When an aspirant has made up his mind to receive initia¬tion, he approaches the spiritual master (the Guru) with his request in a humble way. The Guru then decides about the type of initiation and the place and date of initiation. He should then present himself with the necessary items for Guru Puja at the designated place for his initiation.
During the process of Initiation, the Conscious Spiritual Energy of the Guru using his mind as base generates a thought for the benevolence of the disciple. The Energy then projects out towards the disciple through the medium of a mantra, or by merely casting a look, or by simple touch of hand, or by mere thought. The projected Energy of the Guru then comes in contact with the dormant Kundalini (Divine Power) of the disciple and activates it. This process (Trans¬mission of power) is called as Shaktipat Initiation. In the dor¬mant state the Energy of the disciple is working towards the outside world (i.e. extrovert) through the medium of the mind and body senses. The Shaktipat Initiation makes it introvert (i.e. it directs towards the soul). As a result various kinds of automatic movements (Kriyas) are experienced by the initiate soon after the initiation.
The initiate for the first time experiences the presence of a Shakti (Energy) within him, separate from himself, and working spontaneously on his mind and body in the form of various automatic movements (Kriyas). This immediately pro-vides him a feedback that the Spiritual Master (Guru) is truly capable and that all the talk about the activation of the Kunda-lini-Shakti is not a mere fiction but a fact, a belief that is not going to be shaken away.
PREPARATION FOR INITIATION
An aspirant for initiation is expected to reach the desig¬nated place of initiation on the previous evening of his date of initiation and is expected to stay in the Ashram for at least three days. This period of three days is very important for the development of Kriyas. Under unusual circumstances if the Guru permits, the disciple may leave the Ashram earlier.
Those who are unable to be present in person at the Guru’s Ashram due to long distances can also receive Shak¬tipat Initiation through mental thought process (Sankalpa Diksha). This is in no way different from the one received face to face: However, it is always recommended to receive Initiation face to face for the obvious reasons that the three day period during which the initiate is in close proximity of the Guru pro¬vides him an opportunity to do meditation (Sadhana) with him. This is very helpful for the development and manifestation of Kriyas. It also provides him an opportunity to listen to dis¬courses, to do Guru Seva (personal service) and read reli¬gious books. This time should not be wasted in talking and gossiping.
Things that are needed at the time of Shaktipat Initiation are:-
1. Woollen Asan; this is a piece of woollen cloth about 4 x 4 feet preferably of thick fabric. A small woollen baby blanket is ideal.
2. An unbroken coconut.
3. Flowers, some fruits, and sweets.
4. Sandal-wood paste, kum-kum, and some rice.
5. Clothing for the Guru (according to one’s resources).
6. Guru-Dakshina (cash offering according to one’s re¬sources).
SHAKTI-PAT INITIATION WITH AND WITHOUT MANTRA
Shaktipat initiation can be done with or without a Mantra. Even with mantra initiation the mantra becomes of secondary importance after the initiation. A competent Guru can initiate a disciple also without a mantra.
Both types of initiations are in vogue in our parampara (tradition). Some Gurus consider Mantra-initiation better, while others thought it unnecessary. According to our Param Guru, Sri Swami Vishnu Tirth, initiation with mantra is more appropriate because it provides a lot of support to the initiate. If after initiation the automatic movements (Kriyas) stop or diminish, the initiate can chant the mantra during sadhana and it proves to be very effective in restoring the Kriyas. Be-sides, one can chant the mantra while doing other daily activi¬ties.
MANTRA AND MANTRA-SHAKTI
The mantra is not merely a group of words e.g., “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA” is made up of three words which merely make the outer shell or the body of the mantra. The soul of the mantra, hidden inside the body, is the Spiritual Energy or the Divine Power, also called the Mantra-Shakti. Those mantras which do not have the Mantra-Shakti, are mere outer shells, and are called as “dead-mantras”, as against the “Living-Mantras” which are empowered by the active Divine-Power. When such Mantra-Shakti comes in contact with the disciples Kundalini during the Shaktipat-initiation, it activates the dor-mant Divine Power (Kundalini) whereupon the initiate starts to experience the various forms of Kriyas. This is called as “Mantra-Chaitanya”. It should be clearly understood that the mantra is merely a medium of transference of the Spiritual-Power of the Guru to the disciple and after initiation becomes of secondary importance.
The Mantra-Shakti, in fact, is not a separate energy, but is one and same conscious-energy which is omnipresent. It is present in the Guru, in the mantra, and in the disciple. On an individual level, however, the dormant energy needs to be activated by the Guru. The Guru is such a person whose mind (Chitta) has been cleared off most of the accumulated im-pressions (Sanskaras). The Divine-Power working at the mind level of such a person, is called as “Chitta-Shakti” and is in fact the True Guru.