The Initiation is an unusual love story told with refreshing
innocence and candor. While it interweaves intensely personal glimpses
of the love between the author, Dr. Donald Schnell, and his wife,
it primarily relates the evolvement of his total commitment to God.
Specifically it is a fascinating account of an intensely spiritual
journey in India at the age of 42 that culminated in his initiation
into the Order of Swamys where he received the name Prema Baba Swamiji.
The story has many parallels with Autobiography of a Yogi.
Both Donald Schnell and Paramahansa Yogananda felt drawn to the
service of God at a very tender age, both were favored with visions
of Babaji and both were charged with bringing the spiritual messages
of India to the West. Whereas Yogananda was a Yogi and celibate,
Schnell, a married Swamy, was charged with integrating the male
and female, the Mother and the Father in a balanced approach to
In this short and engaging book (128 pages) Schnell rivets the
attention of the reader as he describes fascinating encounters and
mystical experiences. Interspersing the colorful narrative with
the wise lessons of Babaji and his guru, Schnell provides the reader
with an intelligent synthesis of universalist teachings of East
and West as well as practical advice for those on the spiritual
path. At the very least, it is a jolly good read.