Initiation into Spiritual Life

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

With the permission of the Vaishnavas we would like to share on something which we had come across recently. We are just a few days away from the most important day of our lives - Gurudev's Vyasa Puja, and we thought it would be apt to share this.

Prabhus and Matajis, recently we were reading an article titled, "Initiation into Spiritual Life" by HDG Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. There were many points raised by Thakur Maharaj which really made me think about how much I have actually been following Guru Maharaj's instructions and trying to please him. The following transcendental jewels from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur has really inspired me to do a quality check on my vows to Guru Maharaj and dedicate myself more in his service (if Guru Maharaj so desires). I am confident that these points will inspire all my godsiblings who are ever dedicated to Gurudev's service.

It is a whole article, but I am just posting the few points which really inspired me.

Note: A careful reading is required.

1. The ceremony of diksha or initiation is that by which the spiritual Preceptor admits one to the status of a neophyte on the path of spiritual endeavour.

2. The ceremony tends to confer spiritual enlightenment by abrogating sinfulness. Its actual effect depends on the degree of willing co-operation on the part of the disciple and is, therefore, not the same in all cases. It does not preclude the possibility of reversion on the novice to the non-spiritual state, if he slackens in his effort or misbehaves.

3. Initiation puts a person on the true track and also imparts an initial impulse to go ahead. It cannot, however, keep one going for good unless one chooses to put forth his own voluntary effort.

4. But initiation is never altogether futile. It changes the outlook of the disciple on life. If he sins after initiation, he may fall into greater depths of degradation than the uninitiated. But although even after initiation temporary set-backs may occur, they do not ordinarily prevent the final deliverance. The faintest glimmering of the real knowledge of the Absolute has sufficient power to change radically and for good the whole of our mental and physical constitution and this glimmering is incapable of being totally extinguished except in extraordinarily unfortunate cases.

5. The good preceptor although he appears to belong to this world is not really of this world. No one who belongs to this world can deliver us from worldliness. The good preceptor is a denizen of the spiritual world who has been enabled by the will of God to appear in this world in order to enable us to realise the spiritual existence.

6. The much vaunted individual liberty is a figment of the diseased imagination. We are bound willingly or unwillingly to submit to the laws of God in the material as well as in the spiritual world. The hankering for freedom in defiance of His laws is the cause of all our miseries. The total abjuration of all hankering for such freedom is the condition of admission to the spiritual realm.

7. The pretence of submission to the laws of the spiritual realm without the intention of really carrying them out into practice is often mistaken for genuine submission by reason of the absence of fullness of conviction.

8. If we do not sincerely submit to be instructed in the alphabets of the life eternal but go on perversely asserting however unconsciously our present processes and so-called convictions against the instructions of the preceptor in the period of novitiate we are bound to remain where we are. This also will amount to the practical rejection of all advice because the two worlds have nothing in common though at the same time we naturally fail to understand this believing all the time in accordance with our accustomed methods that we are at any rate partially following the preceptor. But as a matter of fact when we reserve the right of choice we really follow ourselves, because even when we seem to agree to follow the preceptor it is because he appears to be in agreement with ourselves.

9. It is by unreserved submission to such a preceptor that we can be helped to reenter into the realm that is our real home but which unfortunately is veritable terra incognita to almost all of us at present and also impossible of access to one body and mind alike which is the result of the disease of abuse of our faculty of free reason and the consequent accumulation of a killing load of worldly experiences which we have learnt to regard as the very stuff of our existence.

After reading this article I really find that the real balance (tattva) in devotional service is found when a disciple fully worships, and puts into practice the instructions of his/her spiritual master. The act of obedience to the spiritual master is not a means to pure devotional service. It is in itself pure devotional service. Prahlad Maharaj would never have asked Narasimhadev for service to Narada Muni (his Guru) even after attaining the goal of seeing the Lord face to face, if he had even the slightest doubt about the power of service to Guru.

Thank you very much for allowing us to share this. Kindly forgive us for our offences.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Madanmohan das,