The Glory of Mantra-Diksha

Swami Sivananda: “Initiation into the Divine Name or the solemn Mantra-Diksha is one of the holiest and most significant of the sacred rituals in the spiritual life. To receive the Guru Mantra from a realised Saint and Sat-Guru is the rarest of good fortune and the most precious of the divine blessings that may be bestowed upon the aspirant—the full glory of the Mantra-Diksha, specially when it is done by a realised soul, can hardly be imagined even fractionally by the uninitiated who has not yet proper idea of what that Mantra and Mantra-Diksha really imply. The process of Mantra-Diksha is one of the most ancient in this sacred land and is the grandest jewel in the treasure of our peerless culture.

“Initiation puts you in possession with the direct means of attaining the grandest and the highest thing which can be attained, attaining which you obtain everything, knowing which you know everything, and gaining which nothing more remains to be gained! Initiation leads you to the full knowledge and experience that you are neither the mind nor the body, that you are Satchidananda Atma, full of Light and full of the Highest Bliss. May the Grace of the Satguru, the Visible God, bestow upon you all the highest fruit of Self-Realisation.” (pg. 304, Yoga Samhita by Swami Sivananda)

Swami Muktananda: “The mantra given by the Guru, although seeming to be mere syllables, has the divine potency to awaken the highest yoga in a disciple. It has the power to burn up completely a sadhaka’s accumulated karmas… the mantra is capable of transforming the (sadhaka), of making him worthy of attaining oneness with (God).” (pgs. 59-60, Light on the Path by Swami Muktananda)

Swami Satyananda: “Once you are initiated into a mantra you should continue it throughout your life in order to succeed in the practice. You must have faith in the Mantra which you have received in initiation, and stick to it right up to the very end. Japa Yoga may be a long path but it is sure and certain. (pg. 117, Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati) [Swamiji is a direct disciple of Swami Sivananda].

Swami Sri Sivaya Subramaniyam: “Mantra diksha bestows the permission and power for Japa Yoga. Without this initiation, it’s repetition bears lesser fruit,”  (pg. 405, Dancing with Siva)

Hypocrite Who Pretends to Follow His Guru: குரு துரோகி

“Self-assertive nature is a great obstacle in the spiritual path. This is an evil quality born of Rajas. This is accompanied by vanity and arrogance.

“The self-assertive aspirant does not pay attention to the instructions of his Guru. He has his own ways. He pretends to be obedient to his Guru. At every step his little ego asserts. He is disobedient and breaks discipline. He creates party spirit, revolt, chaos and disorder. He forms parties. He criticises Mahatmas, Sannyasins, Yogins and Bhaktas. He has no faith in the scriptures and the words of sages. He insults his own Guru even. He conceals facts and tells deliberate lies to keep up his position or to cover up his wrong actions. He tells several lies to cover up one lie. He twists and tortures real facts.” (pg. 368, How to Cultivate Virtues and Eradicates Vices by Swami Sivananda)

Sadhana — Is it Necessary?

Question 1: Someone I know says that there is not much importance in Sadhana and that it is enough to have faith in one’s Guru.

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Son, a person who has faith in (the Guru) will perform sadhana as (the Guru) instructs. Such a person will live without erring even a little bit. Will your disease be cured if you only believe the doctor but do not take the medicine? Not only that, faith will gain strength and steadiness only if sadhana brings experience. Otherwise, faith will slip into irresoluteness. You cannot progress without sadhana. Can’t you see even jivanmuktas (those who have achieved liberation while tenanting the body) doing meditation and japa (repetitions of the mantra) to set an example? No progress will accrue to him who simply sits saying faith will save me without doing anything. Unquestioning obedience is what is meant by faith and devotion. Whatever the Guru says, one should unconditionally obey.  Do not ask any questions. Do not doubt the Guru. One should unconditionally obey the Guru whatever he says, whether it is doing service to the Guru, service to society, Japa, Dhyana or anything else.” (pgs. 82-83, Awaken, Children! Vol. 3).

Question 2: I do sadhana but I feel empty. Why is this so?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “We do some kind of spiritual practice, and then, dissipate the acquired spiritual energy by indulging in worldly affairs.” (pg. 71, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Whatever spiritual power is gained through meditation and other spiritual practices gets dissipated through indulgence.” (pg. 123, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Question 3: How do we find the time to do sadhana? We are all too busy with work and family.

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Out of 24 hours, allow 22 hours for worldly affairs. Think of Him for at least two hours. Japa should also be done for some time while sitting in solitude. It should be performed whenever you have the time, even at work. (pg. 84, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Question 4: Is it all right if one chants mantras even without knowing the meaning ?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “…if you chant your mantra without knowing its meaning, it has its own powers. Even then, it is better if it is chanted with faith and love. Concentration is also necessary.” (pg. 97, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Mata Amritanandamayi: “…although God’s Name has a power of its own, when we chant it with bhava or concentration, it becomes more powerful.” (pg. 117, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Question 5: Is it necessary to do sadhana everyday? Is it wrong or even harmful to stop sadhana for a day or two?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Do not do sadhana with the intention of making it known to others or to please them. We don’t stop brushing our teeth, taking a shower or eating food because those are necessities. In the same way, we should remember that sadhana is also necessary for us every day. We will stink of we do not take a bath and brush our teeth. It will be troublesome for others also.  We should understand that refraining from doing sadhana is at least as harmful as this. Sadhana should become a part of our life.” (pgs. 122-123, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1).

Question 6: What is the best place to do sadhana?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Sadhana should be done in the presence of a Perfect Master or in an ashram”. (pg. 135, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1).

Question 7: I got a mantra from you; isn’t it enough that I have been accepted as your disciple?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Concentrate on your sadhana…. Mother gave a mantra to everyone. Do not be puffed up because of that and think, ‘I am mother’s disciple.’ Do not feel proud thinking, ‘I have the ticket’ after getting onto a bus or train. If you do not show the ticket when the ticket collector comes, he will immediately make you get off. He will let you alight at your destination only if you use your ticket for the proper place and in the proper way. Otherwise, you will have to get off before your destination.” (pg. 219, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

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How to Relate to a Master by Swami Kriyananda

A master is not what he appears to human eyes. Yet his human appearance is, for all that, an aspect of what he is. The distinction lies in the fact that he is infinitely more than what he appears. Thus, for those who see in him a great and wise teacher, he is that. For those who see him as a dear friend, he is also that. He appears differently to every person: as a gracious and charming individual; as a wonderful raconteur of wise stories; a delightful humorist; an inspired lecturer; an invincible opponent; a powerful crusader; a guileless child; a stern disciplinarian; the truest friend one could ever have. He is infinitely morethan every possible definition of him, and more than the sum of all concepts of him—more even than people’s capacity to understand.A master is like a mirror: Whatever qualities we present to him, he reflects back to us: not our errors, needless to say, but what our own souls perceive in us from their level of deeper wisdom. To each of us he represents the reactions of the eternal Self. Thus, even if people view him as the personification of kindness, he never fails to correct them, even sternly, if that is what they need at the moment. At the same time, behind each of those reflections he remains ever the same: wise, kind, all-forgiving, humble, firmly resolute, and forever incapable of compromising the truth. He is whatever each of us, in his soul, wants him to be; at the same time, he is beyond our mental concepts, unshakably centered in infinite consciousness.

The author recalls once addressing a saint in India lovingly, “How tirelessly and selflessly you have given of yourself to others all your life!”

The saint, gazing at him with calm eyes, replied, “Is that how you see it?”

Whatever else a master is, he is also a person of extraordinary magnetism. Thus—inevitably so—he attracts people to him though his one desire is to draw them to God, not to his humanity. Devotees who love God one-pointedly enjoy more than others do the charm and inspiration of a master’s nature. Nor is it wrong for anyone to do so. Indeed, it is his magnetism that carries the soul on a “magic carpet” up to the Infinite Light. The devotion a master receives is directed by him to God alone. And he patiently teaches others to direct their love to God also, viewing him as but a window onto infinity.

One of the chief signs of a true master, indeed, is the impersonality of his love: impersonal where he himself is concerned, but not where others’ needs are concerned. He knows, however, and others know also, whose perception is intuitive, that without the inspiration they receive from him their very devotion would become only a sputtering flame.

Thus, disciples often focus their devotion on the master as a catalyst for their love for God. By devotion to him as a conscious instrument of the Divine, they open themselves to the flow of divine love. The magnetic presence of a true master, far from impeding their spiritual progress, greatly accelerates it.

In like manner, people in general are lifted to higher levels of consciousness by associating respectfully with people who live more in wisdom than they themselves do. The young, therefore, are well instructed to show deference to the old, whose longer experience in life has (or should have) given them greater wisdom. It is good, indeed, to serve any human being whose magnetic influence can raise one to higher levels of awareness. To work even as a servant in the home of people who are socially above oneself can be a karmic boon for someone whose family background is coarse and uneducated, for it can help him to become more refined. Even pets who are loved by their owners receive an impetus through that association in their own spiritual evolution.

Thus, association with a great master, even for those with only dim awareness of what he is, can bring priceless spiritual benefits. Of course, the more aware one is, the greater the blessings he attracts.

Much grace comes through association with a great master, even for people who are only vaguely aware of the gifts they are receiving. The benefits vary, depending on the disciples’ understanding and receptivity. Few disciples are as intuitively attuned to their master as Peter showed himself in the above story to be. Most are content to enjoy the master’s personality. Thus, they follow him about eagerly, gaze at him avidly, and try mentally to absorb his expressions and gestures as indicative of the consciousness he emanates. His least remark is reported eagerly, and every tidbit of news concerning him is circulated widely: to whom he has spoken, whom he has favored especially, the time he has given to this person or to that. The disciples’ attention, in other words, is often directed so much outwardly that they neglect to develop inward communion with him, and think by physical association alone to receive his blessings.

Much of this sort of energy may be seen around the kings and queens in the royal courts of this world. We see it displayed also in this Bible passage in people’s fascination with such superficial questions as who Jesus was in other incarnations. It isn’t that such questions ought never to be asked, but only that too much of this kind of interest becomes mere gossip, and prevents one from absorbing the master’s vibrations and magnetism.

(pgs. 187-190, The Promise of Immortality)

Scriptures Becomes Alive in the Presence of the Guru

The auspicious Guru Purnima celebrations were held in Amma’s new Chicago Ashram.
The celebrations took place after a long day of darshan, with Swami Amritaswaroopananda leading the worship of the Guru’s feet.

Amma spoke to the devotees about the importance of the Guru disciple relationship. “A disciple with awareness, devotion and self surrender, will continuously receive the Guru’s message and guidance, no matter where they are.  Once we find a true Master, the scriptures are reborn. The Vedas and Upanishads are repeated. When we find such a Master our search ends there. All we need to do is to live in their presence and try to imbibe their sacrifice into our own lives.

“In reality, there is no new message to deliver about spirituality. ‘Everything is God, there is nothing else but God.’ This is the only message. This is the single message in the Upanishads, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Puranas. When we say that there are 108 Upanishads, we should understand that it is actually, 108 different ways of conveying the same message.

“Amma’s only desire is for Her children to be happy. Happiness is within everyone, but we are not able to experience it. This is because of our likes and dislikes. We are in the grip of our ego and because of this we hold on to our likes and dislikes. In order to break away from the ego, we need the help of a Satguru. Amma’s goal is to give her children this strength and love. If we let go of our likes and dislikes, we will become fit vessels to receive the Guru’s ever flowing grace. We can become freed from our mind and become a blessing to the entire world.

“Today, each of you should take some kind of vow. Sharing with others, taking only what we need, this is spirituality in practice. Every night we should contemplate, “What good did I do today? Did I hurt anyone? Did I get angry with anyone? How can I prevent myself from making this mistake tomorrow?” In case we have done something good, we should think, “How can I do better tomorrow? How can I speak even kinder words tomorrow? Can I help someone? Can I donate 10 minutes of my time to the poor or needy?” When we contemplate like this, our entire life becomes filled with light. When we have light within, no darkness can affect us.

“All your actions and duties should be filled with the sweetness of love. It is that sweetness that transforms ordinary action into Guru Seva, or service to the Guru. Devoid of the sweetness of love, action is mere labor. Action that is performed only for material growth is also mere labor. However, action that is performed to develop love within and attain spiritual growth is Guru Seva. Such actions are worship of the Inner Self. That, indeed, is true devotion. This is the key to open the doors to our True Self. The purpose of this human birth is to know God, or our true Self.

“Each and every living being in nature is part of the Guru’s body. Loving and serving such a Satguru is the path to reach our true Self. It is the key to open the doors to our soul. It is the way, it is the goal, it is the path. May all Amma’s children awaken and rise in this love, may we all become lamps of love shedding light to the whole world. May grace bless us all.”

After the message, prasad was given out to all devotees by Amma herself. Celebrations ended on a high note with Amma singing Bandalo and Hari Narayana for the overjoyed surprise of the devotees.

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