Should we accept a living guru for diksha instead of previous acharyas?
A devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna, A very important question. Must the guru be one of the guru’s in Iskcon or can the Guru be also from another Brahma Sampradaya or some other vaisnava sampradaya?
Is taking Diksha from a living guru a condition (but not a guarantee) to get liberation and go back to Krishna loka? If i serve Prabhupada as my guru and follow all the rules and regulations that Prabhupada told us to follow and I do not take Diksha from a living guru now, can i get then liberation or is it completely impossible to get libeartion without taking a living guru.
I am waiting for your answers. Hare Krishna”
This is not a new advice. Krishna has strongly advised us to accept a living guru. This is 100% true. Read the full Post. You can read His words in the middle of the Post.
The ONLY REASON for the success of this Preaching service is the Blessing of the Guru Parampara. This is the immediate proof of the power of bonafide living gurus. So, I never advice violating my conscience to ruin the life of the devotees. That is why, I am sleeping peacefully every day.
(Who gives us God realization – Guru or God? READ HERE!)
Though there are many articles by many in many forums, I like to give a balanced suggestion in this matter of accepting diksha from a living guru or from a previous acharya or a deceased guru. Though this reply is common for all sampradhayas and sanathana dharma, let me take the path of Krishna Consciousness as the example.
First of all, we are expected to accept a living guru for the following reasons:
(1) To take the responsibility for our elevation in devotion.
(2) To guide us to cross the hurdles in our path of devotion and make us successful in achieving the mercy of Lord Krishna.
(3) To purify us from our karma and thus make us pure to be eligible to be accepted by Krishna.
(TYPES OF GURUS (SPIRITUAL MASTERS) FROM THE SCRIPTURES! READ HERE!)
(4) To receive a manthra to recite and get the mercy of Lord Krishna.
(5) To get linked in a sampradhaya that has a certain sets of rules and recommendations.
To get the above things, we need a living guru.
Let us see why, we need a Living Guru as our Diksha Guru (Please Read entirely):
(1) Of course, Srila Prabhupada has said that he is living in his books. No doubt in this. However, the humans have a tendency. They will find it difficult to follow the advice given in the books. As far as devotion is concerned, we are all like just elementary school students. Can an elementary school student study his class 2 or 3 studies through a correspondence course just by reading some books? They need a school to make admissions and a teacher to personally guide them by knowing his strengths and weaknesses.
(Will accepting a Guru alone elevate a devotee to attain perfection? READ HERE!)
(2) Studying through books alone is practically impossible for children. We too must consider ourselves as children in devotion. This humbleness is the prerequisite in devotional practices. If a guru helps us to follow the books and also gives a support of trouble shooting in our devotional practices, we can advance in devotion fast. Therefore, to fasten our devotional practices effectively without hurdles, a guru can help us.
Since the deceased gurus or acharyas can’t personally hear our queries and help based on our request, we can take the writings of the deceased guru or acharya as a base and follow the customized advice of a living guru.
Therefore, in the above aspect, we need a living guru.
(How to prevent some bogus gurus spoiling girl followers in the name of God? READ HERE!)
(3) To purify ourselves from the contamination of karma, we need the system of diksha from a living guru. Of course, I personally do not like to hand over my karma to a guru and make him to suffer. I am very MERCIFUL TOWARDS EVERY ONE and only I have sacrificed for others and I am very careful not to make others to suffer because of me.
Therefore, after shelter, I was delaying to accept diksha. Why should I be a selfish guy to allow my guru to suffer because of accepting me? Only I have to face the reactions for my karma that was willfully done by me in the past.
Then, I got convinced that the guru is empowered by Krishna Himself to bear the karma of his disciples. We should leave everything to Krishna’s discretion without making any demands from Him.
Moreover, my interest area in devotional services is ONLY PREACHING as I had identified my skills in that. So, to be a good preacher, I MUST require the support of powerful guru parampara.
Therefore, I finally took diksha some years after accepting the shelter from my Guru Maharaja in ISKCON to be a blessed and successful preacher. This online preaching service is very successful because of the blessings of this powerful Guru Parampara only. I am just a zero. When many numbers are added before this zero, the zero too gets some value. That’s all. Only because I am just Zero in front of my Guru Maharaja, I do not project myself much in my preaching service as some emotional devotees may start to praise me instead of Krishna. A disciple should not project himself in front of his guru. This is the rule of devotion. Without knowing this, some devotees are asking about myself more than about Krishna. If more and more devotees get benefited by our service, THAT ALONE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ME. I have no other desires from this service.
(Original Guru Parampara of Mahabharatha & Bhagavatham! READ HERE!)
The power of our living Guru is that he can connect us with the previous acharyas also. Do not forget this fact.
In my opinion, a disciple should feel and cry for his guru because he has entrusted his karma to that guru. Being a guru is not an easy thing. It is really a tough job of taking care of the elevation of hundreds of disciples.
However, this is the system. If you need the blessings of the whole guru parampara of a bonafide sampradhaya, you can get diksha from a living guru.
Scriptures recommend a devotee to accept diksha from a guru if both that guru and the disciple mutually wish to accept each other.
(4) Next point is receiving the manthra from a guru. This is a valid point. It is the unanimous verdict of the scriptures that though a manthra itself is effective in purifying the devotees, it will be more effective if it is received from a guru. Because, in this kaliyuga, we are diverted from our devotion through many attractions arranged by maya. Therefore, following a manthra independently may have more disturbances. When we accept the same manthra from a guru directly, we are personally given that manthra by that guru that makes it more effective.
(Is initiation (diksha) compulsory to get the love of Krishna? READ HERE!)
(5) ABOVE ALL: KRISHNA WANTS YOU TO ACCEPT A LIVING GURU
Krishna too advice in Bhagavad Gita to surrender to a guru and humbly enquire him.
In the Ch-4, text-1 & 2, he says that this Bhagavad Gita itself came from Himself to many centuries through (Living) Guru Parampara.
- “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.”
- “This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession”
- (WHAT IF A DISCIPLE IS UNABLE TO SURRENDER TO GURU? READ HERE!)
NEXT, KRISHNA ORDERS US TO SURRENDER TO A LIVING GURU:
- B.G: 4-34:
- “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”
- Next, Krishna says what will be the benefit of surrendering to such a living guru:
- B.G: 4-35:
- “Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine.”
- Thus, Krishna says that Guru protects us from fall down in the hands of maya.
- Not only that. Krishna further encourages us that even the MOST SERIOUS SINNERS can get liberated if he travels on the boat of Guru (transcendental knowledge)
- (Why should the devotees and gurus be affected by Pandemic like Covid-19? READ HERE!)
- B.G: 4-36:
- Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
- What else we need further?
- Whatever Krishna says is the veda for us.
- He tells us to surrender to a LIVING GURU only.
- Hence, be 100% confident that you are on right track if you accept a living guru from a bonafide sampradhaya.
Therefore, be sure, the concept of surrendering to a guru is recommended by Krishna Himself in Bhagavad Gita.
(KRISHNA’s GURU DAKSHINA TO HIS GURU SANDIPANI – STORY! READ HERE!)
The ritual of DIKSHA is just making the surrender in OFFICIAL records like getting officially admitted in a school. Nothing else. If we accept a guru in a formal ceremony, it gives a seriousness in following the instructions from that guru and Krishna.
(5) Next point is getting connected in a lineage. When we follow the devotion alone, we are depending only on our efforts. Whereas, when we get connected in a sampradhaya of a guru – disciple lineage, we get the blessings and support of the entire lineage of gurus and acharyas. This will make our elevation fast. We always need the blessings of senior vaishnavas to get elevated in devotion. We can get the same when we get connected in a guru-disciple lineage.
(WHAT IS THE REASON FOR GETTING CHEATED BY BOGUS GURUS AND ORGANIZATIONS?– A RESEARCH! READ HERE!)
DISCIPLINED DISCIPLES ARE ALWAYS SAFE THOUGH THEIR GURU FALLS DOWN
This the most important question that should be honestly answered to make this reply complete. We should be positive about the system followed by the administrators. The administrators take remedial actions if their choice of guru goes wrong. This is happening now and then. So, Instead of having no guru, having a guru is better and positive.
Many ask me what to do if a guru falls from his status. Of course, some times it happens in kaliyuga. However, In case a guru falls, the disciples ARE NEVER AFFECTED and they are always DIRECTLY PROTECTED BY KRISHNA. However, they can get the shelter of another guru after rejecting the fallen guru if he is proved guilty by the administrators. Only that guru has to face the consequences for his fall down. Not the disciples.
However, accepting a living guru will be ESSENTIAL in getting a customized support and advice from that guru. Since a guru is protecting us, we get enormous strength and boost to grow fast in devotion.
Like in a material education we accept a teacher’s support, we can accept a guru for spiritual awakening and growth. There is no need for any issues in this matter.
(How to repent for not following the Vows given to Guru? READ HERE!)
Everyone of us already have a guru from whom we lernt about Krishna. No one is there without a guru. They are called siksha gurus because they taught about Krishna to us. But, we can’t refuse the concept of living guru – a diksha guru.
Take the prominent Acharya as eternal siksha guru for us. Accept a living guru who accepted that prominent Acharya’s lineage. Let that Acharya be the prominent personality and eternal siksha guru. Let this guru be the direct guide for you.
Accepting a living guru is existing in almost all sampradhayas. In SRI sampradhaya, though Sri Ramanuja is the prominent Acharya, the disciples accept the JEERS as their guru. In Advaita (sankara) sampradhayas, there is a living acharya as successor whom the disciples accept as guru. In advaita lineage, the living guru appoints his successor even when he is alive. When a guru dies, in future, the devotees accept his successor. In ISKCON, though Srila Prabhupada did not recommend a successor, the devotees can follow the decisions of the administrative set up of GBC as recommended by Srila Prabhupada.
(SHAKTIPAD or SHAKTIPADA – COMPLETE DETAILS INCLUDING TYPES, EXAMPLES IN SCRIPTURES, RULES, ETC! READ HERE!)
But, before selecting a guru, select one after sufficient evaluation and preparations. Do not succumb to any pressures. If your heart NATURALLY has an inclination towards a guru, accept him. If you choose to accept diksha in a formal ceremony, accept it. But, do not discourage the guru – disciplic lineage that is followed by almost all sampradhayas INCLUDING KRISHNA HIMSELF.
Finally, just accepting diksha in a formal ceremony alone is not sufficient. Unless you follow the rules and regulations suggested by your guru after diksha, that diksha has no meaning. Diksha means initiation. Initiation means, START OF SERIOUS DEVOTIONAL PRACTICES. It is not the final step. It is just the start of our serious devotional journey. Just taking diksha will not be sufficient. Following the instructions of your guru is the most important to go back to Krishna.
Hope this exhaustive article written without a bias, will help you.
(What are the types of Diksha / initiation? Is Diksha in Dream valid? READ HERE!)