Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reply to the Shastric Advisory Committee (SAC) ISKCON

The ISKCON Governing Body Commission’s (GBC) Sastric Advisory Committee (SAC) devoted extensive time to the study and critique of Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link (PL). I acknowledge and appreciate this. For several months in 2002, I corresponded with SAC members. This exchange enriched my understanding of the subject matter addressed in PL, as well as other topics connected with guru-tattva in Srila Prabhupada’s movement.

The SAC wrote, “We can agree without hesitation that Srila Prabhupada is the most prominent link to the sampradaya for all of his followers,” and confirmed that Srila Prabhupada being the prominent link to the parampara “is something few will disagree with.” With regard to worship practices within ISKCON, the SAC has requested the GBC to define the range of acceptable practices, and has recognized the need for guidelines in other matters for devotees who understand their primary guru relationship to be with Srila Prabhupada.

[PADA: Right, after making 230 gurus and having most of them deviate, run off to the Gaudiya Matha, bloop, fall down, get arrested, become "engaged in illicit sex with men, women and children" (as Jayadaita says has been going on) etc. its pretty obvious that the real link is Srila Prabhupada and not this never ending treadmill of debauchery, apasiddhanta etc.]

Further, in connection with the Terms of Relegation section of PL, the SAC has suggested “changing the wording of the GBC statement to eliminate the words ‘can’ and ‘may’. This step would establish what we understand to be the GBC’s position that having Prabhupada as one’s prominent guru is equally acceptable to any other situation.” In these and other ways, the SAC has grasped the spirit and intention of PL.

This article will address some points that hopefully will assist in further elucidating Srila Prabhupada’s relationship to those who contact his movement. These points include Srila Prabhupada’s presence in his vani and murti, initiation as a process, understandings of the term diksa, and Srila Prabhupada as our medium to understand previous acaryas.

The Initiation Process: Srila Prabhupada The Prominent Link asserts that the most essential aspect of the process of initiation is the delivery of divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge, from the spiritual master to the disciple. “Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness” (CC Madhya 9:63 Purport). Understanding this clarifies Srila Prabhupada’s role and relationship with the members of his movement.

The formal initiation ceremony is an important, transcendental component of the process of initiation. However, it is not the most fundamental element of initiation. Srila Prabhupada stated, “From 1922 to 1933 practically I was not initiated, but I got the impression of preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult. . . . And that was the initiation by my Guru Maharaja. Then officially I was initiated in 1933 . . .” (Lecture in Hyderabad, Dec. 10, 1970).

Our disciplic succession, as delineated by Srila Prabhupada, is characterized by transmission of divya-jnana. On the first page of an earlier edition of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Prabhupada even uses the term “initiated” to describe parampara relationships where no formal initiation ceremony occurred. “Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, who initiated Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who in turn initiated Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji.” (CC Adi, Page 1).
In the new edition of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta the words “initiated” in the above excerpt are deleted. According to a representative from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the main reason for this book change is that Srila Prabhupada’s usage of the term implies something other than the usage of the term “as we know it in ISKCON”. This, I believe, reflects a consciousness that may prevent fresh, unfiltered study of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, free from unexamined and perhaps unfounded assumptions that may have entered ISKCON and become part of its culture.

Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link devotes a chapter and an appendix to the above discussion. The paper of the Sastric Advisory Committee (SAC) did not address this change of Srila Prabhupada’s words, the import and impact of that change, and the ramifications of that modification on the ethos of the organization and its members. I believe it would be fruitful for the GBC, through the SAC or otherwise, straightforwardly to discuss this topic.

In discussions about the process of initiation, Srila Prabhupada sometimes refers to the essential aspect of initiation, as on the first page of Sri-Caitanya-caritamrta, and sometimes to the formal ceremony of initiation. In the purport to Madhya-lila 15:111, for example, Srila Prabhupada employs both usages. When he writes, “An advanced devotee should respect a person who has been initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and who is situated on the transcendental platform,” he refers to the essence of the process.

When Srila Prabhupada writes, “Whether a Vaisnava is properly initiated or not is not a subject for consideration. One may be initiated and yet contaminated by the Mayavada philosophy,” he refers to the official ceremony. The SAC contests the claim that transmission of transcendental knowledge is the essence of the process of initiation. In correspondence with the SAC, I wrote that initiation is a process ordained by Sri Krsna, and that the initiation ceremony is a part of that process. I concluded, “[The official ceremony] contains transcendental potency. Still, it is not the most essential aspect of the process of initiation.”

A SAC member replied, “You are wrong about that.” The SAC’s paper describes divya-jnana as a “secondary characteristic” of the initiation process. The disciplic succession as established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s song Sri Guru Parampara and Srila Prabhupada’s list at the end of the Introduction to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, describes a parampara based upon spiritual teachers giving spiritual knowledge to disciples, just as Sri Krsna describes in the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. In Bhagavad-gita (4:34) the word upadeksyanti means “they will initiate”, and this process of initiation consists of imparting spiritual knowledge.

Similarly, Sri Krsna opens Chapter Four by declaring “I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku.” Revealing divya-jnana to the student, rather than any formal element of the process, is the essence of the disciplic succession.

I suggest that the SAC’s focus on the formal ceremony of initiation at the possible expense of realizing the primary role of delivery of transcendental knowledge, is a legitimate cause for concern, especially in light of the damage caused in recent decades by over-emphasis on the formalities of initiation.
Srila Prabhupada presented a disciplic succession grounded in the essential principles of Krsna consciousness. We need to adjust the imbalance that has arisen since his disappearance to avoid degeneration to a hollow, ritualistic religion.

As part of its response to the section of PL entitled “Srila Prabhupada is Qualified to be Worshipped”, the SAC wrote: “We do not make formal offerings to Sukadeva in our regular puja because he is not in the line of initiators of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya. The diksa-guru of a properly initiated devotee in ISKCON, however, is the immediate link in the diksa-parampara for his disciple.”
This seems to imply that being in the line of formal initiators is the criterion for being formally worshipped, in ways such as pictures on the altar and pranam mantras, in Srila Prabhupada’s movement.

If we consider, however, the altar that Srila Prabhupada gave us, and the way he defined the parampara, we see that worship is not based on performance of initiation ceremonies. I cite the above example from the SAC paper as an instance where the organizational culture of accentuating the ceremonial aspects of the initiation process may cloud our understanding of the legacy that Srila Prabhupada has given. Srila Prabhupada did not emphasize the diksa-parampara. PL mentions Sukadeva Goswami to illustrate that lack of formal worship for a Vaisnava does not indicate neglect or disrespect.

As another instance of supposition that has perhaps been insufficiently questioned influencing the organizational culture, the SAC wrote, “Since this is the formal pancaratrika method, the guru who is given the offering first is normally the pancaratrika diksa-guru. There may be exceptions; the guru-parampara given to us by Srila Prabhupada for worship in ISKCON, for example, includes Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s siksa-guru, Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, rather than his diksa-guru. Nonetheless, offering puja first to one’s diksa-guru is the norm practiced in all Vaisnava sampradayas.”
This apparently suggests that it is an exception for links in the parampara not to include a relationship involving a formal initiation ceremony. From the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, most of the disciplic succession connections do not involve formal initiation. Thus, what we have come to accept in ISKCON as the “standard” parampara system is perhaps not actually standard.

Definitions of Diksa: Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link maintains that Srila Prabhupada is the direct link to the parampara for devotees who receive direct spiritual knowledge primarily from him. “Direct link” in the above sentence is defined as “the Vaisnava who directly gives transcendental knowledge more than any other devotee.” This definition is consistent with the criterion by which Srila Prabhupada delineates the parampara in Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

This definition of the direct and primary link to the disciplic succession is not dependent on any particular definition of diksa. Whatever one’s definition of diksa, Srila Prabhupada is the main and predominant connection to the disciplic succession for those who receive spiritual knowledge primarily from him.

That said, PL presents various perspectives on the term diksa, directly based on Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. This is included in PL because there has been too much emphasis in the organization on the understanding of diksa as a formal ceremony. By presenting several quotes from Srila Prabhupada illustrating that diksa is a process for awakening transcendental knowledge, we hope to broaden the perspective of devotees and to inspire deep thought on the significance of spiritual life. Simultaneously, such alternative perspectives can be helpful in providing a synthesis for resolving ingrained conflicts amongst Srila Prabhupada’s sincere followers.

Srila Prabhupada writes, “Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity.” (CC Madhya 15.108 Purport). In the purport to Madhya-lila, 4.111, Srila Prabhupada states, “Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination.” Srila Prabhupada’s statements in the quotations above are, we believe, unambiguous, not requiring interpretation.

The SAC paper quotes PL as follows: Srila Prabhupada described initiation as a process, with the essence of this process being the delivery of divya-jnana, or transcendental knowledge, from the spiritual master to the disciple. . . . Initiation, as described above, is a process. Components of this process include receiving and implementing the instructions to wear kanthi mala and Vaisnava tilaka, and receiving a Vaisnava name. The most essential aspect of initiation is receiving transcendental knowledge from a realized spiritual master. [excerpt from PL quoted in SAC paper].

The SAC paper then provides several pages of analysis on the quotes from the Madhya-lila references above, concluding with the paragraph that begins with the sentence, “Of course, the properly observed vows of initiation do lead to the gain of spiritual knowledge and defeat of ignorance, but these are secondary characteristics.”

In that section the SAC cites authorities such as Sanatana Gosvami, Narahari Sarakara, and Jiva Gosvami. As a general principle we refer to Srila Prabhupada to understand previous acaryas, not vice versa. We suggest that Srila Prabhupada’s meaning in the cited purports of Madhya-lila are clear, and do not demand reference elsewhere for understanding. The SAC’s linguistic analysis of the Goswamis’ literature may justify a reminder cited in the SAC paper. “The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it.” (Bhag. 1:4:1 Purport).

Srila Prabhupada is Living and Present: Transmission of divya-jnana, and not physical presence, is the defining characteristic of the parampara. “Although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the spiritual master.” (Lecture by Srila Prabhupada, January 13, 1969). As a present and living guru, Srila Prabhupada is fully capable to perform the functions of the direct link to the parampara for his followers, regardless of when they received formal initiation.
This does not minimize the important roles played by Srila Prabhupada’s followers in helping others to connect with him.

The SAC also accepts that Srila Prabhupada can be considered the direct and current link to the disciplic succession, though qualifying: “This makes sense if we understand ‘current and direct link’ to mean the universal, permanent Siksa-guru of ISKCON.” Considering the defining characteristic of the parampara, Srila Prabhupada should be considered the current and direct link to the disciplic succession, without qualifying terms, by all who directly receive transcendental knowledge primarily from him.

The SAC wrote, “If there can only be one guru in ISKCON, and he cannot be categorized as guru in any specific sense, then yes, we should choose Srila Prabhupada.” The understanding of Srila Prabhupada as the guru, the spiritual master referred to when members of his movement refer to the singular spiritual master, has been obscured for many in ISKCON. When Srila Prabhupada writes, “Lord Krsna originally made Vivasvan His first disciple” (BG 4:1 Purport), we accept simply that Lord Krsna was Vivasvan’s spiritual master. Our natural response is not to attempt to demarcate the limits of how and in what sense Lord Krsna is Vivasvan’s spiritual master.

Similarly, with the listing of gurus in the parampara, it is not Srila Prabhupada’s mood to be chiefly concerned with whether the preceding guru is the guru of the successive spiritual master in terms of diksa, siksa, pancaratrika marga or bhagavata marga. He lists gurus in terms of the most prominent spiritual master in the disciple’s life.

In that sense it is imperative that we educate all who contact Srila Prabhupada’s movement that he is, or at least is available to be, their most prominent guru. This does not negate the fact that there are other spiritual teachers, as there were in the era of Vivasvan and in all ages. From our perspective, the tenor of the SAC paper overly accentuates terms and concepts, such as siksa-guru, diksa-guru and pancaratrika, at the expense of focusing on Srila Prabhupada’s primacy as the main guru who is personally available for members of his movement.

In listing the disciplic succession in Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srila Prabhupada did not qualify Srila Narottama das Thakur’s relationship with Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, or Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s relationship with Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur. If asked who is the link to the disciplic succession for Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, we reply “Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji”, without need to explain that Jagannatha dasa Babaji is only a certain type of guru for Srila Bhaktivinode. Such explanations of varieties of gurus and different margas of devotional service may be helpful in some circumstances. However, such discussions should not obscure the plain understanding of Srila Prabhupada as the primary guru and main link to the parampara.

Srila Prabhupada, as a living, eternal spiritual master, is the guru in whom implicit faith must exist in order for the imports of Vedic knowledge to be revealed to the disciple. The disciple naturally will have other teachers, including the Vaisnava who conducts the initiation ceremony, whom he reveres and profoundly respects. He might not, however, have implicit, unconditional faith in these instructors.
He may consider one or more of them infallible, on the absolute platform of realization, but that is not necessary. It is essential that a devotee have at least one guru in whom such implicit faith exists. Srila Prabhupada is fully capable to fulfill that role for all who take shelter in his movement.

Similarly, Srila Prabhupada is the primary guru in the sense that, without his mercy, members of his movement could not advance in Krsna consciousness. Thus, he is the spiritual master described in the verse, “By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement.”

We have each received the mercy of many Vaisnavas. Some from whom we have received mercy and blessings are, for whatever reason, no longer active and present in our lives, and some may even have left the practice of Vaisnavism. Still, we are able to receive the benediction of Krsna because Srila Prabhupada’s mercy is constantly available. This is another sense in which Srila Prabhupada, in a personal and living way, is the main spiritual master, in the most important sense of the term, for devotees in his mission.

Srila Prabhupada, as the spiritual master without whose mercy we do not receive the benediction of Krsna, the guru in whom we must have implicit faith, and the direct and prominent connection to the disciplic succession, is delivering his followers from material bondage, regardless of when they received formal initiation. To accomplish this necessitates that he is living and present.
He is present in his vani, and in his murti form. We believe that realization of the tenets of PL follows naturally from understanding his presence in these forms. The SAC wrote “[Srila Prabhupada] is alive in his instructions, in his murti. . . .” Still, we’re not clear about their certainty on this point.
In correspondence between the SAC and this author, one SAC member quoted PL:

Just as Sri Krsna, Srimati Radharani, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are non-different from Their Deity forms, and are fully capable to act and relate in Their Deity forms, the murtis and pictures of the parampara acaryas, such as Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, can similarly act non-differently from the acaryas. Obviously this requires special empowerment from the Supreme Lord. Ordinary persons, or even aspiring Vaisnavas, are not able to reciprocate in their picture form in the way that the great acaryas do. [excerpt from PL quoted by a member of the SAC in his correspondence with this author]. The SAC member replied, “This is a novel theory, or at least one I am not familiar with, that the murtis and pictures of specially empowered acaryas are equally potent to the murtis of the Supreme Lord and His internal potency, while the images of less empowered Vaisnavas are impotent.
The arca-murti of the Personality of Godhead is a special incarnation, nondifferent from His original self, and manifests all His potencies to those who worship Him with love. The murti or picture of one’s guru is recognized as the proper place to make offerings in worship, but as far as I know the Vaisnava sastras do not identify the guru’s image as the same kind of arca-murti.”

Many followers of Srila Prabhupada, including this author, believe that Srila Prabhupada is fully living and present in his murti form. It is important that the GBC and SAC clarify this issue for themselves and members of ISKCON. We receive transcendental knowledge through sound. Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.26.33) states, “Persons who are learned and who have true knowledge define sound as that which conveys the idea of an object, indicates the presence of a speaker screened from our view and constitutes the subtle form of ether.”

Srila Prabhupada is present, though he is screened from our view, just as Lord Sri Krsna was screened from the view of Lord Brahma. Sri Krsna initiated Brahma with sound. Through transcendental service Brahma could perceive Krsna. Knowledge given by Srila Prabhupada is apaurusa, “not spoken by any person materially created” (Bhag. 3.26.33 Purport). Srila Prabhupada, though screened from view due to our limitations, gives transcendental knowledge, just as Sri Krsna delivered spiritual truth to Brahma at the beginning of our disciplic succession.

Thus, this understanding of the parampara, based on transcendental sound, and not on the formal initiation ceremony, exists from the start of the parampara. A person contacts Srila Prabhupada’s movement and primarily hears from him, and therefore Srila Prabhupada is his direct link to the disciplic succession. In correspondence, SAC members would refer to Srila Prabhupada as a “previous acarya”, a term with which this author is not comfortable in reference to Srila Prabhupada. We maintain that Srila Prabhupada is living in his instructions and murti form, and is a present acarya.
Even with regard to the concept of “physical presence”, we’re not sure that we can support the SAC’s contention that “he is not physically present.” Srila Prabhupada installed his murti before his disappearance, and it will be valuable to consider the meaning of that action in terms of Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence.

Clarification of PL Principles and Dialogue with SAC: We would like to clarify some points in PL that may not have been accurately represented in the SAC’s paper. The Prologue to the Second Printing of PL explains that the principles of serving, honoring, and glorifying Vaisnavas, including the devotee who conducts the initiation ceremony, are presented about twenty times in the PL essay.

“Still,” the Prologue continues, “some readers perceived that this point was not sufficiently emphasized in the essay, or even that the PL model is opposed to these principles. Herein we reiterate the essentiality for devotees in Srila Prabhupada’s movement to submissively and cooperatively serve other devotees, and to learn from and take shelter in senior and advanced devotees. These principles are completely consistent with accepting Srila Prabhupada as the prominent link to the disciplic succession.”

In some places the SAC paper gives an impression that PL is averse to respecting and venerating Vaisnavas other than Srila Prabhupada. The SAC states that the initiator should be allowed the honor of being considered one’s guru. This is clearly stated in PL, though PL also emphasizes that Srila Prabhupada is, for many and perhaps most members of his movement, the main guru, directly, and this must be recognized. The SAC paper states that ISKCON gurus deserve “the respect of his disciples”, apparently implying that PL opposes this idea. A reader of PL can ascertain that PL fully supports this concept. The SAC writes, “Whatever may have been the actual relationship between Srila Bhaktivinoda and his diksa-guru (and we hear different stories about this from different sources), it is known that Srila Bhaktivinoda never behaved disrespectfully toward him.” This seems to imply that PL advocates disrespectful behavior, which it doesn’t.

The SAC rhetorically asks, “If we think Srila Prabhupada cannot empower his disciples despite their imperfections, how strong is our faith in him?” Obviously Srila Prabhupada is empowering his followers in amazing ways. This is consistent with the principles in PL. In correspondence with the SAC, this author wrote, “I, and probably each of us, have many gurus, in the sense of devotees who have inspired and guided us in Krsna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada is not my only guru, although, as described in Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link, if I had to identify one person as my main spiritual master, that would certainly be Srila Prabhupada.”

On the same topic of plurality of spiritual teachers, I expressed to the SAC, There is the telescope analogy, wherein we understand that, just as the more finely crafted lenses possessed by a telescope, the more our eye has a direct relationship with the stellar bodies, so similarly, the more transparent servants between us and Krsna or the spiritual master, the more our direct relationship with Krsna and the spiritual master is enhanced. We all accept this important point about the acintya-bheda-bheda-tattva mystery of the disciplic succession.

Still, there is another point about our direct relationship with Srila Prabhupada. That is, all members of Srila Prabhupada’s movement have, or should have, a direct relationship with him not mediated by other followers of Srila Prabhupada. That direct relationship is the prime focus of PL. This is not to minimize the extent to which the direct relationship with Srila Prabhupada is enriched and enhanced through the process of serving the servants of Srila Prabhupada. But there is also the unmediated direct relationship, and PL proposes that that unmediated direct relationship is for many, including those who did not receive formal initiation from Srila Prabhupada, the most prime and essential unmediated direct relationship in their spiritual life.

The SAC article states: “Dhira Govinda Prabhu himself is in the position of having received his initiations after Srila Prabhupada’s departure. When asked by a SAC member to identify his one diksa-guru, Dhira Govinda Prabhu said that if he were to answer according to the PL understanding, he would have to say that Srila Prabhupada was his one diksa-guru.” What I wrote to the SAC is: “If initiator is defined in terms of the conductor of the first initiation ceremony, then my initiator is Bhagavan Prabhu. If initiator is defined in terms of the conductor of the second initiation ceremony, then my initiator is Danavir Maharaja. If initiator is defined in terms of the prime giver of transcendental knowledge (as Srila Prabhupada uses the term on the first page of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta), then my initiator is Srila Prabhupada. Whatever definition you are comfortable with, that’s okay with me (not that acceptance by me need be relevant for any of the recipients of this posting). . . . The assertions in the essay are not dependent on this discussion of terminology, which isn’t to say that this discussion of terminology isn’t important (it is important).”

Many concepts in this response article, about which readers may have questions, are addressed in Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link, especially in the Questions and Answers chapter. Issues addressed include: Pure devotees in Srila Prabhupada’s movement; discussion of how initiates will practically conduct their spiritual life in the PL model; the question of acceptance of acaryas such as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as the direct link to the parampara; and the topic of “Whose disciples are they?”

After the GBC meetings in 2002 I contacted the Chairman of the SAC, as the GBC requested. In Vrndavana we had a friendly conversation and touched on some of the points in PL. He said that the SAC would contact me when they were ready to discuss PL in detail. That took a few months, and, in July 2002, the SAC and I began email correspondence. We corresponded for more than three months.
After completing the day’s Vaisnava Life Skills course that I was teaching in Radhadesa (Belgium) in early November 2002, a member of the GBC phoned. He had heard that I was planning to publish a second printing of PL. He asked whether it would be acceptable for me if I included the full correspondence between the SAC and I in that second printing. He was under the impression that the SAC would likely agree to this. I readily agreed, though I cautioned him I was doubtful that the SAC would consent.

When I returned to Alachua a few days later, I received correspondence from this GBC member and the SAC Chairman, confirming that the SAC wanted to keep our correspondence confidential and did not want it available to the devotee public. I remain eager for that correspondence to be made available, and for anything I’ve written therein to be scrutinized.

Regarding my cooperation with the SAC, I wrote to them on August 31, 2002:
I am appreciating and absorbing the comments and reflections of the members of the SAC, and, whatever further realizations you have to share, I’ll be glad to hear and study. If the SAC would like me to contribute to some paper (probably primarily exploratory rather than conclusive) in collaboration with the committee members, that sounds like a productive, albeit long-term, project. For the more immediate future perhaps the SAC can make some specific recommendations and proposals to the GBC, based on our discussions. I’ll help out with this if you’d like.

I remain open and enthusiastic to hear from and discuss with Vaisnavas, including members of the SAC, about elements in PL, as well as other topics of interest to them.

Conclusion: When a person contacts Srila Prabhupada’s movement, he has found a spiritual master. He doesn’t need to continue looking for a guru, in the sense of the guru who is his primary link to the parampara and main inspiration in spiritual life. By establishing a connection with Srila Prabhupada he has linked with a bona fide spiritual master on the absolute platform in whom he can place unconditional faith and to whom he can securely and completely surrender and render service.
Naturally, during the course of his devotional life, other Vaisnavas will inspire, guide and teach him. The relationships with and depth of faith in these devotees will be varied, though all will be characterized by respect and gratitude. The formal initiation ceremony is a transcendental event that officially acknowledges that the initiate has already connected with the parampara via a direct service relationship with Srila Prabhupada.

That relationship does not become indirect at the time of the official initiation, though of course the initiate’s connection with Srila Prabhupada will continually be enriched by the mentoring of many devotees. We suggest that throughout Srila Prabhupada’s movement initiations based on the understanding that Srila Prabhupada is the direct link to the disciplic succession for the initiate be made available. YS Dhira govinda dasa.

1 comment:

  1. Srila Prabhupada Tested Me and After I Passed His Test and Never Accepted a So Called Yogi as God He Revived My Krishna Consciousness and Awakened the Divine Knowledge Within My Heart. Now The So Called Yogi who claimed he was God has proven to be a Hoax by His Followers. Please Read My Ritvik Initiation Experience in My Blog at http://zaysen.blogspot.com in 2009 post as to How I was Initiated Into The Mahamantra by His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.


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