When we are on the path of self realization we know the first step should be to get initiated/diksha from a guru, but my question is if the person/soul was initiated in the previous birth and before attaining salvation the person died and when he/she is born again will initiation be required again or will that soul be directed on the spiritual journey automatically? Because it is said that even the common man can attain the state of a great Sadhaka as a result of Sadhana carried out in several births and attain the stage of eternal bliss (Brahmananda).
Krishna answers this in Gita chapter 6, verses 37-45. The Lord says (Swami Nikhilananda translator):
Arjuna said: A man who is endowed with faith, but not with steadfastness, and whose mind has wandered away from yoga--what end does he gain, O Krishna, having failed to obtain perfection in yoga?
Fallen from both, unsupported, and bewildered in the way leading to Brahman, does he not, O mighty Krishna, perish like a riven cloud?
You should completely dispel, O Krishna, this doubt of minne; for no one but You can destroy such a doubt.
The Lord said: O Partha, there is no destruction for him either in this world or the next; no evil, My son, befalls a man who does good.
The man who has fallen away from yoga goes to the worlds of the righteous. Having lived there for unnumbered years, he is reborn in the home of the pure and prosperous.
Or he is born in a family of yogis rich in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is hard to gain in this world.
There is comes in touch with the knowledge acquired in his former body, O son of the Kurus, and strives still further for perfection.
By that former practice alone he is led on is spite of himself. Even he who merely wishes to know of yoga rises superior to the performer of Vedic rites.
A yogi, striving diligently, is purified of all sins, and, becoming perfect through many births, reaches the Supreme Goal.
From this we see that a person will automatically be directed onto the spiritual path. Diksha initiation is needed again, however. What is carried over from the prior births are the karmic impressions. Just as you need to take new baths in this lifetime despite having taken innumerable baths in prior births, a new diksha needs to be taken in this life. Once you take birth in this world you are subject to all the rules of being born into this world. If you look at the lives of all the great saints, they have all taken diksha and we can gather from their tremendous spiritual accomplishments that this was not their first birth.
When we are on the path of self realization we know the first step should be to get initiated/diksha from a guru, but my question is if the person/soul was initiated in the previous birth and before attaining salvation the person died and when he/she is born again will initiation be required again or will that soul be directed on the spiritual journey automatically?
This is a great question if i have understood it correctly. If you are asking- "Is there way by which we can recover the SAdhana, that we have done in our previous birth, so that we can start it, in this life, exactly from the point at where we had left it?".
In this way, we are not losing any bit of the SAdhana that we did in our previous life.
Then, Lord Shiva have mentioned a definite process for doing exactly that. It is called the "Purva Janma MantroddhAra" or obtaining the same Mantra from a Guru,in this life, that we had practiced in our previous life, again.
It involves giving Surya (the Sun God) a special Argya and asking for his help in recovering the Mantra for us.
This process is described in details, by Lord Shiva to Mother Goddess, in Gupta Diksha Tantram (which is included among the 192 KrAnta Tantras, and it belongs probably to KAliKula).
A Jiva obtains numerous bodies depending on it's Karmas. And whatever Karmas that it performs in those bodies remain as subtle impressions (called SamskAras) in it's Buddhi and Manas (mind). After death, these SamskAras (subtle impressions of Karmas) go with it, unless they are destroyed by knowledge and other nullifying acts.
So, if we are initiated in our previous life, that impression stays in our mind in a subtle form. That's why certain people are always eager to take DikshA in their current lives (that only implies that they had good Dikshas in their previous lives as well).
Lord Shiva explains this point first as follows:
Mritamapyanugacchet tu vidyA mantro visheshatah |
Mana eva manushyasya purvakarmAni shamsati ||
Yadi na syAn maheshAni manushyatvam katham bhavet |
DikshAyAncha katham tasya mano bhavati pArvati ||
TasmAt tu yatnato devi purva vidyAm samuddharet |
The Mantras and Vidyas (VidyA refers to a Mantra which is presided by a female Deity) specially follow even the dead (Mritamapyanugacchet). It is the human mind that remembers the activities of the past lives. O Consort of Mahesha, O PArvati, if that is not the case, then [how another] human birth is obtained?. And, why will he be interested in getting initiated [again], then?. O Goddess, that's why one should carefully recover the Mantra that he had practiced in the previous life (Purva vidyAm).
Now, comes the part of how to do it. I am trying to explain the process in very brief here.
The Guru and Shishya come together in the DikshA Mandalam as usual (a fixed place where DikshA will take place). The Shishya then has to arrange for 21 leaves- 7 leaves of Vakula tree, 7 leaves of Ashwattha tree and 7 from Vata tree. On each of them, the Shishya has to write some Mantras (i am omitting some details here).
On 7 of the Vata leaves, he has to write some Shakti Mantras. Similarly, he has to write some Vishnu Mantras on the Ashwattha leaves and Shiva Mantras on the Vakula leaves.
VakulAsvatthavatakam patra ratnam srinu priye |
Vata patre maheshAni shaktimantram likhet priye ||
Aswatthe vishnumantrancha vakule shivamantrakam |
rakta gandhena deveshi kAshmirairvA maheswari ||
Shaktimantram likhed devi chandanai vishnumantrakam |
BhasmanA shiva mantrancha vilikhet parameswari ||
O beloved one, The leaves of Vakula, Aswattha and Vata trees are known as the Patraratnas (or the most suprerior among leaves). O Consort of Mahesha, one should write Shakti Mantra on Vata leaves, Vishnu Mantra on Aswattha leaves and Shiva Mantra should be written on Vakula leaves. O Great Goddess, one should write Shakti Mantra using red sandal paste or Kumkuma, Vishnu Mantra using (white) sandal paste and Shiva Mantra should be written using Bhasma or Vibhuti.
Now, the Shishya has to offer Surya Deva a special Arghya. There are 8 constituents of this special Argya as mentioned in the following verse:
Apah ksheeram kushAgrAni ghritam dadhi tathA madhu |
RaktAni karavirAni tathA raktancha chandanam ||
AshtAnga eshako argho vai bhAnave parikirtita |
Water (Apa), cow milk (Dugdha), tips of Kusha grass (KushAgra), ghee, curd, honey, Raktakaravi (a type of red flower i guess) and red sandal paste- these eight are said to be the 8 substances (Arghyadravvya) to be offered to the Sun (mentioned as BhAnu in the verse).
Next, the Shishya has to chant a special Mantra while offering the Arghya which is (i intentionally kept it incomplete):
Om Bho deva prithvi pAla sarva shakti samanvita |
Mamargyancha grihana tvam purva vidyAm prakAshaya ||
.... Purva janmArjitam vidyAm mama hasthe pradApaya ||
The translation of this Mantra is roughly as follows:
O God, the Almighty, the protector of earth, accept my offering (Arghya) and reveal to me the VidyA that i had practiced in my previous life. Surya, Chandra, Yama, KAla and the 5 great elements (the Pancha MahAbhutas)- these 9 are the witnesses of all good-bad deeds that are done on earth in this life. All the Deities who are situated in my body are also the witnesses of my Mantra [that i had practiced in my previous life]. O God, O Divine witnesses, give me my Purvajanmarjita Vidya in my hand.
Saying thus, he has to quickly pick one of the leaves (on which the Mantras are written), randomly, and give it to the Guru. The Guru then reads the Mantra written on the leaf and initiates the Shishya into it.
The next verses of the text then describe the ritualistic process of the DikshA, which are not needed to be given here.
So, this is the most definite way of continuing Mantra SAdhana from exactly the point you left it in your previous life. But, it requires the involvement of some adept Guru, who knows this process to start with.
Also, although i have omitted many details, but still i have leaked some too. As the name itself suggests (Gupta DikshA Tantram), these information are not supposed to be leaked out.