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Switch to Forum Live View Hinduism? ISKCON? Personal integrity?
10 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2008 - 7:02PM #11
Posts: 52

i don't mean to be rude by piggy backing on this thread but it seemed like a good place to ask instead of starting a whole new thread and clogging things up. 

anyway maybe some devotees can answer,  i have had some contact with iskcon through ratha yatra and i really enjoy kirtan.  i would like to go to temple but i have some reservations.  is it a requirement to chant 16 rounds a day?  will i be viewed negatively if i can't because of work?  also is there alot of pressure to initiate?  i would like to associate with lovers of Krishna but am not at a point in my life where i am ready to approach a guru. 

thank you for taking the time to read :)

Jai Sri Krishna!
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10 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 2:07AM #12
Posts: 25

Dear Friends,

                  Hare Krishna.

I reply to the recent postings about uncomfortable situations in the Temple and ISKCON in general, I would like to offer up something that evidently few devotees are taking advantage of:

The Sacred Order of Shri Caitanya.

I met up with ISKCON in 1986. I saw the problems all of you have mentioned and wrote a couple of papers to the leadership of the movement. The content of the papers was the need to define the congregation at the different levels of devotion expressed as a new devotee matures (or settles down into) a devotional routine.

Not everyone is going to get initiation in this life. So, some devotees may settle into a marginal category of devotion. The following description of the first three levels of congregational devotion exist in ISKCON; Shraddhavan, Gauranga-Sevaka and Krishna-Sadaka.

These levels of congregational devotion (defined below) were requested by the leaders of ISKCON to be written by me and were immediately published (15 years ago) in the ISKCON worldwide communications paper.

The following is a bona-fide and approved ISKCON application of congregant delineation.

Shraddhavan devotee... (Full of Faith)

1) Chants 1 - 3 rounds daily.

2) May be a vegetarian (maybe not).

3) Attends Sunday Feasts or has regular Temple visits.

4) Cannot dress in a dhoti or sari. Casual yogi wear is recommended.


Sevaka devotee.... (Service)

1) Chants 4 - 7 rounds daily.

2) MUST be Vegetarian. (but not to Vedic standards).

     [Refrains from Meat-eating]

3) Attends Temple more regularly or reads books and studies Shri Krishna.

4) Has basic altar at home. But not required to serve altar in strict ritual.

    (beginning to offer foodstuff to the Deities with simple prayer)

5) Dresses in a basic white dhoti or nice sari. (May wear tilaka).

6) Refrains from intoxicants

    (though some might still drink coffee or tea, etc.)

7) Refrains from gambling.


Sadaka devotee.... (Devotion)

1) Chants 8 - 12 rounds daily.

2) More pure vegetarian (no fast foods, etc.)

    (Still not pure Vedic standards).

3) Has personal Temple schedule for attendance.

     May go to classes.

4) Has more refined altar at home.

     Tries some sort of morning program.

     Offers worship of Deities in more ritual-form.

      Learning important offering prayers, etc

5) Dresses in full regalia, as they wish.

     Probably qualified to personally preach to new attendees at the Temple.

6) No more coffee or tea (caffeine), etc.


There is more. Actually two more levels:


Prabhupada-Ashraya (Shelter)

(More chanting, refined eating, offering, attendance, devotion, etc.)


Sri-Guru-Ashraya (Shelter of ISKCON Guru, but not initiated). One year successfully at this level to qualify for initiation. You are a Home-Bhakta or Temple-Bhakta (monk).


And THEN, of course, initiation.

Now it's been a long time since I've put these levels out to the public. When Krishna took everything away from me seven years ago, I lost all my works and papers regarding this. So this is from memory (with my personal insights added).  So please don’t "officially" pick at me about this stuff.

Just know this, that with the above requirements laid out before you, start at the beginning and pick a level to reach for (or comfortably remain a Shraddhavan and try to be a full vegetarian). Pick a level you could live at for years to establish your personal practice. Of course, as you advance you should definitely advance in the four principles of no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxicants and celibacy or controlled married sex life.


Then, when you go to Temple and a nosy devotee bothers you with questions about your practice...

Tell them:

        “Oh yes, prabhu, I am a Shraddhavan devotee."


        “Sure prabhu, I've been a Sevaka devotee for ten years."   Etc.

This Sacred Order of Shri Caitanya is a way for you to establish in your own heart and in front of the devotees, your consistent devotional standard, which cannot be criticized.

Also, if you are an initiated devotee who has fallen away, you can bring yourself back slowly. Maybe you'll never chant 16 and do all 4 again, but you can find a comfortable standard in which to worship and serve Shri Krishna in your life.

One last note: Another reason I developed this concept is so that brand-new devotees in the Temple or as brand new regular attendees, who know very little of the Faith, -- Neophytes -- , will not attempt to disperse information they are not yet familiar with; or try to preach beyond their knowledge. 

Often times I have seen brand-new devotees in the Temple or brand new congregants attempt to preach to visitors. Often the information is incorrect, misinterpreted, delivered poorly, or at best -- rough around the edges. As well, often, the neophyte is wearing full Krishna-Vaishnava regalia (which gives the impression that they are advanced or fully experienced in the Faith).


I hope this cures your fears of attending the Temple or spending time with Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna and their devotees.


All glories to Shrila Prabhupada!

All Glories to Shri-Shri Pancha Tattva!

All Glories to Shri-Shri Radha-Krishna!

All Glories to YOU!


vancha-kalpa tarubyas ca

KRPA-SINDHU bhyevas ca

patita-nam PAVENEBHYO

vaishnavabhyo namo-namah:


Yours Sincerely.     Issabhandhu1

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10 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 2:16AM #13
Posts: 25
Hi,   Me Again.  Issabhandu--

Of course, as you advance you should definitly advance in the four principles of no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxicants and celebacy or controled married sex life.

Thanks.  Ib1.
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10 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 12:25PM #14
Posts: 52
Namaste Issabandu!

thank you so much for this valuable information!  I enjoy kirtan and there really isn't another temple around besides iskcon but i was concerned because i didn't want to be thrown into a life style i am not ready for (and to be honest a life style i don't want at this point in my life) i just wanted to associate and have a stable practice and life style. 

thank you so much! 

one last question about etiquette.  i wear a string of tulsi beads because i have read that it should be worn for protection.  i know  initiated iskcon members wear it wrapped three times,  i only wear a small one wrapped around once, am i going to offend them or i am committing some kind of taboo to wear it to temple??

thank you again. 

Jai Sri Krishna!!!!!
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10 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 8:27PM #15
Posts: 25
"one last question about etiquette.  i wear a string of tulsi beads because i have read that it should be worn for protection.  i know  initiated iskcon members wear it wrapped three times,  i only wear a small one wrapped around once, am i going to offend them or i am committing some kind of taboo to wear it to temple?? "

Hari bol !

You will not offend anyone by wearing one string of Tulasi beads.

When I first came to the Movement, the devotees seemed to appreciate that I would wear Tulasi.  It is seen as a badge of devotion to Shri Krishna.

Shrimati Tulasidevi is very dear to Lord Krishna, and those who honor Her by wearing Her beads in the mood of devotion to Krishna, makes Shri Krishna happy, makes Tulasidevi happy, and makes the devotees happy.

Enjoy your devotional life, and don't worry the little things.  Do your best, in your own heart, and Shri Krishna will enjoy YOU as His devotee!
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10 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2008 - 12:30AM #16
Posts: 1
I have been feeling ery drawn to Hinduism.....can one convert? and if so, what are the procedures?
Thank you,
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10 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2008 - 7:47AM #17
Posts: 786

since you're asking in Hare Krishna forum my reply will be about Gaudiya Vaishnava approach. The main thing is to accept God (Radha-Krishna) as one's shelter. Iow, it's a matter of the heart. This is a real conversion from materialism to spiritual life. External confirmations of this situation follow (diksa).
There's no point of externally converting from one tradition to another just to change 'labels'.

Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2009 - 3:39PM #18
Posts: 31
It is most important to remember that the goal of spiritual practices is to cultivate internal change. One can adopt a certain way of dress and follow rules and regulations to assist in the process of change (or reawakening), but the most important thing is the change of consciousness, which can come about without changing one's external situation. You should not have to label yourself as one type of devotee or another...Just be honest with yourself... Allow yourself to grow spiritually at your own pace. Initiation may be a goal for some, but not all. Many people who took initiation were unable to maintain their vows and practices, which is quite a difficult thing to do. This is because the focus was on the external practice rather than on the internal change of consciousness.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2013 - 3:58PM #19
Posts: 25

Greetings Friends,

I am just posting so my favorite threads will appear on my profile forums.

I hope you are all well.

Best wishes,  Rankin.

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