What Is Initiation?

Initiation has several different meanings, depending on the context in which it occurs. In one of our books, Question and Answers with Swami, we describe the role of Initiation and its types.

What is Initiation?

Excerpted from Question and Answers with Swami

Q: What is the significance of Initiation?

A: In the King James version of the Bible, there are references that have been edited out of other versions. For example:

  • “If thine eye be single, thy whole body will be filled with light” — Lord Jesus Christ
  • “I confess by my rejoicing that I die daily.” — St. Paul
  • “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. And the Word was God.” — St. John

Those who have become mystics, initiates upon the spiritual path, see in passages like these references to inner mysteries that they experience in meditation.

To people who don’t have direct inner experience, these passages are mysterious, impenetrable, and unfathomable.

People who are pre-initiates, who have never been shown how to have direct spiritual experience, have often been taught to fear initiatic religion.

The truth is, you do not lose the religion you had before, but you gain a whole new dimension to your life and spiritual experience.

It is like your car was formerly running on three cylinders, and now it is running on all six cylinders.

Before, you were sleepwalking through life, and after, you became fully awake.

It is a beautiful, safe, wonderful experience.

You are changed. You have peeped inside and beheld your inner life.

A seed is given that can sprout into a most beautiful tree if you nurture it.

If you don’t like this experience, then go back outside and close the door.

Some people find the noonday sun too brilliant; they prefer the twilight.

We cannot judge them; it may be that they are not ready to devote themselves to the spiritual path. Everything must come in its own time.

There is something new that is added to your experience when you undergo initiation.

If we compare pre-initiation experience to post-initiation experience, you will see that there is a whole mode of perception, experience, and knowing that you gain when you receive initiation.

These are summarized in the table below:

Pre-Initiation Post-Initiation
Belief about God Direct experience of Spiritual Truth
Prayer and invocation Meditation and inner work
Trusting wholly in God to work out salvation Working with God consciously to work out salvation
Religion (exoteric faith): structured creeds and ceremony Mysticism (mesoteric faith) and Mystery (esoteric faith)
Outer Court (man cut off from God) – relationship with God mediated through clergy Inner Temple (man becomes a priest in direct contact with Spirit)
Once-born (ritual baptism – the baptism of water) Twice-born (living baptism – baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost)
Knowledge and wisdom gained by reading, study and interpretation of scripture Knowledge and wisdom gained through intuition, inner revelation and realization
Self-knowledge and spiritual knowledge influenced by conditioning and education, mediated through cognitive models (beliefs and concepts) Direct perception and experience of Self, spirit and Soul
Social Christianity or other religion Realized, Living Christianity or other religion

Initiation is like an introduction to your Soul.

It is entirely possible that you might not like your Soul when you meet it, or you may find the experience to be ineffable and overwhelming.

Where previously you have only known your temporal, human and finite experience, in Initiation you touch the Eternal, the transpersonal dimension, and drop for a moment into the realm of the Transcendent, the Infinite.

The term Initiation is used in esoteric literature in three ways.

  • In the first way, called gnosis or diksha, the seeker is introduced to the spiritual mystery and shown techniques to develop it. This is the sense we are discussing it in this article.
  • In the second way, which is the way we usually are talking about Initiation, it represents the expansion of the Soul’s spiritual evolutionary potentials to a whole new level, conferring wisdom, great love, new spiritual abilities, and profound insight. It is moving the Soul closer to the Divine, and that movement, that inner change is mirrored at every level of the mind, in every vehicle of consciousness.
  • In the third way, we speak of Initiation as a discrete stage or station on the spiritual journey. For example, at the Planetary Realm, we say an individual whose Soul has evolved to the Manasic Plane is undergoing the Third Initiation. He or she is taking the Third Initiation during each new expansion of the Soul’s evolutionary potentials on the Manasic Plane. The moment the Soul moves onto the next Plane, the Buddhic Plane, it is said to have taken the Fourth Initiation.

So, initiation refers to an introduction, a new beginning, but also the journey and the attainment.

This process of initiation is central to spiritual life. We cannot get around it.

It is a task that must be accomplished, a truth that must be known and realized for progress to take place.

Where previously you may have been content to dip your toes into the water at the seashore, becoming an initiate means that you now have a way to cross the sea. It is like being given a boat with an engine to propel you.

It is the most incredible, most beautiful journey that can be taken in this human life.

If this opportunity comes to you, then take it if you feel that you are ready. It is truly the greatest of blessings.

Initiation — the Key to Spiritual Transformation

When we consider the second type of Initiation, the unfolding of your Soul and each of its vehicles of consciousness, we note there are two ways this can occur.

In the first way, which is called self-initiation, we use a technique to unfold the Soul and its vehicles. In Mudrashram®, we give you a transformational mantra to unfold your spiritual potentials at the cutting edge of spirituality. Other methods that can unfold your spiritual potentials at certain levels of the Great Continuum include Kriya Yoga and Nada Yoga.

The second way is Initiate-driven transformation. This occurs when a Initiate or spiritual Master sends the Light to us, and actively unfolds our spiritual potentials.

This has been called Translation, Light Immersion, Salvation by Grace, Shaktipat, or Baraka in different spiritual traditions.

We include this “Grace-Bestowing” ministry in our Light Immersion sittings, which we call Light Sittings.

Between using their transformational mantra and participating in Light Sittings, those who study with Mudrashram® can dramatically speed up their spiritual evolution.

While normally it takes eleven or twelve years to move forward one nodal point upon the spiritual Path through natural karmic unfolding, those who have the transformational mantra key can move forward three to four nodal points in a single day.

Moreover, since we train individuals to work at their cutting edge of spirituality, there are no limits to the spiritual growth you can achieve with this method.

Using your transformational mantra, it is possible to journey through the Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, and Transcendental bands of the Great Continuum of Consciousness.

For this reason, we say that your transformational mantra gives you the keys to unlimited spiritual growth.

You can learn the transformational mantra, and the other methods of the Mudrashram® system of Integral meditation on-line in the Accelerated Meditation Program, or take our in-person version of this course, which we call the Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation.

We encourage you to find the key to Initiation to fully unfold your spiritual potentials and to actualize your spiritual destiny—for you were born to achieve Mastery and true greatness.

The only question that remains, dear seeker, is this the life where you will make your full ascension?