Shaivism - Concepts and symbols - The Spiritual path and its stages
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Alain Danielou – Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The traditions of Shiva and Dionysus
The pashu (animal-man) first becomes a sadhaka (apprentice), and then a vira (hero) or adept, signifying a being who can dominate and go beyond the appearances of the material world. The next degree is that of siddha (self-realized man), which, among the Tantrikas, is also called the kaula stage (member of the group), a word which corresponds to the title of "companion" in Masonic initiation, in which the degree of "apprentice" is also found. The kaula has attained the "state of truth". It is only then that the barriers between human and divine disappear and that the adept may be considered as divya (deified). In the language of the Greco-Roman mysteries, the adept or initiate was called a "hero". The higher degrees of initiation were probably kept secret. Such a transformation concerns the entire human being. It is the body itself which is transfigured, just as, according to the Christian concept, it is the entire man, body and spirit, who will rise transfigured from the dead.
Initiation is the passing from one state of being to another. It is a sort of death, an "active death", from which a new person is born. Thus, a burial rite is always part of the rites of initiation, and has even survived in the ordination ceremonies of Catholic priests......
Initiation is the real transmission of a shakti, or power, and this transmission takes the form of enlightenment. The continuity of transmission from one initiate to another is compared to that of one flame lighting another.