Yesterday I proposed that the entire world and specifically our bodies are the property of the Lord and if we see them this way we will see them as full of transcendental bliss. Paramahamsas never see anything in this world as separate from Krishna, they see His personal form everywhere they look, so they can derive transcendental bliss from everything, matter or spirit, without differentiation.
We are not paramahamsas, though, we can’t imitate this vision and even if we accept it theoretically it won’t make much practical difference in our lives. Well, one good thing is that we’ll stop criticizing others, knowing that everyone is Krishna’s dear servant, as far as the rest of our lives goes, it would make no difference.
Lord Chaitanya Himself didn’t demand this level of realization when He talked to Sanatana Goswami about this. He restricted transcendental bliss only to the bodies of His devotees, He didn’t say anything about non-devotees and how they smell to the Lord. This would be a good start for us, too, we should learn to treat devotees as Krishna’s dearmost associates first, the rest of the world can wait.
This is also a duty of madhyama adhikaris – to differentiate between devotees and non-devotees. We can either aspire to this level or we have to make sure we don’t lose this attitude, even if theoretically.
Important point here, mentioned by Lord Chaitanya, is exactly when a person becomes His dependent and when the Lord accepts someone else’s body as His own property – dīkṣā-kāle, at the moment of initiation (CC Antya 4.192).
At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa accepts him to be as good as Himself.
This is clearly not a stage of perfection yet, meaning that we have to treat all initiated devotees as being as good as Krishna Himself. We can’t allow ourselves to treat them as anything less just because they appear as not very advanced. From the moment of initiation, no excuses.
This dīkṣā-kāle moment is also important for our debates about female diksha gurus or any other variation of guru debate. What constitutes dīkṣā? Is it the first initiation? The second, as per Gaudiya Math? Is it acceptace of a Holy Name you’ve heard from a devotee on the street? Is it the moment you surrender yourself to Krishna after reading Prabhupada’s books? What role does a guru play in all this? Does a guru have to be physically present?
This last part might sound like an opening for ritvikism but actually it isn’t. We don’t deny that ritviks are devotees, we don’t deny that they are under Krishna’s protection, we cannot treat them as non-devotees, our differences are a lot more subtle than that, unless it denigrates to court battles and calling police on each other.
Perhaps our expectations from a guru are higher than what is required to become accepted by Krishna. Of course one has to be accepted by other devotee first, and if Krishna takes charge of your life than that devotee is your dīkṣā guru in the sense that Lord Chaitanya meant it in this verse. Perhaps our FDG proponents want more than that and for them giving dīkṣā means chanting on beads, giving a name, and getting your initials attached after disciple’s name on COM.
I’m sure they are not that shallow but from the look of their political demands this is exactly what they want. Would they be satisfied with Krishna accepting a devotee seeking their shelter as good as Himself? Why is that sometimes they look like they want official recognition that they have performed this function from the rest of ISKCON, too?
To be accepted by Krishna one simply has to surrender to His representative. That can happen in a split second decision right there on the street. Boom, you’ve got dīkṣā.
There was an episode like this with Srila Gaurakishora Dasa Babaji when a devotee went to Mayapur, got mercy from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and then asked Srila Gaurakishora for initiation. “You are living in the dhama, you got mercy of a vaishnava, what more do ou need?” asked Srila Gaurakishora, “there’s not need for any extra initiation, Lord Chaitaynya has clearly accepted you as His servant, your life is a success.”
In heated debates about guru qualifications, FDG, rubber stamp gurus, zonal acharya system, ritvikism and what not we often forget this simple point – surrender to the Lord, accept mercy of a devotee, and that’s it, you’ve got dīkṣā, from now on just practice chanting the Holy Name and associate with devotees.
Krishna will never ever abandon you, your body is His now, it’s full of transcendental bliss even if you personally don’t feel it yet. Krishna does, He is very happy about every little thing His devotees do for Him and He overlooks all their faults, save for aparadhas. Maybe you get a new name and beads, maybe you don’t, that is external, good when it’s there but it’s only a matter of time before you are formally inducted into ISKCON family, or maybe a matter of another lifetime, but as far as Krishna is concerned – you are already taken.
When Sanatana Goswami planned to commit a suicide Mahaprabhu jokingly condemned Him: “Look at this man, Haridas, He surrendered his body and his soul to me but now he wants to destroy my property! Where are his manners!”
Perhaps we should take these words seriously – we should always remember that our bodies are not ours anymore, we just rent them from Lord Chaitanya. He enjoys them when they are put into His service, we are there only to maintain them, change oil, wash and clean and so on.
When our bodies ARE engaged in service it gives transcendental pleasure to the Lord regardless of whether we feel it ourselves or not.
Or, perhaps, we should pause and ask ourselves – have I ever surrendered? All the ceremonies were nice, but have I surrendered my heart? Without it I might have a name and recognition in the society but not from Krishna, so it’s all useless.
This dīkṣā-kāle moment is very very important, it’s no like any other moment in our lives.