Published on October 6th, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa



“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


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!

105 Responses to Initiation

  1. Aman Pandey says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu
    Please accept my humble obeisnces
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    Prabhu, today I refused accepting tea at students’ house. Now my only doubt is is there egg in biscuits also? Because I have to eat them also. Is that much egg also harmful for us? Please tell me Prabhu.

    • Anything that is not prepared by real devotees for Krishna and offered to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna with love and devotion is extremely harmful to devotees Prabhu. That is why devotees limit themselves to Krishna Prasadam. It is better to cook yourself and invite your friends and feed them Krishna prasadam rather than going to their place and eating bhoga.

  2. Madhav says:

    I am connected with iskcon for last 10 years. I am chanting more than 16 rounds and following 4 regulative principles for almost 5 years.

    I have heard that without initiation I won’t get any benefits of chanting Hare krishna mantra.

    So I am trying to get initation from a iskcon guru from last 3 years. I serve sometimes, give donations. Being a married man and having 3 kids i can’t do much service at temple.

    Unfortunately i am not getting initation. I am trying my best to Please them and fullfill all the requirements. But I am not getting initation.

    I don’t know what to do. I have invested 10 years of my life and now I feel exploited. I am dying for initation.

    • Hare Krishna Madhav

      There is no point whatsoever in getting initiation from one of today’s ISKCON gurus. They are bogus. Not connected to Srila Prabhupada and not connected to Krishna.

      So don’t worry about this formal initiation. It is not necessary. And also ISKCON have advised you incorrectly. Your have surrendered to following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. It is Srila Prabhupada who instructs us to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and Srila Prabhupada who instructs us to strictly follow the four regulative principles. So because you have surrendered to these points you have surrendered to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. So you have your guru, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. And your guru, Srila Prabhupada, is living in his transcendental books and is there waiting for you to guide you, to answer all your questions and to clear all your doubts. You simply need to get all of Srila Prabhupada’s books and read them and follow the instructions you find Srila Prabhupada giving you as you read his books.

      So give up this idea of chasing the bogus ISKCON gurus and find the real, bona fide, pure devotee, paramahamsa His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada by reading his books and let Srila Prabhupada guide you back home back to Godhead.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Madhav says:

        Thank you Prabhuji, you have relived me from a big anxiety. Srila Prabhupada is my Guru and I will follow his instructions.

        I have got many books of Srilla Prabhupada from ISkCON. But I have heard that they are edited.

        How can I get original books and lectures of Srilla Prabhupada.

        Please forgive my offences and help me.

        • We have Prabhupada’s original books available at


          Yes. Prabhupada is living in his books and he is ready and willing to accept any disciple who is actually prepared to read his books and surrender to him by following the instructions he gives us in his books. Actual devotee who is prepared to surrender to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna is a rare soul, but it is not a difficult thing to do, any one of us can do it. It is very easy to do actually, only problem is we don’t want to surrender…

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

  3. Jill Eisenbraun says:

    Dear Madhuvisa das,
    Thank you for this very important lesson. I am somewhat new, or should I say, returning to Krsna Consciousness. I found your site as a link from Hansadutta”s site. I am almost 65 years old and have been interested in KC since my high school days when I saw devotees from the Buffalo NY temple dancing and performing sankirtan on the streets downtown. I became a little interested in chanting and reading Prabhupada’s books in the 1990’s but then pursued another path which ultimately led to disappointment and disillusionment. I reconnected with KC and found Hansadutta’s site. I am familiar with the problems within ISKCON and want to stay away from that. I read about the changes to Prabhupada’s books and looked at my old books-sure enough I had the editions with changes so I invested in a brand new set of the original reprints from BBT (not BBTI) and also the complete audio and video works that are available of Srila Prabhupada. I have been reading the books and watching and listening to all these things and you are absolutely right! There is no need of initiation from any so-called ISKCON guru. Reading Prabhupada’s books and the wonderful purports is actually receiving instruction directly from him, as is listening to
    his lectures and watching videos. He is still with us and completely capable of instructing us in this way! No need to follow anyone else. I do feel that there are many good and sincere people within ISKCON, and many of the gurus do some very nice preaching, but to me they are NOT within the disciplic succession and they DO NOT deserve worship, etc. I liken their role to the role of, say, the minister of a Christian church in relationship to Jesus.

    • Joan DeLisio says:

      YES! Very nice to hear from you, especially nice because your mind was not warped as mine was cuz I lived in Temple (1989-93) and was young; still gradually learning to just be simple. Thanks very much for writing this important message.

      • Joan DeLisio says:

        i meant to say, I am still learning to be simple (now) and not be discouraged that i cannot live as i did when in the temple. As for my mind being warped, i admit it wasn’t the fault of anyone at the temple, but my own foolishness and karma also.

    • Joan DeLisio says:

      Jill wrote such an outstanding message. I want to spread that basic common-sense message far & wide, high and low, to every corner of the globe for all devotees to hear; they will save lots of time and trouble to just surrender to Krsna in a simple way through Srila Prabhupada.

  4. Param Ashray Gaur Das says:

    Hare Krishna Pr,
    I worship the photos of kirshan, but now i want to Keep Saligram Sila, so is there any necessary to have Brhaman initiation, and how to worship saligaram Ji.

    • There is no need for salagram sila. Add pictures of Prabhupada and Gaura-Nitai and chant at least 16 rounds of Hare Krishna mantra every day, strictly follow the four regulative principles and read Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. No need for salagram sila.

  5. K.P.RAJAGOPALAN says:

    How we first came to material world?

  6. Sunil Supal says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhuji,

    I have a question, I worship demigods idols of Broze like shivji, laxmiji,Ganeshji.

    Now I confused , How to deal with those idols? Can you guide me what is process of visarjan of same idols.

    Hare Krishna.


    Sunil Supal

    • The demigods are all servants of Krishna. They are devotees of Krishna, so if you worship Krishna then you are automatically pleasing all the devotees of Krishna. So the idea is to worship Krishna and that automatically includes worshiping all the demigods. So there is no need for worshiping demigods separately. That does not mean that we disrespect the demigods, we offer them respect, as devotees of Krishna, not as independent gods.

      • Mahasrnga dasa says:

        You got this one right. Hope you’re well. Where are you these days?

        • Hare Krishna Mahasrnga Prabhu

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

          Good to hear from you Prabhu. I just repeat Prabhupada, so it is Prabhupada who got it right, not me. I do not take any credit for anything. I am not responsible for it, I just repeat Prabhupada, so all credit goes to Prabhupada and Krishna.

          I am still traveling and my old material body is still working OK. So you know, if there is life we can preach.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Your servant

          Madhudvisa dasa

  7. Aman says:

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

    Prabhu, does the spiritual master take all the sins of the disciple at the time of formal initiation?

    • Nothing happens at ‘formal initiation’. That is just a ceremony. So many sit in on an initiation ceremony but have no intention whatsoever of surrendering to the bona-fide spiritual master. They don’t get intitated. For initiation there has to be a bona fide qualified spiritual master and a bona fide disciple. That means disciple has to be prepared to surrender to the bona fide spiritual master and accept his orders as his life and soul. There has to be real initiation, that is when the disciple actually surrenders to the bona fide spiritual master and that is the time when initiation happens and past sinful activities are removed.

  8. Viavarupa says:

    Does one have to use a new japa mala for initiation or if he has a personal one that he chants on can be used.Thank you prabhuji Hare Krishna!.

    • Generally a new one. Spiritual master chants one round on and then gives to the disciple. So the idea is the guru is giving the mala to the disciple. So it should be a new one.

  9. syss says:

    I self accepted lord Shivji and chowdeswari as my guru and did some meditation chanting holy mantra later my mind encouraged to read BG while reading the bg book all the words in the book became one and form Kailash mountain Shivji sitting in meditation is it Brahm or my andkaar or true I don’t knew

    • This is all imagination and speculation. You can not accept Lord Shiva as your guru in imagination. You have to find actual, bona-fide guru, a self-realized soul who has seen the truth, and surrender to him and serve him if you want to actually advance in spiritual life. Lord Shiva, of course, is actual bona-fide Vaisnava guru, but you have no access to him. You are only imagining. You have to find bona fide spiritual master who you have access to.

  10. Joan DeLisio says:

    Prabhu~ it is my humble opinion, after observing ISKCON since 1989 & being a full fledged Temple devotee from 1989-1993, that the leaders need to be MUCH LESS legalistic & narrow minded in their approach towards initiation. Recently I heard Srila Prabhupada say to a guest who questioned him, that all these disciples are becoming qualified to initiate others, not just the Swamis, but also the brahmacaris & householders. He had such compassion & broadmindedness! He was always saying that this movement is not a religious movement. He wanted it to simply be a dynamic preaching mission to help the human race become happy. So in cases where someone truly desires initiation & doesn’t trust anyone fully except Prabhupada, what could be the harm in a fixed up leader of any ashram doing a fire yajna for such a person ? So many became initiated in this way when Prabhupada was too busy to personally be present at all the initiations. And then in cases where a person DOES have a fondness & total trust in a particular devotee, that devotee can initiate, as long as they are in good standing. It seems to me there is room for both this “ritvik type” of initiation AND the more traditional approach, and all of it should be done based on love & trust, renouncing the system now that one MUST be initiated only by a select few who get voted in by a small group of leaders. (dear devotees~ remember that although the ritvik/representative approach may not be typical, Prabhupada did so many things that were atypical, due to his love for us) Lastly, I believe strongly that to keep the Movement unified, all new disciples should focus on Srila Prabhupada mainly; offering their food to HIM and celebrating HIS Vyasa Puja, to avoid splintering and weakness within ISKCON. All the while of course, showing great respect for the devotee who brought them to Srila Prabhupada through their fine example & the initiation ceremony. That should go without saying. I basically agree with your well thought out article prabhu, as I think your main point was to tell new devotees that it’s acceptable to not receive initiation for a long time while you seek a guru, since you have Srila Prabhupada’s personal presence, association & protection. But the danger is, that while they wait, life may throw them some curveballs, and they may then deviate in ways they would not have if they would’ve taken vows in front of the sacred fire. That is my story.

    • Hare Krishna Joan

      Ritvik has been tried in many temples by the ritvik devotees but it does not work in the sense of having a temple, having a society of devotees, preaching or spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. To achieve any of these things a leader is required. If we don’t have a leader that everyone accepts and follows then nothing can be achieved in the material world. So we can say ‘Prabhupada is our leader’. And of course Prabhupada is our leader. But the difficulty is this world is full of the most dishonest and crooked people. Which is what we would expect to find in the material world of course, after all this is a prison house and only criminals come here. So the problem is theses dishonest people misinterpret the teachings of Srila Prabhupada in ways that completely contradict Prabhupada’s clear intentions as to how things should be done. And other dishonest people accept these bogus leaders, because they do not like the teachings of Prabhupada actually.

      In Prabhupada’s movement, for example, everyone has to get up before 4:00 AM in the morning, attend Mangal Aroti, chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day, strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and go out with the sankirtan party every day and distribute books and perform Hari-Nam Sankirtan.

      But the demons do not like to do these things. So they have taken over ISKCON and now you can not find and ISKCON temple anywhere where all the devotees are doing these things. So they have transformed ISKCON into something quite different from what Prabhupada established.

      And if you try to make a ‘ritvik’ temple, with everyone imagining they are direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada, it is 1000 times worse. Because then there is absolutely no authority. Everyone imagines he is the authority and concocts his own personal version of what he thinks Prabhupada’s teachings should have been. And they all argue with each other.

      So the ritvik idea, while it may work for a few rare individuals, will not work for creating a temple, a world-wide preaching organization, etc. For that an actual leader is required who can manage and guide and who the devotees will accept as their authority.

      Currently we have a situation of too many chiefs and not enough indians. Everyone is imagining they are direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada and that would be fine, if they actually really surrendered to and followed the instructions of Prabhupada. Then there would be no problem, no arguments, but in reality it does not work out that way… There must be a leader.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvsia dasa

      • Joan says:

        Thank you. Thank you so very much. After reading more of your comments & those of others I am learning a lot on this topic. The time was ripe for me to open my mind on this issue.

  11. Mayur says:

    Hare krsna Prabhu
    All glories to Prabhupada.
    My question is, if I ever have to associate with prabhupad’s disciples who haven’t deviated from his messages and are preaching as it where do I find them?
    And can I get initiated by them just for formalities that are required for spiritual progress? Plz reply.

    Yours sincerely – mayur

    • I have no idea. If I knew of such non-deviated Prabhupada disciples I would be living with them. But it is the material world, the tendency is to deviate unfortunately. It is very hard to find the real thing. Prabhupada is the real thing. That is why I strongly advise you to READ HIS BOOKS.

      • Mayur says:

        Yes prabhuji I know some genuine people like you are trying to keep the original essence of the books as it is. And as you mentioned yes the point of reading the book is 110% true. My point regarding initiation was it burns your past karmas which is essential for spiritual advancement. And it is done by initiation. How do we get initiated when everybody around is bogus. Plz guide. Your guidance would come in handy.
        HARE KRSNA.

        • Initiation ceremony is not very important. It is not the initiation ceremony that burns past karma. It is initiation by a bona fide spiritual master that does that. So there is no point getting initiated by someone who is not bona fide spiritual master.

          The initiation actually happens when the disciple surrenders to the bona fide spiritual master and agrees to use his life in the service of the bona fide spiritual master. Then one gets initiated. And it does not require any initiation ceremony or fire sacrifice.

          So just do it, surrender to Prabhupada, serve him, distribute his books, chant the Hare Krishna mantra at least 16 rounds a day, strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and read Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. There’s no ‘magic bullet’. Not that you can sit in a fire sacrifice and burn up your karma. That does not happen. It only happens when you actually surrender to a bona fide spiritual master and make his orders your life and soul.

          Most never surrender and therefore most never actually get initiated. Such a great soul is very rare. So surrender and become such a great soul. It does not require formal initiation.

  12. Prayaga Das says:

    Dear Prabhu:

    Nice article. I often read your writings and am in agreement most of the time.

    As far as initiation goes, I find it helpful to tell those people who are new to the devotional path and are confused about ISKCON’s teachings to read CC Madhya Lila 15 103-115. Verse 108 is most important:

    “One does not have to undergo initiation or execute the activities required before initiation. One simply has to vibrate the holy name with his lips. Thus even a man in the lowest class [caṇḍāla] can be delivered.”

    The purport is somewhat confusing to me because parts of it seem to support the above verse and parts seem to be in opposition to it. Prabhupada finally states near the end:
    “In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, but if one is initiated and engages in pancaratra-vidhi (Deity worship), his Krsna consciousness will awaken very soon, and his identification with the material world will be vanquished.”

    So, initiation by a fully qualified guru is helpful, but if one is unable to find such a pure devotee, they should not think that their chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra is in vain.

    I saw an initiation video by one of ISKCON’s appointed gurus and he said that without formal initiation, one cannot make any advancement.

    ISKCON supporters often quote the injunction from the Visnu-yamala:

    “Unless one is initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, all his devotional activities are useless. A person who is not properly initiated can descend again into the animal species.”

    This discrepancy between the Visnu-yamala and Lord Caitanya’s teachings above is confusing. I take it that it is Lord Caitanya’s special mercy that one can be delivered just by chanting Krishna’s name. And as we are followers of Lord Caitanya, then chanting is enough.

    I agree with your stance that one should take shelter of Prabhupada’s books, videos, letters, etc. and chant Hare Krishna. If a guru is need, the Krishna will make the necessary arrangements.

    Hari Bol!

    • Hare Krishna

      Initiation by a bona fide spiritual master is essential. It is only by the mercy of the spiritual master that we can make spiritual advancement. So without the spiritual master there is no possibility at all of making spiritual advancement. But the spiritual master has to be a pure devotee of Krishna, because only a pure devotee of Krishna knows Krishna and has the capacity to explain Krishna to others. So there is no question of making spiritual advancement without pleasing the bona fide spiritual master.

      This is a very essential point to understand.

      Then the essential point to understand is the qualifications of a bona fide spiritual master.

      Today almost everyone who is presenting himself as a spiritual master is a bogus cheating rascal, not a spiritual master at all. Spiritual master is a simple thing, spiritual master is the person who knows the science of Krishna through hearing submissively from his bona fide spiritual master and from actually surrendering his life, action, body, words, and everything else in the service of his spiritual master. It is not a very complicated thing. But the problem is no one wants to surrender. Everyone has his own personal interest, he wants some personal benefit from his spiritual master business. Generally he wants fame, profit, adoration and distinction. This is the materiel disease. The materialist wants to elevate himself above the others around him and be worshiped by them. So practically all the gurus today are like this, at some level, they want this fame, profit, adoration and distinction, and that is the reason they are in the spiritual master business.

      So when the marked is flooded with counterfeit money that does not mean there is no real money. The point is bona fide spiritual master is essential. There can be no spiritual advancement without surrender to and service of the bona fide spiritual master.

      And Srila Prabhupada is the best bona fide spiritual master and he is living in his books and we can associate with him by reading his books and by actually practically following the instructions he gives us as we read his books.

      • Prayaga Das says:

        Dear Prabhu

        You wrote “Initiation by a bona fide spiritual master is essential. It is only by the mercy of the spiritual master that we can make spiritual advancement. So without the spiritual master there is no possibility at all of making spiritual advancement.”

        That contradicts CC Madhya Lila 15.108. It also contradicts Prabhupada’s purport. Did you have a chance to read it?

        Prabhupada also says “The offenseless chanting of the holy name does not depend on the initiation process. Although initiation may depend on purascarya or purascarana, the actual chanting of the holy name does not depend on purascarya-vidhi, or the regulative principles.”

        Please explain the basis of your opinion.


        • Of course I have read it and it does not contradict. You do not understand. It is not the initiation ceremony or ‘process’ that is important. But one must be initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, without surrendering to and serving a bona fide spiritual master there is no possibility of any advancement in Krishna consciousness at all. So it is the surrender to and service of the bona fide spiritual master that is essential, not the initiation process.

          There are so many who sat in initiation ceremonies in the physical presence of Srila Prabhupada but did not surrender to him, did not utilize their lives in his service, but instead kept some personal interest and spent their time and energy working for what they perceived as their personal interests. These people did not get initiated at all.

          Wheres there may be another person who never physically met Srila Prabhupada, but met him and surrendered to him through reading his books. That person gets initiated by Srila Prabhupada, even though he has not sat in a fire sacrifice or gone through any formal initiation ceremony. So the actual initiation process is not important, it is the surrender and service to a bona fide spiritual master that is essential.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

          • Joan DeLisio says:

            Very insightful, you are helping me a lot. I know I have not been serious enough but want to become fixed and totally committed to Srila Prabhupada. Thanks again for taking the time and making the effort to speak the truth.

      • Joan DeLisio says:

        Amen,,, yes! Thank you for boldly speaking the reality of the present situation prabhu.

    • Joan DeLisio says:

      Very helpful! Thanks so much for this comment!

  13. Jacquelin J Diosomito says:

    How does one find a qualified guru?
    I am in Goa India..might I find one here?

    • Hare Krishna

      No, you are not likely to find a bona fide guru in Goa, India, unfortunately.

      India has changed, once India was punya-bhumi, the land of pious activity, but now India is the opposite, the land of sinners. So the whole atmosphere has changed and it would be very difficult to find a bona fide guru anywhere in India at the moment.

      The only bona fide guru I am aware of who is currently available is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is living in his books and we can take his association and get his mercy by reading his books and following the instructions he gives us as we read his books.

  14. Bakta steve says:

    I have been going to the temple here in hawaii i have been chanting everyday 16 rounds and going to the temple every sunday i have learned myself everything no one of the devottees talk to you but say hi or haribol a senior devottee became guru about a year ago i go to his classes and ask questions last week i heard a beautiful story about krishna and i wanted to share it after a few words he said stop dont talk he put his hands over his ears like i said something terrible and now ignores me as to make me uncomfortable in the temple as well with the temple president i feel like i did i do i have had a few unpleasant moments with the guru i dont want him as guru has a bad attitude is rude to new comers and guests

    • Hare Krishna Bhakta Steve

      Most, if not all, ISKCON gurus are not pure devotees of Krishna, and you should not accept anyone who is not a pure devotee of Krishna as your spiritual guide. Because unless the teacher himself knows Krishna perfectly he can not explain Krishna to you. So I suggest you stay away from ISKCON and instead get all of Srila Prabhupada’s books from:


      AND READ THEM. Best if you read aloud so you can chant and hear the transcendental messages from Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

      Then, if you take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna like this, by reading Srila Prabhuapda’s books and chanting Hare Krishna, the you will make very rapid advancement in Krishna consciousness. But if you keep on going to ISKCON that will destroy your chances of making any spiritual advancement.

      So stay away from ISKCON, instead take direct shelter of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna by reading Prabhupada’s books. And talk to everyone you meet about Krishna. You will find others also who are interested in Krishna and in this way you can create your own group of devotee friends and together you can all chant Hare Krishna and read Prabhupada’s books and avoid the poison of ISKCON.

      It may be that you said something wrong, but if that was the case the ISCKON ‘guru’ should have explained it to you in a nice way, what was your mistake. He should not have dealt with you in this way. So he is not qualified to guide you. You need a qualified teacher, otherwise you can not make any advancement. We know Prabhupada is perfectly qualified. So take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, accept Srila Prabhupada as your guru by reading his books and following the instructions he gives you as you read his books in your day-to-day life.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  15. Acsd says:

    pamho agtacbsp. srila prabhupada is our only jagat guru there is nobody more qualified then him at the moment whoever chant 16 round of japa mala by following the four rules is already initiated by hdg acbsp the final order said that agtys ys acsd haribol

  16. Gratitude says:

    Prabhu, I just wanted to ask whether it’s alright if we practice Krishna Consciousness by simply reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, chanting 16 rounds and following the 4 regulative principles and serving 24 hours a day…..Is it alright if we don’t try to know the history of the Krishna Consciousness movement?

    ….Because knowing the history only brings me distress. I had thought it important to know all about the guru business, and juggling that had taken place after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. And so recently I read the book “Guru Business” by Sulochana Dasa…as per a recommendation in krishnaconnect.com. ..But I was extremely distressed on knowing that he was murdered soon after….Such a nice devotee…He has written so beautifully.

    Similarly … to even think of how Srila Prabhupada was given poison, or how the Iskcon broke up, and how the good devotees fell, and the elevated devotees betrayed brings me so much distress….. How nice the kirtan were with Vishnujana Dasa!

    On the other hand, I am so peaceful when I just stick to Srila Prabhupada’s books, and distribute his books and think of spreading the Krishna Consciousness movement….It is only when I try to know more about past history that brings me distress….

    1) So Prabhu, could you please tell me whether it is enough to stick on to Srila Prabhupada’s books or whether I should try to know everything about the ritvik system, guru system, etc that Srila Prabhupada had given details about…..I practically don’t know anything about them..

    Should I be reading all the articles in your website based on ritvik, guru, initiation, book change etc? All I know about initiation is that formal initiation isn’t important…..Actual surrendering to Srila Prabhupada is what matters…and all I know about book change is that original books are available on krishnastore.com…

    2) Secondly Prabhu, may I humbly ask what you have to say about the book “Guru business” and wasn’t it sad that such a nice devotee was killed. Now if I have to preach should I bring out this book…Will I be opposed or killed in the same way? Isn’t it necessary to bring out these things even now? Or can I forget everything as start as if afresh again?

    3) And now I feel that i just want to distribute books and concentrate on my own Krishna Consciousness than try to make a group of devotees…Since I am afraid the same thing may happen again…At the same time Srila Prabhupada’s desire to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world can’t be ignored. So what to do Prabhu? What if the history repeats again?

    Please answer my questions Prabhu, I am utterly confused…

    I am extremely sorry for creating so much disturbance…
    With all humility,

    • Hare Krishna Rukmini

      Nice to hear from you again.

      Only Srila Prabhupada’s books are important. There is no need to know or bother with the history of ISKCON. There were so many demons in the dress of devotees, so a lot of it is the history of demons, not devotees.

      So you are correct. Just chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and read Srila Prabhupada’s books, distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books, and follow the regulative principles. I have never read this ‘guru business’ book, etc. I do not read these books. They only disturb our minds. We don’t care about these things. They are not Krishna consciousness, everything is in the Hare Krishna mantra and in Prabhupada’s books, that is all we need to bother with.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

    • Joan DeLisio says:

      Haribol Rukmini~ he is right as for it being disturbing. But some of us, including myself, have read “The Guru Business” & listened to much info on the poisoning, etc etc. To rise above our mental distress regarding all these horrors, my thought is we need to see ourselves as Prabhupada & Krsna’s little warriors ! Fear not! Pray to Lord Nrsmhadev lots & go forward. I think we came in touch with all that because Krsna wanted us to see how bad people can get, to not trust anyone too quickly, and to put ALL our trust only in the proven pure devotee, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

      • Yes. Of course. Devotees are warriors for Krishna for sure. But we have to become qualified. And the starting point is we have to strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna maha mantra every day and read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. Without actually surrendering to and strictly following these simple principles there is no spiritual life, just speculation and imagination. And in that position we will never be empowered to become warriors for Krishna. Actually it is not us that can fight the demons, we have no power to fight the demons, but if we actually surrender to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna then we become instruments in the hands of Krishna, dancing to the tune of Krishna’s flute. In that position it appears that we are killing the demons, but actually it is Krishna killing the demons, using us as His instruments. So that is what we want, we want to become instruments in the hands of Krishna.

  17. AKASH KRV says:

    Hare Krsna prabhuji
    Thank you to infinity for creating krishna.org , and newsletter is very phenomenal it motivates us to dive deeper in Krsna’s love ..it’s due to the godly people like you mundanest people like me are trying to serve krsna… There is no words to describe my gratitude to bhakthi vedanta swami srila prabhupadaji and the devotees of Krsna’s like you prabhuji and due reason I do feel like most debited person in universe… I at least pray for krsna for his blessings for everyone always….
    Thank you always…..
    Hare radhakrsna

  18. Ronny says:

    Hare Krishna dear Madhudvisa dasa,
    While participation on the guru disciples course 2 years ago, I came around with the question of ritvik.Because of the difficult situation in ISKCON I’am not initiated until today.
    Is ISKCON Bangalore and Ritvik-Initiation a true alternativ? Ritvik initiation is standard there, so a senior devotee initiates on behalf of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad.

    • Ritvik system is the initiation system Prabhupada used in his physical presence. He did not physically initiate all of his disciples. He appointed ritvik priests and they performed the initiation on his behalf.

      Anyhow the formal initiation ceremony is a formality. The actual initiation does not happen at the initiation ceremony. Initiation happens when the disciple actually surrenders, gives his life, his everything, to the bona fide spiritual master. When he makes the mission of his life the mission of his spiritual master.

      So unless we are prepared to do that, actually surrender, actually make the purpose of our lives to fulfil the mission of our spiritual master there is no point in initiation and we won’t get initiated anyhow even if we sit in an initiation ceremony with a bona fide spiritual master.

      This actual surrender is very, very rare, and it is only the disciple who is actually a surrendered soul at the lotus feet of his bona fide spiritual master who will get initiated and that initiation depends on the surrender and service, not on the formal initiation ceremony.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa


    Hare Krishna pr,
    I am from Mumbai . Since last 3 years i were in brahmachari ashram but i feel which purpose i have joint is not i am getting. instead of progressing in my spiritual life i am feel where i have come. Because their so much politics and guru groupisum. So then i feel i did a big mistake of my life by taking initiation so early. Now a days they have councilor system and because of that i took initiation and also join a ashram but now fad up of all these i leave temple now staying at my home, doing job.
    but really i feel my life is useless because i am not following guru and somewhere i feel why this think happen in my life. Now i am in such condition that i don’t have love and faith in krishna. So what should i do to advance in my spiritual life. now i am simply wasting my time. Some time i chant but not from hart i miss my old days when i was new. That time i have so much enthusiasm but now i don’t

    • Hare Krishna Prabhu

      Yes. ISKCON spoils everything and everyone who joins the movement unfortunately. They take sincere devotees and drain all the energy and life out of them.

      So stay away from ISKCON. Association with ISKCON is the greatest danger to anyone’s spiritual life.

      Just associate with Srila Prabhupada. Read his books, listen to his audio recordings, watch the Prabhupada videos, and chant the Hare Krishna mantra at least 16 rounds, strictly follow the four regulative principles, and you will quickly regain the spiritual enthusiasm you had in the beginning.

      And the more you surrender to Krishna the more He will guide you from within your heart to advance more and more and to be more and more engaged in His service.

      So do not worry. Krishna has a plan for all of us, including you. But we have to surrender to Krishna and pray to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna to be engaged in their service. And if we are serious they will engage us in their service. So we have to become serious. It is not that Krishna is just in the temple. Krishna is everywhere, Krishna is even within our hearts, and He is ready to guide and help us also. We just have to become a little sincere.

      I know how you feel and how depressing it can be associating with the non-devotees and so on. But just get back into the old system of getting out of bed before 4:00 am and just spend at least the morning hours 4-8 in Krishna consciousness. Offer mangal aroti, chant japa, read Srila Prabhupada’s books, etc, etc. You know how to do it, you are trained up, you did it for 3 years. So now do it again in your house and you will find it is very wonderful, very inspiring…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa


        Hare Krishna pr,
        Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for your inspiring message, please pray to lord for me.

  20. Vivek says:

    This is to madhusiva dasa what ever you told that there are very less who is a bonafied spiritual master that is wrong in the temple all are bonafied spiritual masters who ever is a brahmachari in safron I just asked simply iam having a councellor who is guiding me and Krishna consciousness cannot be developed in a day it requires lot of practise

    • Yes, of course. Even if one has just joined ISKCON one week ago he wears saffron dhoti and immediately he is Prabhupada… That is the ISKCON disease…

      • Vivek says:

        Yes prabhu GI you told correctly true spiritual masters are very rare

        • T S Venkatesh says:

          What JagatGuru Lord Krishna said in Bhagavat Gita
          Do your work with out attach ment
          If anyone practice this really he will lead a beautiful life. No need of leaving job. Lord Krishna never likes any person without doing his work(Karma)
          Chant the Maha Mantra while doing your Work
          Read Bhavath Gita slowly that will show you the real per pose of life

  21. T S Venkatesh says:

    Extremely very good information of about selecting a realised guru

  22. Sasidharan says:

    Hare Krishna!

    Dear Madhudvisa prabhu, I need some help over here prabhu. There is so much resistance about my chanting in my home. I was chanting without their knowing but when it came to light they were furious.They began shouting at me and they will just abandon me just like that.I am 23 yrs lost the job,already pressurized. They r telling that it will brainwash you.It will lead to your spiritual life.This is not the time for this.But I can’t live without chanting for 2 days.I am totally disgusted with material life.

    They r complaining that u r not at all taking care of us,u r always in some other dimension.At this age, u should earn a lot of money.They r telling that these things are after 50 yrs only.

    My mother is going to very extent that she is begging me not to chant.She is saying she has lot of health problems but I am not taking care of her properly.

    My mind is full of confusion prabhu.Can u show some light on this prabhu?

    Another thing I wanted to ask,I have heard from Madhu Pandit Dasa that daily if u chant even Krishna will help you in taking decisions in material life. I have also heard from u if u chant more and more then Krishna will tell u what to do.Is this true? I am jobless now.Even if I go to another job,I will be doing with half-interest only.

    Can u say something on this prabhu because sitting at home without any association is tormenting me like anything?

    • Hare Krishna Prabhu

      Yes. Materialists become very upset when they see someone becoming Krishna conscious. There is a English saying, “Misery loves company.” So they are miserable and when they see someone becoming happy by chanting Hare Krishna they can not bear it and what to stop him from chanting Hare Krishna.

      Yes. It is true, if you chant Hare Krishna more and read Srila Prabhupada’s books more Prabhupada will answer your questions as you read his books and Krishna from within your heart will give you inspiration what to do.

      We have no connection actually with these family members. It is only the body that has a connection with the family members. So if they become an obstacle in our attempts to become Krishna conscious we can leave the family.

      I don’t know where you are but you talk of Madhu Pandit so if you are in Bangalore you could talk to him and just join his temple there and do some service in the association of the devotees. Wouldn’t do any harm, as long as you can ignore all the politics and materialistic devotees every temple attracts, and would give you a break from the family.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Bikram sharma says:

        Hare Krishna,
        I am from Bhutan and would like to know if you know any associates from Bhutan or true devotes? Soon i will be going nalanda university in Bihar for my further studies so which temple should I visit for association? What is the meaning of vaisnava and is Krishna consciousness a vaisnavism? And how shaivism sees the relationship between Krishna and shiva?

        • I have no idea. But just get Srila Prabhupada’s books and read them. You can do that anywhere, and you will be associating with the best true devotees personally as you read Prabhupada’s books.

  23. P Satyanarayana says:

    30 March 017
    Hare Krishna. I believe ‘Initiation’ means ‘Orientation’ you mentioned, in selectiang a spiritual guru, to properly guide and correct a disciple where necessary in maintaining right method of devotion to Krishna and succeed the aimed goals of aadhyamic life. Your analysis of ‘guru’ are well defined guidance to a lay or new disciple. Hare Krishna.

  24. Nilesh Dalal says:

    Hare Krsna!
    There is an immense need for such correct guidance in the world today and the need to re-introduce or educate the innocent jivas the distinction of Srila Prabhupada’s Original unchanged books to the tainted, adulterated and modified books distributed in ISKCON today.
    Please keep up the good work and hope to meet in person similar jivas to reinvigorate us to continue to bring Srila Prabhuapada back in the fore front.

  25. Rathje Vierth says:

    Hare Krishna

    Initiation – my big problem !

    I have been in constant touch with ISKCON since the 70´s.
    Among the first people who came to the first temple in Stockholm.
    Following the temple president,reading all the books, playing puppet show and decorating the temple ( ” oh, he did the indian bow ! ” ) – together with my kids.
    harinama, book distribution, everything.
    i thought our temple president was really qualified – and i still do.
    When Prabhupada had left us, one devotee from USA was sent to be ” guru for this part of the world ” .
    He soon called my dear temple president a ” demon “.
    Some of my friends – who came later than me – were initiated by him.
    ( ” If you happen to see this so called temple president, cry VISHNU VISHNU VISHNU and run away “, he told my friends )
    But i could not, of course – with my deep love already developed for our temple president.
    I had to stop going to the temple .
    But i still got my books and my love.

    Some years later, our ” guru for this part of the world ” left the movement.
    Just like that.
    My beloved temple president ( now called a ” demon ” )
    had meanwhile founded a successful institute for hypnosis.
    But i am not very much interested in hypnosis
    ( – is not the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra hypnosis enough ? )
    I myself became a ” cultural activator ” ( my own invention, which the government accepted ) in Stockholm´s biggest hospital.
    Trying to ” preach ” as good as i could.

    I never visited the temple again, even when our ” guru for this part of the world ”
    had left the movement. But i am in touch with some devotees every day – through Facebook for example.
    My love for Krishna FEELS even stronger than before.
    I am 73 years old now and retired after 20 years or so
    as a ” cultural activator ” on his own.
    If successful i don´t know, but anyway appreciated by others.

    Please, Krishna, send me my Initiating Guru.

    Hari Bol !

    • Hare Krishna Rathje

      Yes Prabhu, you are a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and you have been saved, by Krishna’s mercy, from the terrible disaster that would have been caused to your spiritual life by accepting a bogus unqualified ISKCON so-called guru…

      They have done the greatest disservice to the world. Presenting so many unqualified men as acharyas, bona fide spiritual masters, representatives of Srila Prabhupada, when they were nothing more than kanistha adhikary, neophyte devotees, at best, and often they are just outright demons totally envious of Krishna and Krishna’s devotees…

      So Srila Prabhupada and Krishna have saved you. You can use the remaining years of your life completely in the service of Srila Prabhupada and the more you read Srila Prabhupada’s books, the more you chant Hare Krishna, the more you surrender to the instructions you find Srila Prabhupada giving you as you read his books, the more you will advance in Krishna consciousness, and the more clearly you will hear the instructions from Krishna within your heart.

      So we are in a good position. We are guided by Srila Prabhupada though his books and by Krishna from within our hearts. Of course maya is always trying to guide [misguide..] us as well. So it is our choice, do we accept the guidance of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna or do we accept the guidance of maya?

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Your servant

      Madhudvisa dasa

    • Mahasrnga dasa says:

      Who was the Temple President guru? There are many types of gurus: diksa, siksa, vartmapadarsaka, etc. Prabhupada fits all the qualifications of a “bona-fide” guru who can still speak to you through his books, tapes, lectures, kirtans and pictures.

  26. 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.

      • Mahasrnga dasa says:

        The infamous 11 used the argument that “how would one know if he was accepted by Srila Prabhupada since ‘he was no longer here’, so you must accept one of us”. However, His Divine Grace never-ever rejected someone who promised to chant 16 round and follow the 4 regulated principles.
        Mahasrnga dasa

        • Hare Krishna Mahasrnga Prabhu

          Actual what you say is not, strictly speaking, correct. Srila Prabhupada established a very clear system as to how initiations would go on in ISKCON. He established his representatives, the Temple Presidents, and interested students would come to the temples and devotees would preach to them and gradually they would decide to join the temple. Then for a period of six to twelve months they were trained in the science of Krishna consciousness under the guidance of the Temple President and the temple devotees.

          So when the Temple President considered the aspiring devotee was qualified to accept initiation from Srila Prabhupada he would write a litter to Prabhupada recommending the students be accepted by Srila Prabhupada for first initiation.

          So Prabhupada agreed to accept his disciples on the recommendation of the temple president who would vouch for them, confirming to Srila Prabhupada that they were strictly following the four regulative principles, chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and fully engaged in devotional service under the direction of the temple authorities.

          Krishna consciousness is a science. And like any other science it has to be learned. There is a process of training. And that training has be be undertaken by prospective disciples of Srila Prabhupada. So there has to be temples where the prospective disciples can go to and live in and be trained under the direction of the representatives of Srila Prabhupada.

          Except for a few rare exceptions, mostly Indians who were already Krishna conscious, this is the only way a devotee could get accepted by Srila Prabhupada in his physical presence.

          Srila Prabhupada does not accept cheap disciples. He never accepted disciples on the principle you mistakenly state: “His Divine Grace never-ever rejected someone who promised to chant 16 round and follow the 4 regulated principles.” This is nonsense. Srila Prabhupada never accepted anyone as a disciple on his own promise that he would chant 16 rounds and follow the four regulative principles. This means nothing. Everyone will promise to chant 16 rounds and everyone will promise to follow the four regulative principles… Someone’s promise these days means nothing.

          So Srila Prabhupada did not initiate on the basis of their promise alone. No. He required a recommendation from the Temple President and he only, with a few very rare exceptions in special circumstances, initiated disciples who were living and serving full-time in his temples. So it was only if his trusted disciple, one of his temple presidents, was able to vouch for the new devotee that he had been observing this new devotee living in his temple for at least the past 6 months and this new devotee was actually fixed up and had really been chanting 16 rounds, attending Mangal Aroti and the morning program, going out on book distribution and with the sankirtan party every day, and was strictly following the regulative principles, then he would agree to initiate.

          So Srila Prabhupada never initiated anyone on some whimsical promise they made to follow the principles. No. Prabhupada requires actual proof and a testimony from one of his trusted Temple Presidents that this new devotee HAS ACTUALLY BEEN chanting at least 16 rounds and HAS ACTUALLY BEEN strictly following the regulative principles and HAS ACTUALLY BEEN serving nicely under the direction of the temple authorities.

          Over time things become so watered down and I guess devotees just forget actually, that Krishna consciousness is a serious thing, to become Krishna consciousness one has to be trained. So there has to be the trainer and there has to be the students. Without the trainer how can the students learn it??

          So that is the problem today. No one wants to train any students in Krishna consciousness so in reality practically no one can learn it.

          It is possible to get the training directly from Srila Prabhupada but the problem is most people are not prepared to accept it. It is not the way, even in Prabhupada’s presence, his trainers, the devotees and the Temple President, are required to train the new devotees.

          I would never have been able to become Krishna conscious just by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and I suspect if you remember back carefully yourself to the time when you joined the Hare Krishna movement, you probably would not have been able to become Krishna conscious either, just by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books.

          Actually when I first read Prabhupada’s books I could appreciate that there was something very wonderful there, in the books. But Prabhupada was an ancient sadhu in some far away country and of course he could do and say all these wonderful things. But I knew, while they are nice ideas, it would be impossible for me. No illicit sex. Hardly. No intoxication. You know. Nice idea but not practical.

          It was 1986 and there was still some life in the ISKCON temples at that time, particularly I was in Perth, which is in Western Australia, which is quite isolated from the rest of Australia actually and the world. So the devotees in Perth at that time were wonderful and it was only when I met them and saw other young Australians, just like me, had very seriously taken to Krishna consciousness, were getting out bed before 4:00 AM every morning and were joyfully chanting Hare Krishna and dancing, that I slowly thought that if it is possible for them then maybe I can do it as well.

          So I joined ISKCON and submitted to the training process that was still intact at least it was at Bhaktivedanta Manor in the UK where I spent a few months on perhaps one of the best bhakta programs any ISKCON temple ever had. And over the years I was trained in so many ways directly and personally by so many of Srila Prabhupada’s direct disciples and disciples of his disciples.

          Of course everything is in Prabhupada’s books. And in theory someone could become Krishna conscious just by reading Prabhupada’s books. But I have never met such a person. In reality most of us need personal training and guidance by sincere disciples of Srila Prabhupada.

          That is of course the duty of all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, to teach the young people the science of Krishna consciousness. So now Prabhupada’s disciples are not doing this so the young people are not learning Krishna consciousness.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

          • Mahasrnga dasa says:

            Hare Krsna Madhudvisa prabhu,
            PAMHO. AGTSP.
            I know exactly how the system of initiation worked while Srila Prabhupada’s Vapu was here.
            Is there anyone you know of who was observed by the Temple authorities, who recommended them for initiation to Srila Prabhupada and promised Prabhupada that he would follow the rules and that Prabhupada rejected.
            And please don’t be your argumentative self trying to come off ‘superior and ‘all knowing’, just understand the point.
            Your servant in service to Srila Prabhupada.
            Mahasrnga dasa’

          • Hare Krishna Mahasrnga Prabhu

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

            Srila Prabhupada clearly established the ritvik system of initiations in his physical presence. He started using priests to initiate on his behalf in the early 70s. And on the Gayatri mantra tape he recorded for using in these ritvik initiations he clearly instructs his new disciple that ‘the priest will show you how to count the mantras on your fingers.’ So even in the early 70s Prabhupada was referring to these devotees who gave initiation on his behalf as priests.

            And it is clearly obvious that as the years went on Srila Prabhupada empowered these ritvik priests to perform more and more. In the beginning he would chant on the beads and send them. After some time that become inconvenient so he got the priests to chant on the beads on his behalf. He got his disciples to select the names also for many of the initiations he personally performed. So in this way gradually he was moving away physically from the initiation process but still continuing to accept the disciples as his initiated disciples.

            Finally, with the July 9th letter, Prabhupada deputed all the physical functions of the initiation to the ritvik priests, which was not really very much, because by this time the priests were doing almost everything anyhow.

            So that was the situation when Srila Prabhupada left his body. The system on initiation in ISKCON was everyone was getting initiation from Srila Prabhupada through one of the ritvik priests he appointed. First it was generally the temple presidents, then it was the 11 named ritivk representatives of the acharya in the July 9th letter. And things should have continued in this way after Srila Prabhupada left his body.

            But Prabhupada did not stress this point too much. I get the distinct feeling that he knew exactly what his disciples would do after he left his body no matter what he told them do to. The point is they did not follow Prabhupada’s instructions nor did they continue the system of initiations that Srila Prabhupada had established and developed in ISKCON starting from the early 70’s and developing into a full ritvik system at the time he left his body.

            As far as your direct question. No. Srila Prabhupada accepted the recommendation of his Temple Presidents and I am not aware of any time that he refused to accept a recommendation from his trusted representatives.

            At that time of course all the Temple Presidents were directly selected by Srila Prabhupada and were personally authorized by him. There are many cases, however, of wrong recommendations. Cases when Temple Presidents put someone forward for initiation and vouched for him that he was following the four regulative principles, chanting at least 16 rounds and had been for 12 months and was serving nicely in the temple, etc, but actually he wasn’t. And there are some letters from Srila Prabhupada where he mentions these wrong recommendations.

            But Prabhupada initiated the people who his trusted Temple Presidents recommended to him for initiation.

            The big problem now is who is the trusted representative of Srila Prabhupada. That has been a great perplexity for the ritvik people. You know Krishna Kant concluded that ritvik was only possible in ISKCON because only the GBC could appoint ritviks. And ISKCON Bangalore more or less agreed with this and so they claim the ISKCON GBC is bogus and have made their own imitation ISKCON GBC and that is the way they empower ritviks.

            You know how it is now. Some devotee just imagines he is a representative of Srila Prabhupada. We have great souls like Kapindra Swami preaching that he is the only bonafide representative of Srila Prabhupada, etc.

            So it is not the same thing actually. If you declare that you are Prabhupada’s representative and you have magically become empowered to initiate on Prabhupada’s behalf… It is not like that, representative has to be appointed.

            So the point is Prabhupada established a ritvik system, but it was not continued by ISKCON, now it is broken unfortunately…

            Devotees can not just imagine they are ritvik representatives of the acharya… That is bogus.

            Point is Prabhupada’s disciples have to become pure devotees, then they can initiate. That order is clearly there. The initiation is only the beginning. It is the beginning of the training process. But the ritviks, with the exception of ISKCON Bangalore, are not able to provide the traning process, and of course they do not have anyone who is a ritvik representative of Srila Prabhupada to perform the initiations.

            So the point is both you and I have been intimately involved in this ritvik movement for many, many years. I remember we were there at New Talavan when there was that big ritvik festival at Bhakta Mike’s house. And I have spent a lot of time living with Kapindra Swami, I have stayed with Puranjana and Yasodanandana, and spent so much time with Hansadutta Prabhu, etc, etc. And of course I was in UK when Krishna Kant wrote the “Final Order” and got one of the first copies ‘hot of the presses’. I have spent time with the ritvik Swami Jayadvaja, lived in the ritvik Long Island Temple, etc, etc, etc. But somehow it never took off.

            It seems that no two ritviks can agree with each other… I have seen so many ritvik temples open and then soon after close.

            And, generally speaking, the ritviks are not distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books. They used to complain, “Oh the books are changed…” But now we have printed all of Prabhupada’s original books. But still they are not distribution them. ISKCON Bangalore do something in this regard, but we are distributing so many books, but the ritviks are not the ones buying them.

            So my point is up to now the ritvik movement has failed miserably. And it has been a long time. Final Order was about 1996 and that was just copied from Rupa Vilasa Prabhu, etc, from the Vedic Village Review, which was going on earlier in the 90’s. So we have had well over twenty years of ritvikism now. But no practical results to speak of? Even you are living at the ISKCON temple, not the ritvik temple?

            Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

            Your servant

            Madhudvisa dasa

        • Joan DeLisio says:

          AMEN! Yes.

  27. 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.

      • Damien says:

        Hare Krishna, Madhudvisa dasa…You said that Krishna also need a guru. So, who is Krishna’s guru’s guru…and all the way to which initial guru???

        • No. I did not say that Krishna needed a guru. I said that Krishna accepted a guru. Of course Krishna does not need a guru. But Krishna accepts a guru to show the example to us because we need a guru.

      • Damien says:

        Hare Krishna again, Madhudvisa dasa! Would Krishna send a person back to earth to take up another human body to tie up some loose ends or help somebody in need, especially after that person goes back to Godhead at the end of his material body?

        I am taking up Krishna Consciousness path in hope that I will go back to Godhead and not ever go through the cycle of rebirth and death again. What guaranty would a person have that when he goes back to Godhead, he would STAY there for sure…permanently? I don’t want to find out that having chanted a billion rounds of the japa beads and at the end I get sent back to earth to be re-born again. I really don’t want that to happen…

        • Hare Krishna Damien

          It is up to you. If you only desire Krishna at the time of death then you will go back home back to Godhead. If you have some material desires still then you will come back in the material world to try to fulfill those desires. So it is in your hands. If you become Krishna conscious actually you will not come back to the material world, but if you still have material desires you will come back.

          As far as once going to the spiritual world Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita that once one has returned to the spiritual world he does not fall down again. So don’t worry. Once you go back home, back to Godhead, you don’t have to come back to the material world again.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

          • Damien says:

            HK, prabhu…I don’t intend to be back here on earth. I will do my best, and chant my way all the way until I see Krishna face to face.

            BTW, please tell me how do I change my photo on Krishna.org??

          • Hare Krishna Damien

            Yes. Do it. Chant Hare Krishna until you see Krishna face to face. And then of course you will keep chanting Hare Krishna, you won’t want to stop.

            As far as the image that is not set on Krishna.org that is coming from:


            So just go there and change your image there and it will automatically change on krishna.org also.

        • Mahasrnga dasa says:

          If Srila Prabhupada wants me to come back to this material world to help with his mission, I certainly wouldn’t mind. After millions of births one or two more doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, I’m happy to have found the correct path, the perfect spiritual master and confident of his mercy. Lord Krsna doesn’t make mistakes so I’m sure I’ll get exactly what I deserve.

          • Damien says:

            HK, mahasrnga! I will refuse to be sent back to the earth. I don’t want to be back. The Terminator said, “I’ll be back!”…but I won’t!

          • Hare Krishna Damien

            Yes. You are quite right to have this opinion. And you don’t have to come back if you don’t what to. But you will gradually discover as you engage in Krishna consciousness more and more that you can become transcendentally situated even while in this material body. And as you start serving Srila Prabhupada and Krishna more and more you will relish the very sweet transcendental taste of devotional service. And gradually you will transcend the material world altogether. Even though your body is in the material world your consciousness is with Krishna. But you have to experience these things for yourself in due course of time.

            Actually, a devotee’s pleasure is in pleasing Krishna. He is not concerned for any comfort or discomfort on his own account. If something is very disturbing to the devotee but is pleasing to Krishna the devotee accepts that disturbing thing as great bliss, because Krishna is pleased by it. And this is not an artificial thing. A devotee actually comes to the point of feeling Krishna’s pleasure as his happiness. So once we reach that platform we do not care actually where we are. We only care about serving Krishna, pleasing Krishna. So in that case if Krishna wants us to serve Him in the material world we are very happy to serve Krishna in the material world.

            Actually this is called Vipralamba seva. It means service in separation. And that is actually the most ecstatic type of service. It is the mood in which Radharani serves Krishna. You know Krishna and Radha spent Their childhood together in Vrindavan, but then at the age of 15 or so, Krishna had to leave Vrindavan to go to Mathura to kill Kamsa. Of course He assured Radharani and the gopis, ‘Do not worry, I am just going for a short time and I am coming back to Vrindavan immediately…” But somehow Krishna never came back to Vrindavan. And that was devastating for Radharani and the gopis. So they spent the rest of their lives thinking about Krishna, remembering Krishna’s pastimes during the time He was present with them in Vrindavan, and always expecting Krishna to return to Vrindavan at every moment, and always being so disappointed when Krishna did not return.

            These feelings of separation from Krishna that Radharani and the gopis were experiencing in the absence of Krishna were so deep and so ecstatic that Krishna Himself could not understand what deep feelings Radharani was experiencing for Him. So Krishna wanted to experience the feelings of separation from Him that Radharani was feeling. So Lord Krishna appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the mood and complexion of Radharani. Radharani is golden in color and so is Lord Caitanya.

            So the point is that this vipralamba-seva, service in separation, is actually the most ecstatic, the highest service and produces the most intense and ecstatic feelings. That is why Krishna Himself wanted to experience what are these incredible feelings that His devotees experience in separation from Him.

            So this is all advanced stuff and I completely understand that you do not want to come back to the material world and you don’t have to. But you will realize all these things more and more as you advance in Krishna consciousness.

            Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

            Madhudvisa dasa

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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!)

  31. 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

      • balagopaladasa says:

        About the initiation and necessity of associating with the guru and the way to approach a guru

        THere are many disciples during prabhupada time who have met prabhupad only one time and never seen reast of the life.
        even in our parampara also vyasa deva heard SB just when he was in the womb.
        As prabhupada himself said that his mercy will be flown to those who follows instructions and do sadhana perfectly.
        So we should not blindly follow the fake gurus of ISKCON and fall for them and as such bhakti becomes latre process then.so simply follow prabhupada and his teachings.

        i hope this will meet the question of personal association with the guru prabhu.

        • Hare Krishna Balagopal Prabhu

          You are very correct, except for one point: “There are many disciples during Prabhupada time who have met prabhupad only one time and never seen reast of the life.” What you have said is true of course, but there are many disciples of Prabhupada who accepted initiation from him in ISKCON but NEVER met him at all. Srila Prabhupada set up a system of accepting disciples through priests, ritviks. Initially he empowered all the temple presidents to perform the initiations for his disciples in their temples. So the system was the temple president would recommend a disciple to Srila Prabhupada by writing a letter to him and Prabhupada would write back saying that he accepted him as his disciple and then the temple president would perform the initiation ceremony.

          So in this way thousands of Prabhupada’s initiated disciples never saw Srila Prabhupada physically ever. Not even once…

        • Mahasrnga dasa says:

          Srila Sukadeva Goswami was in the womb not Srila Vyasadevl He was the father.

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