Chakra Discussions

Not accepting formal diksa should be rare exception

by Ramagopal Uppaluri

Posted May 31, 2003

Madhavananda das has proposed that some devotees in our disciplic succession never underwent formal diksa. All these personalities, however, were stalwart devotees sent by the Lord to assist the progress of the Sankirtana movement. Neither SAC members nor Dhira Govinda das have offered this clause, which could add additional weight to both arguments.

Great personalities are overwhelmed with Krsna prema; do they need to accept formalities? Lord Caitanya requested Haridas Thakur to reduce the number of rounds he was doing near the time of his departure. Is this not a contradiction to His own teaching? A pure devotee of the Lord is always under the protection of the Lord's spiritual energy; his activities are not subject to material contamination. This point was not emphasized in the arguments.

Few devotees new to ISKCON and other Gaudiya sampradayas are such "Mahabhagavatas and stalwart devotees" who, appearing in the material world to assist the mission of Lord Caitanya, need not undergo "formal diksa".

Comparing a newcomer's initiation to the "siksa link" of great personalities offends the service of the Lord. When a gulf separates great personalities and ourselves, formal initiation through a Vaisnava guru is necessary. This basic rule of ISKCON shall remain as long as neophyte devotees come to take shelter of Krsna.

Dhira Govinda does not oppose the formal initiation system. However, some future devotee may propose Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja as his "Prominent Link". Mastering the words of Bhagavad-gita, one could argue that Sri Krsna Himself is his "Prominent Link". Sri Krsna has been our guru (and so-called "Prominent Link" in English word jugglery) residing in our heart as Paramatma and guiding us every day. However, we don't feel this every minute and every second.

In the so called "Prominent Links", one may ignore service to greater Vaisnavas. In other words, if Dhira Govinda removes the ifs and buts, there is a tendency of his work to lead to impersonalism.

Dhira Govinda prabhu ought also to look at other sampradayas. There can be exceptions available in paramparas, but exceptions have been for exceptional devotees, not a general rule for a big organization like ISKCON.

Formal diksa initiation is necessary for neophytes to advance gradually to devotional service. Following the basic set of rules in ISKCON can be easy. However, to act in the platform of a great bhakta, one needs gradual training from a senior devotee.

The person undergoing initiation has to decide whether he is on the platform and philosophical conviction of great personalities like Jagannatha das Babaji or Srila Sanatana Goswami, or if he is far away from Krsna-prema, addicted to sense gratification. Using this logic, the candidate will look forward to diksa initiation.

To be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada is very great, but to be a grand-disciple is even better. In Bharatiya culture, grandparents offer more love and affection to grandsons and granddaughters than they offer to their own sons and daughters. The obvious connection of any grand-disciple of Prabhupada is also loving spiritually.