The Role of Shakti in Tantra

24 August 2022

“Woman created the Universe. She is indeed the very body of the Universe.

Woman is the foundation of all three worlds. She is the essence of our body.

There exists no other happiness but that bestowed by Woman.

There exists no other Path but that which can be opened by Woman.

There has not been, there is not, and there will never be

Neither yesterday, nor today nor tomorrow

Any other treasure superior to the Woman,

Neither kingdom, nor pilgrimage place, nor Yoga, nor prayer

Nor mantra, nor asceticism, nor bigger plenitude

But that offered by the Woman” – Shaktisangama Tantra, II, 52

There is a stir in the air, a subtle awakening, a breeze of anticipation that has stood the test of time, despite a persistent effort to suppress it. This stir, this force of love and life was revered in the ancient cultures, and especially within the Tantric Tradition.

The Tantrics worship and adore ‘Shakti’, in Sanskrit the ‘feminine power’, ‘force of nature’ or ‘energy’. Shakti is the personification of the primordial feminine energy. She embodies the force of realisation of Brahman, being the dynamic feminine aspect of God, the feminine nourishing vitality that allows Brahman to create all that exists, to preserve or maintain everything, and to make everything disappear.

Tantric tradition states, “Shiva, without Shakti, is Shava”, with Shava being a dead body, and, Shakti without Shiva is Kalila, or chaos, confusion, meaningless existence, Kachakula, the upheaval of values, rejection, and Maya, or illusion, disorder, entropy”.

The important union of Shiva and Shakti is symbolised by the Yoni and Lingam, which can be seen throughout India in the form of statues of the Shivalinga, and depicted in many works of art. The force of the consciousness, Shiva, would be powerless without the All-Embracing Energy of Shakti, sustaining and giving life to everything. In Christianity, it is also said that “No one can reach God the Father but through the Holy Spirit”, and the Holy Spirit is defined as God’s power to create and manifest everything in the world, which is the very definition of Shakti in Tantra. Beautifully, Shakti is interwoven in both traditions, showing her Universality.

Hence, the Tantrics placed huge importance on Shakti, or the Enigmatic Feminine Force. Especially as Shaktiis the energy that sustains everything, her value is unique and of supreme importance. Imagine a life without energy. Without her sustaining breath, it would indeed be a grey and lifeless world. We can see this in the revolution that occurs in a man’s life when Shakti comes to his doorstep. Opening the curtains, painting the walls, nourishing everything with her heart full of love, and thus bringing in the Sun, the source of Light and Life. As Tantra celebrates life and the conscious use of the energies, it is very natural that the Tantrics would revere Shakti, offering her the central position in their spirituality, honouring her value and worth.

Shakti is also the great initiatress, unlocking the hidden mysteries in the heart of those to whom she is connected.

Shakti exists in all women, and so within Tantra, all women are revered for their important role and the blessing that they shower upon life. And although Shakti is present in all women, her qualities may require an awakening through her spiritual practice. This is the awakening of the ‘State of Shakti’. As a woman brings this unique state of consciousness into her being, her spiritual force can be felt, and she is granted a mysterious initiating power, which awakens spirituality in others. Shakti is thus also the great Initiatress, unlocking the hidden mysteries in the Heart of those to whom she is connected, taking them out of the limitations of the physical world into the mysterious world of what is beyond.

In these difficult times, and more than ever, we need the Power of Shakti, the all-embracing Mother, to heal and unite. The Tantrics recognise and embrace her presence in their lives, unlike other groups within society both past and present, that have misunderstood, blamed, and even mistreated women. The modern world has pushed the awakening of the divine femininity into a shadowy corner, but she cannot hide there – it is impossible. In her radiance, she offers her abundant love and gives tirelessly.

Shakti can open the road for the next epoch, for Satya Yuga – the Age of truth.

The Tantric Spiritual Woman has an important mission in this present time. Her role is paramount in guiding humanity to a new way, to a superior stage. Through her nourishing energy, her power to give life and her connection to the Divine, she can open the road for the next epoch, for Satya Yuga – the Age of truth. Through being an example of spiritual aspiration, with a bold and unshakable faith, a loving heart, the ability to form close female bonds and connect with a sisterhood, as she recognises the Eternal Feminine in other women, and the huge humbleness that manifests from the heart of a spiritual woman, she can be a force to reckon with.

In today’s consumer society, blinded by superficial, horizontal tendencies, women are looked upon without seeing them. Many are unable to contemplate women, and to perceive the sacredness that women embody. Tantra teaches us to see profoundly, to transfigure women and truly recognise the role that she has in the world. But at the same time, Woman must learn to know and embrace her own greatness, and to assume this role with humility. This becomes possible when she embraces her spiritual heart, and aspires to live her life full of love and sacredness.

When a woman chooses to take on this role, she recognises her own qualities and her own limitations, and she aspires to transform herself. She challenges herself to step beyond her own mental constructs and limitations into a world where her heart lives freedom. Here the mystical essence of Eros and the pure cantation of love blossom like wild roses on the tree of delight.

Then, through her, we will feel every aspect of our lives touched by the sweetness and mystery she inspires.

by Magdalena Hau, Yoga & Tantra Teacher

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