Question: Master, what exactly is initiation?

Sri Chinmoy: In the Western world, I hear the word initiation used very often in speaking about the spiritual life. “Are you initiated?” “Has he been initiated?” Constantly I hear, “initiation, initiation,” from the disciples.

Now the main purpose of initiation is to bring the soul to the fore. At the time of initiation, the Guru makes a solemn promise to the individual seeker or aspirant that he will do his best to help the seeker in his spiritual life. The Guru will offer his heart and soul to take the disciple into the highest region of the Beyond.

The Guru can initiate the disciple in various ways. He can perform the initiation in India’s traditional way while the disciple is meditating. He can also initiate while the disciple is sleeping or even while the disciple is in his normal consciousness, but calm and quiet. The Guru can initiate the disciple through the eyes alone. He can also do a physical initiation which is to press the head or the heart or any part of the body. That is the purely physical aspect. But along with the physical action, the Guru, when he touches the heart, can initiate the disciple in a psychic way. The Guru can feel the soul within the disciple’s heart; he can see the soul and he can act upon the soul.

Yesterday, while I was initiating X, I was writing down the name of her soul on her heart. And I saw her soul very vividly while I was blessing her on the crown centre. This centre is on top of the head and it is called Sahasrara or the Sahasrara Chakra, the thousand-petalled lotus centre. From that centre, if the Kundalini rises up and goes beyond that spot, one enters into Nirvana, the highest bliss. One marches into the Absolute.

Now, in my case, very often with the aspirants whom I consider to be my disciples, I have initiated them through my eyes. Many times you have observed my eyes when I am in my highest consciousness. At that time, my ordinary eyes, my human eyes, become totally one with my third eye and they take the light from my third eye. These two ordinary eyes receive and imbibe infinite light from the third eye and then they enter into the aspirant’s eyes. This way I initiate them. Many times you have observed my eyes radiating divine light here at this Centre.

I have initiated quite a few disciples of mine. Those who are not my disciples I have no right to initiate. And whoever is my disciple need not ask me to initiate him because I know what is best for him; that is to say, whether the outer initiation will expedite his inner progress or not. The act of initiation can also be done by occult and spiritual processes. There are various ways, but I prefer the initiation through this third eye, which I feel to be the most convincing and most effective way. Immediately the light from my eyes, having come from the third eye, enters into the aspirant’s eyes and then into his whole body; it percolates there from head to foot. I see the light, my own light, glowing in the disciple’s body. And when I do initiate, it is my light, the light of the Supreme, that enters into the person, the disciple.

Real initiation, as I said, is the total acceptance of the disciple by the Master. The Guru accepts the disciple unreservedly and unconditionally. And even if the disciple goes away after initiation, finding fault with the Guru, the Guru will act in and through that disciple forever. The disciple may even go to some other Guru, but the Guru who has initiated a disciple will always help that particular seeker in the inner world. If the later Guru is noble enough, then he will allow the former Guru to act in and through the disciple. Although the physical relation with the former Guru is cut off, and physically the Guru is not seeing the disciple, spiritually he has to help the disciple; he is bound to help him because he had made a promise to the Supreme. Sometimes the disciple, in fact, does not go to any other Guru; he simply falls from the path, deviates from the path of truth. But his former Guru has to keep his promise.

After accepting the spiritual life and being initiated by a spiritual Master, the disciple may drop from the spiritual path for one incarnation, two incarnations or even several incarnations. But his Guru, whether he be in the body or in the higher regions, disembodied, will constantly watch over the disciple and wait for an opportunity to help him actively when the disciple again turns to the spiritual path. But a time comes when the disciple is bound to come again to the Master’s spiritual guidance. The Guru is truly detached, but just because he made a promise to the disciple and to the Supreme in the disciple, the Guru waits indefinitely for an opportunity to fulfil his own promise.

So I wish to tell you here, that some of the disciples who came to me to follow my path most sincerely, have also left me most sincerely. But, if in the inner world, they are my disciples, if I had already accepted them and they were my real disciples, if they claim even once to be my disciples, I wish to tell them I have not forgotten them. Neither shall I ever forget my soulful promise to them. They may take one, two, five or six incarnations to come back to the aspiring life; but no matter how long they take, I shall have to help them and I must, in their march towards God-realisation.

Those who have been close to me must feel the actual flowering of their initiation the moment they have wholeheartedly dedicated to me their entire life — body, mind, heart and soul. This is the flowering of the initiation. It is really more than initiation; it is their own revelation of their inner divinity. At this moment they feel that they and their Guru have become totally one. They feel that their Guru has no existence without them. Similarly, they have no existence without their Guru. Mutually the Guru and the disciple fulfil each other, and they feel that their fulfilment is coming directly from the Supreme. And the greatest secret they have learned from their Guru is this: only by fulfilling the Supreme first, can they fulfil the rest of the world. Now you may ask, “How can they fulfil the Supreme? How can the Guru fulfil the Supreme?” The Guru plays his part by taking the ignorance, imperfection, obscurity, stubbornness and unwillingness from the disciples and by carrying them faithfully and devotedly to the Supreme. The disciple fulfils the Supreme by constantly staying in the Guru’s boat, in the inmost recesses of the Guru’s heart, and feeling that he exists only for the fulfilment of his Master. Him to fulfil, him to manifest is the only meaning, the only purpose, the only significance of the disciple’s life. This is the most important thing that one has to understand about initiation.

Sri Chinmoy, Earth's cry meets Heaven's smile, part 2.First published by Agni Press in 1974.

This is the 138th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Earth's cry meets Heaven's smile, part 2, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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