomes very strong. Normally, however, we keep the life energy under the domination of our mind, and prana is not free. We harness prana in order to achieve our goals in life and to succeed. This is a natural phase of life, but there is a price. The price is to not attain liberation. Most of us are willing to pay that price. Not having had the experience of liberation, we don’t have the foggiest idea what we are missing. In fact, as long as we are getting a lot of our desires fulfilled and goals achieved, we feel pretty good, so there is very little motivation to look beyond.

I believe it is important to achieve some degree of success in mastering the prana. If you have never experienced success, you will never stop trying. Why?  Because at some level you have an awareness that it is important to find your power and know that you can be effective. This has to be real to you. If you feel powerless, you will be reluctant to let go, to give up control—you will be reluctant to surrender. In this state, how can you get yourself to accept whatever comes as a result of allowing prana to be free? And why would you choose to give up chasing desires if you never knew what it felt like to have them fulfilled? Fulfilled desire can seem like heaven on earth, but there’s a catch. Having had this experience, it can become addicting. It can lead to misuse, obsession, or indulgence, and the ultimate paradise of absolute freedom, liberation, is lost.

From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999,
Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D.


To that last sentence I would add: As long as you entertain a desire, you are reinforcing the illusion that you do not already have what it is that you desire. We all have it all. It’s just a matter of access. If you want to pursue something, pursue access, not the desire itself. That is utterly useless.

Durga Ma

Go to the list of posts on KUNDALINI.

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__||   Living the Mysteries, the spiritual journey of Durga Ma. Available for Kindle or in hard copy at

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