Is there any limit to number of mantras one can take as upadesha?
Are there any checklist of mandates to be fulfilled before we take new mantra as upadesha?
Is that fine to stop chanting of old mantra as new mantra upadesha is taken?
Usually it varies from path to path about number of initiations and gurus and deeskhas to be taken. But I will focus on tantra path here for the above question of various deekshas.
There is a scope of having multiple gurus until some extent. Hence there is certain scope of having multiple mantra initiations as well. They can be practiced together as a part of daily worship/ saparya paddhati. In tantra the initiations usually follow in a sequence or "krama". With respect to Sri vidya tradition (kaula) You can take as many initiations and mantras until you reach the final guru.
kulArNava tantra says:
madhulubdho yathA brngaH puShpAt puShpAntaraM vrajet | ... jnAna lubdhastathA shiShyaH gurorgurvantaram shrayet ||
Just as a honey bee out of greed for honey jumps from flower to flower, a disciple who is greedy for knowledge should seek one guru after another.
Just as the above verse seems to give a blanket sanction to the disciple to change his guru without sticking to one guru in his quest for knowledge, it also throws up numerous questions since, in the same breath, kulArNava also says,
"labdhvA kulagurum samyak na gurvantaramAshrayet"
i.e., after obtaining the kulaguru, one should not further seek another guru and stick to the kulaguru.
it also seems to contradict PKS Sutra No. 20 which says "ekagurUpAstirasamshayaH" meaning,
There is no scope for doubt in the worship of one guru. By implication this means multiple gurus are not permitted in shrIvidyA.
On one hand, while glorifying the attributes of a competent guru, the tantras bestow limitless freedom on the guru in the matter of choosing the disciple and on the other hand, it also gives limited freedom to the shiShya to change his guru under certain circumstances. Is it contradictory?
Is a shiShya whose true thirst for knowledge cannot be quenched by the guru then entitled to change his guru ? (when the guru is not competent enough to clear the genuine doubts of the shiShya)
When after initiation, the shiShya finds that the guru is a fake (it does happen sometimes, due to ignorance) can he change his guru and seek a competent one
shaive gurutrayaM proktaM vaiShNave gurupancakam |
vedashAstreShu shatasho gururekaH kulAnvaye ||
In shaivism three gurus are authorished, in vaiShNavism, five. As far as VedashAstra-s are concerned, there can be hundreds of gurus. But in kulamArga, there can be only one guru. Thus, it may be seen that the word shiShya is used to generally indicate a disciple. But what is important is the context. A teacher-student relationship gets established in many ways like in a school, wherein you have a teacher for various subjects. Viewed in this context, in tantra also, many gurus are encountered. They are
prerakaH sUcakashcaiva vAcako darshakastathA | shikShako bodhakashcaiva ShaDete guruvaH smRtAH ||
pancaite kAryabhUtAH syuH kAraNaM bodhako bhavet |
prerakaH – who urges an aspirant to take to upasana, sUcakaH – who indicates about the path, darshakaH – who shows the path, shikShakaH – who teaches about the path and bodhakaH – who awakens. (Its also possible that a single guru does all the actions as above) The relation with the first five is limited to taking the aspirant to the bodhaka guru, i.e. the one who awakens. All these gurus do play important role in the journey of the aspirant in this shAstra. But the final destination is the pUrNAbhiSheka guru who alone is competent to give his pAdukA and therefore qualifies to be worshipped as the “kulaguru”.
pUrNAbhiShekakarttA yo gurustasyaiva pAdukA |
pUjanIyA maheshAni bahutve'pi na saMshayaH ||
The gurupAduka for the disciple is only from the guru who does the pUrNAbhiSheka and he alone is to be worshipped among the others, without doubt. The ‘others’ here refer to the prerakaH, sUcakaH etc.
In the normal course, a shiShya should not change his guru after he has obtained a worthy kulaguru according to the dictum “labdhvA kulagurum samyak na gurvantaramAshrayet”.