It had been one of the most beautiful ceremonies I had attended. In the huge circular meditation hall of the Kriya Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh (which has a resemblance to the Isha Temple in Coimbatore), 5 eager people received their initiation from Swami Shankarananda Giri, spiritual heir of the Kriya Yoga movement stretching all the way from Lahiri Mahasaya, who had received the teachings from Mahavatar Babaji himself.
It is also a secretive ceremony, the details of which, and the techniques of Kriya Yoga itself, I will not disclose. Kriya is only taught upon initiation by a Master.
Do I feel this conflicting with my devotion to my master? Not at all. It was my Master who said in many of his talks: "Spirituality is like a garden of flowers. Pick whichever you like and make a beautiful bouquet for yourself". Also, Mahavatar Babaji was the same enlightened being who gave my Master the name "Paramahamsa Nithyananda"!
That I was meant to learn Kriya Yoga I have no doubts now. The coincidences and events leading me to this initiation are pretty obvious signposts in retrospect.. from my Master recommending Paramahamsa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi", to meeting and getting to know Masha who is an avid Sudarshan Kriyaban (from Art of Living), to meeting Divyanand Swamiji on the desolate hill at Gokarna Beach (who had a slightly perplexed look in his face when we declined to be taught Kriya at the time), to finding a copy of "Autobiography of a Yogi" and being engrossed and fascinated by the reading, to finding no suitable accomodation in Haridwar and deciding to stay in Rishikesh, finally having the amazing looking ashram pop up at Tapovan in Laxman Jhula as I ride past in the Vikrams.
Only today after the initiation do I find the plot thickening. The archarya in charge of teaching the technique proper told me that Swami Shankarananda Giri had only decided to conduct the initiation yesterday, and that he is very unpredictable in conducting these initiations. And that once it was decided, the 5 of us turned up to be initiated "like magic".
If you've read "Autobiography of a Yogi" you wouldn't be surprised by this apparently miraculous meeting of coincidences.
Myself I am extremely thankful, had I turned up one day early or later in the ashram, I would have missed the opportunity! The archarya said it could be weeks to months before Swamiji would concede to another initiation.
In his initiation speech Swamiji used the phrase "going home" so often, as if he dug into my inner space for the vocabulary to use.
"Going home" has a special meaning for me, almost like a mantra, because of a childhood dream I have never forgotton, of wandering through a house with many stairwells and doors and finally coming to a warm lighted room with very familiar young faces all welcoming me, and one particular girl saying "Welcome home". The memory of that dream as well as the phrase itself is able to bring me to tears with a strange homesickness.
As the first person to be initiated I sat in front of him as he worked on my body. In my amazement he poked at my heart chakra almost the same way my master did. "Here" he said cryptically, before continuing the process. Coincidence? Is there such a thing anymore?
I will spend a few more days in Rishikesh meditating in this beautiful ashram and perfecting my Kriya techniques!