SHIKSHA Papers

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SHRADHAVAN
KRISHNA SEVAKA
KRISHNA SADHAKA
KRISHNA UPASAKA
SRILA PRABHUPADA ASHRAYA

His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, writes in the introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is :

tasmat sarvesu kalesu
mam anusmara yuddhya ca
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir
mam evaisyasy asamsayah

“Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time continue your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt. ( Bg. 8.7 )

“He ( Krishna) does not advise Arjuna simply to remember Him and give up his occupation. No, the Lord never suggests anything impractical. In this material world, in order to maintain the body one has to work. Human society is divided, according to work, into four divisions of social order – brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and sudra. The brahmana class or intelligent class is working in one way, the kshatriya or administrative class is working in another way, and the mercantile class and the laborer, merchant, administrator or farmer, or even if one belongs to the highest class and is a literary man, a scientist or a theologian, he has to work in order to maintain his existence. The Lord therefore tells Arjuna that he need not give up his occupation, but while he is engaged in his occupation he should remember Krishna (mam anusmara). If he doesn’t practice remembering Krishna while he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Krishna at the time of death. Lord Chaitanya also advises this……. Therefore we have to practice remembering the Lord always, twenty four hours a day, by chanting His names and moulding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.”

Undoubtedly it is important for everyone to practice Krishna consciousness, devotional service to Lord Krishna in their life. The beauty of Krishna Consciousness is that you can take up the practices of devotional service to the Lord as much as you are ready, for Krishna Himself promises in the Bhagavad-gita : “There is no loss or diminution in this endeavor, and even a little advancement on this path protects one from the most fearful type of danger.” So bring Krishna into your daily life and soon you will feel the benefit.

The following are the different levels of commitment and standards of devotional service that you can practice at home while carrying out your normal activities of life. You can choose the level and standard that you can most comfortably practice and ISKCON will offer you guidance and inspiration to practice at that level and help you to gradually reach higher and higher standards.

SHRADDHAVAN : A devotee who fulfills the following standards of devotional service shall receive the blessings of Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev and Devi Subhadra to practice Krishna Consciousness as a Shraddhavan :

1.He/she chants atleast one round of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra everyday.

2.He/she reads the teachings of Lord Krishna as given in the books of Srila Prabhupada.

3.He/she is an active devotee in the temple’s congregation, that is, he/she visits the temple as often as possible and participates and associates with Krishna Conscious programs in the temple.

KRISHNA SEVAKA : A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Shraddhavan, fulfills the following additional standards of devotional service shall receive the blessings of Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev and Devi Subhadra to practice Krishna Consciousness as a Krishna Sevaka :

1.He/she chants atleast four rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra everyday.

2.He/she refrains from eating non-vegetarian food (meat, fish and eggs ) and tries to lead a moral life.

3.He/she is dedicated to personal improvement in devotional practice and purity, by gradually applying the teachings of Srila Prabhupada under the guidance of his representatives.

4.He/she accepts that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

5.He/she engages in practical devotional service to Lord Krishna, at the ISKCON temple during festivals such as Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Ratha-Yatra, etc.,

KRISHNA SADHAKA :A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Krishna Sevaka, fulfills the following additional standards of devotional service shall receive the blessings of Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev and Devi Subhadra to practice Krishna Consciousness as a Krishna Sadhaka :

1.He/she chants eight to twelve rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra everyday.

2.He/she leads a pure holy life by avoiding intoxication ( alcoholic drinks ), meat-eating, gambling and extra-marital sex.

3.He/she studies the books of Srila Prabhupada and attends the classes in ISKCON as often as possible ( atleast the Sunday evening Bhagavad-gita class every week).

4.He/she worships Lord Krishna as far as practical at home, by setting up an altar, offering arati and foodstuffs, worshipping the sacred tulasi plant and following basic sadhana like rising early in the morning.

5.He/she observes fasting on the Ekadashi and festival days as indicated in the Vaishnava Calendar.

6.He/she is dedicated to leading a devotional way of life by gradually learning and practicing bhakti-yoga according to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada under the guidance of his representatives.

KRISHNA UPASAKA : A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Krishna Sadhaka, fulfills the following additional standards of devotional service shall receive the blessings of  Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev and Devi Subhadra to practice Krishna Consciousness as a Krishna Upasaka :

1.He/she worships Tulasi Devi on a day to day basis.

2.He/she accepts the acharyas in the Gaudiya Parampara.

3.He/she observes fasting for the appearance and disappearance of the previous acharyas as given in the Vaishnava Calendar.

4.He/she observes fasting for the appearance days of the Lord as given in the Vaishnava Calendar.

SRILA PRABHUPADA ASHRAYA : A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Krishna Upasaka, fulfills the following additional standards of devotional service shall receive the blessings of  Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev and Devi Subhadra to practice Krishna Consciousness as a Srila Prabhupada Ashraya :

1.He/she chants atleast sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra everyday.

2.He/she strictly avoids intoxication including coffee and tea, meat-eating, gambling, cinema, sports and illicit sex. He/she also abstains from taking onion and garlic.

3.He/she is well versed in the basics of Krishna Conscious philosophy by reading the books of Srila Prabhupada systematically and actively engages in preaching
( according to his/her capacity) to others about Krishna Consciousness.

4.He/she follows a strict sadhana programme at home by rising early in the morning and following a program similar to the temple as far as possible. He/she also attends atleast one Bhagavatam class at the temple every week.

SHIKSHA CEREMONY : On special festival days of the year, the Shiksha ceremony will be conducted where the devotees will receive the blessings of Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev and Devi Subhadra formally from the President, ISKCON Sri Jagannath Mandir, Bangalore ( except for Sri Guru Charana Ashraya, which will be bestowed by the spiritual master himself ).

HOW YOU CAN TAKE PART IN THE SHIKSHA CEREMONY : Please fill out the Shiksha ceremony form ( available at the ISKCON temple ).Please indicate the level of your practice of Krishna Consciousness. You will have to attend an interview at the temple on a date which will be announced in the temple. Those fortunate devotees who qualify in all respects will be invited to participate in the Shiksha ceremony.