Is it true that to be in communion with the master is the initiation?
The word initiation is very significant and profound. There are three initiations: first, when a student becomes a disciple; second, when a disciple becomes a devotee; and third, when the devotee disappears in the master. To understand the whole process, all three steps have to be understood.
Everyone begins as a student, as an inquirer into what this life is all about, with a curiosity to know the mysteries that surround us. But the desire is for knowledge, and hence is superficial. Because the desire is for knowledge, it is of the mind. And mind is the periphery of our being, the most superficial part of our individuality.
The student has questions, but he has no quest. His questions are easily answerable, he is easily satisfied – just borrowed knowledge is enough for him. He does not yet need a master; he only needs a teacher. He accumulates answers, becomes an intellectual, but does not become intelligent. The accumulation of answers happens in the memory part of the mind, and the part that functions in accumulation is mechanical, it has nothing to do with intelligence. It is possible to find very educated, cultured, sophisticated intellectuals behaving in life in a very unintelligent way. They are very efficient whenever some question is asked for which they are already prepared. But if life raises a new question for which they are not prepared, they are completely at a loss, they are as ignorant as one can be. And the problem is, life goes on posing new questions, new challenges.
Memory is good in the marketplace; memory is not good as a lifestyle. And all your universities only teach you how to memorize. It has been found that the people of very great memory are generally unintelligent people. In the life of one of the British viceroys, Curzon, there is mention of a very significant incident – and it is a historical fact. Curzon had heard that there was a man in Rajputana whose memory was just unbelievable. The man knew only his local dialect, Rajasthani, a dialect of Hindi; he did not know any other language. But that did not prevent him from memorizing any statement in any language, and in such a way that it seemed almost superhuman. He was called to the court of the Viceroy Curzon; a special meeting was arranged. Thirty scholars, knowing thirty languages, were to examine the man and his memory. Among those thirty scholars, there was not a single one who understood the man’s mother tongue, and all those thirty languages were foreign languages for the man.