Commitment – The Importance of “Discipleship”
While a widespread search might be necessary for some seekers in the beginning, a single-pointed determination is needed if the seeker is to reach the goal of Self-realization. Some spiritual seekers are soon led to their masters and path, while others require a much longer time to sort things out. Each seeker has his own past, his own karma, and the seeds of spiritual yearning sprout in their own time.
In India they say, “When the disciple is ready, the master appears.” The Christian Bible says, “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” (John 1:12)
Great masters have a magnetism which attracts many people, only some of whom are able to receive the fullness of the master’s teachings and grace. The “followers” of a master are pleased to be with him and feel uplifted by his presence and words. To them the master gives a message of encouragement and inspiration. The “disciples” of a master are those who are willing to follow not only the master’s physical presence, but, more importantly, his metaphysical advice. They accept his “discipline” and undertake the rigorous work required to reach perfection. As Jesus said:
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6: 46-48)
There is a story told about an emperor of China whose minister brought back reports about an enormous monastery in the northlands where thousands of monks were living. They had created a place of peace and incomparable beauty. The emperor decided to visit, and when he met the abbot he commented, “What a beautiful place you have created here. How many disciples are there?” The abbot responded, “Residents there are in the thousands. Disciples, perhaps one or two.”
It is the commitment and receptivity of a disciple which attract the Guru’s grace, and which are necessary in order to receive initiation into the higher practices on the path of Kriya Yoga.
To help you deepen your understanding of this concept, there are courses, writings and talks on the subject of discipleship. A weekend program is offered at Ananda Assisi, and you are also welcome to come at any time to talk with one of the teachers. Or you may call and request to speak with one of the teachers. Teachers are also available at some of the Ananda Meditation Groups who can help you in this way. Write us if you wish to find one near you.
For home study we recommend the following writings and talks:
- Autobiography of a Yogi (original edition), by Paramhansa Yogananda
- Discipleship: The Divine Love Story
- The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi, by Swami Kriyananda
- The Essence of Self-Realization (especially chapters 14 and 15), by Paramhansa Yogananda, compiled by Swami Kriyananda
- God Alone, by and about Sister Gyanamata
- Man’s Eternal Quest; The Divine Romance; Journey to Self-realization, by Paramhansa Yogananda
- Talks on Discipleship, CD/DVD by Swami Kriyananda
A catalog of books and talks is available at Ananda Sangha’s Catalog.
The Discipleship Ceremony
If you wish to be accepted as a disciple of the line of Kriya Masters, an initiation ceremony can be arranged at Ananda Assisi or at some of the Ananda Meditation Groups. The vows which the disciple takes during this ceremony are to be found in the booklet on Discipleship. If you are absolutely unable to come to one of Ananda’s centers for this initiation, an “initiation at a distance” can be arranged for you in your home.