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Beloved Master,
What is Shaktipat, the transmission of spiritual energy?

The most fundamental thing to understand is that materialism is dead, that matter no longer exists. All that exists is energy. The energy in a rock is the lowest form, the most dormant, the most closed, most asleep. Then there is the world of plants, trees. They have opened up a little. They are available to existence more than a rock. They communicate with the sun, with the moon, with the stars - and this communication is communication of energy. They take energy; they give energy. And this is the whole ecology of existence - a tremendous interdependence. In every possible way, there is a delicate transference of energy happening everywhere. Man breathes out, and he is breathing out a certain energy which we call carbon dioxide; it is not matter. He breathes in - again another form of energy, oxygen. The trees do just the opposite: they exhale oxygen; they inhale carbon dioxide. This is how the balance is maintained.
In millions of ways energy is moving through different organisms. And higher than plants are the animals which have the capacity of movement. There is a link: there are plants which cannot move, and there are plants which can move a few feet; there are animals which can move miles, and there are birds which can move thousands of miles. This movement makes their energy dynamic.
These are developments of energy. Above all are the human beings, who have energy which has life, movement. But few of them can attain to consciousness, which is the most developed form of energy. And the way of consciousness is exactly the way of a river. It goes downwards following the path of gravitation.
The device you are asking about is an ancient device. I have used it, but not for six years because I have refined the device to better forms, to more invisible transformations. The device is absolutely dependent on the disciple, and in that discipleship you cannot use the word ′friend′. The word ′friend′ can be used only with my refined techniques.
The old device has to use the master and the disciple. The disciple had to surrender totally, had to become vulnerable, had to be open - risk all and have faith. If the master is an authentic master then his touch, particularly on the forehead between the two eyes where mythologically in the East we have visualized a third eye... If he puts his bodily contact on the third eye, and the disciple is absolutely available, surrendered, ready to receive, then the energy from the master′s being starts flowing. The master loses nothing because the more he gives, the more energy is poured by the cosmos itself into his being. He is rewarded immensely. But he cannot do anything if the disciple is just a little bit reluctant, a little bit closed, a little bit afraid, not surrendered totally. Then nothing will happen.
The tika on the third eye - just by the way, I remembered that in the East women have always used, or have been recommended by men to use it - is a red round mark exactly on the spot where the third eye is. They have persuaded the women, "This is the sign of your being married." But the truth is something else. It is again the long history of creating woman as a slave to man. The red mark on the third eye is preventing the woman from receiving the energy from a master. The color of energy is red, and the tika that has been recommended for the woman to put on her forehead is also red.
Colors work in such a way that if you have a red spot on your forehead, all colors will be absorbed except red. The red will be sent back. So what we see in the world is a very strange phenomenon. When you see somebody in blue clothes, the reality is those clothes are not blue, they are reflecting back the blue color. They are absorbing all the six colors of the rainbow from the sunrays, but not accepting the blue. Because the blue is not accepted, it falls on your eyes and you see the color of the clothes as blue. But it is very illusory - those clothes are not blue.
And this was a strategy used for thousands of years in India. It shows that they knew how colors function. To put a red mark on the third eye means all colors can be absorbed, all kinds of energies can be absorbed, but not the energy that has a red color. The energy of the master has a red color; it is the color of blood, it is the color of life, it is the color of warmth.
To prevent women from becoming disciples or, even if they did, not allowing them the privilege of being a disciple, a very cunning strategy has been used. So if you like the tika, use any color, but don′t use red. It looks beautiful, but use the whole spectrum of colors except red.
When the master touches the disciple′s third eye, if the disciple is available - and that is a great if, which rarely happens - then suddenly a flow of warmth, life, consciousness starts hitting the point which for specific reasons we have called the third eye. It is the point that, if it opens, makes you a seer. Then you can see things about yourself, about others more clearly, more transparently - and your whole life will start changing with this new vision.
But I have not used the method of shaktipat for six years because I felt there were some flaws in it. First, the disciple has to be in a lower state than the master - which I don′t like. Nobody is lower here; nobody is higher. The disciple has to be just a receiver. He cannot contribute anything to it. He becomes dependent also, because only when the master touches him does he feel full of energy, full of joy, but not otherwise.
Secondly, the very idea of surrender is basically difficult, and to ask for total surrender is to ask for the impossible. We should think in human terms. We are dealing with human beings, we should not ask something which they cannot do. And when they cannot do something and are condemned, they start feeling guilty that they are not open, that they are not totally surrendered, that there are doubts in their mind. So guilt is created. Instead of surrender you have created guilt. For six years I have been trying to find more refined methods, and I have found them. Perhaps they have never been used before, but they are more civilized, more cultured, more human. For example, when I am speaking to you I am not asking you to surrender, I am not asking you to be open, I am not asking you for anything. But just listening to me, all this happens automatically - you don′t have to do it.
Energy is not something physical, that you have to touch the person. It can happen just by looking into the eyes of the person. It can happen just by your gesture, or just in the silence between two words. This way nothing is asked and yet it is more easily available.
Secondly, the disciple need not be a slave, a spiritual slave. He can be a friend. And my feeling is you can trust a friend more than you can trust anybody else.
Friendship is the highest flowering of love, where all that is primitive in love has been dropped and only the perfume remains. And the perfume can reach without any physical connection. In these six years I have seen it happening again and again on a vaster scale. Neither are you waiting for the energy, nor are you preparing for the energy - unexpectedly, it comes as a surprise and fills your heart.
In the old method surrender is asked; in the new method only a loving friendship, which is more human, more natural. In the old method surrender had to be the basis of all. But remember, whomsoever you surrender to, you will carry a grudge against him. It is not just a coincidence that Judas, one of the most prominent disciples of Jesus, betrayed him. Mahavira′s own son-in-law betrayed him. Buddha′s own cousin-brother, Devadatta, betrayed him. It is not an exception, but a rule. These people may have surrendered, but some reluctance must have been there.
For example, the case of Judas.... He was more educated, more cultured, more philosophically knowledgeable than Jesus himself - and he had to surrender and he had to have faith in a man who knew less than him. Something was going on and on inside him, biting - "Something has to be done. A revenge has to be taken."
Mahavira′s son-in-law.... In India it is the tradition that the son-in-law is very much respected; even the father-in-law has to touch his feet. The only daughter of Mahavira became a sannyasin, and so the son-in-law thought that as a matter of course he would be the successor to Mahavira - "Who else can claim?" There was a time Mahavira had even touched his feet!
But Mahavira did not want this because there were wiser, more enlightened people in the commune. He refused the son-in-law, saying, "It is not a question of relationship, and the moment you became a monk you should have forgotten this relationship."
He rebelled against and betrayed Mahavira.
Then Mahavira chose another person who was the most learned, most charismatic, and a very influential orator. Goshalak had tremendous power in many ways, over many kings. But Goshalak became accustomed, took it for granted, and started throwing his power over others, saying, "I am going to be the successor of Mahavira."

A very beautiful story...

Goshalak and Mahavira were both going for their daily begging. They passed a very newly sprouted plant. Goshalak said to Mahavira, "Lord, you say that everything happens according to a certain law of karma. Now, can you say about this plant - will it survive or not? You are omniscient, you can see."
Mahavira said, "It will survive, and will become a very big tree with great foliage."
Goshalak went to the plant, pulled it out, threw it away, and said, "Now we will see how that tree grows with a great foliage." Mahavira simply smiled, and they walked to the village.
Meanwhile, there was a great cyclone... rains. When they came back, Mahavira showed him that the plant was standing up. The cyclone and the rains had changed its position. It was again back in the soil. And Mahavira said, "Goshalak, do you want to try it again? This plant is going to become a great tree, with great foliage - a beautiful tree. You cannot change its course."
Goshalak became so angry. Mahavira had second thoughts, that this man was not the right man: "If he suspects my approach to life, my whole philosophy, then he cannot be my successor."
The moment Goshalak found that he was not going to be the successor, he immediately rebelled, taking five hundred sannyasins of Mahavira with him. He proclaimed himself to be the real master, and Mahavira just a fraud.

My own insight is that these people had surrendered, but some part of their being remained unsurrendered waiting for a revenge, waiting for an opportunity - and sooner or later the opportunity comes.
I am not very much in favor of the old strategy. I have used it because that was the only strategy that was available. But slowly, slowly I saw its drawbacks, its flaws. It may help a few, but it has harmed many more. Since then I have been trying to find more subtle, more human, more invisible ways. And I have found them and they are working, they are working tremendously. I can do the same just by speaking to you. I can do just the same by my silence. I can do the same just by my presence.
And I don′t ask you for anything. Whatever I am doing, if you get involved in it - which you are going to be...! If you are listening to me, you are going to get involved in it. If I am looking at you, at that moment you cannot think of anything else and something transpires and you become aflame. It is more delicate and more suited to the higher layers of consciousness.
In this reference the word ′friend′ can be used, but not in the first reference. That′s why I have been insisting on the word ′friend′.
I don′t want to be betrayed by you.
I don′t want any Judas, any Goshalak, any Devadatta. And if I am not presenting a higher status than you, there is no need to betray. I have been just a friend on the way, walking together - nobody higher, nobody lower. We just liked each other and walked together! And as we walked together, the liking became love. As we walk together we come closer and closer and the energy transfers itself.
This is something new that has never been said before, and never been attempted before. I want to make it a clear-cut line that divides the history of spiritual slavery from spiritual freedom, where the master is so confident of his authority he need not pretend to be higher. Do you see the point? Whenever somebody pretends to be higher, he himself is suspicious of his highness, he is suspicious of his authority himself.
Only a real master can be humble.
Only a real master can be human.
The old ways of religion - all the ways have to be abandoned. We have given enough time for them; they have not succeeded in transforming humanity. Now we have to work in a different way, in a new way. My feeling is, there are millions of people in the world who want to be transformed but who do not want to be humiliated before a God, before a master - who have some self-respect.
I am opening the door for all those people who have some self-respect. We will not touch their self-respect. It is perfectly okay. If it disappears on its own accord and leaves a better consciousness within you, that is for you to decide.

(Osho - The Sword and the Lotus #7, 25 January 1986)