From Hari Bhakti-vilasa by Gopala Bhatta Goswami, translated by Kusakratha dasa.
Daikshika – Initiation
1. I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Krishna Caitanyadeva, the master of the worlds, by whose mercy even a dog can easily swim across the great ocean.
The Rules of Initiation
2. Following the descriptions found in Kesavacarya’s Krama-dipika, I will now write about the rules for initiation. Without first becoming initiated no one is qualified to engage in Deity worship.
One Must Always Be Initiated
3. In the Agama-sastra it is said: “A person born in a brahmana family who has not yet accepted initiation is not qualified to perform the duties of a brahamna. Such a person must accept initiation.
4. “Such a person who is not yet initiated is not qualified to chant mantras, worship the Deity, or perform other brahminical duties. For his own benefit such a person must accept initiation. This truth is confirmed by the words of Lord siva.”
5. In the Skanda Purana, Karttika-mahatmya, in a conversation of Brahma and arada, it is said: “Persons who are not initiated into the path of devotion to Lord Hari and who do not worship Lord Him are like animals. What benefit can they attain by living such a life?”
6. In the Vishnu-yamala, Sri Rukmangada tells Sri Mohini: “O girl with the beautiful thighs, all the actions of an uninitiated person are worthless. A person who is not initiated will take birth in an animal’s womb.”
7. It is specifically said in the Vishnu-yamala: If a guru accepts a person as a follower but does not give him initiation, the Supreme Personality of Godhead places a curse on that guru and his disciples.”
8. It is also said in the Vishnu-rahasya: “A person who, ignorant of all the rules of worship, worships the Deity with sincere devotion, attains a result a hundred times better than a person who merely follows the rules without devotion.”
The Glories of Accepting Initiation
9. In the Vishnu-yamala it is said: “Philosophers who are expert in knowing the truth affirm that spiritual initiation brings transcendental knowledge and destroys sins.
10. “Therefore one should bow down before a genuine spiritual master, surrender everything to him, properly accept initiation from him, and receive from him a Vaishnava mantra.”
11. In the Skanda Purana, in a conversation of Brahma and Narada it is said: “The best persons in the world, persons who are austere and faithful performers of pious deeds, accept initiation into the worship of Lord Hari, initiation that frees them from all sufferings.”
12. In the Tattva-sagara it is said: “As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brahmana.”*
The Time of Initiation. During That Time the Purity of the Month (Masa-suddhi)
13-15. In the Agama-sastra it is said: “For one who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Caitra (March- April), there are many troubles. One who accepts initiation during the month of Vaisakha (April-May) attains precious jewels. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Jyaishtha (May-June) attains death for certain. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Ashadha (June-July) attains the destruction of his friends and kin. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of sravana (July-August) becomes free from fear. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Bhadra (August-September) attains the destruction of his children. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Asvina (September-October) attains all auspiciousness. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Karttika (October-November) attains great wealth. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Margasirsha (November- December) attains auspiciousness. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Pausha (December-January) attains the loss of knowledge. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Magha (January-February) attains great intelligence. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Phalguna (February-March) attains control over all. These truths the great acaryas confirm.”
16. In the Agastya-samhita, Sri Ramarcana-candrika, it is said: “One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of sravana attains prosperity. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Karttika attains knowledge. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Phalguna attains prosperity. One should avoid accepting mantra initiation during a malamasa (intercalary) month.”
17-19. In the Gautamiya Tantra it is said: “One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Caitra attains all goals of life (purushartha). One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Vaisakha attains precious jewels. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Jyaishtha attains certain death. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Ashadha attains the destruction of his friends and kin. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of sravana attains a long life. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Bhadra attains the destruction of his children. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Asvina attains a treasury of jewels. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Karttika or the month of Margasirsha attains the perfections offered by chanting mantras. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Pausha attains the power to torment his enemies. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Magha attains great intelligence. One who accepts mantra initiation during the month of Phalguna attains all he desires. One should avoid accepting mantra initiation during a malamasa (intercalary) month.”
20. In the Skanda Purana, in a conversation of Sri Rukmangada and Sri Mohini it is said: “When it is performed during the month of Karttika, spiritual initiation becomes like a sword that cuts the cycle of repeated births. Therefore one should endeavor in every way to accept initiation during the month of Karttika.
21. “There is no disadvantage in accepting during the month of Caitra initiation into chanting the Gopala mantra. Learned philosophers recommend accepting that kind of initiation at that time.”
Purity of the Day of the Week (Vara-suddhi)
22. One should accept initiation on Sunday, Thursday, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.
Purity of the Stars (Nakshatra-suddhi)
23. In the Narada Tantra it is said: “Rohini, sravana, Ardra, Dhanishtha, Pushya, satabhisha, and Uttaratraya are said to be auspicious when one accepts initiation.”
24. In the scriptures it is also said: “One should accept mantra initiation or perform an abhisheka during the times of the stars Asvini, Rohini, Svati, Visakha, Hasta, Jyaishtha, or Uttaratraya.”
Purity of the Day (Tithi-suddhi)
25. In the Sara-sangraha it is said: “One should (accept mantra initiation) during the dvitiya, pancami, or shashthi. One may also accept it during the dvadasi or trayodasi.”
26. In the scriptures it is said: “The purnima, pancami, dvitiya, saptami, trayodasi, and dasami are glrious (days in which to acept mantra initiation). They fulfill all desires.”
27. In this way on an auspicious day during the sukla- paksha (bright fortnight), on a Thursday or a Friday, at an auspicious moment during the tiem when a favorable star is conjoined with the moon, one should accept mantra initiation.” (1)
Special Circumstances (Apavada)
28. In the Rudra-yamala it is said: “At a holy place, or during a solar or lunar eclipse, or during the Pavitraropana festival (the full-mon day of the month of sravana, when Lord Krishna accepted thr sacred-thread), or during the Damanakaropana festival (in the month of Caitra), one may accept mantra initiation without considering the purity of the month, stars, or anything else.
29. “All auspicious moments and auspicious situations of the moon and stars always reside in those situations. A person who accepts mantra initiation in one of these situations attains long life, wealth, and good children.
30. “No auspicious time is equal to the time of the solar or lunar eclipse. Whatever auspicious deed is done at that time brings limitless benefit. During the Surya-parva times (solar solstices, equinoxes, or eclipses) there is no consideration of purity of the monbth, day, day of the week, or anything else.”
31. In the Tattva-sagara it is said: “When one attains the rare and difficult to attain association of a bona fide saintly spiritual master (sad-guru), then whatever moment he gives permission to accept initiation is a very auspicious moment for initiation.
32. “Whether he comes in the city, in the forest, in a holy place, during the day, or during the night, whenever or wherever he permits, one may accept initiation from him.
33. “If such a saintly spiritual master wishes, there is no need of the candidate’s having visited holy places, followed vows, performed homas, bathed in holy waters, or chanted japa. Such a saintly spiritual master’s consent is the only thing needed for initiation.”
Construction of the Pavilion (Mandapa-nirmana-vidhi)
34. There are four kinds (kalavati, kriyavati, varnamayi, and vedhamayi) of initiation. Kalavati initiation will now be briefly described in this book.
35. After cleansing the area and worshiping the Vastu- devata demigod, one should construct a pavilion seven cubits in size,a pavilion with a charming altar (vedi). (2)
36. The pavilion should have eight flags, four entrances, an archway of ksira trees. It should be opulent with a triple rope. It should be surrounded by a kusa garland. (3)
Constructing the Kunda
37. In that place, facing north, an intelligent person should construct a kunda, a kunda 24 fingers in size, a kunda with three mekhalas (belts) and four corners.
38. That person should dig up three mekhalas. Outside that dug-up area he should create a kantha (neck) one finger in size.
39. The first mekhala should be four fingers in size, the second three fingers, and the third two fingers.
40. In the west, above the third mekhala, he should construct a yoni. The yoni should be six fingers wide and twelve fingers long.
41. It should be one finger high. In its midst should be an opening. Then he should construct a gajadhara (elephant’s lip) with its own mekhala. 42. Then, for the purpose of performing fifty homas, he should construct a kunda the size of a raised fist.
43. For the purpose of performing a hundred homas he should construct a kunda the size of an aratni cubit (measured from the elbow to the tip of the small finger). For the purpose of performing a thousand homas he should construct a kunda the size of a pani (cubit). For the purpose of performing ten thousand homas he should construct a kunda the size of four cubits. For the purpose of performing ten million homas he should construct a kunda the size of eight cubits. He should make the kunda as deep as it is wide.
44. The size of the kunda may be increased beyond these numbers, but it may not be decreased to less than these minimum sizes.
45. Following these instructions, an intelligent person should carefully construct the kunda. If he does not carefully follow these instructions, there will be many faults and many troubles will come.
46. The Tantrikas explain: “When these instructions are followed, the construction of the kunda brings the fulfillment of desires. If these instructions are not followed, the bunda will bring many troubles.
47. “Therefore a person who desires auspiciousness will strive to follow these instructions. If the homa will be brief, the area of the homa may be only one cubit.”
48. In the Harita-sastra it is said: “A person who makes the kunda too small will not live a long life. He who digs the kunda too deeply becomes diseased. His prosperity is destroyed. One who makes the kunda crooked will suffer. One who breaks the mekhala will die.
49. “One who makes the mekhala too small will lament. One who makes the mekhala too large will lose his cows. One constructs a kunda without a yoni will lose his wife. One who constructs a kunda without a kantha will lose his wealth.”
50. The size of the anguli (finger) is described in these words: “Eight barleycorns placed lengthwise, or three grains of rice are the measurement of one anguli, a measurement that is taken in the middle part of the finger.”
51. More detailed descriptions of all this, as well as descriptions of the sruk, sruva, and the various rituals employing them may be found in other books. Fearing this book will become very large, I will not write of them here.
The Initiation-circle (Diksha-mandala)
52. The mandapa (pavilion) should be sprinkled with panca-gavya and scented water. Then the diksha-mandala (initiation-circle) should be drawn on the top part of the vedi (altar).
53. In the middle of the vedi should be drawn an eight-petal lotus. Outside the lotus should be drawn three vrittas (circles). Then should be drawn the rasis (the signs of the zodiac). Then should be drawn a pitha (throne) with four feet (catush- pada).
54. Outside that should be drawn four vithis (pathways) going in the four directions. Around all this should be drawn a graceful square with four doorways.
55. After performing his morning duties, the spiritual master should place before the completed mandala a conchshell and various articles of worship.
In the Beginning, Placing of the Kumbha (Waterpot)
56. First one should worship the spiritual masters and Ganesa. Then one should place in the midst of the lotus (drawn in the mandala) unhusked rice (sali), husked rice (tandula), and kusa grass.
57. Over the kusa one should chant the mantra of the ten flames and the mantra beginning with the word ya”. Then one should offer worship, chant the syllable Om, and place the kumbha. (4)
58. The ten flames are given in these words: Dhumrarci, Ushma, Jvalani, Jvalini, Visphulingini, Susri, Surupa, Kapila, Havyahava, and Kavyahava are the ten flames.” (5)
59. Then, chanting in the proper sequence (anuloma) the mantra beginning with the syllable “ka” and ending with the syllable “tha”, and then chanting in the reverse sequence (viloma) the mantra beginning with the syllable “bha” and ending with the syllable “da”, one should place the twelve parts (kala) of the sun in the kumbha and then offer worship.
60. The twelve parts of the sun are described in these words: “The twelve parts of the sun are: Tapani, Tapani, Dhumra, Bhramari, Jvalini, Ruci, Sushumna, Bhogada, Visva, Bodhini, Dharini, and Kshama.” (6)
61. Chanting the mula-mantra, one should then place in the kumbha a white flower, sarkara, gold, jewels, kusa grass, and rice grains mixed with water.
62. Then one should properly fill the kumbha with pure water from a holy place. Placing in the water the mantra for the sixteen phases of the moon, one should then offer worship.
63. The sixteen phases of the moon are named in these words: “Amrita, Manada, Pusha, Tushti, Pushti, Rati, Dhriti, sasini, Candrika, Kanti, Jyotsna, Sri_, Priti, Angada, Purna, and Purnamrita are the sixteen phases of the moon.” (7)
Placing the Conchshell (sankha-sthapana)
64. Into the conchshell filled with pure water one should place the eight fragrances. After one by one invoking the presence of the kalas (the parts of the fire, sun, and moon previously described), one should worship the prana- pratishtha (the basis of life). (8)
65. The eight fragrances are described in these words: Ushira, kunkuma, kushtha, balaka, aguru, mura, jatamamsi, and candana (sandal) are the eight fragrances pleasing to Lord Hari.”
66. Some other authorities say the eight fragrances are: candana, karpura (camphor), aguru, kunkuma, rocana, kakkola, kapi, and jatamamsi.
67 and 68. From the letter “a” (in the sacred syllable Aum) the ten-syllable mantra beginning with “ka” is born. From the letter “u” (in the sacred syllable Aum) the ten-syllable mantra beginning with “tha” is born. From the letter “m” (in the sacred syllable Aum) the ten-syllable mantra beginning with “pa” is born. From the letter “m” (in the sacred syllable Aum) the four-syllable mantra beginning with “sha” is born. With the sixteen svaras one should place the sixteen parts of the letter “m” in the conchshell.
69. Srishti, Rddhi, Smriti, Medha, Kanti, Lakshmi, Dhriti, Sthira, Sthiti, and Siddhi are the ten parts (kala) born of the letter “a” (in the sacred-syllable Aum).
70. Jara, Palini, santi, Aisvari, Rati, Kamika, Varada, Hladini, Priti, and Dirgha are the ten parts (kala) born of the letter “u” (in the sacred-syllable Aum).
71. Tikshna, Raudra, Bhaya, Nidra, Tantri, Kshut, Krodhani, Kriya, Utkari, and Mrityu are the ten parts (kala) born of the letter “m” (in the sacred-syllable Aum). Prita, sveta, Aruna, and Asita are the four parts (kala) born of the letter “m” (bindu) (in the sacred-syllable Aum).
72 and 73. Nivritti, Pratishtha, Vidya, santi, Indhika, Dipika, Rocika, Mocika, sukshma, Sukshmamrita, Jnana, Ajnana, Apyayani, Vyapini, and Vyomarupa are among the limitless parts born from the leeter “m” (nada) (in the sacred syllable Aum).
74. One by one, one should perform nyasas of all these parts (kala). One should chant these names, placing each one in the dative case and following each one by the word namah (obeisances). (9)
75. After performing the prana-pratishtha, and after the avahana (invocation), one should recite the five hymns from the Rg Veda. Then one should worship the kalas (portions of the sun, moon, and fire).
76. The five hymns from the Rg Veda are, in proper sequence, the hymns beginning “hamsah sucishad”, “pratad vishnuh”, “try-ambakam”, “tat savituh”, and “vishnur yonim”. (10)
77. Chnating the mula-mantra, one should then pour the conchshell water into the kumbha. Then one should cover the kumbha’s mouth with sakravalli leaves, mango leaves, or other like leaves. (11)
78. Over this one should place a lid decorated with flowers and other things. Then one should coil two strips of cloth around the kumbha. Then one should decorate the kumbha. (12)
Within the Kumbha, Worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Is Placed
79. Then the acarya should invite (avahana) the effulgent Supreme Personality of Godhead to enter the kumbha. Considering the Lord to be everything, the acarya should worship the Lord by offering Him a throne and by presenting other offerings also.
80. Then he should offer shad-anga-nyasa to the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He should consider the Lord everything.
81. Some authorities say that, employing all nyasas except for the kara-nyasa and pitha-nyasa, one should meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the supreme power (tejah.
82. Then, with various offerings described in sacred books, one should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who resides in the kumbha with His prinary limbs (anga), secondary limbs (upanga), and coverings (avarana).
83. Then, after presenting the offerings to the Lord, one should place outside the circle paistika cakes, lamps, seeds, sprouts, and receptacles.
Footnotes From Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Commentary
1. Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains one should not accept mantra initiation at sunset.
2. “Cleansing the area” means “removing husska of grain, hairs, fragments of burnt wood, bones, pebbles, or anything else that might make the sacrificial pavilion impure. This process has been in the book Saradatilaka and in other books also, in their description of constructing a temple. Fearing that we will here be drawn into a lengthy description, only a summary of this is written here in this book. Here it is said the pavilion should be seven cubits. Some authorities say the pavilion may be six cubits, eight cubits, or twelve cubits. In the Vasishtha-samhita it is said: “The pavilion may be six cubits, eight cubits, or twelve cubits.” That the altar should be charming means that it should be beautiful. It should be neither too big, too small, too high, or too low. It should be placed in the middle of the pavilion. It is also said in the scriptures: “The pavilion should be five cubits in size. It should have four corners and four faces. In the middle of the pavilion one should construct a beautiful altar that is one cubit in size.” In the Vasishtha-samhita it is said: “In the northeast or the northwest one should construct an altar. The altar should be one cubit high. It should have four corners.”
3. The “eight flags” here means one flag in each of the eight directions. Outside the entrances of the pavilion should be placed in the ground an archway made of plaksha trees and other trees of the kshira group. This is described in these words of the Matysa Purana: “In the east should be an archway of plaksha trees, in the south should be an archway of udambara trees. In the west should be an archway of asvattha trees. In the north should be an archway of nyagrodha trees.” The entire area should be surrounded on all sides by a triple rope. This means three ropes bound together by kusa. Some authorities say the triple ropes here is three ropes made of kusa.
4. Over the kusa grass one should place the mantra consisting of the ten flames. Then one should circumambulate. Then with sweet fragrances, flowers, and other offerings one should offer worship. Then one should chant the scared-syllable Om. Then one should place the waterpot over the kusa grass. How is that done? It is done with the ten-syllable mantra beginning with ya” and ending with “ksha”. In this verse the words “yathoditam” mean “without disobeyed the instructions spoken by persons learned in the scriptures”.
5. “Dhumarcishe namah” is given here as an example of the mantra of the ten flames. (Translator’s note: In this way the mantra becomes: “Dhumarcishe namah, ushmayai namah, jvalanyai namah, jvalinyai namah, visphulinginyai namah, susriye namah, surupayai namah, kapilayai namah, havyahavayai namah, kavyahavayai namah.”) Some say one should meditate on the ten-petal lotus, in the whorl of that lotus one should place the mantra “mam vahni- kamalaya namah”, and in the ten petals of that lotus one should place the mantras for the ten flames. Then one should meditate on a twelve-petal lotus situated between the eyebrows and one should also meditate on a sixteen-petal lotus situated on the neck. Meditating in this way one should chant the two mantras am arka-mandalaya namah” (for the first lotus) and um soma-mandalaya namah” (for the second lotus). One should place these mantras on the whorls of these two lotuses. On the petals of these two lotuses one should then place the names of the flames of the sun (on the first lotus) nad the flames of the moon (on the second lotus). This is explanation some authorities give. Some other authorities say one should place these 38 mantras on the vahni-mandala and other places and one should place fifty recitations of Om on the conchshell filled with pure water.
6. (Translator’s note: The mantras then become: tapanyai namah, tapanyai namah, dhumrayai namah, bhramaryai namah, jvalinyai namah, rucaye namah, sushumnayai namah, bhogadayai namah, visvayai namah, bodhinyai namah, dharinyai namah, kshamayai namah.”)
7. (Translator’s note: The mantras then become: amritayai namah, manadayai namah, pushayai namah, tushtaye namah, pushtaye namah, rataye namah, dhritaye namah, sasinyai namah, candrikayai namah, kantaye namah, jyotsnayai namah, sriye namah, pritaye namah, angadayai namah, purnayai namah, purnamritayai namah.”)
8. The method of worshiping the prana-pratishtha is described in Sri Purushottamavana’s commentary on the book Krama-dipika.
9. (Translator’s note: The resulting mantras are given here: “srishtaye namah, rddhaye namah, smritaye namah, medhayai namah, kantaye namah, lakshmyai namah, dhritaye namah, sthirayai namah, sthitaye namah, siddhaye namah, jarayai namah, palinyai namah, santaye namah, aisvaryai namah, rataye namah, kamikayai namah, varadayai namah, hladinyai namah, pritaye namah, dirghayai namah, tikshnayai namah, raudrayai namah, bhayayai namah, nidrayai namah, tantryai namah, kshude namah, krodhanyai namah, kriyayai namah, utkaryai namah, mrityave namah, pritayai namah, svetayai namah, arunayai namah, asitayai namah, nivrittaye namah, pratishthayai namah, vidyayai namah, santaye namah, indhikayai namah, dipikayai namah, rocikayai namah, mocikayai namah, sukshmayai namah, sukshmamritayai namah, janayai namah, ajnanayai namah, apyayanyai namah, vyapinyai namah, vyomarupayai namah.”)
10. These five hymns each refer to a part of the sacred- syllable Om. The first refers to the letter “a”, the next to “u”, and the succeeding ones to “m”, “m” (bindu) and “m” (nada) respectively.
11. The “other leaves” are asvattha leaves and other like leaves.
12. Here the lid may also be decorated with fruits, husked rice (tandula), and other things. The kumbha may be decorated with flowers, sandal paste, and other things.