Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Bonding Of Guru And Shishya- Dheeksha

DEEKSHA [Initiation]

The term ‘Deeksha’, which is referred to by the term ‘Initiation’ in English, can be defined as a link that gets established between a Guru and a Shishya in the form of an Upadesham. Because it is the initial force for making the Shishya enter the defined spiritual path, it is said to be initiation. That Shakti or energy with which the Guru initiates his disciple does not get exhausted with the passage of time but remains with the disciple throughout his spiritual journey and helps him to reach higher and higher planes of spiritual achievement. It is something like a bulb which continues to glow once when the switch is put on.

Guru’s grace on the disciple and his initiation into the portals of sublime realms can take several forms depending on the circumstances, eligibility of the disciple to receive Deeksha, Guru’s assessment of the disciple etc. However, the following are some of the more common forms of Deeksha:

Mantra Deeksha: In this case the Guru utters the specific Mantra into the right ear of the disciple. This is a common form of Deeksha and the Samskara of Upanayanam is an example of this type of initiation. Our scriptures give details of the process of initiation. The Mantra could be Gayatri as in the case of Upanayanam or the Moola-Mantra of the Ishtadevatha. By repeated chanting of the Mantra as per prescribed rules, the disciple would attain spiritual progress.

Smarana Deeksha: In the highly evolved state, the Guru need not give direct Upadesham by word of mouth. He could be away from the disciple, but by merely thinking about his disciple in his mind he can transmit the spiritual energy. Acharya Shankara’s blessing his disciple Totaka is a telling example of this type of Deeksha.

Among the several disciples of Acharya Shankara, Totaka was considered a dullard by his friends. Shankara was aware of this and wanted to teach them a lesson and unfold the inherent greatness of Totaka. One day while Shankara was waiting for Totaka to join the Vedanta class, the other students became restless and wanted the teacher to start the classes, without waiting for Totaka, as he would not understand the lesson anyway. At this juncture, Shankara called out to Totaka. At once Totaka ran towards the class and entered the class reciting a beautiful Stotra in Sanskrit –the famous ‘Totakashtakam’--composed extempore. The other students were dumbfounded at his intense Gurubhakti, mastery of the Vedanta and the rare skill to compose Sanskrit poetry extempore. This was a result of the ‘Smarana Deeksha’ granted to him by his Guru.

Sparsha Deeksha: This is accomplished by the physical touch of the body of the disciple by the Guru, either with his hand or with his foot. Here the Guru places his right hand on the head of the disciple and transmits his spiritual energy. This form of Deeksha is called ‘Hasta Mastaka Deeksha’. In case the Guru touches the disciple with his right foot, it is known as ‘Pada Deeksha’ and this is how Kabir got his initiation from his Guru Ramadas. The Guru placing his right foot on the head of the disciple and granting Deeksha is considered a great blessing. In fact, the term Bhagavatpada means who holds the feet of Bhagavan [Guru] on his head.
Swami Vivekananda received his initiation from his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa through Pada Deeksha. During his second meeting of the Master at Dakshineshwar he saw the Master sitting on a couch alone. The moment the Master saw him, he greeted him with the words “I am so glad you have come; I have waited for this for many years”. For a while neither of them spoke a simple word and there was absolute silence all around. Suddenly Ramakrishna lifted his right foot, slowly moved it forward and touched Vivekanand’a body. Mild tremors went through Vivekananda’s body. Recalling this incident, Vivekananda writes “At that instant and before my eyes wide open the walls of the room reeled and fell; then the furniture dashed itself and fell on the floor and then sank into a void. All round me was Nothing! Nothing! [Shoonya]. And suddenly the Universe set to devour my ME-ness. Then I thought to myself “To lose one’s Ego is to die. Death was so near that I could touch it. Frightened by that sinister realization, I shrieked for help. At those words seeking help, that Madman [Sri Ramakrishna] laughed aloud. He gently rubbed my chest with his hand and added
“Let us stop now. It is not necessary to see everything in one flash. Later you shall know the rest”. After these words were uttered, as if by wizardry, the furniture, the walls and ceiling in the room and me—all arranged themselves as before. I came to the conclusion that there are hidden mysteries about and beyond us that our intellectual insolence can never uncover”

Drishti Deeksha: In this form of Deeksha given to the disciple through a glance of the Guru, the disciple gets elevated to rich experience by the mere vision of the Guru. Lord Dakshinamurthy, the very first Guru of mankind, granted Supreme Knowledge to the four sages Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanatana and Sanandana by mere look without uttering a single word [by observing Mouna]. In recent years, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi blessed many of his disciples with Drishti Deeksha, quite a few of whom came from the Western countries.
Swami Chinmayananda of the Chinmaya Mission received his Drishti Deeksha from Bhagavan Ramana. Sometime in 1936, Balakrishna Menon, a college student and a confirmed atheist, who later became famous as Swami Chinmayananda, had the first Darshan of the Maharshi. Recalling his meeting with Bhagavan, Swami Chinmayananda recalls “It so happened that I had sat down at the very foot of the wooden couch on which the sage was reclining. The Maharshi suddenly opened his eyes and looked straight into my eyes. A mere look; that was all. I felt that the Maharshi, at that split moment, was looking deep into me and I was sure that he saw all my shallowness, confusion, faithlessness, imperfections and fear. I was ashamed but I did not want to take my eyes away. I cannot explain what happened in that split moment. I felt opened, cleansed, healed and emptied! My atheism dropped away”

The first European devotee to meet the Maharshi way back in 1921 was F.H.Humphreys. He came to India at the age of 21 years from London to join the Police Department at Vellore, near Tiruvannamalai as Assistant Superintendent of Police. Recalling his first meeting of the Maharshi, Humphreys writes “For half an hour I looked at him in the eyes which never changed their expression of deep contemplation. I began to realize somewhat that the body is the temple of the High Ghost. I could only feel that His body was not the man. It was the Instrument of God, merely a sitting motionless corpse from which God was radiating terrifically. My own sensation was indescribable”.

Mrs. M.A.Piggot from London was the first European lady to meet Maharshi Ramana sometime between 1932 and 1933. Describing her first meeting with the Maharshi, Mrs.Piggot says “For a while nothing happened. I tried to concentrate my mind. Suddenly I became conscious that the Maharshi’s eyes were fixed on me. They seemed literally like burning coals of fire piercing through me. They glittered in the dim light. Never before did I experience anything so devastating. It was almost frightening. What I went through that terrible half an hour, by way of self-condemnation and scorn for the pettiness of my own life, would be difficult to describe.

Sometime in 1945 Arthur Osborne from England visited the Maharshi for the first time. He prostrated before the Maharshi, sat in front and closed his eyes. Suddenly he felt a pull and opened his eyes. He says that he saw two powerful searchlights directed against him. He could neither close his eyes nor keep them open. The glorious eyes of Bhagavan pierced through his entire being. Describing this experience, Osborne says
“Every atom in my body was touched by his magnetic look”

In course of time, Osborne became a close disciple of Bhagavan and wrote the well-known book “Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge”. In fact, he became the founder and the first Editor of ‘The Mountain Path’ in 1964, Sri Ramanashram’s Quarterly Journal.


ARTICLE NO. 454---DEEKHSA [ Initiation]
Created: Friday, July 25, 2008 11:26 AM


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