Informal and Formal Initiation by Swami Vivekananda

To how many thousands of people Swami Vivekanand ji (referred as Swamiji in rest of article) gave apparently casual initiation, we have no way of knowing. His “maybe more than [three thousand]” puts no ceiling on the number. 

And then, this kind of initiation was, one thinks, generally so lacking in any kind of ceremony or deliberation that often the recipient had not the faintest idea that he had received from Swamiji a blessing that was sufficient forever and that would eventually bear fruit as tangible as the amalaka in one’s hand.

It would seem that in giving informal initiation Swamiji seldom said anything about discipleship, its prerequisites and responsibilities. He gave his blessings, gave, perhaps, some spiritual instructions, took upon himself the burdens of those who had come to him, and went on his way, demanding nothing, neither obedience, acceptance of his teachings, nor loyalty. 

Not even an interview was necessary. With one penetrating look he could know all that was essential to know about any individual. Perhaps he did not even prescribe a mantra. Could he not, with a glance or a touch, transmit the spiritual impetus that would thenceforth work its miracle in the life of the recipient, carrying him quickly to liberation? 

“The human teacher,” Sri Ramakrishna once said, “whispers the mantra in the ear of the disciple; the World Teacher puts it in his heart”

In speaking of initiation with a mantra, Swamiji himself once said, “With great teachers the use of words is not necessary, as with Jesus. But the ‘small fry’ transmit this current through words.” 

Needless to say, Swamiji was a world teacher, a Jagadguru; his was the power to transmit spiritual energy directly; this was, indeed, a vital part of his mission. 

“The touch of the guru, the transmittal of spiritual energy, will quicken your heart,” he said during his lecture “Discipleship” in San Francisco. “Then will begin the growth. That is the real baptism by fire. No more stopping. You go on and go on.” 

From Swamiji, the baptism by fire was sometimes as silent, as imperceptible, but as irreversible, as the first touch of spring.

 Swamiji explained to his disciple Mr. Sinha that true Brahmanahood was not a matter of birth but of a sattvika, or spiritual, quality of mind. 
  “My disciples are all Brahmanas!” he declared once.

Source:  Swami Dayatamananda Ji, inspiring stories on Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Math.

ps:  I couldn’t also help notice the numerous ways in which Om Swami ji has blessed/guided/initiated disciples in earlier days and now. 

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