Siksa or Diksa Sampradaya
By Bhadra Govinda Dasa (JPS)
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I had written this article and posted in 2002 but I am posting it here again as still in some quarters of our society the debate continues..
Can we call our sampradaya a siksa sampradaya? My understanding is as follows.
Any sampradaya can be called simply sampradaya. There is no need to call ours exclusively a siksa sampradaya, as in certain quarters devotees are calling it.
The siksa sampradaya proponents just took the parampara list given in Bhagavad-gita as It Is and started explaining that ours is a siksa line, siksa parampara, etc.
Every bona fide devotee, for example every one of those acaryas in the parampara list of Bhagavad-gita as It Is, has a diksa guru. The term “siksa parampara” is misleading. It implies that our parampara is something special and that there is no diksa needed to become a bonafide disciple or bona fide guru in the parampara.
It is not really so. All of the acaryas listed in Bhagavad-gita as It Is have taken formal diksa, and they have all given formal diksa to their disciples. It is simply that the parampara is listed to show the most prominent acaryas. There are many other lines, branches, and sub-branches. What about them?
Someone may say that there is no necessity of an acarya’s being formally initiated by (or being even a direct) disciple of the previous acarya in the parampara listing.
He may not have taken diksa from the immediate previous parampara acarya, but he must have taken diksa from a bona fide member of the parampara. That diksa must have been valid, at least at the time he was taking it. His diksa guru may not be as powerful as or greater than his siksa guru, who is the immediate previous parampara acarya, but he must have a diksa guru. Otherwise there is no meaning to the law of disciplic succession.
The term “siksa sampradaya” can be misleading, as it can mean that one can be a member of the sampradaya based only on siksa and that the parampara can go on through him or her, or it even can mean that the whole parampara is standing only on siksa and no diksa at all, right from Lord Sri Krishna — that is, no diksa link at all, anywhere.
Siksa guru and diksa guru are identical, and the importance of siksa is quite well explained by our founder acarya in the first chapter of Adi Lila of Caitanya Caritamrita. That is sufficient and adequate for us, and there is no need to coin a term “siksa sampradaya” or “siksa parampara.”
Those devotees who have coined this “siksa sampradaya” feel that there has been too much stress on diksa and that siksa has not been given any importance at all over the years in our society — that is, diksa guru is recognized and siksa guru is not recognized in our society. So they may present many papers, books, etc. on the subject of siksa and siksa guru. But by using the term “siksa sampradaya,” they will be neglecting the importance of diksa and diksa guru over the coming years.
Our founder acarya has not used the terms “siksa parampara” and “siksa sampradaya,” nor has he used “diksa sampradaya” or “diksa parampara.” “Parampara” or “guru parampara” itself is sufficient, and no adjective is required, as these words include both siksa and diksa.
If the proponents of the term “siksa sampradaya” think ours is not a diksa sampradaya, one can prove that it is a diksa sampradaya just on the basis of the meaning of the word “diksa” in Sanskrit and by Guru, Sadhu and Sastra.
That is not our motive. To keep things balanced, we must not use either “siksa sampradaya” or “diksa sampradaya,” as both would be biased. And why is this terminology required when we can simply call it parampara or guru parampara?
Someone may argue that whoever put this term “siksa sampradaya” into use has not the slightest intention to imply that there is no diksa at all.
That is exactly the problem I am talking about. That person may have the understanding, but others may not have the same understanding. This person has surely never imagined that some time in the future a layman or any simple devotee or another person may start thinking that our parampara is a siksa parampara and that just by siksa this parampara can go on, so diksa is not required. The danger is that we may give too much importance to siksa and neglect diksa. The terms “siksa sampradaya” and “diksa sampradaya” will be misleading to any ordinary member of this society today and in the future.
Knowledge is passed down by siksa. Jnana is passed down by siksa. Jnana means theory. This is passed down by siksa. There is no disagreement on that. By siksa instructions, we get knowledge. Jnana should be followed by vijnana.
Even that knowledge— Krishna says we must accept it by the parampara process. That is, even theory, you must learn from a bona fide guru and not from any Tom, Dick, or Harry. If we read Bg4.1-4.2 with Bg4.34 with purports it is very clear.
In Bg4.34 Krishna explains that this knowledge is received by diksa. This verse and the Caitanya Caritamrta verse tasmad guru padasrayam, krishna diksadi siksanam are the same. Krishna is talking about shelter, diksa and siksa.
There is an analogy: The agricultural field and the seed. Any amount of hard labor in the field is simply a waste of time if there is no bija (seed).
Diksa is bija, planting the seed. Siksa is instruction, watering the seed, removing the weeds, etc.
Diksa and siksa can come from the same guru or from different gurus, but for obtaining the fruit, both diksa and siksa are a must. Whether they come from the same guru or different gurus, diksa and siksa are a must. Diksa guru is one, and siksa gurus may be many. Without diksa, without the seed, where is the question of siksa?
Parampara means that there should be diksa and siksa. Otherwise, it is not parampara. There is no meaning to the word “parampara” if there is no diksa. Without the seed, what is the use of the hard labor of cultivation?
If someone says that without siksa, just by diksa, alone the parampara can go on, he is wrong. The seed will die or the plant will die without siksa. And if some one says that by siksa alone the parampara can go on, he is also wrong. Without the seed, where is the question of the plant and the fruit?
Parampara, disciplic succession, goes on by diksa and siksa. “Parampara” means diksa and siksa, not diksa alone or siksa alone or that either one of them is optional. Both are a must. One cannot just take diksa and forget about siksa, and one cannot just take siksa and forget diksa.
Krishna says, evam parampara praptam…. and later goes on to say, upadeksyanti te jnanam. He could have said upasiksyanti.
We do not want to use the terms “siksa parampara” and “diksa parampara.” Simply call it parampara, or guru parampara and that includes both diksa and siksa.
Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.
Your humble servant,
Bhadra Govinda Dasa (JPS)