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Srila Prabhupada’s Instructions

Qualifying Instructions to become Srila Prabhupada's disciple

First Regulative Principle is to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra

Four Regulative Principles

  1. No meat eating, must be strictly vegetarian 
  2. No gambling
  3. No illicit sexual relationships
  4. No addiction to indulgence in any form of intoxication, including coffee, tea and cigarettes

Mandatory instructions by Srila Prabhupada

Morning Sadhana, Attend Bhagavatam and Read Books

  • Wake up early in the morning
  • Attend Mangala Arati
  • Daily read Srila Prabhupada’s books
  • Attend daily Srimad Bhagavatam class
  • Srila Prabhupada's Instructions on few Don'ts

    Some more Don'ts

    Srila Prabhupada's Instructions on how to do Japa

    Chant like the Cry of a child for its mother

    These three words, namely Harā, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, are the transcendental seeds of the mahā-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy, to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother’s presence. Mother Harā helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father’s grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

    Before you Chant

    Chant Pañca tattva matra before commencing to chant

    The method prescribed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's pure devotees is to chant first the full Pañca-tattva mantra and then chant the mahā-mantra-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

    Chant on beads

    Do not cross the Mula bead, switch and chant to the other side

    Prabhupāda: Nama.
    Viṣṇujana: Nama.
    Prabhupāda: Om.
    Viṣṇujana: Om.
    Prabhupāda: Viṣṇu (repeats each word) pādāya kṛṣṇa preṣṭhāya bhū-tale śrīmate bhaktivedānta svāmin iti nāmine. You chant beginning from here, Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. Then begin again, another. In this way, there are 108. Come this side. Don't cross. Then again chant on this side from this way to this way. Your name is Viṣṇujana. Viṣṇujana. V-i-s-n-u-j-a-n-a. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.

    Chant on Japa Beads

    The reason for the Japa beads is so that you can keep track of how many times you are chanting Hare Krishna mantra daily. It should be chanted a steady amount of times regularly. We chant at least 16 times around the string of 108 beads daily (one full mantra on each bead). This keeps us strong in spiritual consciousness.

    Be careful not to lose the sanctified beads

    Please be very careful to keep these sanctified beads. One should be heedful not to lose them.

    Chant early morning, preferably

    Chanting japa should be done early in the morning with full concentration preferably during the Brahma Muhurta time. Concentrate fully on the sound vibration of the mantra, pronouncing each name distinctly and gradually your speed in chanting will increase naturally. Do not worry so much about chanting fast, most important is the hearing.

    Hear! Hear! Hear! Distinctly

    As you chant, try to hear each word very carefully and always complete your sixteen rounds. Regular and attentive chanting, along with following the four regulative principles will keep one pure. Simply by following these principles and chanting Hare Krishna one can make his life successful and perfect.

    There is no such requirement that Japa should be silently and chanting should be be done differently. Loudly or silently, everything is all right. There is no such restriction. Only thing is that we should chant very attentively, hearing the vibration very distinctly

    Please try to chant at least 16 rounds of the beads and while chanting try to hear each and every word. That will make you advance in every respect.

    Forbearance and other good qualities develop automatically

    A devotee engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord should practice forbearance like that of a tree. Even if rebuked or chastised, he should not say anything to others to retaliate.
    This practice of forbearance tṛṇād api sunīcena is very difficult, but when one actually engages in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the quality of forbearance automatically develops. A person advanced in spiritual consciousness through the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra need not practice to develop it separately, for a devotee develops all good qualities simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra regularly.

    Offer Obeisances to Tulasi Maharani

    We can follow his(Haridāsa Ṭhākura's) example, however, by chanting sixteen rounds of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra on beads every day and offering respect to the tulasī plant. This is not at all difficult for anyone, and the process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra with a vow before the tulasī plant has such great spiritual potency that simply by doing this one can become spiritually strong. Therefore we request the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to follow Haridāsa Ṭhākura's example rigidly. Chanting sixteen rounds does not take much time, nor is offering respects to the tulasī plant difficult. The process has immense spiritual potency. One should not miss this opportunity.

    Japa and Time Management

    So far as your question about arranging time, our first business is to regularly complete our chanting 16 rounds each day. Then we must offer to the deities mangal arati in the morning, and the other paraphernalia and activities shall be executed as time permits. If there is no time then we must disregard.

    Amongst all our duties surely we must not forget to complete our sixteen rounds. We should not be carried away simply by the Krishna duties which is also regarded as good as chanting, but in all circumstances, we shall not forget this duty.

    Generally, we recommend our disciples to chant at least 16 rounds on their japa beads daily, and this should be completed. But if one is not even able to chant 16 rounds, then he must make it up the next day. He must be sure to keep his vow. If he does not strictly follow this out, then he is sure to be negligent. That is offensive in the service of the Lord.

    You have asked me how many hours you should work. Our life is dedicated to Krishna, and you should work for Him 24 hours. We have different varieties of service. For you, you should work on painting as long as you think yourself fit; don't overwork. Balance time should be spent for chanting and reading S.B. So far remembering me and Krishna, it should be simultaneous.

    Actually, there is nothing wrong with you because you have already come to the platform of Krishna Consciousness. Only by the influence of your past habits is it taking perhaps more time for you to adjust things. I hope that by the Grace of Krishna you will stick rigidly to chanting your 16 rounds or more daily. This will solve all of your questions. Try to engage yourself in the service of Krishna and everything will be revealed to you without fail.

    Forget to eat, sleep; but do not forget to chant

    So anyone who will stop chanting, he will be a victim of māyā. Always remember it. Therefore we insist, "Please do not forget to chant at least sixteen rounds." That is minimum

    If you cannot finish sixteen rounds, then you must not sleep on that day, you must not eat. Why don't you forget to eat, forget? Why do you forget chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? This is negligence,aparādha, offense. Rather, you should forget your sleeping and eating, and must finish sixteen rounds. This is called determination. This is called determined. So you are welcome to take initiation, but if you are neglectful, if you want to make it a farce, that is your business. I cannot give you any protection.

    Quality of chanting

    Avoid offenses to progress through different chanting phases - from namaparadha, to namabhasa, suddha nama.

    Regarding quality of chanting Hare Krishna, we shall try to avoid the 10 kinds of offenses, that is the quality.

    Even if one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra offensively, one can avoid offenses by continuously chanting without deviation. One who becomes accustomed to this practice will always remain in a pure transcendental position, untouchable by sinful reactions.

    Reaching the highest stage of devotional service by chanting

    Everyone begins his devotional life from the neophyte stage, but if one properly finishes chanting the prescribed number of rounds of harināma, he is elevated step by step to the highest platform, uttama-adhikārī.

    While walking, just like our students, they take the beads. They're walking on the sea beach, still chanting. Where is the loss? But the gain is so great, that we are associating with Kṛṣṇa personally. The gain is so much.

    The soul is permanent. It has no development, no decrease, no destruction, nothing of the sort as compared with the body. The only difficulty of the soul is that in the conditioned state of material body, the soul is supposed to forget its identity; by chanting Hare Krishna gradually the soul revives its identity or it comes out from the forgetfulness. This is not exactly development, but it is reviving one's consciousness. Everything will be gradually clear as you go on chanting Hare Krishna.

    This sound vibration is not material, it is spiritual, and powerful beyond our conception. So it cannot be hindered in any way by something material; it surpasses all these material barriers. So you can know it that when you are chanting, you are also giving benefit to even the child in the womb.

    The thing is that as we go on chanting Hare Krishna, in the pure status, we shall be on the loving platform and at that time, we shall feel the greatest separation from the Lord; but that feeling of separation from the Lord is more relishable than meeting the Lord. These are all transcendental existential understandings and as we grow in Krishna Consciousness, we understand everything, gradually, by the Grace of the Supreme Lord.

    Srila Prabhupada's Instructions on Cleanliness and Vaisnava Appearance

    Vaisnava Appearance

    Wear Tilaka all the time

    Keep a shikha all the time

    Wear a tulasi neck bead all the time

    Men should keep their hair short

    Wear dhoti in the temple, but outside western clothes are ok.

    It will be nice for women to wear sari.

    Cleanliness

    One should cut or shave hair once every month. Preferably on Purnima day or fourth day from ekadasi.

    After eating, wash hands and rinse mouth properly

    In the toilet room wash with water and wash your hands with soap. Then wash feet, face and mouth. It should be followed with a bath always.

    Your cloth must be washed daily, especially any cloth used to sleep in.

    Keep yourself clean outside by bathing, etc. and clean inside by chanting Hare Krishna Mantra.

    One should try to maintain these instructions on cleanliness even during travel

    Srila Prabhupada's Instructions on Harinam Sankirtana and Kirtana

    Ideal Kirtana party should consist of 12 people. 2 people playing Mrdangas, 8 people playing kartalas, 1 person playing tamboura and 1 person playing melodious harmonium. Person playing Tamboura should lead the kirtana.

    Dressing up and enacting like Panca Tattva, Radha Krishna, Asta Sakhis, Nrsimhadeva and Prahlada etc. is encouraged during kirtana parties. The most important point in this connection is that we shall never be professional.

    Responsive chanting is very nice; one good singer may lead, and the others may join in. It is very good for two reasons especially: One, the chanter gets to rest, so he does not become tired, and two, you get to chant and hear, that is the process.

    Blowing of the conch shell and horns during Kirtana is very nice.

    We should do varieties of show and performances during the Kirtana.

    At break of Kirtana, we shall sing and chant Sanskrit verses from Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Sometimes in the middle of chanting and singing, we shall speak also.

    Kirtana parties should travel all around the world.

    The harmonium should be practiced just to follow the song; not simply for tuning.

    One should perform Kirtana at least twice daily

    Outdoor Kirtana MUST be done.That is your first and foremost business. It is more important than Temple worship.

    The outdoor kirtanas should be rigidly followed at least one hour daily.

    A variety of instruments is not important for Kirtana. Mrdanga and Kartals are enough. If someone is an expert in a particular instrument, he can be engaged for Krishna's service without diverting attention to add instruments.

    Women kirtana party for singing Gita Gan (Srila Prabhupada's translation of Bhagavad Gita verses into poetic bengali)

    In spiritual enthusiasm, one may dance during Kirtana.

    24 hour Kirtana is encouraged, if it is possible. Everything is kirtana including recitation of Bhagavatam which is also kirtana, and japa as well.

    Harmonium is good for bhajan or outdoor Kirtana but should not be played during arati or Kirtana in front of the deities.

    Harmonium is good for bhajan or outdoor Kirtana but should not be played during arati or Kirtana in front of the deities.

    Regarding instruments for temple kirtanas, karatala and mrdanga are sufficient. There is no need of other instruments.

    Srila Prabhupada's Instructions on cooking, offering, preserving, and distributing Prasadam

    What to offer to Krishna?

    Krishna is offered foodstuff in goodness. The foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey, butter and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees. The ingredients are always the same as above, whether you fry them, boil them, bake them, powder them, or whatever way they are combined or cooked, the idea is that they must come from this group of foodstuffs. So you can make your own recipe if you like, so long as the ingredients are within this group. This foods group is stated by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita, and we follow accordingly.

    Now the thing is that you must consider by whom you are being taught what is healthy and what is not healthy. What is their authority? Actually, this healthy and non-healthy is a material consideration, and we are simply interested in what Krishna wants, so we offer to Him to eat whatever He wants. And He asks for food preparations from within this group. I hope this will clarify the questions about Prasadam preparations for you to understand.

    How to offer Prasadam?

    Regarding prasadam offering to the Deities, you will take from the cooked foodstuffs in a plate just sufficient for one man's eating, and this prasadam should be offered to the Deity, not the whole quantity. The rest of the foodstuffs may remain in the oven to keep it hot until the devotees accept and honor it.

    Yes, you may say the prayer to the Spiritual Master 3 times, and also the Namo Brahmanya . . . prayer 3 times, when offering Prasadam. That is very nice to say the mantra 3 times. Also, you may, after offering to the Spiritual Master, offer to Lord Caitanya by saying the prayer, Namo Maha Badanyaya . . . 3 times, and then offer to Krishna thrice.

    For offering prasadam simply prayers to the Spiritual Master is sufficient. The process is that everything is offered to the Spiritual Master, and the Spiritual Master is supposed to offer the same foodstuff to the Lord. When a thing is offered to the Spiritual Master, he immediately offers to the Lord. That is the system, and as we come by parampara system, it is our duty to go through the right channel—namely, first the Spiritual Master, then Lord Caitanya, and then Krishna. So when we chant prayers, we do this, Bande ham Sri Guru . . . and gradually to the Goswamis, then to Lord Caitanya, and then to Radha Krishna. That is the praying system. But offering the prasadam to present everything before the Spiritual Master whose picture is also in the altar, means that the Spiritual Master will take care of offering the foodstuff to the Lord. Therefore simply by chanting the prayer to the Spiritual Master, everything will be complete.

    Regarding your question about offering Prasadam, whatever is offered to the Deity actually it goes through the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master offers to Lord Caitanya, and Lord Caitanya offers it to Krishna. Then Radha Krishna eats, or Jagannatha eats, then Caitanya Mahaprabhu eats, then the Spiritual Master eats, and it becomes Mahaprasadam. So when you offer something, you think like that and chant the Gayatri mantra, and then everything is complete. At last, ring the bell, take out the plate and wipe the place where the plate was kept.

    Only thing is whatever is offered must be with respect and devotion. (He is neither hungry nor poor, nor unable to eat, but He accepts everything, when such eatable is within the groups of vegetables, fruits, flours, milk, water, etc. is offered to Him with love and devotion, and faith.

    Once prasadam (water, or foodstuffs) is offered to the Lord, His Plate should remain on the altar for about 15-20 minutes (while the portion in the pots may be taken by the devotees).

    Yes, leave Krishna's plate for 15-20 minutes or more, not more than half an hour. After offering the plate, the balance in the pots should be distributed immediately. The plate can remain on the altar while the rest is being distributed.

    Once the prasadam is removed from the altar, and touched by us, it should not again be placed on the altar.

    How to distribute Prasadam?

    Best thing is to cook only what is required and then give each person what he wants.

    The Vedic system is that, the people sit in rows behind their plates and servers pass down the rows and put a very small portion of each foodstuff on each plate, unless there is some objection by a person then nothing is given. Then if anyone wants more, the servers pass up and down the rows continually and give more if anyone requests. In this way nothing is wasted and everyone is satisfied.

    For dishes, best thing is everyone who is eating Prasadam should wash his plate. Otherwise, one man has to do so many dishes. So even the guests should also wash their dishes, that is the system in the Temple; not leave one man to do it.

    Regarding prasadam, leftovers should always be taken if they have not spoiled or if they have not been touched by diseased persons. We should never waste Krishna prasadam.

    Cleanliness during Prasadam handling

    No, food which has been offered should never be put back into the refrigerator with the unoffered foods, or brought back into the kitchen.

    Everyone should be careful to make only as much as they can eat; they cannot keep any leftovers in refrigerator. If there is any food extra, that should be kept separately; and if there is a separate refrigerator, not within the kitchen and not having in it any unoffered foods, then you may have such special refrigerator for leftover prasadam.

    One should never eat within the kitchen, there is ample place to eat so why should one eat in the kitchen? Kitchen should be considered as good as the Lord's room, and nobody should wear shoes in the kitchen, smelling and tasting of foods being prepared for the Lord should never be done, talking within the kitchen should be only what is necessary for preparing the prasadam, or about the Lord, and dirty dishes (those taken from kitchen and eaten from) should not be brought back into the kitchen (but if there is no other place to wash them, then they should be put into sink and washed immediately.), hands should always be washed when preparing prasadam, and in this way, everything shall be prepared very cleanly and pure.)

    Srila Prabhupada's Instructions on Vaisnava Festivals

    Sri Janamashtami

    Hare Krishna

    There are many statements about the festive days in connection with Kṛṣṇa's different activities. One of these festive days is Janmāṣṭamī, the day of Kṛṣṇa's birth. This Janmāṣṭamī Day is the most opulent festival day for the devotees, and it is still observed with great pomp in every Hindu house in India. Sometimes even the devotees of other religious groups take advantage of this auspicious day and enjoy the performance of the ceremony of Janmāṣṭamī. Ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa is also aroused on the days of Ekādaśī, which are other festive days in connection with Kṛṣṇa.

    Those who suffer from diseases of the stomach must be unable to control the urges of the belly, at least according to this analysis. When we desire to eat more than necessary we automatically create many inconveniences in life. However, if we observe fasting days like Ekādaśī and Janmāṣṭamī, we can restrain the demands of the belly.

    This bathing ceremony is technically called abhiṣeka, and even today this is observed in all the temples of Vṛndāvana as Janmāṣṭamī Day, or the birthday anniversary of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

    Prabhupāda: Janmāṣṭamī, take Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa procession.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: On carts?
    Prabhupāda: No, on siṁhāsana, carried by hand.
    Bali-mardana: Palanquin.
    Prabhupāda: Palanquin; no, the siṁhāsana as it is. Just like this is siṁhāsana, two big poles down, and tie it with..., cut it with legs and carry, four men or eight men change. Change the soldiers.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But not on carts, not on big chariots.
    Prabhupāda: No. Chariot, only Ratha-yātrā.

    Rama Navami

    Krishna

    Krishna

    Gaura Purnima

    Hare

    Hare

    Narasimha Chaturdashi

    Once prasadam (water, or foodstuffs) is offered to the Lord, His Plate should remain on the altar for about 15-20 minutes (while the portion in the pots may be taken by the devotees).

    Yes, leave Krishna's plate for 15-20 minutes or more, not more than half an hour. After offering the plate, the balance in the pots should be distributed immediately. The plate can remain on the altar while the rest is being distributed.

    Vamana Dwadashi

    Once the prasadam is removed from the altar, and touched by us, it should not again be placed on the altar.

    Balarama Purnima

    Best thing is to cook only what is required and then give each person what he wants.

    The Vedic system is that, the people sit in rows behind their plates and servers pass down the rows and put a very small portion of each foodstuff on each plate, unless there is some objection by a person then nothing is given. Then if anyone wants more, the servers pass up and down the rows continually and give more if anyone requests. In this way nothing is wasted and everyone is satisfied.

    Nityananda Trayodashi

    For dishes, best thing is everyone who is eating Prasadam should wash his plate. Otherwise, one man has to do so many dishes. So even the guests should also wash their dishes, that is the system in the Temple; not leave one man to do it.

    Regarding prasadam, leftovers should always be taken if they have not spoiled or if they have not been touched by diseased persons. We should never waste Krishna prasadam.

    Radhashtami

    No, food which has been offered should never be put back into the refrigerator with the unoffered foods, or brought back into the kitchen.

    Srila Prabhupada's Appearance Day (Vyasa Puja)

    Everyone should be careful to make only as much as they can eat; they cannot keep any leftovers in refrigerator. If there is any food extra, that should be kept separately; and if there is a separate refrigerator, not within the kitchen and not having in it any unoffered foods, then you may have such special refrigerator for leftover prasadam.

    One should never eat within the kitchen, there is ample place to eat so why should one eat in the kitchen? Kitchen should be considered as good as the Lord's room, and nobody should wear shoes in the kitchen, smelling and tasting of foods being prepared for the Lord should never be done, talking within the kitchen should be only what is necessary for preparing the prasadam, or about the Lord, and dirty dishes (those taken from kitchen and eaten from) should not be brought back into the kitchen (but if there is no other place to wash them, then they should be put into sink and washed immediately.), hands should always be washed when preparing prasadam, and in this way, everything shall be prepared very cleanly and pure.)

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