(This post was originally published at Sampradaya Sun site.)
In the course of my regular reading of Srimad Bhagavatam, I've stumbled upon a nice quote from Srila Prabhupada in regard to the exchange going on between H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami and H.G. Sattvic Prabhu. Let me state that I've read the post with Sattvic Prabhu's questions and listened the whole lecture given by Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja, answering all the points raised by Sattvic Prabhu.
In his article entitled Conditioned Souls as Diksha Gurus? An Indefensible Position, Sattvic Prabhu concludes with the following:
A madhyam-adikary can act as guru but cannot act as a diksha guru, since the prospective disciple cannot advance under his insufficient guidance.
Only the liberated maha-bhagavata uttama-adikari can initiate disciples and perform the function of a diksha guru by dispensing divya jnana and removing the sinful reactions from the heart of the disciple.
However, the following quote from Srila Prabhupada's purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.21 says:
“As stated hereinbefore, there are three kinds of devotees of the Lord. The first-class devotee does not at all see anyone who is not in the service of the Lord, but the second-class devotee makes distinctions between devotees and nondevotees. The second-class devotees are therefore meant for preaching work, and as referred to in the above verse, they must loudly preach the glories of the Lord. The second-class devotee accepts disciples from the section of third-class devotees or nondevotees. Sometimes the first-class devotee also comes down to the category of the second-class devotee for preaching work.”
So, it's very clear that the second-class devotee (aka madhyama-adhikari) is “meant for preaching work”, but also “second-class devotee accepts disciples from the section of third-class devotees or nondevotees.”
As far as first-class (aka uttama-adhikari) devotee is concerned, Srila Prabhupada says that: “Sometimes the first-class devotee also comes down to the category of the second-class devote for preaching work”, which clearly shows that the conclusion, “Only the liberated maha-bhagavata uttama-adhikari can initiate disciples and perform the function of a diksha guru…” is simply not in accordance with the Bhaktivedanta purports.