He’s right. The program worked well when ISKCON had just a few dozen temples and a relatively small number of Life Members. ISKCON started as a predominantly monastic group but nowadays the majority of members live as lay persons. The sex instinct is the greatest urge in human life. Some temples, while promoting Life Membership drives to raise funds for their local projects, continued to promise free room and board at temples in faraway places. As part of the joining procedure, candidates, therefore, need to compulsorily undergo a thorough medical test to prove their fitness. Yes, but here is what you need to do for a better way. So many time they join ISKCON for selfish material purposes. “They were the best three months of my life,” he says. The Life Membership program raised money to build temples in Mumbai, Vrindavan, and Mayapur, all glorious achievements. Today, he lives in the ashram full-time and chants sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily. Madhvaacharya (Madhvacharya), the Dwaita philosopher, established ashta matha (Eight Monasteries). 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, 2007–2008 Israel–Gaza conflict/merger-proposal, Prise de Jérusalem par Hérode le Grand.jpg, https://religion.wikia.org/wiki/Monk/Vaishnava_monks?oldid=125774. “I used to smell filth where I lived, now I smell flowers at the temple. Members still reap the spiritual benefit of offering charity to ISKCON to support its many programs – Deity worship, book distribution, prasada distribution, festivals, and so on – but they cannot be assured of being able to stay in ISKCON guesthouses. New persons joining ISKCON as full-time members (living in its centers) first undergo a three-month Bhakta training, which includes learning the basics of brahmacari life. That can not be done in one single day. Sex energy or lust is the most deep-rooted instinct in man. Meanwhile five or six have already participated, living at the ISKCON Los Angeles temple for several days. Meanwhile, Be A Monk is already spreading across the country. Location-specific applications will come in to these regional websites, which will be customized with their own picures, videos and testimonials. A good health is important for joining, since a monk is expected to serve others rather than to be served by others. Using the slogan “Be a Monk till Monday,” Jaya Chaitanya’s basic idea is to give young people a unique experience that doesn’t lock them into a commitment. And they serve in the kitchens, getting the chance to feed 500 people a pure vegetarian healthy meal every Sunday. Many of them, however, spent some time as monks. I’m very thankful for my experience in meeting the monks and practicing the lifestyle. Each matha's swamiji gets a chance to worship after fourteen years. But as the years passed, the number of temples increased and included many small centers run out of devotees' homes. Recognizing this, most temples, especially those outside India, where temples are smaller and have fewer guest facilities, have transitioned from Life Membership to local donor and annual member programs. Their appearance—simple saffron dhoti, shaved head with sikha, Tulasi neckbeads and tilaka markings—and social customs (sadhana) date back many thousands of years to the Vedic era with its varnasrama society. For example, you can become a Patron Member of Bhaktivedanta Manor in London and receive benefits at that temple. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organisation. Killing Time. Our movement is a movement of personalism and love, music and dancing and amazing food. Some people discover that ashram life is their calling. Jaya Chaitanya says leaders in ISKCON temples with the best introductory programs have contacted him asking to represent “Be a Monk” in their location. I very much welcome events such as this, which will help us all to celebrate the values and benefits of diversity… but also shows the positive expression of belief that is characteristic of the Krishna consciousness movement. Make a donation. “I just ask students in colleges, ‘Hey, you ever thought about becoming a monk?’” he explains. More specifically, participants attend morning programs and Bhagavatam class, chant japa, serve in the kitchens, go out on Harinama and book distribution, and spend time with senior devotees like Brighupati Das. Meanwhile Chris Marsh, a dad in his forties who runs his own construction business in North Carolina, already knew about Krishna consciousness but had no idea how to go to a temple. You have to truly evaluate if monkhood is right for you. “They say ‘No, I never thought about it.’ Then I’m like, ‘Would you like to try for a few days, see what it’s like?’ And you can see their face light up, and they go, ‘Wow, that’s actually really cool, I think I would like to try that.’”, Students can fill out an application at BeAMonk.org, Jaya Chaitanya himself says his own period of testing out ashram life was like the training scene from superhero movie Batman Begins, where Bruce Wayne learns from his teacher in the Himalayas. You need to live that life, understand what it means correctly. Manuel Gutierrez, a student in environmental engineering at Citrus College, was so inspired he wrote a glowing two-page testimonial on his experience. I recommend everyone to try this program of a lifetime!”. Answer: In the early 1970s, Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), started the Life Membership program to provide opportunities for people to support ISKCON financially, especially to help fund the construction of temples in India. A Sannyasi is given the title Swami. Demetrio Landeros, a student at Ventura College, received a copy of Science of Self Realization from Jaya Chaitanya and became a vegetarian overnight. One element that is particularly fulfilling to students is the selfless volunteer experience of serving prasadam to 500 people at the Sunday Feast. So the future will see websites such as beamonk.org/az for Arizona, and beamonk.org/sd for San Diego. I am a firm believer of a balance in everything. “I used to hear people yelling all the time, now I hear the peaceful sounds of singing glories to God,” he says. Jaya Chaitanya Das, 30, recently went from being a hip-hop producer to ISKCON’s top book distributor in the U.S., selling 85,000 of Srila Prabhupada’s books in one year. Most temples in North America stopped offering Life Memberships twenty years ago. Therefore, some of the benefits of ISKCON Life Membership as they were conceived in the early 1970s are no longer practical. 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All rights reserved. Jaya Chaitanya is excited. To those considering testing the waters before committing to become a monk, I highly recommend it.”. ISKCON was founded in 1966 in New York City by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. This ritual is called Paryaya. | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy. There’s no old school “join and shave your head” pressure here, rather a friendly invitation from a peer to try out something new over the weekend. Participants also get free room and board, vegetarian/vegan meals, and meditation beads, songbooks, and other spiritual gear to help them with their journey. “The monks were more than inviting, the food was delicious, and the experience was nothing short of spiritually wholesome. He then enrolled in the Be A Monk program and was so blown away by his experience that he did shave his head. It has helped me greatly and will stay with me forever.”. Now, he has come up with an innovative new program that shows young Americans today may be more interested in staying in ISKCON’s brahmachari ashrams than we might think. To this day, temples in places like New York, Toronto, London, and Los Angeles receive many requests every day from Life Members who want to visit and stay at the temple.