IN ALMOST all
the scriptural lore we come across, in one form or another, a term that
stands for "initiation," i.e., introduction of a person into the principles
of the inner science. The Muslims generally use the word "baet" for initiation,
while others call it "deeksha." Among the Christians, the admission to
the church is known as "baptism.'' The Hindus call it "duojanma" or the
This initiation or introduction into the tenets of a new science is not something formal or by word of mouth only. Its significance is far deeper than is generally understood. It is tantamount to adopting an individual into the very life and spirit of the tenets that are introduced to him in theory. It is conveying a Life-impulse to the initiate and giving him first-hand experience of the source of life. It thus has a two-fold aspect: theoretical as well as practical.
At the time of the initiation, the Master explains to the individuals concerned the theory of the spiritual science or Para Vidya (the Knowledge of the Beyond). It is an admitted fact that theory precedes practice, for a correct understanding of the subject is of paramount importance before one can put the theory into practice. A successful application and experimentation with verifiable results cannot be carried on without a correct knowledge and understanding of the subject.
As spirituality is the science of the spirit or soul--a Living Principle, the very Breath of Life -- an adept in spirituality must impart to every initiate a particle of his own Life-impulse (called "Jia Dan") before the initiate can understand what the "life of the spirit" is, as distinguished from the "life of the flesh" that he has been leading hitherto; for it is the spirit or soul alone that can apprehend and experience the Oversoul, when freed from the trammels of the flesh, the mind, the pranas or vital airs, and all the outgoing faculties, all of which constitute the outer man as engaged in the world and worldly pursuits on the sensual plane.
By imparting his own Life-impulse, he instills true devotion in a person
and unites him with the Lord. 1
Who is competent to initiate?
The initiation into the esoteric science of the soul can successfully and rightly be granted by some perfect Saint or Master--an adept in the art and science of Para Vidya or the Knowledge of the Beyond. One who has not him-self extricated and freed his spirit from body bondage and transcended into higher spiritual regions and who has not seen Reality face to face and who has not, by spiritual practice, become established in Truth, cannot possibly do anything in this behalf. A Saint of the highest order alone is competent to reveal the Path and lead Godward, regardless of what we call him: Sant Satguru, Murshid-i-Kamil, Prophet, Messiah or Master-soul. As light comes from light, so does life from life. The scriptural lore, by itself, is unable to impart this life-impulse.
Meet a Satguru and take his initiation,
Surrender thine all and peep within. 2
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 3
... ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light... 4
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free;
and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 5
The instruction in the esoteric teachings consists of the exposition of Simran, Dhyan and Bhajan, that is to say, repetition (mental with tongue of thought only) of the words which are charged with the power of the Master; concentration or meditation (fixing consciousness or gaze) at the center of the two eyebrows; and linking the spirit with the saving lifeline within, ever reverberating in the form of the perennial Sound Current, the very life-breath of the Universe, of which the Master himself is the living embodiment. As soon as a devotee is able to transcend the physical body, the Radiant Form of the Master (Guru Dev) appears in the subtle plane and becomes a guiding force to the spirit on the journey into higher spiritual realms, bringing him back to the True Home of his Father. Henceforth the Master-spirit never leaves the soul, but continuously helps and directs, visibly and invisibly, directly and indirectly, in this life and the life hereafter, as the occasion may demand.
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. 6No man, however learned he may be, however high his morals be pitched, can by his own unaided efforts rise above body-consciousness. The experience of the spirit withdrawal while living can be vouchsafed only by a Master Saint and by no one else, and without this transcendence one cannot peep into the world beyond and take hold of the Sound Principle the Divine Chord in man, the link between the Creator and His creation.
And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 7
Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide,
In thy most need to go by thy side.
It is the Divine Law that none can conceive of Him without a Satguru. 8Initiation from a Master-soul is of paramount importance, for herein lies the secret of all esoteric teachings and esoteric experience. It means a new birth and a new life, entirely in a new setting. This spiritual birth or birth in the Master is called a second birth, and enables a person to turn over a new leaf, to say goodbye to the past and march forward to this original Home, the long-forgotten paradise New Jerusalem, the Holy City, Muqam-i-Haq or Sach Khand.
GURU AMAR DAS
No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 9
Neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son,
and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 10
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 11
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 12
The Kingdom of God: Where it is
The Kingdom of God is at present a lost dominion for us. Ever since the fall of man, for his first disobedience to God's commandment, we stand ostracized from the Garden of Eden and have no access to it. Under the overbearing pressure of the world and worldly pursuits, we have become entirely extroverted and have no thought of God and His Kingdom within.
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation;The priceless Waters of Immortality lie buried and lost within the depths of the human soul. The call of the Master is:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there!
for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 13
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sakeAll this leads to the one inevitable conclusion of death in life, for without it one cannot rise into Universal Consciousness or cosmic awareness. This higher life of the spirit depends entirely on the grace of a living Master, capable of imparting his life impulse and granting the saving lifeline within.
shall find it. 14
For the Son of man is come to seek and to gave that which was lost. 15
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me,
and gave himself for me. 16
With initiation and spiritual sadhna or practice, one gradually becomes aware of his shortcomings and tries to weed them out; and the more he purifies himself, the more he grows into Divine Life. As the scales begin to drop off, the true values of life become more and more apparent. The spirit gradually gets freed from the shackles of the world and is enabled to transcend the physical body and make flights into the higher regions. Hereafter, "he walks not after the flesh but after the spirit." 17 Living in the world, he is no longer of the world. He now delights in the bliss of higher spiritual regions and not in the pleasures of the senses and sense-objects. The gift of Naam or Word comes only from a Master-soul who, by injecting his own life-impulse, befits an initiate for the spiritual journey.
The measure and speed of advance, however, depends on the individual's own make-up, the ground on which he stands, and the preparation that he may have made in past incarnations. As each one has a different background, each one has his own starting point. The seed is sown, but its unfoldment, growth and development depends on the nature of the soil in which it is planted.
The Master injects his own consciousness, Light and Sound, into each initiate. Once the contact with the Divine Link is established and the spiritual experience gained, however little it may be to begin with, at the lowest level, it can, by regular day to day practice, be developed to any length one likes until it becomes quite natural and normal, a matter of voluntary withdrawal of spirit currents as and when one likes.
The devotee of the Master comes and goes at his will and pleasure,Each one however, as said before, takes his or her own time for efflorescence and fructification. The dormant spiritual faculties begin to quicken with life and the initiate feels within him a sort of fullness, a satiety, a blessedness. This is a gift imperishable and indestructible. It can neither be stolen nor washed away. The seed of spirituality once sown in the innermost depths of the soul must bear flowers and fruits, in the fullness of time. No power on earth can stand in the way of its growth or stifle it in any way whatever.
with no let or hindrance. 18
He who has once been initiated by a competent Master is assured, once and for all, his liberation from the bondage of mind and matter; it is but a question of time. The seed of spirituality sown in him is bound to sprout and fructify. The spirituality when awakened and the spiritual experience gained must develop, and the Master Power cannot rest contented until the child owned is reared and taken home to the house of the Father.
The true knowledge dawns only with initiation, for without initiation from a Master-soul, one can have no knowledge.
There can be no jnana (true knowledge) without meeting a Master-soul,But one who is fortunate may have the experience of both through the grace of a Master Saint. It means taking in a particle of Life's Living Principle through some Godman or polarized God; i.e., a pole from where the Power of God works in this world. In the light of this knowledge, the mind gradually loosens its tentacles, which are holding the soul in hoops of steel, so that the spirit is able to free itself from the mind, and know and perceive her own true nature.
nor meditation without a first-hand experience. 19
O Nanak! Without knowing oneself by self-analysis, one wanders everThe process of liberating a human soul from the labyrinth of the sensual plane lies in the hands of a competent Master of Para Vidya or the Science of the Beyond; competent both in theory and practice. One who has himself lib-erated his soul and can at will go to the higher spiritual regions, can take others as well. It is a work of great trust and responsibility which the so-called Masters, with which the world always abounds, cannot do. Those who prescribe outer yogic practices or the performance of rites and rituals, sacrifices and austerities, pilgrimages and the like, are yet ignorant of the Inner Path that begins from the head-quarters of the soul above the sensory plane and for which transcendence above body consciousness is the primary condition. It is there that one has "to knock," as Christ put it, and he guaranteed that "it shall be opened."" The philosopher Emerson calls it "tapping inside." In Ramkali War, Mohalla 5, of the Guru Granth Sahib, we have a pen picture of the Masters of Apara Vidya or empirical knowledge of the world:
in the wilderness of delusion. 20
GURU TEG BAHADUR
The whole world is in the throes of attachment and infatuation,
A rare devotee of the Master escapes from the mighty maze
of mind and matter,
This infatuation keeps in perpetual motion the wheel of life,
And it takes one time and again into the grip of Kal. 21
He, while working for religious merit, takes upon himself a load of sins,We live in the tumultuous sea of life without any moorings and are carried along by the fearful currents of attachments and infatuations. A rare devotee of the Master may be able to successfully face the storm and stress and cross over to a haven of safety, but the rest float down helplessly. If even after initiation an initiate takes recourse to disciplines and practices other than those enjoined by the Master, he cannot rid himself of worldly ties and takes a longer time to reach his Native Home.
And goes begging from door to door by offering initiation,
He himself has no faith in the Vedas and other scriptures,
And wants all worship and adoration unto himself.
Being a kazi, he sits in judgment over others;
While telling the beads, he ventures to expound Godhead;
With bribes, he tramples on the rights of others;
To the questions, he offers quotations from the scriptures.
All are drowned in the love of the world,
A rare devotee of the Master may ferry across.
Because of attachments, one comes over time and again,
Trapped in infatuation, one cannot but abide in the realm of death.
Even after initiation from the Master, people engage in rites and rituals,
Neither can they snap the bonds nor reach the goal,
It is His glance of grace that can pull down the mighty maze,
And then, O Nanak! One may get absorbed in Him. 23
The true initiation is nothing but an introduction to Naam and a contact with the live creative Principle of Sound, which can be listened to, experienced, and practiced from day to day.
Only the predestined get in touch with a Master-soul,
With the Water of Life (Hari Ka Naam) he grants
the true initiation (deeksha). 24
Live ye in the haven of a Sadh
And leave all thy wisdom and knowledge,
Let the Master's Instructions (Guru Deeksha) abide m thy heart,
This, O Nanak! may happen through the Writ of the Lord. 25