The Value of Initiation
We are not getting new information but a deeper insight.
We have probably all experienced it. Sometimes just one sentence from a speaker on a well-known and often-discussed subject can suddenly reverberate deep within us with new meaning. There is a well-known anecdote that illustrates this perfectly. The owner of a small business, a friend of the Brazilian poet Olavo Bilac, met him on the street and asked him: ‘Mr Bilac, I have decided to sell my small farm, the one you know so well. Could you please write an announcement for me for the paper?’
Bilac wrote: ‘FOR SALE: A beautiful property where birds sing at dawn in extensive woodland, bisected by the brilliant and sparkling waters of a large stream. The house is bathed by the rising sun. It offers tranquil shade in the evenings on the verandah.’
Some time later the poet met his friend and asked whether he had sold the property, to which he received this reply: ‘I’ve changed my mind. When I read what you had written, I realized the treasure that was mine.’
Sometimes seeing something through someone else’s eyes can be a really good thing. Do we perhaps need someone to describe this gift of initiation that we have been given, to fill us once more with appreciation, like Bilac’s friend when he read the advertisement for his property?
What exactly do these words, ‘the gift of initiation’, mean? It quite simply means that a true Master has taken a soul under his protection. He has reconnected that soul to the Shabd, God’s Sound Current, and has undertaken the responsibility to lead and guide that soul to its original home in Sach Khand, the highest spiritual region.
Whatever we have was written into our destiny, and that destiny was created through our own past actions. But into our destiny for this lifetime something else was written. For reasons best known to the Lord, we were chosen to receive initiation from a true Master – something of such immense value that it cannot be comprehended by our feeble human minds. Let us not start taking it for granted to the extent that an advertisement of its beauty and value is needed to bring us to the full realization of what we have.
After initiation the Master’s astral form is waiting for us at the eye focus. This is a fact stressed by the Masters repeatedly. All we need to do if we want to reach that form is our daily simran with loving devotion and concentration at the eye centre. This may sound simple, but we all know how difficult it can be and how the mind can play havoc with one’s thoughts. The secret is not to give up, but to persevere. In The Dawn of Light Maharaj Sawan Singh says: ‘In attempting one’s best, his duty is over; the rest lies with the Master.’
Attempting one’s best – that is, of course, the basis upon which our whole pursuit depends. If we do that, our duty is done, and the rest is up to the Master. Whether we are truly doing our best depends upon how strongly we desire to reach the ultimate goal of this path and whether we realize the magnitude of what we have been granted.
Bilac’s friend had to read the description of his property before he realized the value of it. We have so many books where we can read descriptions of our spiritual heritage. Let us not neglect our duty. Isn’t becoming blasé and taking our initiation for granted a bit like contemplating a ‘For Sale’ sign?
Luckily for us, this possession of ours cannot be sold. Initiation is a commitment that we made to take our Master’s hand and allow him to see us back to our true home. Our commitment to him and his commitment to us are both necessary and the Masters always honour their commitments. Let us make sure that this precious treasure does not lie dormant, like something hidden away in a cupboard, seldom used and often forgotten. What a waste that would be!
We do not know how long this life is destined to be, so let us make the best use of our time. Tomorrow may be too late. Reading our books, attending satsang, remembering the path and the Master in discussions with fellow travellers are all reminders of the wonderful fact of the Master’s grace and his love for us. These all help to motivate us to try to be worthy of his love.
This path is beyond precious. No material possession, no matter how great its value, can rival it. It is something that the soul can take with it when it departs from this plane to continue its journey. The wonder of this gift is that the more attention we give to it the more precious it becomes. Spiritual practice enables us to appreciate its value.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II, Maharaj Sawan Singh says:
Love is the lifestream of this world and is also the essence of our life. It is the very core of purity and simplicity. Without it, the whole world is empty. It is the elixir that keeps life in full bloom.
One day, we will reach our goal – he has promised that. In the meantime, through meditation, we are working towards that goal, and every small victory that we achieve over the mind and its desires is a step in the right direction. This is not a path where a magic wand gets waved and instantly we find ourselves in Sach Khand. This is a path of steadfast, determined effort, which results in slow but sure progress. Maharaj Charan Singh says in Die to Live:
Meditation always does good. Sincere effort in meditation will also create submission, it will create that love.
Further on he says:
Without developing love for the Lord, nobody can reach the third eye. Unless we feel the pull of the Lord within, we won’t even think of reaching the third eye. He creates the desire. He creates the love. He is the one who is pulling us from within.
And that is why we keep trying, even when it feels as if we are getting nowhere. He is pulling us, and he is working on us through our meditation. We should try to be more aware of his presence, and try to behave as if we were in his physical company.
Maharaj Charan Singh says:
The Master does not leave or forget the disciple after initiation. He is always with him, guiding and leading him. In his Radiant Form, he helps the disciple at every step, accompanying him throughout the spiritual journey. The Master not only guides and helps during the disciple’s lifetime, but stays with him even at the time of his death, and afterwards.
Die to Live
Sometimes we may stumble, sometimes we may fall, but with determined effort slow and steady progress must result. Success has been promised to us. Once we reach the eye centre the most difficult part of the journey will have been accomplished. After that, in his company, we will progress further to a state of true surrender. In the meantime we have to carry on with our journey and appreciate the small but significant victories we begin to achieve along the way.
As we face our situation, we need to carry on with our weak attempts and efforts. We must not become disheartened. With his help we will grow stronger – and he promises his help. But we must make the effort, showing through our puny attempts that we are sincere.
We have probably read enough books by now to realize that there is only one method: meditation. Simran and bhajan are the walking sticks we must use as we journey towards our goal. Our meditation is the answer to everything.
We are all struggling souls, and as such we may sometimes feel despondent, but never has a greater goal been set before us, never has a more precious treasure been given. And with this precious gift he also gave his promise to help us get there, to be with us every step of the way. He has given us his assurance that there are no failures on this path.