When are We Ready for Initiation?
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami , 1999-01-21
Today Gurudeva describes his ashram on the Garden Island of Kauai in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Then he answers a question about initiation, how one first becomes a Hindu, then fulfills the requirements of the spiritual teacher in order to receive initiation. Then, he says, the real work begins, as he learns the preceptors deeper teachings. Lastly, Gurudeva reports on the initiation of the six young boys as Bala Yogis at Kailash Ashram in Bangalore.
Today at Kauai Aadheenam, January 21st.
Greetings to each and everyone in cyberspace. Our ashram doors are open. We are talking with you, loving you, appreciating you and feeling that you are an ashramite, because you have been here more than once.
To all our new-comers, this is your first time coming to Cyberspace Ashram. We are on the Garden Island of Kauai, in the middle of nowhere. Thousands of miles from the United States, thousands of miles from Japan, thousands of miles from Australia. Sitting here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, secluded, we have this beautiful ashram with Mathavasis, or monks, from Asia and the United States, Australia, Mauritius, Singapore, Malaysia. We are here printing 'Hinduism Today', an international magazine. We are here, up at four o'clock every morning, in the temple, in deep meditation. We are here preparing books that clarify the Hindu religion for all Hindus in the modern world. That is what we do and we do it very well.
For those of you who have been coming into the ashram every day, we have a message for you today. If you have a question, send your question right to 'Today at Kauai Aadheenam' in the little question box, at the bottom of your computer screen. Don't send your question to the 'Daily Message' that you receive on the screen through Sadhunathan. It is a lot of work for him to send it to us here and we are not so sure that you are watching or listening to Cyberspace Ashram. We want to be sure that we answer each question pragmatically and thoroughly.
We have a question today. "When are we ready for initiation?" This is from Honolulu.
A person is ready for initiation after he has prepared, well-prepared philosophically, socially and culturally, and has done the various sadhanas that lead up to the initiation. Sometimes, it takes a year. Sometimes, it takes two or three years and if he is a western person, even longer because the cultural habits and protocols have to change. In other words, he or she must remold their entire life according to the beliefs and practices of their new religion. Every religion has initiations. They are often called 'entrance' into the religion itself. In the case of Hinduism, it is the 'Namakarana Samskara', the name-giving ceremony, that makes one a Hindu. Sometimes, people give their own self a name, and that is becoming a member of the religion by choice. Who can better tell a person what he is on the inside? He has the right of self-declaration to do so, himself.
So, those wanting initiation, find a good preceptor. One you can love, one you can trust. Then, go through the study that preceptor prescribes and receive the initiation. After the initiation, that is not the end. That is the beginning of more study.
We have six young men that were born for being the priests of our beautifully carved stone Iraivan Temple that will soon be coming from Bangalore, India, here on the Garden Island of Kauai. They are between eight and twelve years of age. All six of them received an initiation called Upanayana, which is the beginning of scriptural study in Bangalore, just yesterday. We are very proud of them. They now have their heads shaven, they are dressed in yellow. We call them balayogis. They will learn to be traditional priests of a traditional temple. In five or ten years, they will be here, conducting all of the ceremonies and pujas for pilgrims to enjoy.
We are very happy to be with you today and looking forward to being with you tomorrow. Ashram doors are always open.
Aum Namah Sivaya.