SHIVA & SHAKTI
CONSCIOUSNESS AND ENERGY
Whenever a power becomes active, and wherever energy exists, Shakti is working. Other terms for these primal principles are PURUSHA and PRAKRITI; Purusha is consciousness and Prakriti is nature. ISHWARA is the omnipresent, eternal, formless divine principle; Purusha is the Atma and Prakriti is the manifestation, nature. An electric light can be used to explain their relationship. The electric current, which is the source of the light, is Ishwara; the light is Purusha, and the object that is illuminated is Prakriti.
Lord Shiva is generally portrayed holding a trident,
which represents the trinity of Ishwara, Purusha and Prakriti
SHAKTI (or Prakriti) means energy, power, movement, change, nature. It is the maternal principle – the provider, abundance. In the human as well as in the animal kingdom the mother offers nourishment, warmth and security. There is no greater love than the love of a mother. The mother carries and nourishes the child in her own body. When it is born she provides it with mother’s milk and raises it at the sacrifice of her own self until it becomes self-reliant.
SHIVA (or Purusha), on the other hand, is pure consciousness – the unchanging, unlimited and unswaying observer. Purusha has no desires whatsoever; these are inherent only in Prakriti. Purusha is the empty, clear screen onto which Prakriti projects her colourful film.
Shiva and Shakti are manifestations of the all-in-one divine consciousness – different sides of the same coin. In many pictures these two primal powers are each depicted as being one half of the same image; one side female and one side male. The left side is the Divine Mother, Parvati, the feminine energy, and the right side represents Shiva, the masculine consciousness.
Shiva and Shakti are manifestations of the all-in-one divine consciousness, different sides of the same coin. In many pictures these two primal powers are each depicted as being one half of the same image; one side female and one side male. The left side is the Divine Mother, Parvati, the feminine energy, and the right side represents Shiva, the masculine consciousness.
Through the splitting of the primordial principle at the advent of creation the duality within our lives came into being, together with a strong force that is constantly striving to re-unite with the other part.
Only when Shiva and Shakti combine can action, movement and creation arise. Until energy is impregnated with consciousness it is ignorant, disordered, aimless and blind. Energy alone can produce nothing; consciousness bestows upon it content, form and direction. Conversely, consciousness without energy is dormant power, sleeping energy, and on its own is unable to be the cause of anything. Just as Prakriti without Purusha is unable to act, and vice versa, Purusha without Prakriti is also incapable of creating anything.
The meaning of Shiva and Shakti is occasionally misunderstood when Shiva and Shakti are looked upon as man and woman and their union is regarded as a sexual relationship. Sexuality is something completely natural, and misunderstanding arises only when sexuality and spirituality are mixed.
Sexuality is the union of man and woman.
Spirituality is the union of the human and the divine consciousness.
Shiva and Shakti exist within each of us as the masculine and feminine principles. This has an effect on the physical level – it is the cause of sexual attraction. Within men there exists a tendency towards the feminine qualities, and within women a tendency toward the masculine. Through this the masculine consciousness is attracted to the feminine and vice versa. If both are in balance there is no sexual attraction. But if a tendency for the masculine predominates in men, or the feminine in women, this results in a preference for a homosexual partner.
Shakti is the maternal love of God that surrounds us with warmth, caring and protection.
Shiva is the paternal love of God that gives us consciousness, clarity and knowledge.
Shiva symbolizes consciousness, the masculine principle.
Shakti symbolizes the activating power and energy, the feminine principle.
In the Tantric cosmology, the whole universe is perceived as being created, penetrated and sustained by two fundamental forces, which are permanently in a perfect, indestructible union. These forces or universal aspects are called Shiva and Shakti.
In union, Shiva and Shakti make up the half-woman lord known as Ardhanarishvara. The image of Shiva-Shakti in consort is a truly beautiful one to gaze upon. This androgynous figure shows the union of masculine and feminine aspects of our being, which brings about a mystical wholeness within.
The 5 Powers of Shakti
There are many aspects, forms and names of Shakti who is the mother of all. In creation she distinguishes herself, or through the will of Shiva, into three basic aspects:
- para-shakti (transcendental energy),
- apara-shakti (immanent energy) and
- para-apara-shakti ( an intermediary energy).
Which refer to five supernatural powers of Shakti, awakened in himself by Shiva. Their permutation, combination, concealment and manifestation is believed to be responsible for the multiplicity, plurality, diversity and duality of the beings and objects and their forms and shapes in the manifested worlds. The five aspects of Shakti manifested by Shiva are:
- chit-shakti or the power of consciousness,
- anada-shakti or the power of bliss consciousness,
- iccha-shakti, the power of desire or will,
- kriya-shakti the power of action
- jnana-shakti or the power of knowledge
Shiva unleashes these five powers in the beginning of creation and withdraws them back into himself at the time of dissolution. In between he employs these energies for the purposes of creation (srishti), preservation (sthithi), samhara (destruction or modification), concealment (tirobhava) and revelation (anugraha).