Brahmana Initiation of Lavanya-mangala-devi dasi in New Gokula Dhama

 HG Drutakarma Prabhu gave me Harinama Initiation in New Govardhan (San Diego Temple) on August 17, 2002.
On May 26, 2004 I accepted Brahmana Initiation from Srila Drutakarma at New Gokula (Vancouver Temple, Canada)

Drutakarma Prabhu lectures on the significance of Brahmana Initiation while Lavanya-mangala listens intently.
Badra Nitai Prabhu conducts the fire yagna, as he has done since his childhood in Mayapura, West Bengal, India
The sacrificial fire is lit and dried tulasi twigs are burned to generate
an auspicious atmosphere.

The Presiding Deities, Sri Sri Radha Madana-Mohana, witness the intiation, as does Temple President Jaya Govinda Prabhu and the New Gokula boys.
    Chanting "Svaha," we toss grains mixed with ghee into the sacrificial fire.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, observing from his Vyasasana, sanctifies the ceremony with his transcendental presence.
Fire is considered to be the tongue of the Personality of Godhead Vishnu, and oblations of grains and clarified butter offered to the fire are thus accepted by Him.
Badra Nitai has ignited quite a grand crackling blaze!
Bananas are placed in the fire for the finale of the sacrifice.
After the fire yagna the Spiritual Master gives the sacred Gayatri mantra to the disciple.

Jaya Gurudeva!

Initiation Lecture by Srila Drutakarma Maharaja

May 26, 2004
New Gokula - Vancouver ISKCON Temple
British Columbia, Canada

So today we are gathered to have a yajna in connection with offering Gayatri mantra to Lavanya-mangala-devi
dasi.  This Gayatri mantra is chanted by Brahmanas in the Vedic culture.  The chanting of the Hare Krishna
mantra is itself sufficient to go back home, back to Godhead.  It is a very powerful mantra.

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

But the acaryas in our line have also sanctioned and recommended that those who are initiated into the
chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra can, at a certain point, be initiated into the chanting of the Gayatri
mantra, which is for brahmanas.

According to our acaryas, the position of a Vaishnava is beyond that of a brahmana. The position of
Vaishnava, a devotee of Krishna, is a transcendental position that is beyond the positions, the system
of varnas and ashrams. 

So in terms of varnas, the brahmana is considered to be the highest, and is respected as such in Vedic
culture.  So for some time, the Gaudiya Vaishnavas were not so much taking this initiation, but especially
beginning with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, it has been introduced in our line, because he wanted
that the people in general respect Vaishnavas as brahmanas--that they have that position in society.  And
if someone actually is a Vaishnava, then they automatically possess the qualifications of a brahmana.

A Vaishnava is on the transcendental position.  But a Vaishnava should actually demonstrate the qualities
of a brahmana. Therefore, we look to see, if after someone has taken the Hare Krishna mantra, that by
their chanting that they actually begin to display the qualities of a brahmana. That means they are properly
chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, and if they do that then they will develop the qualities of a brahmana.
This will be visible.

So Vaishnava, if somebody is actually a Vaishnava, they will possess the qualities of a brahmana.  Just
like if somebody has ten thousand dollars, then automatically they should have one thousand dollars. 
And if they don’t have one thousand dollars, then they can’t claim to have ten thousand dollars. So you
can’t claim to be a Vaishnava without possessing the qualities of a brahmana.

So this is why we offer this initiation.  When we see that somebody is chanting the Hare Krishna mantra
properly and developing the qualification of a brahmana then we want this to be recognized in society
and therefore we offer this initiation, this second initiation into the chanting of the Gayatri mantra.

Now, there’s another reason that our acaryas have recommended that devotees properly chanting the
Hare Krishna mantra also take this second initiation.  In order to chant the Hare Krishna mantra properly
for one’s entire life, one needs to be situated in the mode of goodness, and we live in the Kali Yuga,
which is a very difficult age.  It’s an age in which the mode of ignorance and mode of passion are very
prominent, so in order to keep ourselves in the proper position to chant the Hare Krishna mantra properly,
the Gayatri initiation is very very helpful. 

And especially helpful are the activities of an initiated brahmana. An initiated brahmana is qualified to
worship the Deity in the temple, to conduct puja, to cook for the Deities, to dress the Deities, to hold
ceremonies for the Deities.  And these activities are very very helpful in keeping us on the path of
goodness -- pure goodness.

So our acaryas have said that the process of devotional service as we practice it in this present age
runs on two tracks.  One is called bhagavat-viddhi, this is the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, the
process of sankirtana, preaching, spreading the Holy Name throughout society. But in order to do that
effectively in this age, we have to keep ourselves in the mode of goodness.  And this second initiation,
this initiation of the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is very helpful for that.  And therefore our movement
runs not only on the track of the bhagavat-viddhi but the pancaratriki viddhi, which means Deity worship,
temple activities, initiation into Gayatri mantra according to the pancaratriki principles. 

So we do both things.  Our acaryas have analyzed the situation in this age of Kali and they have
recommended that we proceed on two tracks.  So after a devotee has been given the Hare Krishna
mantra we study very carefully, both the spiritual master and temple authorities, and we look at the
qualities that a devotee is developing.  If we see they are developing the proper qualifications then
we offer this Gayatri mantra.  It’s very helpful for the devotee’s progress in spiritual life; it’s very helpful
for their preaching.  And it also means a higher level of responsibility, a higher level of commitment to
the spiritual master, the society of devotees, to the preaching activities of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu,
to the worship of the Deities that are installed in our temples.

So it’s an opportunity for a devotee to increase his or her service in these areas. And we expect a
devotee to take this second initiation to try to be exemplary in representing Krishna Consciousness
 to the public in general and in the society of devotees. 

So in Bhagavad-Gita Lord Krishna mentions that the qualities of a brahmana:

samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
brahma-karma svabhava-jam
[BG 18.42]

So a brahmana is expected to display the quality samah, which means peacefulness.  A
brahmana is peaceful in all circumstances.  A brahmana displays some equilibrium. Because
in this material world things are always changing, the situation may appear good, bad, but a
brahmana should be peaceful in all circumstances. 

Damah means self controlled.  The senses are always going after their objects, but a brahmana
should always be attempting to control the senses through higher knowledge, through engagement
of the senses in devotional service. 

Tapah means austerities.  So in devotional service we don’t practice dry austerities simply for
the sake of getting the reputation of being austere, but

tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam

we practice divine austerities that are meant to help us advance in devotional service and we
also practice the austerity of preaching so that others may benefit from everything this Krishna
Consciousness movement has to offer.

Saucam - the brahmana tries to be clean, inside and outside.  Brahmanas are supposed to be
examples of cleanliness and purity.   Ksantih means honest and simple.  Brahmanas aren’t
supposed to be diplomatic and overly complicated.  They’re supposed to be very simple and very
honest.  Arjavam means - I think arjavam is honest and ksantih means simple.*  And then jnanam -
a brahmana should know the Vedic conclusions.  And atma vijnanam means one should not only
know things theoretically but demonstrate them practically - demonstrate the Vedic knowledge
practically in one’s life.  Astikyam means religious, and one should follow one’s regulative principles
very rigidly.

So today we’re going to offer the Gayatri mantra to Lavanya-mangala-devi dasi and ask all the
assembled devotees to kindly give their blessings that she can fulfill the duties and obligations
of this position.

Hare Krishna.
*Later, Gurudeva clarified the meaning as follows: "Ksantih actually means tolerant. . And arjavam means honest."

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