Week 16

Continue encouraging members to choose a service that they would like doing before the program starts. The services may be as varied as picking up someone for the program, helping in washing the arathi plates, arranging the ghee lamps, washing plates, cutting fruits and vegetables, making copies of Namamrta, spiritual edification, and preaching is the essence, etc for the group.

Being committed to do a service will give them great spiritual progress and spiritual satisfaction.

Satsanga :  15 minutes

After you have introduced any new visitor that may have come, you ask them to do as follows:

Find the Identity: Have people write 4 or 5 adjectives or phrases to describe themselves. Collect the sheets and hand them out randomly (but make sure that nobody gets their own). Each person reads the sheet he/she gets and attempts to guess who wrote it. If he/she can’t guess, ask the next person or the whole group to try to find the identity.

Krsna consciousness is very personal and if the devotees also know one another well, this fosters a lot of intimate dealings with one another. It becomes easy then to overcome one’s selfishness and self-centeredness, which is the main stumbling block in our advancement in Krsna consciousness.

Share an interesting and inspiring point from what you have read from Srila Prabhupada’s books during the week; many more should be now willing to borrow/ buy the books to read them during the week. Encourage them to share their discoveries and realizations from Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Your enthusiasm and appreciation, of their participation  however small initially,  is a  very important factor in gradually making  all of them  take up reading Srila Prabhupada’s books seriously.

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 73

Because yogic celibacy is not possible in this age, Lord Caitanya recommended the chanting of the holy name as the only means of spiritual realization:

[Lord Krsna to Arjuna]: Persons Learned in the Vedas, who utter omkara and who are great sages in the renounced order, enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy…

   In the Vedic system of knowledge, students from the very beginning, are taught to vibrate om and learn of the ultimate impersonal Brahman by living with the spiritual master in complete celibacy. In this way they realize two of Brahman’s features. This practice is very essential for the student’s advancement in spiritual life, but at the moment such brahmacari (unmarried celibate) life is not at all possible. The social construction of the world has changed so much that there is no possibility of one’s practicing celibacy from the beginning of student life. Throughout the world there are many institutions for different departments of knowledge, but there is no recognized institution where students can be educated in the brahmacari principles. Unless one practices celibacy, advancement in spiritual life is very difficult. Therefore Lord Caitanya has announced, according to the scriptural injunctions for this age of Kali, that no process of realizing the Supreme is possible except the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krsna: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 8.11   

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

At the end of chanting, you could ask them about their experience of chanting the maha mantra on beads at home... whether they had increased the number of malas that they chanted. Encourage those who are a little willing, to try increasing one more mala for the following week. Though nobody can or should force anyone to chant, your kind enquiries about their progress and encouragement to keep increasing in small steps will motivate them to try chanting more.

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 : Krsna Consciousness: “The topmost YOGA system” 

       BY HIS DIVINE GRACE  A.C BHAKTIVENDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

       Page 80-83

   If no one knows the Supreme personality of Godhead, how can He be known? He can be known when the Supreme Lord comes before you and reveals Himself to you. Then you can know. Our senses are imperfect, and they cannot realize the Supreme Truth. When you adopt a submissive attitude and chant, realization begins from the tongue. To eat and to vibrate sound is the business of the tongue. If you can control your tongue for prasadam, spiritual food, and make the sound vibration of the holy name, then by surrender of the tongue you can control all the other senses. If you cannot control your tongue, you cannot control your senses. Taste prasadam and become spiritually advanced. You can have this process at your home: offer vegetarian foods to Krsna, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and offer obeisances:

                                              Namo brahmanya-devaya

                                             Go-brahmana-hitaya ca

                                             Jagat-hitaya krsnaya

                                            Govindaya namo namah

   Everyone can offer, and then take the food with friends. And chant before the picture of Krsna, and lead a pure life. Just see the result: the whole world will become Vaikuntha, where there is no anxiety. All of us are in anxiety because we have accepted this material life. Just the opposite is so in the spiritual world. No one however, knows how to get out of the material concept. Taking an intoxicant doesn’t help; the same anxieties are there when you are finished being drunk. If you want to be free and want an eternal life with bliss and knowledge, take to Krsna. No on can know God but there is this way: the process of Krsna consciousness.

   In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that no one can conquer Him or approach Him, but He becomes conquered. How? Let people remain in their own positions, but let them give up nonsense speculation through volumes of books. Thousands of books are printed and read, and after six months thrown away. This way and that-how can you know the Supreme by speculation on the information supplied by your blunt senses?  Give up research-throw it away- just become submissive; acknowledge that you are limited and subordinate to material nature and to God. No one can be equal to or greater than God. So be submissive. Try to hear about the glories of the Supreme Lord from authorized sources. Such authority is handed over by disciplic succession. If we can understand by the same authority as Arjuna, that is real authority. God is always ready to reveal; you just become Krsna conscious. Follow the path traversed by the great acaryas, the devoted teachers, and then everything will be known. Although He is unconquerable and unknowable, He can be known in your home.

   If you take to this process and follow the principles what will be the result? As soon as you understand, you will know that the Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, but that He is not caused by any other cause. And He is the master of all planets. This is not accepting blindly. God has given you the power of reason, the power of arguing—but don’t argue falsely. If you want to know the transcendental science you must surrender. Surrender to authority and know Him by signs. Don’t surrender to a fool are a rascal. Find one who is coming in disciplic succession, one who is fully convinced about the Supreme Absolute Truth. If you find such a person, surrender and try to please him, serve him and question him. Surrender unto him is surrender to God. Question to learn, not to waste time.

   The process is there, but if we waste time by intoxication we will never see Him, the unconquerable Lord. Follow the principles and slowly but surely, without doubt, you will know. “Yes, I’m making progress,” you’ll say. And it is very easy, and you can execute it in a happy mood. Study, take part with music, eat prasadam.  And no one can cheat you by this process. But if you want to be cheated go to the cheaters.     

  Try to understand it from the authoritative source and apply it in your life. Amongst the dying mortals, you will become the most intelligent because you are freed from sinful actions. If you act only for Krsna, then you are freed from all reactions. You will have no anxiety over what is auspicious or inauspicious because you will be in touch with the most auspicious. This is the process. Ultimately, we can get in touch with Krsna. Life will be successful. Anyone can adopt it, because it is very simple.

Discovery:

1)      How can we know the Supreme Truth?

Understanding:

1)      Why are people in the material world anxious? How do they try to get rid of their misery? Why don’t those things work for them?

2)      What is the process of becoming happy?

3)      Who should we be submissive to? Why should we be submissive?

4)      How should we apply the principles of Krsna consciousness in our daily lives?

5)      How will this make us happy?

Application:

1) Share with everyone how the different spiritual  activities beginning with  chanting is making you more and more Krsna conscious and happy.                                              

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 – 19-20

   Lord Caitanya personally demonstrated the importance of preaching:  To deliver all fallen souls, the Lord traveled from country to country. He personally tasted the transcendental pleasure of devotional service, and He simultaneously spread the  cult of devotion everywhere.

       Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally traveled to different regions of India to spread the bhakti   cult throughout the country….by His personal behavior He has given an example for devotees to follow. That is, one should broadcast the cult of devotional service….A Vaisnava is especially interested in para-upakara,    doing good to others. Prahlada Maharaja was also interested in this. He did not want to be delivered alone; rather he wanted to deliver all fallen souls, who are bereft of knowledge of bhakti   and who misuse their intelligence for the temporary benefit of the material body. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also wanted His mission spread all over the world.

                                                Prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama

                                                Sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard” Following in His footsteps, we are trying to broadcast His message throughout the world. By His mercy, people are taking this movement very seriously. Indeed, our books are extensively distributed in the Western countries, especially in America and Europe…. The followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu may therefore take this movement seriously and broadcast it throughout the world. From village to village and from town to town, just as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself did.

Cc. Madhya 25.264 (Madhya: 9, p.438)

Share with the members about what preaching you have done during the week either to new people or to the devotees themselves. Share your insights and realizations.

Let everyone also share what they have done during the week, however small. The phone calls they have made or the people they have spoken to, or invited etc, the successes or the difficulties they have encountered.

If they have experienced some success and they share it, find out how they did it . Not only will others learn from their experiences, it is also very encouraging to them and will inspire them to do more. If there are some mistakes in their approach, this too will get corrected.

Please give them assignments for preaching for the forthcoming week.

Prasadam:  20 minutes

After the prasadam has been distributed and everyone is busy honoring it after reciting the prasadam mantra, go around and enquire how they like the prasadam, among other things. Hear their realizations on how they are appreciating the taste of prasadam as a spiritual experience. It is important for them to appreciate and have the right respectful attitude toward prasadam.

If any member has sponsored the prasadam, announce it and thank them for the service. If anybody has any special occasion to celebrate that day like birthdays , wedding anniversaries, announce that and sing a Krsna conscious greeting like “Hare Krsna to you”, and “may Krsna bless you, dear” etc, set to the standard tune of greeting  people on birthdays.

This will make them very happy and also give them the idea to celebrate these occasions in a nice Krsna conscious way, which will benefit them spiritually.

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

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

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