On the day of initiation you will be promising to follow the regulative principles and to chant sixteen rounds every day. You may also be promising to read Srila Prabhupada’s books and to remain faithful to his society. Your guru will give a talk either on the significance of initiation or on the ten offences to the Holy Name. Three strands of tulasi beads will be placed on your neck. You will be asked to perform acaman – a purifying ritual involving sipping water and saying a mantra. You will then be called forward to make your obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and to your guru. Then you will be asked to recite the vows. You’ll be handed your chanting beads, and then given a name ending in dasa or dasi, indicating that you are now initiated. A fire sacrifice follows during which you’ll join in the chanting of prayers to the members of the Vaishnava parampara and the Deities. During the fire sacrifice you will be directed to offer grains into the flames. It is traditional for the new disciple to beg for some alms to give to the spiritual master immediately after the fire sacrifice.
By Kripamoya Das