The Siksha Program
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
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."
- [ Bhagavad Gita 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 one's 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.
Levels Of Siksha
A devotee who fulfils the following standards of devotional service shall be blessed by Sri Sri Radha Gopinath to practice Krishna consciousness as a SHRADHAVAN
1. He/she is an active devotee in the temple's congregation, that is he/she visits the temple as often as possible, does some service in the temple participates and associates with Krishna conscious programs in the temple.
2. He/she chants at least one round of the Hare Krishna maha mantra every day.
3. He/she reads the teachings of Sri Krishna as given in the books of Srila Prabhupada.
A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Shraddhavan, fulfils the following additional standards of devotional service shall be blessed by Sri Sri Radha Gopinath to practice Krishna consciousness as a KRISHNA SEVAK:
1. 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.
2. He/she accepts that Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
3. He/she shall voluntarily engage in practical devotional service to Lord Krishna.
4. He/she chants a minimum of four rounds of the Hare Krishna maha mantra every day.
5. He/she refrains from eating non-vegetarian food (meat, fish and eggs) and tries to lead a moral life.
A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Krishna sevak, fulfils the following additional standards of devotional service shall be blessed by Sri Sri Radha Gopinath to practice Krishna consciousness as a KRISHNA SADHAK:
1. 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 his representatives.
2. He/she is studying the books of Srila Prabhupada and attend the classes in ISKCON.
3. He/she worships Sri Krishna, as far as practical, in the ISKCON temples, and in the 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.
4. He/she chants eight to sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna maha mantra every day.
5. He/she leads a pure holy life by avoiding intoxication (alcoholic drinks), meat-eating, gambling, and extra- marital sex.
6. He/she observes fasting on the ekadashi and festival days, as indicated in the vaishnava calendar.
Srila Prabhupada Ashraya
A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Krishna sadhak, fulfils the following additional standards of devotional service shall be blessed by Sri Sri Radha Gopinath to practice Krishna consciousness under SRILA PRABHUPADA ASHRAYA:
1. He/she is dedicated to taking divine shelter of Srila Prabhupada by following the principles of Krishna consciousness.
2. He/she practices Krishna consciousness with strong conviction.
3. He/she chants a minimum of sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna maha mantra every day.
4. He/she strictly avoids intoxication including coffee and tea, meat-eating including onion and garlic, gambling, cinema, sports, and illicit sex.
5. He/she is well versed in the basics of Krishna conscious philosophy by reading the books of Srila Prabhupada systematically and is actively engaged in preaching (according to his/her capacity) to others about Krishna consciousness.
6. He/she is doing some responsible service (however simple it may be) in the temple.
7. 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 shall also attend at least one Bhagavatam class per week in the temple.
Sri Guru Charan Ashraya
A devotee who in addition to fulfilling the above mentioned commitments of Srila Prabhupada Ashraya, fulfils the following additional standards of devotional service shall be blessed by Sri Sri Radha Gopinath to practice Krishna consciousness under SRI GURU CHARANA ASHRAYA:
1. He/she has developed additional faith in and surrender to an authorised spiritual master of ISKCON.
2. He/she has been practicing Srila Prabhupada Ashraya standards for a minimum of six months and receive a recommendation from the temple president/vice president.
3. He/she shall pass the written test provided for this ashraya as per ISKCON law.
The Siksha Ceremony
SHIKSHA CEREMONY is conducted periodically, where the devotees shall receive the blessings of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha, Srila Prabhupada and senior devotees and formally from the President of ISKCON Sydney (except for Sri Guru Charana Ashraya, which will be given by the spiritual master himself). HOW YOU CAN TAKE PART IN THE SHIKSHA CEREMONY:
Fill in the registration form above and contact your Bhakti Vrksa servant leader . You shall be notified via e-mail. Those fortunate devotees who qualify in all respects shall take part in the Shiksha ceremony. All the best.
For more information, please contact:
ISKCON Congregation Services,
ISKCON Sydney 180 Falcon St North Sydney NSW 2060
Tel: 02 9959 4558