Question: Is initiation necessary for real spirituality to develop?

Sri Chinmoy: Real spirituality is the transformation of what you are into what you are really searching for: abundant, infinite light. When I meditate, I bring down peace, light and bliss. You know what kind of consciousness you had before meditation, and right after meditation you also know what kind of consciousness you have. The difference is like night and day. Before you entered the spiritual life, you were in total darkness, you were leading an animal life. Now you are in the human life and tomorrow you will be in the divine life. This is absolutely a miracle. Darkness is being transformed into light. What is undivine is becoming divine. If you are sincere, you will know that this change is a gradual change of consciousness. I give value to transcendence, and for this, change of consciousness is most important.

He who chooses the Divine has already been chosen by the Divine. I accept many disciples long before their letters come asking for acceptance. Many I accept before they write their letters. The human in you will not know it. But immediately when I see a new disciple, I recognise that he has been brought by the Supreme in me. Out of the millions and billions of people on earth, many will come to me. But when I ask who wants to become my disciple, perhaps only two will come up. Their inner lives have already made their selection. When others see me they are frightened, because they feel they will have to give up many precious things — vital life, emotional life, and so on. People see me and acknowledge my spirituality, but they feel that they still have to experience the outer life for some time. They feel that if they fulfil the outer life first, then they will be more suitable for the spiritual life later on. But this is a mistake. As soon as you see your real Master you have to know that it means the time has come, your hour has struck.

Outer initiation is not necessary; acceptance itself is initiation. When you accept me, and I promise to take you from the ignorance-sea to wisdom-light, is not my promise your initiation? The Indian traditional way is to chant a few slokas from sacred books. I will give outer initiation. I will bless people in a way that they will understand. But the real initiation takes place inwardly. Sometimes I press someone hard on the head or look intently into his eyes. There are various ways. But always I give to the seeker's soul and the soul gives to the individual seeker.