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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Dikṣā literally means ‘observing a vow’.

Dikṣā is derived from the root ‘dīks’ which means ‘to destroy ignorance by giving knowledge and wisdom’. It's meanings include:

  • Observing certain rules for a period of time
  • A rite to be performed at the beginning of a holy venture like a Vedic sacrifice
  • The sacrament of upanayana
  • Receiving a mantra (sacred formula) from a qualified guru
  • Shaving the head as a part of a religious vow

Significance of Dikṣā in Somayāga[edit]

Dikṣā is must in all ritualistic acts. Dīkṣā is the consecration of the sacrificer at the beginning of Somayāga. It takes place after preliminary rites like iṣṭi and āhuti.[1] The sacrificer has to wear a particular garment, a girdle of muñja grass and a piece of cloth as head-dress. He should also keep a daṇḍa as staff. His wife should wear a yoktra (a belt of muñja grass). They are expected to follow certain rules during the period of the sacrifice.

Dikṣā in Tantra[edit]

Imparting mantra to a worthy disciple is called ‘dīkṣā’ in tāntrik works. It is of several varieties. The guru can rouse the spiritual potential of the disciple by just a look or touch.


  1. Āhuti is offering a ladle full of ghee into the fire.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore