Shakti, the intrinsic grace of the Divine Mother Goddess, holds the supreme power of spiritual, psychosomatic and bodily well-being. Connecting to Shakti we can unravel all the energies of healing – both for healing ourselves and healing others. Drawing from the sacred source of the universal Shakti, one can move beyond the limitations of all outer therapies, medications and even psychoanalysis. The force and benevolence of the Goddess in her manifestations as Bhu Devi or Mother Earth, and Maha Prakriti or Great Nature, allow us to restore our health and rejuvenate through the flow of divine grace.
Mother Earth and Mother Nature carry the Shakti essence of all healing. Everything in the universe possesses its own special healing power or Shakti. Ayurvedic medicine teaches us how to recognize, understand and work with these different healing Shaktis in its various therapies. The Hindu yogic approach manifests a healing power through its sacred sciences of Devi Tantra, Bhakti Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, Mantra Jnana, Vedanta and Yogasana. To embrace the healing power of Shakti we must understand and inculcate the principles of our ancient rishi culture.
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Vayu Mandala, the Atmosphere in Vedic Thought Holds the Pranic Shakti
The atmosphere forms the dominant realm of the Earth’s prana, the global vital force through which the planetary organism functions. The term “atmo” in atmosphere derives from the Greek term for breath that relates to the Sanskrit term Atman, which is not merely the breath but the spirit as well. The forces of the atmosphere—what is called the sphere of the winds or Vayu Mandala in Vedic thought—are responsible for the weather and seasonal changes that drive the movement of all life on the planet. The atmosphere is the sacred breath of the planet, which grants life to all creatures!
Being in sync with the rhythmic waves of the Vayu Mandala and sacred Vayu Yantra, patterns formed through the pranic atmospheric forces grace us with vitality. The rapid fluctuations of the atmospheric forces and their subsequent weather patterns are the primary factors in the outer world for health and well-being. Our ability to adjust to their daily and seasonal rhythms determines whether we resist or succumb to psychosomatic disorders, ailments or diseases starting with the common cold and extending to collective epidemics and plagues.
The forces of the atmosphere hold the Shakti of the universal prana. The ecosystem or flora and fauna convey the powers of heat and cold, dampness and dryness, wind and sunlight, making their mark upon nature, our physical being and its energies. Atmospheric forces shape the outer environment, to which our inner environment or bodily state must harmonize itself in order to maintain balance. Each one of us can be said to be a manifestation of the atmosphere, incarnate as an individual being, which exists as the breath or prana within us. Living creatures are atmospheric forms that move along the planet’s surface like the winds. In addition, we have our own ‘inner atmosphere’, which manifests our emotional and energy sphere. How we fine tune our emotions and mindset to its intrinsic nature, is essential to our psychological well-being.
Shiva is the great Lord of Prana and the Devi or Goddess is the grace which directs its flow. The divine Lila of Shiva and Shakti as a manifestation of cosmic dynamism reside behind the play of our own prana or life force. Being in sync with Mother Nature helps us live in this flow of benevolence. The lightning in the atmosphere reflects the vibrant Shakti or life force of the Earth, holding the solar energy in the clouds, which begets the rain that nourishes all living creatures. The atmosphere is the great sphere of Shakti on Earth with its dramatic storms and shifting clouds that move swiftly on a daily or even hourly basis. Without the dynamic flow of air through the atmosphere, life would not be possible even for a moment.
Creating an awareness of this intrinsic play of our ‘inner and outer atmospheric Shakti’ carries the mystic code of our universal well-being. Today, as we pollute the atmosphere, we are disturbing the flow of Shakti on the planet, which is like playing with lightning. This must have eventual destructive consequences as it upsets the bio electrical currents of nature and of our own bodies. The recent global increase in hurricanes, droughts and floods indicates the possible calamities that such an interference with the root of nature’s power can bring about. If we severely disrupt the Shaktis of Mother Nature, we can set in motion, forces that are beyond our control and may eventually threaten the very existence of civilization as we know it. We must appreciate and learn to work with the Shaktis of Nature rather than against them. For this to be really possible, we must first recognize and honor these forces of nature as the Shaktis or Goddesses that they really are. Ancient traditions understood that in honoring the Great Nature through rituals, chanting and conservation, they were able to live in harmony with the rhythms of the earth, nature and the heavens. Most of our adverse misfortune has been a consequence of human medley and follies with divine grace.
Shakti is the vital force of curative remedial measures starting with the energy of awareness that brings balance and integration into all that it explores. Different invigorating therapies have their specific Shaktis, like the therapeutic power of massage and restorative touch.
The Healing Shaktis of Plants as the Ishta Devata or Chosen Deity to Worship
The healing powers of the atmosphere and space enter into plants through the influences of the Sun, Moon and rain. Plants, both as foods and herbs, are our natural healing substances, carrying the fluid of life and light from the entire cosmos. Foods have their special healing and nutritive potential and powers or Shaktis. These are reflected not just in the bulk constitution of specific food items in terms of sugars, fats and proteins, but also in their subtle nutrients of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
At a deeper level, it includes the prana that plants carry and the feelings with which they are prepared for consumption. Though their nutritive power is less, herbs have stronger healing Shaktis than foods. This is reflected in their therapeutic powers to facilitate rejuvenation, promote sweating or urination, to remove cold or fever, to stop bleeding, to promote the healing of wounds, to just list but a few of their many capacities.
The Shaktis of foods and herbs rest mainly on their energetics as defined in Ayurvedic medicine as taste, heating or cooling effect, and long term effect upon the digestive system, as well as other special properties (rasa, virya, vipak and prabhav). A good Ayurvedic practitioner understands the intricate healing powers and properties of both foods and herbs. This includes both their inherent potencies and how these can be altered through various preparations or combinations. Once we learn to taste and imbibe the Shakti in foods and herbs, they gain a healing power far beyond their particular chemical constituents. They can also set in motion transformative processes in the heart, mind and body, altering the chemistry of the brain itself.
To unravel the restorative Shakti of plants, a good practice is to select one special curative herb and learn to work with its healing power as a power of the Goddess. You can use that special plant as one’s Ishta Devata or chosen deity among the plants, as it were, honoring it as holding the healing power of the entire botanical kingdom. Special sacred plants used for this in India include Aloe Vera (Kumari), Holy Basil (Tulsi), Saffron (Kesar), Turmeric (Haldi), Bael (Bilva) and Margosa (Neem), as well as the sacred Banyan or Ashvattha tree. We can also use our local aromatic herbs like Sagebrush,
Mint, Juniper, Jasmine or Rose, as aromatic plants contain very powerful healing Shaktis.
Learning to resonate with the cosmic energies or Shakti of a plant allows us to draw from its inherent flower, prana or power, to unfold healing energies within us. Herbal teas convey the Shakti of the plant from its juices that has effects not only on the body but also the mind and nervous system. Herbal teas nourish the brain as much as food nourishes the body.
Sacred Healing through the Power of Shakti
The ancient Vedic sciences, Devi Tantra, Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, Yogasana and Vaastu Shastra allow us to understand the pure rhythm of our consciousness through enhancing the sacred flow into our lives. They work through the great powers of Shakti on various levels of our existence.
Chit Shakti is the power of consciousness, the root strength of our mind and prana or life force. When we bring consciousness to anything, we direct energy into it, bringing in light and healing powers. Our focused awareness brings Shakti into it, unfolding a powerful dimension of energetics through concentration, learning, healing and rejuvenating. Chit Shakti or the power of consciousness arises through attention, observation, perception and receptivity. We can most easily direct our Chit Shakti through our eyes. The lightning power of the eyes is magnetic. The kataksha or side glance holds the electric current of Shakti that can awaken the Shakti in others.
The best way to develop our consciousness is to look at each thing in life as sacred. Cultivating sacredness in our lives sanctifies our every thought and action. Holding everything as sacred, we unfold every accomplishment through divinity. Turning our lives into a ritual allows us to become an offering to the divine grace permeating the mystic universe. We can also use the forces of nature to stimulate our awareness. For example, the waterfall carries the lightning grace of Shakti which rejuvenates the conscious mind.
Atma Shakti, the Self-power is the source of one’s own power, the Shakti of the soul. The Atma Shakti is the power of the higher Self beyond all worldly Maya or illusion. The Atma Shakti, or power of the soul, holds the key to the karmic code of our lives which can be unravelled through the science of Vedic Astrology or Jyotish.
Cultivating Viveka or discrimination between the eternal and the transient gives us transparency, clarity, forthrightness and simplicity in understanding our soul’s journey. It is the manifestation of the Atma Shakti in the mind. Viveka gives us the inner intelligence, the intuitive or sacred voice to work through our karmic patterns. Bringing sacredness into our lives allows us the deeper wisdom, the supreme light to guide us on our spiritual paths.
Yoga Shakti is the force or power of integration which manifests through the divine grace of the Mother Goddess. Yoga practice requires a greater force beyond our personal efforts to unfold a higher consciousness. That higher force of the Yoga Shakti bestows upon us the grace of discernment, perception and awareness for the lifelong journey of our spiritual path. The grace of the Yoga Shakti is connected to the Kundalini power and the flow of the Goddess’s benevolence.
Yoga Shakti is the energized prana or life force through our personal aspiration which connects us to the divine prana and cosmic intelligence. Yoga as a spiritual quest relies more on the power of grace and Shakti. Mere techniques and outer knowledge are not enough; one must allow the knowledge to unfold as our experience in our daily lives.
This Yoga Shakti is a divine power; she is the Goddess, the deity of Yoga, for which Yoga is her manifestation. She must be approached with an attitude of worship, not one of manipulation. Shakti also indicates our capacity and aptitude for higher practices, our creative fervor as it were. The work of an artist is not based on mere artistic techniques. The art flows as an inner prayer, the grace of one’s higher aspirations. The same holds true for cultivating the yogic art.
Yoga Shakti rests upon the Yoga sankalpa, the intent or desire to achieve unity and immortality, which means a special will power to transcend ourselves and all outer appearances. But it is the Abhyasa or inner practice which allows the sankalpa or wish to manifest as our reality, or else it remains a distant dream. This requires making our Yoga into a constant practice of remembrance, prayer, mantra, honoring and worship, not a mere morning or evening routine.
The Shaktis of Prana, Tejas and Ojas
The subtle or mental essences of the three doshas or biological humors of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are called prana, tejas and ojas. Prana is the primary life force that directs and guides all growth and transformation. Tejas holds the fire and quality of radiance at a vital level, the power to digest higher thoughts and aspirations, the higher agnis or sacred fires within us. Ojas is the ground of pure vitality, the underlying strength which gives us the capacity for spiritual practices as well as mental and emotional endurance.
Prana, tejas and ojas are the subtle or spiritual energies of their respective elements of air, fire and water. Honoring the elements and working with the forces of nature and the earth allows us to continually revitalize our life force through the flow of soma.
The main Shakti or restorative power manifests in pure prana itself. It is prana, which draws the vital energy from food, herbs, and therapeutic procedures which work to heal us at a deeper level. Diverse remedial measures are simply various means of creating, restoring and directing prana in different ways. Ultimately, it is the prana of the healer that is the key factor or healing Shakti, subtly aligning its flow with the prana of the unwell person.
Pranic or energy work is also a kind of “Shakti healing,” as it can work directly through the cosmic energy. But it requires that the therapist resonates inwardly with the power of Shakti, which rests on wisdom, devotion, dedication and inner vitality. The therapist must first cultivate his or her own Prana Shakti through intense work on oneself before being able to use it to help heal others.
For optimal rejuvenation, the appropriate healing Shakti needs to be applied relative to the particular imbalances that may be occurring within the person. This internal Shakti in Ayurvedic medicine is defined mainly in terms of ojas, strength, physical and emotional endurance, peace, balance and contentment of the person. Ojas serves as the basis for prana and tejas.
People with good ojas will live longer, be free of disease, have more mental stability and be spiritually more at peace, enhancing their own ability to heal. To develop this ojas or inner power, one must be able to hold one’s prana or life force within, directing its energy to the cosmic universe, not merely focusing on outer worldly gratification. Ayurveda contains many special rejuvenation therapies to work at enhancing the quality of ojas, including special foods, herbs and oils.
Ojas Meditation for the Flow of Shakti
An important rejuvenative meditation is to focus the inner gaze at the soft palate at the back of the roof of the mouth. The soft palate is the sacred juncture of all the five senses, where the mouth and the nasal passages meet along with their adjacent sinuses. The region of the soft palate is called “the place of the Mystic Moon” in yogic thought. As the Moon relates to the mind in yogic symbolism, through concentrating at this point, the mind is easily calmed and restored to its divinity, calming the emotions. It is here that we can strengthen and stabilize the ojas for both body and mind.
In Vedic thought, the soft palate is the place where Indra or the higher power of perception is born, the Indra Yoni where the supreme power of awareness enters into the human being. Fixing the gaze on the soft palate concentrates all the senses, opening the higher perceptive powers of the crown chakra through which one unravels one’s deeper Self, facilitating a deeper flow of bliss or ananda. It is the inner counterpart of the Third Eye, holding the nourishment for its perceptive powers.
In Tantric thought, this sacred place of the Moon or soft palate also represents the womb of Shakti or Shakti Yoni, through which one can contact the energies of the crown chakra or thousand petal lotus. This flow of soma unfolds the lotus petals of all the chakras, enhancing the powers of higher awareness on every level of our being, down to the prana and the subconscious mind.
At this point, one can experience all the rasas, the subtle essence, the tanmatras or subtle elements, the heavenly forms of sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, which provide the higher enjoyment of the heavenly worlds and turn all that we do into a Divine offering. From there the nectar or amrit, the soma of the crown chakra flows downward, permeating our being with contentment, sweet bliss and deep relaxation. Through mastering the soma energies that flow through the soft palate one goes beyond all thirst, desire and craving to pure contentment and delight.
Consecrating our Sacred Space for Shakti to Flow
Devi Tantra, Vedic Astrology and Vaastu Shastra guide us in synchronizing the energies of heaven and earth, consecrating the directional powers, elements and atmospheric prana. By understanding the karmic code we need to unravel the science of Vedic Astrology. Deepening our perception of Devi Tantra unleashes the mysticism and power of Shakti.
Before approaching any healing work, we must venerate the power of Shakti, both as a universal life force as well as in each specific therapy that may be employed. The Shakti to revive and rejuvenate must be drawn into the therapist with the prayer for the energy to flow as divine grace into the person being healed without any restriction or impediment.
A clinic or treatment room should be a temple to Shakti. Sustaining powerful healing forces of the Shakti present there, aids in this process. Special plants, flowers, pleasant aromas, colors, music, geometrical patterns, and other forms and symbols of the Mother Goddess help in alleviating a lot of stress and strain. Daily rituals, mantra chanting, and meditation help create the sacred space for healing.
It is most important to cultivate a simple ritual of fortifying and reinforcing a safety security with water energized with mantras, and keeping a flame lit using camphor or incense. Consecrating the sacred in our self and the work space allows us to draw on the power of Shakti for universal well- being.
Ultimately, we must create the sacred space for Shakti to manifest within our own selves. This requires a life of receptivity, humility and respect for all living beings as part of our own greater nature and reality. The Shaktis of Nature can dwarf all the powers of technology. Once we learn to work with them, we can access transformative energies that can make our lives magical and allow us to overcome whatever obstacles the world places before us.
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Shaktirupena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah!
To that Devi who dwells in all beings in the form of Shakti, We offer our reverence to her again and again!