Initiation or dīkṣā is the formal acceptance of spiritual vows by the prospective disciple as mandated by a bona fide spiritual master. It is the most important of the ten reformatory processes prescribed for human life. It is formally conducted as a ceremony wherein the spiritual master formally accepts the devotee as his disciple and guides him on the path back to Godhead.
The ceremony itself is not the initiation. Initiation or dīkṣā is actually the transmission of spiritual knowledge from a bona fide spiritual master to a sincere student of spiritual life. But the ceremony formalises or solidifies the agreement between the master and the disciple and is therefore equally important. Śrīla Prabhupāda himself introduced us to this standard system of paramparā.
Śrīla Prabhupāda initiated over 5,000 disciples in the course of 11 short years. The particular details or the technicalities regarding how the ceremonies were to be conducted were adjusted by his sheer spiritual genius. Given his busy schedule, he gradually adjusted the way he conducted the initiations to the point that it required minimal or no personal involvement on his side. He eventually completely delegated it to his representatives.
In fact, he is so extraordinarily merciful that he clearly spelt out in written form a policy in which anyone can take his shelter even after his physical departure in November 1977. Unfortunately, this crucial truth was hidden away from the general body of devotees by some ambitious disciples of his. These ambitious disciples became spiritual masters on their own accord and wilfully disobeyed the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Such gross deviation has catalysed many other major deviations in today’s ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness). There has been introduction of demigod worship, impersonalist philosophies being entertained and impersonalists glorified, embezzlement of funds, child abuse, immoral sexual conduct, violence (even murder) — the very things that are supposed to be outside of the purview of a Vaiṣṇava’s behavior. You can find all the details of the damage elsewhere on the Internet. A Google search will bring up enormous amounts of information in this regard. We do not want to delve on that here.
Over a period of many years, sincere devotees who want to revive the glory of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON have unearthed volumes of relevant evidence both from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s documents/letters and from the scriptures to substantiate the position of Śrīla Prabhupāda as the sole dīkṣā-guru of ISKCON.
At ISKM, we have made a humble attempt to make the truth of this matter easily understandable to anyone and everyone by compiling all the relevant evidences from the earlier findings and some never-before-added, compelling scriptural evidence into a simple, readable format. The result is the publication of a position paper titled Initiations After 1977 — in short, IA77. Through this publication, we hope to educate and inspire sincere Vaiṣṇavas to objectively understand the root cause of the problem and to rectify the situation by adhering strictly to the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda, especially in regards to initiation.
We appeal to you to lend an ear to this most important message in which every contemporary Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava has a significant stake. After assimilating it, please broadcast this message to every single devotee you care about. Let the truth prevail.
The publication of this position paper is just one of the many steps taken by International Sri Krishna Mandir (ISKM) to reinstate Śrīla Prabhupāda as the sole dīkṣā-guru in a practical manner.
We have published this position paper Initiations After 1977 in English on the 13th of August, 2016, on the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of ISKCON by Śrīla Prabhupāda (1966). After that, sincere Prabhupādānuga devotees have kindly taken the labor of translating it into other languages.
We are attempting to translate it into as many languages as possible. If you find that we don’t have it in a language you would like to see, you are invited to offer a translation of the paper. That will be an excellent service to Śrīla Prabhupāda and one in which you will find great fulfilment. Please write in to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested to offer a translation.
On this page, you will be able to download the IA77 position paper in PDF format in all the languages that it has been translated into. Look to the right for the available translations of this paper so far.