How Do Initiations Affect Sadhguru?
Shambhavi Mahamudra – A ConsecrationSadhguru: There are various types of initiations. And though we call some of them initiations, not all of them are really initiations. The first process like that that we offer, Shambhavi Mahamudra, is not really an initiation – it is more like a consecration. We are consecrating people. By any standards, consecrating a living human being is the easiest thing to do compared to consecrating a form like the Adiyogi linga [in the Adiyogi Alayam, Isha Yoga Center]. This needs enormous work, because you are transforming an inanimate object into almost like an animate life, a living discerning form. He knows everything about you [Referring to the Adiyogi linga].
This takes lots of work. But consecrating a living human being is easy. The only problem with living human beings is they are experts in taking U-turns. The very first day we initiated you into Shambhavi, you seemed to be somewhere; it is very experiential. Some kept it like that for a few days, weeks, months, years, or for some the moment they got out of the hall they left it. Shambhavi Mahamudra is a powerful consecration process. All you have to do is make yourself available. This is a consecration – the job has already been done. It is like the temple has been built, it is just that you have to go and sit there. You just have to benefit on a daily basis, that's all.
Initiation – A Seed to Be Nurtured
But Shoonya Meditation, Shakti Chalana Kriya, Samyama – these are actual initiations. They are of a certain kind. Earlier, the introductory program used to be Shoonya Meditation. Shoonya is a proper initiation. An initiation is like a seed. You have to nurture it – only then will it grow. Many people have realized this. When they were initiated into Shoonya Meditation, they were so fantastic. They went home, they did it for two months and their life changed. Their metabolism changed, they slept less, ate less and everything was fantastic. But then they got caught up with something. They gave it up after a couple of weeks. And again they remembered Shoonya. Then, nothing. It’s gone. Because it is a seed. It has to be nurtured. If you do not water it, it will die. If you do not take care of it, it is gone.
So we shifted to Shambhavi as the introductory program which is a consecration. It will not go – it will stay. Your business is only to clean the space and keep it. It creates a certain space and instant experience. And if you keep it really nice, it enhances itself. But it does not grow like Shoonya. Shoonya can grow. How can emptiness grow? Only because emptiness has grown, the cosmos is so spread out. A hundred billion stars or galaxies would not have made it so big. It is the growth of emptiness which has made it so big. So it grows. And it can grow limitlessly.
Disturbances during Programs
Because Shambhavi is a consecration, if at the time of initiation, there are disturbances, yes, it affects me. I initiate ten thousand people at a time these days. If they are all like one person, it is no problem. But if there are fifteen or twenty people who are doing some nonsense, it hits me so badly. People around me see this. One initiation I go and boom, I come back. Another one I go, and it just knocks me down. Later on, how you take care of your Shambhavi practice does not affect me so much because we have just invested. We may lose the investment, but the basic structure of my energy will not be damaged that way.
We are now doing Bhava Spandanas only in consecrated spaces that are built for this purpose. There was a time when we were doing Bhava Spandanas in all kinds of choultries, marriage and function places around Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. The day before, they were having a wedding or some other party. In the morning, our volunteers cleaned and set up everything. In the evening, we started a Bhava Spandana. In these places, we used to suffer a lot. Conducting Bhava Spandana, sometimes lemon-sized lumps would come up on my spine. It would take days sometimes to get rid of it. But now since we are doing Bhava Spandana in the safety of consecrated spaces; it is all going like a play. But if it is done in spaces which are not prepared for the purpose, it’s a different game.
Damage That Can Happen during Consecrations
Where damage can happen is when consecrations are being done like how we did the Adiyogi consecration [referring to Adiyogi linga]. All the fourteen thousand participants sat like one person. Even today, I bow to those people, the most amazing and fantastic crowd we have seen so far – particularly because I had planned to do a large part of the consecration in private with a few people, but I could not do that because of my schedule. I landed up here just a few days before the consecration, and it was a real concern how to do the consecration in front of this huge gathering. But it was not like a public space. It was almost like I was being with one person – fourteen thousand people. If people are like that, we can do tremendous things.
We did the Linga Bhairavi Devi consecration largely with a handful of people, but somehow we could not get the necessary discipline that we wanted. I am all out, and people around me are playing little tricks here and there. I lost my sense of taste and smell for a year and a half. I am extremely sensitive to every kind of smell, and my sense of taste is very keen. But for over eighteen months, it was like I just ate tasteless plastic kind of food. I did not even know what I was eating. Simply, just for nourishment, I ate something. And many other things happened. Almost three times, I fell on my left side – one time with a reasonable injury, rest of them I escaped. Now, that damage is kind of reasonably fixed.
So it depends on what we are doing. Like someone asked me recently, “Why these yoga packages?” [referring to the Isha Yoga / Inner Engineering Programs offered in various formats or packages.] Packages are for safety, both for those who receive and those who give. If you give out a package, they can use it in a wonderful way, or they can destroy it – it is up to the participants. But instead of a package format, if you are doing a free-flowing process, then you need absolute trust. Otherwise, their stupidity can destroy you also – very much possible. Well, here and there, we have paid that kind of price. But generally, for the kind of results we have produced, it has been an okay kind of a price to pay.
Editor’s Note: Get initiated into the Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya which is part of the Inner Engineering program, at a location near you. Find more details here.
A version of this article was originally published in Forest Flower, April 2019.