Friday, September 27, 2013

What is Expected of an Initiate?

Those of us affiliated with the Western Church of Sanatana Dharma do what we do for the sake of helping people to become enlightened.  To become enlightened requires self-effort and Guru's Grace.  Self-effort alone only takes one so far on this path.  But when self-effort is aimed at performing the practice prescribed by the Guru, as well as rendering service to the Guru (Guru Seva), it takes one all the way to the goal because this sort of effort draws Grace.  Grace is the revelatory power of Shiva and this is how it is earned.  If you would like to have this relationship with our Guruji, taking him as your Sadguru, this is what is expected of you as new initiate:

1. Meditate two times per day for at least 15 minutes.  DO NOT meditate for more than 90 minutes in a single day until you are deemed ready.  Too little won't get you anywhere, too much is dangerous.  The energy or Shakti that is received from the Guru by doing this practice will hurt you if you exceed the time limit without meeting certain qualifications.  Use a timer.  It's a big deal.  See So You Wanna Meditate (book) for more specific instructions on exactly how to meditate.  This info can also be found on this blog.  See the "Resources" section of this post for the relevant links.

2. Perform japa (mantra repetition) on the mantra, "OM Namah Shivaya" (pronounced: OM na-MAH shee-VIE-yah) by simply repeating the mantra mentally throughout the day as much as you can remember to do so.

3. Begin reading or chanting the Guru Gita daily.  I chant the whole thing in Sanskrit every morning after meditation.  It makes heat and energy surge throughout my body, causing me to become very blissed out.  You don't have to chant it and you can gradually work up to reading the whole thing.

4. Read the book, Play of Consciousness, by Swami Muktananda.  Baba, 

as he is affectionately known, is my Guru's Guru.  The book contains info that is valuable to anybody who is considering taking part in this lineage and its reading also confers a whole lot of Shakti or, in other words, it causes one to draw more Grace.

5. Send me daily updates until further notice (even if I don't respond every time).  Otherwise, weeks or months could go by before you are performing your practice the way that we are actually trying to get you to.  This way, misunderstandings get sorted out much more quickly.  Carbon copy all emails to Guruji by typing his email address in the "cc" field of the email (make sure to ask for this because I'm not going to post it here).  He will see these and may occasionally tell you to do something differently than I have.  Always defer to what he says when applicable.

The level of initiation you have received if you have chosen to begin meditation and mantra in the way that I have instructed is called mantra diksha.  Initiates who carry out these instructions well and wish to expand their practice will have the opportunity to be initiated into higher levels of knowledge, such as shaktipat diksha.  People who put in this work generally are happy enough about how it impacts their life that they eagerly choose to deepen their practice.  May your efforts be blessed: OM Namo Narayana.

-Swami Anantananda Giri

  • The Guru Gita can be found here.  This version contains the original Sanskrit (Roman transliteration) and English translation.  It is free for private (i.e. non-commercial) use.

  • To support my work and to help make sense of the Guru Gita, please consider purchasing the commentary I wrote (in collaboration with Guruji and a fellow disciple, named Padma), The Authoritative Guru Gita of H.H. Mahamandaleshwar Swarupananda.  If you are in a country where the above link doesn't work, a simple Amazon search for "Authoritative Guru Gita" should turn up the appropriate link for purchase in your region.

  • If you prefer, you can get the Guru Gita in Hindi or Gujrati from the Siddha Yoga Bookstore.  They also have a Gujrati version of the entire Nectar of Chanting, called Swadhyaya Sudha.

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