This relationship [with Krsna] is established by connecting oneself with the bona fide spiritual master who is the direct representative of Krsna in disciplic succession…. The connection with the spiritual master is called initiation. From the date of initiation by the spiritual master, the connection between Krsna and a person cultivating Krsna consciousness is established. Without initiation by a bona fide spiritual master, the actual connection with Krsna consciousness is never performed.
The Nectar of Devotion
There are formalities to follow with regard to preparing for initiation, and there are internal considerations as well.
The process of initiation, according to ISKCON Law, is that one must first have chanted 16 rounds and strictly followed the 4 regulative principles for a minimum of 6 months before requesting a particular guru to accept them as a disciple. During this first 6 month period, the aspiring devotee is encouraged to develop a deep appreciation for Srila Prabhupada as the principle Siksa Guru for all members of ISKCON.
At this time (6 months is a legislated minimum), the devotee may approach a spiritual master to accept him as a disciple, to give him shelter in Krishna Consciousness. A minimum of 6 months more must pass before that devotee can be formally initiated.
Formal initiation is to be preceded by: (a) successfully answering the questions on a written exam, which is to be taken after one has decided to seek shelter from a particular spiritual master; this exam is to be administered by the local Temple President or their authorized representative unless one is in a remote place. (b) A written Letter of Recommendation for Initiation is to be given by the local Temple President prior to initiation taking place.
Besides the formalities mentioned above, there is much internal preparation for initiation. The essence of this preparation for initiation begins by genuinely seeking acceptance of shelter of guru, or submission from the heart.
This is the fruit of hearing regularly from someone who inspires you, through whom you feel Krishna is entering into your life.
Communicating with or somehow developing a personal relationship with a prospective guru is often very helpful. You need to know the mood of the spiritual master, the points emphasized in their training, and you need to gradually imbibe in your OWN way these principle points of emphasis.
written by His Holiness Romapada Swami