Discussions on the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Please place practical questions under the Miscellaneous forum and set this aside for the more theoretical side of it.
Becoming brahmana through diksha? -
Robert - Sun, 04 May 2003 14:59:48 +0530
Next problem is mantra gayatri and conception that vaishnava initiation makes ones a brahmana. I know that is very complicated issue and it was one of the main misconception of Gaudiya MAth. I read some Brzezinski articles on this topic. Gayatri mantras in GAudiya Vaishanavism are based on original Surya or Aka Gayatri. Initiation in Vaishnava doesnt mean that one become brahmana, but what to think about fragment of Brahma Samhita: In text 24 is said that Brahma received Gopala-mantra from Sarasvati and in 27 Brahama received Gayatri from sound coming from Govinda`s flut and in this way he became twice born. But whata kind of GAyatri Brahama received here? Surya Gayatri or Kama gayatri?
Some say that verse Bhakti-Rasamrita-sindhu, 1.2.62. means that by Vaishnava initiation one attain the status of Brahmana with eligibility for the performnece of the vedic rites. I think it is misconception, but I would like to know your opinion about initiation nad gayatri, brahmana status, etc.
And last question - is the maha-mantra may be considered as initiating mantra as it practice in GM/ISKCON? What is your opinion?
Advaitadas - Sun, 04 May 2003 15:31:26 +0530
Dear Robert, Brahma is the original Brahmin and cannot be compared with all the non-brahmins and even non-Hindus who are getting ‘brahmin-initiation’ nowadays. You see also that Brahma’s Gopal- and Brahma-intiations were separate initiations, not the same. Considering the B.R.S. 1.2.62 verse and the dvijatva-verse in the Haribhakti Vilasa-verse, that says that as bell metal is turned into gold through the process of alchemy, similarly a human being attains twice born status through the process of diksa (yatha kancanatam yati kamsyah rasa vidhanatah; tatha diksa vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam), in his tika Sanatana Gosvami confirms that dvijatva means viprata for everyone (sarvesam eva dvijatva viprata), and thus Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati seems justified in turning everyone into a brahmana.
However, 1] In his Bhakti Sandarbha  Srila Jiva Gosvami has classified this statement under the heading atharcanadhikari nirnayah – ‘Now follows the designation of eligibility for deity worship.” Then he proceeds by quoting scripture on the eligibility of all castes and genders for deity worship, ending with yatha kancanatam. This is the context in which this verse is to be seen.
2] None of Mahaprabhu's nitya siddha associates, like Advaita or Nityananda, Gadadhara, Srinivasacarya, Narottama, Syamananda, nor any of Their disciples or granddisciples have ever put such a 'brahmana-initiation' into practise, nor have any of them ever involved the Brahma Gayatri in the process. mahajano yena gata sa pantha — One must follow in the footsteps of the mahajanas. All the mahajanas have considered such a practise to be an utpata, or social disturbance. Before 1918, 350 years after the compilation of Haribhakti Vilasa, no one has ever given 'brahmana-initiation'. Shall we assume that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati knew it better than the Panca Tattva, Six Gosvamis, etc.?
Regarding maha mantra, in the Adwaita Prakash it is stated that Mahaprabhu did not want to drink His mother’s breast-milk unless she got harinaam initiation, which her mantra-guru Adwaita Prabhu then gave her.
Jagat - Sun, 04 May 2003 16:53:13 +0530
The point is this: "becoming twice born" is not identical to "becoming a Vedic Brahmin."
The question has a religious and a social dimension.
Robert - Mon, 05 May 2003 16:44:59 +0530
Thank you for kind reply. I`ve observed discussions on this forum for some time and I got insight into literature, but still not everything is clear form me. My question was mainly concerned on theological aspects of initiation, so Advaitadas reply is clear for me. I think that all-important is here this aspect, and social dimension of initiation is secondary importance. Of course, if we investigate problem "Brahmana-Vaishnava" and conception of "Brahmana-initiation" social dimension becomes significant. But for all Vaishnavas crucial is opinion of Gosvamis, am I right?