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Table of Contents
- The Supreme Glories of Surrendering Fully to a Shiksha-Guru
- Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself considered his Shiksha-Guru to be more important than his Diksha-Guru
- Scriptures and Acharyas on How Shiksha-Guru is More Important than Even Diksha-Guru
- Some of Srila Prabhupada's crystal-clear and direct quotes on this matter
- Diksha is Not Needed at Attain Pure Love According to Srila Jiva Goswami
- Why Diksha Helps but it does Not mean that if Does Not Get Diksha one cannot Attain Pure Love
- Why Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Gave the Shiksha Parampara
- Diksha has to be accepted from a living Guru. But a pure devotee living Guru may be very difficult to find. Whereas Shiksha can be accepted even from any of our previous purest Acharyas
- Shiksha-Guru is So Important that Srila Prabhupada states that only the Shiksha-Guru should normally go on to Become the Diksha-Guru later
- If the Diksha-Guru Falls Down, One can Still Take the Full Shelter of the Living Shiksha Guru or the Previous Acharya Shiksha Gurus and attain Pure Love for the Lord
- Srila Narayana Maharaja on Shiksha Guru’s Importance and the Non-Mandatory Nature of Diksha
- Questions and Answers of Shiksha and Diksha
The Supreme Glories of Surrendering Fully to a Shiksha-Guru
No formal pancharatriki diksha is needed to take full shelter of an advanced devotee as one's eternal shiksha-guru.
One can receive that shiksha-guru's complete mercy through his divine bhagavata sound (vani) and attain pure love for the Lord.
Just like Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura did from Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji.
This is the meaning of the Cc verse 1.1.58: shiksha-guru haya krishnera mahanta svarupe.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself considered his Shiksha-Guru to be more important than his Diksha-Guru
There is not so much mention of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's diksha-guru at all.
Even Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada did not list Srila Bhaktivinoda's diksha-guru in his Guru Parampara.
So the shiksha-guru can be more important in a disciple's life than the diksha-guru, in many cases.
siksa-guru-brnda, krpa koriya apar; sadhake sikhan, sadhaner anga-sar (Sri Kalyana Kalpataru)
"I consider my numerous instructing spiritual masters (siksa-gurus) to be more important.
"Because they show unlimitedly more mercy by training the neophyte devotees in all the essential aspects of practical devotional service (sadhana-bhakti)."
– Sri Sri Kalyana Kalpataru: A Songbook of 62 Bengali Songs by Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Scriptures and Acharyas on How Shiksha-Guru is More Important than Even Diksha-Guru
siksa-guruke ta’, jani krsnera svarupa; antaryami, bhakta-srestha,—ei dui rupa (Cc 1.1.47)
"Know that the shiksha-guru is directly Krishna Himself personified.
"The external shiksha-guru and the internal Supersoul (Nitai) are two of Krishna's primary guru forms."
Srila Prabhupada in his purport: “When by learning from the self-realized spiritual master one actually engages himself in the service of Lord Visnu, functional devotional service begins. . .”
jive saksat nahi tate, guru chaitya-rupe; siksa-guru haya, krsna-mahanta-svarupe (Cc 1.1.58)
“One may not be able to visually experience the presence of the Supersoul in the conditioned stage.
“Hence the Supersoul appears before us as the shiksha-guru, who is the mahanta-form of Krishna Himself.”
Srila Prabhupada in his purport: “It is not possible for a conditioned soul to directly meet Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if one becomes a sincere devotee and seriously engages in devotional service, Lord Krishna sends an instructing spiritual master to show him favor and invoke his dormant propensity for serving the Supreme. The preceptor appears before the external senses of the fortunate conditioned soul . . .”
From Sri Harinama-cintamani of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:
“The diksa-guru and the siksa-guru are both intimate servitors of Lord Krsna.”
“ . . . the advanced devotee who instructs and guides the disciple in the confidential service of Sri-Sri Radha and Krishna is the siksa-guru.”
“A devotee must understand that the adi-guru, original spiritual master of the sampradaya, is the siksa-guru, and only his teachings are to be accepted and not those of any other scholar or teacher.”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in Sri Caitanya caritamrta 1.1.47 purport:
“After attaining the mercy of the siksa-guru, the instructions, which are then given on the pure service of Visnu, are known as abhidheya.
"The siksa-guru in the form of a servitor, the personification of abhidheya, is non-different from the diksa-guru - the bestower of sambandha-jnana. Both of them are Gurudeva.”
Some of Srila Prabhupada’s crystal-clear and direct quotes on how Shiksha-Guru is no less important than Diksha-Guru
“The initiating and instructing spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Krsna, although they have different dealings.” (Cc 1.1.34 purport)
“Therefore, there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru . . .” (Room conversation in Bhubanesvar on Jan. 31, 1977)
“According to sastric injunctions, there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru.” (SB 4.12.32 purport)
“There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service.” (Cc 1.1.47 purport)
"Siksa-guru, diksa-guru means . . . Sometimes a diksa-guru is not present always. Therefore, one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the siksa-guru." (Lecture in Honolulu, July 4, 1974)
“So Krishna is within as caitya-guru, and when we are serious, He comes out as the spiritual master. Siksa-guru, diksa-guru. So there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru and Krishna. Krishna manifests Himself externally as siksa-guru and diksa-guru.” (Lecture in Vrindavan on Oct. 29, 1972)
“The first manifestation described is the spiritual master, who appears in two plenary parts called the initiating spiritual master and instructing spiritual master. They are identical because both of them are phenomenal manifestations of the Supreme Truth.” (Caitanya-caritamrita, Introduction to Adi Lila)
“He helps us from within as Caitya Guru, and He expands Himself externally as Siksa Guru (as instructor) and Diksa Guru (initiator). So, the principle is that whatever you are instructed by the Caitya Guru internally may be confirmed by the instructor OR initiator externally. Then your progress will be complete.” (Letter to Sivananda, May 21, 1969)|
“Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami states that the instructing spiritual master is a bona-fide representative of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna Himself teaches us as the instructing spiritual master from within and without. From within, He teaches as Paramatma, our constant companion, and from without He teaches from the Bhagavad-gita as the instructing spiritual master.” (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 1.47, purport)
Diksha is Not Needed to Attain Pure Love According to Srila Jiva Goswami
One of the verses which clearly establishes this truth is from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta 2.15.108 which states:
dikshA-purascharyA-vidhi apekshA nA kare | jihvA-sparshe, A-chAndAla sabAre uddhAre ||
Its literal translation is:
“The holy name does not (nA) depend at all (apekshA) on diksha, purascharya (sacrifices), or any vidhi (rituals).
"If the holy name simply touches the tongue of even the most lowest and ghostly person in creation, it will completely deliver that soul, even if that soul does not have a diksha-guru.”
Sri Ramarcana-candrika quoted by Srila Prabhupada in Cc 2.15.108 states:
vinaiva diksAm viprendra, purascaryAm vinaiva hi; vinaiva nyAsa-vidhinA, japa-matrena siddhi-dA.
“‘O best of the brahmanas, even without initiation, preliminary purification or acceptance of the renounced order, one can attain total perfection in devotional service simply by chanting and remembering the Lord’s holy names and pastimes.’”
Srila Jiva Gosvami further elucidates this rarely know truth in Sri Bhakti Sandarbha, Anuccheda 284.
He states that formal nama-diksha is just a preparatory deed in the archana-marga.
He further clarifies that is not pure bhagavata-marga.
Thus diksha is not mandatory for attaining pure bhakti, but it may be accepted to help attain that goal if available or possible. Srila Jiva writes:
“Indeed the mantra consists of the names of Bhagavan.
“Therefore the mantras chanted by great devotees and sages are characterized with the ornamented namah and contain special potency nondifferent from Sri Bhagavan.
“They cause one to obtain a special relationship with the Lord without any diksha also.“
tatra kevalAni srIbhagavan-nAmAny api nirapekSANy eva parama-puruSArtha-phala-paryanta-dAna-samarthAni
“Therefore the mere (kevalAni) chanting the name of Bhagavan is FULLY AND INDEPENDENTLY (nirapeshAny) SUFFICIENT AND CAPABLE (samarthAni) to award us the fruit of the supreme goal of life (parama-purushArtha of pure love).“
Srila Jiva Gosvami confirms this higher truth in the previous Anuccheda 283 also:
...pancharAtrAdivad archana-mArgasyAvashyakatvaM nAsti...
“In the opinion of the Bhagavata Purana, the path of archana which includes diksha, like the Pancaratra and so forth, IS NOT (nAsti) NECESSARY (AvashyakatvaM), since, EVEN WITHOUT THAT, one can fully achieve the supreme goal of human life (puruSArtha-siddher) by one of the other more powerful and direct methods like surrender (sharanapatti) and the rest (like smarana, shravana, kirtana, japa, etc.).”
Just like not even the purest of devotees can do prana-pratishtha of the deities of bhagawan because who can give prana to one who is the very prana of the whole creation?
Similarly, even the most powerful guru's nama-diksha cannot give anything more than what the fully independent nama-prabhu who is nami himself is giving to each and every uninitiated soul in creation, in regards to awarding pure love directly to that soul who takes full shelter of remembering, hearing, singing, and chanting?
Why Diksha Helps but it does Not mean that if Does Not Get Diksha one cannot Attain Pure Love
Of course, because of the 10 offenses in the namatmaka-mantras of Lord Krishna, receiving Their pure descending sound vibrations from the eternal pastimes from a realized devotee is highly conducive to attain pure love for the Lord.
But this seed of divine knowledge and the soul's relationship with the Lord can be received in the form of either shiksha or diksha both, not just only through the diksha-mantra as Srila Jiva Goswami has stated above.
Srila Jiva Goswami further illuminates the meaning of "divya-gyana", or the divine knowledge which is transmitted either by shiksha or diksha, not just by only the diksha-mantra:
divyaM gyAnaM yato dadyAt, kuryAt pApasya sankSayam | tasmAd dIkSeti sA proktA, desikais tattva kovidaiH ||
ato guruM praNamyaivaM, sarvasvaM vinivedya ca | gRhNIyAd vaiSNavaM mantraM, dIkSA pUrvaM vidhAnataH ||
"The teachers who are knowers of the truth say that since it awards (da) divine knowledge and destroys (kshi) sin or anarthas, it is called diksha."
"Therefore, paying obeisance to the guru and offering him one’s all, one should receive a Vaisnava mantra diksha in the right ear preceded with proper procedures."
So proponents of diksha being mandatory may quote the second verse above from Srila Jiva Goswami and say that receiving diksha is compulsory.
Please note that I am not minimizing diksha here or saying that one should not accept it when it is available and if one has the opportunity to accept it from a truly pure devotee.
I am just saying that shiksha is equally if not more powerful to attain pure love of God even if:
1) one's diksha-guru falls down.
2) a pure physically present siddha diksha-guru is not giving diksha to anyone.
3) one can't find a truly realized diksha-guru.
4) one received diksha in a haste (pramada) and later found our diksha-guru is not very advanced.
5) one is already absorbed in our internal meditation and so one may not be able to extensively travel or research about finding a truly realized living diksha-guru on this planet, as they are increasingly becoming rarer and rarer to find on this planet as the kaliyuga degradation advances in leaps and bounds every single minute.
Srila Jiva Goswami continues in Sri Bhakti Sandarbha, Anuccheda 284:
tato mantreSu nAmato'py adhika-sAmarthye labdhe kathaM dIkSAdy-apekSA | ucyate | yadyapi svarUpato nAsti tathApi prAyaH svabhAvato dehAdi-sambandhena kadartha-gyAnAM vikSipta-cittAnAM janAnAM tat-tat-saNkocI karaNAya srImad-RSi-prabhRtibhir arcana-mArge kvacit kvacit kAcit kAcin maryAdA sthApitAsti | tatas tad-ullanghane sAstraM prAyascittam udbhAvayati | tata ubhayam api nAsamanjasam iti tatra tat-tad-apekSA nAsti |
“Someone may say, Then if remembering the name, form, and pastimes of Lord is sufficient for attaining the highest goal, can diksha and so forth be totally rejected?
”To this it is said: Although essentially there is no need for diksha, due to a connection with the material body and so forth people are engaged in unmeaningful acts which agitate the consciousness.
“For overcoming this, the sages have established the path of arcana-marga through which some specific souls here and there (kvacit kvacit kAcit kAcin) may attain the proper standards.
“To overcome this, the scriptures present preparatory deeds of the pancharatriki marga like diksha, etc. Therefore it is improper to reject either of the two.”
These quotes actually confirm my statements about shiksha being more important than diksha and diksha being not mandatory to attain pure love for the Lord.
Because I am not saying here that diksha has to be rejected or that it is not bona-fide. It should still be accepted whenever one is not facing any of the above 5 problems about a diksha-guru which I have listed above.
The words kvacit kvacit kAcit kAcin used by Srila Jiva here mean that the archana-marga of the diksha-vidhana may not be possible for everyone but only for some some souls sometimes sometimes. But still it should not be rejected whenever possible.
Let us consider another verse from a set of verses used by the proponents of mandatory diksha:
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa (2.6) quotes the following injunction from the Vishnu-yamala:
adiksitasya vAmoru, krtam sarva, nirarthakam; paSu-yonim avApnoti, dikSA-virahito janah.
“ ‘Unless one is initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, all his or her devotional activities are useless. A person who is not properly initiated can descend again into the animal species.’ ”
To understand this verse, we have to again properly consider the following definition of diksha by Srila Jiva Gowami:
"The teachers who are knowers of the truth say that since it awards (da) divine knowledge and destroys (kshi) sin or anarthas, it is called diksha."
By this purest definition of diksha, even aural reception to the purest self-realized sounds of an advanced shiksha-guru can be considered diksha in its true sense.
Why? Because there is certainly the transmission of the divinest knowledge and destruction of all our offenses, anarthas, and sins in such vani-shiksha also.
So such vani-shiksha is also pure diksha, or transmission of divya gyanam, in its purest sense.
Anyway, so many hari nowadays are given without giving harinama in the right-ear in the true traditional way as Sri Harinama Chintamani recommends for nama-diksha. Only the gayatri mantras are given in the right ear.
So such harinama-dikshas are actually an attempt on the part of the guru to give the diksha in the form of vani-shiksha of divya gyana in harinama anyway.
Because according to Sri Harinama Chintamani, nama-diksha is the topmost diksha and nama-guru is the topmost guru, either shiksha or diksha nama-guru.
So if the nama is given in diksha, it should be given ideally into the right ear during diksha, even more importantly than the gayatri mantras as they are only secondary to nama.
Srila Gaura Kishora dasa babaji did not have any fire-sacrifice but gave the nama-diksha into the right-ear of Sri Varshabhanavi-devi dayita dasa (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati) on the holy banks of the Ganga in Navadvipa. He did not give any gayatri mantras in the right ear.
Back to the point. What I am trying to say is that soul will not have to descend into animal species or all of his or her activities won't become useless if one has not received explicit diksha in the form of mantras in the right ear but has still received diksha in the form of pure vani-shiksha of the divine sounds from an advanced shiksha-guru... golokera prema dhana, harinama sankirtana.
Some proponents of mandatory diksha, may quote the following words of Srila Prabhupada in this purport to Cc 2.15.108:
"In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, but if one is initiated and engages in pancaratra-vidhi (Deity worship), his Krsna consciousness will awaken very soon, and his identification with the material world will be vanquished."
"Nonetheless, Vaisnavas following the path of Sri Narada and his successors endeavor to establish a personal relationship with the Lord by receiving the grace of a bona fide spiritual master through initiation, and in this tradition the devotees are obliged at the time of initiation to begin engaging in Deity worship."
"One should therefore be initiated properly according to revealed scriptures under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master."
Others may say the following:
"For the conditioned soul who is not awake in his constitutional relationship with the Lord, it is very hard to chant the holy names or remember the forms, qualities, and pastimes of the Lord purely. Therefore diksha and the process of arcana are recommended for everyone."
To this, I would like to again state the following facts:
1) This only applies if one has received the shuddha and svarupa-siddha mantra in the right ear from a living diksha-guru who is a pure devotee.
2) If one does not receive the svarpa-siddha mantra in the right ear from a pure devotee living diksha-guru but some aparadha-purna mantra; then it is not going to assist in the remembrance of the name, forms, qualities, and pastimes of the Lord.
3) Exactly the very same benefit of enhancing one divine taste of relishing the name, forms, qualities, and pastimes of the Lord can also be attained by receiving the diksha of vani-shiksha, as explained above, from a pure living or even a non-living shiksha-guru also. So I would say that vani-shiksha is also the initiation which Srila Prabhupada is talking of here.
4) All such verses about Diksha from Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Pancharatras, Yamalas, etc. are superseded by these absolute words from Ramarcana-candrika and by Srila Jiva Goswami quoted by Srila Prabhupada in Cc 2.15.108 in this one sentence: “the specific prescriptions (like Diksha) of the Pancaratra and other scriptures DO NOT HAVE TO BE FOLLOWED”. Srila Prabhupada writes:
“Similarly, the Ramarcana-candrika states:
vinaiva diksAm viprendra, purascaryAm vinaiva hi; vinaiva nyAsa-vidhinA, japa-matrena siddhi-dA.
“‘O best of the brahmanas, even without initiation, preliminary purification or acceptance of the renounced order, one can attain perfection in devotional service simply by chanting and remembering the Lord’s holy names and pastimes.’”
“In his Bhakti-sandarbha (283-84), Srila Jiva Gosvami describes the importance of Deity worship and initiation (diksha) as follows:
“‘It is Srimad-Bhagavatam’s opinion that the process of Deity worship is not actually necessary, just as the specific prescriptions (like Diksha) of the Pancaratra and other scriptures DO NOT HAVE TO BE FOLLOWED. The Bhagavatam enjoins that even without practicing Deity worship one can achieve the complete success of human life by any of the other devotional processes, such as simply offering oneself at the Lord’s feet for His protection.’”
“The offenseless chanting of the holy name does not depend on the initiation process. Although initiation may depend on purascarya or purascarana, the actual chanting of the holy name does not depend on purascarya-vidhi, or the regulative principles. If one chants the holy name even once without committing an offense, he attains all success.”
“In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation...”
Why Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Gave the Shiksha Parampara
This is the precise reason why Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada emphasized on the Shiksha-Parampara over the Diksha-Parampara because even some pure devotees somehow received diksha from not-fully-pure diksha-gurus in our parampara, like in Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's case.
This is why their shiksha-connection becomes much more important and thus the truly pure parampara is undoubtedly the shiksha-parampara not the diksha-parampara, as the diksha-parampara may consist of non-fully-pure diksha-gurus also.
Pancharatrika Diksha was introduced later by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada not to disturb the mind of the kanistha brahmin samaj, who was accusing the devotees of not following all the rules and regulations of the vaidhi marga.
Because at that time, smart Brahmins were very powerful and influential.
Since nearly everyone is affected by the outward opulence (aishwarya) of the vaidhi-marga of diksha, deity worship, etc., Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chose Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami to teach the vaidhi pancharatrika regulations and standards for diksha, deity worship, etc.
Very few are advanced enough or qualified to understand the spontaneous bhagavata-marga of shiksha and raganuga bhakti.
Diksha has to be accepted from a living Guru. But a pure devotee living Guru may be very difficult to find. Whereas Shiksha can be accepted even from any of our previous purest Acharyas
adya acarya jini, shiksha-guru tini.
"All previous acharyas can be accepted by as our shiksha-gurus in addition to our living shiksha-guru."
A diksha-guru has to be living or physically present on this plane but there is no such limitation for a shiksha-guru.
This is why Srila Shrinivasa Acharya Thakura had to taken explicity to the living Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami by Srila Jiva Goswami to accept diksha from, even though Srila Haridasa Thakura posthumously manifested from his samadhi in Puri and embraced Srila Shrinivasa and Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatana posthumously appeared before him in Vrindavan.
Shiksha-Guru is So Important that Srila Prabhupada states that only the Shiksha-Guru should normally go on to Become the Diksha-Guru later
"...generally the siksa-guru later on becomes the diksa-guru." (SB 4.12.32 purport)
Some disciples, after sitting in a formal diksha-ceremony with their diksha-guru, start thinking that only their diksha-guru is more important from now on and shiksha-guru or shiksha is not so important. This is why they end up falling away from bhakti.
This happens typically in Kaliyuga because we are so accustomed to only see externally in the pancharatriki marga. Whereas the bhagavata-marga is more internal, deep, and subtle.
So for us, an external diksha fire-sacrifice creates such an impact on our extrovert mind that we end up totally ignoring all the above glories of shiksha and the shiksha-guru.
This is why Srila Prabhupada states in the Srimad Bhagavatam that the diksha-guru should not just fall out of the sky one day and give us diksha in the form of a fire-sacrifice and then hardly give us any shiksha. The diksha-guru is not just for show.
Shiksha is the very basis or foundation of Diksha. Just like I explained above how Shiksha is also one form of Diksha or transfer of divine knowledge.
He in fact states in the above quote that only the shiksha-guru who has patiently guided and nurtured the disciple previously with one's shiksha has the right or authority to later go on to become the diksha-guru of that disciple.
If the Diksha-Guru Falls Down, One can Still Take the Full Shelter of the Living Shiksha Guru or the Previous Acharya Shiksha Gurus and attain Pure Love for the Lord
From Srila Narahari Sarkara Thakura’s Krsna Bhajanamrtam 59:
kintu yadi gurur asamanjasam karoti tarhi yukti-siddhaih, siddhantais tasya rahasi dandah karaniyo na tu tyajyah.
“However if the guru commits inappropriate acts, then one should privately discuss and question him using logical conclusions – but one is not to give him up.”
From Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Bhakti Sandarbha 238:
ata eva durata evaradhyas tadrso guruh vaisnava vidvesi cet parityajya eva
“If a guru does not permit his disciples to honor great devotees of the Lord, such a guru should be respected only from a distance, And, if he is envious of real Vaisnavas, he should be rejected.”
From the Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva 179.25:
guror danda iti cen: na guror apy avaliptasya, karyakaryam ajanatah; utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate.
“It is one’s duty to give up a guru who cannot teach the disciple, even after a lot of patience, what one should do and what pme should not do, and who takes the wrong path, either because of bad association or because he is opposed to Vaisnavas.”
From Srila Narahari Sarkara Thakura’s Krsna Bhajanamrtam 60-67:
tatra gurur yadi vi-sadrsa-kari isvare bhrantah krsna-yaso-vimukho, vilasa-vinodam na angikaroti svayam va durabhimani loka-stavaih krsnatvam prapnoti tarhi tyajya eva
“But in this regard, if the guru constantly commits improper activities, becomes permanently bewildered about the Supreme Lord, is totally averse to propagating Krsna’s fame, does not relish or accept His divine pastimes, or becomes proud due to the praise of ordinary people, then he falls into darkness. Then he should be rejected.”
katham eva gurus tyajya iti no, krsna-bhava-lobhat krsna-praptaye, guror asrayah krtas tad-anantaram yadi tasmin gurau asuri-bhavas, tarhi kim kartavyam asura-gurum tyaktva sri-krsna-bhaktimantam, gurum anyam bhajet.
“One should not think, ‘How can I reject my guru?’ With great eagerness to achieve Krsna’s divine nature, a devotee takes shelter of a guru. But later, if that guru takes on a demoniac mentality, then what can be done? Rejecting such a demoniac guru, one should accept and worship another shiksha-guru or diksha-guru who is full of bhakti for Krsna.”
tasya krsna-balad asurasya guror balam, mardaniyam iti vaisnava-bhajana-vicarah.
“By strength gained through Krsna and shiksha-guru's vani, the power of such an asurika guru is destroyed. Such is the deliberation on Vaisnava bhajana.”
From Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva-dharma Chapter 20:
“Before accepting a guru, one should examine him to see that he is expert in the tattva spoken in the Vedas and has realised para-tattva.
“If he is, then he will certainly be capable of giving all kinds of instructions about the Absolute Truth.
“Normally, there is no question of giving up the diksa-guru.
“There are two circumstances, however, in which he should be abandoned.
“First, if the disciple accepted the guru without examining the guru’s knowledge of the Absolute Truth, his Vaisnava qualities, and his other qualifications, and second, if after initiation, the guru does not perform any function, he should be given up. Many passages in scriptures give evidence for this like these.”
Sri Jaiva Dharma continues:
yo vyaktir nyaya-rahitam anyayena srnoti yah, tav ubhau narakam ghoram vrajatah kalam aksayam.
“He who poses as an acarya, but gives false instructions that are opposed to the sattvata-sastras, will reside in a terrible hell for an unlimited period of time, and so will the misguided disciple who mistakenly listens to such a false guru.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.62)
guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah, utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate.
“It is one’s duty to give up a guru who cannot teach the disciple what he should do and what he should not do, and who takes the wrong path, either because of bad association or because he is opposed to Vaisnavas.” (Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva 179.25)
avaisnavopadistena mantrena nirayam vrajet, punas ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaisnavad guroh.
“One goes to hell if he accepts mantras from an avaisnava-guru, that is, one who is associating with women, and who is devoid of krsna-bhakti. Therefore, according to the rules of sastra, one should take mantras again from a Vaisnava guru.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 4.144)
“The second circumstance in which one may reject the guru is if he was a Vaisnava who knew the spiritual truth and principles when the disciple accepted him, but who later became a Mayavadi or an enemy of the Vaisnavas by the influence of asat-sanga.
“It is one’s duty to give up such a guru.
“However, it is not proper to give up a guru whose knowledge is meager, if he is not a Mayavadi or an enemy of the Vaisnavas, and is not attached to sinful activity.
“In that case, one should still respect him as guru, and with his permission, one should go to another shiksha-guru Vaisnava who is more realized and knowledgeable, and serve that Vaisnava and take instructions from him.”
From Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Sri Hari-nama Cintamani 6.39-42:
tabe jadi e ghatana kabhu haya, asat-sange gurura yogyata hata ksaya.
prathame chilena tini sad-guru pradhana, pare nama-aparadhe hana hata jnana.
“It may happen that for some reason, the guru at some time falls into bad association and loses the qualification to be a guru. Initially, when the disciple accepted him, he was exalted, but later due to offenses to the Holy Name, he became bereft of knowledge.”
vaisnava-vidvesi kari chade nama rasa, krame krame hana artha kaminira vasa.
sei guru chadi sisya sri krsna-krpaya, sad-guru labhiya punah suddha nama gaya.
“He becomes inimical to Vaisnavas and loses taste for the Holy Name, then eventually, he becomes desirous of wealth and women. Such a guru should be rejected by the disciple, who, by the mercy of Sri Krsna, will again find a genuine shiksha or diksha guru and chant the Holy Name purely.”
From Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s commentary on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 1.47:
“One who gives instruction on hari-bhajana is the siksa-guru.
“The guru or acarya is never devoid of bhajana nor does he behave improperly.
“The mahant-guru who finds bliss in performing bhajana and the caitya-guru who gives us the discrimination for accepting those things that are favorable to bhajana are the two types of instructors.
“Instructions on bhajana differ according to differences within the stage of practice (sadhana) and attainment (sadhya).
“Sri Gurudeva, who bestows Krsna, by enriching his disciple with sambandha-jnana, reveals to him the realisation of his own service.
“After attaining the mercy of the siksa-guru, the instructions, which are then given on the pure service of Visnu, are known as abhidheya.
“The siksa-guru in the form of a servitor, the personification of abhidheya, is non-different from the diksa-guru - the bestower of sambandha-jnana. Both of them are Gurudeva.
“To consider one greater than the other, or perceive them as unequal creates an offence.
“There is no difference between Krsna's form (rupa) and His very Self (svarupa) – there is no difference created by language.
“The siksa-guru is Sanatana, the bestower of Madana-Mohana’s lotus Feet.
“To the jivas who have forgotten Bhagavan and are unable to wander in Vraja, he gives the realisation that Bhagavan’s feet are one’s highest attainment.
“The siksa-guru is Rupa, the bestower of the qualification to perform service to Govinda and to the feet of that Personality who is His Dearest One.”
Srila Bhaktirakshaka Sridhar Maharaj in Sri Guru and His Grace:
“Jiva Gosvami says that if the guru goes astray he should be abandoned, but there may be circumstances where, by the inconceivable desire of Krsna, the guru may go astray for a time and then come back again.
“In that case, the disciple should wait for some time.
“It is very unfortunate for the disciple when such things happen.
“You will find this elaborately dealt with in the Hari-nama Cintamani of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
“If a son leaves home and disobeys his father, the father may be indifferent to him; he may exclude him from the will.
“If, however, the son returns after some time and is again obedient, then he may collect his inheritance.
“In a similar way, a spiritual master may disobey his guru, and then his guru may be indifferent to him for some time, but again if he sets himself right, he will not be disinherited.
“This is explained in Bhagavad-gita (api cet suduracaro). So we should not deal very abruptly with these unfortunate incidents, but we should wait and see. Everything must be done judiciously.”
Srila Narayana Maharaja on Shiksha Guru’s Importance and the Non-Mandatory Nature of Diksha
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja very beautifully summarizes this discussion:
“Although these three devotees had their own diksa-gurus, they held greater respect for Srila Jiva Gosvami.
“If the siksa-guru is fully qualified, he should be respected as much as Krsna, and if diksa-guru is similarly qualified, he should be also treated like that, as a manifestation of Lord Krsna.
“If both are qualified, both should be given equal respect and regarded as Krsna's manifestations.
“Siksa-guru is not inferior to diksa-guru, and in some cases he is superior to diksa-guru.
“This is according to qualification.
“Srila Jiva Gosvami never made any formal disciple. He never gave anustanika-diksa (fire sacrifice); he gave only Krsna-siddhanta, which is more important than the fire sacrifice and other rituals.”
Questions and Answers of Shiksha and Diksha
Q. My only doubt was how a devotee can advance without karma transfer to Guru and without receiving the bhakti seed.
A. All karma and offenses are destroyed by the divine sound vibrations and instructions heard from the Shiksha Guru or the Diksha Guru.
Whether it is the Diksha Guru or the Shiksha Guru, a Guru’s divine sound vibrations are the primary means by which the Guru destroys the karma and offenses of the disciple, not by some “magical” fire-sacrifice ritual anyway.
So Shiksha is also a kind of Diksha (DI = Divya Gyanam in the form of divine sound, KSHA = Papasya SanKSHAyanam) because both of these same Diksha benefits are fully attained by Shiksha too.
The Bhakti seed is given anyway, even in Diksha, specifically through the sound vibration in the right ear.
And precisely the same thing happens in Shiksha too.
In Shiksha, the disciple hears the Shiksha Guru’s Vani from both his or her ears, including the right ear, just like in Diksha.
Hence Shiksha is fully capable, in fact, more capable than Diksha.
It is even more potent than Diksha in many cases, like we see in the case of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji and many others, to award these same or even more benefits than Diksha very quickly.
Because any one of our previous faultless fully-Siddha Acharyas can be accepted and surrendered to as our Shiksha Gurus, we can also take complete shelter of hearing their divine perfect Vani directly.
This is precisely what we do while hearing or reading the scriptures like Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata already. We take complete shelter of Srila Vrindavana Dasa Thakura’s purest Nitaimoy Vani.
At that time, he instantly becomes our prominent Shiksha Guru.
Even though he is not our Diksha Guru, his merciful Nitaivani destroys all our karma and offenses and immediately (tatakshan) plants the seed of the topmost offenseless pure bhakti in our souls.
That is why ours is primarily a Shiksha Parampara, even though we should accept Diksha from a pure living devotee whenever available or possible.
I am not saying that we should reject or replace Diksha if it is available from a living, physically present pure devotee. Nor am I saying that a disciple can accept Diksha from the deities or pictures of non-physically present living Acharyas.
But what I am saying here is that even if it is not available, we still don't lack anything at all to attain God's pure love in this very life itself due to the always-available supreme power of Shiksha.
Due to so much undue importance being given to Diksha vis-a-vis Shiksha, the disciples instantly give up Bhakti becoming so demoralized and thinking of themselves as lost orphans if their Diksha Guru falls, which happens a lot nowadays, especially in these present degraded times of Kaliyuga.
They were never made aware that they still have an even stronger Shiksha connection to our Guru Parampara and the full shelter of the divine Vani of all our previous and other contemporary Acharyas.
However, it is not entirely their fault.
Because in this present-day Diksha-focused preaching, they were never taught to value the Shiksha connection more than the Diksha connection, as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has taught us in Sri Kalyana Kalpataru.
If Diksha is compulsory and Shiksha is not as powerful as Diksha, like many think, Srila Jiva Goswami and even Lords Nitai Gaura Themselves would not have just remained only Shiksha Gurus and given Diksha to everyone too.
But They never felt the need to give Diksha or to open temples simply because, through the Shiksha of divine sound, They could provide the same highest benefit to all Their followers, just like They could have done through Diksha.
Because they physically participate in it externally, the pancharatriki fire sacrifice during Diksha has the most significant effect on the neophyte disciples.
The disciples start accepting that fire-sacrifice as the be-all and end-all of their spiritual lives.
But unfortunately, they are mistaking the shadow for the real substance.
Because the true reality is entirely different.
The spiritual transmission via the Guru’s realized sound vibrations, whether through Diksha or Shiksha, is all that matters.
When Srila Gaura Kishore das Babaji awarded Diksha to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada on the holy banks of the Ganga, there was no fire sacrifice or any kind of external pancharatriki rituals at all. Does that mean that the Diksha was invalid?
Most disciples also don’t know that while awarding Harinama Diksha, if Harinama is not imparted explicitly into the right ear inspite of the external fire sacrifice and all the rituals on the pancharatriki marga, it is not Harinama Diksha, but actually Harinama Shiksha instead.
To help you attain Hari Nama Prema in this very lifetime, I am your aspiring humble servant working day and night tirelessly in your menial service to help brighten your offenseless and love-laden remembrance of our all-forgiving Lord Nitai's form in all your Bhakti Yoga practices,