Week 17

If your members have brought along any new members, make them comfortable and make pleasant enquiries about them, so that you can introduce them during the satsanga to all the members.

Satsanga :  15 minutes

After you have introduced any new visitor that may have come, engage in the following ice- breaker.

Save Me! : Ask them to imagine that they are all survivors of a shipwreck, swimming for their lives in the ocean. There is only one life-belt, and you have to decide who gets it. Only one survivor can receive it and be saved. Each person must give reasons why he/she should be the one who gets the life-belt. Whoever comes up with the most convincing or amusing case wins. For added effect you can stand on a chair (If possible holding a real life-belt) and have everyone stand around you.   

Variation: have everyone giving reasons why the person on their left (or their right) is the most worthy of being saved. This version has the advantage of encouraging selflessness and glorification of others.

After this ask them also to share a point that they were inspired by during the week from Srila Prabhupada’s books. Start the discussion by relating your own… so it will set the right trend.

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 74

Rather than hear the impersonalist conceptions of Sankara, the common man should chant the maha-mantra for self-realization:

  Lord Caitanya immediately informed Prakasananda that in the modern age people in general are more or less bereft of all spiritual intellect. When such people come under the influence of Sankaracarya’s Mayavadi (impersonalist) philosophy before beginning the most confidential   Vedanta-sutras, their natural tendency toward obedience to the Supreme is checked. The supreme source of everything is naturally respected by everyone, but this natural tendency is hampered when one takes to the impersonalist conceptions of Sankara, Thus the spiritual master of Lord Caitanya suggested that it is better that one not study the saririaka-bhasya of Sankaracarya, for it is very harmful to people in general. Indeed, the common man does not even have the intelligence to penetrate into the jugglery of words. He is better advised to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. In this quarrelsome age of Kali there is no alternative for self realization.     

Teaching of Lord Caitanya

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

Since we are nearing the end of module 2 , most of the members should be chanting a mimnimum of 4 rounds. Ask a few of the devotees to share their realizations on chanting each time… and make sure that those who have been missed out in one week are covered in the following week. This will inspire them to chant more and 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 “The SWORD OF KNOWLEDGE”

       BY HIS DIVINE GRACE  A.C BHAKTIVENDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

       Page 222-223

In the Bhagavad-gita (3.27) Lord Krsna says :

                                            Prakrteh kriyamanani

                                            Gunaih karmani sarvasah

                                           Ahankara-vimudhatma

                                           Kartaham iti manyate

         The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself

          the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes

          of material nature.

   Success in any activity depends on five essential factors: the place, the doer, the tools or senses, the endeavor, and finally the sanction of the Supreme Lord. Of these, the Supreme Lord’s blessing is the most important. This sanction is enacted through the supreme Lord’s favorable supervision of His material energy, for it is by the Lord’s will that material nature acts. Material nature acts according to one’s consciousness: when the living entity is under the influence of the three modes of nature,  his actions are conducted by the Lord’s external energy, the material nature. But when he is in transcendental consciousness, the suddha-sattva  state, his actions are conducted by the Lord’s internal, spiritual potency. The living entity can choose to have his activities conducted by either the Lord’s external energy or His internal energy. This is the extent of the jiva’s minute independence.

   The moment the spirit soul surrenders completely at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and prays to Him for engagements in His loving devotional service, the soul is freed from the bondage of fruitive reactions. In this stage he proves the truth of the scriptural injunction jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya-dasa:  “In his original spiritual identity, the spirit soul is an eternal servant of Krsna.” This position gives the soul immense bliss. It is wrong to equate the position of an eternal servant of Krsna with that of a slave of maya, the illusory potency of Krsna. In other words, the feelings of power and pleasure gained by lording it over matter are insignificant compared to the ecstasy one feels in the Lord’s service. Even the eight kinds of mystic perfections are puny compared with the bliss of being an eternal servant of Krsna. And surrender is the only means to attain this state; no artificial method can be applied. The awakening of pure Krsna consciousness, which is the perfection of the living entity, is obtained only by surrendering to the Lord, the propensity for which is eternally inherent in the jiva. Hence Lord Caitanya says in the Caitanya-caritamrta ( Manhya 22.107):

                                       Nitya-siddha-krsna-premasadhyakabhu naya

                                          Sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya 

   Pure love for Krsna is eternally established in the hearts of living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, the living entity naturally awakens.   

Discovery:

1)      What five factors determine the success of our activities? 

2)      Out of these five factors which is the most important factor? Why?

Understanding: 

1)      Explain the independence enjoyed by the jiva.

2)      Why does a pure soul hanker to be a   servant of Krsna? How can one attain to this state?

3)      What happens to one’s karma when one becomes a servant of Krsna?

Application:

      1)   Share your experiences of how you feel when you engage in devotional service to the Lord or His pure devotees.

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 20

The Krsna consciousness movement is based on becoming Krsna conscious and making others Krsna conscious:

   “My dear child, continue dancing, chanting and performing sankirtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting Krsna-nama for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.”

   It is another ambition of the spiritual master to see his disciples not only chant, dance and follow the regulative principles but also preach the sankirtana movement to others in order to deliver them, for the Krsna consciousness movement is based on the principle that one should become as perfect as possible in devotional service oneself and also preach the cult for others’ benefit.       

Cc. Adi 7.92 ( Adi: 2, pp.73-74)      

Share your preaching for the week and start enquiring from them about how they have performed their assignments for the week.

Appreciate all their genuine efforts however “small”, since all efforts in preaching are truly glorious and will instill in them the firm faith and conviction to preach more.

Give them more tasks for the week: calling new members, visiting new members/ talking to them over phone, distributing books, etc.

Prasadam :  20 minutes

Make sure that different sets of devotees get the opportunity to serve the prasadam to everyone each week…… without forcing anyone… this will help everyone  to develop a healthy attitude towards service.

You can ask them informally how they enjoy taking prasadam, what their realization about its glories are and how much of prasadam , as compared to non – offered food that they are eating during the week etc…. so as to increase their appreciation of prasadam.

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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