By Dusyanta dasa
This article is not exactly originating from whether women can be Diksa Gurus. But the recent articles have brought up some interesting points. And I read all the articles including the comprehensive download called “Did Srila Prabhupada want Women Diksa Gurus” from eye of the storm books. In this download it came across that the book was biased towards trying to prove that Srila Prabhupada did want women Diksa Gurus. And I think that when you try to prove a point in this way the article takes on a biased colour and this colour shone through the whole download, unfortunately.
Isn’t it better to produce all the evidence from a transparent point and let the reader make up his mind unless you are an Uttama Adhikari writer? In Iskcon we continually make this mistake of presenting our own ideas based upon what we have read. But are we taking everything into account and are we presenting it accurately. My answer would be no we are not.
“There are nine gates in the body; two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth, the genitals and the anus. When every gate is illuminated by the symptoms of goodness, it should be understood that one has developed the mode of goodness. In the mode of goodness, one can see things in the right position, one can hear things in the right position, and one can taste things in the right position. One becomes cleansed inside and outside. In every gate there is development of the symptoms of happiness, and that is the position of goodness.” Bhagavad-gita As It Is. 14; 11.
Unless a person has attained this standard of maintaining the nine gates in the mode of goodness there is every chance of misunderstandings, misapplications and mis representation. And have we not already seen as historical fact this mode of operations in Iskcon since Srila Prabhupada is not here to correct all the failings.
The down load was a comprehensive writing but unfortunately from my point of view there were serious mistakes in its presentation. This was due to the fact that it was trying to prove the point rather than to present the truth. To present truths we have to be at least in the mode of goodness to make those presentations and we have to know the whole guru-tattva subject from every angle or else we will keep repeating Iskcon historical mistakes.
So for me the first mistake it made was the title. “Did Srila Prabhupada want women Diksa Gurus?” That is not the first consideration and it came across that we have learnt to run but can’t walk. Firstly we need to understand what Sri Guroh is, not what gender Sri Guroh is. We need to understand the function of Sri Guroh, the differences between the Diksa Guru and Shiksa Guru, and what happens to our relationship with Sri Guroh after He is no longer physically present.
So just to show one example of the misrepresentation of the download there is a quote from the Chaitanya Charitamrta 1.34;
“The Initiating and Instructing Spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Krishna.”
That’s how it appears in the down load but actually from Srila Prabhupada’s Book itself it reads like this;
“ The Initiating and Instructing Spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Krishna, although They have different dealings.”
Considering the length of the download why does the five words that are omitted not get included into the presentation. And these five words also illustrate the difference between the Diksa Guru and the Shiksa Guru. In fact in the down load they actually put a full stop after the word “Krishna” as if it were the end of the sentence not even some dots……… to indicate there is more to the sentence.
So this extra part that they neglected to put in “ although they have different dealings” means that there are also differences and they are not just equal. So what are the differences between the Diksa Guru and the Shiksa Guru? What is the difference between the dealings and how do they affect our relationship? And lastly how does the Diksa Guru and Shiksa Guru change functionality after they no longer physically exist?
Now if we start answering these questions then we are on the right road of understanding who is Sri Guroh not what gender Sri Guroh is. If we actually start reading Srila Prabhupada’s books all the answers are there but we have to ask the right questions and the question of gender is not the right question, because it is not dealt with in a transparent way.
In Srimad Bhagavatam the right answers are there if we find them and we seek from a transparent place. If we are trying to consciously prove what we believe then we have already made the mistake of colouring our inquiry. That’s why we have so much debate in Iskcon because we colour our enquiries and therefore our answers are also coloured. And the more we actually study the down load the more we can see its colouring. It looks as though it’s a brilliant and comprehensive article but there are so many mistakes in it that we would need another book to rebut the misunderstandings, mistakes and misapplications.
I thought that the presentation really supports the ritvik ideology. If there is no difference between the Diksa Guru and the Shiksa Guru then the relationship and dealings are equal. If the Diksa Guru is Diksa Guru after he is no longer physically present then why cant Srila Prabhupada be everyone’s Diksa Guru after He has departed. According to the GBC resolution, Srila Prabhupada is everyone’s Pre-eminent Shiksa Guru after He has departed, especially after He departed. So if the Shiksa Guru is exactly equal to the Diksa Guru then Srila Prabhupada must also be everyone’s Diksa Guru after He physically departed. There is no difference between the Diksa Guru and Shiksa Guru according to the download article so that supports the ritvik notion that Srila Prabhupada is everyone’s Diksa Guru, period.
So that’s wrong then. The Diksa Guru and Shiksa Guru are not equal because their dealings and therefore the relationship for the disciples are different. (Cc 1.34.) . So what we have to establish is how the dealings are different and what criteria has to be in place to apply that difference. For instance if Srila Prabhupada is everyone’s Diksa Guru after He departed then He must have also been everyone’s Diksa Guru before He appeared. But He wasn’t. We did not even know Him until He made His presence felt. This is another difference between the Diksa Guru and the Shiksa Guru.
In fact if you read Cc 1.34 from a different angle of English language all it is saying is the Diksa and Shiksa Gurus are equal-manifestations of Krishna not that they themselves are equal to each other. And in the introduction to Chapter one of Cc we find this corroborating evidence;
“ The first manifestation described is the Spiritual master, who appears in two plenary parts called the initiating spiritual master and instructing spiritual master. They are identical because both of them are phenomenal manifestations of the Supreme Truth.”
This quote does not support the concept that the Diksa Guru and Shiksa Guru are equal and identical to themselves but “identical manifestations” of the Supreme Truth. They are identical manifestations, not identical to themselves. And they are identical manifestations of the Supreme Truth. And simply they are described as “two” plenary parts; otherwise it would state they appear in “one” plenary part called the initiating spiritual master and the instructing spiritual master. Why have two words “Diksa” and “Shiksa” to describe a manifestation of the same equality and identity?
If we consider the relationship and dealings we have with our Spiritual master we have to understand what our service is to our Spiritual Master and how it is functioning and the presence of the Spiritual master that bears down on that relationship. So how do we know what it is? How to apply it and what changes with physical disappearance?
When Srila Prabhupada was physically present He was Shiksa Guru and Diksa Guru. He instructed us to serve His physical body when He was physically present. But the service and dealings and relationship ALL change when He is no longer physically present. Srila Prabhupada says the disciple has to change the service, at the time when He is no longer physically present, from serving His physical body, His Vapuh, to serving His words, His instructions, His Vani. From serving His Vapuh we are instructed to serve His Vani only when He is no longer physically present.
The two different conceptions of the presence of the Spiritual Master are the physical conception and the vibrational conception. Srila Prabhupada says the physical conception is temporary and the vibrational conception is eternal. The eternal relationship with our Spiritual Master then is through the eternal vibrational presence not the physical presence. When He is physically present the Spiritual Master is served through His physical body, which is temporary, but when He is no longer physically present the service is changed to serving His eternal Vani, sound vibrational presence.
The Spiritual Master exists eternally through His Vani, that’s before He physically exists and after He physically exists. This is an absolute requirement for a disciple to relate eternally with the Spiritual Master. Otherwise how is the eternal relationship exhibited through a temporary physical presence? The Diksa Guru only exists temporarily when He is physically present and only accepts service and therefore relationship through His physical body.
Krishna Himself teaches us as the Instructing Spiritual Master (Shiksa Guru) from within and without. From within He teaches as Paramatma, our constant companion, and from without He teaches from Bhagavad-gita As It Is as the Instructing Spiritual Master (Shiksa Guru). The Bhagavad-gita is Lord Krishna’s Vani and in this form He teaches as the eternal Instructing Spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada our Spiritual Master is also our eternal Shiksa Guru in His Vani.
When the Spiritual Master instructs us to serve Him after He is no longer physically present it is through His Vani as Shiksa Guru. But when He is physically present He instructs us to serve His physical body as Diksa Guru. We serve our Diksa Guru when He is physically present through His temporary physical body and when He is no longer physically present we serve His eternal vibrational presence, His Vani.We cant and don’t serve the Diksa Guru after He is no longer physically present or before He is physically present, this is how the dealings and relationship are different between the Diksa Guru and the Shiksa Guru. Service to the Diksa Guru is only whilst He is physically present, whilst service to the Shiksa Guru is eternal.
This is just dealing with only one small part of the download book that is found as a link from the article by Kaunteya dasa. This item is dealing with the synthetic premise that the Diksa Guru and Shiksa Guru are equal in all respects and at all times and with the same functionality. Clearly that premise is flawed by the evidence that they present in the downloaded book by missing out applicable points even within the same sentence. To provide a comprehensive book that is trying to establish truth means it has to be transparent. Transparent in its questioning and transparent in its answering and I think it fails on both accounts.
Whether the Diksa Guru is male or female is tertiary and irrelevant in all cases, what we have to establish in a transparent way are the primary questions on Guru tattva. Otherwise we just wind up with another inconclusive book that answers another coloured idea. And another Iskcon mistake on the guru tattva subject. In material life it is said that mistakes are the pillars of success but in spiritual life mistakes are the pillars of more mistakes and this down loaded book is an illustration of how this is exhibited. If we want to build a foundation of spiritual strength in Iskcon it would be more favourable to ask questions and answer questions in a transparent way, only then will we start to progress.