About Spiritual Initiation

The Master and the Disciple

When the disciple and the Master find themselves safe in one another's heart, the hour of initiation is fast approaching. When the Master initiates someone, he gives that person a portion of his life-breath. At the time of initiation, the Guru makes a solemn promise to the individual seeker and to the Supreme that he will do his best to help the seeker in his spiritual life, that he will offer his heart and soul to take the disciple into the highest region of the Beyond. The Master says to the Supreme, "Unless and until I have brought this child to You, I shall not leave him; my game shall not be over." And to the disciple he says, "From now on, you can count on me; you can think of me as your own."

At the time of initiation, the Master actually takes on the disciple's teeming imperfections, both from the present incarnation and from past incarnations. Of course, there are real and sincere spiritual Masters as well as false Masters. Here I am speaking about the true Masters. Some Masters who are very sincere only initiate one disciple a month. After they initiate the disciple they fall sick and suffer terribly, because they have actually taken on the disciple's imperfections. Again, there are some spiritual Masters who are able to initiate many disciples without suffering, because they have the capacity to throw the imperfections they take on into the Universal Consciousness. But again, there are some false Masters who initiate fifty, sixty or a hundred disciples at a time, or who initiate by proxy. But this kind of mass initiation is an absurd deception.

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 when the disciple is in his normal consciousness, but calm and quiet. The Guru can initiate the disciple through the eyes alone. He will look at the disciple, and immediately the person will be initiated – but nobody will know. A Master can also perform a physical initiation, which is to press the head or the heart of the disciple. At this time, he tries to make the physical consciousness feel that initiation has taken place. But along with this physical action, the Guru will initiate the disciple in a psychic way. At that time the Guru sees and feels the soul of the disciple and acts upon the soul. initiation can also be done by occult processes or in a dream. If there is no spiritual Master available at the time, God Himself can take a very luminous human form in your dream or during your meditation and can initiate you Himself. But this is very rare. Most of the time initiation is done by a Master.

A spiritual Master comes to you with a boat. He says "Come! if you want to go to the Golden Shore, I will take you. Moreover, once you get into my boat, you can sing in the boat, you can dance, you can even sleep; but I will bring you safely to the Goal."

For millennia we have been swimming in the sea of ignorance. When we become awakened, we want to swim across that sea into the ocean of Light and Delight. If we know that there is a boatman, and that there is a boat which can safely carry us to our goal, then naturally we will try to get help from him. A genuine spiritual Master knows the way and is bound to help us reach the goal. Like a boatman, he will carry us to the other shore.

If anybody helps you in the outer world – a lawyer or a doctor, for example – he will charge you something. But when the Guru takes you to your goal, he will not take anything for himself. You don't have to give even an iota of your wealth to the Guru because he has his own infinite wealth. Eventually you will see that it is all the same wealth. His goal, your goal, everybody's goal is the same: Infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. The spiritual Master says, "You are hungry. I have an infinite supply of the divine food that you want, so I don't have to take any of yours."

In human life, if people see that someone has taken help, then they may say, "Oh, he could not do it alone." But a person who is really hungry for God will say, "No matter who offers the food, I am hungry and I want to eat immediately. This is the food that I have been crying for all my life and he is supplying me with it. As long as he is feeding true Divinity to me, let me eat."

If you feel that by accepting a Master you are avoiding your own responsibilities, you are making a mistake. For at that time you are separating yourself from your Master. Those who are my very devoted disciples do not feel that they are strangers. They feel their oneness with me. They feel that I have more capacity than they do, so they identify their little capacity with my greater capacity. When they enter into my capacity, they feel that it is their own capacity that they are entering into, for inside me they see all love and concern.

It is only by feeling your oneness with your Master that you can make real progress. If you feel that you are a stranger or an intruder in your Master's heart, or even if you think that you are just a guest, then you will never succeed in your spiritual life. How long can you stay at your friend's place as a guest? A few days or a month, and then you will have to go away. Even if you feel that you are coming as a friend, still you may go away. But if you feel that his house is your house, then you are safe, eternally safe.

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