When Srila Rupa Goswami talked about chanting the holy name of Krishna he said that he wished he had hundreds of tongues to sing it, and thousands of ears to hear it. Not for nothing is his book named the Bhakti-Rasa-Amrita-Sindhu or the Nectar Ocean of Devotion. Strangely enough, he also said that the five primary items in the life of bhakti all had to do with taking shelter of a guru and accepting initiation from a guru. Why strange? Because the very name of Krishna, that sound vibration which made him ecstatic, was the same that had been given away freely by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – without the need for initiation. The giving of a – normally secret – mantra is one of the components of traditional initiation into any of the streams of Vedic philosophy and practise. So why is initiation required when the mantra is no longer secret, and when it has been already given to the prospective chanter, perhaps even in the street?
By Kripamoya Das