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Season 1 - Episode 3

It's All About Shakti

10 min - Talk


Dr. Svoboda shares a talk on the accumulation of Shakti and the dynamic between the two different types of Shakti—Chit-Shakti (spiritual) and Maya-Shakti (material). He explains how Tantra suggests that we focus on a diety so that we can restructure our relationship toward these two different types of shaktis in an effort to move our Prana toward transformation.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Aug 14, 2017
Tantra, Jnana
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Shakti is a concept that is only meaningful in the context of the manifested universe. The unmanifested universe, the singularity, the so-called sat-chit-ananda, the thing that is real, that is aware, that is the only reality and that is filled with the bliss of the awareness of its reality that has no need of any sort of energy. It is simply itself in and of itself and nothing more nor less than itself. But as soon as there is an expression externally, as soon as there is either the big bang if you like modern physics or the manifestation of something that believes itself to be different from the Supreme Reality, but in fact still is the Supreme Reality if you prefer the Indian approach to understanding that experience of reality, either way, you have ended up with something that now is no longer a singularity, now is not one thing anymore, but is a second thing that is now moving. Whenever there are two things, there is always a relationship between those two things and that relationship is the basis of everything that happens.

The reason why electricity works for us is that there are positive charge and negative charge. These two charges are always both attracting and to some degree repelling one another and it is in the judicious alignment of these different charges that energy can be liberated and caused to perform work of whatever kind that we are trying to do. From the point of view of Indian philosophy and particularly of Tantra, we can think of Shakti being divided into two main categories. One is Chit Shakti, Sat Chit Ananda, Chit Shakti, which means the awareness of awareness, the energy of awareness, the energy of being aware of awareness, everything that has to do with consciousness in the direction of consciousness, rarifying itself, making itself more subtle moment by moment. This is Chit Shakti.

Maya Shakti, Maya comes from a word that means to measure, Maya on the other hand is encouraging things to become more and more dense, more and more specific, more and more calculated, stratified, more and more manifested in the kind of world in which we find ourselves. There is always in the universe a dynamic that exists between Chit Shakti and Maya Shakti. Some things always have more of one, sometimes always have more of the other and there is always a direction in any particular system. One is either working towards a greater manifestation of Chit or a greater manifestation of Maya. In the context of our planet and possibly other places, but for right now we'll speak about our planet, in the context of our planet, in the context of protoplasmic life like you and me and all the other animals and plants and what have you that we think of as being alive, in this context energy is manifested in a particular way that goes by the name of prana or chi or whatever word you want to use, it is life energy and its job is to inspire all the different elements that are part of the world, the earth, water, fire, air and space elements to inspire them to come together and function as a unit for the period of time that that thing is alive.

One euphemism for death in Sanskrit is because Sanskrit is a samskaric bhasha, it's a language that is well engineered so it's felt like there's no need to just come out and say he's dead, it's much more refined to say he has returned to fiveness. So the prana has exited the body and only the five elements are left and they're going to go in the direction of becoming those five elements again. But while the prana was there, the prana strings together the body, the mind and the spirit so that they can all function as one individual in one place in one time, the analogy that's classically used is like pearls on a string, so when the pearls have been pierced and put on to a string, they act like a strand of pearls instead of individual pearls moving in all directions. The job of prana, the prana shakti, is to keep all of these different various processes and substances working together to facilitate the persistence of life in an organism for as long as that organism needs to be alive. In the context of human beings, possibly also for all we know in animals and plants, but particularly in the context of human beings, there's two other shaktis that we have to think about.

And these are very similar to chit-shakti and maya-shakti. In fact, they emerge from chit-shakti and maya-shakti in the context of the physical body. And these are known as ahankara and kundalini. So ahankara is maya-shakti, its awareness moving in the direction of becoming more and more bound down by the body, more and more bound down by your personality, by your individuation. And kundalini is energy that is moving in the direction of chit-shakti.

It is freeing itself from your self-definition, the one that is partly due to your body, partly due to your mind, partly due to your family, partly due to your culture, partly due to the zeitgeist in general. All of these different factors that are defining who you are and that you have accepted as part of your self-definition. As you let go of these, there is the potential for there to be an increase in chit-shakti. And as the chit-shakti increases, so does the kundalini become more awakened. As kundalini becomes more awakened, the prana that is in the body starts to focus less on the body itself and more on the chit-shakti.

Because prana is simply shakti. It is both chit-shakti and maya-shakti. It is both awareness-shakti and connect to the body-shakti in every organism. So it's up to you to determine how you would like your prana to work. And there have been yogis in the past who have said, I'm tired of the body, I'm finished with it, I'm going to take all of my prana, bring it down to the muladhara, bring all of it up, throw it out through the top of my head and say goodbye, cruel world.

And there are other people who would like very much to simply stay here in the world as long as they can, enjoying as much as they can. And then there's a vast number of people in between. So there is always going to be a dynamic until you are either so completely sunk in the world that you have no awareness whatsoever of anything other than consuming, or that you are so focused on the supreme reality that you pay no attention to whatsoever in the world. Unless you're at either of those extreme ends, you are always going to be part of this dynamic of part of the time being more in your personality and part of the time being less in your personality. It is again for this purpose that the tantras encourage you to have a divine personality to focus on so that as your own personal inborn developed by conventional means personality starts to get deconstructed, starts to get dismantled, there's something to replace it.

And this is why there is an encouragement for you to focus on the deity, to invite the deity into your body, to eventually become the deity. Everyone is possessed by something or another. Some people are possessed by different emotions. You get overcome by anger or by lust or by greed. Some people are possessed by the spirits of dead humans.

Some people are possessed by ideas, consumerism, capitalism, Nazism. These are all the isms or mind viruses. You can be possessed by almost anything. The problem is that it is very easy for people to be possessed, it's very easy for people to be hypnotized and permit themselves to be possessed by all of the things that are encouraging other people to be making money off of you in today's world. Today's world is all about money.

So all the kinds of ways that people get possessed are going to relate back to how someone can make money off of you in that way. So Tantra suggests instead of that, that you take your Shakti and you focus that Shakti on a divine personality so that you can start restructuring your own personality so that your prana will start to move in the direction of transformation instead of simply moving in the direction of action and reaction of being stuck in the system. It's all about Shakti, but it is completely up to you as to how you choose the manifestation of Shakti in yourself. It's up to you how you want to employ the Shakti that is given to you, whether you'd like to employ it for progressing in the direction of removing yourself from this manifestation or progressing outward into the manifestation, pravritti, outward into the manifestation, nivritti, back in from the manifestation. It's all about Shakti.


Kirsti A
Brilliant! thank you robert! So helpful. Hope there's more!
Renate V
Michael B
1 person likes this.
thank you for this insight and the humour which shines through.
i feel a smile listening to you.
Nancy M
Incredible! Thank you.
Sally V
Thanks for being here.
Marlene K
Love these talks !
Hoda G
Maya, is that not illusion?
I often repeat Maya Maya Om Namah Shivaya!
Asking for help to dissolve my illusions...
Luna C
already not understanding. what can i read to make this concept more clear?
Kira Sloane
Luna, Dr. Svoboda can be a lot to digest! I wonder if some of his books would help make the topics in this series more concrete? You can see a complete lis on his website:  

Also, some of his talks in the show, Prana, might help establish some of the groundwork.

I find that several watches can also help.
Love, Kira
Kara L
1 person likes this.
So wonderful! Thank You 🙏 

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