References for the below article:
- The Bhakti Trilogy – Translation of Bengali writings by Srila Visvanath Chakravarthy Thakura
- Prema Bhakti Chandrika – Narottama Thakhura Mahasaya
- Raga Vartma Candrika – Visvanath Chakravarthy Thakura
- Walking with a saint – Morning Walks with Srila Narayana Maharaj
- Elucidations about Siddha Deha by Gurudeva – Param Pujya Premdasa Babaji Maharaj
There is a hell of a confusion amongst many people I met in the past about initiation and the various connotations of the word initiation itself with respect to thevarious institutions. I shall try to elaborate on the topics based on a study of the above books and clarifications provided to me by Srila Gurudeva himself.
There are these following terms : Initiation, Hari Nama Samskar, Deeksha, Brahmaniyam , Siddha Pranali or Guru Pranali.
With respect to some institutions we hear terms like Initiation and Brahman Deeksha or 2nd level and 1st level Deeksha.
with respect to certain other institutions we hear terms like Hari Nama and Deeksha
with respect to the 6 parivaras we hear terms like Hari Nama Samskar, Deeksha, Siddha Pranali or Guru Pranali .
Now there needs to be absolute clarity when we come across these terms because by experience I feel that half the world is confused about the terminologies and mix up badly about what each terms means and sometimes even the so-called Gurus are also messed up when they use these terminologies.
I shall explain each term below
Inititiation: Actually does not mean anything!! It just means start of spiritual life in Krishna Bhajana!! In institutions when somebody is given the Mahamantra by Gurudeva people say “I am initiated”. In some temples it is accompanied by Fire-sacrifice etc.But technically one should not at all use this term. It does not really tell you anything about the status of a devotee with respect to his relationship with Gurudeva. However this is the most widely used terminology in the world; “unfortunately”. Now there is another misconception. A person who initiates you is your “Shiksha Guru”. You can have multiple Shiksha Gurus and the one who gives you Hari Nama is only one amongst thousands of Shiksha Gurus you may accept be it embodied or even Gurus who have no physical body in the current time. Thus your “Initiating Guru” does not bind you in any way. You are free to accept other gurus until you finally accept a Deeksha Guru who can only be one in your entire life-span.
Brahman Deeksha( according to some institutions) : Again this is a “institution” specific terminology ; none of the Vaishnava Sastras written by the 6 goswamis of Vrindavana and the recognized Acarayas like Srila Visvanatha Chakravarthy Thakura , Baldeva Vidyabhushana speak of this term!! It is actually derived from the Smartha Cult in a way that the Brahma Gayatri is given to the devotee who has already undergone “Initiation” or 1st Initiation so to say . The Gaura Mantra , The Gopala Mantra and the Brahma Gayatri is given to the devotee in addition to the already attained Harinama ( Initiation). This terminology became popular as per rules set by the ISKCON world!! The Brahman Deekshais also called 2nd level Deeksha by some. Once you are under Brahman Deeksha you cannot accept another Guru. That Guru is whom you have taken shelter for this life and even in subsequent life-times ; this Gurudeva comes back or sends another guru who will be empowered by this Gurudeva.
Hari nama: If you happen to be a devotee from some lesser known institutions people may ask “Have you taken Hari Nama?”. This is the same as initiation in the popular institution parlance.
Deeksha: (Lesser known institutions) If you happen to be a devotee from such places people may ask “Have you taken Deeksha?” Deeksha does not mean Hari nama. It means have you taken shelter under Gurudeva? After having studied the Deeksha Mantras given at these places ( through reliable sources) and some popular institutions I see that the Beejas ( the seed of the mantra) have minor differences and thus the effect received by chanting the Deeksha mantras are also different.
Now one thing that both the institutions discussed above only talk about “Going Back Home Back to Godhead” What does this mean anyway. Has anybody probed further as to what is the technical process through which I will enter Goloka and even if I enter Goloka where exactly will I land up? They say ” Chant Hare Krishna and go back home back to Godhead” But how? Some say I trust in Samasti Guru in some form of an earlier siddha. He will take me through the back-door. Yes this is possible but there are conditions to it. How do you know that the Siddha is communicating with you? How can we be sure that my trust in that Siddha is 150%? Do you think Mayadevi will not challenge your trust? Let me tell you even if this is possible ..only 1 in a million will succeed and only a Mahapurusha who has established such a path ..saying that There have been some very rare cases in these institutions ; these devotees reveal this on their death-bed… having been contacted by the siddha We cannot quote such examples… Also according to the Sastras if someone depends completely on the Holy Name and chants like mad and continues the same on one’s deathbed one may enter Goloka but not at a cherished spot within Goloka. Yes it is also possible that such a devotee ends up with aiswarya bhava of Dwaraka or Vaikuntha depending on what is the nature of Guru that we have accepted in the heart and what is the reciprocal response of the Guru. One needs to understand that .. this is not the internal mood of Sriman Mahaprabhu. It is the external mood. We have to aim (sadhana) at the internal mood of Sriman Mahaprabhu and attain what He had designed for His most cherished devotees that is to attain the most confidential pastimes of the Nikunja leela nothing less than the highest mood as conceived for us by Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself!!!