Initiation Ceremony

Prabhupada gave a short lecture. At the end, he looked around the room and smiled at the devotees, indicating the altar with his eyes. "This is a very nice altar. Tomorrow, we shall install the Deities." The devotees chanted: "Jaya! Haribol!" Rama dasa ran out of the room to break the news to his wife.

Seven devotees sat down around the sacrificial fireplace. Prabhupada took his seat. Guru Krpa Swami had already given the pre-initiation lecture while the morning walk had been in progress. Prabhupada had chanted on most of the new initiates' beads the night before, except for one young girl from the North Shore. Now, he softly chanted one round on her beads as the devotees watched and chanted along.

The new candidates, including some freshly shaven-headed men from Tusta Krsna's farm, came up individually to receive their beads and names from Srila Prabhupada. Jimmy became Kalasamvara; a young Maori boy became Rudra Chandi. Mark became Parivadi; Steve, Sarvaksa and Meg, Vrndavana. As per Prabhupada's standard prescription, each devotee promised to follow the four regulative principles, and chant a minimum of 16 rounds daily.

Roy: I was the last one up. I was very nervous. "What are the regulative principles?" asked Srila Prabhupada, and I told him. "And how many rounds do you promise to chant?" "Sixteen rounds everyday, minimum," I said. "So?" Prabhupada said. He turned to Pusta Krsna who softly spoke my name into Prabhupada's ear:"Mahasakti dasa". Prabhupada paused and went "Mmmmm." There was some talk between Pusta Krsna and Prabhupada. Apparently, he didn't approve of my name. Prabhupada leaned over towards me, looked at me, and then closed his eyes and leaned back and sat there for what appeared to be quite a long time. I just sat there and Prabhupada just sat there. Then he opened his eyes and said, "Advaita dasa".

Guru Krpa Swami lit the sacrificial fire. Prabhupada chanted the prayers glorifying the previous acaryas. The devotees responded word for word, and threw their grains into the flames as Prabhupada poured ghee and chanted the oblations "Svaha, svaha, svaha".

After the yajna, Hari-sauri announced that all the initiates should offer guru daksina to their spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada returned to his room for breakfast. He had asked for puris and moist subji, but had specified that Rama dasa's wife should cook them. "Puris by Laksmana," he said. He also appreciated the sweet yellow guava, fresh from a fully-laden tree in the backyard.

- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu

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  • HK.. pls explain why Srila Prabhuapada changed the initiated name for Roy from "Mahasakti dasa" to "Advaita dasa".. 

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