After Initiation

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna initiates Arjuna and tells him not to disturb others with the knowledge that he has been given, but to keep it secret and let others be happy where they are, that most people are not truly interested in union or God whatever they may think or say, but bow down to their own minds and are most content with what is familiar, commonly accepted and believed.

This injunction is not pejorative. On the contrary, Krishna accepts, as we should, the freedom of all of us to take whatever path we choose. But those of us who will only be truly satisfied with direct experience of Truth and union with the Divine Beloved must travel an exceptional path.

The esoteric teachings concerning sahaja yoga are contained in the Bhagavad Gita, as well as other Sanskrit texts and scriptures of various religions throughout the world. To understand these teachings requires learning and experience. Once sufficient progress has been made through sadhana (practice), these teachings will  begin to reveal themselves. When understanding of them agrees with the oral teachings of the shaktipat teacher and one’s own personal experience in meditation, one can then proceed with the assumption that what has been understood as correct is indeed correct. Time, practice and experience will eventually settle the matter with certainty.


The experience that is needed is gained through sadhana, practice. Your sadhana is your own personal lab that will provide you with the necessary experience.

Practice: repetition for the purpose of acquiring
experience and proficiency.

Surrender does not always come easily at first. We are too used to doing everything ourselves and trying to control things. It’s what we have been taught throughout our lives, so at first we cannot be expected to succeed at being fully surrendered. We improve through repeated practice.

Once initiated into this kind of sadhana, to get the most out of it you must practice on a regular basis. You will need to carve out a generous amount of time for it each day. You can do it for twenty minutes a day, but you will become disenchanted with it when nothing happens—it takes many of us ten or twenty minutes just to get relaxed enough for meditation to even begin. So give it at least an hour or two.

If two hours a day seems excessive to you, let me remind you that (1) you will still be spending twenty-two hours a day in a modality that is contrary to full surrender, and (2) this sadhana is so seductive that, when you begin to feel its influence, you will want more than an hour anyway. If you have responsibilities that won’t allow this, then you must apply self-control and limit your practice to two hours a day. Traditionally, one is not initiated into this practice if two consecutive hours daily is not possible, but happily, I am not a traditionalist-for-the-sake-of-tradition, and will initiate those of you who want it.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to Truth),
Durga Ma

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Shaktipat Prep

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),
Durga Ma

* 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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