Maharaja, could you please clarify few extra points: what are the ramifications for someone, who abandons his or her Guru in good standing and gets reinitiated by someone else? (For example I heard, that a devotee who abandones his Guru is going to take birth as a worm in his next life) I heard it from a friend long time ago, and do not remember the shastrik reference.
And also, what about a “Guru” who excepts someone else’s desciple, knowing that he or she has already been initiated? What does it mean? It would seem, that he does not recognize his “desciple’s” previous diksha initiation as bona-fide, hence his previous Guru not even as a vaishnava!? (Shyamananda Pandit’s pastime comes to mind, of how he from Dukhi Krishna das became Shyamananda and Hridoy Caytanya’s reaction to that)
Would that make such guru’s (who excepts someone else’s desciples) position as a bona-fide Guru questionable?
Dear Kirti Prabhu,
Someone who abandons his spiritual master to go to someone else without his blessings and direction, not having an extremely serious reason to do that, is an offender. Action of this importance should be directed by the Guru.
The offense of going against the spiritual master’s instructions is called guru-avajna and the result is that the bhakti-lata of the devotee will dry up. (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 19.156)
About the “worm thing”, Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.64.39) says:
sva-dattāṁ para-dattāṁ vā
brahma-vṛttiṁ harec ca yaḥ
viṣṭhāyāṁ jāyate kṛmiḥ
“Whether it be his own gift or someone else’s, a person who steals a brāhmaṇa’s property will take birth as a worm in feces for sixty thousand years.”
I don’t know if this would apply also to Guru offenders. I never read it anywhere nor heard it from anyone.
If a Guru, knowing that a devotee is already initiated, initiates him, he is also an offender and this initiation has no validity. This is Vaisnava Aparadha.
The argument that reads like this: “I initiated him because his previous guru was not advanced” is untenable.
Infact Srila Prabhupada disagrees with this point of view in several occasions.
“Generally the spiritual master comes from the group of such eternal associates of the Lord; but anyone who follows the principles of such a ever liberated persons is as good as one in the above mentioned grooup… A person who is liberated acharya and guru cannot commit any mistake, but there are personas who are less qualified or not liberated, but still can act as guru and Acarya by strictly following the disciplic succession.
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to Janardana 4/26/68)
I have several similar other quotes but I think this one is clear enough.
Therefore if someone is following the instructions of a liberated person (like Srila Prabhupada) is a bonafide spiritual master.
Those who reinitiate somebody knowing they were already initiated, not only they committ Vaisnava Aparadha but reveals a material interest for power and recognition. It is grossly materialistic. And certainly would draw a serious question mark on the authenticity of that Guru.
The case of Syamananda Pandita does not apply to what we are discussing.
In fact Srila Jiva Gosvami did not initiate Syamananda but only gave him a name. Of course giving a name is not a small thing. It is something serious and is the sign of an existing spiritual relationship that was actually already there since Jiva Gosvami was the siksa guru of Syamananda Pandita. After all it had been Hridaya Caitanya himself who sent his disciple Duhkhi Krishnadasa (Syamananda) to study from him.
However Hridaya Caitanya wasn’t happy about this name giving because Jiva Gosvami did not ask him the permission to do that. In terms of Vaisnava etiquette, Hridaya Caitanya was correct but since it was sanctioned by Srimati Radharani Herself, neither Jiva Gosvami or Syamananda were at fault and at end Hridaya Caitanya understood it and gladly accepted it.
– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
2 June 2019