Initiation: Expectation and Reality

Initiation: Expectation and Reality


Sometimes what seekers expect from initiation can be unreasonable. It must be remembered that mantra initiation is the first initiation on the yogic path, not the last. Some newcomers to  yoga expect expect to become enlightened right away, but this is not how things work. True, for some, self-realization is instantaneous, but most of us may need to practice meditation for a long time to attain self-realization. Even Yogi Muktananda, who was already an accomplished practitioner of yoga before receiving initiation from his guru, meditated for more than 10 years before attaining what he considered to be self-realization.

Besides, what is the hurry? There is so much to learn and so many ways to grow that why should we demand to do it all at once? One might compare initiation to acquiring the ability to read and really enjoy it, and being given the opportunity to read all the books in an immense library. Of course, you can look forward to completing your task, but, you can also read at a particular speed, savoring each book.

Another point is that initiation alone won’t result in enlightenment. Rather, one has to work towards self-realization by indulging in spiritual practices and working towards purifying oneself. One needs to meditate to understand emotions. Shun anger and overcome fear. This path is like one of those charities where every donation given is doubled or tripled by the sponsor of the charity – for it has been said that whatever spiritual work you do is reciprocated several times over by the source. But you have to do your part for something to happen. As Baba Hari Dass, a well-known several times over by the source. But you have to do your part for something to happen. As Baba Hari Dass, a well known yogi in California, has written in his Fire Without Fuel: “One who depends on face or destiny and doesn’t make any effort but remains sitting is like one who sits by the seashore waiting for a pearl to wash up”.

One more thing – receiving initiation doesn’t mean life will suddenly become easy and that all problems will be over. Remember, initiation aids in spiritual growth, and spiritual growth occurs by surpassing our limitations. Thus, as initiates, we often find ourselves involve in activities we avoided in the past. It is a common experience to discover the previously unrecognized inner strength, which sustains us in such situations. In addition, we have the comfort and companionship of other initiates and sages. Strength is attained by confronting fear and developing the ability to serve and love, and not merely by indulging in wishful thinking.

In addition to the key to spiritual development, initiation also provided other benefits. Teachers take on the responsibility of guiding the initiate towards self-realization. The ability to discuss one’s practice with experienced teachers is an invaluable aid on the spiritual path, because very often a sage’s advice is most helpful.

Also, if necessary, a person may be given certain practices t aid in spiritual work.

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