What are the types of Diksha / initiation? Is Diksha in Dream valid?
Actual Question from a girl devotee:
“Hare Krishna Prabhuji. All glories to Srila Prabhupad. Dandavat pranam. I have a question regarding 2 dreams I had of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad. I have been praying to Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupad for initiation into ISKCON. After 2 weeks of intense praying I dreamt that Srila Prabhupad came and blessed my chanting beads by rolling them in His lotus hands and blowing His Divine breath on them and then handing them to me. Then 2-3 days later I dreamt of a full initiation ceremony with Srila Prabhupad as my guru. He even gave me the name Hari Naam Dasi in my dream. I woke up right after the dream and it was the Bramhamuhrat hour. I wanted to know how I should interpret the dream. You are highly advanced and well-versed in Srila Prabhupad’s teachings so I am turning to you for guidance. Can I call myself a disciple of Prabhupada based on my dream since He gave me initiation in my dream? I don’t want to sound silly. Please know I am very sincerely asking this question and don’t want to cause any offense. I would greatly appreciate your help. I know you are also very busy so please know I appreciate your valuable time. Your aspiring servant.”
This is an interesting query.
Another interesting point in this query is the initiated name.
Usually, in ISKCON, the initiated name is given that starts with the first letter of the devotee’s karmi name (legal name).
Your legal name starts in H. And the name mentioned by you as given by Srila Prabhupada in dream also starts with H.
Let it be.
But, remember the fact: As per vedic acceptance, the diksha through dreams is accepted only if it is given after the sanyasa diksha, that is called as Shaktipat diksha.
This diksha in dreams ONLY after the sanyasa diksha is called SWAPNA DIKSHA.
Before going into this matter further, let me give a brief note on the types of Gurus and Diksha in Vedic India:
Though there are many minute classifications of gurus, In general, there are two types of gurus (Other types will be explained in another post):
(i) Siksha Guru – who teaches you about Lord and scriptures;
(ii) Diksha Guru – who accepts you as his disciple and takes responsibility for your upliftment.
In the case of DIKSHA/ INITIATION, there are different types in the vedic system. Let us see them:
TYPES OF DIKSHA / INITIATION
(1) Manthra DIksha:
(In ISKCON, this is given as Harinam Diksha DIRECTLY, not in dreams).
(2) Sanyasa Diksha:
(In ISKCON, between this Manthra diksha and Sanyasa Diksha, another intermediate diksha / initiation is also given called BRAHMANA DIKSHA / initiation).
(3) Shaktipat Diksha:
This is given after Sanyasa Diksha / initiation. (In ISKCON and many other sampradhayas, Shaktipat diksha is not followed.)
This Shaktipat Diksha / initiation is given in many forms:
(i) Drig diksha – Diksha / initiation through sight
(ii) Sparsha diksha – Diksha / initiation through touch
(iii) Kurma diksha – Diksha / initiation by thought
(iv) Swapna diksha – Diksha/ initiation by dream.
Only the guru will decide which type of diksha / initiation to be given to the disciple.
In ancient days, such rare instances of getting initiated in dreams were there.
(i) Saint ‘Tukaram’ received Gurumantra, “Ramkrishna Hari” in his dream. He recited this Mantra all the time and had the direct darshan (vision) of Lord Krishna and was taken to Vaikunta with his own material body in a vehicle (Vimana).
(ii) Eknath was initiated through a voice from sky (Akasavani) that directed him to meet Janardan Pant at Deva Giri and he will guide him further. Eknath thus found his Guru.
When the guru is ill and unable to travel, he personally can decide to offer diksha through letter, electronic media, etc. In these cases, the guru will personally know that he is giving diksha / initiation to this person. It happens with his consent and involvement.
But, such mysterious ways or SUBCONSCIOUS WAY of diksha (or) initiations in dreams existed only in rare cases in the history.
Some times, dreams come even because of repeated thoughts of a particular thing. Therefore, we should not take all such dreams as granted as already initiated, but, you can take it as a green signal for for accepting a guru.
In your case, of course, you are fortunate to have seen Srila Prabhupada in dream and got initiated by him. However, as per the system existing since vedic period, having a living guru will help you.
Therefore, accept a living guru in the same system started by Srila Prabhupada and act according to his advice.
Saint Eknath also was directed by the voice from the sky to meet a living guru Janardan Pant. Similarly, you too may have a living guru.
Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita to surrender unto the lotus feet of a guru and inquire about Krishna from that guru submissively.
He also says that He preached Bhagavad Gita to Surya Deva (Vivasvan) and it descended through disciplic succession.
Therefore, take that dream as a good and auspicious sign and approval from Srila Prabhupada. Follow a living guru directly as said by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.
In another angle, accepting a living guru is necessary to serve in any position in the spiritual organization/ mutt you belong to.
Hope this helps.