Their Deities of Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra are also of historic importance: They were participating in the very first Ratha Yatra in New York in Srila Prabhupada's presence. And now the devotees also worship Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Who are exquisitely beautiful!
This brought my attention to the fact, that maybe it is time for us to adjust our understanding of guru tattva, and correct its practical application within ISKCON. This could maybe alleviate this ongoing controversy. We are over-emphasizing the diksha guru as being almost the only and foremost guru for a devotee on their path back to Godhead. But this is actually a rather shallow understanding according to shastra. Guru manifests in various forms - as diksha, shiksa and vartma-pradarshaka guru. We have many examples in the history of our Vaishnava tradition, where the shiksa guru plays a more prominent role. Ragunatha Das Gosvami is one example. His diksha guru is Yadunandan Acharya - somebody who nobody is even talking about. We all see the six Gosvamis as Mahaprabhu's disciples. And we do, because they were taking shiksa of the Lord. Ragunatha Dasa Gosvami served under Svarupa Damodara once he joined Mahaprabhu in Puri. We can read in Chaitanya Charitamrita in Antya 6 how his diksha guru Yadunandan Acharya facilitated his escape to join Mahaprabhu. This may illustrate that the diksha guru simply gives the initial discipline and training, and makes the initial connection to the parampara, but by no means does he have to be the main and foremost guru in the devotee's entire life. To receive shiksa is an ongoing need for the practicing devotee, whereas the mere formality of dishka is a once off ceremony. The purpose of diksha is to receive ongoing shiksa. Without shiksa there is no meaning to diksha. We have so many devotees in ISKCON who have received diksha, but for whatever reasons it may be, are not getting the shiksa they require.
I have also not come across a quote, where Srila Prabhupada directly orders that everyone and also women should become a diksha guru. No, as far as I understand he simply leaves it in general terms and speaks of guru. Why are we so attached to the fact, that his statements refer to being diksha guru? Couldn't it simply mean guru in general? So many senior ladies and preachers are already serving as guru - as siksha guru! What is the problem? If we could only adjust our slightly incorrect understanding and application of guru tattva, then the puzzle of the controversy would fall into it's place and would then be dissolved. According to my humble understanding the whole controversy is a result of our shallow understanding of guru tattva.
On the 7th of May I flew off to Tampa to visit Alachua.....
Your servant, Devaki dd