To join the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement, you can follow these general steps:
how to join iskcon
- Learn about ISKCON: Familiarize yourself with the teachings, philosophy, and practices of ISKCON. You can do this by reading books written by the founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, attending ISKCON events, and exploring their official website.
- Visit an ISKCON temple: Locate the nearest ISKCON temple or center in your area and visit it. Spend time participating in their programs, attending spiritual discourses, and interacting with devotees. This will help you understand the community and its practices better.
- Develop a relationship with devotees: Engage in conversations with ISKCON devotees, seek their guidance, and ask questions about the philosophy and lifestyle. Building relationships with devotees will give you a deeper understanding of ISKCON’s principles and values.
- Study Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures: ISKCON places great importance on studying and understanding sacred texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Make an effort to read these scriptures and attend study circles or classes offered by ISKCON to gain a deeper understanding of their teachings.
- Adopt a vegetarian lifestyle: ISKCON promotes a vegetarian lifestyle, emphasizing the principle of ahimsa (non-violence) and offering food prepared with devotion to Krishna, known as prasadam. Consider adopting a vegetarian diet if you haven’t already done so.
- Practice bhakti yoga: Bhakti yoga is the practice of developing a loving relationship with God through devotional service. Participate in kirtans (devotional singing), chant the Hare Krishna mantra, and engage in other devotional practices to deepen your connection with Krishna.
- Seek initiation: If you feel a strong inclination to become a formal member of ISKCON, you can express your interest in taking initiation (diksha) from a bona fide spiritual master within ISKCON. Initiation involves committing to follow the principles and practices of ISKCON under the guidance of a spiritual mentor.
It’s important to note that joining ISKCON is a personal journey, and the specific process may vary from person to person. It is recommended to have sincere intentions, patience, and a gradual approach in understanding and embracing the principles of ISKCON.
can we live in iskcon temple
Yes, it is possible to live in an ISKCON temple under certain circumstances. ISKCON temples often provide accommodation for devotees who are dedicated to the practice of Krishna consciousness and actively engaged in devotional service.
To live in an ISKCON temple, you would typically need to:
- Express your sincere desire: Communicate your intention to live in the temple to the temple authorities. They will assess your sincerity and commitment to the teachings and practices of ISKCON.
- Follow the temple rules and regulations: Living in an ISKCON temple requires adhering to the principles and guidelines set by the temple authorities. These may include following a vegetarian diet, abstaining from intoxicants, engaging in daily devotional practices, and participating in temple activities and services.
- Engage in devotional service: Temple residents are expected to actively participate in devotional service, such as deity worship, preaching, book distribution, kitchen seva (service), and various other temple services as per their skills and abilities.
- Seek approval and guidance: The temple authorities will review your application and may interview you to determine your eligibility and commitment. They will also assign you a mentor or guide who can provide spiritual guidance and support.
- Maintain financial independence: Depending on the temple’s policies, you may be required to support yourself financially or contribute to the temple’s maintenance. Some temples may provide accommodation and basic amenities to residents, while others may expect residents to cover their living expenses.
- Embrace the community lifestyle: Living in an ISKCON temple often involves residing in a community of devotees who share a common purpose and goal. It requires adjusting to communal living, participating in community activities, and maintaining harmonious relationships with fellow residents.
It’s important to note that the process of becoming a resident in an ISKCON temple varies from one temple to another. Therefore, it is advisable to directly contact the specific temple you are interested in and inquire about their specific requirements, procedures, and availability of residential facilities.
How do I live in ISKCON my whole life?
Living one’s whole life in ISKCON requires a deep commitment to the teachings and practices of the Hare Krishna movement. Here are some steps to consider if you wish to live your entire life in ISKCON:
- Study and practice: Immerse yourself in the teachings and practices of ISKCON. Study sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, and regularly engage in devotional practices such as chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, attending temple programs, and participating in service to the deities.
- Seek guidance: Establish a relationship with a spiritual mentor or guru within ISKCON who can provide guidance and support on your spiritual journey. Regularly seek their guidance, clarify doubts, and receive instructions on how to progress in your spiritual practice.
- Take initiation: Initiation (diksha) is a formal commitment to follow the teachings and practices of ISKCON under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. Discuss your readiness for initiation with your spiritual mentor and express your desire to receive initiation if you are ready and eligible.
- Live in an ISKCON temple or community: Consider living in an ISKCON temple or community where you can fully immerse yourself in a supportive spiritual environment. Living in such a community allows you to engage in devotional service, participate in temple programs, and associate with like-minded devotees who are dedicated to Krishna consciousness.
- Engage in devotional service: Actively participate in devotional service according to your skills and abilities. Offer your talents and services to the temple and the community, such as deity worship, book distribution, preaching, cooking, or other services as needed.
- Maintain a regulated lifestyle: Follow the principles and regulations of ISKCON, which include abstaining from meat, fish, and eggs; avoiding intoxicants; practicing celibacy or engaging in regulated married life; and maintaining a simple and sattvic (pure) lifestyle.
- Cultivate a deep relationship with Krishna: Cultivate a deep and personal relationship with Lord Krishna through regular sadhana (spiritual practice), prayer, and meditation. Develop a loving devotional connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
- Continuously seek knowledge and improvement: Never stop learning and deepening your understanding of the philosophy and teachings of ISKCON. Attend classes, seminars, and workshops, and study the works of the founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and other renowned Vaishnava teachers.
Living your entire life in ISKCON requires a sincere dedication to the path of Krishna consciousness. It is important to maintain a balanced and practical approach, seeking guidance from experienced devotees and leaders within ISKCON. Discuss your aspirations with them, express your commitment, and seek their advice on how to sustain a lifelong practice of Krishna consciousness.
I am a student, I want to join ISKCON. How do I connect with ISKCON?
As a student, you can connect with ISKCON in several ways to deepen your understanding of Krishna consciousness and participate in its activities. Here are some steps you can take:
- Locate the nearest ISKCON center or temple: Find out if there is an ISKCON center or temple in your area or close to your educational institution. You can search online or ask fellow students who may already be connected to ISKCON.
- Attend temple programs and events: Visit the ISKCON temple during their regular programs and festivals. Attend the Sunday feast, evening arati (worship), bhajans (devotional singing), and spiritual discourses. These programs are open to everyone and provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the devotional atmosphere.
- Participate in Bhakti yoga practices: Engage in devotional practices like chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, reading sacred texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, and studying the teachings of ISKCON’s founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. These practices can be done individually or in association with other devotees.
- Join ISKCON Youth Groups: Many ISKCON centers have dedicated youth groups where students and young adults can connect, engage in devotional activities, and discuss spiritual topics. Inquire if there is a youth group or similar association in your area and express your interest in participating.
- Volunteer and serve: Offer your time and skills to assist in various services at the temple. ISKCON centers often have opportunities for volunteering in areas like deity worship, cooking, book distribution, event management, and outreach programs. By actively participating in service, you can deepen your connection with ISKCON and its community.
- Seek guidance from devotees: Approach devotees at the temple and express your interest in connecting with ISKCON. They can guide you on the spiritual practices, answer your questions, and provide you with resources for further study. Develop relationships with experienced devotees who can mentor and support you on your spiritual journey.
- Attend workshops and seminars: ISKCON regularly organizes workshops, seminars, and retreats on various spiritual topics. Check for any upcoming events in your area and make an effort to attend them. These events provide an opportunity to learn from experienced teachers and connect with a broader community of devotees.
- Explore online resources: ISKCON has a vast online presence, including websites, social media platforms, and online classes. Utilize these resources to access spiritual lectures, e-books, videos, and virtual satsangs (spiritual gatherings) to enhance your understanding and practice of Krishna consciousness.
Remember that connecting with ISKCON is a personal journey, and the level of involvement can vary based on your availability and commitment. Gradually immerse yourself in the practices, philosophy, and community of ISKCON, and allow your connection to Krishna consciousness to unfold naturally.
How can one become a full-time monk at Iskcon? What is the process?
To become a full-time monk, or a brahmachari, at ISKCON, you would typically need to follow a specific process. Here are the general steps involved:
- Sincere interest and commitment: Develop a sincere interest in dedicating your life to spiritual practice and service as a monk. Reflect on your motivations and aspirations, ensuring that you are genuinely committed to the principles and lifestyle of a brahmachari.
- Association and guidance: Regularly associate with ISKCON devotees, particularly experienced monks, who can provide guidance and support on your spiritual journey. Seek their counsel, clarify any doubts, and learn from their example.
- Living in an ISKCON temple or ashram: Express your desire to live in an ISKCON temple or ashram as a brahmachari. Temples often have designated ashram facilities for those aspiring to take up a monastic lifestyle. Discuss your intentions with the temple authorities and express your interest in residing in the ashram.
- Study and practice: Deepen your understanding of the philosophy and teachings of ISKCON through the study of sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and other relevant literature. Engage in regular devotional practices such as chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, attending temple programs, and participating in service activities.
- Formal application: Submit a formal application expressing your intention to become a brahmachari to the temple authorities. This application will typically include personal details, a statement of intent, and references from senior devotees who can vouch for your sincerity and commitment.
- Interview and assessment: Upon receiving your application, the temple authorities may conduct an interview to assess your suitability for becoming a brahmachari. They may inquire about your spiritual journey, motivations, and readiness for a monastic lifestyle.
- Training and initiation: If your application is accepted, you may be offered a training program to prepare you for brahmachari life. This program may include further study, practical training in devotional service, and guidance on the principles and practices of monastic life. Eventually, you may be offered initiation (diksha) by a qualified spiritual master within ISKCON.
- Formal vows and commitments: Once initiated, you will take formal vows as a brahmachari, committing to the principles of celibacy, simplicity, study, and service. These vows signify your dedication to a life of spiritual practice and service within ISKCON.
It’s important to note that the process and requirements for becoming a full-time monk at ISKCON can vary from one temple to another. Therefore, it is advisable to directly contact the specific ISKCON temple or ashram you are interested in and inquire about their specific procedures, guidelines, and availability of monastic facilities. The temple authorities and experienced devotees will be able to guide you further and provide you with the necessary instructions and support.