Shaktheyam or Shakthism
To seek the ultimate bliss, Shakti worshippers (or Shaktas) follow a system of beliefs and practices in Tantra. Maya or illusion separates opposites like male and female. On reaching this ultimate bliss, the sadhaka (spiritual seeker) experiences the ultimate joy of the union with the creator within oneself.
‘Shakti’ is present inside one self in the microcosmic level. When aroused, this energy reaches the Supreme Energy or the Macrocosm. Thus microcosm merges with macrocosm to form a continuous field of energy, the cosmic consciousness. The Sanskrit word ‘Tantra’ also means ‘continuity’
This indivisible energy is called Parashakthi. Thus shakti puja is performed to invoke the flow of energy and awaken the spirit within. This can be done by Tantric or Vedic rituals.
There are different disciplines in Tantra. Normal practice comprises meditation or yoga; visualization of the deity; chanting of sacred hymns; and use of yantras or mystic symbols. Tantra also focuses on the awakening of the inherent energy patterns in an individual
Dakshina Marga (right hand Path) and Vama Marga (Left hand path) are the different schools of practices of Tantra.
As in yoga, Tantra also focuses on the awakening of the inherent energy which lies coiled like a serpent. This inherent energy is called ‘Kundalini’. The Kundalini then travels upwards through a path in the spinal column called ‘Sushumna’. En-route, it passes through psychic centers of consciousness or ‘Chakras’.
These chakras are:
Muladhara at the base of the spine from where Kundalini starts its upward journey.
Svadhisthana: charka associated with reproductive organs.
Manipura: manifested as action, will, anger, laughter etc.
Anahata: at the centre of the chest, Associated with giving and receiving love
Visudha: at the larynx region. Governs your ability to communicate.
Ajna: Referred to as third eye. Located between your eyebrows, associated with wisdom ,sixth sense and ESP
Sahasrara: in the crown governing the pineal gland. This is yet to be recognized in modern medicine. This is the connecting point to the absolute Supreme when one is in a trance (having reached ‘Samadhi’). True realization of the infinite bliss is there only when a person experiences illumination in all planes, even in the lowest.
Sri Lalitha Sahasranama is eloquent on the flow of kundalini through these chakras as given below.
“Muladharaika nilayaa Brahma grandhi vibhedhini,
Manipurandarudita Vishnu grandhi vibhedhini,
Ajna chakrandaralastha Rudra grandhi vibhedini
Sahasrarambujaruda sudha sarabhivarshini
Tatillathaa samaruchi shatchakropari samsthithaa
Mahashakthi kundalini bisatantu taneeyasee”
Shaktheyam is thus a method to channel great energy (or Kunadalini) properly for spiritual & material gains. However, Shakti Puja in Tantra can be dangerous if not practiced properly and under the strict guidance of a competent guru as it encompasses some other secret rituals too.
Austere discipline and moral conduct are important factors of Tantra practice which calls for extensive meditative practice.