There is an increasing need to serve all those who come to the shelter of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON so that they can make steady progress towards achieving the goal of going back to the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavana. The yatra in ISKCON South Africa (SA) continues to grow and having a network of relationships will definitely help to support and encourage all members continuously throughout their lives. Therefore, the mentorship system (MS) that is being inaugurated is a vital contribution to ensure that all the disciples, aspiring disciples and well-wishers under the shelter and guidance of HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami Maharaja have enriched devotional experiences and are tangibly supported throughout their lives as they make progress towards the goal of going back home back to Godhead.
Mentoring is the process where a more experienced devotee (the mentor) helps another devotee to come closer to Krishna by providing their time, knowledge and skills. Mentoring responds to important needs in the life of the devotee in ways that facilitate and foster the individual’s spiritual advancement. It is a structured system of devotee-care where mentors make every possible intelligent effort to help each of the devotees in their care in all aspects of their lives. The duration of mentorship is at the very least from 1.5 to 2 years prior to first initiation up until second initiation. The mentor mentee relationship can however, last way beyond this time frame.
Devotees require close devotional relationships and positive role models, to feel cared for and inspired to continue advancing and serving in Krishna consciousness. The number of devotees who are actively taking guidance and instruction from HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami Maharaja is rapidly increasing, and to this effect, we need to ensure that these devotees (both newer and older ones) are properly taken care of in a more structured and organized way – hence, the creation of the MS. Devotees move through various life-stages, and at each life-stage, they require appropriate guidance and shelter. Thus, all devotees should ideally have a mentor, irrespective of age or the number of years in Krishna consciousness. Additionally, any devotee who wants to be initiated by Maharaja (for both first and second initiation) will now be required to have a mentor.