Qualification To Receive Initiation

“Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.194, regarding mantra-adhikari, the qualification for receiving mantra initiation:

“Sudras and women who are chaste and sincerely interested in understanding the Absolute Truth are qualified to be initiated with the pancaratrika-mantras.

This is confirmed by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita 9.32
[CC Madhya 24.331]

In the case of a woman only, chastity is listed as a qualification. Sadhvinam means chaste woman. If the husband of a chaste woman is guru, she assists him as Guru-patni but does not claim guruship in her own right because that would nullify the meaning of chastity and disobey Manu’s injunction against independence.

Hari-bhakti-vilasa similarly states, shortly after the verse cited by the SAC:

“Following the path of the Agamas, which themselves follow the path of the Vedas, women and sudras may worship the Supreme Lord by chanting His holy names.

“Women who desire the welfare of their husbands are also entitled to worship Lord Visnu. That is the conclusion of the eternal Vedas.”

In the Agastya-samhita, in relation to the regal Rama-mantra, it is said:

“Religious and pure sudras, who are servants of the brahmanas, as well as chaste women, those born in pratiloma and anuloma families, and everyone else, down even to the candalas, are qualified to worship Lord Visnu in this way.” [Hari-bhakt-vilasa 1.196-1.198]

Chastity is of such paramount importance that it is listed as a qualification to chant the Lord’s Holy Name and be initiated! Yet the SAC does not include the quality of chastity as a requirement or prerequisite for FDG; if it had, it would have been considered as “relative” or irrelevant. Although women are described separately as far as being qualified to be initiated, they are not described at all with regards to giving initiation. Prabhupada says in the discussion of sodhana in HBV, that “as far as diksa is concerned, one should consult Madhya-lila, Chapter Fifteen (108).  Therein he refers to Sanatana Goswami’s Hari-bhakti-vilasa and Jiva Goswami’s Bhakti-sandarbha. It is clear that to perform diksa, one must be a brahmana, initiated with a sacred thread.