This is an offering on the day of "gurupurNima". It is a misfortune that the Indians are letting go of this system but those who are interested are probably more serious than ever before.
People seek a "coach" for swimming or running or cricket but they forget to seek coach for the most important aspect of life - life or the soul. It is in this regard that I am putting together this document about what deeksha means.
What is deeksha?
The word 'deeksha' or "diksha' has two parts, 'di' and 'ksha'. The letter 'di' indicates the 'dik' or the direction or the process of attaining the divine knowledge. The letter 'kSha' implies "cutting off" or "destroying" or the destruction of the accrued sins. Thus 'deekShA' implies two simultaneous processes - one that creates a new path of auspiciousness and knowledge, and the other destroys anything that which presents hurdles of any sort in the process. Alternatively, there is an "eeksha" in the deeksha, that which enables one to see or perceive that which is beyond one's ability otherwise.
divyajnAnaM yato dadyAt kuryAt pApasya saMkShayam |
tasmADDIkSheti sA proktA munibhistantravedibhiH ||
- rudra yamala
Because it awards (imparts, offers) divine knowledge and it completely destroys [the effects of] all the accrued sins, hence it is referred to as "deeksha" by the sages and the scholars of 'tantra' [authorities].
dadAti yasmAdiha divyabhavaM mAyAmala karma cha saMkshiNoti |
sarvaM chaturvargaphalaM cha yasmAt tasmAttu dIkShetyabhidhAnamasyAH ||
Because that offers divine (spiritual, heavenly, celestial, splendorous) experience in this very life (world), and completely destroys the impurities due to mAya, and because it grants the four factors of life (dharma, artha, kAma and mokSha), therefore it is said to be dheeksha.
Life is an iceberg, what we see is less than 1/3 of what exist. This applies to our everything in our lives. The world that we see around is nothing but a spec of what is there beyond our senses. This applies to the relationship between our body and soul. The body that we are so familiar with is only the tip of an iceberg, the real stuff is deep within. Unlike the lower portions of the iceberg this inner stuff is invisible to the ordinary senses. It needs a "divya chakshu", a microscopic (or uber-ultra-nanoscopic) vision and deeksha provides that ability. "divya" is that which is beyond the sensory perceptions, and it is "guhyam".
'divya chakshu' for aatma-jnAna
The greatest secret of life is the most fundamental of all - the "aatma", the basic element of existence. The 'aatma' since it is at the center is also called 'antaraatma', is invisible due to the darkness within. This 'darkness' is created by the layers of maaya that cover the intellect. deeksha then is the process the lights the lamp within and makes the "aatman" within visible, and the relationship between aatma and paramaatma possible. This relationship is beautifully explained in the below verses.
The illusion or ignorance created by maya is likened to the darkness within a pot, the knowledge to the lamp and the process to deeksha. So, in essence, self-realization or mOksha is not possible without deeksha, the process where the guru helps light the lamp within.
tamaH parivRite gehe ghaTo dIpena dR^ishyate |
evaM mAyAvR^ito hyAtmA manunA gocharIkR^itaH |
dIkShAviddhastathA hyAtmA shivatvaM labhate dhruvam || [Siddhanta Sangraha]
dIyate jnanavijnAnaM kShIyante pAparAshayaH |
tena dIkSheti hi proktA prAptA chet sadgurormukhAt || [Meru Tantra]
Importance of Diksha
When Arjuna requests Sri Krishna to show him the Lord's true form, Sri Krishna says (Bhagawad Gita 11.8):
na tu mam sakyase drastum anenaiva sva-caksusa |
divyam dadami te caksuh pasya me yogam aisvaram ||
You cannot see Me with your present eyes. I therefor give to you the divine eyes by which you can behold My mystic opulence.
In essence, Sri Krishna is giving the deeksha to Arjuna.
dikShAmUlaM japaM sarvaM dIkShAmUlam paraM tapaH |
dIkShAmAshritya nivasedyatrakutrAshrame vasan || [Suta Samhita]
All the japAs are rooted in the deeksha [deeksha is the source or origin or the base of all japas], all the austerities are rooted in deeksha. One should take the shelter of deeksha in whichever ashram one lives in.
The japa or tapas become meaningful only when they are routed in the right direction and a 'coach' provides that direction. This is particularly true of spiritual path. Here, it is clear that irrespective of one's varNa or aashrama, one needs to take deeksha at the right time. It is also said that without deeksha from a sadguru, one does not get mantra siddhi or attain realization, and one who dies without obtaining Diksha from a qualfiied Guru attains a hell called raurava:
devi deekShAviheenasya na siddhirna sadgatiH |
tasmAtsarvaprayatnena guruNA deekShito bhavet |
adeekShitoSapi maraNe rauravaM narakaM vrajet || [Shakti Yamala]
There are particular warnings about learning by self via cassettes or CDs or books or internet. One is warned against learning a sport or music via books on his/her own because they may pickup wrong skills which may be difficult to correct later on. This is even more critical when it comes to adhyamta vidya. Unlike the material vidyAs (avidyAs) the spiritual vidya has subtler impacts because they operate at a much subtler level.
pustake likhitAnmantrAnAlokya prajapanti ye |
brahmahatyAsamaM teShAM pAtakaM parikIrtitam || [Badabanala Tantra]
pustake likhito mantro yena sundari japyate |
na tasya jAyate siddhiH hanireva pade pade || [Brhad Badabanala Tantra]
It is also said that the deities to who the mantras or the tapas or the japas are directed to, are easier to obtain via the process of initiation. The logic is, the guru already has access to the higher platforms. He already has the bridge. It is said that the deities reject offerings from those who are not initiated. This is more to warn the experimenters that to discourage practice. Just like the hardwork which is not well directed is wasted, the efforts of an uninitiated is said to become fruitless. Not only do the deities accept the archanams of an adeekshita, but an adeekshita is compared to an animal.
adeekShitArchanaM devA na gRihNanti kadAchana |
karmAkhilaM vRithA yasmAt tasmAdadeekShitaH pashuH || [Rudra Yamala]
The efforts of an adeekshita is compared to the process of sowing a seed in stone, which required enormous efforts but the fruits are minimal or none. Whatever the adhiksitas perform - whether pooja or japa or other kriyAs, they will not yield results (fruits), such efforts are like sowing a seed in a stone.
adeekShitA ye kurvanti japapUjAdikAH kriyAH |
na bhavettu phalaM teShAM shilAyAmuptabeejavat || [Yogini Tantra]
A sinner who exists on earth without dIkShA from Sadguru remains delusional and suffers in hell after death. As dIkShA is the gateway to Atma jnana, without it, there is no means for liberation for a jIva.
atha deekShAviheeno yo vartate bhuvi pApabhuk |
mohAndhakAre narake garte patati duHkhitaH || [Dattatreya Yamala]
Therefore, the one who exists without the deeksha remains sinful, engaged in wrong doings, stuck in the deep darkness of existence, and falls down to the hellish lives.
Types of deeksha
The shAstrAs supposedly classify deeksha into four main types (I have not found much scriptural evidence and thus providing my own interpretations of these):
- laukika deeksha is the mundane material deeksha. This may involve deeksha into education or music or sports or finance or political or other aspects of managing and excelling one's material pursuits.
- vaidika deeksha is the initiation into the chanting and the practice of the vaidika mantras for the performance of vaidika ceremonies or the samskaara ceremonies
- tAntrika deeksha is the initiation into the tantra vidyA and is classified into seven main categories:
- kriyAvatI: involving tattvAdhwa shodhana
- varNamayI: involving mAtR^ikA nyAsa
- kalAmayI: involving shiShya samskAra through 38 or 51 Kalas placed in Srshti, Sthiti and Samhara kramas
- sparshamayI: through touch
- dR^ig: through sight
- vAk: through mantropadesha
- vedha: involving kuNDalini utthApana and ShaTchakra – Shadgranthi bhedana through shaktipAta
- siddhAnta deeksha is a specific deeksha that initiates a discipline into the ultimate pursuit of a specific doctrine or theory
One should not obtain deeksha from one's father, maternal grandfather, younger brother, or one who has sought refugee under the enemy.
piturmantraM na gRihNeeyAt tathA mAtAmahasya cha |
sodarasya kaniShThasya vairipakShAshritasya cha || [Yogini Tantra]
One should not initiate his own wife, son, daughter or brother:
na patneeM dIkShayedbhartA na pitA dIkShayetsutAm |
na putraM cha tathA bhrAtA bhrAtAram na cha dIkShayet || [Rudra Yamala]
It is said that it deekShA from a brahmachAri is good, from a grahasta or a vAnaprastha is better, and from a sanyAsi is even better. However, it is best to take deeksha from a ativarNashrami or an avadhoota.
uttamaH panchadhA prokto gururbrahmasuvedibhiH |
brahmachArI gRihasthashcha vAnaprasthashcha bhikShukaH |
ativarNAshramI cheti kramashreShThA vichakShaNAH || [Suta Samhita]
Having chosen one's Guru after careful examination, if one gives up Swaguru or the iShTa mantra, such an aspirant welcomes poverty and untimely death. After death, he attains the hell called raurava.
gurutyAgAdbhavenmRityuH mantratyAgAddaridratA |
gurumantraparityAgAdrauravaM narakaM vrajet || [Bhairavi Tantra]
However, if one realizes that his Guru is unqualified, sinner or incapable of imparting the desired knowledge, such a Guru can be discarded. However. Very careful consideration is necessary here as the disciple would need to have the required maturity to judge the Guru.
gRihItamantrastyaktavyo gurushcheddoShasaMyutaH |
mahApAtakayukto vA punashcheddevanindakaH || [Varahi Tantra]
Key Reference: http://www.kamakotimandali.com/srividya/diksha.html