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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Congratulations


Congratulations to Mālatī Dāsī from Melbourne, Australia, for being the second kṛpā pātra of Śrī-Śrī Sādhu Bābā outside India. Her application for dīkṣā was approved last week by Tapan Dā, Tulsī Di and Namitā Di. dīkṣā may take place on Sītānāth's Utsav in Navadwīp next February. Family expansion at long last....

30 comments:

  1. Radhe Radhe

    This is a pleasant surprise! I thought I was viewing my own weblog!

    This is going to be problematic. Am I going to be the second western disciple of Sri Sadhu Baba? Not really, I am in an Asian body. But I guess, I have been living in a western society and have acquired westerners’ habit that I “qualify” to be called a western devotee.

    I guess I have to say something sensible now.

    I am greatly touched and humbled by possible initiation into Sri Sitanath’s spiritual family. It’s indeed a clear case of mercy.

    I have never imagined that I will take initiation into a line where the last link to the parampara is not physically present anymore. Sri Sadhu Baba Nikunja Gopal Goswami not having many recorded teachings, by way of print or magnetic media, seems to be problematic in regard to siddhanta grounding.

    But Sri Sadhu Baba’s disciples like Nomita and Tulsi dasis, Sripad Tapan da Adhikari and Advaitadasji in the west proved that the connection is indeed possible.

    Sri Sadhu Baba is a unique saint. Please read his biography and you will know why. You might even fall in love with Him.

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  2. "Am I going to be the second western disciple of Sri Sadhu Baba? Not really, I am in an Asian body."

    That is why I said 'outside of India'. Or, indeed, non-Hindu.

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  3. Dandavat, pranams.

    "I have never imagined that I will take initiation into a line where the last link to the parampara is not physically present anymore. Sri Sadhu Baba Nikunja Gopal Goswami not having many recorded teachings, by way of print or magnetic media, seems to be problematic in regard to siddhanta grounding.

    But Sri Sadhu Baba’s disciples like Nomita and Tulsi dasis, Sripad Tapan da Adhikari and Advaitadasji in the west proved that the connection is indeed possible."

    So this a ritvik type of diksa? I am confused?!?

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  4. I am happy for your good fortune!

    Jai Sri Sri Guru

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  5. "So this a ritvik type of diksa? I am confused?!?"

    Anon, ritvik is a recent speculation of Iskconites that became desperate because of all the western Gurus blooping, while the system we have has been started on the order of our Guru himself. Of course the ritviks claim that ACBS himself ordered the ritvik system and he gave conflicting signals, but the vast majority of his disciples still hold on to a regular diksa parampara.
    We do it like this because
    1. Sadhu Baba is irreplacable and unique.
    2. We must obey the order of Guru. Acting independently is not an option.

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  6. 1. Your first point made is a point made by many staunch Iskonites about Prabhupada as well. And by Christians.......... about Jezus.
    All of them are indeed unique and might even be irreplacable as well. Though in excepting this as truth there is ofcourse the problem of strong partiality. You might think this is true about your gurudeva, but might not accept Prabhupada as such. A follower of Jezus will even propagate all of you will go to hell for not accepting Jezus as "írreplacable".
    2. Although it is indeed true that guru's order must be followed. Guru can always back up his order by examples from the other two pillars... sastra and sadhu. You yourself are not a fan of creating exceptions and have criticized the bhagavad-parampara to be a "hitlist".

    I visit your blog occasionally since half a year or so and read most of the stuff on it. Most of it is friendly and personal, no right or wrong. But sometimes you proclaim that certain values are so absolute that you are right and others not or not as much. You try to do this on the basis of sastra and sadhu (in your case you often rever to the Goswamis).

    So please tell me about this kind of ritvik ? Are there examples of previous acharyas and what is said about it in sastra and which sastras ? The 2 points you make in your comment are too general and subjective to be acceptable to all vaisnavas and can be countered by some of the points you yourself made elsewhere.

    Could you be more elaborate ? Because the oversimplification of such an important issue is something you yourself stride against.

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  7. Anon: "All of them are indeed unique and might even be irreplacable as well. Though in excepting this as truth there is of course the problem of strong partiality."

    That is of course normal. bhakti is subjective - jnana is objective. We are not jnanis.

    "You might think this is true about your gurudeva, but might not accept Prabhupada as such."

    I did not say I oppose the IRM. But the origins of their ideas and ours are different, that is all I said.

    "A follower of Jezus will even propagate all of you will go to hell for not accepting Jezus as "írreplacable".

    I would never say such a thing. It is a skewed comparison.

    "2. Although it is indeed true that guru's order must be followed. Guru can always back up his order by examples from the other two pillars... sastra and sadhu. You yourself are not a fan of creating exceptions and have criticized the bhagavad-parampara to be a "hitlist".

    That is not necessarily a criticism. I am not like the other 'traditionalists' who hammer on a diksa parampara
    only. I have no problem with the Bhagavat Parampara, but find it curious there is no diksa parampara in IGM still.

    "I visit your blog occasionally since half a year or so and read most of the stuff on it. Most of it is friendly and personal, no right or wrong. But sometimes you proclaim that certain values are so absolute that you are right and
    others not or not as much. You try to do this on the basis of sastra and sadhu (in your case you often rever to the Goswamis)."

    There are different nonscriptural ideas and practises - some are just not mentioned in shastra (also not being forbidden by them), like the chanting of HK in kirtan or our succession system, others are blatant transgressions of prohibitions in shastra. I hope you can understand the difference between them.

    "So please tell me about this kind of ritvik ? Are there examples of previous acharyas and what is said about it in sastra and which sastras ?"

    See my previous reply. Shastra says little about parampara really and this system is nowhere condemned.

    "The 2 points you make in your comment are too general and subjective to be acceptable to all vaisnavas"

    My aim is not to recruit millions of followers. Someone loves Sadhu Baba, he/she is welcome.

    " and can be countered by some of the points you yourself made elsewhere."

    I am curious to hear where and which points they are.

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  8. Of course rest me to do one important thing....

    Congrats Malati with the possibility of getting initiation and congrats Advaita with maybe getting a new godsister !

    The Jesus comparison is to show how people can disagree while cherishing similar subjective sentiments, not to show you are a judgemental fanatic or something of that kind.

    "I have no problem with the Bhagavat Parampara, but find it curious there is no diksa parampara in IGM still." This is a matter of trust and experience. Trust that Prabhupada (the 1st) received mantra from his guru (GKDBM) and experience that this mantra has effect if received through proper channel (so a fallen Iskcon sannyasi can be considered a non proper channel, ritviksm without consent doesn't solve this problem). If you lack this trust and experience it doesn't mean it isn't there or it is not possible. Fortunately you did find it somewhere else. Good for you.
    Relative differences in ceremonial aspects of diksa and the extent in which confidential issues are revealed at the time of diksa can be overcome
    Though myself honouring the thread guru gave me, I do agree with you that the (brahmin)thread isn't a necessary element for diksa at all. But it did create confusion in letting people think that 2nd initiation, diksa and brahminical initiation are one and the same thing. They aren't. Brahminical initiation might even be an unnecessary burden in spiritual life if you cannot life up to it, similar to sanyassa. The desire for recognition as vaisnavas within the broader brahmin dominated hindu world somewhat clouded the meaning of diksa amongst some in IGM. So we are approaching each other here.

    But I disagree with you about the origin of the diksa mantra in IGM and the validity thereof.

    Similarly on the basis of shastra it is impossible for me to make any judgement about the validity of the confidential transference of mantra in your line (ritvik or not) even if I did know the word for word syllables of the mantras given in that line. Only you know from within that your guru is to be trusted and his mantra has effect. Trust and experience.

    I will get back to you about where I think you contradict yourself in relation to some other missions, although I do not consider it a huge stumblingblock or annoyance while going to your posts.

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  9. Congratulations to Malati dasi on her forthcoming initiation! :)


    However, I am also curious about this "ritvik" idea. Advaitadasji said (in an earlier comment): "while the system we have has been started on the order of our Guru himself."

    I would like more information/details about this please.

    Also: "We do it like this because ... We must obey the order of Guru. Acting independently is not an option."

    So if Sri Sadhu Baba ordered these "ritvik" type of initiations presumably for those who want a connection with him. Does that mean initiations given by his disciples are not an option?

    Hypothetically, if someone wanted to accept Advaitadas as his guru (and if he agrees), is this possible? Or will he refer the prospective disciple to a "ritvik" initiation to his guru?

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  10. With all due respect I am curious how the application process was conducted. I also wonder how one can develop strong guru-nishta without having the physical sanga of the guru. Not having interaction with the guru on the physical plane and only a couple of guru-brothers/sisters for sanga seems like putting oneself on an unecessarily hazardous platform to build ones spiritual foundation.

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  11. Gaura: "I would like more information/details about this please."

    Baba said to the first madhyastha, the now late Krishna Di, ' tumi mantra dibe kintu tumi guru hobe na, madhyastha hoiye amar name mantra dibe. ami guru thakbo' - ' You will give mantra but you will not be the Guru. Give mantra in my name as a mediator. I will remain the Guru."

    Also: "We do it like this because ... We must obey the order of Guru. Acting independently is not an option."
    So if Sri Sadhu Baba ordered these "ritvik" type of initiations presumably for those who want a connection with him. Does that mean initiations given by his disciples are not an option?"

    That is correct. I hear it is taking place though, in Vrindavan and Assam.

    "Hypothetically, if someone wanted to accept Advaitadas as his guru (and if he agrees), is this possible? Or will he refer the prospective disciple to a "ritvik" initiation to his guru?"

    The person will be referred to Tapan Kumar Adhikari, the current madhyastha.

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  12. "Not having interaction with the guru on the physical plane and only a couple of guru-brothers/sisters for sanga seems like putting oneself on an unecessarily hazardous platform to build ones spiritual foundation."

    Of 70,000 Iskcon devotees only about 70 had some physical sanga with AC Bhaktivedanta Swami. Yet he is de facto the real and only Guru there.

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  13. Isn't it the inner mood of any bonafide guru to be a disciple of his own guru, bringing his own disciples to the feet of his own teacher feeling unqualified to act independently as guru ? Can your Gurudeva's words be interpreted as a general lesson in humility, teaching that after his departure he remains Guru eternally even though one starts accepting students/disciples ?

    And will a future disciple not always feel indepted to Tapan Kumar Adhikari, the current madhyastha, having similar sentiments towards him as to Sadhu Baba since he is the link between them ? Doesn't a disciple always feel unqualified while remembering his own guru even while taking the role of guru himself for the benefit of mankind ? (rethoric)

    What's the difference ? Although Bhaktisidhanta is my grandgrand father spiritually, I feel fine calling him my Guru, or even Gurudeva and worship him through the connection I got from my father and grandfather. I am not stepping over my guru and paramguru if I feel any special affection to someone higher up in the chain. At the same time I will never consider myself on an equal level with guru or paramguru as godbrother or something. Of course not.

    So again... why ritvik ? Please clarify ? And is there any substantial difference with the hypothetical situation I described above ?

    Ps. I am not playing advocate of the devil or try to challenge what you are proposing. It is of genuine philosophical interest.

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  14. So is it right concluding from Sadhu Baba that you can give mantra and not be guru ? Since this distinction is made in the Bengali sentence you quoted.

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  15. "And is there any substantial difference with the hypothetical situation I described above ?"

    Yes there is, in the sense that there are different approaches. The sentiments you describe is one but not the only approach. The majority of Sadhu Baba's followers take his words literally - if one start interpreting there is no end to the speculations and factionalisation. Those who knew Sadhu Baba personally, like Krishna Das, Tapan K. Adhikary and myself are on one line about this. But as I said, physical sanga alone does not lead to understanding the Guru. Bhakti to the Guru does.

    Also, Baba using the word madhyastha leaves really no space for interpretation about what he meant.

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  16. "So is it right concluding from Sadhu Baba that you can give mantra and not be guru ?"

    'You' meaning me, Advaitadas? No that is not correct. It was spoken to Krishna Das in 1986, not to me. If you ask this as a general question, I could not confirm that on behalf of all other Vaishnava branches, just for us.

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  17. From previous discussions I followed on GD and on your blog I got the impression that amongst traditionals it was very clear what diksha is and how it is performed. Only some relative differences in ritual and specific tilak, but much clarity on what parampara is supposed to mean. They all stood united in pointing out that in IGM there is no real diksa. This on the basis of what was considered by outsiders an awkward relation between Prabhupad and GKDBM.

    Now it seems there is more shades of grey possible at the other side of the fence as well.

    Which makes me happy, by the way.

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  18. I'm afraid you're mixing things up here anon. Our succession system has nothing to do with the BSS diksa controversy. As for myself, I cant see any proof that BSS was not initiated by GKDB, but still I would be surprised if he were. As for the parampara issue, as I said before, shastra is mute about it, but it is widely believed that one needs an unbroken diksa lineage. I dont believe that diksa is a free ticket to perfection, though. It takes bhakti and nothing else.

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  19. Anon: With all due respect I am curious how the application process was conducted.


    Sure, I will never be qualified. That is why I said it's a clear case of mercy.

    Still, Advaitadas has some knowledge of what kind of a person I am. I have posted in some forums for years so he must have a little knowledge on where I stand on things. I also have my own blog which is sometimes too personal for comfort; he must have read some of it too. I have been communicating w/ him for almost 3 years now. Also, though we have not met in person, we have used the internet to our utmost advantage for sanga. Hopefully, I'll meet him early next year.

    My last word on why I chose Sri Sadhu Baba. His line practices and therefore preserves the core of Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, eg. the siddha pranali system and manjari seva sadhana. And most importantly He was the only one who really "turned me on". Need I say more?

    Radhe Radhe

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  20. "Malati dasi said...
    Anon: With all due respect I am curious how the application process was conducted."

    I wasn't questioning your qualifications Malati. I was just curious about the "application" process itself. I have never heard of this type of initiation proposed before (outside of iskcon) and was somewhat surprised to hear about it. I can't help but think that it was meant for followers and admirers of Sadhu Baba that hoped to receive diksha from him but somehow or other failed to receive it before his departure. Anyway, I wouldn't feel comfortable not ever having a chance to meet my guru and to depend upon others to tell me what he is like and what he wants from me. It is too personal of a relationship.

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  21. I want to add that there is two Anons here.

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  22. Thanks Advaitaji, for your answers. I have a couple more questions:

    1 - That Bengali comment by Sadhu Baba, was it made in specific references to initiations done after he left the physical plane? Because I can understand a guru authorising a trusted disciple to initiate on their behalf (more or less like prabhupada used to do in ISKCON), but was Sadhu Baba's comment made specifically in reference to after his samadhi though?

    2 - Who takes the karma of the disciple, Sadhu Baba or Tapan Da?

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  23. Gaura,
    1. The comment was made in the end of his life, and was quoted to me by Krishna Di in connection with my questioning her on the succession. It is obviously post-samadhi.
    2. To my knowledge there is no transfer of karma at the time of diksa. See CC Antya 4.92-93.

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  24. Where is this idea coming from then, that karma of the disciple is taken by guru to give him a fresh start ?

    It is accepted as common knowledge by many. Are they all wrong ? Or are these statements meant figuratively to indicate commitment of some sort ?

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  25. "It is obviously post-samadhi."

    Malati d.d. and Advaita d. must be prepared that this topic will come up more then once. And they will be confronted with critical questioning from all sides. Ritvik is a controversial issue and what is obvious for one is not so for another.
    For Sadhu Baba's disciples it is easier to reach a concensus in interpreting their gurumaharaja's words, since they are with just a few, then it is for Prabhupad's following, who are with thousands and on top of that with hundreds of quotes, letters, tapes and books left to be interpreted.

    I refrain from commenting on this issue since I lack knowledge about the inner workings of initiation and the varieties of initiation possible. If someone feels secure to do it a certain way and in that way is progressing spiritually it should be recieved positively and critisicm should be dealt with carefully.

    Nonetheless Malati dd and Advaita d should not become disheartened if this situation will be questioned more than once by vaisnavas from all feathers. Follow your heart !

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  26. In Sri Sadhu Baba's biography it was mentioned that He took the karma of his disciples. (But I can't remember if it was you, Advaitadas, who stated that or another person.

    But on the other hand you mentioned CC antya 4.92-93 to make a contradictory point.

    I personally have not come across in any of our literature /shastra that stated transference of karma at time of initiation.

    However, there was this idea in Sri Sri Prema Bhakti Chandrika that at the time of diskha by the Guru or at another point in the devotee's spiritual life maybe, that Krishna makes the devotee on equal term with Him. That doesn't mean that the karma of the devotee was absorbed by the Guru does it? It only means that to be able to performn bhakti for Krishna the devotee should be on a certain platform, isn't it?

    I personally do not care if my karma will be absorbed by my Guru or not. Those are "technicalities" I couldn't care less.

    I believe that that idea, that Anonymous said was commonly accepted knowledge, sprung from the Christian belief eg. Jesus died on the cross for our sins; to redeem us from sins.

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  27. Anon, the Haribhakti Viläsa (1.77) confirms that the Guru takes the sisya's karma – tathä sisyarjitam papam guruh prapnoti niscitam. However, this is on the material platform, not on the platform of the sin-destroying hari-nama process – sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisyami (Bhagavad Gétä 18.66) “If you surrender unto Me alone I will release you from all sins.” If a Guru has properly instructed the disciple in all the do’s and don’ts, from that moment on the knowledgeable disciple is him/herself responsible. Every living entity has its own individual relationship with God and it would be unfair to let the Guru suffer for misdeeds that another individual commits in disobedience of that Guru.

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  28. Anuradha, thank you for your support. Really I dont care with Iskcon people think, our system has nothing to do with the recent ritvik invention - it is Guru's adesh, that is all. By the way, we are not few. Sadhu Baba had thousands of disciples.

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  29. Malati, your quote from PBC is right to the point, and it refers to the CC Antya 4.92-93 theology. It comes from SB 11.29.34, and it means that Krsna takes the sin, if there is any left in an aspirant who has already taken the holy name.

    The idea that Baba died for our sins like Ramakrishna comes from Gopal Ghosh, not from me. It is his opinion, and means to glorify him as far as I can see.

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  30. Advaitadas: "Really I dont care with Iskcon people think, our system has nothing to do with the recent ritvik invention - it is Guru's adesh, that is all."


    Hmmm, I wouldn't really call it an "invention" per se since it seems perfectly reasonable for a guru (any guru) to authorise a deputy to initiate on their behalf for whatever reason.

    Personally I don't believe that Prabhupada intended ritvik-initiations to continue in Iskcon after his samadhi even though they were done when he was present, that's where the whole controversy lies over there, people can't figure out whether he intended to continue it after his passing or to revert back to "normal" diksa.

    But it seems that Sadhu Baba has specifically stated that his kripa (in the sense of initiation) is available even after his samadhi, I think that's an interesting contrast. Possibly it is unique.

    Anyway I hope you had a happy Diwali over there. :)

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