Two Kinds of Initiation

July 12, 2018
Shambhavi riffs on a teaching by Swami Lakshmanjoo about formal initiation vs. initiation via direct insight. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

First Words from Podcast

Tonight I want to riff a little bit about something that came across my email yesterday from Swami Lakshmanjoo’s people. Swami Lakshmanjoo was a 20th century teacher of Kashmir Shaivism or Trika Shaivism. This little translation is from a teaching on the Tantraloka, which is Abhinavagupta’s opus where he laid out the heart of the tradition.

What Swami Lakshmanjoo is talking about here is two kinds of initiation or diksha. One is the initiation you get from a teacher, and the other kind of initiation is the initiation of spontaneous knowledge or spontaneous wisdom.

So what he says basically is that it’s good to get initiation from a teacher. And for some people that’s the only kind of initiation that’s available to you for some period of time. The kind of initiation that you get from a teacher, whether it’s a formal initiation, or some formal ritual happens, or whether it’s simply the getting of spontaneous knowledge through your association with the teacher through other forms of transmission, whatever—he says that’s a very good kind of initiation.

But it’s inferior to the initiation of spontaneous knowledge that you get on your own. This is a way of looking at maturing in your practice that’s not just putting in time—because we all come in in extremely unique conditions, and some people are going to spend many, many lifetimes practicing before they reach the same point that someone else will reach after seven months. So there’s no measure of how long it should take. Counting up how long you’ve been practicing and how much of this and that you’ve done, really is beside the point. Because whatever happens happens, and how long you’ve put in is just how long you’ve put in. You have a measure, thinking I should have gotten to this point or the other point, but maybe you’ve only gone a short distance. Nothing to brag about. Anyway, he says that eventually you’re able to receive wisdom spontaneously. Into what? Reality!


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.