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Diksha in Gaudiya Sampradaya

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
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Dhiksha in Gaudiya Sampradaya

Nandri!(“Thank you” in Tamil) Vanakkam! (“Greetings” in Tamil)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Bolo, Bolo! Sollungo(“say” in Tamil)

Then you also got Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Hare Krishna Hare Rama Sri Radhe Govinda.. you get so many different names... people speculate. Like you got Nitai Gaura Radhe Shyama/ Hare Krsna Hare Rama, He came running to me and fell down, paying obeisances at my feet and he began to cry.

What you have done for me? What you have done? Now, when I chant Hare Krishna, I am feeling so much bliss!

Hari Haraaya Naama Krishna Yaadavaaya Namaha…You are a priest, you are fortunate you are serving the deities.

I am gradually getting old and I hope all my first initiated disciples, as many as qualified, get the second initiation while I am still on the planet.

ekaikasyābhavatteṣāṁ rājannarbudam arbudam bhokṣyate yad-vaṁśa-dharair mahī manvantaraṁ param

Translation by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada! My dear King Prācīnabarhiṣat, the sons of Malayadhvaja gave birth to many thousands and thousands of sons, and all of these have been protecting the entire world up to the end of one Manu’s life span and even afterward.

In the next verse 32, in the purport, it says in the last two paragraphs that from bhakti-latä the son Dhrdacyuta is born, and from Dhrdacyuta the next son, Idhmaväha, is born. The word idhma-vaha refers to one who carries wood for burning in a sacrifice when approaching a spiritual master. The point is that bhakti-lata, the cult of devotion, fixes one in his spiritual position. One so fixed never comes down, and he begets children who are strict followers of the shastric injunctions. As said in the Vedas:

tad-vijïänärtham sa gurum eväbhigacchet samit-paanih srotriyam brahma-nishtam

In the line of devotional service, those who are initiated are strict followers of the Vedic scriptural injunctions.

So today we read this text 31, Chapter 28 Canto 4 of the Srimad Bhagavatam in the matter of Puranjana becomes a woman in his next life; this is read today, on the 26th of August 2008, 522nd year of our beloved Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu spoken at the Radha Madhurapati Mandir in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, in the planet of Bhaarat Varsha and we are to the west of the south ocean.

English class with a Tamil translation; the divine language Tamil which is created by Lord Siva, I think.

Nandri!( Thank you) Vanakkam.(Greetings)

Today we are having an initiation ceremony in Madurai for the Southern Tamil Nadu.

We read here how the descendants of Manu had protected the earth.

Like that the disciplic descendants of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad are meant to protect the world, so that the people can be saved from their unhappiness and get a spiritual direction in their lives. Krishna taught Vivasvan, Vivasvan taught Manu, Manu taught Ikshvaaku, the king of the world.

In this way the Bhagavad Gita was handed down 40 million years ago. But somehow the real meaning of the Bhagavad Gita got lost; so Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita again to Arjuna 5000 years ago. If the message of Bhagavad gita can stay intact for more or less 40 million years that is pretty good. Lord Krishna comes down every yuga in different forms and thus He re-establishes the disciplic succession.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one of His roles was that He was the yuga avatar and He gave us the yuga dharma. The yuga dharma is chanting of the Holy Names of Hari in bhakti yoga. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

So this Maha Mantra is the incarnation of the Lord in the form of sound – shabdha brahman – Absolute Truth in sound. Many Vedic mantras begin with the Omkara and in some of the Upanishads there is restriction who can chant, who cannot chant these mantras. Also, Hare Krishna mantra is given twice at least in the Vedas.

Once in the Kali Santara Upanished, it is given with the Hare Rama first. Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.

Then there is one given in the Puranas, the Smrith Shastras, where the Hare Krishna mantra is given with the Hare Krishna first. So sometimes people say that only the Upanishads can be chanted by brahmanas. But we chant the Hare Krishna first, so that is from the Puranas. Puranas are Smrithi Shastras and there are no restrictions. Apart from that Lord Caitanya wanted to have Hare Krishna first. So like this the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, there is no restriction, anybody can chant it. But some people are so fallen that they are not even able to chant Hare Krishna. If they want they could chant, but they don’t want. Somehow it doesn’t come from their lips.

So then Prabhupad said that they could chant the Pancha Tattva Mantra and they get purified and later they will be able to chant Hare Krishna.

In Bangalore, there was a person who was so much of a drunkard. Before we chanted Hare Krishna we had him repeat the Pancha Tattva Mantra and then he got cured from his intoxication habit. Jai Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadaadhara, Srivas aadi Gaura Bhakta Vrnda.We don’t give this Pancha Tattva Mantra in initiation but we request everyone to chant it.

We give the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra in initiation. That's called the first initiation or the Harinam initiation. And Prabhupada, in this initiation, he includes at least five aspects of the purascharya or the samskara for purification. So like, we wear the neck beads, we get the japa mala beads, we get a new spiritual name, we surrender to the spiritual master and guru parampara. And we take vows to follow the spiritual path and be strict. So this links the eternal disciplic succession, the guru parampara, the guru and the disciple.

Here like, Manu is handing down the message of Krishna bhakti from father to son. Like that there are two kinds of disciplic succession – one is called the seminal disciplic succession, which is from father to son. Parents should teach their children to be Krishna conscious.

This family succession is one kind of disciplic succession. Of course, in India there are many families like that, where they still maintain their family traditions. The tradition should also be according to shaastra. Otherwise, sometimes speculation enters into the family tradition and after some time the family tradition is no longer very accurate. Once there was a young girl and she was getting married.

Then there was a cat that came by the yagya and was making a lot of noise and acting very crazy. The cat, “meaow.” The cat was making a lot of noise; Then the priest said, “Put the cat under a basket.”

Later, when she became a mother, and her own child was going to be married, she remembered that when she was married, they put a cat under a basket. She didn’t know why, she was a young girl at that time. She said, it is our family tradition there must be a cat put under a basket(devotees laugh)!So all the boys are running around, trying to find a cat and they bring a cat and put under the basket! Okay! Family tradition maintained! So it is okay, the family tradition maintained!

But it wasn’t actually family tradition, it was just some crazy cat creating some disturbance and they put it under a basket!But now from that time the family new tradition was you have to have a cat under a basket. So what we do should be based upon shaastra also. Otherwise, some kind of speculation like that will enter into the tradition. So like that the parampara gets broken.

Once I was chanting Hare Krishna at Prabhupad’s guru puja in Mayapur. So I was chanting, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

I wanted everyone to chant!So I was saying, “Bolo, Bolo!” In Bengali, Bolo means chant!What do you say in Tamil ? – Sholunga , Sholunga! Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Bolo Bolo!Sholungo Sholungo!Then Prabhupad called me over.

Two three times I was saying Bolo Bolo and he called me. He said, “Don’t add any new words. Otherwise pretty soon we will have a new mantra, the Hare Krishna Bolo Bolo mantra!” (devotees laugh) At that time I was a chela(youngster or neophyte), I am still a chela, but at that time my guru taught me don’t add new words. Now if I do that chant Bolo Bolo, chant cholungo, cholungo... something, then everyone will say, “What guru is doing, we have to do.” The Hare Krishna Maha Mantra is 16 names, 32 syllables; no extra names. So Prabhupada was very careful. He was very cautious. In Bengal, there are many different sampradayas chanting many different speculated mantras. Like we have Nitai Gaur, Radhe Shyam, Hare Krishna Hare Ram! They were chanting this behind the Vrndavan temple.

One day Prabhupad said, Nitai Gaur, Radhe Shyam, Jai Krishna Balaram. They have three deities there, Nitai Gaur, Radhe Shyam and Krishna Balaram. Anyway, then also you have got Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Hare Krishna Hare Rama, Sri Radhe Govinda! Like that so many different names that people speculated. So Prabhupada asked, “Why are they chopping the mantras up?!Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadaadhara Srivas Aadi Gaur bhakta Vrnda. Pancha Tattva Mantra! But they chop up, Sri Krishna Caitanya. They take a part of this mantra, part of another mantra. So instead of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, They put Hare Krishna Hare Rama and they throw in Radhe Govinda. Then I asked the big pandit from that sampradaya, why are you chopping up the mantra like this. So then he said, you see, Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadaadhar Srivas Aadi Gaur bhakta Vrinda is very popular in Bengal and in Orissa. And Hare Krishna Hare Rama more or less in all of India. And Radha Govinda especially in Vrndavan in Northern India. So we have something for everyone. I said, “This is like a good business tactic.”And Prabhupada said, “We are not baniyas that we are just making mantras for publicity. Good business marketing technique! We have to chant according to what the Acharyas give us, what the shastras give us. So when you get the mantra, don’t chop it up. Sri Krishna Caitanya prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadaadhara Srivaas aadi Gaura Bhakta Vrnda. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hart Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!

Prabhupada said we can also chant the one other kirtan mantra, the favourite of Lord Caitanya.

Call and response :

Gurudev : Hari Haraaya Naama Krishna Yaadavaaya Namaha

Devotees : Hari Haraaya Naama Krishna Yaadavaaya Namaha

Guurdev : Gopal Govinda Ram Shri Madhusudhana

Devotees : Gopal Govinda Ram Shri Madhusudhana

Gurudev continues His speech :

Other than this, regular kirtans, these are the main main mantras, especially Pancha Tattva and Hare Krishna.

Other than that we have bhajans that we sing that should be the ones written by the acharyas or following properly in the mood of the acharyas. Some other sampradayas give the Hare Krishna Mantra. I met one person, he was initiated by another sampradaya not connected with Lord Caitanya. He said he was chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare for 26 years, but he wasn’t feeling any taste. I asked do you follow Lord Caitanya? He said, no, we don’t know about Lord Caitanya. So I gave him the Pancha Tattva Mantra and asked him to chant this before he chanted Hare Krishna.

After three months I went to that place again and he came running to me. He fell down, paid obeisances and grabbed my feet. Then he began to cry, what have you done for me? What have you done!Now when I chant Hare Krishna I am feeling so much bliss after chanting Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mantra!

Call and response :

Gurudev : Hari bol!

Devotees : Hari bol!

Gurudev : Gauranga!

Gurudev continues His speech:

So you are very fortunate here, because your local leader here, Shankadhari prabhu, is very strict, no deviations. Shankardhari prabhu ki jai! So very happy to be here to see so many nice devotees. I am thinking I should spend less time traveling internationally and more time here in Madurai and India! Hari Bol(devotees chant)! Somehow I have this curse that I have to travel. Prabhupad said he was cursed by his disciples, so he then told me that now you have to take this curse. He said, “You sanyasis have to take the curse, but I was the sanyasi right in front of him!” Now, today we are having this initiation, so we will also speak about the ten offences that should be avoided.

I won't speak now; someone else can say. Also, the importance of this verse for me is that we need that this parampara should be continued.

This is the big problem with this ritvik system that some years ago, somebody tried to spread the process that eliminates the parampara system. We believe in the parampara system.Prabhupada said that his disciples would initiate devotees who would become initiated disciples and would be his grand disciples. Disciple of his disciple!It is important; we want to continue that. Not only the mantra should be passed on but the practices, the bhakti, the teachings, all these things of Prabhupad’s culture, these things should be handed down.

Jayadhvani :

Jai Madhurapati ki!

Devotees: Jai!

Gurudev : Jai Sri Radha Madhurapati ki!

Devotees : Jai

Being initiated, Prabhupada said, is a glorious thing. It means one’s going back to Godhead in this lifetime. Of course, they need to follow the vows that they have taken and at the same time it means they are being accepted by the disciplic succession. The guru is acting as an agent. So that is a responsibility also to see that the parampara is carried forward. Just as we read today in the Bhagavatam how the Manus are protecting the world, Prabhupad wanted that the Iskcon movement would be known as the savior of the world!

Today we also have some people taking second initiation, which means that they are getting the empowerment to perform yagyas, sacrifices. Anandamayi Gauranga das is doing yagyas and they can learn from him and others how to do sacrifices, how to worship the deities that are installed.This is called the pancha raatriki initiation.The first is called bhagavati initiation because it follows the system of chanting Hare Krishna in the Bhagavatam. And the second initiation is following the pancharaatrik scriptures.

There is a verse: shruti smriti purana adi pancharaatrik vidim vinaa Aikanthik Hari patrik utpatyaiva kalpate That if we don’t follow the scriptures, the shrutis, the smritis, the puranas and other bonafide Vedic literatures, if we don’t follow the pancharaatrik vidhis, then our pure devotional service will be disturbed and destroyed. So our bhakti is not a sentimental thing, it is something, we have sentiments but we follow the system given by shastras. Our system for worshipping the deities is using the pancharaatriki system.This system was given by Narada muni – in five nights he gave the instructions; so it is called pancharaatri vidhi – five nights instructions. Most of the Sri Sampradaya and other sampradayas, many are following this pancharaatriki system.

Some do the Veda aagamans, but that is very difficult in Kali yuga. Pancharaatriki system is recommended for the Kali yuga.So like this also when we take initiation we take a dikshi guru, but we also have many sikshi gurus who are helping us and we should always be respectful to the siksha gurus. Also many Vaishanavas who are helping us. If somebody after initiation is very proud and thinks I have my guru and disrespects the others who helped them, that is a very neophyte attitude. They should respect all the devotees who are helping them. When we take the first initiation and the second initiation or any other initiation, we should take from the same guru. Otherwise, sometimes he may leave the world, then we take from the same sampradaya – Prabhupad’s sampradaya. We want people to be very fixed up in Prabhupad’s culture. Sometimes people ask me who to take as a guru – how to choose?

The first thing is to decide that the person will be in Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s parampara and consider Prabhupad as Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s special messenger in His parampara. Then whoever inspires you more in Srila Prabhupad’s teachings, you can take from him. This is our system. We want everyone to be very faithful to Prabhupad. We have some preliminary steps before the initiation. Hari Bhakti Vilas says there should be one to three years of trial – training. So first when one is chanting 16 rounds for six months, they get trained up in Srila Prabhupad’s teachings and his mood. Then after that we can choose one of his representatives as our personal guru. We take his shelter and that is called guru aashrayaa – taking shelter of the guru. Then we can practice by the following the system of whether it is working for us, whether we are practicing.Then sometime after that we have to ask for the initiation – the candidate has to ask. They have to want it. No force.

For some people, guru aashrayaa means – do we have a guru ashrayaa candidate today also? Some people, they are not able to get to the 16 rounds very fast because there may be many household duties, or too much work. Maybe they are students and too much studies and they can only chant 8 rounds. Or there are young mothers and the babies are taking too much time. Or maybe they are chanting 16 rounds, but they are not able to follow all the rules for one reason or another. So in 1992, Iskcon said that people who are in Iskcon for one year but they are not yet able to take the guru aashrayaa, because of some of these practical problems, but if they aspire to take guru ashrayaa and initiation in the future from a particular guru, then they can be considered as aspirants for the guru.

That means they are accepting the guru as the shiksha guru but from whom they want to take diksha from. So that way they can start to develop a personal relationship and he can help them also to come to the standard. Especially for the congregational devotees and the children of devotees and the young people. So we also on this initiation day, sometimes we give blessing if there are people who are aspiring in the future to be initiated and take shelter. So like that these are the different programs we are having today – I don’t know if there are any other samskaras scheduled? Annapraasan or first grain, for six months old babies. Eighth month pregnancy - simanthanayana.Fourth, sixth or eighth.

Have you got the porcupine quill?

Because we want to keep the families to do all these things because it is very good for them.It is the tradition of Manu that children, also of our good Krishna conscious couple, they also become Krishna conscious, so these samskaras help that. How many of you are grihasthas? How many of you will probably be grihasthas in the future? So how many of you want to have Krishna conscious children or your children to be Krishna conscious? (devotees answer by raising their hands).

That is why, you want to be Krishna conscious and give a good example and give them as much blessings as possible. Also by these samskaras, when they are in the womb, they can’t do anything for themselves but you can do a samskara to give them a blessing. And they when they are young and up to five years and not able to do much for themselves, you can help them by different samskaras.

Taking the first grains, vidhya aarambha, beginning their education, mundan– cutting their hair... What else? Sixteen samskaras to keep you all busy!And there are 10 main, dasham samskaras.

It is a good opportunity to get dressed up, the ladies can wear their good sarees and men can wear their nice clothes and have a nice feast! The materialists, they have their parties, we have our samskaras, our festivals. Spiritual party! We call it a festival! Actually, this initiation for those who are not born in a dvija family, then we also given them upanayanam and they can get the sacred thread. Because by chanting Hare Krishna for one year, it is considered they develop all the saatvic qualities. So they are qualified to get the upanayanam.

Those who already have upanayanam, they don’t have to take off their Brahmin thread. We are giving seven mantras. One is upanayanam mantra, the Savitri Gayatri and the other six are pancharaatrika mantras.

I am gradually getting old so I hope all my first initiated disciples, as many as are qualified can get the second initiation while I am still on the planet. Sometimes disciples want me to re-confirm the upanayanam, I speak that mantra to them also again. In Bangladesh, so many Hindus left and came to India, but most of the brahmanas, Kshatriyas and vaishyas they all left for some places. In one island called Hatiadvipa in Bangladesh, there are some islands there Sandvipa, Hatia, these islands have many Hindus but they have no brahamanas, no Kshatriya no vaishyas. Who is going to do the weddings? Vivaha samskara is also important. So there was one carpenter there and he was a shudra. He was the highest caste because the rest were below shudra! So he would perform the weddings. That is why they ask us, “Please, we want to get initiated, so that we can be trained and do it in a proper Vedic way.”

Here, in South India, there is no shortage of brahmanas. One time we went to one of the temples here, near Madurai. One of the priests came up to me (elderly priest) he told me, please, I have one intelligent son, please get him a job in America. I said, but you are a priest, you are so fortunate; you are serving the deities. Why do you want to send him to the mleccha desh? He said, “No. I have one less intelligent son, he is a priest. But the intelligent one, I want him to get a job overseas.” This is what is happening in our country. Before, the priest was considered to be the most intelligent of people. So like that, it's hard to find people even they may be born in a brahmana family they are practicing the brahminical tradition, if any where, in South India they do; rest of India even a brahmana family, they are not vegetarian. So how can they do samskara? So still Vedic culture is somewhat protected in South India. So Bhakti Siddhantha Saraswati Thakur said that if he has to be born in this planet again, he wanted to be born in South India! Jai(devotees respond).

But we are also making brahmanas and vaishnavas, so that they can continue on with our vaishnav tradition and with all these pancharaatrik samskaras. One important thing that it mentions here is how a good Krishna conscious family, husband and wife can produce also Krishna conscious children. What happens normally to get people married, there are so many considerations - caste, education, financial condition, that they don’t think so much about their spiritual condition. Sometimes the caste is good, the family is rich, educated, she has got her B. com, so let us get my son to marry her; but she is not a devotee, she does not chant, maybe she is not a pure vegetarian.

In Bengal, like this one aspiring disciple, was brought home by the parents and got married to one girl; she promised, “I will be vegetarian and practice your dharma.” After one year, they had a baby. Then she started eating non-veg again. The husband came and said, now what to do, we have a baby and I am attached, but now she eats non-veg. She said, “You knew, I came from a non-veg family. I promised.. yes I promised and I tried for one year! But now I cannot do any more.

Another one, he was from Jaipur, working in America, put an ad in a newspaper: “One Devotee Wife Needed.” So this lady applied. Yes, I am a devotee, I will marry you. Caste was okay, education, wealth, and they went to see her, she was at the Radha Govinda temple. She had a bead bag and she was chanting, so they thought, “Okay, she is a devotee let's get her married to our son. So they go married. Then she came to America, got her green card, her residency. Then they find that she is chanting not Hare Krishna! She is chanting Sai Ram, Sai Ram!(devotees laugh) She is a Sai Baba devotee! Not Hare Ram, Sai Ram! And she is shouting at the parents, she has no culture, so many problems. I can tell you like this but that will be another class, it won't be Bhagavatam class then!

Please don’t neglect. Please try to find a devotee. First (question) should be: is she a Krishna conscious devotee? We have so many devotees in different parts of India and in the world. Then you can see about caste and education and other things. Whether it is a girl looking for a boy – actually there are lots of boys looking for girls and lots of girls looking for boys in our Krishna conscious movement.So when you take initiation, you want to have Krishna conscious children; you have to have a Krishna conscious spouse.

Of course some times, if you cannot find, you do the best you can... vegetarian and everything, but you should investigate a little bit and make sure what they really are! Also like we have an agreement between Radhanath Swami and myself that my disciples can also marry his disciple. He has got five thousand disciples in his congregation. Anyway, being initiated means a lot of responsibilities and lot of good fortune!