© 1997 VNN


01/28/98 - 1546

Diksha Names and Feelings of the Heart

India (VNN) - by Swami B. G. Narasingha

It is sometimes suggested that the "heart" is the most reliable instrument to measure the plane of Divinity. This statement can certainly be taken as true, provided the heart is not troubled by anarthas (such as envy, lust, anger, and greed etc.).

The sentiments (love, affection, attachment and so forth) that are sometimes expressed for guru and the name he has given us at the time of hari-nama-diksa are undoubtedly feelings from the heart. Seeing that another Godbrother or devotee has received a name change after coming in contact with a siksa-guru sometimes causes trouble in our mind and creates a strange feeling in our heart also. We may feel that, "Why has his name changed? Srila Prabhupada gave him that name, so what is the use of giving another name?" This manner of thinking and feeling in the heart is certainly understandable yet we might be wrong.

We may feel that it is wrong, but indeed it may be right. While still conditioned by material nature even our own heart might lie to us -- our own heart may cheat us! Therefore as far as possible we should try to understand spiritual subject matters regarding our feelings toward our guru and the feelings that others have toward their guru from the standpoint of sastra, sadhu and guru. These three will not cheat us!

Guru, sadhu, and sastra agree that vaidhi-bhakti (if practiced without offense) will purify the heart of all unwanted dirty things. After the stage of anartha-nivrtti (purification of the heart) is achieved one comes to the stage of nistha (fixed-up). Then ruci (a sweet taste for the truth) is established in the heart and then the stage of asakti (real attachment for the goal of our life) and then the stage of bhava (the dawn of the hearts pure sentiment in love of Krsna) is achieved. The feelings of bhava (heart-felt sentiments) are considered by great saints, devotees and the sastra to be free from mundane influence. Still in the case of Bharata Maharaja he fell down (to mundane feelings) even after reaching the stage of bhava. So one must not stop even there (bhava). Mahaprabhu has said "prema pum-artho mahan." Love of Krsna (PREMA) is the fifth and ultimate goal of life - the be-all and end-all of existence."

The sentiments generally expressed by neophyte devotees toward their guru are almost always ruled by mundane consciousness - not by bhava. One may argue - but my guru saved me from this material life and that is my sentiment. Yes, that is true but we are not for mukti-bhava either. We are for suddha-bhakti (pure devotion) and thus when our real sentiment awakes for Sri Guru (from a purified heart) it will awaken in relation to the sentiments (sthayi-bhavas) of neutrality, servitude, friendship, paternal, or conjugal love depending on the subjective (apakrta/transcendental) plane of Sri Guru in rasa connection with Krishna. Simply to appreciate Sri Guru from the objective (prakrta/mundane) world of this temporary reality is dangerous. Those who do are all too often found to commit aparadha to other Vaishnavas. Due to their mundane vision of Sri Guru they tend to project material differences between elevated souls (dikas and siksa-gurus).

We have mentioned here "BHAVA" several times. No doubt "BHAVA" has become a buzz word. Nonetheless the science of bhakti cannot be changed just because a certain section of devotees are slow to catch up the subject. As the readers may know there are three classifications of bhakti: namely prema-bhakti, bhava-bhakti and sadhana-bhakti. Each of these stages has further divisions.

Prema-bhakti has two main divisions namely Vaikuntha-prema and Goloka-prema. Goloka-prema further unfolds as sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anu-raga, bhava, and mahabhava. (See Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-Nilamani) Unfortunately in our contemporary times prema-bhakti has more or less been labeled a myth.

Bhava-bhakti has five primary divisions and seven secondary divisions. Santa-rati, dasya-rati, sakhya-rati, vatsalya-rati, and Madhura-rati are primary. Hasya, kuruna, raudra, vira, bhayankara, vibhatsa, and adbhuta are the seven secondary divisions. (See Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu, and Madhurya-kadambini) Unfortunately bhava-bhakti has now been labeled as sahajiyaism by those who do not understand the science of devotion. Indeed "gopi-bhava" has become a "witch hunt".

Sadhana-bhakti has two main divisions namely vaidhi-bhakti and raganuga-bhakti. Unfortunately raganuga-bhakti has been labeled a sin and vaidhi-bhakti has been shot in the foot with the gun of vaishnava-aparadha, which has duplicity, malace, hatred, envy, foolishness and mundane sentiments as its six bullets. Thus from the very beginning (vaidhi-bhakti) if one has unfortunately sustained such "bullet wounds" there will be no progress in pure devotional service.

As a result of having commited vaishnava-aparadha we find that rather than advancing in Krishna consciousness and being absorbed in pure devotional service with the aim of perfecting this human form of life one becomes absorbed in increasing the anarthas. Because one does not become absorbed in pure devotional service (raganuga-bhakti) the devotee who carries the weight of offenses becomes absorbed in mundane academia, speculating on the nature of the Absolute Truth, worshiping crystals, practicing reiki; astrology, ghost busting, hunting for Druids, looking for space ships, alien beings, and preparing for the "Big War" (Doomsday Hare Krishnas). They do this in all earnestness while they chant "Hare Krishna". But where does that leave such devotees? Answer - In need of higher association. Unfortunately when that association comes, we think it is an alien being and we attack it. This is what Srila Prabhupada used to call most unfortunate.

Agrahya Prabhu has mentioned in his article Diksha Names, "Everything is in Srila Prabhupada's books." This of course is a favorite of the devotees. But is the explanation of why Srimati Radharani is not directly mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam given in Srila Prabhupada's books? No, it is not. So what does it really mean, "Everything is in Srila Prabhupada's books"? Everything is in OM (A.U.M.) but how to extract it? Everything is in the maha-mantra but still the guru gives brahma-gayatri, guru-gayatri, gaura-gayatri, gopal-mantra, kama-gayatri and even sannyasi-mantra - which is a raga-marga/gopi-bhava-mantra.

Similiarly the Garuda Purana says in the verse artho yam brahma sutranam....that the meaning of brahma-gayatri is given in Srimad Bhagavatam. But how to draw out the meaning of brahma-gayatri from the samadhi of Vyasadeva (Srimad Bhagavatam)? That is the difficulty - that is, unless one has a siksa-guru. If Srila Prabhupada had not known that a disciple could eventually need association and instruction from a siksa-guru he would not have taken the trouble to explain verses such as Cc. Adi 1.34-35. Why has Srila Prabhupada so diligently explained the necessity of both diksa and siksa-gurus in his books if such things were superfluous? If these things have relevance for his disciples he would have simply written, "I am the only way the truth and the light. No one goes to Krishna except by me."

Unfortunately the acceptance of a siksa-guru has been labeled by many as prostitution. Again I say that the sastra, our acharyas and the pure vaishnavas are not bound to ditto this misconception. Returning to the old saying "Everything is in Srila Prabhupda's books" I would suggest that the critics of the "siksa-guru" would do well to study more closely the teachings (books) of Srila Prabhupada and try to get beyond the fact that his dinive eminence is no excuse for your neglecting our own necessity or the arrangement of Krishna for that matter.

There are examples of accepting siksa from other than one's diksa-guru and even having one's name changed. Yes, even after accepting a highly qualified diksa-guru (who also gave perfect siksa) the disciple may only reach perfection after coming under the shelter of a siksa-guru. One such case is that of Dukhi Krsna Dasa, a disciple of Hridaya Caitanya, who after coming to Vrindavana took shelter of Jiva Goswami. In time Dukhi Krsna Dasa was taken into the camp of madhurya-rasa and Jiva Goswami changed his name to Shyamananda Prabhu. The details of this story are very sweet and revealing but space does not permit us that luxury here.

One should not think one's self above the instruction of a siksa guru. Also one should not discriminate between the siksa-guru and the diksa-guru, otherwise one commits an offense. (Kaviraja Goswami and Srila Prabhupada have explained this matter in significant detail in Cc, Adi1.35)

In Srila Prabhupada's famous speech before the members of the Gaudiya Math (Bombay), printed in almost every ISKCON vyasa-puja book, there is an excellent example of the proper vision one should have of Sri Guru - free from mundane conception. Srila Prabhupada says, "Guru is one not two.... There can be no difference between your guru and mine. ...Guru is appearing in many forms."

Our conclusion regarding the "name change" issue is that if the siksa-guru changes the disciples name this is considered to have been done directly by Krsna Himself as there is no difference between the diksa-guru and the siksa-guru - both are equal manifestations of Krsna. Only our purified heart's sentiment will confirm this but in the meantime we can accept this as true based on sastra, sadhu, and guru.