The concept of Shakti is multi - defined in Hinduism, because it is applied on many planes, and the various teaching masters had different levels of selfrealisation.
In tantric Buddhism each Buddha has a kind of Yogini - Shakti. This is mostly seen as a union of compassion and wisdom, but also as the two major cycles of energy.
In Hinduism exist many dark and light forms of the Shakti and her anandas on the underlying planes. The most respected Shaktis are the Shaktis of the Trimurti(Tapoloka) where the gods may have several tantric shaktis and also several children.
Dark and terrible deities and goddesses such as UMA (mother of the material universe), Durga and Kaalratri give a shady and contradictory impression for those who do not recognize and understand their tantric-allegorical background.
== Adi - Shakti and Parashakti ==
Above all forces resides the controversial Adi-Shakti or Parashakti or Adi-Parashakti, which in Hinduism reaches at most the level of Satyaloka as a Shakti of 'Swami Parambrahma' of the Satyaloka or the lowest level of the (here somewhat undefined) Parabrahman on which the Hinduism ends .
The Adi Shakti is often equated with the Adya Shakti (~ (Maha) Kali) of Bhairava. Therefore even Durga is often worshiped as the highest Adya- or Adi-Shakti. Similar titles are Parama Shakti, Maha Shakti and Mahadevi.
In the Devi Bhagwat - Purana the Adi Parashakti is equal to the Devi Bhuvaneshvari - and therefore a part of the Tapoloka like above.
== Shakti ==
The Trimurti(Shiva-Vishnu-Brahma) have each their Shakti(Parvati-Lakshmi-Sarasvati). But none of these reaches the Parabrahman or Satyaloka where Sadashiva with his 5 shaktis resides(Kashmir shaivism).
In Kashmiri Shivaism is the Adi-Shakti comparable to the 5 Shaktis (cit, ananda, iccha, jnana, kriya) of Sadashiva . There is still a higher Parashakti, which corresponds to step 22 of the Universal Path, as the power - aspect of the highest Shiva who is emitted by Paramshiva, who is unknown in Hinduism and should not be confused with Maheshvara-Shiva in Ishvara-Tattwa(top of Tapoloka) and his shakti Maheshvari. In Kashmir Shaivism exists beyond a tantric Bhairavi as Shakti of Bahirava in the Sadvidya-tattva(Tapoloka).
The above Parashakti corresponds to the step 22 of the 'universal doctrine' as the power aspect of the highest Shiva beyond the Paramshiva('step 24').
== Sri Aurobindo : The mother ==
The highest of the four is Maheshvari (Bija - Mantra : Lim, also hrim: Wisdom, kindness, compassion, and superior cosmic greatness). She is the devi of the shaktistic Devi Bhagavatam Purana and the Shakti of Ishvara.
..The most indispensable of all for the overmind-realization is the personality of the mysterious and powerful ecstasy, which emanates from a highest divine love, the Ananda, which alone can heal the gap between the heights of the overmind and the deepest abyss of matter, the Ananda, that holds the real key of a wonderful divine life - and that supports all forces of the universe from his secrecy. other powers of the universe supports (Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, VI)
..The ONE shakti which we adore as the Mother is the divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet many-sided that to follow her movement is impossible even for the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence.(The Mother)
Mahakali (Kali ma, lightblue, not the dark Maya-Kali) : Her essence is the immediate realization. She is the warrior of the world. The strong loves her, the weak fears her. She is a teacher whose means is the pain if necessary. Mahakali is not the terrible goddess who calls for blood sacrifices and not to be confused with the many dark gods of the buddhic plane.
But Mahakali is not a personification of Maya. Her complement is the blue Bhairava. From the encounter of the Atman with the Maya arises Kalaa-Kanchuka, the limited creative force, and later the lower Nada and personificated forces like the dark Kali(time).
"Every planet has its own Kali, one more terrible than the others," said the Mother(Aurobindo).
The lowest aspect of a shakti is Maya and her impure forces in the area of prakriti.
And first about human love in the sadhana. The soul's turning through love to the Divine must be through a love that is essentially divine, but as the instrument of expression at first is a human nature, it takes the forms of human love and bhakti. It is only as the consciousness deepens, heightens and changes that that greater eternal love can grow in it and openly transform the human into the divine. But in human love itself there are several kinds of motive-forces. There is a psychic human love which rises from deep within and is the result of the meeting of the inner being with that which calls it towards a divine joy and union; it is, once it becomes aware of itself, something lasting, self-existent, not dependent upon external satisfactions, not capable of diminution by external causes, not self-regarding, not prone to demand or bargain but giving itself simply and spontaneously, not moved to or broken by misunderstandings, disappointments, strife and anger, but pressing always straight towards the inner union. It is this psychic love that is closest to the divine and it is therefore the right and best way of love and bhakti. But that does not mean that the other parts of the being, the vital and physical included, are not to be used as means of expression or that they are not to share in the full play and the whole meaning of love, even of divine love. On the contrary, they are a means and can be a great part of the complete expression of divine love, – provided they have the right and not the wrong movement. There are in the vital itself two kinds of love, – one full of joy and confidence and abandon, generous, unbargaining, ungrudging and very absolute in its dedication and this is akin to the psychic and well-fitted to be its complement and a means of expression of the divine love. And neither does the psychic love or the divine love despise a physical means of expression wherever that is pure and right and possible; it does not depend upon that, it does not diminish, revolt or go out like a snuffed candle when it is deprived of any such means; but when it can use it, it does so with joy and gratitude. Physical means can be and are used in the approach to divine love and worship; they have not been allowed merely as a concession to human weakness, nor is it the fact that in the psychic way there is no place for such things. On the contrary, they are one means of approaching the Divine and receiving the Light and materialising the psychic contact, and so long as it is done in the right spirit and they are used for the true purpose they have their place. It is only if they are misused or the approach is not right, because tainted by indifference and inertia, or revolt or hostility, or some gross desire, that they are out of place and can have a contrary effect.
But there is another way of vital love which is more usually the way of human nature and that is a way of ego and desire. It is full of vital craving, desire and demand; its continuance depends upon the satisfaction of its demands; if it does not get what it craves or even imagines that it is not being treated as it deserves, for it is full of imaginations, misunderstandings, jealousies, misinterpretations – it at once turns to sorrow, wounded feeling, anger, all kinds of disorder, finally cessation and departure. A love of this kind is in its very nature ephemeral and unreliable and it cannot be made a foundation for divine love.... It is for this reason that we discourage this lower vital way of human love and would like people to reject and eliminate these elements as soon as may be from their nature. Love should be a flowering of joy and union and confidence and self-giving and Ananda, – but this lower vital way is only a source of suffering, trouble, disappointment, disillusion and disunion. Even a slight element of it shakes the foundations of peace and replaces the movement towards Ananda by a fall towards sorrow, discontent and Nirananda.(Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Yoga, II, Band I, Part II, 7)
The very highest ONE
" Today I have been asked to speak to you about the Avatar. The first thing I have to say is that Sri Aurobindo has written on this subject and the person who has asked me the question would do well to begin by reading what Sri Aurobindo has written. I shall not speak to you about that, for it is better to read it for yourself. But I could speak to you of a very old tradition, more ancient than the two known lines of spiritual and occult tradition, that is, the Vedic and Chaldean lines; a tradition which seems to have been at the origin of these two known traditions, in which it is said that when, as a result of the action of the adverse forces - known in the Hindu tradition as the Asuras - the world, instead of developing according to its law of Light and inherand ignorance that we know, the Creative Power implored the Supreme Origin, asking him for a special intervention which could save this corrupted universe; and in reply to this prayer there was emanated from the Supreme Origin a special Entity, of Love and Consciousness, who cast himself directly into the most inconscient matter to begin there the work of awakening it to the original Consciousness and Love.
In the old narratives this Being is described as stretched out in a deep sleep at the bottom of a very dark cave, and in his sleep there emanated from him prismatic rays of light which gradually spread into the Inconscience and embedded themselves of Awakening.
If one consciously enters into this Inconscient,one can still see there this same marvellous Being, still indeep sleep, continuing his work of emanation, spreading his Light; and he will continue to do it until the Inconscience is no longer inconscient, until Darkness disappears from the world - and the whole creation awakens to the Supramental Consciousness. And it is remarkable that this wonderful Being strangely resembles the one whom I saw in vision one day,the Being whois at the other extremity,at the connes of form and the Formless. But that one was in a golden, crimson glory, whereas in his sleep the other Being was of a shining diamond whiteness emanating opal escent rays. Infact,thisistheorigin of all Avatars. He is, sotosay, the first universal Avatar who, gradually,has assumed more and more conscious bodies and nally manifested in a kind of recognised line of Beings who have descended directly from the Supreme to perfect this work of preparing the universe so that, through a continuous progression,it may become ready to receive and manifest the supramental Light in its entirety.
In every country, every tradition, the event has been predetails, particular features, but truly speaking, the origin of all these stories is the same, and that is what we could call a direct, conscious intervention of the Supreme in the darkest matter, without going through all the intermediaries, in order to awaken this Matter to the receptivity of the Divine Forces. The intervals separating these various incarnations seem to become shorter and shorter, as if, to the extent that Matter universe becomes the total Avatar of the Supreme".
( The Mother, Talks 28 May 1958 )
[Ann. : The attentive reader will have noticed how it is with the help of the Most High and how he deals with the beings...]