Explains the phenomenon of shaktipat, the spiritual transmission of power from a teacher to a devotee
• Shows how technology has eroded personal power and how insight and awareness can play a higher role in our lives
• Reveals how insight is the vehicle for profound self-transformation
Shakti is the creative force, the bonding power, that holds the universe together. Shaktipat is the moment when enlightenment is conferred upon a student instantaneously by his master’s touch. The guru conferring shaktipat creates a bond of power in those who have accepted him or her as their teacher. In Spiritual Initiation and the Breakthrough of Consciousness Joseph Chilton Pearce describes his experience of shaktipat from his teacher Swami Muktananda. From this awakening Pearce experiences a dramatic shift of mind and comes to the realization that perception is reality and that insight is our only vehicle for profound self-transformation.
Oneness with God is the birthright of every individual, though we are culturally vaccinated to resist experiencing this higher consciousness. Our search for objective truth has lead us not to wholeness, but instead to the belief that we have no bond to each other, to God, or to an inanimate, physical world. Our technology reduces our ability to experience revelation and leads us instead toward the chatter of confused thinking. The challenge faced by modern humanity, which is the challenge Muktananda gave to his students, is to passionately gather up the scattered fragments of our lives and channel them into the creative realm, where with insight or revelation we will be able to become more than ourselves.
In some off-guard moment, a thought which illuminates new territory can explode in our heads and change the shape of our thinking and our lives. This "postulate which arrives full-blown in the brain" is a function of mind which holds the key to our nature, development, and fulfillment.
This phenomenon is rare. It comes as creative inspiration, scientific discovery, the Eureka!, the mystical revelation, the conversion experience. Its source has been a matter of debate. Trace the function to its source, though, and the mystery of our brain, mind, creation, and creator unfolds. The postulate is like a thread which, pulled from the woof and warp of our reality, unweaves that fabric and leaves us the threads from which reality itself is woven.
The problem with tracing the roots of creative insight is that thought, no matter its strength or brilliance, is not sufficient for the task. The postulate-revelation doesn't arrive in the brain as thought, but as the materials for thought. Thought is but a tool of the function and seems only peripherally (though vitally) involved.
Brain research indicates that new processes of thought and experience open for us through synchronization of right and left hemispheres of the brain. The attempts of Eastern thought to break into Western logic on some serious level today may indicate the attempt of this thinking sphere of Earth to balance the fragmentations of technology. Because of the way genetic development unfolds, and the way enculturation helps mold our whole brain process, a culture can't lift itself out of its own mind-set no matter how destructive that set becomes. Cultural interaction, however, can bail a culture out, much as one person can sometimes help another. So, as our technology absorbs the world, we may in turn be affected positively by that which we absorb.
Surely cultural interaction is often ridiculous on the surface. Technology is exported not by the serious, high and lofty sentiments of a noble science, but the hurly-burly of quick-rich hustlers willing to sell their grandmothers for a nickel. In turn, Eastern thought is represented all too often by atrocious, bizarre opportunists, drop-outs, and ego-maniacs. Yet the West has its true scientific genius, such as the physicist, David Bohm, and the East has its true genius such as the Siddha meditation teacher, Muktananda.
Amid the nonsense of a world of folly, the great syntheses are made by genius, syntheses which sooner or later, with luck, filter down to the level of the common domain. The following pages attempt to outline the mechanics of our disappearing personal power, as modeled within the most complete theory of reality the West has produced, David Bohm's holonomic movement, and in the most complete person I have known, that exemplar of personal and bonding power, Muktananda. The issues they present are threefold: insight, ordinary thinking, and the bonding power that underlies these rather polar modes.
A devotee of Muktananda's, for instance, was hospitalized in Melbourne, Australia. The devotee's nurse, Ellen Gillanders, complained of funny rushes up her spine when she went into his room, and occasionally felt something sitting on the back of her neck when she went in. She had trouble with her balance in the room and had to hold onto the furniture. Her patient gave her one of Baba's mantra cards. She glanced at Baba's picture on the card and began reading.
As she did so, her feet rooted to the floor, her body began swaying in huge, gravity-defying circles. Nurse Gillanders panicked. She staggered to the bedside table, thrust the mantra card down emphatically with her right hand, and turned to leave such crazy business. As she did so, her left hand picked up the card and refused to let go. In serious confusion, she stopped still, grew quiet, looked at her patient, and asked what was up. He talked with her briefly about Muktananda and suggested she visit the Melbourne ashram. She did, and has been a Siddha student of meditation ever since.
Nurse Gillanders's logical, rational side thrust the card away, but her intuitive, holistic side knew better, picked it up and wouldn't let go. Surface thought is not the whole of our being, and our whole being is constantly striving for reunification.
Surely the role of thought must be fully evaluated, lest we miss the point of discipline and development of thought. Part of the strength of Siddha meditation and Baba's approach lies in its threefold design: he gives grace, insight, which, because of its power, can shift our orientation and open us to learning and gaining further insight; he gives instruction and insists we learn, which strengthens our new orientation through organizing our thinking; and he teaches meditation, which aligns our system with the holonomic order and maintains that alignment.
A satisfactory why-ness for our life, so often lacking, is found in Siddha Yoga because it incorporates the threefold life pattern: thought is our ordinary ego-self; consciousness is our Shakti within us and the Guru without, who stands as model, the bonding-power from which our life arises and which holds all together in unity; and insight-intelligence is our very Self, the totality of our being.
Muktananda sees the world as a product of love and joy, a great explosion of creative energy, an exuberance he displays with each breath and which we find, through his modeling, equally in ourselves. The spiritual being is not some vapid, fey, otherworldly wraith, as anyone meeting seventy-two-year-old Muktananda (and trying to keep up with him) quickly finds out. The spiritual being is an integrated whole person of thought, resting in the power of consciousness, open to insight-intelligence.
Joseph Chilton Pearce (1926-2016) is the author of The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of the Spirit, The Biology of Transcendence, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Magical Child, and Evolution’s End. For more than 35 years, he lectured and led workshops teaching about the changing needs of children and the development of human society. He lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.