Beautiful Way of Life
(Guidebook to The Path of Bhakti-Yoga)
by Srila Narayana
Sri Bhagavan Himself is the only worshipable object of the Vaisnavas. Only those who are initiated into the visnu-mantras, in other words, who have received visnu-diksa, and who engage in the worship of Visnu are Vaisnavas. Therefore, the acceptance of visnu-diksa and the consequent engagement in the worship of Visnu is the primary symptom of Vaisnavism. It is imperative for an initiated person to embrace and relish the prescribed conduct and obligatory duties of the Vaisnavas, which have been presented upon the merciful order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by the Vaisnava acaryas. It is mentioned in various sastras that all four people from the four varnas and asramas have the right to become Vaisnavas by accepting the visnu-mantras and then engaging in the worship of Visnu.
All the fruitive endeavors of an uninitiated person are meaningless. Due to not having received visnu-diksa such a person has not established a relationship with Sri Bhagavan and therefore cannot be acknowledged as a-bona fide Vaisnava. Only when sambandha-jnana, or knowledge of one's relationship with the Lord, awakens after undergoing the regulative principle of initiation (diksa-samskara) and receiving the visnu-mantras in accordance with the sastric injunctions is one genuinely established as a true Vaisnava. The chanting of the mahamantra does not depend upon any rule or regulation related to the formal acceptance of initiation. If we can attain perfection simply by chanting the names of Sri Bhagavan, what then is the need of accepting formal initiation? The process of diksa awakens in the heart of the jiva as a particular relationship with Sri Bhagavan. Without it a person does not possess the necessary qualification to perform the worship of Sri Bhagavan. Only after accepting diksa does he obtain the eligibility. Diksa-Samskara enlightens one in transcendental knowledge (divya-jnanam) and destroys one's accumulation of unlimited sins (papa-sanksa).
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