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Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? The comparative study of spiritual manifestations among Christian charismatics and the followers of Hinduism



Healing ministries, typical of Christian charismatics in many different denominations, gained popularity over the past 50 years with the expansion of Neo-Pentecostalism in Protestant communities as well as the Charismatic Renewal among the Catholic Church. According to Christian as well as Hindu preachers, healing of the body, mind, and soul seems to be indispensable for one's spiritual growth. In order for the follower to be healed, a supernatural force needs to be employed. Christians associate this particular entity with the Holy Spirit, whereas the followers of Hinduism-with Kundalini Shakti. What appears to be interesting is the fact that although these two religions differ to a great extent, the symptoms of the spiritual awakening are similar. The aim of this study is to analyze the actions ascribed to the Holy Spirit during the so-called healing ministries and compare them with the manifestations of Kundalini Shakti that can be observed during the Hindu ceremony known as Shaktipat.
Przegląd Religioznawczy 2(276)/2020
The Religious Studies Review
ISSN: 1230-4379
e-ISSN: 2658-1531
ewelina nyske
Adam Mickiewicz University
ORCID: 0000-0001-5126-0679
DOI: 10.34813/ptr2.2020.10
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti
during many healing ministries?
The comparative study of spiritual manifestations
among Christian charismatics
and the followers of Hinduism
Abstract. Healing ministries, typical of Christian charismatics in many dierent denom-
inations, gained popularity over the past 50 years with the expansion of Neo-Pentecostal-
ism in Protestant communities as well as the Charismatic Renewal among the Catholic
Church. According to Christian as well as Hindu preachers, healing of the body, mind,
and soul seems to be indispensable for ones spiritual growth. In order for the follower to
be healed, a supernatural force needs to be employed. Christians associate this particular
entity with the Holy Spirit, whereas the followers of Hinduism – with Kundalini Shakti.
What appears to be interesting is the fact that although these two religions dier to a great
extent, the symptoms of the spiritual awakening are similar. e aim of this study is to
analyze the actions ascribed to the Holy Spirit during the so- called healing ministries and
compare them with the manifestations of Kundalini Shakti that can be observed during
the Hindu ceremony known as Shaktipat.
Keywords: Kundalini, Shaktipat, Holy Spirit, Neo-Pentecostalism, Catholic Church,
Catholic Charismatic Renewal
148 ewelina nyske
1. Kundalini awakening
e Indian spiritual traditions of Yoga and Tantra recognize the Cosmic Energy
or in other words, the goddess known as Shakti. is particular type of energy
penetrates the animate as well as the inanimate. Shakti may be referred to by
dierent names of which Kundalini Shakti and the Primal Power are most
common. e word Kundalini derives from Sanskrit where „kunda” means
„to coil”. It is believed that the goddess lies dormant at the base of the human
spine. e main reason for awakening Kundalini Shakti is the purication of
chitta, that is, the mind-stu, and in consequence – the unication with Atman,
known also as the Supreme Self. e state of being united with the Creator
Brahman is recognized as nirvikalpa samadhi. In Hinduism, the practice of
Kundalini awakening should be performed by a proper Guru (spiritual leader)
with the aid of a personal sadhana (spiritual practice). e spiritual training
is believed to be of highest importance to the initiate (the practitioner) owing
to the fact that Kundalini Shakti requires the inner peace in order to take the
action. Yoga is a widely-known spiritual exercise whose principal objective
is to provide the initiate with the internal balance. Hatha, Mantra, Laya and
Raja function as separate units before the awakening, however, as soon as
Kundalini Shakti awakens, they merge together and become recognized under
the common name Mahayoga. Similarly to the Christian healing ministries,
the whole procedure is not possible without the intense involvement on the
part of the Guru. e followers of Hinduism believe that the divine energy of
the spiritual leader is directly transmitted to the practitioner before the actual
awakening. e undisturbed interaction between the Guru and the initiate
appears to be mandatory.
1.1. Kundalini Shakti and the chakras
According to Ajit Mookerjee (1986: 39), chakras are the centres or rather vor-
tices of energy, oen depicted as lotuses. Krishna (1990: 50) associates these
centres of energy with human nerve plexuses characteristic of the central or
autonomous nervous system. e chakras are interconnected through the
system of channels carrying the psychic energy and known as nadis of which
Sushumna is most important. Furthermore, chakras or lotuses are believed to
be equipped with petals, however, the number of petals varies from chakra to
chakra. Kundalini Shakti enters each chakra, activates the purifying energy and
in consequence, replaces the detrimental chitta (karma) with the benecial one.
As Swami Narayanananda (1950) noticed, the last centre of energy, which does
not belong to the category of typical chakras, is associated with Brahman and
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? 149
therefore, believed to be Kundalini Shakti’s nal destination. is particular
centre is known as Sahasrara (the crown-centre).
Mookerjee (1986: 39-58) names all the chakras as well as provides com-
prehensive descriptions in order to understand their roles. e rst chakra is
the lowest one and therefore it is associated with the place where the goddess
lies dormant.
e Muladhara chakra can be found at the base of the spine and it is
thought of as the centre of physical experience (Mookerjee 1986: 39). It is
especially important due to the fact that Kundalini Shakti commences her
ascending journey there. e Svadhisthana chakra refers to the subject’s per-
sonality and can be met in the region of the genitals. e Manipura chakra
resides in the region of the solar plexus and it represents the re as well as
the principle of sight. e Anahata chakra can be found in the region of the
heart. Air is the corresponding element whereas the touch is the corresponding
sense. e Visuddha chakra can be found behind the throat and it governs
the principle of sound. Moreover, this particular chakra performs the role
of the lter separating the psychic facts from the material facts (Mookerjee
1986: 49). e Ajna chakra resides between the eyebrows and it is believed
to control the subject’s personality as well as meditation. e seventh centre,
namely, Sahasrara, is located above the crown of the head and it is the place
where Kundalini Shakti encounters Shiva (Brahman). is particular chakra
is claimed to be the residence of the Supreme Consciousness. All senses, all
colours and and all functions meet there as soon as the Kundalini’s ascending
journey comes to an end.
Narayanananda (1950: 141) drew attention to the fact that three chakras
residing at the lowest point, are considered to be the centres lled with negative
energies called Vritis. He also alluded to the advantages of regular, spiritual
practices. One of these advantages is the ability to hear spiritual sounds when
the individual meditates on the Anahata chakra. Moreover, it is also possible for
the practitioner to experience spiritual visions. Ascending to the Ajna chakra
enables the individual to have a vision of the Supreme Self as well as feel the
all-encompassing bliss whereas aer reaching Sahasrara, Kundalini Shakti is
believed to unite with Brahman in the state recognized as nirvikalpa samadhi.
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that the process of ascending or in
other words, Kundalini’s journey, should be understood in terms of a spiritual
growth. Sadhanas allow the individual to experience the internal balance
which in consequence separates the subject from the external world. Taylor
(2015:232) emphasized the fact that Kundalini awakening could be classied
as the high arousal phenomenon due to its intensity, and what is more, ho-
meostasis disruption should not be perceived as its actual cause. Conversely,
150 ewelina nyske
as far as Kundalini awakening is concerned, homeostasis disruption seems to
be the nal result of the whole process and therefore, it is rather trophotropic
with a permanent shi in identity.
1.2. The initiation procedure: Shaktipat
In order to awaken Kundalini, the individual has the possibility to decide
upon one of the following paths, namely, practising yoga alone or engaging
the Guru who should have the ability to perform Shaktipat which is referred
to as the royal road where Shakti stands for „energy” and pat means „the ow”.
As its name suggests, the principal objective of Shaktipat is to transmit the
divine energy from the Guru to the initiate, that is the one who undergoes the
ceremony of Shaktipat (Kumar and Kumar Larsen, 2009: 2).
As soon as the initiate decides upon a particular Guru, the core principle of
a successful ceremony namely the unconditional surrender, should be imple-
mented. e question of the absolute trust seems to be extremely signicant not
only in Hinduism but also in Christianity, especially when it comes to healing
ministries. Kumar and Kumar Larsen (2009:61) emphasized the fact that the
Guru is able to perform Shaktipat in four dierent ways, namely, through touch,
sight, mental concentration as well as mantra, however, it should be noticed
that not all the initiates will be successful. Nervous disorders, the advanced
age, the emotional condition of the Guru or the impure thoughts may turn
out to be the main obstacles. Apparently, the Guru takes the role of a catalyst
responsible for activating the inner energy and immersing into the individuals
karmic history. e awakening manifests itself in what will be later discussed in
details, namely, the so-called kriyas. ese are the automatic body movements
which cannot be controlled by the initiate.
According to Kumar and Kumar Larsen (2009: 62), Kundalini awaken-
ing tends to be associated with one of ve, well-known disciplines such as:
Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra, Mantra and Bhakti. Each of them presents its own
practices, however, they pursue a common objective generally speaking. e
Shambhavi Initiation which is characteristic of Vedanta, does not require any
engagement on the part of the initiate, since the power of the Guru enables the
individual to experience Shiva, known also as Shambhu. e Yoga Initiation as
well as e Shakti Initiation which are typical of the Yoga discipline, focus on
the process of awakening Kundalini Shakti through creating dierent chitta
in the individual. e yogi uses his determination in order to induce kriyas
in the initiate. e Atman of the yogi merges with the Atman of the initiate.
Kundalini Shakti enters Sushumna and ascends to the crown-centre. As for
Mantra, it provides both, e Mantri as well as Anavi Initiation. In this par-
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? 151
ticular case, the Guru transmits the power of mantra to the initiate in order to
awaken the goddess. Moreover, as soon as the initiates karma is balanced, the
Guru performs the Anavi Initiation which leads to reaching the level of Shiva.
As far as Tantra is concerned, it recognizes the Vedh Initiation whose primary
purpose is to enable Kundalini Shakti to pierce the six chakras as well as to
ascend through Sushumna unhindered. Kuman and Kumar Larsen (2009:64)
noticed that the liberation is usually followed by the fall to the ground which
tends to be accompanied by the feeling of bliss, vibrations, rising, rotation, sleep
and trance. e last approach, namely, Bhakti Marg, known also as the Path of
Devotion, introduces the Vaishnavi Initiation, being performed either by the
engagement of the Guru or through personal eort. e awakening manifests
itself in dancing, falling to the ground, turning of the body, shouting, laughing
loudly, getting hiccups or twisting hands as well as legs (Kumar and Kumar
Larsen, 2009:65). Moreover, crying and falling asleep have also been reported.
It appears to be noteworthy that the whole procedure recognized under
the common name Shaktipat, engages both the Guru and the initiate, however,
the reduction of spiritual power is mostly felt by the Guru who transmits the
divine energy to the initiate. Hence, the unconditional surrender to the spiritual
leader combined with a deep respect are considered obligatory. .
1.3. e aermath of awakening: kriyas
Upon awakening, Kundalini Shakti commences her spiritual journey.
Piercing particular chakras results in triggering automatic body movements
known as kriyas. It is impossible for the initiate to control them and therefore
the presence of the Guru appears to be advisable. Kumar and Kumar Larsen
(2009: 19) emphasized that these manifestations are not permanent and what
is more, they are dependent on the initiates karmic history. In other words,
kriyas are more intense if there is more karma to work on in the initiate.
Kriyas can be subtle or dynamic but regardless of their intensity, all of them
symbolize purication and spiritual growth. According to Kumar and Kumar
Larsen (2009: 20), the symptoms of the awakened Kundalini Shakti are as
follows: (1) vibrations of the body, (2) the feeling of bliss, (3) the uncon-
trolled laughter or cry, (4) uttering the unknown words, (5) seeing spiritual
visions and hearing spiritual sounds, (6) chanting mantra spontaneously,
(7) the feeling of numbness, (8) inability to open the eyes, (9) the upsurge of
energy, (10) the ability of the body to rotate spontaneously, (11) producing
animal noises, (12) speaking unknown languages, (13) experiencing a divine
touch, (14) rolling around on the oor, (15) falling forward and backward,
(16) shaking, (17) feeling the divine intoxication, (18) sensation of warmth
or cold, (19) sweating, (20) feeling heavy, (21) feeling the all-encompassing
love and (22) twisting hands and legs.
152 ewelina nyske
Mookerjee (1986: 71-77), added some additional kriyas to the above-men-
tioned list. ese are: (1) tingling sensations, (2) creeping sensations, (3) the
feeling of the head being separated from the rest of the body, (4) dryness of
the throat and (5) feeling weightless. On the basis of the provided examples, it
can be concluded that the activated Kundalini has the potential to control the
initiates body until all the chakras are puried. However, does the ceremony
always end with success? Taylor (2017) discussed the detrimental aer-eects
of various types of awakenings such as: psychological disturbances (inability
to concentrate and make decisions) and physical problems (sleeplessness,
exhaustion and pains of the unspecied origin). According to what has been
formerly stated, homeostasis disruption, especially if experienced over a longer
period, may increase the likelihood of the awakening but there are also cases
where the awakening itself gives rise to homeostasis disruption due to the
unexpected collapse of the internal balance.
Concluding this section, it may be assumed that the followers of Hinduism
are perfectly aware of the opportunities the Shaktipat ceremony provides. In
addition, they seem to be deeply involved in their spiritual growth due to the
fact that they follow all the guidelines developed in the ancient times. In other
words, they seem to be familiar with the spirits they worship.
2. Slain in the Spirit
e wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell
where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the
Spirit” (John 3: 7-8). is particular verse from the Bible clearly shows that
human beings have no inuence on the actions of the Holy Spirit. It appears
to be especially important within the context of this study. e arrival of the
Pentecostal movement brought about numerous changes when it comes to
understanding the role of the Holy Spirit. Nowadays, it is believed that the
Holy Spirit should act as a tool for performing miracles and therefore the
Neo-Pentecostal as well as the Catholic Charismatic leaders (known also as
Catholic Pentecostals) refer to Him during the enormously popular healing
ministries. One of the widely-known practices which tends to be regularly im-
plemented by the aforementioned preachers is the so-called Slain in the Spirit,
recognized also as resting in the Spirit. It is worth noting that this particular
phenomenon bears striking resemblance to the formerly-discussed Shaktipat,
especially when the manifestations of the spirit are taken into consideration.
e Pentecostal movement, divided into „three waves”, ocially began in
1901 in Bethel Bible College, located in Topeka, the capital of Kansas. e „rst
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? 153
wave” emphasized ecstatic religious experiences such as the baptism in the
Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues. Apart from the supernatural phenomena,
ascetic practices were also common. In addition, the practitioners adhered to
the Scripture to a great extent as well as presented the approach whose main
characteristic was to focus on the hereaer instead on the worldly pleasures.
e „second wave, developed during the 1950s and what is particularly inter-
esting, it spread among traditional churches, for instance, the Catholic Church.
Thomas J.Csordas (1997: 4-20), mentioned the importance of the event
believed to be a mass spiritual awakening resulting from the Baptism in the
Holy Spirit that happened to a group of students at Duquesne University in the
United States. As a result, in 1967 the Catholic Charismatic Renewal came into
existence. e „third wave” recognized as Neo-Pentecostalism, began during
the 1980s and it gave rise to the phenomena such as divine healing, prayers of
liberation (demonic possession), falling to the ground, collective laughter as
well as other somatic manifestations that reected the sola experientia slogan.
Furthermore, Neo-Pentecostalism implemented the Prosperity Gospel whose
main assumption was to focus on self-realization since the material success
was perceived as God’s blessing (Kobyliński, 2014: 109). e contemporary
Neo-Pentecostals are known for their mass healing services organized around
the world during which the charismatic leaders try to establish a strong bond
between the sacred and the profane.
As reported by Armando Favazza (1982), Catholic Pentecostals are be-
lieved to be a prime example of the shi that took place among Christians
in the late 20th-century. e previously-emphasized concept of self-morti-
cation based on the suering of Jesus Christ has been gradually transformed
into the new practice known as divine healing, also referring to the Son of
God. According to Csordas (1988:123), an illness is regarded by Christian
charismatics as a barrier to spiritual growth and therefore the believers ought
to submit to divine healing which is perceived as holistic. Moreover, the sys-
tem is based on the tripartite concept of a human being, encompassing the
body, mind, and spirit. In order for the service to be conducted successfully,
permanent components associated with the supernatural should be included.
ese are: anointing, laying on of hands, holy water, consecrated oil, blessed
salt, speaking in tongues, resting in the Spirit, the soaking prayer. discern-
ment of spirits, binding of spirits, calling out spirits, prayer of command
and cutting ancestral bonds. e healing itself may only be performed by
a leader who is believed to possess spiritual gis or charisms given by God
(Csordas, 1997: 123-124). e rst type of healing, that is, the physical heal-
ing, concentrates around praying for relief from pain and consists in laying
on of hands by the minister. e inner healing whose central objective is to
154 ewelina nyske
eradicate the life trauma, encourages the participants to forgive those who
contributed to one’s suering whereas the deliverance, claimed to be most
dynamic, aims at relieving the individual of oppression by demons. is
particular type of healing invites the Holy Spirit whose manifestations will
be further discussed. It should be mentioned that the prayer of command
uttered by the healing minister, refers merely to these evil spirits that tend to
be named aer emotions as well as behavioral patterns, such as depression,
anxiety or lust (Csordas, 1988: 125). e ceremony of Christian healing
bears remarkable resemblance to the formerly-analyzed Shaktipat in terms
of transmitting the divine energy, touching the initiate, establishing a direct
relationship with the inner spirit and nally – falling to the ground as the
result of the divine power. Furthermore, the question of karma understood
by charismatics as the ancestral bonds, also seems to be present.
2.1. The sacred swoon: the analysis of the fall
e practice of resting in the Spirit was introduced by a Protestant healer,
namely, Kathryn Kuhlman and popularized within Catholic prayer groups in
the early 1970s by the Catholic healer – Francis MacNutt. In the late 1980s, this
particular phenomenon gained enormous popularity due to the activity of the
Protestant evangelist – John Wimber. Csordas (1997: 231), underlined the fact
that the actual resting in the Spirit is a response to the laying on of hands or the
anointing performed on the participants who either sit or stand in front of the
healer. e aforementioned John Wimber, employed the practice of holding
people upright in order to enable them to feel the divine currents. It should
be noted that participants tend to fall backwards, similarly to what is typical
of Shaktipat. As reported by Csordas (1997: 234), the healer has the potential
to initiate the contact with the practitioner in a variety of ways, however, re-
gardless of the chosen option, all of them employ the same channel – the sense
of touch. As in the case of the Guru and the initiate, the interaction between
the healer and the participant should be based on the absolute trust which is
followed by the unconditional surrender.
As far as the consciousness is concerned, Csordas (1997: 241) noted that
the degree of awareness varies from participant to participant since some of
them remain conscious whereas the others do not. Léon Joseph Suenens (2007:
22-23) specied the types of practitioners who appear to be most vulnerable to
the practice of slaying in the Spirit. ese are predominantly women, people
suering from depression or mental illnesses in general, the individuals with
broken relationships, facing hardships in their lives or people who need the
inner healing as they are unable to deal with their emotions.
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? 155
With regard to the falls and their biblical foundations, Suenens (2007: 39)
clearly stated that they indeed appear in biblical verses, however, these falls are
rst and foremost the cases of falling facedown to the ground and secondly,
none of them result from the practice of laying on of hands by the healer or the
praying community. Falling facedown to the ground may be understood as the
act of surrender to God or the act of expressing obedience to the Almighty. e
Old Testament provides examples of such instances: (I) „Neither, he replied,
but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. en Joshua fell
facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, What message does my
Lord have for his servant?” (Joshua 5: 14), (II) „en I heard him speaking,
and as I listened to him, I fell into deep sleep, my face to the ground” (Daniel
10: 9), (III) „Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day,
so was the radiance around him. is was the appearance of the likeness of
the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of
one speaking” (Ezekiel 1: 28). e same is true for some verses in the New
Testament. ese are the following: (I) „When the disciples heard this, they
fell facedown to the ground, terried” (Matthew 17: 6), (II)„When I saw him,
I fell at his feet as though dead” (Revelation 1: 17), (III) „When Jesus said, I am
he, they drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18: 6).
On the basis of the above-mentioned verses, it can be assumed that the
conduct of Christian healing ministries or to be more precise, the practice of
falling backwards, has nothing in common with the biblical descriptions of
meeting the Lord. Furthermore, the Gospel of Matthew refers to what Jesus
Christ said about the prayer: „But when you pray, go into your room, close
the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. en your Father, who sees
what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6: 6). us, praying within
the interactive surrounding may not be exactly what the Father expects.
2.2. Charismatic Christianity and the manifestations
of the Holy Spirit
e „third wave” of the Pentecostal movement, also known as renewal, gained
popularity worldwide due to the event called e Toronto Blessing which took
place on January 20, 1994 at the Toronto Airport Vineyard church, renamed
in 2010 to Catch the Fire church. On that particular day, as reported by Mar-
garet M.Poloma (2003: 61), a Vineyard pastor Randy Clark, gave a testimony
of his spiritual transformation which led to the First Great Awakening. e
gathered people started to crawl, laugh hysterically, cry, roll and make animal
noises. What seems to be interesting is the fact that the participants did not
perceive their behavior as something unusual. Clark himself had experienced
156 ewelina nyske
the spiritual awakening as a result of a series of meetings with Rodney How-
ard-Browne, the South African evangelist. When it comes to e Toronto
Airport Vineyard church, it belonged to the network of charismatic churches,
known under the common name the Association of Vineyard Churches which
had been established by the former drug addict and rock musician, John Wm-
ber. In consequence of his preaching activity, a great number of people whose
spiritual life was rather dry, started to experience the supernatural phenomena
including the practice of speaking in tongues (Poloma, 2003: 17). John Wimber
is now thought of as one of the most inuential Neo-Pentecostal preachers.
e Toronto Blessing spread across the world encouraging pilgrims to visit
the famous church.
Poloma (2003: 62-75) specied the types of manifestations that are typical
of Charismatic Christianity. ese are the following: (1) violent shaking, (2)
rolling on the oor, (3) uncontrolled jerking, (4) uncontrolled weeping, (5)
falling to the ground, (6) grunting and rocking, (7) slain in the Spirit, (8) Spirit
drunkenness, (9) spiritual euphoria, love and joy, (10) impossibility to speak
clearly, (11) prophetic mime (making animal noises): roaring lion, crowing
rooster, clucking hen, (12) upsurge of energy, (13) spiritual visions, (14) speak-
ing in tongues and (15) uncontrolled laughter. Andrew Storm (2015) who had
been the eyewitness of the charismatic healing ministries owing to his personal
involvement in the movement, put emphasis on the following manifestations
of the Holy Ghost: (1) tingling, (2) electrical sensations, (3) deep bowing, (4)
stiness, (5) running around, (6) falling backwards.
In conclusion, it can be assumed that the biblical Holy Spirit and the spirit
manifesting itself during Christian charismatic meetings, are two dierent
spirits. Furthermore, the spirit visiting the healing ministries bears striking
resemblance to Kundalini Shakti, especially when its manifestations are taken
into consideration. According to the Scripture: „[…] the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5: 22-23).
3. Slain in the Spirit and Shaktipat: comparison
A number of key issues have been addressed in this study, however, the most
signicant seem to relate to the considerable similarities between the practice
of slaying in the Spirit and the ceremony of Shaktipat. To be more specic,
the manifestations of the supernatural power typical of Christian healing
ministries correspond to the symptoms of the awakened Kundalini Shakti. Fur-
thermore, the actions performed by the guru during the initiation procedure
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? 157
should be compared to what the Christian healing minister does in relation
to the participant. e data have been obtained from the written as well as
verbal testimonies of the participants on the basis of the videos available on
YouTube and the private statements accessible on the Internet. Moreover, the
written testimonies presented in a specialist literature have been analyzed.
e rst part of the analysis focuses on the relationship between the agent and
the client (deliberate reference to business interactions), that is, the religious
leader and the participant with a special emphasis put on the implemented
stimuli. e second part of the analysis refers to the actual manifestations of
particular spirits.
e interaction scheme: the initiation procedure
On the basis of the above-mentioned scheme, it can be assumed that the
interaction between the healing minister and the participant bears striking
resemblance to the procedure employed by the Guru. First of all, in both
cases the total submission to the religious leader seems to be mandatory.
Secondly, it should be noted that music inuences the general atmosphere
among the individuals, regardless of the fact whether they are charismatic
Christians or the followers of Hinduism. Moreover, touching serves as the
most signicant stimulus. For Christians as well as the followers of Hindu-
158 ewelina nyske
ism, touching by the religious leader is tantamount to the habit of laying on
of hands. Besides, the Guru has the potential to awaken Kundalini Shakti
through mental concentration or by using his sight, as opposed to the healing
minister. As far as the verbal stimulus is concerned, the healing minister uses
repetitive phrases, similar to mantra. ese are for instance: More Lord, more
Lord, more Lord, Fire, re, re! Legacy, legacy, legacy! With reference to the
Guru, a proper mantra, namely, the cosmic sound of AUM (OM) tends to
be implemented on a regular basis. e verbal stimulus is followed by the
actual transmission of the divine energy, resulting in the client’s response –
either to mantra or to hypnotic suggestions given by the healing minister. It
is noteworthy that healing ministers encourage the clients to identify their
problems before the actual procedure starts in order to specify the type of
the preferred healing. Moreover, the deliverance prayer appears to be one of
the major elements of the whole event during which the leader calls the evil
spirits by their names. ese names symbolize various emotions or behavioral
patterns, such as lust, anger or depression. Deliverance prayers are typical
of charismatic Christianity. Last but not least, the question of the initiates
preparation should be taken into consideration. In Hinduism, the initiate
is required to perform spiritual practices called sadhanas prior to Shaktipat
whereas there is not such an obligation in Christianity.
Manifestations: the Holy Spirit and Kundalini Shakti
gender; aliation; event symptoms
1. female; Christian; healing
spiritual voices, impression of receiving gis for others
and being able to heal, godly presence, sudden upsurge of
2. female; Christian; healing
spiritual visions, sensation of warmth, feeling of godly
presence, deep bowing, uncontrolled cry;
3. male; Christian; healing
electrical sensations, screaming, sensation of warmth
(re), falling backwards;
4. male; Christian; healing
sensation of warmth (re), tingling, uncontrolled jerking,
godly touch, falling to the ground;
5. male; Christian; healing
stiness, falling backwards, inability to stand up, feeling of
heaviness, feeling of bliss, inability to speak clearly;
6. female; Christian; Shaktipat; tingling, uncontrolled body movements, feeling of bliss,
sudden upsurge of energy, electrical sensations;
7. male; Hindu; Shaktipat; spiritual visions, emotional crisis, anger, changes in per-
sonality, inability to work;
8. female; Christian; Shaktipat; uncontrolled body movements, sudden upsurge of energy,
inability to think clearly, change in behavioural patterns;
Is the Holy Spirit confused with Kundalini Shakti during many healing ministries? 159
9. male; unknown; Shaktipat; uncontrolled body movements, loss of memory, inability
to sleep, feeling of bliss, sudden upsurge of energy, feeling
of oneness;
10. female; unknown;
clairvoyance, spiritual visions, feeling of oneness, sen-
sation of warmth, tingling, falling backwards, feeling of
As the examples above demonstrate, the spirit believed to be the Holy
Ghost, manifests itself similarly to Kundalini Shakti, regardless of the fact
whether these manifestations concern the physical or the emotional symptoms.
In addition, Kundalini Shakti may be awakened in the individuals who do not
practice Hinduism or do not follow any spiritual path at all. Furthermore,
in both cases, namely, the charismatic Christianity and Hinduism, the main
objective of the spiritual awakening is to eradicate karma or in other words
– attachments from the past. In Christianity this particular process is called
cutting ancestral bonds. In conclusion, although the Spirit-lled Christianity
diers from Hinduism to a great extent, the practice of calling the spirits ap-
pears to be identical.
4. Conclusions
e main purpose of this article was to analyze the actions ascribed to the
Holy Spirit during the so-called healing ministries and compare them with
the manifestations of Kundalini Shakti that can be observed during the Hindu
ceremony known as Shaktipat.
First of all, from the preceding discussion it is obvious that the Christian
practice of slain in the Spirit and the Hindu ceremony of Shaktipat are very
closely related. e reason for such a relationship may be the fact that there are
no boundaries for religious beliefs. All of them are somehow interconnected
and mutually dependent. On the one hand, desecularization has aected the
global society to a great extent but on the other, certain religious movements,
such as the Pentecostal movement, still seem govern peoples lives. New reli-
gious phenomena combined with the Altered States of Consciousness (ASC)
which are being constantly implemented within various congregations, should
denitely be better monitored.
Secondly, on the basis of this particular study, it can be stated that the prac-
tice of slaying in the Spirit as well as all the surrounding manifestations were
adopted by Christian charismatics from Hinduism, rather than vice versa. e
in-depth analysis of Shaktipat, especially when the initiation procedure carried
160 ewelina nyske
out by the guru is taken into account, proved that Christian charismatics had
introduced the Hindu practices into their own religion. One of the examples
may be the practice of cutting ancestral bonds. e documents dealing with
Kundalini awakenings can be found in the archives of Alister Hardy Religious
Experience Research Centre located at the University of Wales, Lampeter, e
cases of the awakenings that took place during the aforementioned Toronto
Blessing seem to support the argument that the manifestations of Kundalini
Shakti may also appear outside Hinduism.
irdly, ethical issues should undoubtedly be raised, since the implemen-
tation of ASC during Christian healing ministries appears to be improper,
bearing in mind the fact that the participants may not be aware of possible
dangers. Besides, according to the aforementioned testimonies, the under-age
are also being encouraged to experience the power of the Holy Spirit and such
actions may easily lead to serious, psychological problems in the future.
Last but not least, the rapid development of neurobiology with the em-
phasis put on the brain has the potential to aect the human perception in
the context of various religious phenomena. One of recent ndings has shown
a strong connection between, for example, spiritual visions as well as voices and
the stimulation of the amygdala, being the part of the limbic system. In other
words, a proper stimulation may evoke the phenomena previously ascribed
to the supernatural. e same is true for Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE).
What conclusions can be drawn from this study? Is the touch of the Guru
or the one of the healing minister the main trigger? Or maybe the energy
centres stimulated externally and at the same time, common to all human be-
ings, bear responsibility for the enlightenment? Although strong evidence has
been provided, further research is necessary to establish a clearer relationship
between these two phenomena.
To summarize, it may be assumed that those who want to enter into
contact with the supernatural entity, may choose from two dierent spiritual
paths and probably, regardless of their choices, there is increased likelihood
of experiencing the presence of the same spirit.
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... Religious leaders should exercise greater caution, accountability and a very clear distinction, especially in the case of sick and suffering people, between the natural and the supernatural. Unethical behavior in this sphere may in some cases critically affect the health and life of other people (Berdowicz 2020). ...
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