Shaktipat, along with its subsequent practice, sahaja yoga, was originally given to very few people. Through shaktipat, kundalini, the evolutionary force, could awaken naturally and one could attain yoga, ‘union with God.’
A teacher might have initiated only one or two students in a lifetime. Students desirous of shaktipat initiation would live at the teacher’s residence (ashram) for twelve years practicing selfless service to the teacher (guruseva), repetition of mantra, postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), proper diet, and so forth.
Before you gasp in horror at these requirements, keep in mind that masters of many arts and sciences in many cultures throughout the world also trained their students in this manner, and in many cases, still do.
After twelve years, if rapport with the teacher was sufficient, if devotion and determination was firm, and if the student’s karmic situation was conducive to it, he might be granted initiation. This trend continued for millennia for very good reasons.
The following are some of the qualifications for shaktipat initiation. I recommend that you use them as guidelines for maximizing your opportunity to get the most out of your spiritual practices, whether or not they are the practices of my lineage.
1 Have some sense of who you really are.
By “who,” I do not mean the popular concept of “who” as it is used today, which has to do with personality, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, what you do and how you do it, and so on. I mean who you REALLY are without all that packaging.
2 Have respect or devotion to the teacher who initiates you.
If you do not have respect for this person, and if you do not feel some degree of devotion to this person, he or she will be useless to you when you need them most as you progress to more advanced stages.
3 Set a limit on material possessions.
The purpose of this guideline is to help you to simplify your life in order to make room for your sadhana to bear fruit. Too many things creates too much distraction and steals time.
4 Read and reflect on scripture.
One who reads, studies and reflects on the written teachings of those who have successfully travelled the path, ups the ante a thousand times over one who does not.
5 Find something you feel you can surrender to — God, the Divine, Divine Love, Truth, Higher Power, the Absolute…
Do not try to do this sadhana by surrendering to yourself. This is counterproductive. In this meditation you will get the best results if you surrender to That which is Divine that is Other-Than-You.
6 Be willing to do at least one hour of sadhana a day.
This means an hour of actual sadhana, not including preparations, getting settled down, or any special opening and closing you might want to invent (it is a good idea to do this, by the way).
7 Be willing to do guruseva, selfless service for the teacher.
Do not believe for a moment that this is self-serving on the part of the teacher who initiates you. Guruseva is really for you. It burns up negative karma quickly, gets you out of the red and makes it possible for you to make faster progress. Guruseva also allows time for the teacher to continue his or her own sadhana, which is to your advantage.
8 Be willing to communicate with the person who initiates you about your sadhana.
A teacher who initiates a student will have a sense of responsibility for that student. If you do not communicate with this person, the teacher has no opportunity to contribute to your advancement, and you loosen the bond between yourself and the teacher. If you continue successfully on your own, you may reach a point when you will need this person’s guidance, but by losing your rapport with the teacher, this guidance will not likely be forthcoming.
9 Continue to reflect on and improve your application of yama and niyama.*
If everyone, regardless of spiritual orientation or the lack thereof, attended to these spiritual principles, we would certainly have a better, more peaceful world. But alas, not everyone will. This leaves it up to those of us who would, to do our best to do a good job.
Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God),
* Yama and niyama: The yamas and niyamas consist of ten fundamental spiritual principles for attaining and maintaining success in spiritual development and in everyday life. See the New Moon elective course, Ten Keys to Success.
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