Often translated to English as willpower. However in the true sense it refers to the special energy that is a part of a higher state of evolution that the yogis and divine beings posses. Though the seed of this special power called Iccha Shakti lays in the ordinary willpower that we posses, however the effect of this Iccha Shakti can be very dramatic.
To will something to happen and it does, to will something does not happen and it doesn’t.
A couple of yogis were walking on a path; a fire broke out among the huts of the poor. As guru and disciple walked on, the disciple thought to himself “Why does God always strike the poor?” As he went a little further, a wave of compassion swept over him. He took a sankalp (a pledge) “May this fire stop”. The fire stopped, the huts of the poor were saved. As they continued to walk further, the guru said to the disciple “Son, this time you have taken a pledge but do not do this in future. For changing the course of nature is against the will of the Divine”.
In another case a well known yogi speaks of an experience with his master. Both Guru and disciple were walking along a mountain path in the Himalayas, a landslide started. The disciple could see big stones and rocks starting to tumble their way. He thought to himself “This is the end”. But the master looked at him and said “Do not be scared. Nature has no power over us”. He commanded the landslide to stop. When they had finished crossing that part of the path, he said “Start now” to the landslide. And they both walked on. This is Iccha Shakti.
In practical terms Iccha Shakti is mostly used by Yogis to impart an initiation to the disciples. A sadhak had been doing the Gayatri Mantra for quite some time. Though the mantra did have some effect on him yet he did not feel that he was benefiting as much as he would have liked to. In his travels he met a Siddha. The Siddha was pleased with the enthusiasm and devotion of the sadhak so he gave him the Gayatri Mantra as a practice. Now when the student started doing the Gayatri, within a week he could feel that there was some kind of change in the rays of the sun. At certain points they would become more intense. It seemed as though finally the light of Savitur was shining through.
To be successful in attaining a result/siddhi of any spiritual practice for a sadhak it is necessary to receive a spiritual practice from a master or an able initiator. Whenever we receive any practice from a spiritual master, there is the Iccha Shakti of the master/ lineage behind it. This is possibly the only short cut to success for otherwise there is none. In the world of spirituality the Guru is the universal donor and the sadhak or student has to at least try to be the universal acceptor. For to seek unprepared is a sign of failure.
All sadhana and initiations lead to the development of Iccha Shakti, an integral part of the journey from imperfection to perfection. Initiation is that power which has the power to change the way the receiver sees the world. Whenever a prepared Sadhak and an able Guru meet, an event is sure to occur. This event changes the course of an individual’s life. All spiritual practice is Gurumukhi, meant to be learned at the feet of a master.
Siddhis are the ripening of the effort and willpower of the individual sadhak. A unification of the limited individual Iccha Shakti with the Divine. An attempt to attain divinity. “Dadati iti devta”. He who gives is a devta, a being of light. Iccha Shakti tending to infinity.