The Bhakti Step program is designed to facilitate natural progression in bhakti yoga. It provides a series of personal goals connected to Bhakti Step levels in the areas of daily chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, studying bhakti philosophy, engaging in other bhakti practices, and personal development. 

Each stage of the program involves adopting specific practices, completing required courses and readings, and focusing on personal lifestyle development. 

Personal Development 

Chanting and other bhakti practices aid in transforming and elevating our character to a transcendent level. This transformation can be likened to gardening. When seeds are planted in infertile soil, they may grow but will struggle and compete with weeds for nourishment. However, in fertile soil, the seeds will flourish more rapidly. Similarly, the seed of bhakti thrives in the fertile soil of good character. As bhakti grows, it naturally uproots various weeds—identified as bad habits and negative qualities—along its path. Self-development is supported by ethical guidelines, referred to in the yoga world as yamas and niyamas (rules and regulations). 

Benefits of Commitment 

Why is commitment important? In any discipline of life, strong commitment is necessary for success. This holds true in bhakti yoga. Attaining pure spiritual love is a lofty goal, yet achievable through dedication. It demands responsibility and a sense of duty. Chanting is akin to taking a daily shower—it signifies a commitment to our inner cleanliness. Just as neglecting to shower results in physical dirtiness and odor, irregular chanting can lead to spiritual stagnation. Regular chanting purifies us internally and facilitates ascension to higher levels of consciousness, fostering continuous improvement. Other practices in the Bhakti Steps program complement chanting and invigorate our spiritual life. 

The Ingredients

This program has five levels. Each level covers progress in maha-mantra chanting, learning the philosophy of bhakti yoga, adopting more devotional practices and character cultivation, helping us to develop qualities beneficial to our spiritual growth.  

Advancing to each level involves a combination of required achievements and activities in different areas including: 

Japa Meditation

This is the core of the progress in Bhakti Steps, gradually increasing one’s mantra meditation by committing to a minimum number of “rounds” (108 mantras) per day. 


Along with individual japa meditation, Bhakti Steps introduces participants to the practice of kirtan, singing of the Maha mantra and other songs and prayers in groups. This includes listening and singing along to recorded kirtans from our online playlists and where possible joining in live group kirtans near you. We also teach you how to hold kirtans at home with your friends and family. There are no requirements for this category to progress through the levels, but it is still an essential element not to be neglected. 

odi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.

Sankalpa (Commitments)

The sankalpas (commitments) are specific commitments in sadhana lifestyle.  They are tools that will be our companions in our gradual advancement and allies in our progress.  

Svadhyaya (Self -study)

Svadhyaya means self-study both in terms of study you do on your own and self-examination. The elements in this category include reading recommended books beginning with small books and viewing movies and videos.  


For each level there are specific courses that must be completed to advance to that level. 


Sanga means association and getting together with other bhakti practitioners (we use the term devotee) is essential for progress in bhakti. Chant Now offers a variety of weekly group meetings at times that are convenient for you. Each meeting is led by an experienced devotee and includes group work relevant to the level of the group.  To advance to the next level each participant in this program must attend a specified minimum number of group meetings. 


Practical devotional service is a core element in the progress of bhakti yoga and for each level there is a prescribed minimum participation in different types of service beginning with becoming a Chant Now Seva Member. 

Archana (worship)

Another element of bhakti that is introduced gradually in the Bhakti Steps program is archana or worship. This involves setting up of a home altar, learning various prayers and mantras and how to perform rituals as well as other elements of bhakti centered home life. 


To participate in this program each member accepts one of the experienced Chant Now facilitators as their personal coach to help them navigate the program with full confidence. 

The Steps

Click on the tabs below to see the detailed required achievements  for each step of the program. For the levels after Explorer which is automatic for everyone, there is a link to apply to begin working on that level

1 Explorer
2 Sraddhavan
3 Gaura Sevak
4 Gaura Sadhaka
5 Srila Prabhupada Ashraya
6 Diksa Adhikara


Everyone joining the Chant Now community begins at the level of Bhakti Explorer.

There are no requirements for this level. It is automatically awarded on registering as a community member. 

As a Bhakti Explorer you have access to webinars, courses, online resources, and recorded programming. You also are encouraged to join one of our Explorer groups and begin your participation in Sanga. 

A member of the Chant Now team will personally guide you and help you determine your path forward in bhakti, advising you on joining the Bhakti Steps program if you choose to.  

Accordingly, you can then go forward with the necessary achievements to enter Step 1 of Bhakti Steps. 

At this level and going forward you will also gain points simply for your participation in the site. These points will add up to various recognition awards to help motivate you on your path of bhakti. 


Sraddhavan - Level 1

Sraddhavan is the first of the Bhakti Steps levels, but it is a momentous step in your spiritual life. This step indicates you have reached a level of internal faith that motivates you to pursue bhakti in a systematic way. To enter this level there are some minimal standards and requirements listed below: 


  • 1 round of Mahamantra japa every day (preferably in the mornings). 


  • Self-knowledge - the spiritual soul 
  • 7 day Chanting Workshop  


  • Reading Bhakti literature. 
  • "Journey to Self-Knowledge" 
  • Viewing: 
  • "Hare Krishna, the mantra, the movement and the Swami who started it all".  


  • Attend at least 4 Explorer group meetings 
  • Enroll in a Sraddhavan Group 


  • Enroll as a Chant Now Seva Member with a contribution. You may also obtain Seva Membership through the Seva Points system  


  • Have at least one personal coaching session with your chosen coach 
Apply for This Level
Gaura Sevak

Gaura Sevak - Level Two

Gaura Sevak is the next level in Bhakti Steps. In this stage you will have come to a point where your experience in bhakti and your study of bhakti philosophy has convinced you to personally commit to the path of Krishna consciousness under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada. In other words you want to be a bhakti-yogi  

To progress to this level, you simply increase your devotional practices and adopt at least the most essential of the regulative principles of bhakti yoga. You are also required to take some additional courses and attend a minimum number of meetings as described here. 


  • 4 rounds of japa mala every day (preferably in the mornings). 


  • Ahimsa - non-violence – no eating meat, eggs and fish.  
  • Pana – Abstaining from drugs and alcohol 


  • Introduction to the Vedas  
  • Karma 
  • Mantra meditation – Wisdom and Practice 
  • Your Chanting Sadhana 


  • Reading Bhakti literature.  
  • Two small books from the recommended list 


  • Attend at least 4 Sraddhavan group meetings 
  • Enroll in a Gaura Sevak Group 


  • Enroll in a volunteering program under the guidance of your Bhakti Steps coach 
Apply for this level
Gaura Sadhaka

Gaura Sadhaka

As you progress in Bhakti Yoga you will come to a point where you are ready to fully dedicate yourself to the path of Krishna consciousness and the core sadhana (practices) recommended for all committed sadhakas.  


  • At least 8 rounds of japa mala every day (Preferably in the mornings). 


  • Santosa: no gambling 
  • Eating only food first offered to Krishna 
  • Observance of the ekadasi vow 


  • The Bhagavad Gita As It Is  
  • The Science of Self-Realization 
  • Nectar of Instruction 


  • Bhagavad Gita – Directed Reading 
  • Sadhana course 
  • Growing Bhakti Course 


  • Attend at least 4 Gaura Sevak meetings 
  • Enroll in a Gaura Sadhak Group 


  • Set up a home altar 
  • Learn how to perform a basic arati ritual and incorporate this into your daily practice 
  • Learn the prayers and songs used for offering food, and performing other rituals 
  • [All of this is taught in the Sadhana course] 


  • Increase volunteer service with guidance from your Bhakti Steps coach 
Apply for this level
Srila Prabhupada Ashraya

Srila Prabhupada Ashraya

After practicing at the level of a Gaura Sadhaka for some time the experience of bhakti and the study of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings will inspire you to fully adopt the practices and commitments of a dedicated shiksa (student)  disciple of Srila Prabhupada and commit your life to this path. At this point once coming to the standards listed here you have entered the stage of full shelter of Srila Prabhupada as your shiksha guru. This stage is called Srila Prabhupada Ashraya  


  • At least 16 rounds of japa mala every day (Preferably in the mornings). 


  • In addition to drugs and alcohol, to abstain from all forms of stimulants including caffeine (coffee, tea etc.), and nicotine (tobacco, vaping, etc.) 


  • Srimad Bhagavatam – 1st canto 
  • Sri Isopanisad 
  • Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita 


  • Growing Bhakti Course – Level 2 


  • Attend at least 4 Gaura Sadhaka meetings 
  • Enroll in a Prabhupadanuga Group 
  • Attend Srimad Bhagavatam class at least once a week 
Apply for this level
Diksa Adhikara

Diksa Adhikara

To complete one’s entrance into the lifetime of bhakti yoga, one requires a formal link to the sampradaya and to come under the full shelter of an advanced devotee by accepting diksa (Vaishnava initiation) along with the vows of a disciple. The beginning of this process is to prepare yourself for initiation by going deeply into the philosophy and principles of guru disciple relationships. This then prepares you to identify a devotee with whom you desire such an eternal spiritual relationship and begin the process of developing that relationship. 

The Bhakti steps program Includes courses and personal coaching to help you reach the level of being qualified for receiving initiation once you have established your chosen guru relationship. 

After this it is is a highly personal process and may take many months or even many years until you feel you’ve come to the confidence of accepting another devotee as your Initiating guru. 

The core requirement to enter this level is to have practiced at the level of Srila Prabhupada Asraya for at least 6 months. Other requirements are: 


  • ISKCON Guru Disciple Course 


  • Pass the Diksa Adhikara Examination 
  • Receive recommendation letter from the relevant ISKCON authority 

Completing this level is not initiation itself but simply the prerequisite qualifications for accepting initiation in ISKCON.  

Apply for this level

What's Next

Completing the Bhakti step program is a major milestone in becoming a bhakti yogi and achieving full spiritual perfection in this life. However, in many ways it is just a beginning. In the program you will learn about the various stages of advancement in bhakti and realize that it is a lifetime effort. 

 To support you once you have completed this program, Chant Now has ongoing courses, sanga groups, and personal coaching. In addition, as part of your development in service, you can learn how to become a spiritual leader in the Chant Now team yourself and help others obtain the gifts of bhakti that you have received. 

For some who complete the Bhakti steps program, the next phase will be to enter into a relationship with a devotee who will eventually become their diksha guru, while others may choose to go more gradually. In either case, Chant Now is there to support you, especially in your japa practice.  

We hope you are inspired by the opportunity for spiritual development that this program provides and look forward to serving you.