Q. I had taken shelter from a spiritual master and he from his pure lips mentioned, “I can initiate you anytime,” and later confirmed that he will be initiating me in the coming initiation function. However, later by Krishna’s mercy the spiritual master left his body. As I have already accepted him as my spiritual master, is it still necessary for me to get initiated from a different spiritual master. Isn’t the promise from the spiritual master indicative that I am already his initiated disciple?

A. The confirmation of the spiritual master most certainly affirms his acceptance of you as his disciple, and so also have you accepted him as your spiritual master in your heart. However, although what happened is unfortunate, according to the teachings of our scriptures and previous acaryas, we learn that the formal diksa ceremony is an essential and vital event or milestone in spiritual life for a devotee. Initiation or acceptance and taking shelter of a spiritual master is essentially a matter of the heart; however, the formal ceremony of initiation and formal acceptance of a spiritual master is not unimportant either.

It is through the diksa ceremony that a devotee is formally connected to the guru-parampara and ultimately to Krishna. Therefore the scriptural recommendation is that one must accept the formal diksa initiation from a bona fide spiritual master through whom one is connected to the parampara. Taking initiation from another spiritual master will not hamper your feelings of devotion and gratitude to the other spiritual master, nor will it nullify that acceptance of the heart; rather the shelter and guidance of your diksa-guru should only support and strengthen your connection with the former relationship.

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