According to Yoga and Tantra, within all of us exist two main governing aspects. Consciousness, also known as the principle of Shiva, and Energy, also known as the principle of Shakti. These principles have been known to ancients for thousand of years, and now it is widely accepted that these aspects are also present in different qualities throughout the entirety of our manifest existence. Every single cell and perceivable particle in our world has some form of consciousness and some form of energy.
Consciousness and Energy / Shiva and Shakti are both definable and inseparable. If we use an example like the Sun; The sun itself would represent consciousness and the sun’s rays would represent energy. Without the sun, there are no rays – and without the rays, the sun has no influence or means of expression.
Shakti energy comes in many forms or qualities and energy has as many expressions as we can possibly think of.
Within the energetic realm, there are three main forms of Shakti. These have been known in yoga since very ancient times (discussed as early as the Mahabharata), to be key ingredients for any form of success. Learning to identify, work with, purify, and ultimately strengthen these forms of Shakti is a powerful and often overlooked ingredient for lasting spiritual growth and expansion.
The 3 Forms of Shakti
- Iccha Shakti – the energy of will or desire
- Jnana Shakti – the energy of knowledge
- Kriya Shakti – the energy of action
For any and all success, all 3 of these forms of Shakti need to be involved. The process and interplay of these energies is continually cycling within us, and without these ingredients, we would become inert.
If we take the example of even a small task or action to come to fruition – something as simple as scratching one’s head, the 3 forms of Shakti all play their part. Consciousness is there in the background. Through Jnana Shakti, we know the itch is on our head and that scratching it relieves the discomfort. We then desire to relieve the itch by scratching it, involving Iccha Shakti. Next comes the action, or Kriya Shakti – in this case, the action of scratching the head. Remove any one of the 3 forms of Shakti in this example, and what happens? There is no success in relieving the itch!
Through this example, it could seem that the 3 forms of Shakti are not that important or powerful since they are already involved in any conscious event in our lives that comes to fruition. But when this process is part of Yoga – the re-uniting of consciousness and energy, or in other words, the full connection between the small ‘self’ with the greater ‘us’, we give ourselves the opportunity to refine, empower and divinize this flow as an unlimited potential.
Knowing about, and bringing consciousness to this universal truth principle, means that we can ‘real-ize’ the essence of it as a process and therefore be empowered to harness it, rather than merely be a product of it. We step into the means of consciously producing it, not just being produced by it.
Yoga Empowers the 3 Forms of Shakti
The artful science of Yoga offers many great tools and practices for enhancing the power of the 3 forms of Shakti within us. Hatha Yoga practices are an excellent means of purifying both the mind and body in order to prepare our systems to draw in, and hold greater levels of creative energy. Pranayama, yogic breathing techniques also enhance and expand the Prana Shakti and other subtle energetic forces within us.
Yoga Nidra is a particularly direct and pervasive way to purify, divinize and enhance Personal Shakti. The beauty of Yoga Nidra is that we are able to work with consciousness and energy directly and simultaneously to refine all of our processes for success.
Yoga Nidra provides a very direct means of working with the pranic system that supports and enhances all forms of Shakti. Yoga Nidra increases self-knowledge, which is the primary essence of Jnana Shakti.
The Sankalpa, personal resolve that is formulated and declared in a Yoga Nidra is primarily connected with Iccha Shakti – heartfelt desire. When a Creative Journey is included in Yoga Nidra, we are provided with a palpable experience of action – Kriya Shakti.
The creative journey also allows space in the storyline for the overcoming of an obstacle. This is strengthening for the faculty of will – and because Yoga Nidra educates our system at the subconscious level of mind, the impressions and experiences we are deep, lasting, and with Grace, infused with divinity.
In Daily Life
Any increase in the simple awareness of Jnana Shakti, Iccha Shakti and Kriya Shakti and the roles they play in our lives allows us to ongoingly harness this potent and useful triad of energies for the successful fulfillment of goals, hopes and dreams. Taking some time to be a little more mindful of the 3 Forms of Shakti increases potential for success. Taking a few breaths to become centered, and then asking ourselves these simple questions is all that is required; What deep knowing is involved in this idea? What do I say about my desire for it? What steps can I take now towards this goal? As long as there are clear answers to these questions, the 3 Forms of Shakti are there – and with these ingredients real success becomes possible.
Om Shakti, Om Shakti, Om Shakti Om
Iccha Shakti, Kriya Shakti, Jnana Shakti Om
Om Tat Sat – May it be so!
By Swami Premajyoti Saraswati