Week 14

As the members have been coming for a few weeks and are familiar with you, you can engage them gradually in different services to Krsna.  As they come in for the program, you can request them to help you in services like probably keeping the plates ready to serve prasadam, washing utensils, or looking after new guests, etc. This takes them also to the next level in their relationship with you… from one of being just a guest to that of being a close friend. Also this will enthuse them to serve Krsna more and advance in their devotional service.

Satsanga :  15 minutes

After you have introduced any new visitor that may have come, have a brief satsanga / ice – breaker session.

 Introduce Your Partner:  Divide the whole group in pairs and have each pair interview each other. Give a time limit. After that have everyone introduce the partner to the whole group.     

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. As you progress from week to week, you will find their interest in hearing people’s realizations about Srila Prabhupada’s books and also in sharing their own realization with others, growing. More and more members should be becoming active in reading due to this. Be encouraging and patient. Do not push them to do it, as that can never produce the desired results. It will naturally happen if you remain enthusiastic and patient.

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 41

All the perfections of the yoga system can be realized through mantra-yoga, the chanting of Hare Krsna:

   From authoritative sources we learn that this chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna  Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rame, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare  is the embodiment of the perfection of yoga for this age.

   Today we have great difficulties living fifty or sixty years. A man may live at the utmost eighty or a hundred years. In addition, these brief years are always fraught with anxiety, with difficulties due to circumstances of war, pestilence, famine and so many other disturbances. We’re also not very intelligent, and, at the same time, we’re unfortunate. These are the characteristics of man living in Kali-yuga, a degraded age.

So properly speaking we can never attain success in this meditation yoga system described by Krsna. At the utmost we can only gratify our personal whims by some pseudo-adaptation of this system. Thus people are paying money to attend some classes in gymnastic exercises and deep-breathing, and they’re happy if they think they can lengthen their lifetimes by a few years or enjoy better sex life. But we must understand that this is not the actual yoga system. In this age that meditation system cannot be properly executed.

 Instead, all of the perfections of that system can be realized through bhakti-yoga, the sublime process of Krsna consciousness, specifically mantra- yoga, the glorification of Sri Krsna through the chanting of Hare Krsna. That is recommended in Vedic scriptures and is introduced by great authorities like Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed, the Bhagavad-gita proclaims that the mahatmas, the great souls, are always chanting the glories of the Lord. If one wants to be a mahatma in terms of the Vedic literature, in terms of Bhagavad-gita and in terms of the great authorities, then one has to adopt this process of Krsna consciousness and of chanting Hare Krsna. But if we’re content at making a show of meditation by sitting very straight in lotus position and going into a trance like some sort of performer, then that is a different thing. But we should understand that such show bottle performances have nothing to do with the actual perfection of yoga. The Material disease cannot be cured by artificial medicine. We have to take the real cure straight from Krsna.              

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

Do keep a watch on how they are chanting, whether they are holding the beads properly and if they are concentrating, etc You should encourage them with smiles and instructions, if necessary, to do it rightly. At the end of the session, enquire if they enjoy chanting at home. Enquire about how many malas each one is chanting and encourage them gently to add one more mala to their chanting for the week.

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 Scientific Basis”

                 BY HIS DIVINE GRACE    H. H. BHAKTISVARUPA DAMODARA SWAMI, Ph. D.

                   Pg 27-33-34-35-36-37.

   The greatest disease in the minds of the scientists is that they do not believe that something is a fact unless it is proved by scientific experiments. When a scientist makes a statement and he supports that statement with scientific experiments, everyone is completely convinced, and no questions are asked. When we talk about the spirit soul to these scientists, their usual response is, “How can one detect the presence of the soul?” Because they have been conditioned to working with machines, they wonder whether the soul can be detected by scientific experiments. However, scientists have to agree that even in their own scientific realm there are many facts that cannot be proved by experiments. The fact is that the soul is there, but in order to understand its existence we have to accept knowledge from the right person, Sri Krsna, or God, and His representative in disciplic succession, the spiritual master.    

In one of his letter to A.R. Wallace (December 22, 1857), Darwin Wrote. “… I am a firm believer that without speculation there is no good and original observation….”  Thus, one does not need to make an extensive study in order to understand his theory. His theory was completely based on his own speculation and mental manipulation, based on some data collected during his “Voyage of the Beagle” (1831-1836). Every sensible person knows that speculative knowledge is quite fallible.

As Darwin writes, “In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist might come to the conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties from other species.” Darwin has no knowledge about the nature of the spirit soul. He has no clear information as to how the living entity (spirit soul) is transmigrating from one species to another. He does not know whether there is further evolution from the human platform, and he hasn’t the slightest idea as to the total number of species through which the cycle of evolution goes on. He also has no information whether the spirit soul can transmigrate from the human platform to lower species of life.

   There has been great confusion regarding Darwin’s Theory. His critics are very legitimately asking, “If the theory of natural selection of Darwin is correct, why can’t we see the intermediate forms of species, the connection links?” Darwin himself was completely confused in this respect. He could not provide any logical answer except his speculative argumentation. His own answer was that “extinction and natural selection will…go hand in hand.”

 He did not know that all the species of life have been existing since the dawn of creation. The different species of life are created immediately along with the universe. Men, animals, beasts, birds-everything is simultaneously created, because whatever desires the living entities had at the last annihilation are again manifested.”

 As a crude example, the species portrayed in the ancient Egyptian pyramids were the same as those we meet at the present day. Similarly, since time immemorial the peacock, whose colorful feathers so nicely decorate the transcendental head of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, has been the same as the species we find today. With his poor fund of knowledge, Darwin concluded that some species become extinct in the process of evolution, This is completely wrong. 

Discovery:

1)      Why do scientists find it difficult to accept the existence of the soul?

2)      How can we come to understand the presence of the soul?

Understanding:

1)      What is Darwin’s theory on the origin of the different species in the world?

2)       Why is his theory not authentic?

3)       Give one or two proofs to show that the different species that we have today have always existed in the past?

4)      What is the Vedic explanation to how we are evolved from one species to the next?

Application:

        1) Divide the group into two teams. Ask one team to speak on behalf of Darwin and his supporters, and the other group to disprove them with Vedic knowledge and actual facts.

..

Discovery:

1)What do scientists demand in order to accept any statements of truth?

2) Why is this demand unreasonable even within science?

3) How can we begin to understand the presence of the soul?

Understanding:

1)Why is Darwin;s theory fallible?

2)What was Darwin’s theory about how the different species came about?

3) How did some of his critics challenge Darwin’s theory?

4) What  is the vedic explanation of how the different species have come about?

5) With examples illustrate how  Darwin’s theory is ridiculous.

Application:

1)Have  a mock  debate in the group with one group promoting Darwin’s theory and the scientist’s view point and the other group trying to refute it and give proper explanations to understanding the  spiritual truths.

 .  

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  16-17

One Should preach to relieve Lord Caitanya’s anxiety for the fallen souls:

“How will these yavanas be delivered? To My great unhappiness, I do not see any way.”

   Haridasa Thankura Replied, “My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety. Do not be unhappy to see the condition of the yavanas in material existence.”

   These words of Haridas Thakura are just befitting a devotee who has dedicated his life and soul to the service of the Lord. When the Lord is unhappy because of the condition of the fallen souls, the devotee consoles Him, saying, “My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety.” This is service. Everyone should adopt the cause of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to try to relieve Him from the anxiety He feels. This is actually service to the Lord. One who tries to relieve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s anxiety for the fallen souls is certainly a most dear and confidential devotee of the Lord.

 Cc. Antya 3.51-52 ( antya: 1, pp. 231-232)

Developing compassion is the main purpose of the preaching session. Without the mood of compassion, devotees will not find the need or desire to preach and bring new members, or to cultivate them. So in your reports, mention your realizations Hon how people are suffering and about how we need to show them mercy, how we ourselves are very fortunate to come across this valuable knowledge by the mercy of devotees, etc.

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

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 devotees have left the program, kindly fill in the following form:

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks