The Morning After Guru

The morning after my initiation an enraged voice came into my head. It was the voice of reason: “What have you just done? You have taken initiation? What did you just agree to? The four what? Regulative principles? Sixteen daily rounds of Japa? My God! Do you understand what you have done?

So let me get this straight. You agreed to the four regulative principles:

1. No meat, which includes all animals, fish, eggs, and even bread, onions, garlic, and mushrooms?

2. No intoxicants, which includes liquors, beers, wines, tobaccos, but even tea and coffee?

3. No gambling which means going to casinos, buying lotteries, playing bingo and cards, and even stock market investments?


4. No illicit sex, including sex outside of marriage and even sex within marriage that is not for procreation, and even masturbation? And what have I also heard? If you are going to have sex for procreation then you must even chant fifty rounds of japa in advance, an eight hour chanting session?

My God, what have you agreed to? And what about the sixteen rounds of japa that must be chanted everyday? That will take two hours everyday. Are you mad?

And what happened to Brian? Who is this Shukavak? What a crazy name! Have lost your mind? You’ve really gone out on a limb! How am I going to save you this time?”

Believe it or not Anna, such a set of regulations was not an impossible commitment for me in those days. Even chanting sixteen rounds was not a problem. I had been chanting this many rounds for the last five years. On these grounds, I considered myself reasonably qualified to take initiation. So I entered into this commitment with sincere intentions. However, married life was about to present a major new challenge to my spiritual life.

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