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Mahanidhi Swami

Receiving the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra from a teacher is not called diksha; it is an expression of acceptance, care and compassion.

According to the Veda shruti, Sri Sanatana Goswami, Sri Jiva Goswamipada and all Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas diksha means to receive the Krishna mantra (aka Gopala Mantra) from the spiritual master. Only this is diksha. Although it’s commonly thought that receiving harinama is diksha, it is not according to shastras, tradition and the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

To teach the example for everyone, Bhagavan Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Panca Tattva and all Gaudiya Vaisnavas have taken diksha which means atma samarpana or surrender to Sri Guru, and hearing three times in the right ear the Gopala/Krishna mantra from Sri Guru.

The confusion arises because the terms nama and mantra are often mixed up and translated incorrectly. Mantra is called nama and nama is called mantra. But Nama DOES NOT MEAN MANTRA. Nama means names of Krishna i.e. the maha-mantra. Although called a mantra, it is actually a chant or divine names which is why it’s in the EIGHTH or vocative CASE, the vocative form of calling out to Bhagavan—“O Hare, O Radha, divine energy of Sri Krishna. O Krishna please save me!”

The word mantra, however, refers to a collection of transcendental sounds in the FOURTH or dative CASE which by definition must contain a bija mantra (om, klim, srim, aim); and a verb (svaha, namah, vidmahe, dhimahi, prachodayat). In the following verse, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu clearly explains that the DIKSHA MANTRA is different than Krishna’s Divine Name, nama.

krishna mantra haite habe, samsara mocana
krishna nama haite pabe, krishnera carana

Sri Chaitanyadeva said, “Krishna mantra means the diksha mantra i.e. Gopala Mantra which acts to free the disciple from all anarthas, karmas and samsara. The name of Krishna i.e. Hare Krishna Hare Rama will give Krishna’s lotus feet.” (Caitanya Caritamrita. 1.7.73)

Practically all the Sanskrit and Bengali verses glorifying Sri Krishna’s Divine Name always use the word, NAMA and not mantra. For example, nama cintamani krsnas, hari nama harer nama harer nama, iti ñoòaçakaà nämnäà, nämnäm akäri bahudhä nija-sarva-çaktis, and there are hundreds of examples in Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita i.e. kali yuga yuga dharma namera pracara, etc.

Srila Haridasa Thakura is known as “Nama Acharya” not the mantra Acharya. Thus mantra means specifically our diksha mantras Gopal mantra and Kama Gayatri, and nama means the many, beautiful and amazingly attractive sweet Divine Names of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Nama Sankirtana ki jai!

Real, proper and traditional diksha means a process of spiritual initiation through which the guru imparts the Vaisnava diksha mantra i.e. Krsna/Gopal Mantra and Kama Gayatri for Gaudiyas. By chanting the diksha mantras a disciple will obtain all transcendental knowledge and attain the association of Radha-Krishna. Unlike mantra, nama requires no diksha, tapa, vairagya or purascharana. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself said, “Harinama is not diksha and does not require diksha. It stands alone and has its own purpose and function.

Mahaprabhu said:

dīkṣā-puraścaryā-vidhi apekṣā nā kare
jihvā-sparśe ā-caṇḍāla sabāre uddhāre

“Chanting Krishna nama IS NOT DIKSHA. One need not perform purascharya -vrata, or observe any rules and regulations. Just a touch of Krishna nama with the tongue is sufficient to deliver everyone one, even a dog eater.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.15.108)

Srila Prabhupada tika: Quoting Hari Bhakti Vilasa (2.6), Srila Prabhupada says, “If one has no diksha then ALL HIS ACTIONS ARE USELESS (sarvam nir arthakam), and one attains birth as an animal (pashu yonim avapnoti diksha virahito jana).” And further (2.10), “It is the duty of every human to take Vaisnava mantra diksha i.e. Gopala/Krishna mantra from Sri Guru.”

As far as the maha-mantra, Srila Prabhupada said, “The chanting of the holy name does not depend on the initiation process.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.15.108)

Diksha mantras act invisibly but powerfully within the disciple to clear and remove all previous bad tendencies and commitments to illusion. One begins a new life awakened in divine knowledge. By giving diksha, Sri Guru mercifully slackens the bondage of maya, infuses transcendental energy into the disciple’s heart via the mantra, and awakens an awareness of one’s eternal relationship with Sri Hari.

Contained within the diksha mantra i.e. the Gopala mantra alone is divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge which acts to purify one’s consciousness and reveal the form and identity of Bhagavan Sri Krishna (bhagavat-svarupa) along with knowledge of the sadhaka’s particular relationship with Bhagavan Sri Krishna (sambandha-jnana) and one’s eternal spiritual form i.e. siddha deha.

What special power and wisdom does the most wonderful Gopala/Krishna mantra contain? Sri Jiva Goswamipada answers:

divyam jnanam srimati mantre,
bhagavat svarupa jnanam, bhagavata sambandha vishesha jnanam

“Two types of divine wisdom are received from the beautiful diksha mantra i.e. Gopala Mantra—knowledge of Sri Krishna’s form and identity (bhagavat svarupa jnana), and knowledge of one’s special and specific relationship with Sri Krishna [i.e. sthayi rati and siddha deha].” (Bhakti-sandarbha 283)

In summary, this is the power, beauty and extraordinary effect of Gaudiya Vaisnava diksha which DOES NOT mean receiving harinama from a preceptor. Through the medium of the Gopala-mantra (Krishna-mantra), Sri Guru dispels the jiva’s aversion toward Krishna, and inspires and directs the disciple to serve Sri Krishna with love. Gradually, the surrendered disciple attains divine wisdom about Sri Krishna, the jiva and the material energy. This powerful wisdom in turn then completely destroys the disciple’s sins and ignorance.

Believe it or not, we have met many mature devotees who only have harimana and NO DIKSHA, even after ten years of sincere service to Sri Guru. This is most regrettable and unfortunate. It is seen everywhere that most Gaudiya Vaisnava Gurus GIVE DIKSHA within 1-4 years of knowing the candidate.

Disciple means surrender and Guru means diksha. This is the transcendental exchange between sad shisya and sad Guru. Simple logic: no surrender—no disciple; no diksha—no Guru. Giving diksha is the duty of Guru and receiving it is the right of the disciple.

So we deeply pray to our most beloved, sweet and dear Srimati Radhika and Giridhari-Shyam to bless all my friends known and unknown with the great treasure of Gaudiya Vaisnava diksha which means receiving the beautiful Gopala mantra, and sometimes getting the most enchanting and esoteric Kama Gayatri.

Sri Guru diksha ki jai! Sad Shishya ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Jai Jai Sri Vrindavana Dhama!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Is attachment to “I and Mine” (aham, mameti) preventing us from chanting shuddha nama, the pure Holy Name of Bhagavan Sri Krishna? In the Padmna Purana’s list of the ten offenses against Krishna’s Holy Name (nama aparadhas), the last one addresses attachment, which like a ghost haunting even the most sincere sadhakas.

The tenth offense mentioned in the Padma P. (Brahma-khanda 25.15-18) is:

shrutvapi nama mahatmyam yah preeti rahito dhamah

aham mamadi paramo namni so ‘py aparadha krt

“If one has heard the glories of Krishna’s divine name (shrute nama mahatmye), but still thinks in terms of “I and Mine” (aham mamadi), and does not show love for the Holy Name (preeti rahito dhamah), that is an offense (aparadha krt).”

Unfortunately, the ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ mentality runs very deep within all of us. Even the best hearted Krishna bhaktas, who are supposed to fully identify themselves as spiritual beings, Krishna dasa and Radhika dasi, Sri Krishna’s eternal loving servants, are guilty of this mundane mentality.

Despite all our sadhana and chanting, we still think “I am this body, and people and things related to my body are mine.” Minds move fast; but consciousness moves and changes very slowly. Due to the lingering mental embrace of material consciousness, we are still seeking sense pleasures, gain, adoration and distinction.

To show how the “I and Mine” mentality touches all of us, let’s examine Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s tika to the verse above which he discusses in his Hari-bhakti vilasa #11 v. 524. He describes how the deadly enemy of false pride, which is what the 10th offense is all about, manifests within different types of devotee chanters.

  1. First, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada addresses the solitary chanters saying, aham bahutara nama kirtaka, which means to think “I am chanting more than you” or to think “I am the greatest in connection with the Holy Name”. And this is the 10th offence.”

One often meets such “advanced devotees” who approach and ask, “How many rounds are you chanting?” Then to assert their supremacy they announce how many lacs of nama (multiples of 64 rounds) they are chanting to insinuate that your chanting is not up to the mark. But your bhajana is not their business. Shastra advises that one’s guru, diksa mantras and sadhana should be kept secret.

Once a “bhajananandi sadhu” approached another saintly person, asking how many lacs of nama he was chanting. The sadhu humbly replied, “What bhajana am I doing? I am only eating and sleeping.”

  1. Secondly, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada addresses the preacher devotee saying, itas tato nama kirtanam ca mat pravartitam eva, maya samo nama kirtana paro anyah kah, which means [this is also the 10th offense to think], “Only I am spreading the chanting of the Holy Name all over the world. Who is equal to me in dedication to nama kirtana?”

One often meets such “messiah bhaktas” who openly criticize devotees who are trying to please Sri Hari and Sri Guru by concentrating on bhakti bhajana instead of preaching. Hence they are guilty of false pride, and the offense of “I and mine” mentality; the 10th nama-aparadha.

III. Thirdly, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada addresses the proud chanter, saying, madiya jihva dhinam eva namety adikam eva paramam pradhanam, “My tongue is the greatest chanter of the Holy Name. Chanting is under the control of my tongue, and I am chanting the Holy Name myself.”

Such pride contradicts Srila Rupa Goswamipada’s Bhakti rasamrta sindhu (1.2.234), which says that Sri Krishna’s Holy Name will never manifest through one’s material senses. But if one has a service attitude, then the Holy Name WILL APPEAR first in the tongue and other senses. The reality is that “I” am not chanting so many rounds of japa. But out of His mercy, Sri Nama Prabhu is appearing within me due to my humility, pridelessness and sincere service attitude.

To conclude this article, we will quote Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s closing remarks on the 10th offense to the Holy Name: nama kirtanam ca kadacit sidhyati na va yasya tatha bhuto yah so piti. ata evadistam bhagavata: trnad api sunicena, taror api sahisnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniyah sada harih:

“Such a proud aham, mameti devotee rarely ever even does kirtana. For Sri Krishna has taught that one should be lower than a blade of grass, tolerant as a tree, not want honor and give all honor to others. This is how the Holy Name of Lord Hari should always be glorified.” Otherwise the Holy Name will not bestow its desired fruit. (HBV. tika trans. and concept from Sri Advaita dasji)

Sri Hari Nama Prabhu ki jai! Shuddha Hari Nama Japa & Kirtana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!