Have you been to a Shaktipeeth?
In the Shakta school of Sanatana Dharma, the primal energy, the moving principle of the great Atman was recognized and given importance. The energy or Shakti is inconceivable but something which can be seen as that which operates the world. This is the force that makes time, place and circumstance happen, operate and move. It is the same force that makes body organs functions and makes the heart beat and makes blood flow. Even when one sits down and wonders, it is the same energy that makes the thought move and sends the mind reeling. It is Shakti alone that inspires one, makes people take actions. It is Shakti alone that comes down to us as results of actions, which She, Shakti, Herself performs. All that is set to motion is the Power of Shakti. Fire in the belly is Shakti and that which digests the food is Shakti. Nothing other than Shakti makes the world go round. That Shakti is Devi, the Female aspect of the Supreme Lord.
She is the one who is behind the force of the five elements and hence She is called “Bhuteswari” (भूतेश्वरी), the Goddess of Elements. In Sanskrit, “Bhut” (भूत) also means the past. Our material life is defined by thoughts, memories and emotions which is based on the Past. Hence Devi represents the life-energy that is born out of the Past. The Mind is that which operates out of the past. The Mind is that which remembers and operates out of the impressions. The Mind is Maya, of that which is not in the present. Hence the mind or Maya is the direct representation of Devi Shakti (देवी शक्ती). These forces that operate the mind and body is Devi “Energy”. This power unless harnessed and directed shall not yield results. If these energies go irate or, are not regulated, shall go to make life constricted or even disturb the flow of normal life. Just as, electricity passing through a naked wire, exposed to the environment, is dangerous. It is possible that it may come in contact with dirty water or someone may touch the wire accidently, creating havoc and accidents. Similarly if the mind-energy and the forces of life are not regulated or directed; if Truth is not used as an insulation for the Shakti energy, it shall lead one towards one’s own destruction.
Hence it is required that a true seeker, should become a sadhaka (साधक), spiritual practitioner, so that the life force and powers are regulated, cleansed and harnessed for higher use. The Yogi or the sadhaka is one who wears the armor of Truth and straight-forwardness and purifies the energy channels in and around him. When the sadhaka establishes himself with sincerity of purpose, he is protected by Nature. Nature always protects and insulates the follower of Truth. Although there may be challenges and tests, these challenges are seen as a screening test or preparation ground for him to wield Shakti. The Yogi goes on cultivating, developing and wisely conserving this force. The Yogi restricts tendencies to gossip and thus unnecessarily squander energy. He treats Shakti just like a wealthy person treats currency. With great skill the practitioner of Yoga channelizes this force for creative, gainful and constructive attainment, for progressing upon the path of Truth. The Yogi is then slowly guided by Devi Shakti to focus on actions that are liberating for his own welfare as well as for the welfare of the world. Thus all activities taken up by the Yogi will help him steadfast in his practice and he starts ascending in the rungs of spiritual sadhana. Devi Shakti becomes a telling force and the Yogi’s protector. There shall be no evil that falls on the Yogi at any point in time, if sadhana becomes the way of the practitioner.
It is that force that is the pranashakti (प्राणशक्ति) or the life-force within you. It is that force that is the kundalini Shakti (कुंडलिनी) within you. When the wielder of Shakti chants the holy name all his bodily and mind faculties shall be rendered pure and effective. It is that force that gives you physical, mental, intellectual, ethical, moral and spiritual enlightenment. When prayer is offered, it is this force that enlivens it and gives it a certain spiritual dynamism. Devi Gayatri (देवी गायत्री) is this force; every Name, every mantra is this force. The dynamism of this entire physical universe, the entire creation, the phenomenon, and oneself included in it, as part of it, is the play of Devi Shakti, the personified aspect of All Power. One has to be aware of sanctity of all things, all forces shall develop within him a humble and reverential attitude. This one must develop within oneself if one is to wield Shakti Devi within himself. One should not waste the Devi Shakti by thinking or imagining sexual content or by indulging in immoral acts. Mentally, whiling away of this energy is perhaps the most devastative mechanisms of loss of this energy from mind and body. If one were to titillate the mind and senses with immoral acts of imagination, all efforts will stand nullified in a matter of minutes. That, which took years to build shall get drained within no time and a great amount of time and energy has to be then re-invested to come back once again to the same position. It is to be understood that Devi Shakti changes Her form and allures the practitioner time and again and yogis tend to fall prey to Her aphrodisiac tests more often than not. Therefore it is important that one takes up devotional service to the Lord as a primary practice. When devotion to the Lord is undertaken, because of the surrender attitude, Devi shall approach the practitioner in a caring motherly mood and protects his energy. If there is even an iota of misuse of power, this energy is reclaimed by Devi by inducing the practitioner into immoral acts.