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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Sakti

A Sanskrit term which literally means “power,” “energy,” or “potency.” When encountered in theosophical writings it usually refers to one of the seven forces of nature or sometimes is a reference to “Universal Energy” or the feminine aspect of what in Tibetan is called Fohat and in Sanskrit Daiviprakti; in theosophy therefore Saktis are the vehicles of energy. In Hinduism the Saktis are the wives of Siva.

The list of śaktis differ from one school of thought to another. Three śaktis are commonly enumerated: jnanasakti, or the power of knowledge, icchasakti, or the power of will (or desire), and kriyasakti, the power of action. Kashmir Saivism adds two more, chitsakti, or the power of awareness, and anandasakti, the power of bliss.

T. Subba Row mentions that there are seven forces in nature. Six are the saktis (enumerated below), and the unity of the six is the Astral Light, which is the seventh (Esoteric Writings, p. 11-2):

1. parasakti, the supreme power

2. icchasakti, the power of the will

3. kriyasakti, the power to produce external perceptible phenomena

4. jñanasakti, the power of knowledge

5. kundalinisakti, the universal life principle in nature, and particularly lodged at the base on the human spine

6. mantrikasakti, the power of sound or mantras

P.S.H./V.H.C.

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