Deeksha, also known as diksha, is an initiation ritual of Hinduism and Buddhism performed by a guru, who takes the karma of the initiate and bestows mantras on them.

Deeksha refers to the spiritual knowledge which is transferred from guru to initiate. The Vishnu Yamala tantra says that deeksha is a process that destroys sin and ignorance, while bestowing spiritual knowledge to those who see the truth.

In the Vaishnava pancaratrika, sadhakas (novices or apprentices) must undergo five stages of purification called the pancha (five) samskara (purification). These five stages are tapah, pundra, nama, mantra, and yaga. Once complete, the sadhaka would feel intense devotion to Lord Hari.

It is believed that the person who is trained and properly initiated by a spiritual master will immediately become a brahmana.

To followers of the Jain religion, deeksha initiates people into a monastery, complete with vows of chastity, poverty, and renunciation of worldly duties (including family obligations). It is also known as Charitra or Mahanibhiskraman in Jainism.

Adi Shankaracharya, (centre) with the Four Disciples; Sureshwaracharya, Hastamalaka, Padmapada, and Totakacharya. Shankara placed each of the disciples in charge of a matha (a monastery or religious order), one of which was located in each of the cardinal directions. Courtesy Wikipedia.