Initiation & Vows

What is initiation?

  • Initiation means the beginning of something. In spiritual life, it refers to the beginning of a new stage of spiritual practice.

How many types of initiations are there?

  • Srila Prabhupada offered two initiations to his disciples
  • The first was given when they had reached a level of stability in their daily meditation on the maha-mantra. This is first initiation or Harinam initiation.
  • And the second when, through that chanting, they had become ‘spiritually purified.’ This is second initiation or Brahman initiation.

I want to know more about First initiation!

  • Receive the Hare Krishna mantra from an experienced Vaishnava
  • Promise to recite it a fixed number of times daily.
  • Avoid committing any offenses to the Hare Krishna mantra
  • Refrain from bad habits that compromise your spiritual focus, your determination, or your morality.
  • Dedicate your days to devotional service from early morning, to offer everything you eat first to Krishna, to study Krishna’s words, and to serve Him and His representative, the guru.

How do I know when I should start thinking about initiation?

  • The road to initiation begins from the moment you find you’re becoming serious about the teachings of Krishna because of the difference they’ve made to your life.

What are the requirements for First Initiation

  • Chant 16 round and follow the 4 regulative principles
  • Follow/attend a regular morning program at an ISKCON temple, centre, namahatta or at home
  • Only be involved in religious adherences sanctioned by ISKCON
  • Only be engaged in behaviour that does not bring any disrepute to ISKCON
  • Engage in favourable devotional service

Are there any courses required?

  • Introduction to ISKCON (A 90 mins introductory course)
  • Bhakti Sadacara Certificate (A 30-hour course based on Vaisnava etiquette and a study of the book The Science of Science Realisation)
  • Aspects of Spiritual Practice (A 4-hour course based on various Vaisnava spiritual practices such as japa, applying Vaisnava tilak, offering food and performing arati)
  • ISKCON Disciples Course (A 20-hour course based on the qualities of a disciple and a guru and the relationship between the guru and the disciple)

What support will I receive on the path towards initiation?

  • Firstly, you will need solid, supportive friendships with other devotees who can offer you moral and sometimes practical help.
  • It is also essential to have at least one friend who is senior to you who can act as a spiritual guide. Although there are many Sanskrit terms for such a spiritual guide, the
  • English terms Mentor or Counsellor are often used.
  • Initiation committee will provide support and guidance

What are the requirements for Second Initiation

  • Be nominated for being considered for second initiation by an ISKCON authority
  • Consistently maintain the vows and requirements of first initiation for a minimum of two years after being first initiated.
  • Regularly attend programs at an ISKCON temple, centre or namahatta
  • Be engaged in regular devotional service at an ISKCON temple, centre or namahatta
  • Have an inclination to perform deity worship

Are any courses required?

  • Overview introduction to the book Bhagavad Gita As It Is (10-hour course)
  • Overview introduction to the book Nectar of Instruction (3-hour course)
  • Overview introduction to the book Sri Isopanisad (4-hour course)
  • Overview introduction to the book Nectar of Devotion (6-hour course)
  • ISKCON Disciples Course (A 20-hour course based on the qualities of a disciple and a guru and the relationship between the guru and the disciple)

So what do I do next?

  • Secure a mentor
  • Attend the Introduction to ISKCON course
  • Attend the initiation seminar
  • Complete the prescribed initiation application forms (click on the PDF link)

We wish you well on your spiritual journey

Hare Krishna!

Requirements for First and Second Initiation – KZN South Zone