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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.

Defining divya-jnana in the context of diksha - As in Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 283

Madhava - Thu, 02 Sep 2004 18:30:50 +0530
The issue of interpreting the concept of divya-jñAna in the context of dIkSA in various fascinating ways seems to raise its head every now and again both here and in various forums around the Vaishnava-cyberspace. I would like to clarify the import of the word in the original context in which it appears to put a stop to at least the wildest misinterpretations.

DIkSA is defined as follows (Bhakti-sandarbha Anuccheda 283, Jiva quotes from the Agamas):

divyaM jJAnaM yato dadyAt kuryAt pApasya saGkSayam |
tasmAd dIkSeti sA proktA dezikais tattva kovidaiH ||

ato guruM praNamyaivaM sarvasvaM vinivedya ca |
gRhNIyAd vaiSNavaM mantraM dIkSA pUrvaM vidhAnataH ||

“The teachers who are knowers of the truth say that since it gives divine knowledge and destroys sin, it is called dIkSA.

Therefore, paying obeisance to the guru and offering him one’s all, one should receive vaiSNava-mantra-dIkSA preceded with proper procedures.”

Here, dIkSA is not understood as anything that might give divine knowledge and destroy sins. Rather, it is mentioned specifically in the context of dIkSA, the reception of a vaiSNava-mantra.

Jiva further illuminates the meaning of divya-jñAna, or the divine knowledge which is transmitted in dIkSA:

divyaM jJAnaM hy atra zrImati mantre bhagavat-svarUpa-jJAnaM, tena bhagavatA sambandha-vizeSa-jJAnaM ca |

“Divine knowledge means here knowledge of the true nature of the Lord in the mantra and, by that, knowledge of one's own special relationship with Him.”

In illuminating the misunderstanding in interpreting the divyaM jJAnam-verse, I'll quote Jagat's apt words from another topic:

This verse is not defining an unknown named "diksha", but rather saying why the known thing, diksha, has been given that name. It's the difference between "A beautiful woman is my wife" and "My wife is a beautiful woman."

In other words, "Diksha, i.e. the transmission of mantra by guru to disciple, is known by this name because it is meant (use of vidhi-liG) to bring divine (dI) knowledge and destroy sins (kSA)." Not, "Anything that gives knowledge and destroys sins is diksha."

I hope this clarifies the matter for everyone concerned.