Sunil, June 5, 2012
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada
In the book “Nectar of Instruction” Text Seven, three stages of chanting are mentioned: offensive stage, stage of lessening offences and pure stage.
Can a person reach the pure stage of chanting before initiation?
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, June 5 2012
Hare Krishna Sunil Prabhu,
Nice question. And we are reading Nectar of Instruction this month in our book club too!
The short answer to your question is “no”.
1. In Nectar of Instruction verse 3, it is mentioned as one of the steps for spiritual perfection,
utsahan niscayad dhairyat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
There are six principles favourable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavouring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam [SB 7.5.23] — hearing, chanting and remembering Krsna), (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.
->”(6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas.” – all the previous acharyas are duly initiated, there is not a single perfect individual who is not initiated, even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself received initiation even though He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of His own devotee. So how can we be exempt?
2. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya Lila 23.14-15, it is mentioned:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat
tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas
sadhakanam ayam premnah
pradurbhave bhavet kramah
“‘In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krsna consciousness.’
3. In the Padma Purana, it is stated and quoted in SB 6.3.20-21 purport by Srila Prabhupada:
“sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah”, this means that without disciplic succession any mantra does not yield the end result, the fruit.
The Hare Krishna Mahamantra is undoubtedly powerful, but its full power is perceived through surrender to the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master, when the mantra is received from the spiritual master in disciplic succession. It is not that the mantra is not powerful but that we are powerless to enter into its deepest mysteries without being admitted in by the bona fide spiritual master.
The desire to not surrender unto a bona fide spiritual master is actually an anartha – an unwanted habit. We have spent so many lifetimes in the attempt to be free of the authority, and so therefore, under material spell, we do not want to also take initiation from bona fide spiritual master.
I heard a lecture where this question was asked to Srila Gurudeva, and his answer was that one can reach maximum up to the “sadhu sangah” stage without initiation.
Actually, to be honest, formal initiation alone does not guarantee perfection – initiation is merely the first step, it “initiate”s us. After that there is the spiritual master’s mercy, and only when accompanied by relentless effort to serve the spiritual master and the devotees and trying to chant nicely, is an initiate liberated, as long as the spiritual master’s instructions are strictly followed.