Letters Srila Prabhupada and disciples at initiation ceremony

Published on September 12th, 2002 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image



“I’ve just looked at your web page and I would like to ask you a question. I know that you said that you have nothing to do with Iskcon but I have been visiting the temple for a while now but I have never really been told any thing about initiation. Is there any specific time that you can be initiated, I am already practicing the 4 renunciations.”

Dear Erin

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

One first needs to know what initiation is, what a bona fide guru is, what are his qualities and what are the requirements of a disciple. Otherwise there is a big chance that you will select [or be encouraged to select by the temple authorities] someone as your guru who is not qualified to take you back home, back to Godhead. There is a big history of unqualified gurus in ISKCON so there is a real danger that you may select someone who even himself is not a pure devotee. So how could such a person help you to become a pure devotee?

It is recommended in the Hari-Bhakti-Vilas that one should study under and live with his intended spiritual master for at least 12 months to make sure that he is actually qualified to take you back home, back to Godhead. And the spiritual master has to test you also to see if you are qualified as a disciple.

Accepting a guru means accepting someone as your master and becoming his servant. You have to find someone who you truly believe is greater than you and who you can truly surrender to. And that person has to be himself a pure devotee who is really greatly advanced in Krishna consciousness.

In reality such great souls are very rare. It is a great fortune to meet a bona fide spiritual master as they are so very rare. We have the great fortune of associating with Srila Prabhupada through his Vani [instructions]. There are two ways of associating with a spiritual master. One is by Vapu [physical presence] and the other is Vani [by following his instructions]. Of the two following the vani is much more important. So we should take advantage of Srila Prabhupada’s vani. We should read all his books, listen to all his classes, watch all the Prabhupada videos, read all his letters, etc. That is Prabhupada’s gift to us. Prabhupada is still with us and still quite capable of initiating us if we really surrender to him.

It is a very bad idea to rush into being initiated just because you want to be “properly initiated.” First things first. You have to find a proper guru. That should be your main interest. And the only way you can find a proper guru is if you have the knowledge and understand what are the qualities of a bona fide guru, and the only way you can know that is by hearing from Srila Prabhupada.

So at this point I think your main business should be reading Prabhupada’s books and hearing from Prabhupada. To make this easy we distribute all Prabhupada’s Vani. We have all Prabhupada’s books, letters, conversations and transcripts of his morning walks, classes, conversations, etc on “The Complete Works of Srila Prabhupada” folio infobase and online at http://prabhupadabooks.com we have all the audio recordings ever made of Srila Prabhupada and all the video and film footage of Srila Prabhupada on DVD. You can get more information about all this at http://krishnastore.com

So my humble suggestion is that you should take it easy and not be in a rush to be initiated just for the sake of initiation. First you have to find a qualified guru, someone you can completely surrender to. If you can not completely surrender to someone it is a great mistake to accept him as your spiritual master.

Hope it is of some help.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Your servant

Madhudvisa dasa

If you Love Me Distribute My Books -- Srila Prabhupada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


15 Responses to Initiation

  1. Damien says:

    Hare Krishna, Madhudvisa dasa! So, if a person takes Sri Prabhupada as a bona-fide guru completely, how would that person be eventually initiated?

    Just asking…


    • Initiation ceremony is only a formality. Actual initiation happens when a devotee really surrenders to and is accepted by a bona fide spiritual master. So many sit in on initiation ceremonies with bogus gurus who have no power to initiate or even with Srila Prabhupada but don’t surrender to him.

      The disciple has to actually surrender and accept the bona fide spiritual master as his master. He has to become a servant of the bona fide spiritual master and make the orders of his spiritual master his mission in life. We can not take Srila Prabhupada as our spiritual master, we can surrender to Srila Prabhupada, and if Srila Prabhupada likes he may accept us as his disciples. The power is not in our hands, the power and the mercy is in the hands of the bona fide spiritual master.

      The point is mostly we don’t surrender. That is the problem, without surrender there is no Krishna consciousness. Bona fide spiritual master is very rare and bona fide disciple is very rare also. Bona fide disciple goes on to become the bona fide spiritual master.

      So don’t worry, read Srila Prabhupada’s books. Chant the Hare Krishna mantra at least 16 rounds every day, strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illict sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and surrender to Srila Prabhupada, dedicate your life to distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books to the fallen conditioned souls for example. Do some practical actual service for Srila Prabhupada.

      In the ‘old days’ when we met a devotee we would offer our obeisances and say ‘what is your service Prabhu?’. And devotees would always have some service they were engaged in full-time serving Srila Prabhupada. The idea is we have to be engaged in serving Krishna 24 hours a day. The idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So Srila Prabhupada is very expert at keeping his disciples constantly engaged in serving Krishna 24 hours a day. So if we are disciples of Srila Prabhupada then we must be engaged in serving him and Krishna 24 hours a day. Otherwise what does it mean to be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada?

      And we may not like the service actually. It may not be very comfortable for us. But we do it because that is what Srila Prabhupada wants us to do.

      For a devotee the pleasure of his spiritual master and the pleasure of Krishna is his pleasure. So if we are to be accepted as disciples of Srila Prabhupada we have to do some piratical service so Srila Prabhupada will notice that we are doing something practical to serve him.

  2. Dr. V.K. Saxena says:

    I have been doing Sri Krishna UPASNA, without a proper guru for over 30 years now. The intensity of this Upasna has increased several folds during the past 6-7 years. I feel several changes in my thinking process and heart. Upasna has completely detached me from Maya and all worldly matters.
    Do I need a Guru at this stage ??

    • Hare Krishna Dr. Saxena

      Spiritual activities that are not guided by a bona fide spiritual master have no value.

      Everyone needs a bona fide guru. Even Krishna accepted a guru when He appeared personally in the world.

      So we can not make any spiritual advancement without the guidance of a bona fide guru.

      So I am suggesting to you that Srila Prabhupada is a bona fide, pure devotee, guru. You please get his books and read them and follow the instructions you find Prabhupada giving you as you read his books. Then if you surrender to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in this way, you will have your bona fide guru and will be able to make rapid advancement towards the ultimate goal that is going back home, back to Godhead at the end of this material body.

  3. William says:

    Thank you sir. It has been rewarding to read some of these materials. Being in transit so much, yet still it is not forgotten. Hare Krishna!

  4. Mahasrnga dasa says:

    I would add that Srila Prabhupada waited 11 years before taking formal initiation from Srila Bhaktisiddanta Maharaja so there is no hurry to rush into something that Iskcon has no understanding of. The GBC and leaders have refused to discuss this most important topic since TKG told them not to in 1990.

  5. Hayagriva Das says:

    Hare Krishna
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    Thank you so much for the website to start with. I have been very interested in KC since I have been 15. I am now 28 and finally decided to become a devotee to Krishna. I considers Srila Prabhupada as my guru, as well as following the 4 rules and doing my Japa. So in any case like this how does one become initiated by Srila Prabhupada? Does this just happen in your heart from studying all his books and lectures? Sorry for any ignorance or if this has already been talked about and I missed it or miss understood it.
    In your service,
    Hayagriva Das

    • Hare Krishna Hayagriva Prabhu

      We are in a rather difficult time as, even though Srila Prabhupada did establish a formal system so he could continue to accept disciples after his physical disappearance, ISKCON choose to go against this order of Srila Prabhupada and instead unauthorizedly appointed 11 new “acharyas” when Prabhupada disappeared from our material vision who were not at all qualified acharyas…. As everyone knows now the result was disastrous and everyone, even ISKCON, accepts this as a great mistake and now they admit that Srila Prabhupada did not appoint these men as acharyas, he only appointed them as ritvik priests who were empowered to accept disciples on his behalf.

      So even though this was a disaster ISKCON go on appointing new ‘gurus’ every year and every year so many of the ISKCON gurus show the world that they are not at all qualified for the position of guru, but are just conditioned souls like everyone else by falling down in so many embarrassing and devastating [for their disciples] ways…

      So anyhow the point is that at the moment there is no formal way of accepting initiation from Srila Prabhupada. But Srila Prabhupada is living in his books. And ‘living in his books’ means he is there with all his potency in full and you can get all the benefits of direct personal physical association with Srila Prabhupada by reading his books. So of course if you associate with Srila Prabhupada through his books, if you hear him submissively through his books, if you accept the instructions he gives you and make them your life and soul, if you follow the four regulative principles and chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily then Srila Prabhupada will initiate you through his books. But you have to keep on hearing from Srila Prabhupada regularly. Initiation only means the beginning, it is just the start. So after initiation you have to do so much service for Srila Prabhupada and Krishna and you will not know what service Srila Prabhupada wants you to do if you do not make a very serious program for studying all of his book. He wrote so many books so we, his disciples could read them and in this way become Krishna conscious. Nowadays hardly any of the so-called devotees seriously read all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. But if we actually want to become Krishna conscious then we have to read all of Prabhupada’s books many times actually. And the more we read the deeper we will go into the science of Krishna consciousness…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Alexis says:

        Where can I go to get ritvik initiation? I live in Florida and am only 19. I have no association with anyone here only through the internet with one or two godbrothers. I know that ” I should first follow the principles and etc” and I will completely but I want to be secure and have motivation to by a godbrother that is teaching the pure message of Srila Prabhupada and not their speculation. Ever since a young age I wanted to be a catholic priest and had a desire to serve God and the masses. every where I went they said I was blessed and my mission was to serve God to become a pastor, a priest etc. I want to get initiated (prefer 2nd initiation as well in a couple of years to be a brahmin) so I can fulfill the desire of Sri Sri Radha Krsna and Srila Prabhupada. Please can anyone guide me? Is there anyone in the Orlando Area?

        • Formal initiation is not important. It is important to actually become a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. There is no need for formal initiation, nor is there any bona fide process of ‘ritvik initiation’ available.

          There is no such thing as initiation into Prabhupada’s movement unless you are prepared to surrender to the training process that Prabhupada established and that is currently not available. So just forget about this ‘ritvik initiation’ and become Krishna conscious. Become a devotee. Strictly follow the four regulative principles, chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily, read all of Prabhupada’s books, surrender to Prabhupada. Serve Srila Prabhupada!! Distribute his books….

          • shane says:

            hi, i wanna ask is it an offense if a disciple for example had been initiated already by his GURU ( a pure devotee ) and after awhile he mets another guru and asked for another initiation? isnt it an offense?

          • Hare Krisha Shane

            Yes. That is an offense. If one is already initiated by a bona fide guru he can not take imitation again from a different guru. That is offensive to his original guru. And it is offensive for any other guru to initiate someone, knowing that he is already initiated by some other bona fide guru.

            There can only be one initiating guru. There can be many siksa [instructing] gurus, but only one diksa [initiating] guru.

            Of course if the first guru turns out to be bogus the disciple can and should reject such a bogus guru and that initiation really did not happen because a an unqualified guru can not actually initiate anyone into Krishna consciousness. So he can then be properly initiated by a bona fide guru.

            But if one has a bona fide guru he can not turn his back on that bona fide guru and take initiation from some different guru. That is offensive for both the disciple and the new guru…

            Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

            Madhudvisa dasa

          • Anna Martin says:

            Hare Krsna!
            Please accept my humble obeisances….
            All glories to Srila Prabhpada!!

            I wanted to say that you can still be initiated through the “ritvik” system. I am so thankful and excited to say that I will be initiated at the Krishna Balaram Mandir in New Westminster, Canada in August through Prabhupadas original way of initiation. He is outr living guru and I thank you so much for being a voice to that truth.

            Hari bol!!
            Anna (soon to have my “real” name!)

  6. Omody says:

    Hare Krishna, Hare Rama….Praise Jesus-Yeshua !
    Who(m) is ythe present LIVING Bonafide master of the Lineage of Krishna Consciousness since Sri Prabhupada ????
    THX !

    • Prabhupada is the present LIVING bona fide spiritual master in the line of Krishna consciousness.

      So far there no other bona fide spiritual master has become manifest since Srila Prabhupada.

      A Vaisnava acharya rises like the sun. As in the morning the sun rises and dissipates the darkness, so it is with the appearance of the bona fide Vaisnava Acharya. You can not miss him. Just like when Srila Prabhupada appeared his sun-like effulgence spread all over the world and everyone could see and appreciate that some very special personality has appeared among us, so bona fide spiritual master is like that. So we have not seen that yet.

      But Srila Prabhupada is still with us, living in his instructions. So you simply need to take advantage of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in his books and other recorded vani and he will be living with you and ready to help you in every way and answer all your questions.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa


About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

Back to Top ↑