Process to Obtain a Letter of Recommendation for First Initiation from ISKCON of Philadelphia’s Temple President
In order to receive first initiation, one must have been engaged favorably in devotional service, strictly following the four regulative principles and chanting sixteen rounds a day, for at least one year without interruption. (ISKCON Law Book 188.8.131.52.1)
An initiation committee has been established by the temple president of ISKCON of Philadelphia as the temple president’s designated representative. Its function is:
- Under the supervision of the temple president, to establish additional guidelines and policies for receiving a recommendation for first or second initiation from ISKCON of Philadelphia.
- To oversee those devotees that are seeking initiation to ensure that they understand and have followed the process and meet the qualifications.
- To make the recommendation to the temple president when the devotee has met the qualifications for first or second initiation.
- To assist those devotees interested in taking initiation on their spiritual path by identifying senior devotees who may act as mentors.
Additional Guidelines: The candidate for first initiation should spend the first 6 months following the 4 regulative principles, chanting 16 rounds daily of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, regularly hearing from Bhagavad-Gita As it Is, Srimad Bhagavatam, and other books written by Srila Prabhupada, regularly attending sankirtana and other devotional programs, and chanting Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantra when offering obeisances and during kirtana and prayers.
The GBC has recommended that the candidate take the Disciple’s course prior to selecting a diksa-guru. Completing and passing the Disciple’s Course is required in order to get a letter of recommendation from the temple president.
After the initial 6-month period described above, the candidate should request to take shelter of a diksa-guru. At the time the candidate takes shelter of a diksa-guru, he or she should notify the temple president or his/her designated representative in writing. It is recommended that the candidate also have an in-person meeting at that time with the temple president or his/her designated representative to review the candidate’s progress and the remaining steps for initiation in order to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
After a minimum of 6 months of having taken shelter of a diksa-guru and continuing to engage in the regular devotional activities noted above, the candidate for initiation should write a formal letter to the temple president or his/her designated representative requesting a letter of recommendation for initiation. That letter should include the following:
- Why they want to take initiation.
- How long they have been in contact with Krishna consciousness.
- They should state that they are following the 4 regulative principles (no illicit sex, no intoxication including caffeine, no gambling, no meat eating, no onions, garlic or mushrooms), chanting at least 16 rounds daily and offering all their food to Krishna. They should include how long they have been doing so.
- The date they took and passed the Disciple’s Course. Provide a copy of their certificate.
- The date they took shelter of their diksa-guru.
- The date they notified the temple president or his/her designated representative they took shelter of their diksa-guru.
- The regular morning sadhana program they are following.
- What temple devotional programs they have been regularly attending.
- What additional devotional service to ISKCON of Philadelphia and ISKCON they have rendered.
- Any monetary contributions to ISKCON Philadelphia and other ISKCON entities, including any monthly membership pledge.
After the formal letter is sent to the temple president or his/her designated representative, the candidate should request a personal interview with the president or designated representative to acknowledge they have met the expectations for a recommendation letter or review any possible additions or corrections needed to the letter or discuss expectations not yet met.
Sadhana recommendations (to be considered when assessing readiness for initiation)
- Rising early before 6.00 a.m.
- Studying Srila Prabhupada’s books daily.
- Performing simple arati at one’s home altar daily. (Full time temple devotees – attending the morning program daily)
- Participation in the full morning program at the candidate’s local ISKCON temple at least once per month.
- Rendering regular service to ISKCON (ideally at least one hour a week).
- Attend a Sunday Feast program a minimum of once per month.
- Attend an additional temple devotional program (e.g., evening class, kirtan) at least once per month.
During the above process, and at the request of the candidate for initiation, the temple president or his/her designated representative may connect the candidate with a senior devotee in the community as a mentor to help the candidate on their spiritual path in preparation for initiation.
Summary of Process:
- Follow the 4 regulative principles and chant 16 rounds for a minimum of 6 months. During this time, the devotee should chant Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantra.
- After a minimum of 6 months, the devotee can request to take shelter of their diksa-guru.
- Notify the temple president or his/her designated representative and meet with them when they have taken shelter of their diksa-guru.
- Complete and pass the Disciple’s Course (ideally prior to taking shelter of a diksa-guru). Provide a copy of the certificate.
- After taking shelter for a minimum of 6 months with their diksa-guru, the disciple can request a formal recommendation letter from the temple president or his/her designated representative.
- Write a formal letter to the temple president or his/her designated representative to request a recommendation including the specified information.
- Request a personal meeting with the temple president or his/her designated representative.
Current members of the initiation committee: Jagannatha-priya devi dasi (firstname.lastname@example.org) Vishnugada dasa (Vajra8@aol.com)
Process for a Letter of Recommendation for First Initiation from Philadelphia’s Temple President 10-28-18