Found in Sanga, Sanga 2000.

Q. Who is eligible for diksa and when is initiation complete?

A. One who has sraddha is eligible for diksa. In the context of diksa, the initiate learns the particulars of bhajana-kriya from his guru. By following these guidelines the initiate becomes free from the basic anarthas and his bhajana becomes nistha. However, initiation is complete when one reaches the stage of asakti and glimpses his spiritual identity, because diksa is a function of sambandha-jnana, which reveals one’s relationship with Krishna.

Q. Though there may be many siksa-gurus, doesn’t the actual delivering power lay with the bhagavata acarya?

A. This is the general rule. However, sometimes we see that the siksa guru is a great devotee and we cannot deny his spiritual influence. It is possible that the siksa guru may do more to bring about one’s deliverance than the diksa guru. The seed of bhakti is necessary, but it will not fructify without watering.

Q. Could you give some examples of the siksa guru doing more than the diksa guru.?

A. The diksa guru of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, but he taught his followers to consider themselves Bhaktivinoda parivara, followers of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who had a greater influence upon him. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was initiated by Bipin Bihari Goswami, but his siksa-guru, Jagannatha das Babaji played a more significant role in his life. In Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva Dharma, Vijaya Kumara received ekadasa-bhava from his siksa-guru in Puri, not from his diksa-guru in Navadvipa. The diksa-guru of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was Yadunandana Acarya, but his siksa-guru was Svarupa Damodara, who had a much greater influence on him, as did Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, who became his siksa-gurus after the disappearance of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Sukadeva Gosvami was the siksa guru of Suta Gosvami and he played a more prominent role in his life than his diksa guru.

All this does not minimize the importance of diksa. It merely serves to acknowledge spirituality wherever it comes from.

Q. Can’t the guru acarya be one who is not present on the planet, like Srila Prabhupada, but is accessed by his representatives?

A. No, this is not correct. We cannot connect ourselves to the sampradaya through a purvacarya such as Srila Prabhupada.

Q. Aren’t Srila Prabhupada’s books guru-sastra-sadhu in one?

A. Not according to sastra or other sadhus, or to Srila Prabhupada himself for that matter. If this were the case, we would not need Srila Prabhupada at all. If we accept this premise, we may as well just connect directly to Krishna through Bhagavad-gita, calling it guru-sastra-sadhu in one, or directly to Vyasa through Srimad Bhagavatam.

Q. In the last Sanga Q & A you wrote, “one should only accept money that has been acquired by appropriate means.” It is said that anything used in Krishna’s service is purified. Then what is wrong in accepting money which has not been earned in an honest way provided it is used for Krishna’s service, such as building a temple ?

A. The idea is that dishonest people should not be associated with, nor should we encourage them to continue in their ways. They should be taught to give up their bad habits. We do not need their money. They need to serve God, and service to God involves changing one’s heart. If they see that you will not accept their money, they will better understand how undesirable their lives and evil ways are. Not taking their money is the best way to help them. There may also be exceptions to this principle for powerful devotees.

Regarding collecting money for building a temple, this is another thing. We do not need to ask everyone how they acquired their money. We give them the benefit of the doubt that they are honest people and not criminals.

Q. Should one strive for a particular svarupa or is this something which is revealed in the course of one’s spiritual practice?

A. As it is revealed, one should strive for it. It will show itself in the stages of ruci and asakti and the sadhaka then strives to become situated in that svarupa in his bhajana. Bhava-bhakti also involves further striving.

Q. If I were to enter the pastimes of Goloka Vrindavana, would I see myself as mortal and suffer the same fears as mortals?

A. Liberated devotees experience emotions such as fear (bhayam), etc., but they are blissful because these emotions arise out of love of Krishna.

Q. Do the inhabitants there believe that there is a God and that Krishna is God?

A. In the Vraja-lila the devotees worship Narayana as God and love Krishna as their son, friend, lover, etc. They have a sense that Krishna is God but this only serves to augment their particular relationship with him.

Q. What would our relationships be like with other people in Goloka Vrindavana? Would we have a mother and father and friends?

A. Yes, but they all love Krishna.

Q. As a young boy I always loved the magic and romance of Christmas. Is there something like that in the spiritual world?

A. Yes, everyday there is filled with magic and excitement.

Q. Are there beautiful cities and beaches? Is there snow falling from the heavens?

A. Yes. There are also gods in the heavens, all of whom are pure devotees of Krishna.

Q. The spiritual world is described as being unlimited, however the experience of the pastimes seem limited to a certain extent.

A. The experience is not limited. All of the descriptions of Krishna-lila given in the literature and spoken of by saints are but an outline to the book of reality. They are only meant to give us an idea. Knowing these descriptions is not enough. It must be accompanied by, sadhana, spiritual practice, in order to understand them in truth.

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