Let us analyse each assertion of ISKCONites (deviants) in a sequence –
1) Deviants –
“Sincere eagerness to chant the holy name is the main qualification to be initiated according to the pancaratrika process:”
1) BRVF –
“Nowhere, it is stated as such in the writings of the classical ācāryas of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya that the eagerness of chanting the holy names is the cause behind dīkṣā. Why? Because, according to the convention of Gauḍīya Vaiṣnava lineage, Harināma is never allotted as part of dīkṣā. When the chanting of holy names doesn’t require any guru, how can it be the basis of taking dīkṣa?
Rather, according to the śāstras, the main reason behind taking initiation in the pāñcarātrikī process of vidhi-mārgīyā bhakti is to do the arcanam of the śrī-vigraha of Śrī Hari as indicated by the following verse of Padma-purāṇa (as cited in Haribhaktivilāsa) –
gṛhīta-viṣṇu-dīkṣāko viṣṇu-pūjā-paro naraḥ / vaiṣṇavo ‘bhihito ‘bhijñaiḥ itaro ‘smād avaiṣṇavaḥ //
“A person who is devoted to the worship of Śrī Hari (through arcanam) having undergone dīkṣā into the viṣṇu-mantra is called a vaiṣṇava by the scholars; whereas, all those not undergone such a dīkṣā are called avaiṣṇavas.”
And the main reason behind taking initiation in the pāñcarātrikī process of rāga-mārgīyā bhakti is to be able to chant the sacred kāma-gāyatrī-mantra and the 10 or 18 syllable gopāla-mantra. Only through these two mantras, the vraja-prema (the result of rāga-mārga) is obtained. If not so, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartti Thakkura would not have decided to commit suicide by drowning himself into the sacred waters of Rādhākuṇḍa – when he felt that he is not able to ascertain the structure and meaning of the kāma-gāyatrī mantra and that without understanding the svarūpa of these mantras, their iṣṭa-devas viz., Rādhā and Govindadeva, would not be realized. This whole episode is revealed by SVCT himself in his Mantrārtha-dīpikā.”
2) Deviants –
“When the disciple has become competent and purified by chanting, the spiritual master offers him the sacred thread:”
2) BRVF –
“Allotment of yajñopavīta or a sacred thread does not need the requirement of chanting holy names as a prerequisite. Why? Because of the following assertion of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmipāda found in his Durgama-saṅgamanī on Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu 1.1.22 –
“…brāhmaṇa-kumārāṇāṁ śaukre janmani durjātitvābhāve ‘pi savana-yogyatvāya puṇya-viśeṣamaya-sāvitra-janma-sāpekṣatvāt…”
“The children born in a (Vedic) Brāhmaṇa family are require to undergo the virtuous ceremony of taking a (second) birth through Sāvitrī (brahma-gāyatrī-mantra) for being eligible to perform the sacrifice – even though they are not born in a contaminated family (of outcastes etc.).”
2nd evidence –
“garbhāṣṭame aṣtame vā ‘bde brāhmaṇasyopanayaṁ kartavyam. tatra tadasambhave ṣoḍaśa-varṣa-paryyantamupanayanādhikāraḥ ataḥ-paraṁ sāvitrī-patito brāhmaṇo nopanetavya iti.” – Satkriyāsāradīpikā. of Śrīla Gopālabhaṭṭa Gosvāmī
“From the eighth of the conception or in the eighth year after birth, a brāhmaṇa’s upanayanam is to be executed. If that is not possible, the eligibility to undergo upanayanam continues up till the age of sixteenth. After that period, a brāhmaṇa who has fallen down from the status of acquiring brahma-gāyatrī should not be given upanayanam.” – SKSD
Hence, it is very clear that the upanayanam-saṁskāra or the sacred thread ceremony has no connection with the pañcaratrikī vaiṣṇava dīkṣā (irrespective of vidhi or rāga paths). According to the conventional system in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya, upanayanam samskāra is not given during the vaiṣnava-ḍikṣā. In all other vaiṣṇava-sampradāyas like Rāmānujī, Mādhva, Vallabhīya, Nimbārkī and Rāmānandī, the upanayanam saṁskāra is not part of the vaiṣṇava dīkṣā.
Do the Vedic brāhmaṇa boys who undergo upanayanam-saṁskāra chant Harināma? The result of Harināma is that it can bestow mukti merely by its ābhāsa. To say that the chanting of Harināma is required for a person to undergo upanayanam saṁskāra is none other than the minimization of the glory of Harināma.
Moreover, upanayanam saṁskāra is part of naimittika-karma and not part of bhakti-mārga (neither vidhī nor rāga). How can the chanting of Harināma which is part of bhakti-mārga be the cause of one’s entrance into the karma-mārga by undergoing upanayanam?”
3) Deviants –
“Even without recitation of kama-gayatri, the chanting of Hare Krsna is sufficient to elevate one to the highest spiritual platform:”
3) BRVF –
“If, even without the recitation of kāma-gāyatrī, the chanting of Mahāmantra is sufficient to elevate one to ‘vraja-lilā’ (entrance into vraja-līlā is the goal of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas), why the vaiṣnavas in deviant neo-Gauḍīya institutions are bestowed kāma-gāyatri? Why to undergo so much hassle if only Harināma is sufficient?
If the deviants say that in order to arcanam of the deity it is required, our argument is that if Harināma can bestow mukti, then why can’t Harināma bestow the qualification of doing arcanam onto its reciter? Why to undergo diīkṣā at all?
Moreover, if simply by the recitation of Harināma, the vraja-prema could be obtainable, the whole incident of SVCT as described in Mantrārtha-dīpikā turns irrelevant.
4) Deviants –
“Haridasa Thakura formally initiated Maya by asking her to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra:”
4) BRVF –
“Both Haridāsa Thākura and Mahāmāyādevī Siṁhavāhinī Dūrgā are not associates of Kṛṣṇa in vraja-līlā. They are following the path of vaidhī-bhakti and not rāga-mārga. Haridāsa Thākūra is incarnation of Brahmā and Prahlāda. Both Brahmā and Prahlāda have no entrance into vraja-līlā. If, Lakṣmīdevī, the consort of Lord Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha is not able to obtain entrance into vraja-līlā, (vide SBMP 10.47.60), how can Brahmā and Prahlāda do? Moreover, it is permitted for the vaiṣnavas born in cāṇḍāla and other outcaste families to become ‘nāmopadeṣṭā’ – if they ascend the level of taking śuddha-nāma (prema-bhakti stage) even once. SVCT explains this in his commentary to SBMP 3.33.6-7.
Allotment of Harināma doesn’t require any formal ceremony. Formal bestowal of Harināma only began after 1965. Even then it is not called dīkṣā. When Thākura Hariḍāsa gave Harināma to Mahāmāyādevī, there was no fire sacrifice done. No such evidence available in CC or CB.
5) Deviants –
“When one situated on the platform of love of God chants the holy name loudly, everyone becomes initiated in the chanting of the holy name: ”
5) BRVF –
“So, if HDG ACBSP who is considered to be on the perfected level chanted Harināma loudly many times – what was the need for same HDG ACBSP to give formal initiations? Does this mean that all Muslims and Christians living in holy dhāmas like Vṛndāvana and who are able to hear the chanting of yugala-nāma many times in their life from the śuddha-vaiṣṇavas roaming there – all initiated?”
6) Deviants –
“The chanting of the holy name does not depend upon initiation:”
6) BRVF –
“Then why are you giving initiation into Mahāmantra?”
7) Deviants –
“Whether or not one is properly initiated, if he chants the holy name offenselessly, he is a pure Vaisnava and must be respected:”
7) BRVF –
“No doubt. But, such a pure vaiṣṇava can obtain all other destinations except vraja-līlā. He will be respected; but if he is not possessing the scriptural qualifications of becoming a mantra-dīkṣā-guru, he will not be accepted by the knowers of scriptures in such a position.”
8) Deviants –
“The holy name is self-sufficient: Brahminical Initiation – Diksha
Although chanting the holy name is sufficient for perfection, one should receive brahminical initiation for purification:
Although chanting of the holy name is complete in itself, initiation and Deity worship are still necessary for purification: ”
8) BRVF –
“a) Holy name is not sufficient for entering vraja-līlā. Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛtam and Mantrārtha-dīpikā are its examples.
b) If the chanting of Holy names can bestow mukti even at its ābhāsa stage and is sufficient for perfection, isn’t ‘purification’ part of the stage called ‘perfection’? If so, why cannot a person become perfect just by Mahāmantra and not undergoing dīkṣā of kāma-gāyatrī”
c) Deity worship is never necessary for purification. It is minimizing the glory of Harināma if arcanam is made its complementary (if its made supplementary, its ok). Vide SBMP 3.33.6-7.”
9) Deviants –
“In Kali-yuga, chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is more powerful than Deity worship.
“Chant Hare Krishna and be happy”
हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे || हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे||”
9) BRVF –
“If, in Kaliyuga, if the chanting of Mahāmantra is certainly more powerful than deity worship, why do you need deity worship for purification? Isn’t deity worship less powerful than Mahāmantra (according to the deviants)? Then, why something less powerful is needed to acquire that result (purification) which cannot be given by something more powerful i.e. Harināma (perfection)?”
Conclusion – Hence, one can see that all the arguments of heretic deviant and distorted neo-Gauḍīyas neither match the scriptures nor the conventions. Moreover, their arguments backfire on themselves .
— Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara Ācārya Śrī RKDS ‘ĀV’ Gurupāda