Week 10

Finishing module one calls for some celebration. So you could plan a special program (Vyuha program) for your group. This has been assigned for week 13 and a full description of how the ceremony could be conducted can be found in that chapter. You could invite a senior devotee to come, attend the program and also address them for a while. The senior devotee can also participate in the other interactive programs, so that the members get his/ her personal association too.

You could, if there is a central yatra at your place, request for the certificates to be handed to all the members during a festival or Sunday program in front of many guests. This will be very encouraging for your group members as well as a source of joy and pride to the whole yatra. Please see the separate chapter on the siksha ceremony.

Satsanga: 15 minutes

When the members have all assembled, give them each the edification sheets, with Namamrta and preaching session material of module 2 for week 10.

Appreciate their participation in module 1, and tell them that they can look forward to more exciting progress in module 2 as they discover more mysteries about spiritual life!

Tell them very naturally in sequence some interesting and relevant passages that you had read from the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam or any of the other books of Srila Prabhupada’s that week. This could be some analogy, or story or some striking point, and how it appealed to you or inspired you, etc.

Share with them the glories of Srila Prabhupada, his books and what it contains. Also what your initial impressions were when you read his books and the impact it has made on your life, etc. Show them a few of Srila Prabhupada’s small books. They could also view the paintings inside. Ask them if any of them would like to borrow/ buy the books .

Even if only a few of them show interest in the beginning, it does not matter, as it will automatically catch on with the others in the subsequent weeks.

You can just suggest to the people who have taken a book, that they share something they read that week with everyone in the subsequent weekly program. 

Go ahead with the following game after that.

One problem, many solutions

Materials required: pens and paper

Make two subgroups to sit in circles. Ask them to think of a current problem, concern, perplexity or challenge they face and write it down. Tell them to be specific (don’t write “health problems”, but “constant headache prevents me from concentrating’).

Allow one or two minutes to think and write, then ask them to pass their problem to the right.

That person reads the problem just received and jots down the first thought or thoughts that come to mind in addressing the problem. Allow one minute for writing the solution.

Repeat this process every minute, and keep it going until everyone gets his/ her own sheet back.

You can briefly discuss the experience with them:

1)      Did anyone discover solutions or problems not previously considered?

2)      Can you see any value in trying some of these suggestions?

3)      Do some of these suggestions trigger other ideas or solutions to you?

4)      What lesson does this teach us about reaching out to others for their assistance?

Kirtana : 15 minutes

Continue as in the previous weeks by distributing the sheet containing the Pranama mantras and the Hare Krsna mantra as well as the glorifications at the end of the Kirtana.

Also continue with the offering of incense by every member to the Altar Deities or Deity pictures.

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from:

                            Sri Namarta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page 23

The yoga system, as it was recommended in the Satya yuga the Golden Age, was to always meditate on Visnu. In the Treta-Yuga one could practice yoga by performing great sacrifice, and in the next Age, Dvapara-yuga, one could achieve perfection by temple worship. The present age is called Kali-yuga.

Kali-yuga means the age of quarrel and disagreement. No one agrees with anyone else.Everyone has his own theory; everyone has his own philosophy. If  I  do not agree with you, you fight me. This is the symptom of Kaliyuga. The only method recommended in this age is chanting the holy name of God .

One can attain that perfection in self-realization which was attained by the yoga system in the Satya-yuga, by performing of great sacrifice in the Treta-yuga, and by large-scale temple worship in the Dvapara-yuga. That perfection can be attained by the simple method of Hari-kirtana. Hari means the supreme personality of Godhead; kirtana means to glorify.

                                                              Krsna Consciousness: The Topmost Yoga System

You can do a full round of japa with them. Please chant the Panca Tattva Mantra 3 times before chanting the japa and ask them to follow you. While relishing the holy names yourself keep eye contact with the members from time to time to encourage and enthuse them.

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.

You should at last sum up all the points and give more points that you have

SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION

From “Civilization and transcendence”

        BY HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Pg 22 – 25

Srila Prabhupada:  The Vedic system of religion we have been describing – the varnasrama system created by Krsna – is not to be confused with the present day caste system-determination of social divisions by birth. But as to eradication of all social divisions, it cannot be done. This is still more foolishness, because Krsna Himself says:”caturvarnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibagasah:

This system of four divisions, according to quality and work is ordained by Me.”

But the difficulty is that this so-called caste-system has come in, on account of the false notion that in order to be a brahmana, one must be the son of a brahmana. That is the caste system. But Krsna does not say that. He says “according to quality and work.” He never says, “according to birth.”

And how does one get qualified? That is also described. For instance, in Bhagavad Gita, Krsna describes the qualities of brahmanas as follows: samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca jnanam vijnanam astikyam.

“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness.”  So people who want to become brahmanas must be educated to acquire these qualities.

Certainly, the wrong caste system should be abolished. And educational centers should be opened for teaching people how to become genuine brahmanas and ksatriyas.

Our point is, wherever you go, you’ll find a first-class man who is truthful. Now, wherever you find a truthful man, you can classify him as a brahmana and train him to serve the social body in that capacity, as a spiritual teacher and advisor. That is wanted. Why assume, “Here is the son of a truthful man; therefore he is truthful, a brahmana”? That is a misconception.

You have to find the truthful men all over the world and train them as brahmanas. That we are doing. “If you follow these principles-no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat –eating-you are a brahmana. Come on and receive further training.” The fellow’s father maybe a meat-eater, a gambler or a drunkard, but of he himself is truthful and agreeable to the brahminical life, then tell him, “All right, come on---------- you are welcome.” Then everything will be all right.

The benefit will be that the whole social body will function harmoniously. The social body must have a brain and arms and a belly and legs to be complete. If there is no brain, no head then what is the use of this arms and legs and belly? It’s all dead. So in the human society, if there is not a class of learned truthful and honest men-men with all the brahaminical qualification-than the society is ruined. That is why people are perplexed. Today always everyone is trained to be a sudra, a laborer “Go to the factory”.

That’s all. “Go to the factory and get money”. And when a man get some money, he immediately purchases wine and women .So if you try to make society classless, you will produce such men-useless men, disturbing  to the social body.

If you take to this system, then the social body will be perfect, not only Hindus but also for the Christians, for Mohammedans, for everyone.

 But when you fully surrender to Krishna you can give up all the regulations pertaining to these four social classes. That’s why Krishna says, sarava-dharaman parityajaya:  “In the ultimate issue, my instruction is to give up all the religious formularies”-including even the Vedic formularies- “ and simply surrender to Me” “brahmana-dharma”, “ksatriya-dharma”, “hindu-dharma”, this dharma, that dharma – give all these up and simply surrender to Krishna, because ultimate aim of dharma is to come to Krishna. “You directly come to Me: then everything is all right.”

Krishna is personally advising sarva-dharaman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: “Give up all your concocted religion and surrender to Me alone.” Take His advice and be happy.

Discovery:

1) What has Krsna said about the caste system?

2) What are the qualities of a brahmana according to Krsna in the Bhagavad Gita?

3) When can we give up all regulations regarding the caste-system?

Understanding:

1) Explain with an example why it is ridiculous to determine one’s caste  by birth.

2) Why is everyone a sudra at the present moment?

3) How can people be trained to be a brahmana?

4) What is the ultimate goal of all religion? How do we achieve it?

Application:

1) Discuss the benefits of dividing society according to varnasrama.

2) Discuss how it would be if everyone were surrendered to Krsna.

Preaching Is The Essence

There are two kinds of devotees. One is called ghosti-anandi and the other bhajananandi. The word bhajananandi refers to the devotee who does not move but remains in one place. Such a devotee is always engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. He chants the mahamantra as taught by many acharyas and some time goes out for preaching work. The ghoshti-anandi is one who desires to increase the number of devotees all over the word. He travels all over the world just to purify the world  and the people residing in it

. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised: prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama/ sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted His followers to move all over the world and preach in every town and village. In the Chaitanaya-sampradaya those who strictly follow the principle of Lord Chaitanya, must travel all over the world to preach the message of Lord Chaitanya, which is the same as preaching the words of Krishna- Bhagavad Gita  and Srimad-Bhagvatam. The more the devotees preach the principles of Krisna-katha, the more people throughout the world will benefit.

               Devotees like the great sage Narada who travel all over to preach are called goshti-anandi. Narad Muni  is always wandering throughout the universe just to create different types of devotees. Narada even made a hunter a devotee. He also made Dhruva Maharaja and Prahalada devotees. Actually all devotees are indebted to the great sage Narada, for he has wandered both heaven and hell. A devotee of the Lord is not even afraid of hell. He goes to preach the glories of the lord everywhere-even in hell-because there is no distinction between heaven and hell for a devotee.

                                   Narayana-prarah sarve

                                   Na kutascana bibhyati

                                   Svargapavarga-narakesv

                                   Api tulyartha-darsinah

“A pure devotee of Narayana is never afraid of going anywhere and everywhere. For him heaven and hell are same.” (Bhag.6.17.28) Such devotees, wandering all over the world, deliver those who are actually afraid of this material existence.

                                   Bhag.4.30.37(4:4,p. 1535-1536)                         

Preaching session: 15 minutes 

Please read out first the passage given below:

You can share with them what preaching you did during the week. Enquire from them if anybody would be interested in bringing in new people to the program.

Give them guide lines on how exactly they can invite others in  a very informal way explaining how we have Bhajans and  a  group discussion on Vedic scriptures.

They may not all volunteer immediately  to invite new people as they may  still feel shy to reveal their new found interest among their friends and  relatives who they fear might ridicule them for being interested in matters spiritual.

They may be already fielding some criticism, so you can ask them to reveal these things, as you can help them to give appropriate answers and   responses to people.

      Prasadam:  20 minutes:

As you have done in the previous week, request them to chant the prasadam mantra.

You can ask for volunteers to distribute and serve prasadam to the other members. Engage them gradually in service and they will begin to taste nectar and make spiritual advancement.

While they are eating, go around and talk with them, encouraging, joking and being pleasant, and making them relax. It is the loving atmosphere which is going to draw them to the program week after week. It is a tiny glimpse of the love that they are hankering to experience with Krsna.

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