(Kadamba Kanana Swami, August 2010, Leipzig, Germany, Initiation Lecture)
Initiation is very important and of great help in our spiritual life. Within Iskcon, Srila Prabhupada formalised this process of initiation where formal vows are taken. Previously it was not like that. Previously there weren’t these questions, “What are the four regulative principles and how many rounds do you promise to chant?”
But Prabhupada knew that modern man, the man of this age, unless he promises it out aloud, in front of the deities and the vaisnavas, he will think, “Well, I didn’t promise this so I am not obliged!”
The vows of initiation also stand for our protection. We make these vows in front of the deities, in front of the spiritual master, in front of Krsna, in front of the vaisnavas therefore we are bound by them.