Constitution for ISKCON As It Is - Article 8, Part 4

BY: ROCANA DASA - 2.5 2023



8.6.5 Regulation and Oversight of Diksa Diksa initiation shall not be institutionally controlled within the Society. There shall be no regulatory mechanism for approving those wishing to take up the service of diksa-guru, nor is any form of permission required, beyond the rules of etiquette described in § and § The Society shall have no responsibility for ensuring that qualified diksa- gurus are available to those candidates wishing to become initiated. Such arrangements are dependent upon Chaitya Guru, and are a personal matter between guru and disciple. Although the Society shall in no way impede the arrangements of caitya- guru by asserting a determination of who is qualified to serve as diksa-guru, the Society shall be responsible for determining if a Member diksa-guru is not performing the duties of guru in bona fide fashion, according to sastra and the standards and instructions set forth by His Divine Grace. As public figures and spiritual leaders, diksa-gurus operating within the Society shall be held to the highest scrutiny of the Members, who shall not be intimidated or discouraged from pointing out what appear to be indiscretions in the way the guru conducts himself. If a Member serving as diksa-guru is found to be preaching or living outside the principles of this Constitution, either in relationship to his disciples or independent of his relationship with them, then his Membership may be revoked under due process. If, after due process under authority of the Judicial Panel, a diksa- guru's Membership in the Society is revoked, his disciples who are Members shall retain their own Membership but shall not publicly promote the guru in any way to the Society's Members. Disciples who choose to renounce their diksa-guru under such circumstances may seek to be initiated by another diksa-guru. This shall not be referred to as "re-initiation". If one is properly initiated then there is no question of re-initiation, and if one is not properly initiated then he is not initiated at all, and may simply seek to be initiated.

8.6.6 Diksa Initiation Process Under the program established by His Divine Grace, 1st initiation, known as harinama initiation, is preceded by an approximate six-month to one-year period in which the diksa-guru observes the sincerity of the aspiring disciple, who attends arati and classes in the sastras, engages in regulated chanting of the Holy Name, follows the four regulative principles and demonstrates a mood of humble obedience in following the guru. At the time of initiation, the initiate formally vows to continue chanting 16 rounds of japa daily and to strictly follow the four regulative principles. The diksa- guru ives a devotional name to the disciple, who is understood to now be connected to the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya, connected to the pure siddhanta in disciplic succession, and connected in eternal relationship to his diksa-guru. At the diksa-guru's discretion, in approximately six-months to one year, the disciple is awarded 2nd initiation, known as brahmana inititaion. In this initiation, the diksa-guru chants the Gayatri Mantra into the disciple's right ear, and in the case of male disciples, gives them the sacred brahmana thread, with attendant sacrificial ritual. [70] This level of initiation increases the responsibility of the disciple to follow the diksa-guru in exemplary fashion, representing the Sampradaya properly by demonstrating the qualities of a brahmana Vaisnava.

8.6.7 The Diksa Candidate "One should always remember that a person who is reluctant to accept a spiritual master and be initiated is sure to be baffled in his endeavor to go back to Godhead. One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress toward spiritual realization, with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief. Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination." [54] The aspiring disciple is entirely responsible for choosing, testing and evaluating a candidate diksa-guru. Sastra recommends at least a one-year period of mutual testing during which, by regular personal association, both parties determine if the relationship is desirable and capable of fulfilling the requisite needs of disciple and guru. [71]

"The rules and regulation are that nobody should accept blindly any guru, and nobody should blindly accept any disciple. They must behave, one another, at least for one year so that the prospective disciple can also understand, 'Whether I can accept this person as my guru.' And the prospective guru also can understand, 'Whether this person can become my disciple.' This is the instruction by Sanatana Gosvami in his Hari-bhakti-vilasa." [72]