Week 1

Satsanga   .. 15 minutes

Welcome everyone and request them to be seated in a circle. Introduce yourself by your name, occupation, family members, your special interest (obviously Krsna consciousness in a devotee’s case), etc. Speak for a minute.

Then move on to the person right beside you and ask them to introduce themselves making sure that they reveal their names, occupation, family, and any special interest.

Some of them may be too shy to say much, and your friendly and gentle questioning may encourage them to reveal more about themselves.

Cover everyone in the circle going from one person to the next, being attentive and encouraging to whatever they say.

This sets a very warm, friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

This should take you 15 minutes.

Kirtana…. 15 minutes

Tell them that you are going to have a short Kirtan for 15 minutes.

Distribute the sheets having the Srila Prabhupada’s Pranam Mantra, Hare Krsna Mahamantra and the Mangala Archana.

Start a soft Kirtana with a simple tune (ideally Srila Prabhupada’s dhun), so that it is easy for everyone to follow.

You can invite every member to come and offer incense sticks to the photos in the altar, even while the Kirtan is going on.

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from :

                            Sri Namarta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

                                  Page 113

By performance of Sankirtana -yagna, the congregational chanting of the holy name , people will be happy economically, politically,socially, religiously and culturally.

Bhag. 9.20.24 – 26 (9.3, p. 108)

Yagna must be performed, for otherwise people will be entangled in sinful activities and will suffer immensely. Therefore the Krsna consciousness movement has taken charge of introducing the chanting of  Hare Krsna all over the world.

This Hare Krsna movement is also yagna , but without the difficulties involved in securing paraphernalia and qualified Brahmanas.

This congregational chanting can be performed anywhere and everywhere. If people somehow or other assemble together and are introduced to chanting Hare Krsna,Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, all the purposes of yagna will be fulfilled.

The first purpose is that there must be sufficient rain, for without rain there cannot be any produce. (annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna sambhavah). All our necessities can be produced simply by rainfall (kamam vavarsa parjanyah), and the earth is the original source of all necessities.(sarva kama dugha mahi) …..

Then the earth will certainly produce all the necessities of life, and people will be happy economically, politically, socially, religiously and culturally. Everything will be in proper order.

If they express any doubts with what was being read, you can explain it to them. You could also summarize what was read in a few sentences so that the message remains clear in their minds .Enquire from them if they would like to try chanting themselves together now. If they sound open or positive, distribute japa malas to everyone and explain to them how the japa mala is held in the hand while chanting. Chant one round of japa or just half a round, together. Encourage the members to chant by maintaining eye contact with them and by smiling, so that they feel enthused to chant. You can stop with half a round if you want.

If the majority of them seem a little reluctant or hesitate to take to chanting right away, you can wait for a few more weeks before chanting with them. You have to be interactive with them and gauge their mood and decide on how much you can get them to do. People are all different and require different approaches for being enticed to Krsna consciousness.

Spiritual Edification -   45 minutes

Please read out the passage and start asking the questions. (Do not explain it to them.)  Let the people assembled find out the answers from the passage themselves. Please engage everyone in answering, you can ask two, three people to add to the same answer. Move from one person to the next and give them sufficient time to think. You could ask leading questions for them to go deeper and clearer in understanding the subject matter and in giving relevant replies.

The application question has to be answered by everyone.

This is the most important part of the discussion, and so you must provide sufficient time of at least 15 to 20 minutes for it.

The Bhakti Vrksa leader should at last sum up all the points and give more points that he has.

                                               SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION 

                                      FROM THE SCIENCE OF SELF REALIZATION

BY HIS DIVINE GRACE    A.C. BAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

                       Page 2

Who are you? Are you your body? Or your mind? Or are you something higher? Do you know who you are? Or do you merely think you know? And does it really matter? Our materialistic society, with its unenlightened leadership, has made it virtually taboo to inquire into our real, higher self. Instead we use our valuable time maintaining, decorating, and pampering the body for its own sake. Might there be an alternative?

This very important Krishna consciousness movement is meant to save human society from spiritual death. At present human society is being misled by leaders who are blind, nor they do not know the aim and objective of human life, which is self-realization and the reestablishment of our lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the missing point. The Krishna consciousness movement is trying to enlighten human society in this important matter.

According to Vedic civilization, the perfection of life is to realize one’s relationship with Krishna, or God. In the Bhagavad-Gita, which is accepted by all authorities in transcendental science as the basis of all Vedic knowledge, we understand that not only human beings but all living entities are parts and parcels of God. The parts are meant for serving the whole, just as the legs, hands, fingers, and ears are meant for serving the total body. We living entities, being parts and parcels of God, are duty-bound to serve Him.

Actually our position is that we are always rendering service to someone, either to our family, country, or society. If we have no one to serve, sometimes we keep a pet cat or dog and render service to it. All these factors prove that we are constitutionally meant to render service, yet in spite of serving to the best of our ability, we are not satisfied. Nor is the person to whom we are rendering that service satisfied. On the material platform, everyone is frustrated. The reason for this is that the service being rendered is not properly directed.

For example, if we want to render service to a tree, we must water the root. If we pour water on the leaves, branches and twigs, there is little benefit. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is served, all other parts and parcels will be automatically satisfied. Consequently all welfare activities as well as service to society, family and nation are realized by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Discovery

1. What is the aim of life?

2. What is the Krsna consciousness movement trying to do?

Understanding

1.      What is wrong with our materialistic society?

 2. What does the Vedic civilization say about the perfection of life?

3.      Why is it necessary to serve God? What example illustrates this?

4.      How can we perfectly serve and satisfy everyone in this world? Why is it not possible to do so in any other way? Illustrate with an example.

Application

1. Have you attended any other self-realization program so far? If so, please share your experiences.

2.       Which part of this program do you like very much and why?

Preaching Session:  15 minutes

Read the passage below:

                         Preaching is the Essence

                  His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada

Page 4

The Lord has inaugurated the Hare Krsna movement for the benefit of  human society

Whenever the principles of religion deteriorate and the principles of irreligion increase, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Hari, appears by His own will.

In the present age, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to inaugurate the Hare Krsna movement.

At the present time, in Kali - yuga, people are extremely sinful and bad…

They have no idea of spiritual life and are misusing the benefits of the human form to live like cats and dogs. Under these circumstances Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has inaugurated the Hare Krsna movement, which is not different from Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

If one associates with this movement, he directly associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. People should take advantage… and thus gain relief from all the problems created  in this age of Kali.                 

You could again summarize this briefly in two minutes, so that the main point remains in their minds.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

Depending on what part of the day your program is conducted, you will have to plan your menu. If it is night time and people have to travel long distances to reach your home, then a simple, attractive and a light dinner with a cereal, a vegetable dish and a simple sweet or fruit will be appreciated. If you plan too elaborate a meal, the difficulties are that it will be difficult to maintain the standard. You are promoting their expectations. Also people may hesitate to ever have the program in their homes, if they think this is the standard to be followed regularly.  Also it may make them uncomfortable especially in the beginning stages to accept an elaborate dinner without inviting you in return.

If it is in the morning or early evening hours, then a light snack &/or a drink will suffice. If it is lunch time, then too a meal is required.

So depending on what is convenient to you, you can decide the time of the day for conducting the program.

If they are all your neighborhood people, then the prasadam can be very simple and informal.

 Making prasadam and serving it to the guests is the best investment we do for making devotees. It is also a very satisfying service. So one should approach it in a positive and enthusiastic mood. Very soon the members will pick up your serving mood and will want to share in the nectar you are experiencing and will request you if they could help you.

You can then engage them in whatever way their spiritual practices will allow. If they are still eating meat or have other sinful habits, you can ask them to bring fruits, or help you in cutting vegetables or cleaning up, etc or they could sponsor the prasadam.

So we can avoid the risk by being careful.

The whole attitude to prasadam is going to be systematically built up in their minds as the succeeding lessons will tell you, and so it will  then be easy for you engage them in services in the right attitude and mood.

Immediately after the members have left the program, kindly fill in the following report:

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

No:

Members

Attendance

Current Siksa   status

Remarks