First-time initiates met their revered Guru Om Swami at the Sri Badrika Ashram from Feb 24-26, 2024. It was an event like never before, in which Swamiji explicitly laid out his expectations and the tenets of initiation. His discourse was divided into four segments: Universal Love, Good Conduct, Sadhana, and Charity.

Universal Love

“The river of forgiveness never dries up.
I will never let go of you and have never let go of anyone till date.
So, if you ask for something, then know that
there’s only one chance to get it right.’’ Om Swami

This eternal promise left the devotees with a melted heart surging with inexplicable joy amid a pressing sense of responsibility. While the initiates beamed at being part of the lineage and proudly bearing the name ‘Om’ alongside their baptismal names, their thoughts also hovered about the profoundness of initiation. It is a given that the Guru Disciple bond and the sacred lineage must always be honoured. One must now conduct oneself with significant awareness and responsibility as mandated by the discipleship teachings and traditions. Initiates – The new and the old alike were encouraged to consistently reflect upon this paradisiacal, idyllic relationship and not take it for granted. In true surrender, letting Swamiji take the lead lest we distract ourselves and holding on to His precious name faithfully came across as ‘the key’ to sustaining this relationship.

Good Conduct

“If you are my disciple, it’s important to me
that you lead a life of empathy and compassion.
Empathy towards self and others is crucial to one’s spiritual growth.
Whenever you have an opportunity to respond to – there’s a range of options
available from being angry, to being hateful, jealous, revengeful, etc.
Choose to be empathetic.
In any meaningful pursuit or quest in life, there’s bound to be a challenge.
We can choose to reduce complaining.” Om Swami

Swamiji equated being spiritual to gentle speech. “Words penetrate the hearts and minds of listeners just as fast as water or air seeps through cracks in a wall or even sound for that matter,” he explained. He propagated the positives of gentle speech, one in which the listeners don’t face agitation, one in which perspectives are seen and respected, and one in which speaking or negotiating is not met with resistance. Swamiji requested everyone to, “Trust the process. For Inner transformation takes place only when we speak gently and truthfully.” And above all, “Honour the bond by answering to the Guru, only when asked.”

Sadhana

“Pray at least twice a day and
meditate on silence for at least 5 mins daily.”
Om Swami

Expounding on the nature of the human mind, Swamiji explained,” A constant flow of thoughts springs forth like a gushing river from our consciousness. These thoughts are amazingly powerful and capable of completely annihilating our sense of calm and serenity. For once a thought has arisen, it is already too late.” So the key is to retreat into silence and access the source at the level of consciousness and tap on it. “Meditation is the only way to tackle it. Nothing will change if you don’t work towards it,” he advised.“ There is nothing more disappointing than observing no change in life, despite discipleship”, warned Swamiji.

Shedding further light on the nature of the speculative mind, he categorically stated that searching for ‘black and white’ in everything was setting oneself up for misery and suffering. For, nothing is absolute. Everything is relative.“The search for Absolute Truth is accompanied by guidelines that help evolve our consciousness to a level where discerning wisdom is developed and we stop seeing things in absolute terms.” He therefore urged all initiates to cultivate the practice of Sadhana for spiritual growth by taking up any mantra from the Sadhana App for a minimum of 40 days.

Charity

“Help others, whenever you can and in whatever way you can .” Om Swami

Physical Fitness

“Everything – Sadhana, Meditation, Prayers,
is joyful when you are physically fit.”
Om Swami

Voices of the Newly Initiated

Post-event, the initiates mingled freely with their newfound brothers and sisters. Many voices were raised in gratitude for how Swamiji worked miracles in their lives, saving them from grave illnesses, solving bitterness, and infusing their monotonous lives with renewed hope. A teary-eyed male devotee accounted for how receiving an acceptance email was nothing short of a miracle for him.

A lady devotee professed to the inexplicable changes she was witnessing in her life, and out of the blue, she enrolled in Ramacharit Manas lessons.

A very young male initiate who is all of 10 years old left everyone in awe as he disclosed requesting initiation on his own, after which he felt a tremendous surge in devotion.

Another young male devotee spoke with immense clarity about how he had not expected to be initiated. However, he went on to explain what initiation meant. He said it was akin to giving two drops of water – surrender, and trust – and receiving an ocean in return.

Quite eager to share, a devotee shared how he was challenged and discouraged on the worth and efficacy of an ‘online’ initiation by his parents, with whom he hadn’t argued and instead gently put forth his understanding. Initiation is not on the body; it’s at the soul level. It’s ‘Aatmik not Sharirik.’

Talking about transformation, a very quiet initiate perceived himself as becoming more open to opportunities and more accepting of people and events.

The much-awaited event was overwhelming, but it ended gracefully with the freshly minted initiates feeling empowered to live as Swamiji’s close disciples.


A Quick Glance at the Handbook for Initiates:

  • Revere your Guru. Let Him hold you always for He will never let go of you.
  • Make no intentional commissions of error of any kind – there will be no second chance. Be diligent.
  • Practice Empathy and Compassion – the basic tenets of a good disciple.
  • Reduce complaining –in the myriad of options choose gentle, truthful speech. Do not agitate your listener.
  • Pray fervently at least twice daily if not thrice– chant or speak to the Lord.
  • Meditate in Silence for at least 5 minutes daily. Go to the source – to your consciousness and silence the deafening destructive thoughts. Silence induces calmness.
  • Retreat and purify yourself once a year by doing a 40-day Sadhna. Sadhna se Sambhav Hai
  • Develop discernment and know that everything is relative. Stop seeing things in absolute terms.
  • Be charitable and help those in need.
  • Exercise so you are fit to enjoy it all.