The Power of Initiation

By Rudra Shivananda


Rudra Shivananda

One of the hallmarks of almost all spiritual traditions is that of the rite of initiation. It is also something that is hardly explained or couched in so much mystery that either one is in awe or one becomes extremely skeptical. In the yogic tradition, initiation is a necessary preliminary to entry on the chosen path of spiritual realization because of the power and protection that it confers on the initiate.

At the most primal level, physical birth is our initiation into the present life – it confers on us all the benefits of being a human being and with it, the protection of our parents and ancestors, as well as the protection of the society in which we are born.

When we are initiated into a spiritual tradition, it becomes a second birth – we are re-born and receive the benefits of this new life, together with the protection of the initiator
and the lineage of spiritual teachers (living in this or some other plane of existence) in whose names and by whose power the initiation is made.

Why does the initiate need protection? Just life the new-born baby, the initiate is new to the spiritual path and all the wonders and traps that abound on that path. The Masters of the lineage have committed to guide and protect the initiate to overcome those obstacles
and to protect her from those who may seek to harm her out of jealousy, spite or inherent darkness.

There are three types of initiations. The first is the initiation into a spiritual organization. The initiate needs to have the aspiration for their higher Self to qualify for this initiation and seek to better himself. The one who initiates has to be a qualified member of the organization and can also act as a mentor or can designate a mentor.


Rudraji’s Guru – Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath

The second type is the initiation into a spiritual path and this requires the initiate to commit to sincerely try his best to practice the techniques required on this path for no progress can occur without the regular and persistent effort of the initiate. There are generally different levels of initiations as the practitioner ascents the path. The initiator should be an Acharya or spiritual preceptor  who has the authority and power to commit the Masters of the lineage to the guidance and protection of the initiate and who has himself traversed the path and reached the goal.

The third type of initiation is directly into a super-conscious state of awareness. This requires the initiate to have been initiated and achieved certain goals of a spiritual path and is seldom given excepting in the rare cases of high initiates such as world teachers and divine beings with a world mission.

The first type of initiation is very common as it is the model of most religious organizations in which the initiation is called a baptism or sacred thread ceremony. It is the second type which spiritual seekers are concerned most with since there is a wide variety of simplicity or complexity and requirements for the initiation into a spiritual path. Much depends on the path and the initiator, since an initiation can vary from a simple prayer with or without physical touch to elaborate ceremonies taking hours.

The importance should be given to choosing the right path and the right teacher – all else being secondary. The better prepared the initiate, the more profound the effect of the initiation. If the initiate is not as well prepared, results may be slowed but this can be compensated for by persistent practice.

It is recommended that the seeker should not try to make their own way and try to forge their own path without a proper initiation. It would be like trying to climb Mt. Everest without the benefit of any guides or proper equipment or borrowed equipment that they
have not learned to use properly. The probability of success is slim at best fo such intrepid souls.

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