16 Feb Initiation Day At ISKCON Ujjain – Nityānanda Trayodasi, 12th Feb 2014
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Please read a brief report about the initiation ceremony held in ISKCON Ujjain on Nityānanda Trayodasi, 12th Feb 2014.
There was an excitement in the air today morning. Today was Nityānanda Trayodasi and initiations for the 8 fortunate devotees.
I got up a bit late, around 4.15am and hurriedly got ready and was in the temple hall at 4.40am for the maṅgala-ārati . The temple hall was almost full. Guru Mahārāja was singing the Gurvaṣṭakam in his ever melodious voice and devotees were in a transcendental trance completely absorbed in hearing Guru Mahārāja’s voice and seeing the beautiful Deities of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohana, Śrī Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitai.
Guru Mahārāja left the temple hall after attending the Tulasi Ārati. I felt very cold and left for my room to chant and catch up with some sleep. I met Sumeet Prabhu on my way back to the room and we spoke for 15-20 minutes, I was as excited as prabhuji for his initiation ceremony.
I chanted my rounds for an hour and then tried to catch up with sleep. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, I opened the door with my half closed eyes, it was Sumeet Prabhu. He came inside and asked me if Girirāja Prabhu is here !! I told him I am only his fallen servant. He laughed as he couldn’t recognize me in my night suite and without my glasses. He needed help to tie his Dhoti. When he left the room it was already 7.20am.
I changed and rushed back to temple to attend Guru Puja, which was half over. Everyone was waiting for the altar to open. Guru Mahārāja was inside the altar room. One devotee told me that today’s darśana is going to be a special one with peacock dress for the Deities!
The conch shell blew and t he altar doors opened, what a wonderful darśana. The Deities seemed to be basking in their new dress!
As we started singing “Govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi”. I suddenly heard peacocks singing in the temple. I looked back but there were no peacocks. I then realized that some enthusiastic devotee was mixing the sound of peacocks within the prayer and making it feel like as if peacocks are here!
After the ārati everyone was waiting for the initiation ceremony to start. I chanted some more rounds standing outside in the verandah with bright sun.
I saw Guru Mahārāja going inside the temple hall. A quick dandavat and I ran inside the temple hall. Guru Mahārāja gave an excellent lecture on the importance of initiation. Few quick points which I was able to note on my mobile. Please pardon me if there are any mistakes.
1. Initiation means the beginning of the spiritual journey. Initiation is a formality, like we formally get admission in a school and get a degree. We can study at home also but without a degree it is not recognized. Similarly without surrendering to a spiritual master the devotional journey is not recognized.
2. The Sanskrit word diksha is a compound word and is derived from the two words ‘divya jnana’ meaning ’transcendental knowledge’ and ‘kshiyate’ the verb which means ‘to destroy’. Hence it means transcendental knowledge which destroys all sins.
3. The spiritual master gives `Divya-jñāna ‘ and the disciple goes back to the spiritual world. We need a vehicle to go to the spiritual world and that vehicle is the process of initiation.
4. Mantra is actually the element which reveals the knowledge, by chanting the mantra, by meditating on the mantra.
5. Earlier the mantras were kept secret and were given to the qualified disciples only. These were chanted in the ear so that others cannot hear them. This was the process for mantra what to speak of the mahā-mantra. The difference is like machine gun and nuclear bomb, only very few had access to it. Similarly we can take the example of diamond and Kohinoor diamond, the topmost diamond.
6. Guru Mahārāja explained that beggars can never become millionaires. Only a king can make a beggar a millionaire. But kings generally don’t do that. What if the king becomes mad, mad in Kṛṣṇa Prema. So Mahāprabhu has asked Nityānanda Prabhu to distribute this to everyone.
7. Earlier only a Brahmin, and also only a qualified Brahmin, could get a mantra. But Mahāprabhu kept no qualification or caste, anyone was welcome. Mahāprabhu asked Nityānanda prabhu to distribute to everyone. Mahāprabhu said that `you can buy me through Mahā-mantra ‘.
8. This way we are getting something which is rare for even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
9. Guru Mahārāja then added that had Śrīla Prabhupāda not gone to America and started ISKCON where would be all of us today? What were we doing before joining ISKCON ? So we should realize our good fortune that we have got the topmost mantra.
10. Guru Mahārāja finally added that we need to take care of offenses while chanting as offenses prevent mahā-mantra to become effective. As an analogy consider what is common between a seed and a banyan tree. If the seed gets proper care then it becomes a tree. Similarly if we have faith as a fertilizer then we will see mahā-mantra as Kṛṣṇa Himself. We need faith in our heart to make our heart fertile. Once the seed becomes seedling then this `bhakti-latā-bīja’ will grow and cross the material world, cross the Vraja river and then cross Vaikuṇṭha and then land at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
13. Flower of this tree is ` bhāva’ and fruit of this tree is Kṛṣṇa-prema.
14. We must start our chanting with a prayer to Kṛṣṇa to please protect me so that I don’t chant with offenses.
Then the initiation ceremony began with chanting of Brahma-saṁhitā. Guru Mahārāja again stressed that verses 29 to 56 are the very essence of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and we must understand and memorize them. All devotees were provided with printed copies of these verses and everyone recited them with Guru Mahārāja. The most fortunate devotees received their Hari-nāma Diksha from Guru Mahārāja. Guru Mahārāja asked each of them to promise him to never leave ISCKON come what may, they all promised.
And then the ‘yajña’ began.
The ceremony got over in next 30 minutes. Newly initiated devotees, purified and elated, came out to take blessings from everyone around them. The whole atmosphere was a mix of excitement and joy. We were all under the divine sky of ISKCON Ujjain dhāma.
All glories to Nityānanda Trayodasi.
All glories to the newly initiated devotees.
All glories to the Guru Parampara.
All glories to Guru Mahārāja.
All Glories to Sandipani Muni.
All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Your insignificant servant,