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The True Meaning of Deeksha
It is so very imperative to understand the concept of deeksha (initiation by Guru), as in ignorance people seem to harbour all kinds of strange misconceptions. For example, receiving a mantra from a Guru is not deeksha. If you have any mistaken notions about this, discard them right away.
So, what is deeksha? When the mind of the disciple connects to the mind of the Guru – that is deeksha. The disciple surrenders his mind to the Guru and the Guru accepts. When the mind of the Guru and the disciple become one, then we say that the disciple has been initiated by the Guru. They share an intimate, deep relationship. This alliance is at the level of the heart, and thence whatever is within the Guru, will naturally start to pervade into the disciple.
Ramana Maharshi never gave long-drawn out discourses. But nevertheless, it is said that several people sitting with him would experience samadhi. Later, those people wrote about their experiences and mentioned that by merely sitting with him and having his darshan, their mind would become quietened and stilled. It was as if the mind would simply vanish and all that would remain was a heightened state of awareness.
In the light of this illuminated consciousness, body-awareness would disappear culminating into samadhi. Now, one may wonder how that could possibly occur. I will elucidate this by the following example: Say, you want to listen to the FM station on your radio and you are searching for it. You will be able to listen to the station only when you are able to tune your radio to catch the particular wavelength, isn’t it? If those particular wavelengths are not available, you will not be able to listen to FM. Similarly, by staying in close proximity with the Guru, if the disciple’s mind gets tuned-in to the Guru’s wavelength, then the Guru need not say even a word, not a single word. In that situation the nectar of wisdom will percolate into the disciple’s heart without any need left for words – a wordless communication.
And this is the essence of deeksha. Now, the one who has received this deeksha automatically receives all its benefits, all the benediction. But the one to whom this event has not yet occurred remains incomplete. If you want to take refuge in a Guru then you have to surrender your ego, you have to purify your mind. Only then can the heart to heart bonding happen. You need to empty your heart of all worldly desires and make a place for the beloved to reside on the throne of your heart. If you don’t clear up the clutter and make space for Him, where will He sit?
It entails then that if you want to connect to the Guru, then connect in such a way that the Guru enters and becomes established in your mind. The love should be so vast, so deep that any physical distance from the Guru should then not matter at all, not a bit. If the minds become one, get unified, then the concept of distance becomes meaningless. The inner meeting with the Guru is such that then the disciple no longer remains a disciple - the disciple then becomes the Guru - they have become so close that they have become one. Such should be the depth of your love for your Guru. If you make an exchange of love, make it this way.
Just receiving a guru-mantra is not deeksha. Deeksha happens when you surrender your very self to the Guru. Putting aside your ego, your intellect, your mind, the day the heart to heart connection happens, that will be the day one can say that deeksha has taken place. People misconstrue deeksha to mean mere offering of a coconut, a few flowers, an incense stick and some money – unfortunately, this is what the society at large believes to be deeksha, such a woeful misconception.
Only the one who has killed his ego can be born anew in the company of his Guru. If you retain your old identity – meaning a dirty, impure mind, a mind full of attachments and thoughts - and with that you go to the Guru, then there can be no relationship with the Guru. It was not there earlier, nor can it happen in future. Whatever you are, however your mind is in the present, that has to die, that identity of yours has to die. The entire identity which is associated with the body has to be wiped out and only then you get a new identity from the Guru. This is when deeksha happens. Only the one who is a disciple in the true sense of the word can be the recipient of such deeksha. Now the question is – what should a disciple be like, who is a disciple? One who has no pride, no anger, no attachments, no mental confusion or duality and no hunger to become something more – only such a one can be called a disciple and only he is eligible for deeksha.
But ordinarily, under the label of deeksha, what one gets is only a mantra. Deeksha cannot happen until the day all these virtues are present in you. Deeksha means to merge with the Guru. The Guru has merged with God, so what is the meaning of deeksha? To merge with God. Now who can merge with God? Only the one whose mind is pure. But what is happening now is that you are not grounded within yourself. There are so many personalities within you. One part of your mind says that I want to listen to satsang. But the other part of the mind will contradict this by bringing up thoughts like, ‘No, you will incur a monetary loss, attend to the business!’ The third part of the mind will say, ‘What will you get by going there? The DVD will be out later – we’ll listen to it at home.’ Endless gimmicks, excuses, so many voices in one head and all giving so many so-called advices! And another part of your mind that has heard a few discourses says, ‘Everything has to be ultimately left behind here, so why should I work myself to death?’
Today the state of your mind is such that you think one thing, you say something else, you do a third thing and you want to do a fourth thing. So you yourself do not know what it is that you want. That is why you are always in a dilemma, in duality. And that is why although you may have done a thing ten times, you still make mistakes. That is why when someone tells you to do a particular thing, you cannot even hear. You cannot see, nor are you able to hear.
The reason is that mind has woven its complex web within. Within you, there are multiple minds, not just one mind, and each mind has its own unique ego, its own identity. Each mind says – ‘Listen to me!’ At night, you sleep with this thought that in the morning I will wake up early. In the morning when the alarm rings and it is time to wake up, another mind crops up. It says – ‘Just leave it, get up early tomorrow, now go back to sleep! You are enjoying such a wonderful sleep.’ So your mind is scattered. This is called Multiple Personality Disorder. You are trapped within the intricate networks of these minds, within your own perceptions and misperceptions, and your very own desires and ambitions.
Who is eligible to receive deeksha? Scriptures say that the one whose consciousness is without any false notions, anger and pride, who has given up duality, who is actively involved in relinquishing his own false identity – only such an individual is eligible for deeksha - the one who is constantly endeavouring to free himself from the web of his own mind. You plan strategies that strengthen the mind but you do not plan any strategies to kill your mind. You do whatever your mind tells you to do. Mind says, ‘let’s go out’, and you go. Mind says, ‘go to sleep’, and you go to sleep. Mind says, ‘fight’, and you start fighting.
Examine your mind a little - do you get swept by the waves of thoughts and emotions? Does anger arise in it? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then you begin to look for the cause, but outside. A wave comes up from your subconscious mind and you yourself get caught in it, you yourself strengthen it and you yourself allow it to spread. In the same way, a wave of attachment rises in your mind and you get trapped.
The question is: Are you so alert that at the very moment when attachment arises within you, you are able to cut it out by saying, “Oh mind! You have come alone and alone you have to go. Here, nobody belongs to anybody, do not be attached to anyone.” Instead, all your efforts are towards making the mind stronger and not aimed at killing this mind. When I say efforts to relinquish the subconscious mind, I mean the efforts one makes to kill the mind. So, what does it mean to kill the mind? Whenever a thought arises in the mind, the very first thing to do is to examine - why did this thought arise? And if the thought has already arisen, then cut it out with the sword of discrimination, keep cutting off each thought using your wisdom and power of discrimination. Keep making the mind thought-less. Live your life by remaining thought-less, by emptying the mind of thoughts.
Sounds can come out of a flute only because the flute is empty. Sounds can emerge from a tabla because under the goat-skin, there is absolutely nothing in the tabla, it is empty! Contrast that with your mind, it is filled with so much garbage. How on earth can the divine music emerge unless you empty your mind? A mind that is so full of the pandemonium of thoughts, there is no place for knowledge to enter, which means that there is no place for the Guru to enter either. So, if there is no place for the Guru, then how can there be any place for deeksha? Only the one who is not hankering after food or drink, who has no interest in useless idle talking, who day and night just wants to know the unknowable – only such a person can be called a disciple and he alone is eligible for deeksha.
Just receiving a mantra is not deeksha. Simply walking around with a locket of the Guru’s photograph is not deeksha. Just hanging the Guru’s photograph in one’s house is not deeksha. Contributing some money once or twice a year does not mean one is a disciple. To become a disciple is extremely difficult, very difficult indeed. To fall in love is not easy and to fulfil love’s obligation is not easy either. To put your life on the line is not easy. And in this deal, it is not that you can make offerings of wealth, or give up wealth, or give up clothes. Here you have to give up your heart. Here you have to offer your head, which means your ego. Only he or she can be a disciple whose mind is pure, clean and untainted, without any sin and without any desire whatsoever.