The Meaning of Adhikara
Adhikara is an important Sanskrit word that belongs to the Hindu tradition. It literally means authority or ownership of a body of knowledge. It is in itself the Art of Knowing, but it can also mean apprenticeship. One of the literal translations for Adhikara is also “competence”, as in the competence one needs to have in order to participate in the study of earth school. In other words, Adhikara is being spiritually competent for spiritual understanding. It is the ability or authorization to do; rule; jurisdiction; privilege, and know-how, and above all, the presence of the willingness to take responsibility, as well as dedication, for the subject that is being studied.
Every person has a particular Adhikara over a certain level of spiritual development because each of us represents different gifts, aptitudes, and levels of understanding our own realities. We are all one in essence but divinely diverse in our manifestations.
Inevitably we understand Planet Earth as a school and each lifetime on this planet is a schoolroom with grades. Just as we are multi-dimensional beings; our planet is also a multi-dimensional teaching ground with multi-serial classes. Some of us are in elementary grades, others are in middle grades, and some are in advanced grades. Like students of mathematics, every person has a particular Adhikara over a certain level of spiritual development and understanding. Students in elementary grades see the world in a certain way and must be taught in a certain way. Students at an advanced level need to be approached in an appropriate way suitable to their positions. With the different Adhikara come different perceptions, codes of ethics and, consequently, different spiritual rights.
As students of life, in our daily practice, we learn that our existence is an ever-expanding process of unfolding our divine goodness and perfection. Adhikara, therefore, can be understood as the ownership that refers to a body of knowledge that belongs to the Being and that may be acquired, or not, in previous lives experiences. It is in itself a path of expanding into the perfection that already exists and an invitation to awaken to our true dharmic nature and celebrate life.
We could also translate Adhikara as "qualification”, or a possession of aptitudes or natural qualifications which are intrinsically implied as part of the individual path and that in a certain way belongs to one’s dharmic program. However, more than simply “qualification”, the term suggests ownership by acquired right, or by experience, or even by hereditary circumstances. People’s Adhikara is different and therefore their activities and rights are different.
From an esoteric standpoint, life is a great advanced movement taking place over many lifetimes, even though many species of life and lines of evolution. We all have the power to ourselves to aspire to transform and constantly evolve.
The ideas of acquiring Adhikara and spiritual advancement throughout many lifetimes are distinct features of Hinduism and can become powerful precepts in the understanding of the deeper meaning of spirituality. Even someone that just deals with ordinary people, in the everyday life, can attest there are a vast number of people with the most diverse levels of Adhikara, from the most advanced to the most elementary. Thus, having an understanding of Adhikara would greatly improve the way we relate with people in our immediate environment. Master Christ Jesus had a profound understanding of the concept of Adhikara and so he used parables and moral stories as resources for his teachings.
In many schools of wisdom and in most of the spiritual disciplines, Adhikara could be perceived as the individual ability to retain instructions, knowledge and the power to perform skills. This ability is directly related to the individual’s capabilities according to their mental, physical, intellectual and spiritual level of development and refinement. The kind of information and experiments a beginner student will receive will be certainly different from the activities and assignments of the advanced graduate.
Our progress on the Path of Transcendent Awakening is echoed in the increase in our feeling of being spiritually centered. This happens because we progressively tend to merge our life lessons (Karma) into our life purpose (Dharma) as we acquire and gather Adhikara. This centeredness automatically invests our souls with a deeper sense of inner strength, knowledge, confidence, and steadfastness. We also experience the increase of wisdom, as the quality of understanding about the interconnection of life.