on Shaktipat, by Abhinavagupta
Shaktipat is ninefold, with the variants: intense, moderate, and slow, combined with a further threefold division: supremely intense, moderately intense, and mildly intense.
The occurence of supremely intense shaktipat results in the fall of the body, whereupon the state of Parameshvara is attained.
With the moderately intense shaktipat, the recipient is himself firmly convinced of the nature of reality and does not require aid either from the scripture or from a teacher. In him, intuitive knowledge opens automatically, whereuponm without undergoing external forms of purificatory rites, he becomes the giver of enjoyment and liberation to others. This kind of teacher is called a teacher of the pratibha [intuitive] type. This person is not required to observe any cusomary behaviour as used in society. Even among the pratibha type there may be the possibility of comparative distinctions among recipients of grace. This is because of the diverse nature of the will of the Lord. Though being intuitive by nature, the person endowed with this type of grace may rely on the scriptures; this he does for the varification of truth. Thus some teachers bekonging to the pratibha type may not be established in the shastras [scriptural knowledge], while others may be well established in scriptural knowledge. Therefore they are of various types, but in all cases the element of intuition reigns supreme. In the presence of the teachers of the pratibha type, other teachers have no authority.
From the mildly intense shaktipat, a desire to approach a right kind of teacher develops, while one's leanings in the direction of incompetent teachers disappear. It is only because of grace that one goes toward the right kind of teacher fom an incompetent one. The true teacher is fully conversant with the entire truth contained in the shastras. He is none other than the revered Lord Bhairava [Shiva]. Even a yogin is the giver of release to others only through the knowledge gained by practice. In this regards his competency as teacher comes from his identity with Shiva, while the loveliness and charm that he might possess are not essential. The incompetent teacher might possess all these other qualities except union with Shiva.
Thus, the person who feels the desire to approach such a teacher receives initiation, characterized by knowledge, through which he immediately attains liberation while still living [jivankukti]. This inititation takes place in different ways: by mere glance, through discourse, by enlighteneing the disciple regarding shastras, by means of viewing external rites, or by offering semen and menstrual fluids.
A person well practiced in meditation, etc., receives initiation at the time which severs the bond of vital energy [prana]; however, this kind of energy should be given only at the time of death.
One who receives initiation as a result of supremely moderate grace does not feel a deep conviction regarding his identity with Shiva. However, by gradually ripening of that realization, he becomes Shiva after he drops his body.
One upon whom grace descends in a moderately moderate manner, although eager to attain Shivahood, is overwhelmed by the desire for enjoyment. In spite of this, this kind of person is a recipient of the pure knowledge granted to him through initiation. He, in the present body, experiences enjoyments obtained by the practice of yoga and becomes Shiva at the time of dropping his body.
From the mildly moderate shaktipat one attains Shivahood only after experiencing enjoyments in another body after dropping the present one.
When the person's eagerness for the enjoyment of pleasure dominates, then the nature of grace is said to be slow. The recipient of this grace becomes eager to attain identity with supreme Lord through the means of yoga, such as repetition of mantra; because mantras and the practice of yoga finally terminate in liberation, they are decidedly of the nature of grace.