Rita guides you through a most loving and sacred yoga practice. Her gentle nature and lightness allow for the most wonderful unfolding to take place in her class. As a fellow student and teacher I am always appreciative of her gifts and radiant smile she shares with others. ... Aarti Ganesh           Read more...

Shakti's Sadhana (Spiritual Practice)

Once an old Rishi (saint) and his disciple went on a long pilgrimage to visit holy places and receive the blessings of great saints. One day, having crossed the whole Indian continent, the Rishi and his disciple came to the sea. The disciple was very fascinated by the endless water, the seagulls and above all the waves. He asked the Rishi that the waves come and go, come and go, come and go; and every time they just disappear and then come back again. Why is it like that? Has it got anything to do with the sound they make? If you want, I can tell you a story about it, began the Rishi. The disciple always loved his stories and often asked him to tell one. On hearing this he eagerly said yes!



THE STORY

The Rishi who was himself a great saint and great Guru started telling the story like this:-

Once upon a time, before the sea existed, there was nobody living here except Shiva and Shakti. Shakti is the most beautiful of all goddesses and Shiva is her husband and lover. They love each other so much that even a short moment of separation is terrible for them. They are like wetness that is never separate from water, sweetness that is never separate from sugar and warmth that is never separate from sunlight.
Once Shiva went away to Mt. Kailash to live as a hermit for a while, and Shakti was not allowed to go with him. She stayed alone, below in the mountains, and felt very sad. Her longing for Shiva was so strong that she didn't know what to do with herself. Everything around her seemed to be boring and purposeless, and she felt very restless. Shakti is inseparable from Siva just as heat from fire, light from the sun, night from the sky or a reflection from the mirror.

So Shakti went around to all the Gods to ask for advice but they couldn't help her. When she was most desperate, she even went to Yama (the God of death). But he refused to see her as she was not on his list of expected visitors.

Finally, she went to Indra (God of rain) and told him about her difficulties. He listened, and then said: You will meet Shiva again. In the meantime you must practise Sadhana; this will serve two purposes. First, it will help you to progress spiritually, and will decrease the time you have to live without Shiva. You will also feel a certain inner contact with him as he is practising Sadhana also. Secondly, your restlessness will disappear. The practice is to meditate on Om, the beginning-less sound. This practice will take you very far on the spiritual path. Just sit down for meditation, close your eyes and repeat Om loudly every time you exhale.

So when the evening came Shakti sat down in Padmasana and started repeating Om loudly. She found so much peace in this simple practice that it was impossible for her to stop. She sat in deep meditation for days, months and years. Very heavy rains poured down on Shakti, but her meditation was so deep that she didn't notice it at all. In a short time, the ground around her was covered with water. Soon the water level had reached her waist. It rained and rained, and still Shakti didn't notice anything. Finally her whole body was covered with water, but her meditation was unbroken. She was still repeating, Om, Om, Om...

And this is the sound of the sea, even today. At the bottom of the ocean, Shakti is still sitting deep in meditation, repeating her mantra. Every time she breathes in, the waves go back; every time she breathes out, they come forward again. So Om, the mystical eternal sound we hear in the ocean, is the voice of God. And so the ocean will go on roaring Om, Om, Om... until Shiva and Shakti are united again. And the sea is the best storyteller in the world. Just listen. You can learn everything from it, for everything is the sound of Om. This is the word which is powerful in silence.

UNION OF SHIVA AND SHAKTI

Shiva is higher consciousness and Shakti is energy- in the lower aspect, matter and in the higher aspect, Prana. Whatever is heard around us in this universe contains Prana inside them. The union of consciousness with the lower aspect of energy brings forth creation. Shiva and Shakti are separated during creation in manifesting the universe. For the sake of the universe, they live as two, yet still the two remain together. Shiva is masculine, retains a static quality and remains identified with unmanifested consciousness. Shiva has the power to be but not the power to become or change. Shakti, is feminine, dynamic, energetic and creative. Shakti is the Great Mother of the universe, for it is from her that all form is born.

According to Tantra and Kundalini Yoga, the human being is a miniature universe. All that is found in the cosmos can be found within each individual, and the same principles that apply to the universe apply in the case of the individual being. In human beings, Shakti, the feminine aspect is called Kundalini. This potential energy rests at the base of the spinal cord in the Mooladhara Chakra. The object of the Tantric practice of Kundalini-Yoga is to awaken this cosmic energy and make it ascend through the psychic centres, the Chakras that lie along the axis of the spine as consciousness potentials. 

She will then unite above the crown of the head (Sahasrara Chakra) with Shiva the pure consciousness. This union is the aim of Kundalini-Yoga: a resolution of duality into unity again, a fusion with the Absolute. This is called the cosmic embrace of Shiva and Shakti. Every spiritual aspirant tries to unify them through self effort in Tantra and Yoga meditation. By this union the adept attains liberation while living, which is considered in Indian life to be the highest experience: a union of the individual with the universe. This is Samadhi or super-conscious state.

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti