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2017: Submit a Tribute : Entry # 277
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My dear Srila Prabhupāda — Please accept my most sincere obeisances, though, even at this point, I don’t truly know how to offer them. All glories to Your Divine Grace.

On this day, I remember you as the Sāragrāhī Vaishnava par excellence, an essence seeker who taught his disciples to embrace the essence as well. You lovingly dissuaded us from superficiality, and instead encouraged us to seek the truth — real truth — in all its forms.

Naturally, you wanted disciples who were substantive, and so today I contemplate the difference between vidvad-rudhi and avidvad-rudhi — disciples who are, in fact, really disciples, as opposed to disciples who are such in name only. If there were a photograph accompanying an encyclopedia entry for this latter kind of disciple, I have no doubt it would be a picture of me.

From our Gauḍīya teachings, we learn that there are two kinds of disciples, and, correspondingly, two kinds of dīkṣā (initiation)—anusthaniki (avidvad-rudhi) and vidvad-rudhi. Anusthaniki refers to the external formality of a fire yajña and the giving of dīkṣā mantras. After such rituals, one tends to think they become God’s gift — “I have sacrificed so much; I have imbibed the greatest knowledge; and I have, unlike so many others, given my life to the highest good.” In other words, a “holier than thou” mood often ensues. But why all the fuss? Such an initiation is external. Of course, the ceremony is essential, but it is not complete without vidvad-rudhi.

To embrace the guru’s mood while serving his mission, with deep love and affection — this is “vidvad-rudhi-dīkṣā.” Pañcarātriki-dīkṣā is no doubt necessary, and it can even inspire one to embrace a higher conception in due course. This is why Rūpa Gosvāmī includes it as being among the first of his 64 items of bhajana (guru padāśrayas tasmāt kṛṣṇa dīkṣādi śikṣaṇam viśrambheṇa guroḥ sevā, as per Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.74).

But, as you have taught us, formal initiation is not what dīkṣā is all about. You called it a “necessary formality.” Real dīkṣā is characterized by heartfelt surrender and a service mood that is uncompromising. This is what you showed by your own example, and it is what you expected of us, your disciples.

This is why the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 15.108) tells us, “One does not have to undergo initiation or execute the activities required before initiation. One simply has to vibrate the holy name with his lips. Thus even a man in the lowest class [caṇḍāla] can be delivered” (dīkṣā-puraścaryā-vidhi apekṣā nā karejihvā-sparśe ā-caṇḍāla sabāre uddhāre).

In the purport, after giving much evidence for the importance of initiation, you write, “In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, but if one is initiated and engages in pañcarātra-vidhi (Deity worship), his Krishna consciousness will awaken very soon, and his identification with the material world will be vanquished.” This all points in the direction of real initiation: vidvad-rudhi.

We learn much about the reality of initiation from the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.9) and the Bhakti-sandarbha (283):

divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam|
tasmād dīkṣeti sā proktā deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ ||

“Because it bestows divine (divya) knowledge and causes the complete destruction (kṣaya) of sin, it is called dīkṣā by the teachers who are expert in spiritual truths.”

Further, Jiva Goswami famously interprets divyaṁ jñānaṁ in the following way,

divyaṁ jñānaṁ hy atra śrīmati mantre bhagavat-svarūpa-jñānaṁ, 
tena bhagavatā sambandha-viśeṣa-jñānaṁ ca |

“‘Divine knowledge’ here means ‘knowledge of the Lord's true identity in the sacred mantra’ and through that knowledge of a specific relation with the Lord.”

In other words, the mantra is meant to communicate or define one's particular relationship with a  specific form of bhagavān. For many, this involves esoteric mantras, usually the product of “higher initiations,” like those involving Siddha Pranali and ekādaśa-bhāva. But for us, your disciples, we recognize divya jnanam in the mahā-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rama Rama Hare Hare. THAT is our sacred mantra. And the form of Bhagavān we cherish? It is Vrajendranandana Krishna, no doubt — but specifically as he is revealed by Your Divine Grace. THIS is our divya jnana!

If we can simply learn to hear the name properly, to chant it sincerely, and to dedicate our lives to your mission, serving Krishna as you have revealed Him to us, we can then fully realize the purport of divya jnanam and enact an actual vidvad-rudhi initiation, becoming actual vidvad-rudhi disciples.

In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, as you mentioned in the Cc, nor does it depend on some esoteric initiation — it simply depends on giving you, or your representatives, our lives, fully, and without reservation. THAT is real initiation. So, on your Vyāsa-pujā day in 2017, I pray that you’ll accept me as your duly initiated disciple, in the truest sense of the word.

Your aspiring servant,
Satyarāja Dāsa
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My dear Srila Prabhupāda — Please accept my most sincere obeisances, though, even at this point, I don’t truly know how to offer them. All glories to Your Divine Grace.

On this day, I remember you as the Sāragrāhī Vaishnava par excellence, an essence seeker who taught his disciples to embrace the essence as well. You lovingly dissuaded us from superficiality, and instead encouraged us to seek the truth — real truth — in all its forms.

Naturally, you wanted disciples who were substantive, and so today I contemplate the difference between vidvad-rudhi and avidvad-rudhi — disciples who are, in fact, really disciples, as opposed to disciples who are such in name only. If there were a photograph accompanying an encyclopedia entry for this latter kind of disciple, I have no doubt it would be a picture of me.

From our Gauḍīya teachings, we learn that there are two kinds of disciples, and, correspondingly, two kinds of dīkṣā (initiation)—anusthaniki (avidvad-rudhi) and vidvad-rudhi. Anusthaniki refers to the external formality of a fire yajña and the giving of dīkṣā mantras. After such rituals, one tends to think they become God’s gift — “I have sacrificed so much; I have imbibed the greatest knowledge; and I have, unlike so many others, given my life to the highest good.” In other words, a “holier than thou” mood often ensues. But why all the fuss? Such an initiation is external. Of course, the ceremony is essential, but it is not complete without vidvad-rudhi.

To embrace the guru’s mood while serving his mission, with deep love and affection — this is “vidvad-rudhi-dīkṣā.” Pañcarātriki-dīkṣā is no doubt necessary, and it can even inspire one to embrace a higher conception in due course. This is why Rūpa Gosvāmī includes it as being among the first of his 64 items of bhajana (guru padāśrayas tasmāt kṛṣṇa dīkṣādi śikṣaṇam viśrambheṇa guroḥ sevā, as per Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.74).

But, as you have taught us, formal initiation is not what dīkṣā is all about. You called it a “necessary formality.” Real dīkṣā is characterized by heartfelt surrender and a service mood that is uncompromising. This is what you showed by your own example, and it is what you expected of us, your disciples.

This is why the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 15.108) tells us, “One does not have to undergo initiation or execute the activities required before initiation. One simply has to vibrate the holy name with his lips. Thus even a man in the lowest class [caṇḍāla] can be delivered” (dīkṣā-puraścaryā-vidhi apekṣā nā karejihvā-sparśe ā-caṇḍāla sabāre uddhāre).

In the purport, after giving much evidence for the importance of initiation, you write, “In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, but if one is initiated and engages in pañcarātra-vidhi (Deity worship), his Krishna consciousness will awaken very soon, and his identification with the material world will be vanquished.” This all points in the direction of real initiation: vidvad-rudhi.

We learn much about the reality of initiation from the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.9) and the Bhakti-sandarbha (283):

divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam|
tasmād dīkṣeti sā proktā deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ ||

“Because it bestows divine (divya) knowledge and causes the complete destruction (kṣaya) of sin, it is called dīkṣā by the teachers who are expert in spiritual truths.”

Further, Jiva Goswami famously interprets divyaṁ jñānaṁ in the following way,

divyaṁ jñānaṁ hy atra śrīmati mantre bhagavat-svarūpa-jñānaṁ, 
tena bhagavatā sambandha-viśeṣa-jñānaṁ ca |

“‘Divine knowledge’ here means ‘knowledge of the Lord's true identity in the sacred mantra’ and through that knowledge of a specific relation with the Lord.”

In other words, the mantra is meant to communicate or define one's particular relationship with a  specific form of bhagavān. For many, this involves esoteric mantras, usually the product of “higher initiations,” like those involving Siddha Pranali and ekādaśa-bhāva. But for us, your disciples, we recognize divya jnanam in the mahā-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rama Rama Hare Hare. THAT is our sacred mantra. And the form of Bhagavān we cherish? It is Vrajendranandana Krishna, no doubt — but specifically as he is revealed by Your Divine Grace. THIS is our divya jnana!

If we can simply learn to hear the name properly, to chant it sincerely, and to dedicate our lives to your mission, serving Krishna as you have revealed Him to us, we can then fully realize the purport of divya jnanam and enact an actual vidvad-rudhi initiation, becoming actual vidvad-rudhi disciples.

In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, as you mentioned in the Cc, nor does it depend on some esoteric initiation — it simply depends on giving you, or your representatives, our lives, fully, and without reservation. THAT is real initiation. So, on your Vyāsa-pujā day in 2017, I pray that you’ll accept me as your duly initiated disciple, in the truest sense of the word.

Your aspiring servant,
Satyarāja Dāsa
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