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Thursday, May 08, 2008


"Well, I was just wondering about all this dīkṣā-issue... You see, there are many weird fellas with "real" initiation, and there are apparently many sincere devotees who do not have "real" initiation... Yes, I know that the śāstras say that one has to have dīkṣā, still, is that really what counts? Putting aside principles for a while, and looking at hard facts, one may get puzzled a bit. What is your opinion based on what you have experienced during your life in bhakti-yoga?"

(This question has become more significant now after some high profile defections)

"Dear Bhakta, it is the mentality that counts, not the ritual. dīkṣā is an act of self surrender – dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kore ātma-samarpana. [C.C. Antya 4] “At the time of initiation the devotee surrenders him/herself.” No ritual will purify the heart, only bhakti does. However, let us keep it on the safe side and both take dīkṣā [in the proper line] AND surrender. Consider the verdict of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī (Upadeśāmṛta) - kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta - 'Mentally honour those who just say ‘Kṛṣṇa [without dīkṣā]', then after that: dīkṣāsti cet praṇatibhiḥ - 'Bow down to those who do have dīkṣā.' So you see that Rūpa Gosvāmī does distinguish between the non-initiated and the initiated, considering the latter to be more worthy of worship. However, finally he says; suśrūṣubhi bhajana vijñam ananyam anya nindādi śūnya - 'Real service, though, must be rendered to those who are expert in bhajan and do not criticise others.' dīkṣā alone does not make the saint, but it is imperative still…."

This is what Tapan Dā, my Guru brother, told me by phone in Vṛndāvana, on dīkṣā, on October 19, 2007:

"(For us) There is no need for prāṇa pratiṣṭhā (ritual installation) of deities – dīkṣā automatically grants adhikāra (qualification) for deity worship."
Haribhakti Vilāsa (2.3-4) says:

dvijānām anupetānāṁ sva-karmādhyayanādiṣu
yathādhikāro nāstīha syāc copanayanād anu
tathātrādīkṣitānāṁ tu mantra devārcanādiṣu
nādhikāro 'sty ataḥ kuryād ātmānaṁ ṣiva saṁstutam

“Just as brāhmaṇas have no right to study the Vedas or perform their rites without having undergone the sacred thread ceremony, similarly those who are not initiated into the mantra of their devatā have no right to engage in their arcanā.”
(Verse added by the editor)

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