Absentia Diksa Guru Initiation
BY: DUSYANTA DASA
Nov 08, 2010 UK (SUN) In the Chaitanya-caritamrta Chapter 1 Introduction, Srila Prabhupada definitively instructs concerning the first manifestation described as the Spiritual Master, who appears in two plenary parts called the Initiating Spiritual Master and the Instructing Spiritual Master. These are identical because both of them are phenomenal manifestations of the Supreme Truth.
"The Initiating and Instructing spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Krsna, although they have different dealings. Their function is to guide the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead. Therefore Krsnadasa kaviraja Goswami accepted Nityananda Prabhu and the Six Goswamis in the category of Guru."
The acceptance of the Spiritual Master then is not based on whether one is an Initiating Spiritual Master or an Instructing Spiritual Master because they are both equal and identical manifestations of Krsna. Our acceptance is based on our ability to find a qualified Spiritual Master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.
In ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada occupies the position as everyone's pre-eminent Siksa Guru. The Instructing Spiritual Master. There are two kinds of Instructing Spiritual Masters. One is the fully liberated person fully absorbed in meditation in devotional service and the other is he who invokes the disciple's spiritual consciousness by means of relevant instructions. Thus the instructions in the science of devotional service are differentiated in terms of objective and subjective ways of understanding.
Even though Srila Prabhupada disappeared in 1977, He still remains the pre-eminent Siksa Guru for all time in ISKCON, for all devotees, for generations to come. However, this function as Siksa Guru creates an anomaly and contradictory paradigm for all the members of ISKCON.
In Caitanya-caritamrta 1.47, Srila Prabhupada writes and instructs thus:
"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 offence in the discharge of devotional service."
On one hand we all agree and accept that Srila Prabhupada is in the position of being ISKCON's pre-eminent Siksa Guru, period, but then we make the differentiation between the Instructing Spiritual Master and the Initiating Spiritual Master by saying Srila Prabhupada is not everyone's Initiating Spiritual Master. The contradiction and anomaly in this concept of guru-tattva in ISKCON is that the functioning of the Instructing Spiritual Master, viz-a-viz Srila Prabhupada, is not dependant on physical presence, whereas the functioning of the Initiating Spiritual Master is dependant on physical presence. Clearly this is a mutually exclusive conclusion and may be considered to be an offence in the discharge of devotional service because of the differentiation conclusion.
Either that, or we must draw the opposite conclusion, one mutually excluding the other:
1) The functioning of the Instructing Spiritual Master is NOT dependant on physical presence and therefore the functioning of the Initiating Spiritual Master is the same by logic and Sastra.
2) The functioning of the Instructing Spiritual Master and Initiating Spiritual Master is dependant on physical presence exclusively.
Either of these conclusions exclude the mixed scenario that exists in ISKCON, where an Instructing Spiritual Master can function as an Instructing Spiritual Master in absentia, as in the case of Srila Prabhupada being ISKCON's pre-eminent Siksa Guru, and an Initiating Spiritual Master can function as an Initiating Spiritual Master in physical presence only as clearly defined in ISKCON by the GBC. Clearly according to the quote from Cc 1.47, this mixed conclusion means a differentiation has been made, which is not compatible and consistent with the Cc 1.47 conclusion.
If we accept that to function as an Initiating Spiritual Master, He has to be physically present, then the same must be said for the Instructing Spiritual Master, which then logically takes us to the rather bizarre conclusion that when the Initiating Spiritual Master is no longer physically present He can no longer function as an Initiating Spiritual Master. The same for the Instructing Spiritual Master.
If we all accept that Srila Prabhupada IS our Siksa Guru, which means He can function as our Siksa Guru in absentia, then He must also be our Diksa Guru in absentia because we can't make that differentiation by discriminating between them.
The next conception in this same thread is that when the Initiating Spiritual Master disappears, meaning He can no longer function as an Initiating Spiritual Master because He is no longer physically present, then what happens to the disciple of such an Initiating Spiritual Master? If the disciple is still initiated by the absentia Initiating Spiritual Master, this means that the Initiating Spiritual Master can still function as an Initiating Spiritual Master after He is no longer physically present. This creates a contradictory paradigm.
That being the case, and also accepting that Srila Prabhupada is our Siksa Guru for all time, then the conclusion must be that Srila Prabhupada can also still function as our Diksa Guru for all time.
The process of Rtvik Initiation then becomes a reality. If we accept that Srila Prabhupada is still an Initiating Guru in His absentia for His disciples who were initiated in His physical presence, then it stands to logic and scripture that He must still be able to function as Diksa Guru, and then through His process of representation, Rtvik Initiation.
If Srila Prabhupada can no longer function as Diksa Guru because He is no longer with us, then this must be true for us all. He can't function as Diksa Guru for some and not for others, that is inconsistent. Either Srila Prabhupada functions as Diksa Guru or He does not, in absentia.
These are the type of contrary paradigms that still exist in ISKCON today. It would be good to get some feedback here in the Sampradaya Sun concerning this subject matter, so that all of ISKCON can openly debate this concept of physical presence or otherwise. Personally, I have not been able to find any evidence that states categorically that the Guru HAS TO BE PHYSICALLY PRESENT, but I am open minded!!!