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Question: Bhakti Vijaya Bhāgavata Mahārāja: Nice class with Śrīvāsa and Mahāprabhu. Then Gopāla Bhārṅ, pastime also very good. In Mahāprabhu’s time it was very easy to get initiated. Mahāprabhu begged Īśvara Purī and Īśvara Purī initiated him. But nowadays our initiation program is very strong and so many processes we go through, courses, viva, so many. The verse said compassion to other poor men. So how does it get balanced? If we allow in ISKCON a little easier for initiation, maybe a bit easy to preach? It is so difficult nowadays to preach.

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Jayapatākā Swami: So 500 years ago the brāhmaṇas were vegetarians. So the rules we follow, they were widely practiced. When Lord Caitanya went to South India, He would embrace the people and thus He gave them bhakti-śakti. So, we are saying one should chant Hare Kṛṣṇa for one year. If you could give your hug to the people and they would immediately develop bhakti shakti, then maybe you can have a different standard! But Lord Caitanya, He was such a personality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, Śrīla Prabhupāda he gave dīkṣā in six months. Sometimes a little earlier. But then the same standards you have to chant 16 rounds, follow the four regulative principles. To get second initiation one should have Bhakti-śāstrī. Which means they have read the Bhagavad-gītāĪśopaniṣad, a few literatures. Not so difficult. To get first initiation from Śrīla Prabhupāda he said we have to read Bhagavad-gītā ten times. We say read Bhagavad-gītā twice. Five times easier.
24-April-2021 Śrīdhāma Māyāpur, India