Initiation in ISKCON

Q. What is the process for initiation?

There are formalities to follow with regard to preparing for initiation, and there are internal considerations as well.

Formalities, first:
The process of initiation, according to ISKCON Law, is that one must first have chanted 16 rounds + strictly followed the 4 reg'tive principles for a minimum of 6 months before requesting a particular guru to accept them as a disciple. During this first 6 month period, the aspiring devotee is encouraged to develop a deep appreciation for Srila Prabhupada as the principle Siksa Guru for all members of ISKCON.

At this time (6 months is a legislated minimum), the devotee may approach a spiritual master to accept him as a disciple, to give him shelter in Krsna Consciousness. A minimum of 6 months more must pass before that devotee can be formally initiated.

Formal initiation is to be preceded by: (a) successfully answering the questions on a written exam, which is to be taken after one has decided to seek shelter from a particular spiritual master; this exam is to be administered by the local Temple President or their authorized representative unless one is in a remote place. (b) A written Letter of Recommendation for Initiation is to be given by the local Temple President prior to initiation taking place.

Internal Preparation:
Besides the formalities mentioned above, there is much internal preparation for initiation. The essence of this preparation for initiation begins by genuinely seeking acceptance of shelter of guru, or submission from the heart.

This is the fruit of hearing regularly from someone who inspires you, through whom you feel Krishna is entering into your life. Communicating with or somehow developing a personal relationship with a prospective guru is often very helpful. You need to know the mood of the spiritual master, the points emphasized in their training, and you need to gradually imbibe in your OWN way these principle points of emphasis.