Week 11

Giving them homework for the entire week between is a good way of engaging them in Krsna consciousness, so that when they do come after a week it is faster for them to relate to the things being taught in the program. As most of them would not be reading Srila Prabhupada’s books yet, request them to write down the points that they have learnt in the previous week’s program. In the satsanga program too, by encouraging them to read Srila Prabhupada’s books and sharing a point with everyone, you can engage them in the home-work of reading.

 You should continue to call them in between the program days to check what progress they have made in their homework. Till they have made it a regular habit, it may be required of you to give them gentle reminders, otherwise you may become discouraged of their forgetfulness, and they may feel afraid of attending the program in order not to displease you!

Satsanga :  15 minutes

Share an interesting and inspiring point that you had read from the Srila Prabhupada’s

books, and your realization on that point. Ask if any one of them who had volunteered to read Srila Prabhupada’s books the previous week would like to share some thing they had read. Encourage and appreciate those who share, but do not comment on those who have not read. They will soon grow to like doing it themselves.

After you have introduced any new visitor that may have come, you ask them this question: “If you had to take a 12 hour flight to somewhere, whom would you like to have sitting next to you? Why?”  

Don’t pass judgments on what people say, but encourage and be appreciative of everybody’s participation. Remember that this is not a session meant for imparting knowledge to them, though that can also happen naturally, but the primary motive is to make people open up and relax, and get to know one another.

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 28

In this age, sankirtana-yajna, chanting of the holy name of the lord, is more important than vedic ritualistic sacrifices:

Since one may easily achieve the highest success by chanting the holy name of the lord, one may ask why there are so may Vedic ritualistic ceremonies and why people are attracted to them.

As stated in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: the real purpose of studying the Vedas is to approach the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. Unfortunately, unintelligent people bewildered by the grandeur of Vedic yajnas want to see gorgeous sacrifices performed. They want Vedic mantras chanted and huge amounts of money spent for such ceremonies. Sometimes we have to observe the vedic ritualistic ceremonies to please such unintelligent men. Recently, when we established a large Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrndavana, we were obliged to have Vedic ceremonies enacted by brahmanas because the inhabitants of Vrndavana, especially the smarta-brahmanas, would not accept Europeans and Americans as bona fide brahmanas. Thus we had to engage brahmanas to perform costly yajnas. In spite of these yajnas, the members of our Society performed sankirtana loudly with mrdangas and I considered the sankirtana more important than the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Both the ceremonies and the sankirtana were going on simultaneously. The ceremonies were meant for persons interested in Vedic rituals for elevation to heavenly planets (jadi-krta-matir madhu-puspitayam),  whereas the sankirtana was meant for pure devotees interested in pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 Especially in this age of Kali, sankirtana alone is sufficient. If the members of our temples in the different parts of the world simply continue sankirtana before the Deity, especially before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they will remain perfect. There is no need of any other performance.

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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 “The Science of self realization”

       BY HIS DIVINE GRACE  A.C BHAKTIVENDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

       Page 133-139

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatara, appeared in India nearly five hundred years ago. It is the custom in India that when a child is born, an astrologer is called for. When Lord Krsna, the supreme personality of Godhead, appeared five thousand years ago, Gargamuni was called by His father, and he said, “This child formerly incarnated in three complexions, such as red and golden, and now He has appeared in blackish color.” Krsna’s color is described in the scriptures as blackish, Just like the color of a cloud. Lord Caitanya is understood to be Krsna appearing in golden complexion. 

There is much evidence in Vedic literature that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is an incarnation of  Krsna, and this is confirmed by scholars and devotees. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is confirmed that the incarnation of Krsna, or God , in this present age, Kali-yuga, will always engage in describing Krsna, He is Krsna, but as a devotee of Krsna He describes Himself. And In this age His bodily complexion will not be blackish.

Another feature of this avatara is that He is always accompanied by His associates.  Krsna, or God, comes with two missions: to give protection to the devotees and to destroy the demons. In this age Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission is also like that: to deliver the devotees and to annihilate the nondevotees, the demons. But in this age He has a different weapon, That weapon is not a club or disc or lethal weapon- His weapon is the sankirtana movement. He killed the demonic mentality of the people by introducing the sankirtana movement.   

Therefore, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that this is the incarnation of God in this age. And who worships Him? The process is very simple. Just keep a picture of Lord Caitanya with His associates. Lord Caitanya is in the middle, accompanied by His principal associates- Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa.

Anyone can have His picture in his home, chant this Hare krsna mantra, and thus worship Lord Caitanya. That is the simple method. But who will capture this simple method? Those who have good brains. Without much bother, if one simply keeps a picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at home and chants Hare Krsna, then one will realize God.

In this age, those who have sufficient intelligence take to this sankirtana movement, and they advance very quickly.

Lord Caitanya is called, “the golden avatara.Avatara means “descending, coming down.” Just as one may come down from the fifth story or the one–hundredth story of the building, an avatara comes down from the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky.

The avatara for this age, Lord Caitanya, is described in Vedic literature. We cannot accept anyone as an avatara unless he has the symptoms described in the scriptures.

Krsna Himself came to teach us how to surrender. His last instruction in the Bhagavad-gita is to surrender, but people – mudhas, rascals said, “Why should I surrender?” Therefore, although Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, this time He teaches us practically how to execute the mission of the bhagavad-gita.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives us the opportunity to reach God directly When Rupa Goswami, the principal disciple of Lord Caitanya, first saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was a minister in the government of Bengal but wanted to join Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movements. So he gave up his position as a minister, and after joining, when he surrendered, he offered a nice prayer to Lord Caitanya. This prayer says: 

                                             Namo maha-vadanyaya

                                             Krsna-prema-pradaya te

                                             Krsnaya krsna-caitanya-

                                             Namne gaura-tvise namah

My dear Lord, You are the most munificent of all the incarnations.” Why? Krsna-prema-pradaya te: “You are directly giving love to God. You have no other purpose. Your process is so nice that one can immediately learn to love God. Therefore You are the most munificent of all incarnations. And it is not possible for any personality other than Krsna Himself to deliver this benediction; therefore I say that You are Krsna.” Krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne: “You are Krsna, but you have assumed the name Krsna Caitanya. I surrender unto You.”     

So this is the process. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, and He is teaching how to develop love of God by a very simple method. He says simply to chant Hare Krsna.

                                               Harer nama harer nama

                                               Harer namaiva kevalam

                                               Kalau nasty eva nasty eva

                                               Nasty eva gatir anyatha

In this age, simple go on chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. There is no other alternative.” 

The chanting process offered by Lord Caitanya for achieving love of God is called sankirtana. Sankirtana is a Sanskrit word. Sam means samyak-“complete.” And kirtana means “glorifying” or “describing.” So complete description means complete glorification of the Supreme, or the Supreme Complete Whole. It is not that one can describe anything or glorify anything and that will be kirtana. From the grammatical point of view that may be kirtana, but according to Vedic system, kirtana means describing the supreme authority, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is called kirtana.    

Discovery:

1)      Compare the similarities and contrasts between Lord Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Understanding:

1)How can one worship Lord Chaitanya at home? Why does it require good intelligence to take up this process of worship?

2)Why is Lord Chaitanya the best  of all the incarnations?

3)What exactly is Sankirtan? What does it give us?

Application;

1) Discuss what  you find attractive in the process given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? How is it different from the standard processes of worshipping God?

Preaching session: 15 minutes 

Please read out first the passage given below:

                    From          Preaching is the Essence

                His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada

Page 15

The devotee’s duty is to preach Krsna consciousness for the benefit of those suffering the pangs of material existence:

The Lord is always ready to help the fallen souls, but because they are fools and rascals, they do not take to Krsna consciousness and abide by the instructions of Krsna. Therefore although Sri Caitanya Manaprabhu is personally the Supreme Lord, Krsna, He comes as a devotee to preach the Krsna consciousness movement. yare dekha, tare kahakrsna’-upadesa. One must therefore become a sincere servant of Krsna.. Amara ajnaya guru hana taraei desa(Cc. Madhya 7.128). One should become a guru and spread Krsna consciousness all over the world, simply by preaching the teachings of Bhagavad-gita.

Bhag. 7.9.41    

Share with them your experiences of preaching for the week….small details about  whom you spoke to , visited, had a discussion with or encouraged in their Krsna consciousness.

If any of them have brought a new member, appreciate that. Also ask everyone to share their attempts to get new people.

You can invite the most enthusiastic among them to accompany you in your visits to some new member’s house, so that they see first hand how to deal with new people while inviting or introducing them to Krsna consciousness.

Set a preaching homework however small for everyone. Discuss what is possible for each one and encourage them to do so. They must feel comfortable doing it and must enjoy the experience. So do not push very hard. But be sensitive to the limits that they would like to keep for the moment. This could include activities like book distribution, inviting friends or new contacts to the program, etc.

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.

Gradually and spontaneously some of them will offer to help you clean up, as well. Encourage them to participate, even if you want to taste the nectar of service yourself! It is good for members to do service. So encourage it so that they will benefit spiritually. Do not do so in a mood of sharing a burden.

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

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks