THE GURU AND SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE – The power of spiritual initiation

In India we have the ideal of dvija, the twice-born. The word dvija also means a bird. First comes the egg, then out of the egg comes the fledgeling which will some day develop into a mature bird. All eggs do not get hatched; all fledgelings do not grow fully. Similarly, all people do not attain spiritual realization. People are in different stages of spiritual growth. A well-known Sanskrit verse says: ‘By natural birth a man is born a Shudra, an ignorant person; through purificatory rites he becomes a dvija, the twice-born; through study and knowledge of the scriptures he becomes a vipra, a scholar or a poet; through the realization of the supreme Spirit he becomes a Brahmana, a knower of Brahman. [Atri Smriti 141-42] The purpose of spiritual initiation is to enable a person to become a true Brahmana, a knower of Brahman. The Upanishad says, ‘He who departs from this world knowing the Imperishable, is a Brahmana,’ [Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8.10]

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