The Meaning of Initiation - Part 1

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble pranams! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva!

The day of spiritual initiation is a very important day in all our lives. Initiation is actually a second birth for the human beings. In this second birth, the spiritual master is our father and the scriptures are our mother. It is a very auspicious and memorable occasion in our lives. We are all born in the darkness of ignorance and on the day of initiation we are taking a second birth in the mode of goodness. 

The philosophical points from our scriptures are regarded as universal because it is applicable and good for everyone. That is why Srila Prabhupada unknowingly attracted all kinds of people whoever they may be. Religions are manmade divisions but essentially every living entity is the same, being part and parcel of Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead. This important and essential fact of our relationship with the Supreme Lord is recognized on the day of initiation. Our beloved Guru Maharaj makes the day all the more important by his incomparable initiation lectures which are cherished by one and all. He opens our heart to very sublime meanings of initiation and thus completely uplifts us and changes the whole vision for good. I was listening to the initiation lecture given by Maharaj in December 2008 in Rajkot and I would like to share with you all the wonderful meanings of initiation expounded by our beloved Guru Maharaj.

1. Initiation means we change our pursuit from the worst to the best:
The Supreme Lord Krishna declares in Srimad Bhagavad Gita 15.7:

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

So this is our situation. Here we are all struggling and nobody can deny this. We have to come out of this struggle. We are all essentially spirit souls. But we are running after our body, which is a silly pursuit. However, you try to keep this body alright, it is never alright. It is all stool and urine. How long can you tolerate stool and urine? How much bad smell we have? If you enter the toilet which is not clean, we cannot smell. How can you tolerate this filth for the whole of lifetime? We do not have any happiness in the body. The best thing we can do is to recognize our own spiritual identity and get in touch with the supreme spiritual whole. That is the main thing. To get in touch with the supreme living entity is so very essential and because it is very much essential for our survival, it has been made very easy by the internal potency of Krishna. The things which are connected to the internal potency of Krishna, they are the best. The things which are connected to the external potency of Krishna, they are the worst. And the worst we are following. The best we are ignoring. This should never happen. Initiation means you change your pursuit from the worst to the best. Again and again and again and again we have the experience that material pursuit is not our position. We are just carrying on, but things can be palatable only if there is connection with the spirit. That is especially said in the second seed verse in Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.34:

ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ

O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.

Illusory energy or maya means that which is not connected to Krishna and that is the definition of illusory energy. 

2. Initiation means the revival process of our relationship with the Supreme:
We are all spirit souls and at the moment it is forgotten. This forgotten relationship has got to be revived. It is already there. The revival process is known as initiation. Please understand this and this is the only point. Otherwise we are alright. Now from today, we know that we are connected to the supreme whole. And that relationship has got to be re-established so that we completely forget the temporary existence of the body and give priority to the spiritual matters. This is initiation. 

3. Initiation means to recognize our own death:
Death is like a snake. The snake bites and you are finished. This snake in the form of death has a ‘pracaṇḍa-vegād’. Very great speed. With very great speed it is chasing us. Day and night, every hour and every second. Death is bound to come for everyone without exception and that is why we say, ‘as sure as death’. To recognize mrtyu or death is initiation. Those who recognize their own death, they go on the right path. They are magnanimous like Krishna. Because we see that this is all temporary. So, we do not have any reservations in our behaviour. Those who are completely ignorant about these matters, they are the foolish number one. They try to have their own interest or whatever. We do not have any separate interest because we cannot take with us anything. To understand this is initiation. To some extent we have to have our own quota to maintain ourselves, but apart from that we don’t have any excess. 

The other deeper meanings of initiation, explained by Maharaj shall be posted in the ensuing mails, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi
Abu Dhabi.