If it is the case that anyone can claim initiation via some dream or give themselves sanyasis diksha and make up brahman thread initiation for people and claim the birthplace of some saint by virtue of a vision then this is not any sort of method of varification. It is no better than Mormonism or any number of religions. The fact is that during chaitanya's time there was no shortage of sanyassi vaishnavas who can give him sanyas. Yet he chose to get sanyas from a so-called impersonalist clan. Same with Bhaktisiddhanta. There was no reason to say that there was no way to get proper documented diksha from a predecessor. The fact is he did not do it. He established his brand of the gaudiya vaishnava faith as paramount and superior to others. He was viewed as being a totalitarian preacher, as a so-called lion guru, who everyone is afraid of inviting to discussions. He created a private clan that challenged so-called sahajiya babajis, but he himself was givin siddha pranali—or a so-called revelation of his "gopi" body.
I think it is absolutely disingenuous that Butler and ISKCON do not come right out and be upfront that this is their practice and final goal/offering to their practitioners. This is the unique ideology and conception of the gaudiya cult. It is not some feel-good "lets just all chant the names of the lord and every little thing gonna be alright!".
So basically, as with all cults, to reveal this deeper, hidden, secret aspect, a person needs to go through several layers of brainwashing and conditioning to be able to not hear something like that and be either repulsed or simply think they are dealing with a nutty cult. Plain and simple.
In fact, it's so highly "off-limits" to discuss this, that guru's like Narayana Maharaj and Tripurari and others have been labled as offenssive or otherwise "bogus" for preaching it. Yet, it's right there in their guru varga history, the so-called biographies of the goswamis and chaitanya saint as well as books like harinam chintamini. Grown men whispering to eachother that they are little 12 year old cowheard girls helping the erotic blue god and his concocted consort have "eternal fun". That is the prayojana and supreme offering of the cult. Yet they tip toe around it and bat around terms like adhikari and sukriti and that everyting will be revealed in "due time" as we surrender more and more to the "holy name" and the guru's service. Yet, it's always abstract as to what such service really is. Is it literally washign the guru's underwear? Or is it preaching to the unsuspecting and unwitting public about "yoga" and "kirtan" and "Karma kandha" and "dharma" and "hinduism"? Who is rendering real service? Who is the judge of this? What is the measurement for what service is, how much devotion someone has, if their connection to some guru is deep enough, have they heard correctly, have they recieved the holy name in it's full power from a pure vaishnavas lips or do they have a version of the mantra uttered by an impure source (or is it offensive to even consider that the holy name can be in some way lacking in potency no matter who iutters it)? etc etc.
The answer is that there is not a clear answer—yet logic dictates it would be prudent and of utmost importance to have a clear and agreed upon response to such questions. At the end of the day, we are not talking about learning math here or how to play the piano. Yet oftentimes in an attempt to appeal to a rational brain the gaudiyas will make it sound like their religious system is some step by step process that can be verfied and tested and seen in live-action sequence. That's not the case. In fact there is little to give any indication that any of the guru's in this line are "realized" to begin with. Not to mention that as soon as you start to talk about dreams and visions as methods of authenticationg something, it all falls apart. I mean what's to stop tom, dick, and harryji from claiming they got diksha from lord brahma for all it matters—in a dream or vision?!
Have you ever heard tapes of bhaktivedanta chanting on beads for new initiates? It sounds like an unintelligible drone. You can hardly make out a word of the mantra he is saying. He is rambling through it like it's some sort of mass-produced thing that you have to repeat 108 times for it to have some sort of magic effect. I fthe mantra is so powerful and he is such a pure deovtee what difference does it matter if he chnate the mantra once? all these haphazard rules with little meaning beyond blind ritulistic fanatacism.
Meanwhile, giving gayatri mantra and thread to western devotees is a complete concoction. As are the neck beads, sikhas and other concocted rituals. They have literally zero scriptural refferce or very few vague references with almost zero rationales behind them. And whatever happened to the guru teaching according to time, place and circumstance??? Why would Prabhupada apply a medieval Indian dress code to appeal to the western mind and share so-called vedic wisdom? After all, in a philosophy that puts so much emphasis on not being the body, there is an undeniable heft given to how people dress, shave their heads and the big difference between men and women.
Siddhaswarupananda Jagad Guru Paramahmasa Chris Butler built his cult on the very premise of the guru being supposedly self-evident, self-effulgent, never appointed, there is literally not a single contemporary Hari Krishna group that doesn't use appointment of a guru/acharya as its primary assurance of a continuation of a so-called unbroken lineage. Any gaudiya math and offshoot ISKCON cults appoint thier successor gurus and the next generation of followers falls in line under said new appointed guru. Sridhara maharaj and all other gaiditya math's didi it and many other gaudiya cults. What is the origin of this and how is that showing a guru to be self-evident.
And as the contradictions abound as to their core ideology, message and public presence, there's really no surprise that they ultimately brush all the details under the proverbial rug and just tell people to chant and be happy. While usually, the more answers one asks, the more clear the whole package becomes, it's the exact opposite with this cult. The more questions you ask, the more layered, confusing, paradoxical, contradictory and just downright nonsensical the answers get.
The profound simplicity of Vedic Brahma vidya devolves quickly into an unintelligible smorgasborg of concocted sentimentalism in these groups.
Completely impractical layers of complexity, secrecy, innuendo, mysterious hidden messages, abound in such cults. It's a type of brahmanism 2.0. Were only an elite set of people, who have the wherewithal to master the jargon and harness enough charisma, have a right to rule over the lower castes. Is it not so? Otherwise why even introduce brahman thread diksha in a cult that largely reject such labels. The bhakti movement throughout history fought heavily against brahmanism, yet all of a sudden, we literally have it as a core practice within the religion to give Brahmin initiation. And it is a hierarchical thing, is it not? Within the cult, those who have received the Gayatri Mantra, a strictly rig Vedic mantra, along with certain other concocted mantras (kama gayatri anyone???) that supposedly give them deeper entrance into the meditation upon the erotic pastimes of the Divine couple, are treated with more than just casual respect. We have all given our ears and time to such so-called advanced devotees knowing very well that they are breaking all manners of regulative principles, taking drugs, having illicit sexual relationships, abusing children or spouses. For example that the Swami was addicted to taking tobacco snuff on a daily basis. He was also well aware and even encouraged less than Savory ways of making money as well as full knowledge that there were children being abused in his makeshift religious indoctrination schools.
Butler had no problem marrying his own disciple and breaking his vows but having all manners of opinions about who his disciples married. He claims that a pure devotee is self-effulgent yes he had to dictate to his flock who amongst them was pure. Usually as long as it suited his narrative. Katyayani comes to mind as does his wife. Tusta too.
Now we bow to Bhalakilya and Acharya Das as elevated souls. Never mind their core involvement in many illegal activities for Butler.
The more complicated the web, the easier to hide in it, the easier to find ways around things and explain away just about everything. Kind of how massive drug cartels are not his work. The only difference is that these guys meddle in the abstraction of spiritual rhetoric. Or everything can be a part of God's grand plan and to question it is a mortal sin. Fear much?