010. How to Develop Spiritual Practice
I would like to thank all those who suggested that I discuss this marvellous Topic. I hope that it will prove useful to all people who practise on the Path. Teachers continue to focus on the importance of constant practising. Let me quote a few points that are important, or the most important, and strongly emphasised in all Spiritual Schools.
In the Sufi School, fundamental spiritual practices (Persian: RYAZAT), prescribed by the teacher (Per. MURSHID), require approximately half an hour of everyday work in the morning. The following elements constitute part of individual practice: PRAYER, BREATHING OF THE FOUR WINDS (ELEMENTS), WASIFA (The Name of God, granted individually), MEDITATION ON LIGHT (the light of sunrise), and SILENCE.
In the school of Laya Yoga, the basic SADHANA, i. e. spiritual practice, includes primarily three elements: BREATHING EXERCISE, MANTRA (the cosmic word, granted individually), MEDITATION ON LIGHT (Sansk. Jyoti/s), the sun rising in the heart, or transmission, as well as INTENTIONAL PRAYER, or SILENCE. Particular systems, such as Narayana Yoga, may include bowing, yet the basic framework of the practice remains the same.
In the system of Agni Yoga, for example, there is a PRAYER TO SHAMBHALA, DEEP BREATHING, (which lasts for about five minutes), LISTENING or CHANTING OM and READING EXCERPTS FROM TEACHINGS. Bhakti Yoga systems recommend some BREATHING, SINGING MANTRAMS or KIRTAN (dancing) - which is the main point, MEDITATIONS ON GURU (S. TRATAKA, which deals with GURU'S LIGHT and OFFERING, (usually in the form of singing prayers), as well as SILENCE.
In my opinion, an observant reader, when he delves into the content-related composition of the practices, will notice some ONENESS SOUNDS OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF PRACTICE. Similar pillars are supposed to support a similar structure. Christian mystics also fill these pillars: ROSARY PRAYER, DEEP BREATHING, SPIRITUAL CHANTS (songs glorifying Lord's Name), and MEDITATIONS ON CHRIST'S LIGHT. So now we already know where the spiritual journey starts, now let us discuss how it continues.
The development of practice is based on spiritual exercises. Sufis refer to them as RYAZAT (Persian), whereas yogis use the term SADHANA (Sanskr.) to describe it. For thousands of years, mystics and saints of all traditions have performed exercises as an essential element on their path to enlightenment, to salvation, to liberation and to revelation. We must bear in mind that no exercise is essential enough to be a goal in itself, though, on the other hand, it is important enough to constitute a VEHICLE (Pallic JANA), which guides one towards the desired destination.
Each higher level of initiation (usually there are seven or twelve of them) introduces sort of reinforcements to our vehicle; sometimes we may receive a totally new vehicle. All this serves the purpose of faster and faster approaching the goal. Curiously enough, nine subsequent stages of initiation in the School of Sufis correspond to the idea of Nine Vehicles in the Buddhist tradition, as well as in Laya Yoga tradition (in the form of Bhaktajana). Esoteric Schools of Buddha use Vehicle Forms that in their essence are similar to those in the School of Sufis, or the School of Yoga.
The Fuel for the Spiritual Vehicle of Practice
The vehicle of spiritual practice, as each normal vehicle, also needs fuel. This fuel is your ardour in the efforts to accomplish the goal; your willingness or eagerness to realise yourself, or discover God (Brahma, Adi Buddha). Thinking about the goal, as well as the desire to accomplish the goal is the ARDOUR, i.e. the energy, which is warmth that makes your practice alive and passionate. This is when the vehicle begins to guide us. Is not ardour alone enough? Unfortunately, for any vehicle we need fuel. Only when we accomplish the goal of all mystics will either the vehicle or the fuel become unnecessary!!!
Owning a vehicle without fuel, or owning fuel only (THE ARDOUR) will not contribute significantly to your development. This way or another we will remain in the same place! It is clear that loss of interest in repeating individual practices is the same as loss of interest in accomplishing the goal. Your will accomplish your goal only if you aim towards it. We develop all our ordinary, human interests in a similar way.
Interest in spirituality, i.e. God, the Mystery of Creation, Perfect Love and Truth, has existed in the realm of both our feelings and thoughts forever. That which is the goal of the School of Esotericism - Enlightenment, Liberation - is purely within the scope of human aspirations. We are simply people, in the most obvious way, even if we set off on a spiritual journey. Such a journey is usually described as the Way, the Path (Per. TARIQA, s. PATHA or MARGA, Chin. TAO), or as Sufis call it: the work of a heavenly traveller (Per. BAZ).
By sticking consistently to our goal - GOD, both in memory and in feelings, we make use of our vehicle automatically and eagerly and thus we provide it with fuel. When we set off on such a journey, the landscapes of our life change. The change takes place in our surroundings and our environment. This is exactly the landscape of a TRAVELLER. If nothing has changed, it means that we have not approached our Goal. The only certain clue indicating that we are approaching the goal is the impression that the landscape (the surroundings, the environment) is constantly changing.
Essentially, the change in landscape signifies our Inner Transformation leading toward the Spirit, toward God, toward Enlightenment. We may cherish such an idea (image, visualisation) of Enlightenment: the vision of luminescence, the radiance of God's Glory which permeates us and brightens us up until we melt in this Light. The mystics of Tibet and India practice dissolving in the Light of Rainbow, which is a sign of profound Self-realisation and God's Grace (S. Brahma). Noah (Hebr. Noah), a patriarch, prophet and pioneer of the Judaic spiritual tradition, as well as Christianity and Islam, entered into the "Rainbow Alliance" with God. Rainbow as a sign and symbol of Alliance (Initiation) is a magnificent vision of unification with God and dissolution in God, in the Spiritual Substance. Discovering God's Glory is discovering the radiance of the rainbow light deep inside us.
We may observe the sequence of transformations in ourselves. The first thing that begins to change is the functioning of the mind (the stream of thoughts and impressions). Thinking becomes deeper, it involves more reasoning, thoughtfulness and deep contemplation, eventually leading us towards intuitive receptivity, towards emotional perception, (Per. CHISTI, S. PRATYAYA). Then we observe a transformation in emotional structures, the nature of our desires alters and becomes more sublime. Finally, we experience deep biological changes that reach our instinctive conditioning, as well as the constitution of our bodies. The entire process of Inner Transformation begins with our mentality. Traveller starts with the mind, wandering through the world of emotions and desires, in order to fulfil oneself within the world of the body. The last point is a very palpable aspect of spirituality. We may observe all this in the changes of the landscape within our environment. New people appear, whose conditioning is similar to ours and suits us more, who feel in a subtler way. Sometimes it is difficult to meet our old friends. In the last phase the physical body becomes healthier, more beautiful and more delicate, although, paradoxically, it also becomes stronger and firmer.
Regret over leaving the past behind and obstinate sticking to the archives of one's own soul, unwillingness to accept new furniture, are forces that effectively act similarly to "sugar thrown into oil." Our vehicle is not in motion, just the opposite, it remains in its place, even if we have a feeling that we are steering the wheel. Transience of the old and an attitude that is full of acceptance in welcoming the new is indispensable for the Traveller. When Jesus discussed conversion He used a Greek word METANOEO, which stands for the utmost transformation of one's Heart, Mind and Life.
The School of Spiritual Cult and apprenticeship on the Path to God mean as much as opening the door for the new, for future. Therefore, a Teacher first suggests meditations on Opening the Heart (Mind, Psyche) for spiritual Light (energy), as well as analysis of what we wish to achieve in order to approach our future goals. When we open the door for the new and we turn towards future we must abandon our old possessions, say "Goodbye" to our past, anarchic personality and raise the anchor burdened with regret and fear. The regret over what has passed and the fear of what is going to happen. If we had known God earlier, we would never waste any time lingering on the Path that leads towards Him.
The Blessing of the Initiation
We may also consider who is the driver of the vehicle of practice. Is there any captain to steer this ship in the right direction? Many disciples who begin their work in the School of Mystery have such dilemmas and doubts.
An excellent pilot, helmsman, or driver for our vehicle is the Energy of Transmission, or the Energy if Initiation (Per. BAJAT, S. DIKSHAN). Mystics of all spiritual traditions have always considered the blessing that flows through the transmission line from the Enlightened Beings, from Masters, Saints or Prophets: something that unmistakably guides our vehicle in the right direction. This is also an essential significance of the Initiation (Alliance, Seal) - Reconciliation with the Creator and Creation. The Unification with God.
The energy of Initiation is a continuous stream of blessings and a constant signpost for those who practise. The best signpost is useless when our vehicle remains motionless and stands idly with no fuel inside (or with sugar) in the middle of the simplest and most sublime way to heaven. (One only blocks the way for other people!).
At this point we might come to the conclusion, that the way is not the most important thing, although many people attach importance to the kind of way, but the fact of following it, moving ahead on the path. By covering the distance we become familiarised with it entirely and we accomplish the Goal that is at its end. For instance, Sufis have always focused on the necessity of travelling until one reaches the destination, not on contemplating which path is better. Instead of pondering on the exclusivity or uniqueness of the way, a Sufi only covers a considerable distance, thus getting closer to the destination. He leaves behind those who live at the signpost, maintaining that their path is the best one and the only right one. The majority of mystics, from Egypt to India, assume such an attitude.
An initiation (Per. BAYAT, S. DIKSHAN) may be understood as a transmission of spiritual exercises, or practices (vehicle), as well as knowledge on how to use this vehicle effectively (including fuel). Of course, consciousness is what helps energy (which is to serve as a pillar for consciousness) to work better thanks to concentration. Consequently, conscious contemplation of the initiation - blessing received, multiplies the effect. The goal "draws" us towards itself, stronger and stronger, more and more precise, depending on the level of our willingness and our involvement (According to the principle of free will - nothing about us without us).
Christians attach importance and assign a high rank to initiations (baptism, first communion, confirmation, etc.), i.e. to sacraments, similarly to Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim traditions. Spiritual practice is something that lets us maintain the bond with the transmission line, in other words, with God's Blessing, and which may be understood as the Light of the Lantern, or radio navigation for the mind (the heart). Essentially, these are extremely subtle vibrations that are perceived as a ray of cosmic or divine light.
Religious mystics in the majority of spiritual traditions usually paint a picture of a ray of light flowing from celestial, cosmic, spiritual realms. This light flows into us through the head, it fills our heart (the thymus and solar plexus area), and then it radiates from us. This bright, diamond-like light, pure as a crystal, may flow from the Heart/Mind of our Guru, Spiritual Master, or from the Hearts of All Saints (called the Spirit of Leadership, or the Heart of the Hierarchy), or directly from God - who is the Infinite Sea of Light. In this way we can feel, contemplate and imagine the energy of baptism, communion, or preferably, confirmation (spiritual baptism) in the Christian tradition, or a proper Initiation - Alliance in a particular mystical and spiritual tradition, which we in fact represent as those who actively practise.
Let us have a closer look at and feel what in fact Alliance (Initiation, Transmission) is for us and what the energy of spiritual light flowing from the Source of Transmission brings us. Usually, when we are distrustful of the path or its Teachers, a crisis of disbelief in a given Path arises. We have doubts about the right direction, as lack of trust means doubtfulness, which is like a cloud that darkens the sun in the clear sky. The more clouds appear, the more difficult it is for at least a tiny ray of sun to break through; it is even difficult to figure out where the sun is. This means that the Goal, towards which we could turn our eyes, is invisible. Then the ardour (S. TAPAH) fades away and our vehicle runs out of fuel on the Grand Celestial Way. We abandon the practice, feeling that the car, which will not run any more, is of no use. The problem is that it should not be blamed on the car. We ought to refill it with fuel.
Indecisiveness and hesitations are a force that prevents you from acting. Then, others take advantage of our opportunities. Lack of trust is, in other words, lack of faith. And the very faith, trustfulness (S. HRADDHA, Per. YAQUIN) is the first condition of being blessed with God's Grace, the Charisma (Arab. KARAMAT).
Mystics as well as those of the Sufi tradition, use the term JAQUIN, which means Holy Trust, trustfulness, and, to put it in different words, faith. For mystics, saints and truly spiritual people faith has never meant believing, i.e. dogmas (rituals), instead, it has always meant trust. Sufis teach that trust is holy. Jesus taught and called for total faith. Lord Buddha taught trust in the Three Jewels. There is no School of Esotericism or Mysticism, which would teach differently.
Consequently, developing our Yaquin (faith, trustfulness) is a factor that annihilates the cloud which darkens our vision of the Goal and the Light of Alliance. One ancient prophet mentioned that, for a man who lacks trust, even a clear sky seems to be covered with countless clouds. The very distrust and lack of faith are the biggest cloud which obscures the Sun - the symbolic source of divine Light.
A principle according to which Initiation works is that the Brighter Torch burns for the smaller Torch and the flame burns for a sparkle. In this way older souls (Selves) brighten the path for younger souls, similarly to older brothers and sisters who help their younger siblings. Therefore, they say that the Spiritual Hierarchy is in its essence Fraternity and Sorority, whose central quintessence or core is God, the Brightest Luminescence, which is a Parent, similarly to who Father or Mother are for their offspring.
Now it becomes clear that it is not important which of the Lights or Torches are bigger and which are smaller. What is more important is following this Light with trust, pursuing it with faith. Both Sufis and Yogis will not argue about which torch is brighter or more significant, which Saint or Master is greater or more inspirational. Instead, they follow the ray of cosmic light, which comes together with the Initiation. The Alliance, Initiation, i. e. Transmission exist in order to be used to a certain degree as an automatic pilot that will always unmistakably guide one in the right direction and along the right route. An automatic pilot always works when we don't disturb it with our doubtfulness and distrust. Holy Scriptures indicate that only those who are capable of trusting fully will never lose their way.
Trust and passionate pursuit of the Goal are the most essential aspects of any spiritual advancement on the path to God. Even if you change your religion or spiritual tradition, your disbelief will chase you. Disciples of Jesus used to pray with these words: "Lord, multiply our faith." This is a perfect, practical prayer for all those who practise.
What we should do is practise with determination on the Energy of Alliance with God, which Initiation in fact is. It is worth mentioning the fact that Alliances with God last eternally. They never lose their validity. Jews are known for their custom of constant renewing of their Alliance with God, when distrust of God, Prophets and Teachers obscured it. The path is simple and clear, and travelling along it is joyful and rewarding.
How to Develop the Connection with Guru, Knowledge and God
Let us now have a look at the aspects of the relationship of man with God. The first aspect is connection with GURU, with the One who leads us out of the darkness. The second aspect is DHARMA, i. e. Spiritual Science, PRE-KNOWLEDGE. The third aspect is GOD (S. BRAHMA), who is recognisable inside the human Heart as the Highest and the Most Sublime Ideal (S. ISHVARA). The entire spirituality of the East rests on these three pillars.
In the Buddhist Tibetan tradition we have such concepts as, respectively, LAMA, DHARMA and BUDDHA, whereas in the Christian tradition we have three values known as: JESUS, THE HOLY SPIRIT and GOD THE FATHER. Priests are sort of Jesus' successors on Earth, which consequently makes them counterparts of Gurus or Lamas. The three Jewels are ceaselessly worshipped in all religions and spiritual traditions.
Guru essentially is the embodiment of Teachings, Dharma and a representative, or rather a messenger from God. The Sufi tradition interprets it in a similar manner. The more we approach God, the more perfect image of Him we become, and, consequently, we reflect God to a greater extent, and, what follows, we also manifest His Teachings, until the moment our words become a Living Word of the divine message. As a result we become a Guru, Lama, Magi (Per. Mobed), or a Saint, depending on the spiritual tradition.
Guru is a Teacher, someone who passes on to us knowledge concerning our true Nature, Something that IS! We may have a lot of Teachers, although each of them is in fact an emanation of One Teacher - God. All our teachers have a connection with spiritual knowledge (Wisdom) and its Source, which is God. In actual fact, there is only One Teacher, who is God. Each Guru is like a ray of Light from this Only Teacher. When we follow this ray we approach our Goal. The entire Spiritual Hierarchy is an enlightened Heart of the whole human family. In terms of quality, there is no difference between spiritual Teachers. Each of them manifests the same quality of God and is the same Light. Guru is the Light of God. Quantitative difference arises from the need. A larger group needs a bigger Torch, a smaller group needs a smaller torch, while the Light remains the same.
In the Christian tradition there is common priesthood of all believers, which is priesthood in the Spirit of Melchizedek. This means that Jesus inherits the Spirit (Light) from Melchizedek (in the transmission line) and he passes it successively to His Disciples. If this is true, John the Baptist, Jesus' Guru, must have belonged to the Essen Confraternity of Melchizedek. Sacraments initiate this connection, which is the Holiest of all. It is said that Jesus, Son of God is the one who speaks through Holy Spirit using the mouth of his believers. In fact, Jesus may be an ideal in which all our Christian Teachers unite.
In the Buddhist tradition, in Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava is understood as the unification of all Gurus (Lamas). His character appears as the symbol of unification of all our Masters and Teachers. There are many Esoteric Schools in Tibet; however, Padmasambhava is the Master that unifies all traditions and transmissions so that they form a Whole. All the Teachers, although they belong to various traditions, are ultimately disciples of Guru (Lama) Padmasambhava, who is a reflection of the Ideal of Buddha (Buddeshvara).
The Sufi transmission line refers to the Spirit of Leadership, also known as the Spirit of Prophets, or, simply, Spirit of God, in which we discover the unification of all Spiritual Traditions, Teachings, and Teachers. We discover the Unity of Goal and Direction. The discovery of such a union makes us feel utter openness to all Teachers and Holy Teachings. This means that we practically make use of all transmissions that we have received from various Teachers. All the transmissions quintessentially form One transmission given to us by God, although it came to us via different Teachers, as, the more we purify our Hearts, the wider we open ourselves to more teaching, practising and working.
We should not be afraid that, if we bring together Teachers representing different Schools and Traditions, a conflict might arise. It is not the alignment that causes the conflict; instead, our fear is the source of a possible conflict. There will not be any conflict, as long as we follow the instructions given honestly, sincerely and trustfully. Spiritual practice in yoga (S. ABHYASA) ought to be developed in communion with all the Teachers whom we met in our lives, and with full gratitude. All authentic Sufis introduce a similar value. If the situation is other than that, this is a sign that the Teacher is not enlightened, although he may be advanced in the literal studies on teachings of a particular tradition and engaged in performing practices belonging to a given tradition. There are plenty of such "teachers"; yet, they don't understand the core of Spiritual Wisdom. Nevertheless, many people also need such a Teacher. Not all people long to drink from the Source of Living Water. And the journey in the Spiritual Direction must have a starting point somewhere.
When we strive to develop the spiritual communion with God, we cannot forget that the foundation of such a communion is the relationship with not only our Teacher, but also with the Oneness of all our Gurus whom we have met in our lives, both in person and inside our consciousness. In the Laya tradition we refer to this as the practice of GURU YOGA, while in the Sufi tradition it is called SILSILII. Cultivating Guru Yoga is like reinforcing the Abhyasa Vehicle, i. e. the element conveyed by the second basic thread of initiation practice, representing the transmission line. Teachers agree that practising Guru Yoga, developing the special relationship with our Master who is a symbolic reconciliation of all Teachers inside us, is a means of practising, which lets us establish the bond with the Enlightened Being, with the Essence of all Gurus. It means that we become closer to the Hierarchy. It may be understood as the Great Refuge in the Light of God.
The way in which we build profound foundations for realising God has been discussed here. We can conclude from the instructions on how to practise the relationship with Guru and the Teachings (S. DHARMA) that it is a mistake to choose a Teacher, Master, Saint for oneself and put Him in opposition to, or separate Him from all the others. Thanks to the efforts of previous Teachers we grew up to choose the One we have now. Therefore, our previous Teachers are part of the present Teacher. In this way we pursue the Path leading to a factual meeting with God, who is a source of each Guru.
Consequently, we unify all knowledge and transmission lines representing diverse traditions. The way to Initiation is the Way of Synthesis. When we practise we ought not to remain at a limited level, as many people do, I mean those who call someone "their" Teacher, who discuss "their" tradition, who claim that the other tradition is not true, etc. Attitudes that negate other Esoteric Schools are inappropriate. It always leads to promoting fanaticism, sectarianism, and finally, to proliferation of sufferings and misery of our fellowmen.
There is also another issue. Choosing that which is necessary and rejecting that which is false and distressing. Each spiritual tradition differentiates between Light and Darkness. Yet, it does not mean that all spiritual traditions other than ours, the one that we cling on to, are dark. Neither does it mean that religions other than ours arise from the powers of darkness. We should rather recognise the Forces of Darkness in our own ways of thinking, emotional reactions, actions, or general attitudes, which do not correspond with the teachings. The unification of all our Gurus and practising in the Initiation Energy with full trust let us solve these dilemmas with Darkness and Light in an unambiguous way. We develop an intuitive, spiritual ability to choose that that is right on our Path, without condemning or resenting that which is inappropriate.
Sectarianism and fanaticism generate pain and suffering on our beautiful planet. If we have the capacity to truly comprehend, then sectarian limitations cease to exist. Our Teachers are Enlightened Beings. For this reason, they are neither limited nor conditioned by any tradition. Divisions stem from the lack of inner light. The terms "my" Teacher and "my" tradition result from egoistic greed. Proving the alleged "superiority" or "primacy" of one's own tradition also originates from an inferiority complex of a potential practitioner. Therefore, we should get rid of egoism, cure ourselves of our inferiority complex and then the level of our enlightenment will rise. This process of eradicating egoism is called Purification and is an absolutely preliminary work that one has to do. Getting dirty and darkening the reality is absolutely inadvisable if w ever wish to see the Light of Enlightenment.
Any problems arising between denominations stem mainly from our own limitations and our lack of understanding. Enlightenment means not only a destruction of problems, concerns, worries or divisions, but it is also something that removes the causes of all problems. Guru Yoga is the practice for attaining unification with God through our spiritual Ideal (IDAM), i. e. through the Supreme Being - God, as ISHVARA is often called. The way to this unification is the unity of all our Teachers in One Ideal. God is truly magnificent, as such great Gurus as Shiva, Ihnaton, Krishna, Rama, Buddha Gautama, Parvati, Radha, Moses, Abraham, Sara, Noah, Jesus, Mohammad, Mary, Shankara... and many, many others, become united in him.
We must overcome conflicts that arise from the limitations of our reasoning. Otherwise, Teachings will not have the effect that they are potentially able to exert. In the Trinity of the Jewels the priority is Guru, and then Dharma (Teachings, Address). We should not generate conflicts between schools and traditions. The purpose of Teachings (Address) is ultimate elimination of such problems; therefore we practice Guru Yoga, in which we unite all our Gurus in one form.
The Principle of Not Mixing Practices
The principle of NOT MIXING PRACTICES is a completely different issue, which nevertheless is relevant to the topic discussed here. Each Teacher will tell us not to mix practices. This means that we should perform spiritual exercises according to the instruction of use. If you want to go fishing, it is impossible to fly a plane at the same time. So, you can apply only one set of spiritual exercises at a time. Then you take a break, and after the break you can practise other spiritual exercises. Instructions of use for the practice vehicle are very precise. Blessing is bestowed together with the set of spiritual exercises. We should not simplify the matter by choosing arbitrary exercises from different sets recommended by different Teachers. In this way we would create our own set of spiritual exercises. We allow ourselves to practise it, so we must also bless ourselves on our own. In such a situation the protective power of transmissions that we originally received loses its force. Not mixing paths is essentially not mixing the originally received sets of spiritual exercises. We may draw a totally correct conclusion that we can perform spiritual exercises given to us by various Teachers, but in an ordinary way - in the right sequence. In this way we may eat many dishes and retain the taste of a good cuisine!
We also ought to remember that more practising has the effect of driving a faster vehicle, which we can feel thanks to an increased speed of changes that take place in our life. Disciples who are beginners on the path are advised to begin spiritual practising with fifteen minutes or half an hour daily. Later we prolong the time, gradually reaching the period of one hour (Muhurta, 48 minutes). On receiving initiations and instructions in over ten schools or traditions, we need a minimum of a few hours daily for the preliminary practice. This is not always easy to achieve. Usually the first Teacher is the foundation, and the practice that we receive from Him is a reinforcement for the fundamentals of our path. The first Guru reflects our relationship with our Mother and He is like Mother on our spiritual Path! We purify our bond with our mother in order to be together with our Guru.
Generally, it would be good to understand that the Guru who transmits the practices and initiations to us is always more important and more significant than even the greatest spiritual beings, with whom we have never had direct contact. We attain basic comprehension through eye-to-eye contact, thanks to which we establish a connection with great beings that are spiritual ideals. If we were embodiments of such ideals, we would not have to realise them. Whether we aspire to Buddha, or to Christ, Krishna, or Lord Shiva, the contact and relationship with the physically existing Teacher is a foundation. And, as we all know, without foundations there can be no house. We can say, for example, that only Jesus is the most precious being for us, but those Teachers who introduced us into the Awareness of Jesus through Initiation, Teachings and Practice, are far more precious.
Guru Yoga is a union of all our Teachers, with whom we have established some contact by receiving a transmission of teachings and practices from them. The union of Teachers with whom we have had direct contact, is a foundation, which reflects the union of all Gurus, the entire Spiritual Hierarchy, and the latter is a foundation on which a true unification in God takes place. These are the development stages in Guru Yoga. However, the construction must rest on a solid basis.
An essential meaning of building up the relationship with God and reconciliation with God is a pure bond with Our Direct Gurus, a bond based on respect, gratitude, and, what is most important, on Holy Trust, which is also called FAITH. According to mystics, such Faith is a Cornerstone and Bedrock, on which the Temple of Living God is built. In other words, we begin to develop the trust in God by developing trust in our fellowmen, especially represented by the person of each of our Venerable Gurus. This is a traditional notion that introduces us into Guru Yoga. Let this practice prove very beneficial for you.
The Initiation as the Eucharist
The initiation is another aspect of these simple and short words, which also signify Alliance, Initiation, Blessing, and Transmission. Both the Persian BAYAT and the Sansk. DIKSHAN convey all these meanings, which seem to be a vast commentary on an ongoing process. There exist other meanings of these words, such as e.g. "introduction," or "joining in."
When we discover the profundity of the Initiation (Alliance), let us try to discover the quadruple blessing concealed within it. We generally feel it as a subtle Energy of Initiation. The transmission received from HIEROPHANT (Our Spiritual Guide, Guru) is also our joining in this quadruple blessing. It becomes our shelter and guide.
When we accept the Initiation from the hands of a representative of any spiritual tradition, we become submerged in a stream of blessings from four subsequent aspects of the transmission line:
- When we accept the Initiation from the hands of a representative of any spiritual tradition, we become submerged in a stream of blessings from four subsequent aspects of the transmission line;
- Master of the School, i.e. Mahaguru, who guards the transmission line and who is an embodiment of all the Teachers of the School, as well as an embodiment of the transmission line (Per. PIR means the Old One, Father, and Sansk. BABA means The Old One, Father);
- The Heart of Humanity, the entire Spiritual Hierarchy of all Enlightened Masters, Saints and Prophets (Shigatse);
- GOD, who is the very hub, the Essential Core, in which we all shall eventually unite.
Initiation is like planting a seed in the ground. The seed and the seedling that sprouts must be watered and looked after. Systematic spiritual effort put into practice makes the seedling grow until it finally bears fruit. Each development phase is like a further Initiation, which ensues from the first one.
Proper development takes place when the good seed encounters properly prepared soil and is suitably fostered and cultivated until the goal is achieved and the fruit is born. Teacher is the one who watches over the process of spiritual development. The time of flourishing is the time of enlightenment; the time of fruition is the time of manifesting the power (S. SIDDHI). The process of maturing and growth is the longest stage of the journey. Preparing the soil in order to make it most suitable is the most fundamental work. The whole life on our planet teaches us deep mystical knowledge concerning the Way to the Destination and its fulfilment.
In the Sufi tradition people perform work in a special Lodge called ZIRÂT (a Persian word meaning BRIDGE, Sans. Wirât), which attaches great importance to the recognition of Eternal Wisdom amongst the mysteries of Nature. Birth, maturity, advanced age and death: these are four grand phases in the life of each creature. They express the mystical meaning of the only way of evolution of life on our planet, which is the Initiation Path.
Let us try to participate for a while in the Mystery of the Christian Eucharist. We participate in the Christ's, Messiah's, God's Body, and Blood. The body is both form and shape. Blood is a symbol of life and soul. When we take part in this Mystery we establish bond with both Body (form, shape) and Essence (life, soul). A Partial Eucharist is not possible. First, there is the Bread Communion (that of body and form), and then there is the Wine Communion, (i.e. that of life and soul). The Communion is a unification, reconciliation, joining in). The body of Christ is an external form of the Ideal of God. Blood is the inner essence of the Divine Being.
In the Bread (body) Communion we unify with the form, i.e. with the transmission line, with Spiritual Teachers, with the teachings and practice offered. Initiations of the Bread Communion signify external initiations - something that is called the Path of the Hierarchy Initiations. Usually, twelve such initiations are necessary in order to fully revitalize the Heart (the Twelve-petal Lotus) and to manifest one's True Self, Soul, Primordial Nature (S. PURUSHA). Gurus who exist in their physical bodies grant these Initiations to the disciples who seek their guidance.
Inner Initiations, which are sometimes called Planetary Ones, are associated with the Symbol of Wine (Blood). This is a Path of Grace and Charisma (Arab. KARAMAT), unlike the previous Path, which is called the Path of Self-realisation. The process of receiving the First Four Blood (Planetary) Initiations overlaps with the process of revitalising the Heart and the Initiation of the Bread Communion. Four Classes of Yoga discussed in detail in Yogasutras contain teachings and practices that constitute a necessary preparation for the subsequent First Four Inner Initiations.
The Bread Communion is realised through Initiations received from the Hierophant and the Master - the heads of the School. The Four Great Initiations - the Wine Communion, are realised by the Spiritual Hierarchy and God Himself through Guru yoga. As a rule, External Initiations are the Path that prepares the candidate for Inner Initiations.
Both Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Shiva transmitted the Initiation Path and they emphasised the significance of the Stamp of Initiation. Both in the Bread and Wine Communion we prepare ourselves through all CONSECRATIONS for joining in the Great White Confraternity. This Initiation of Affiliation is the Fifth Great Initiation - the Supreme Goal of Spiritual Achievement on Planet Earth. At this point we attain ultimate and everlasting union with God. At this point we can say: I and the Father Are One, and then dissolve in the Rainbow Body and Ascend Heaven.
Om Yah Hum!
Acharya Lalit' Mohan G.K.
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