From bija or Shakti (also called Shabda-brahma, Parashakti or Paradevata) proceed the 23 tattvas or cosmic principles, viz., mahat, ahankara, the ten indriyas and the mind, the five subtle elements and the five gross elements like the earth, water etc. Together with Shakti, they are 24.
From apara-bindu, identified with Shiva, proceed the five deities viz., Sadashiva, Isana, Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma. By adding seven more principles like purusha (the individual soul) and kala (time), the total number of tattvas is raised to 36.
In the human body, Shakti resides as the Kundalini, the power resembling a coiled serpent at the muladhara-chakra, situated at the base of the spine. When roused through proper sadhanas or spiritual exercises, it rises through five more chakras like the svadhishthana and the anahata, and, finally reaches the sahasrara in the crown of the head, resembling a lotus of a thousand petals, there it merges with Shiva, resulting in moksha or liberation for that individual self.
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