17th September 2014 • Initiation
Initiation is the formal process in ISKCON for a guru to accept a disciple. Srila Prabhupada prescribed two stages of initiation:
- Harinama Initiation (also known as First Initiation)
- Brahmana or Diksa Initiation (also known as Second Initiation)
His Holiness Candramauli Swami requires all disciples and aspiring disciples to follow ISKCON law regarding initiation, which are contained in Chapter 7 of the ISKCON Law Book. Devotees should read and fully understand these laws. The GBC passes amendments to ISKCON law from time to time, such amendment resolutions can be found at this link http://gbc.iskcon.org/gbc-resolutions/.
Notable resolutions (http://gbc.iskcon.org/gbc_res/GBCRES13.html) are:
- 2013/303 (GBC Statement on the Position of Srila Prabhupada)
- 2013/305 (“Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority” Paper Required Reading – and
- 2013/306 (Amendment to Required Examination Prior to Accepting a Diksa-guru).
Anyone who would like to take shelter of HH Candramauli Swami should send an email to Maharaja’s Initiation Secretary, Radha Bhakti devi dasi, at email@example.com, with the subject line: “Shelter Request of HH Candramauli Swami.”
At that time, you will be requested to provide the name and contact information of your mentor. If you do not have a mentor, the Initiation Secretary can assist you in finding one. Your mentor will be requested to provide HH Candramauli Swami with a regular report of your suitability for initiation (details will be provided by the Initiation Secretary).
After three months of aspiring, you will be asked to complete a Disciples’ Data Form.
HH Candramauli Swami requires that all aspiring disciples complete the ISKCON Disciples’ Course, and that they aspire for a minimum of one year prior to receiving Harinama (first) initiation. Further information about this course can be found at the two following links - http://mayapurinstitute.org/en/courses/gaura-purnima-courses/iskcon-disciples-course (Mayapur Institute) and http://bhaktivedantacollege.com/online/gbc-program/ (Bhaktivedanta College).
Aspiring disciples: please familiarize yourself with the dynamics of Guru Disciple relations. “Spiritual Master and Disciple” by Subhananda Prabhu is recommended reading (a BBT publication).
After a minimum of one year of aspiring has passed, the Initiation Secretary will contact you and your mentor to inquire about a recommendation letter. HH Candramauli Swami will require a letter of recommendation from your mentor, and potentially also local temple authorities. You will also be required to complete and submit one questionnaire directly to Maharaja, and your mentor will be asked to administer a short open-book exam and report the results to Maharaja.
To be qualified to receive second initiation, a first-initiated devotee must have been steadily engaged in favourable devotional service, chanting sixteen rounds a day without fail, and strictly following the four regulative principles for a period of at least one year from the time of receiving first initiation. In addition, the candidate must have regularly attended a morning program, whether in a temple, preaching center, nama-hatta center, or at home. Additionally, Guru Maharaja requires that candidates must have completed the Bhakti Sastri Course, which is taught at various ISKCON centers around the world.
A devotee who, after receiving first initiation, falls severely from the spiritual standard by neglecting or forsaking his initiation vows in a serious way or by rejecting the association of ISKCON devotees for a prolonged time, shall, after he returns to normal practice, be required to wait for at least two years before being given second initiation.
If you have met the requirements as per ISKCON law, you may apply for second initiation by completing these documents and emailing them to us.
- Written recommendation - from local temple authorities or counsellor, but the local temple (or Nama Hatta leader where there is no temple) must affirm in writing the counsellor’s recommendation.
- Bhakti Sastri Accreditation
A Note about Spiritual Mentorship
In HH Candramauli Swami’s words: “The foremost responsibility of the Spiritual Master is to see that his disciples are making progress on the path Back to Godhead. With that said we need to understand that the organizational structure within our society does not easily afford that one’s Guru is able to take personal care of each and every disciple along with those who are aspiring. He is traveling mostly and rarely with a disciple not more than a few days a year or a little more.
“ISKCON has been promoting a system of care where a disciple of a particular Guru can receive knowledge, guidance, and the opportunity for service under the care of a local devotee, be he the temple president or someone designated and qualified to take that responsibility. Without adhering to this system a disciple becomes easily vulnerable to the numerous deviations made available by the material energy and may miss this rare opportunity for eternal life.
“Therefore, I am asking all my disciples and aspiring disciples to find a counsellor, someone who is spiritually qualified and also willing to assist you in your practice of Krsna Consciousness. A person’s husband or wife cannot be one’s counsellor.
“This system of care is necessary and is being endorsed by all ISKCON spiritual masters. This is essential and a necessary requirement.”
All correspondence (queries, documents, requests etc.) regarding initiation should be sent to Radha Bhakti devi dasi at firstname.lastname@example.org.