What is Initiation?


Enlightened Masters have several methods of expressing the truth to their disciples. One such method uses words. When a teacher expresses a truth to a disciple in this way it is called teaching. While words can be a powerful tool to convey messages and truths, a Master has the ability to directly transmit an experience to a disciple. This method is called initiation.

Initiation is a powerful tool that allows a person to get a glimpse of the truth. When some truth which comes out of an enlightened inner space suddenly clicks with a person, it is called initiation. Initiation does not mean chanting some special mantra in someone’s ears, or doing something special. It means directly experiencing a great truth which has the power to bring about a transformation in the person being initiated. Some part of the mind may of course continue to resist the truth since it is too strong. Too many things may need to be changed if the person accepts the truth and starts expressing it in his life. However, the core of his being will resonate with the truth. His heart will feel connected with the truth which the Master is expressing.

For initiation to happen, only two things are needed. The first thing is: listening. In Vedantic tradition there is a beautiful word shravana, which means intense LISTENING. Listening is God. Everything starts from listening. Usually, within the space of a few minutes a person’s mind goes through many thoughts, just like flipping channels at home on a television. For the transmission of truth to take place, one’s attentiveness should be only with the Master. The second thing that is needed is to be receptive and open to the truths being expressed. One should just relax and go with the flow. It is also important to not wait for or expect anything to happen. Rather, one must let go of preconceived, prejudiced ideas and hypothetical questions; the words and expression of the Master will simply dissolve all the confusion and doubts.

Initiation is an extraordinary experience that can happen to any person at any time. Even if a disciple has already undergone the process, they can still be initiated by another Master anytime afterwards. One must only remember the two important prerequisites: Be present and relax. In Sanskrit, a mantra is defined as ‘Mantrayate iti mantra’. ‘Mantrayate’ means the truths which not only bring you out of depression, but once and for all remove the very source of depression in you! An initiation is the direct experience of such a truth, even if it is just a glimpse. The Master can offer that glimpse to a disciple, but only a disciple can prepare himself for it.

Adapted from Nithyananda’s Discourse during the first Nithya Dhyaan Satsang in Bangalore, India in December, 2007