2. The Process of Initiation

When children are five years old and attain some awareness, the parents, brothers, sisters or any guardian may initiate them in Náma Mantra [the preliminary process of meditation]. They should be taught to sit in padmásana [lotus posture], but instead of interlocking the fingers, they may rest one palm upon the other; and keep the spine erect. They will then be instructed to feel or imagine that everything around them, and whatever they visualize, is Brahma.

After this, at the age of twelve, the child should take initiation from an ácárya/á in Sádhárańa Yoga, and at sixteen or afterwards, they should take initiation in Sahaja Yoga from the ácárya/á. If considered essential, ásanas may be taught before the age of sixteen.

The [[purodhás]] may consider imparting lessons in Visheśa Yoga(11) to some of the initiates who are adept in Sahaja Yoga, who have an ardent desire to learn this higher yoga, and who can afford to devote sufficient time every day for the same.
The ácárya/ás or purodhás will not take any remuneration from their initiates for initiation. It is the duty of every Ananda Margi to help maintain the financial security of the ácárya/ás and purodhás.

A person of twelve or above may only be initiated by an ácárya/á, a táttvika, or a dharmamitram. No fee is to be charged for this initiation. The process of dakśińá [offering to the master] is the same in Náma Mantra as it is in Prárambhika,(2) Sádhárańa and Sahaja Yoga. In Náma Mantra there is no process of shuddhis [withdrawal of the mind] or repetition of mantra by syllables.

Arrangements have to be made so that those who are initiated in Náma Mantra can also learn gradually the lessons of Yama and Niyama. As far as possible it is preferable not to initiate more than one person at a time in Náma Mantra. Náma Mantra should not be taught to more than four persons at a time.

Naming the Initiated Person At the time of initiation or shortly afterwards, those who do not have a Sanskrit name should be given one by the ácárya/á. The word deva should be suffixed to the name. Every person is at liberty to use his/her own surname, but the more the usage of deva as a title, the better it is. The Sanskrit name should be used in all worldly dealings. Even when the naming is done in Sanskrit, you will give equal respect and full scope to all languages.

Diikśádána [Initiation] (1) Only a few selected individuals will be initiated into the difficult Visheśa Yoga. Purodhás alone are entitled to give this initiation.
(2) Those who are deserving and have an earnest desire will be initiated in Sahaja Yoga. Ácárya/ás alone are entitled to initiate them.
(3) The ácárya/á will impart training only in Sádhárańa Yoga to those persons for whom the practice of Sahaja Yoga is inconvenient, or who for any other reason are unable to practise it. In Sádhárańa Yoga there is no restriction of diet, because ásanas are excluded from this course.
(4) The ácárya/á will impart training in Prárambhika Yoga to those for whom Sádhárańa Yoga is inconvenient. In Prárambhika Yoga, too, there are no ásanas, therefore there are no dietary restrictions. Those who have an earnest desire to practise ásanas or who need to practise ásanas for physical or mental reasons, can be imparted training in ásanas by the ácárya/á, even along with Prárambhika Yoga, if the ácárya/á so pleases. If the ácárya/á has little time at his/her disposal, he/she will impart training in Prárambhika Yoga in the beginning even to those with developed saḿskáras [mental reactive momenta]. Later, on getting adequate proof of the initiate’s worth, the ácárya/á will train him/her in Sádhárańa Yoga or Sahaja Yoga. Even a Prárambhika yogi who is practising ásanas will have to abide by the rules laid down for practising ásanas. (See Caryácarya Part 3.)
(5) Initiation in Prárambhika, Sádhárańa and, in special cases, Sahaja Yoga will be done before the pratiika [emblem].

1 January 1956