There have been two types of initiation in the world. In one type of initiation water has always been used, and in the other type of initiation fire has been used. In India, fire has been used as a medium of initiation for centuries. Zarathustra used fire as a medium of initiation. John the Baptist used water. Both can be used, and both have to be understood.
Water and fire have different qualities and yet they are very deeply joined together. They are opposites, but complementary. If you put water on a fire, the water will disappear, evaporate. If you pour water on a fire, the fire will disappear. They are opposite, but in a deep unity. Water flows downwards, fire flows upwards. Naturally, water will never go upward; naturally, fire will never go downward. They move in different dimensions, different directions. If something has to go downwards in you, water has to be used as a medium, as a vehicle. If something has to go upwards in you, fire has to be used as a medium and vehicle.
John the Baptist would pour water, and with the falling water – after a long preparation and meditation – your whole being would concentrate on the falling water and the coolness of it which would cool you within also. And through the water the magnetism of this man, John the Baptist, would flow in you. Water is a very, very vulnerable vehicle. If a man who has healing power in his hands just touches the water, the water becomes a healing medicine. And water is deeply related to your body: sixty percent or even more of your body is nothing but water. Just watch it: sixty percent of your body is water.
And have you watched what your breathing is doing to you? The breathing brings fire, it is oxidation. Your body is water, your breathing is fire; with these two, you exist. When the breathing stops, the fire disappears; then the body loses warmth, then it is dead. If water is gone from the body, the body becomes too hot, feverish, and you will die soon. A deep communion between water and fire, a deep balance, is continuously needed.
You eat food: through food, fire from the sun reaches your body. You breathe: through breathing, oxygen reaches into the body. You drink water: continuously water is being replaced in the body. Between fire and water you exist.
John the Baptist used water to bring something from the above within you. That is one way of initiation. There is a higher way – to bring something within you upwards. Then it becomes initiation by fire.
In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
“Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand.”
Every moment the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This very moment the kingdom of heaven is at hand, it is absolutely urgent to repent. That was his meaning. Don’t waste a single moment – because if you waste it, it can never be recaptured, regained. All time gone is gone. It could have been a deep celebration in God, you wasted it – for nothings, for dreams. “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”