This handbook and accompanying curriculum, which are to be used enjointly, have been compiled under the direct order of the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness. Their contents are based wholely on the inspiration, guidance and wisdom of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder acarya of ISKCON. This humble attempt has been made in the service of any aspiring devotee and future disciple of the authorised ISKCON Acaryas. We pray to Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Rupa Gosvami that this work may be strictly in the line of the parampara and full of transcendental potency for the eternal benefit of one who makes use of it.
Your humble servant, Rohininandana das Adhikari
(May 14th 1984/498 Caitanya Era, Appearance Day of Lord Nrsimhadeva)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I Introduction Page 1
Part II Daily Life
(1) Awakening Page 2
(2) Applying Tilak Page 2
(3) Japa Meditation Pages 2-3
(4) Offering obeisances to Vaisnavas Page 3
(5) Entering the Temple Pages 3-4
(6) Mangala Arati and Temple Programme Pages 4-5
(7) Prasada Page 5
(8) Service in the Temple Pages 5-6
(9) The Bhakta Class Page 6
(10) Harinam Samkirtan Pages 6-7
Part III Appendix
(1) Faith and Discrimination Page 7
(2) Casual becomes Casualty Page 7
(3) Idle Talking Page 7
(4) Mundane Friendships Pages 7-8
(5) Answering the telephone Page 8
(6) Istaghosti Page 8
(7) Vaisnava Etiquette Page 8
Part I Introduction
We would like to welcome you to the Introductory Cours for Krsna Consciousness and suggest that you study this handbook which is supplementary to the daily curriculum and which we hope you will find useful.
The purpose of this course is basically four-fold:
(1) To give you an idea what Krsna conscious life is, so that you can decide if and how you want to commit yourself further
(2) To teach you the correct attitude and approach to Krsna Consciousness
(3) To help you make strong and swift progress in spiritual life
(4) To give fundamental procedures and regulations, thus creating a firm basis for the future
Generally the course lasts three months and during that time one can attain a fairly thorough understanding of the following: cleanliness, harinam samkirtan, preaching, rules and regulations, Vedic philosophy, Vaisnava behaviour, devotional service, Krsna meditation etc. We have a very structured daily schedule, which, although regulated, embodies the actual principle of freedom from material existence. Everything is completely in accordance with the ancient scriptural (sastric) tradition of Vedic India. The more diligently one applies oneself to this process the more benefit and realisation one will attain.
We should try to mould the activities of our lives in such a way that we remember Krsna at all times. This is Krsna Consciousness. Therefore the all-inclusive principle is, “always think of Krsna and never forget Him”. Within this one principle is contained all other principles of devotional service.
Actually, devotional service or “bhakti-yoga” is the eternal way of life of every living entity, presently lying dormant in the heart. In the scriptures there is the statement: “it is the prime duty of persons who want to become fearless, to hear, chant and remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, Who is to be remembered and never forgotten, not even for a single moment.” Therefore, if the devotee is desirous of associating with the Lord,Who is the Supreme Pure, he has to undergo the process of purification. One who strictly adheres to the Lord’s instructions as outlined in the Vedic scriptures becomes very dear to Him. Lord Krsna says ” As they surrender unto Me I reward them accordingly.” The devotee tries his best to follow these instructions. To assist him in the process of purification, it is essential that he follow the following regulative principles:
1. No illicit sex life
2. No gambling, including idle sporting and speculative pursuits
3. No intoxicants, which includes no tea, coffee, etc.
4. No meat eating, which includes no fish, eggs, etc.
5. The chanting of the Lord’s Holy Name, the Hare-Krsna-MahaMantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna/ Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rame/ Rama Rama Hare Hare. At least 16 rounds a day.
The underlying principle of all one’s activities is the chanting of the Holy Name. This is specifically recommended by Lord Caitanya Himself – “in this age of Kali there is no other way, no other way, no other way of making spiritual advancement than chanting the Holy Names of the Lord.”
A Krsna conscious person, even if he is not educated by the university standard, can immediately give up illicit sex life, gambling, meat eating and intoxication whereas those who are not in Krsna consciousness, although very highly educated materially, are often drunkards, meat eaters, sex mongers and gamblers. These are practical proofs of how a Krsna conscious person becomes highly elevated in good qualities, whereas a person not in Krsna consciousness, cannot attain the same perfection. What follows may seem at first too much to learn and practice all at once! So don’t worry because it always becomes clear for someone in the course of time, and please feel free to ask any questions you may have. (Any word that you don’t know can be found in the Vedic dictionary in Week 11 of the curriculum).