(Hinduism: Gaudiya Vaishnavism / ISKCON)

  1. The intiation ceremony, an ancient ritual to invoke the disciple's link with the parampara lineage, or Disciplic Succession. Taking about two hours, the ceremony includes passing the maha mantra from one generation to the next. Symbolically the guru chants one round on a a new string of japa beads. During the ceremony, the disciple receives these japa-mala, vowing to chant sixteen rounds of japa per day, and to follow the four regulative principles. The guru also bestows on the disciple his or her spiritual name, and the agni-hotra, or "fire ceremony" is performed.

  2. The "initiating" guru. Until Prabhupada's death in 1977 Prabhupada was undeniably the diksha-guru for thousands of men and women, despite formal initiation having sometimes been given on his behalf by ritviks. However, after his death, some of his followers in the GBC decided that they had become diksha-gurus whereas others, citing passages in letters he had written to disciples, felt otherwise:
    "When I order you become guru, he become regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. Just see."
    In fact, this statement was one of the most important. Some cited the phrase "when I order" and said that Prabhupada never gave the order. As Nori J. Muster puts it in her book Betrayal of the Spirit:
    "They believed that Prabhupada should remain the eternal spiritual master, with his disciples offering initiation on his behalf. This is similar to the understanding that priests and ministers witness on behalf of Jesus, the supreme spiritual teacher of Christianity. The GBC rejected the evidence that they were only ritvik gurus because Prabhupada had never spoken of a guru giving initiation posthumously. The GBC said there must be a "living guru" to connect the aspiring disciple with God through dik-sha initiation."

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