The Significance of Initiation
by M. Govindan
In Babaji's Kriya Yoga the significance
of initiation is often overlooked. Initiation is a sacred act
in which an individual is given their initial experience of a
means to realizing some truth. That means is a kriya or "practical
yogic technique," and the truth is a portal to the eternal
and infinite One. Because this truth is beyond name and form,
it cannot be communicated through words or symbols. It can be
experienced however, and for this one needs a teacher who can
share his or her own living experience of the truth. The technique
becomes a vehicle by which the teacher shares with the practioner
the means to realize the truth in oneself.
During the initiation there
is always a transmission of energy and consciousness by the initiator
and the recipient, even if the recipient is not aware of it. The
transmission may not be effective if the student is full of questions,
doubts or distractions. So, the initiator attempts to prepare
the recipient beforehand and to control the environment so that
these potential disturbances are minimized. The initiator takes
into himself or herself, in effect, the consciousness of the recipient,
and begins to expand it beyond its habitual mental and vital boundaries.
There is a kind of melting of ordinary mental and vital boundaries,
between the initiator and the recipient, and this greatly facilitates
movement of consciousness to a higher plane. By so doing, he opens
the recipient up to the existence of his own soul, or higher Self,
which until then, remains veiled in the case of most individuals.
By so raising the consciousness of the recipient, the latter has
their initial glimpses at least of their potential consciousness
and power. This is what is meant by the raising of the kundalini
of the disciple. It is most often not done in a dramatic way in
an initial session, but rather gradually over a period, depending
upon the diligence of the student in putting into practice what
he or she has learned.
For the initiation to be effective
two things are essential: the preparation of the student or recipient,
and the presence of an initiator who has realized his or her Self.
While most spiritual seekers emphasize the latter, and seek a
perfect guru, few concern themselves with their own preparation.
It is perhaps a fault of human nature, to seek someone who will
"do it for us." That is, give us Self-realization or
God-realization. While the guru or teacher may point you in the
right direction, the seeker must himself commit himself to following
those directions. While the seeker may be intellectually committed
to following these, all to often, human nature causes one to waver
in distraction, doubt or desire. So, even if one finds the perfect
teacher, if one has not cultivated the qualities like faith, perseverance,
sincerity and patience, the initiation may become as futile as
sowing seeds on a concrete sidewalk.
Traditionally, for this reason,
initiation was restricted to only those who had prepared themselves,
sometimes for years in advance. While the first initiations may
be made available to a larger number of aspirants, only those
who had cultivated the qualities of a disciple were given the
higher initiations. As Jesus said, "many are called, but
few are chosen," only a few meet the demanding requirements
A devotee is one who is seeking
a path or a teacher, and this may be for a very long time, until
one is ready to make a commitment to one teacher or discipline.
One may hop from one teacher to another, listening, watching,
experimenting a little, like a comparison shopper. At the end
of that stage, one becomes a disciple, and becomes committed to
the practice of the teacher's prescribed spiritual discipline.
As the spiritual discipline requires persistent effort for an
extended time for its results to be proven, one needs to have
faith in the efficacy of the practice, perseverance, the support
of a teacher, and divine grace. If the teacher is authentic, he
or she will always be ready to respond to the students request
or to find someone who can. Divine grace is always available if
one knows how to open to it. So, what is problematic are the faith
and perseverance of the student. The teacher or guru can instigate
the process through initiation and provide inspiration and encouragement,
but the student must apply themselves with confidence and persistency.
If one were to learn the kriyas
or techniques without initiation would they be effective? Understanding
what has been discussed above, the answer is emphatically no!
This is why trying to learn techniques from books or from teachers
who are not authentic, who have not themselves experienced the
truth of which they speak leaves the student uninspired. This
is so even if they are well prepared and filled with the important
qualities of a sincere student. There is an essential sacred transmission
of consciousness and energy which occurs between the initiator
and the recipient which empowers the techniques. That is why initiatory
traditions have managed to pass the direct experience of truth
from one generation to the next so effectively. Their strength
lies in the power and the consciousness of those who have done
the practices intensely and so realized their truth. We honor
our highest Self when we honor our initiation by putting into
diligent and regular practice what we have learned and received
December 2002 Copyright Marshall Govindan.
All rights reserved.
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Babaji's Kriya Yoga