Srila Prabhupada Ashraya Program

On the path of regulative devotional service, one must observe the following: 

  1. accept a bona fide spiritual master.
  2. take initiation from him.
  3. serve him.
  4. receive instructions from the spiritual master and make inquiries in order to learn devotional service.
  5. follow in the footsteps of the previous acharyas and follow the directions given by the spiritual master.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, elaborates on accepting a bona fide spiritual master in a lecture as “adau gurvasrayam. First thing is to accept a bona fide guru. Otherwise there is no devotion. It is simply false imitation. This is the injunction of Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrita sindhu…”
(Evening lecture, Bhubaneswar, January 23, 1977)

Ashraya means to act under the direction and supervision of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada writes in the introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

“In the human society whether one is 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 molding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.”

Undoubtedly it is important for everyone to practice Krishna consciousness or devotional service to Lord Krishna in their life. The beauty of Krishna consciousness is that you can take up the practice 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. 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 Ashraya Program

Srila Prabhupada SHRADDHAVAN

  • Chant a minimum of one round of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day
  • Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly
  • Attend as many temple programs as possible
  • Actively participate in Krishnashraya programs near your house
  • Render a minimum of 4 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 4 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada SEVAKA

  • Chant a minimum of 4 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day
  • Minimum 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Shraddhavan Ashraya
  • Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly (Read “Beyond Birth & Death” completely for the written test)
  • Accept Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead
  • Attend as many temple programs as possible
  • Actively participate in Krishnashraya programs near your house
  • Render a minimum of 8 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 8 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada SADHAKA

  • Chant a minimum of 8 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day
  • Minimum 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Sevaka Ashraya
  • Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly (Read “Raja Vidya” & “Perfection of Yoga” completely for the written test)
  • Try to wake up early morning and complete the sadhana of chanting, worshipping the Lord at home, offering food, etc.
  • Fasting on Ekadashi & festival days
  • Actively participate and assist in preaching in Krishnashraya programs near your house
  • Render a minimum of 12 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 12 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Avoid eating non-vegetarian food

Srila Prabhupada VANDANA

  • Chant a minimum of 12 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day
  • Minimum 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Sadhaka Ashraya
  • Read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday (Read “Science of Self-realization” completely for the written test)
  • Follow the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat eating including eggs, onion & garlic.
  • Follow a daily sadhana program including rising early, chanting, a simple morning program consisting of one arati, Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja & attending/ hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam class
  • Implement the Krishna Conscious practices at home
  • Fast on Ekadashi and festival days
  • Try to contribute regularly to the temple within your means
  • Actively participate and assist in preaching in Krishnashraya programs near your house
  • Render a minimum of 16 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 16 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada UPASAKA ASHRAYA

  • Chant a minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day
  • Minimum of 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Vandana Ashraya
  • Read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday (Read “Bhagavad-gita As It Is” from INTRODUCTION to CHAPTER 3 for the written test)
  • Follow the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat eating including eggs, onion & garlic.
  • Follow a daily sadhana program including rising early, chanting, a simple morning program consisting of one arati, Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja & attending/ hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam class
  • Implement the Krishna Conscious practices at home
  • Fast on Ekadashi and festival days
  • Grihastha and employed singles: To contribute to the temple on a regular basis according to one’s means.
  • Actively participate and assist in preaching in Krishnashraya programs near your house
  • Render a minimum of 20 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 20 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada CHARANASHRAYA

  • Chant a minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day
  • Minimum of 6 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Upasaka Ashraya
  • Read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday (Read “Bhagavad-gita As It Is” from  INTRODUCTION to CHAPTER 12 for the written test)
  • Follow the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat eating including eggs, onion & garlic.
  • Following a daily sadhana program including rising early, chanting, a simple morning program consisting of one arati, Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja & attending/ hearing Srimad Bhagavatam class
  • Implement the Krishna Conscious practices at home
  • Fast on Ekadashi and festival days
  • Grihastha and employed singles: To contribute to the temple on a regular basis according to one’s means
  • Actively participate and take lead role as preacher in Krishnashraya programs near your house
  • Render a minimum of 20 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)
  • Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 20 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Harinam Diksha

  • Chanting a minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra every day for the past one year
  • Minimum of 6 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Upasaka Ashraya
  • Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books every day for the past one year.
  • Should have completed reading the following books of Srila Prabhupada:
    1. Bhagavad-gita As It Is
    2. Sri Isopanishad
    3. Science of Self Realization
    4. Perfection of Yoga
    5. Raja Vidya
    6. Beyond Birth and Death
  • Following the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada for the past one year – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat eating including eggs, onion & garlic.
  • Following a daily sadhana program including rising early, attending mangala arati, guru-puja and Srimad Bhagavatam class for the past one year, either at home or at the local temple the devotee is in touch with.
  • Actively engaged in temple service and/or distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books or preaching for the past one year.
  • Avoiding eating bhoga (food not offered to Lord Krishna) for the past one year.
  • Contributing once every month a percentage of one’s income according to one’s means and in the spirit of serving the mission of the spiritual master with the fruits of one’s work.
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