Do I Need My Spouse’s Permission to Take Initiation?


I am following a spiritual path joyfully. My husband does not want to support me in this path and feels that the time I spend in spiritual pursuits takes away time from marriage. My children are adults. Recently I wanted to take initiation and asked for permission. He refused to attend the ceremony and so it was postponed. Now he says that he will consider divorce if I take up initiation as it is evangelical. What should I do? Can I pursue spirituality and initiation?

—Anonymous, USA


Dear Friend,

So sorry to hear of your family difficulties in pursuing the spiritual path. Only you can determine if you should receive initiation against your husband’s insistence that you do not do so. In self-offering, after meditation, ask God for help and guidance about that direction. He will bless and guide you.

Also, here are some thoughts on possible ways to work with this dilemma. One thought is people often wonder why they find themselves married to a non-meditator, when meditation and the spiritual life has become the central focus of their lives. Generally speaking, this may be because of indecision and confusion in a past life. The situation may have been opposite between your husband and you in the past, and now you and he are learning understanding and compassion in different roles. Everything is a lesson for us.

The best thing for you to do is simply keep your own practice strong and focused. Pray for him, of course, but leave the timing of his spiritual search and acceptance of yours to God. If you are strong in your practice, and you radiate the peace and joy from connection with God, that will do more for harmony than any insistence on your part. Certainly your husband is watching your example and what meditation is doing for you in daily life. Try not to be disturbed by his resistance and negativity to your spiritual life, but instead be patient and lovingly unattached. Everything is in God’s own time.

In the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda there is a chapter that may be reassuring for you on marital harmony. Please consider reading or rereading chapter 22, “The Heart of a Stone Image.” You may feel some hope and encouragement from it.

Also, here is a beautiful prayer: Yogananda’s peace and harmony prayer. It is a helpful prayer to repeat throughout the day or when you feel discouraged about your situation with you and your husband.

Many blessings on your efforts to come to a solution. Never forget that God knows your heart suffering and is there for you in this. Be sure to talk, in the language of your heart, and tell Him everything.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Hassi