Week 12

Your visiting the members during the week in their homes will enthuse them to follow Krsna consciousness more carefully. You will also know first hand something about their home situation, obstacles if any in their pursuing Krsna consciousness etc.., so that you can guide them better to make steady progress. Also it is a good opportunity to meet their family members and befriend them, so that they may also be favorably inclined towards Krsna consciousness and may also start attending the programs. Even if you visited just one or two of them a week, you can gradually cover all of them. Start with those that need the most attention. It may be that their enthusiasm needs more nurturing, or it could be the one facing the most number of obstacles.

Also at the end of the program discuss with them about the Vyuha program which you will be conducting the following week. The details of the program are given in week- 13.

Share with them how you are going to conduct it and what services they could do for the program.

Satsanga :  15 minutes

After you have introduced any new visitor that may have come, you ask them to draw their most precious possession.

Materials: Colors and Paper (or at least pens and paper)

Ask people to draw their most precious possession. This may be a person or an object. Then have each share with the rest of the group, sharing their most precious possession, while others listen attentively without speaking. This can be a powerful exercise and often brings up strong feelings for all participants. Particularly useful for family groups as children usually enjoy it. You can play some music in the background while people draw.

Variation: You can do this activity without drawing, by having people just speak about their most precious possession.  

After this, you can share some interesting and important point that you read during the week  from Srila Prabhupada’s books,  with them.   Ask the others who have taken Srila Prabhupada’s books home to read, to also share something. Have the books of srila Prabhupada’s displayed prominently, so that the others will gradually be inspired to also buy/ borrow some books.

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 37

In kali-yuga, sacrifice to the demigods is satisfied by sankirtana-yajna:

By worshiping the Supreme Lord, one automatically serves all the demigods because they are parts and parcels of the whole. If one supplies water to the root of a tree, all the parts of the tree, such as the leaves and branches, are automatically satisfied, and if one supplies food to the stomach, all the limbs of the body – the hands, legs, fingers, etc. - are nourished. Thus by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead one can satisfy all the demigods, but by worshiping all the demigods one does not completely worship the Supreme Lord.  Therefore worship of the demigods is irregular, and it is disrespectful to the scriptural injunctions.

In this age of Kali it is practically impossible to perform the deva-yajna, or sacrifices to the demigods. As such, in this age Srimad-Bhagavatam recommends sankirtana-yajna. Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.32). “In this age the intelligent person completes the performances of all kinds of yajnas simply by chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Tasmin tuste jagat tustam: “When Lord Visnu is satisfied. All the demigods, who are parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, are satisfied.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.2.35            

Chant loudly together one mala on the beads after chanting the Panca tattva mantra 3 times.

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 Matchless Gift”

       BY HIS DIVINE GRACE  A.C BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

       Page 31-33

The laws of nature are very subtle and are very diligently administered, although people  do not know it. In the Manu-samhita the concept of a life for a life is sanctioned, and it is actually observed throughout the world. Similarly, there are other laws which state that one cannot even kill an ant without being responsible. Since we cannot create,  we have no right to kill any living entity, and therefore man made laws that distinguish between killing a man and killing an animal are imperfect . Although there are imperfections in man-made laws, there cannot be defects in the laws of God.

 According to the laws of God, killing an animal is as punishable as killing a man. Those who draw distinctions between the two are concocting their own laws. Even in the Ten Commandments it is prescribed, “Thou shall not kill.” This is a perfect law, but by discriminating and speculating men distort it. “I shall not kill man, but I shall kill animals.” In this way people cheat themselves and inflict suffering on themselves and others. In any case, however, God’s laws will not excuse such behavior.

Everyone is God’s creature, although in different bodies or dresses. God is considered the one Supreme Father. A father may have many children, and some may be intelligent and others not very intelligent, but if an intelligent son tells his father, “my brother is not very intelligent; let me kill him,” will the father agree? Simply because one son is not very intelligent and the other desires to kill him to avoid the burden, the father will never agree.

 Similarly, if God is the supreme father, why should He sanction the killing of animals who are also His sons? In Bhagavad-gita God declares to Arjuna that all 8,400,000 species of living entities are His sons. “And I am their seed-giving father,” the Lord says. Just as in ordinary, material procreation  the father gives the seed and the mother develops the body by supplying the necessary blood to the embryo, similarly, the living entities, parts and parcels of supreme father, are impregnated by the Lord in material nature

             The dimension of the spirit soul is very minute and is given in the scriptures as kesagra-one ten thousandth the portion of the tip of a hair. We can hardly imagine a very small point divided into thousands of parts. In other words, it is so minute that it cannot be perceived even by the most powerful microscope. Thus the dimension of the spiritual spark is so minute that it is invisible to mundane vision. All of this information is given in the scriptures, but because we do not have the proper vision, we cannot see. Although our material eyes cannot perceive the dimension of the soul, the soul is nonetheless within the body, and as soon as it departs, it takes another body according to its work.

Spiritul life is not a question of vegetarianism but of understanding higher knowledge. When one comes to the platform of elevated knowledge, he naturally becomes a vegetarian. Panditah sama darsinah: one who is very highly learned, does not distinguish between a learned scholar, a brahmana, an elephant, a dog and a cow. He is sama – darsi; his vision enables to see them all equally. How is this? He does not see the body but the soul, the spiritual spark (Brahman). He thinks:  “Here is a dog, but it is also a living entity, although by his past karma, he has become a dog. And his learned scholar is also a living spark, but he has taken good birth because of his past karma”. When one comes to that position, he does not see the body , but the spiritual spark, and he does not distinguish between one living entity and another.

Actually we do not make distinctions between carnivores and vegetarians, for the grass has life just as the cows or the lamb. A guideline, however, should be the vedic instructions given in Isopanishad (mantra 1) : isavasyam idam sarvam yat kinca jagat yam jagat / tena tyaktyena bhunjitha ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam . “ Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”

Since everything is the property of the Supreme Lord, one can only enjoy what is allotted to him by the Lord, and cannot touch another’s property. According to Vedic life and according to all Vedic scriptures, a man should live on fruits and vegetables, for his teeth are made in such a way that these can be very easily eaten and digested. Although it is nature’s law that one has to live by eating other living entities (jivo jivasya jivanam), one must use discretion.

Fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice, grain and milk are made for human beings. Milk, for example , is an animal product, the blood of an animal transformed, but the cow delivers more milk than is needed by her calf because milk is intended by for man. Man should simply take the milk and let the cows live, and thus following nature’s law, man will be happy. Tena tyaktena bhunjitha: one should take whatever God allots to him and thus live comfortably.

We have to elevate our consciousness through this science of Krsna.

Discovery:

1)How are man made laws different from the laws of the God with regard to the punishments awarded for  taking the lives of other living entities?

2)What are the reasons for the laws of God awarding punishments for the killing of any living being, even those other than the human beings?

Understanding:

1)Explain the dimensions of the spirit soul. When can we begin to understand the presence of the soul in everyone?

2)What are the reasons for us to be vegetarian?

Application

1) Discuss why people like to eat meat. What arguments or reasons will you provide for them to become vegetarian?

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 16

All devotees must preach:

When a person actually revives his consciousness with thoughts of Krsna by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he revives his spiritual life and becomes addicted to the service of the Lord. Only then can he act as an acarya. In other words, everyone should engage in preaching, following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In this way one will be very much appreciated by Lord Krsna and will quickly be recognized by Him. Actually a devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must engage in preaching in order to increase the followers of the Lord. By thus preaching actual Vedic knowledge all over the world, one will benefit all mankind.

Cc Madhya 7.153 (Madhya: 3, p. 77 )     

Share with them your experiences of preaching for the week….with whom you spoke, visited, had a discussion with or encouraged, etc.

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 home-work 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 are ready to do .This could  include activities like book distribution, inviting friends or new contacts to the program, etc.

Prasadam :  20 minutes

Prasadam :  20 minutes

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

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 report form:

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks