Executive Summary: Pāñcarātrika-vidhi and the Proposal of ISKCON’s GBC for Instituting Female Dīkṣā-Gurus

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The GBC subcommittee on Vaiṣṇavī Initiating Gurus was convened for the sake of creating recommendations for the implementation and practical functioning of female dīkṣā-gurus. ii
Questionable recommendation: female dīkṣā-gurus give first initiation only but males give second initiation to the first-initiated disciples of female dīkṣā-gurus. ii
Also questionable: 55-year-old minimum age limit on female dikṣā-gurus.</i. Nowhere supported by guru-sādhu-śāstra. iii
The subcommittee suggests that daiva-varṇāśrama-dharmais in some measure incompatible with spiritual advancement. iii
Purpose of this paper: to present the correct understanding about implementing female dīkṣā-gurus according to guru-sādhu-śāstra and Vedic hermeneutics. iv
Evidence from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura shows that first initiation as practiced in ISKCON includes the first three saṁskāras (tāpa, puṇḍra, nāma) from the procedure of pañca-saṁskāra, as described in Nārada Pañcarātra. 2
Evidence from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura further shows that secondinitiation as practiced in ISKCON covers the last two saṁskāras (mantra, yāga) from pañca-saṁskāra, where the disciplereceives mantras used in Deity worship. 2
Harināma-dīkṣā in ISKCON is a type of pāñcarātrika initiation, or dīkṣā. 1
ISKCON second initiation (mantra-dīkṣā) is also a type of pāñcarātrika initiation, or dīkṣā. 2
Therefore, pāñcarātrikī rules and regulations governing dīkṣā-gurus apply to female dīkṣā-gurus. 4
Śrīla Prabhupāda confirms that harināma-dīkṣāis conducted according to pāñcarātrika-vidhi. 3
A synopsis of the Nārada Pañcarātra, Bhāradvāja-saṁhitā, 2nd chapter of the Pariśiṣṭa (appendix), establishes that ISKCON initiations are fully based on pāñcarātrika-vidhi. 3
According to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in Harināma-cintāmaṇi, the perfectional stage of bhakti begins at the level of bhāva. 5
Nārada Pañcarātra allows women who are siddha, who are at the perfectional stage of bhakti (pratyakṣitātma-nātha), who have completely spiritual bodies, to become dīkṣā-gurus. 4
But women who are not siddha are prohibited from becoming dīkṣā-gurus. 6
Without any need for speculation, Nārada Pañcarātra fully harmonizes Śrīla Prabhupāda’s differing statements on female dīkṣā-gurus. 7
The system of initiations in ISKCON is 100% based on the ācāryas and Nārada Pañcarātra. 9
Appendix I discusses two previous efforts sponsored by the GBC to research female dīkṣā-gurus and why neither effort produced conclusive results. 10
Appendix II provides pramāṇas showing that aguru qualified according to pāñcarātrika-vidhi can bestow the brahma-gāyatrī mantra with second initiation. 12
Appendix III provides the original transcript of SB 4.12.32, the purport where Śrīla Prabhupāda says Sunīti could not be Dhruva’s dīkṣā-guru because she was his mother and a woman. 13
Appendix IV gives the English translation of the first 56 ślokas of the 2nd chapter of the Pariśiṣṭa of Bhāradvāja-saṁhitā (Nārada Pañcarātra). This has never been translated before into English. 14