Establishing Standards for Varnasrama Communities

January 2, 2014 |

English; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

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Question: Few years back, at ISKCON Yamunanagar temple in Haryana, India, I attended a lecture by a devotee from ISKCON Delhi who was on guest visit. When asked about the importance of initiation in chanting, he told that without being initiated, our chanting the rounds is nearly ineffective. Only after initiation from spiritual master does… Expand>

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Few years back, at ISKCON Yamunanagar temple in Haryana, India, I attended a lecture by a devotee from ISKCON Delhi who was on guest visit. When asked about the importance of initiation in chanting, he told that without being initiated, our chanting the rounds is nearly ineffective. Only after initiation from spiritual master does our real chanting begins. He gave an analogy that without being initiated, our 64 rounds of chanting will hardly equal 16 rounds of an initiated person. Since then my interest in chanting has been flickering and I feel there is no use to chant if it doesn't count at all. And I do not thing I am qualified to be initiated now or ever in my life. Though I may chant sometimes, but in deep core of heart, these words discourage me every time. Please help.

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I have a doubt in my mind, and you could most likely solve it.

Sannyasa is the highest ashram and generally the sannyasis are respected as being; as good as God by other sections. I hear stories about Prabhupada offering sannyasa to many of his devotees, and many of them could not maintain it.

During the early stages of the Krishna Conscious movement, was Prabhupada very careful in choosing candidates for Sannyasa? I hear stories that sometimes many of the devotees were given Sannyasa on a single day and were asked to go out and preach (please correct me if I am wrong).

Is the spiritual master supposed to understand the possible frailties of his disciples very carefully and give instructions only according to the disciple’s capacity? I hear this argument that the strength to carry on the instruction is imparted with the instruction itself.

Is it possible that the spiritual master may give an instruction, but if he is not very helpful to the disciple then the disciple has to take a simpler instruction for himself after the failure?

How does giving instructions work in the current context? We have many madhyama bhaktas acting as leaders, so are we supposed to check with others when there are strict instructions (other than chanting and regulative principles) and strong ideas presented that are directly not in Prabhupada's books - like preaching, program building etc.?

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