12th Feb, 2014, Ujjain.
There was an excitement in the air today morning. Today was Nityananda 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 mangal arti. The temple hall was almost full. Guru Maharaj was singing the Guruvastakam in his ever melodious voice and devotees were in a transcendental trance completely absorb in the hearing Guru Maharaj’s voice and seeing the beautiful deities of Sri Radha Madanmohan, Sri Krishna Balram and Sri Gaur Nitai. Guru Maharaj left the temple hall after attending the Tulasi Arti. I felt 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. There was a knock on the door, I opened the door with half closed eyes, it was Sumeet Prabhu. He came inside and asked me if Giriraj Prabhu is here !! I told him I am his fallen servant, he laughed as he couldn’t recognise me in my night suite and without glasses. He need 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 Maharaj was inside the altar room. One devotee told me that today’s darshan is going to be a special with peacock dress for the Deities.
The conch shell blew and t he altar doors opened, what a wonderful darshan. Deities seemed to be basking in their new dress !
As we started singing govindam adi–purusham tam aham bhajami I suddenly heard peacocks singing in the temple. I looked back but there were no peacocks. I, then, realised that some enthusiastic devotee is mixing the sound of peacocks within the prayer and making it feel like as if peacocks are here !
After the arti everyone was waiting for the initiation ceremony to start. I chanted some more rounds basking in the bright sun in the corner of the outside verandah.
I saw Guru Maharaj going inside the temple hall. A quick dandavat and I ran inside the temple hall. Guru Maharaj gave an excellent lecture on importance of initiation. Few quick points which I was able to note on my mobile, please pardon me if there are any mistakes.
- Initiation means the beginning of the spiritual journey. Initiation is a formality, like we formally get admission in a school and get degree. We can study at home also but without a degree it is not recognised. Similarly without surrendering to a spiritual master the devotional journey is not recognised.
- The Sanskrit word diksha is a compound word and is derived from the two words ‘divya Jnana’ meaning ‘transcendental knowledge’ and ‘kshiyate’ the verb ‘to destroy’. Hence it means that transcendental knowledge which destroy all sins.
The spiritual master gives `Divya Jnana’ 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.
Mantra is actually the element which reveals the knowledge, by chanting the mantra and by meditating on the mantra.
Earlier the mantras were kept secret and were given to the qualified disciples only. These were chanted in the ear so that others can not hear them.
This was the process for mantra what to speak to Maha mantra. The difference is like machine gun and nuclear bomb, only very few add access to it. Similarly the we can take the example of diamond and Kohinoor diamond, the topmost diamond.
Guru maharaj 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 Krishna Prema. So mahaPrabhu has asked Nityananda Prabhu to distribute this to everyone.
Earlier only a Brahmin and that too only a qualified Brahmin could get a mantra. But MahaPrabhu kept no qualification or caste, anyone was welcome. MahaPrabhu asked Nityananda prabhu to distribute to everyone.
MahaPrabhu said that `you can buy me through Mahamantra’.
This way we are getting something which is not rare for even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva.
Guru Maharaj then added that had Srila Prabhupada not gone to America and started ISKCON where would be all of us today ? What were we doing before joining ISKCON ? So we should realise our good fortune that we have got the top most mantra.
Guru maharaj finally added that we need to take care of the offenses while chanting as offenses prevent Mahamantra 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 fertiliser then we will see mahamantra as Krishna Himself. We need faith in our heart to make our heart fertile. Once the seed becomes seedling then this `bhaktilata bija’ will grow and cross the material world, cross the Vraja river and then cross Vaikuntha and then land at the lotus feet of Krishna.
Flower of this tree is
bhava' and fruit of this tree is KrishnaPrema’.
We must start our chanting with a prayer to Krishna to please protect me so that I don’t chant with offenses.
Then the initiation ceremony began with chanting of Brahma Samhita. Guru Maharaj again stressed that verses 29 to 56 are the very essence of Srimad Bhagavatam and we must understand and memorise them. All devotees were provided with printed copies of these verses and everyone recited them with Guru maharaj. The most fortunate devotees received their Hari Nama Diksha from Guru Maharaj. Guru Maharaj asked to each of these devotees to promise him to never leave ISCKON come what may, they all promised.
And then the `Yajnana’ 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 Ujjain Dhama.
All glories to Nityananada Trayodasi.
All glories to the newly initiated devotees.
All glories to the Guru Parampara.
All glories to Guru Maharaj.
All Glories to Sandipani Muni.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.