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February 5

Our initiation system is as follows: In our general thrice weekly classes we chant Hare Krishna Mantra in the beginning and at the end, and in the middle we speak on Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly. In this class we do not prohibit anyone to come within the Temple, everyone is welcome. The only thing we ask visitors to leave their shoes at a specified place and sit down in the Temple cross-legged. If somebody finds difficulty to sit down cross-legged, we offer him a chair. So out of the members of the audience who come regularly, when one becomes more interested he is invited to participate in the program of Krishna Consciousness daily life and study. After some time of appreciating our program and trying to understand our philosophy, when someone is very interested and recommended by the Temple Commander, for becoming initiated, I accept him and give him first initiation in the form of Harinama in a regular ceremony with fire sacrifice. I chant Hare Krishna Mantra on the 108 beads and then the beads are offered to the disciple with a change of name as Krishna das. He is advised to strictly follow the regulative principles of 1. no eating of meat, fish, or eggs; 2. no taking of intoxicants including coffee, tea, and tobacco; 3. no illicit sex-life; and 4. no gambling or mental speculation.

Letter to Hanuman Prasad Poddar, 5 February, 1970