When people ask my opinion on other Kundalini methods, I tell them that since my Kundalini was fully and permanently realized by a single method (GFM) at the age of 34, it is impossible for me to critique other methods, including Shaktipat. Since I cannot rewind the clock back to the moment before I started GFM and cannot reverse the Kundalini energy that now courses through me 24-hours a day, I cannot present myself to a someone and ask him to perform Shaktipat on me because my kundalini is already active.
Therefore, there is no way I can comment on the validity of Shaktipat as a method. I have, however, heard many hearsay accounts from many trusted sources, which lead me to believe it does work…up to a point.
Gopi Krishna's plans included accumulating and categorizing substantive accounts of all types Kundalini experiences. Unfortunately, he died before this work could be undertaken. And so, since his death, nothing was done about this to my knowledge…until recently. Nevertheless, the accumulation and categorization of Kundalini accounts cannot match the scholarly interest that has overtaken Near Death Experiences (NDEs) over the last thirty years — even though the effects of NDEs are a mere subset of Kundalini effects.
The reason for this is numbers. NDE research has reached critical mass and Kundalini research hasn't. Therefore, I can contribute little to the subject of Shaktipat as a method, although it does interest me.
During Gopi Krishna's lifetime there were meetings, panels, and discussions on Kundalini. Since his death this interest has become muted, on account, some say, of over-saturation of "New Age" fads. I'd love to see a revival widespread interest and discussion on Kundalini and the various methods for activating it.
There is a long thread in the Golden Flower Forum that discusses Shaktipat, a mere fragment of the ongoing discussion around this important topic.
Nevertheless, for me, Shaktipat seems like a something-for-nothing deal, almost like the one-time static electric discharge you experience after walking across a thick rug in leather soled shoes and touching a metal door knob. Yes, the kick is there and it makes you pause to wonder at it. Wow, that was a surprise, you remark. Wonder where that came from? And then you remember, Oh yes, static electricity. It lasts for a moment and then you get on with it, but it's a far cry from 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week permanent Kundalini, which is more like being permanently hooked up to the electric chair, albeit, a lot more benign. And that's what I've heard about Shaktipat: there is an energy rush that makes you stop to pause, but the aftermath effects vary widely, sometimes evaporating within minutes, sometimes sending the neophyte into a temporary stupor, sometimes, well, there are too many variations for this sentence to support. Plus, as I say, I'm not an expert. Having previously activated Kundalini, my chances of experiencing Shaktipat are null.
One aspect does bother me: the lack of preparation afforded those on whom Shaktipat is conferred. It’s like a play with only one act. After individuals are anointed, there’s very little, if no, follow up. I’m convinced that Shaktipat is authentic, but what good is it if the individuals who undergo it find themselves in a stupor? And, from the accounts of the many people i’ve talked to, that’s exactly what happened to them. Not all, mind you, but some, enough to make the whole business problematic. And in important life experiences like activating Kundalini, one is too many.
People, who claim to have experienced it, only to have it dissipate more or less rapidly are legion. Some individuals I've talked to actually got stuck in a funk after experiencing Shaktipat. One person, in particular, sat in her bathroom for several years whiling away the hours, unable to manage her life. This is the extreme. The Secret of The Golden Flower (SGF) warns against this, says we must — in spite of our "spiritual ambitions" — meet life head on. Something-for-nothing tends to induce this kind of soporific behavior, to rearrange brain chemistry such that the affected individual loses control of the decision making process and the will to keep moving forward. It brings to mind Jonestown, large rallies, mass movements, Rock Concerts, Kool-Aid sessions — places and events the SGF warns us to avoid. Is that what we want to create — spiritual zombies? I don’t think so.
No matter which method is used, there needs to be preparation and follow up. Moreover, the reasons for activating Kundalini need to be considered. It’s not enough to show up at an ashram because some friend “talked about the marvels of Kundalini” just to be touched with a feather and induced into a state of insensibility. This may show off certain wondrous powers on the part of the guru, but it is irresponsible to have no Act Two or no plans for helping the beneficiary assimilate the newly conferred energy. Are initiates informed about the possibilities of winding up in a torpor or not being able to function? Do they know the effects are short lived in many cases? Are they informed about methods for raising permanent Kundalini, should they desire to continue? Do they have any idea of what they are in for? Do they realize that in “buying into” the process they are handing over control of their being to someone else?
Situations that require us to hand over personal responsibility to others ARE problematic. Be sure you know what you are doing and what you want to do. Don’t cede control of your being or your responsibilities to others. YOU have the necessary power within you to realize your own regeneration, your own self-actualization.
Seriously, take a moment to reflect, because this question goes to the heart of the so-called "spiritual" quest. It covers just about every religion, every sect, every movement. It also plays a role in individual motivation, which is one of the keys to success in this work. Free will, predestination, creativity. Don't you want to control your life and practice?
There is one important positive point, suggested by a Golden Flower Forum participant, and that is: "I know that some look for Shaktipat as a way to avoid 'doing the Work.' Such has never been true in my case. I am one who LIVES the Work. My ideal goal would to be awaken everyone. The Shaktipat experience that I had opened my eyes to the reality of kundalini — for the first time, it became an attainable goal rather than a spiritual fantasy. Without this taste of what was possible, I might have never been able to commit to such a program as GFM, as derived from The Secret of the Golden Flower. I certainly wouldn't have had faith in its possibilities that I do now. The fact that my awakening was only temporary was far outweighed by the benefits of having 'seen the Light'!"
Lately, the more I think about why GFM doesn't work for everyone, the more I focus on the individuals I've encountered through my consulting who are seemingly unable to feel or perceive sensations or activity in the inner landscape. If these individuals are numerous enough to constitute a group, this removes the investigation from the purely general categories like — dedication, assiduity, Karma, not to mention individual physiological, psychological, mental, and emotional states — and concentrates it on a specific group experiencing similar symptoms.
This got me to thinking: what if we could use a technique that allowed these individuals to observe inner activity. And that led me back to the subject's experience (cited above) of receiving Shaktipat and Reiki before getting into GFM.
Used correctly, I believe his approach might be a valuable addition to the overall methodology. It worked for the person I quoted above, perhaps even expedited his awakening. It could be useful for those who practice meditation intently, but have difficulty feeling or observing sensations and activity in the internal landscape.
Prior experience of Shaktipat or Reiki might give devoted individuals a leg up, in that they would realize activity in the inner landscape is possible and they can observe and experience sensations on the way to raising kundalini, and once they have, they can get back to it. Believing you can get back to something and "knowing what that something is" are powerful incentives to successful accomplishment.
- Reiki/Shaktipat – Learn to observe inner activity, know it is real, know what it “feels” like, know you can get back to it.
- Golden Flower Meditation (GFM) – Learn and practice the techniques, ever mindful of the sensations and activity already experienced. Physio-psychic, bio-feedback acts as a powerful incentive.
All this, provided that the teacher is capable of providing guidance throughout the various stages, preparing the subject for living with and adjusting to permanent Kundalini. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
Most important is treating Kundalini as a scientific topic, not some religious curiosity. However, it is natural to lend religious overtones to Kundalini, given that its first practitioners were religious figures: Jesus, Moses, Buddha, MIlarepa, Lao Tse, Zoroaster. But how much is religion and how much is spin, created after the fact, by followers three to four generations removed?
Because there's so much current interest in Kundalini, as well as so much misinformation, the work of making methods more reliable will continue.
It won't be made easier by the proliferation of new age, psycho babble. It's up to each individual to verify the steps they take in their personal self-actualization. The Golden Flower Meditation method I used worked for me, and I didn't start out to make it work; I was only practicing what I believed to be a physically stimulating meditation. I had never heard of Kundalini until I ran across Gopi Krishna's book several months after my activation. Perhaps, that's actually a good thing: not being limited by outlandish expectations.
So before closing, I'd like to ask a quasi-rhetorical question, "What would you do if I told you I could perform Shaktipat? Would you ask me to perform it?" Perhaps if you could answer all the relevant When, Where, Why, How questions convincingly, I would if I could.