Dīkṣā and Varṇāśrama

Question: If husband and wife take initiation from the same guru, do they become god brother and god sister? How can they be husband and wife? 

Answer: This confusion is due to the use of the words, god brotherand god sister. The Sanskrit term is satirtha, which means, “having a common guru.” Initiation is considered a spiritual birth. Even if they were to be considered as brother and sister, that would be at the spiritual level and not at the physical level. So spiritually, they may be brother and sister but on the level of the physical body and mind, they are husband and wife.

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Question: What is dikśā? Does it refer to getting Hari Nāma and taking a different name? Or does it refer to getting Brāhmin initiation when one gets the Brahma Gāyatrī?

Answer: There are three levels of dikśa, namely harināma dikśa, mantra dikśa, and veśa or vairāgī dikśa. In the first one, the guru gives the harināma in the right ear of the would-be śiśya, applies tilak and ties beads. In the second one, the śiśya gets the Gāyatrī mantras in the right ear. The third one is for those who want to take to the renounced order of life. All three dikśās can be given simultaneously or in steps, depending on the qualification of the student and the will of the guru. 

There is no such thing as Brahmin initiation. Brahmin is a vara or jāti and not a form of dīkā.                            

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 Question: Hari Bhakti Vilāsa mentions that only a brāhmaa can become a guru. But being an uttama bhakta, the guru is disinterested in brahminical duties. Why does śāstra insist on a brāhmaa becoming a guru? 

Answer: This is primarily from the consideration of not disrupting the varāśrama system. Although a bhakta is not interested in varāśrama duties, he does not want to disrupt it. In the varāśrama system, the function of a guru, which is to teach śāstrapāthana (“to teach”), is done by a brāhmaa. 

A secondary consideration is that if a non-brāhmaa is guru, then a brāhmaa student may feel inhibited to surrender to him because in the varnāśrama system, a brāhmaa is respected by the other three varas. Similarly, a non-brāhmaguru may also feel inhibited in receiving respect from a brāhmaa disciple because this is against the varāśrama custom. 

Thirdly, a brāhmaa naturally likes studying and teaching śāstra. Therefore, he is naturally suitable for the function of a guru, which is to teach.

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