As the devotees become more settled and committed they must be waiting to attend the weekly Bhakti Vrksha. The evidence of this is when all of them arrive well on time and are eager not to miss any part of the program and are also volunteering to do more and more services. This is the life of the Bhakti Vrksha and this enthusiasm is generated by the Bhakti Vrksha leader, if his/ her sadhana is in a good state and he/ she is also eager for the spiritual advancement of his group members who are under his/ her care.
Young parents find the role of parenting a great challenge as they are themselves in the process of growing up, but the sheer joy of being responsible for another living entity keeps them going and knocks out so many of their self- centeredness, as they keep improving in their task . So also with being the spiritual parent of the Bhakti Vrksha group.
Young parents also take guidance from their own parents and seniors, and so a Bhakti Vrksha leader being a genuine well wisher of his members should be constantly consulting and reporting to his seniors, so that he is always sure that he is giving his best for his group. The group will greatly value this sincerity of the leader. This is the most important quality of the Bhakti Vrksha leader.
Satsang: 15 minutes
Then from one person to the next, you request them to share what they have read. Normally people enjoy this process of sharing their realizations so much, that they will start to look forward to these moments when the whole group is all ears to them.
For those still not able to taste the nectar of reading Srila Prabhupada’s books or still not given it a try, you can give the ice- breaker question: “What quality do you appreciate most in a person?”
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 the offering of incense by every member to the Alter Deities or Deity pictures can be done.
You can have one , two, or more more tunes now in singing the Kirtana and you can encourage the members to play the karatalas, distribute the sheets containing the words to the visitors and those that need it, and also include playing mridanga , if possible. If any of the members want to play some other musical instruments too, you can incl.
Read out first, the following passage from:
Start chanting the Panca Tattva mantra 3 times and then followed by one round of mala. Play Srila Prabhupada’s chanting in the back ground so it creates a very spiritual and inspiring mood to chant with attention.
Spirtiual 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 : 18
From Bhagavad-Gita As it is
BY HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C BHAKTIVENDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
BG Ch 12 Text 6 and 7
ye tu sarvani karmani
mayi sannyasya mat-parah
mam dhyayanta upasate
tesam aham samuddharta
bhavami na cirat partha
But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Prtha—for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
It is explicitly stated here that the devotees are very fortunate to be delivered very soon from material existence by the Lord. In pure devotional service one comes to the realization that God is great and that the individual soul is subordinate to Him. His duty is to render service to the Lord—and if he does not, then he will render service to maya.
As stated before, the Supreme Lord can be appreciated only by devotional service. Therefore, one should be fully devoted. One should fix his mind fully on Krsna in order to achieve Him. One should work only for Krsna. It does not matter in what kind of work one engages, but that work should be done only for Krsna. That is the standard of devotional service. The devotee does not desire any achievement other than pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His life’s mission is to please Krsna, and he can sacrifice everything for Krsna’s satisfaction, just as Arjuna did in the Battle of Kuruksetra. The process is very simple: one can devote himself in his occupation and engage at the same time in chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Such transcendental chanting attracts the devotee to the Personality of Godhead.
The Supreme Lord herein promises that without delay He will deliver a pure devotee thus engaged from the ocean of material existence. Those who are advanced in yoga practice can willfully transfer the soul to whatever planet they like by the yoga process, and others take the opportunity in various ways, but as far as the devotee is concerned, it is clearly stated here that the Lord Himself takes him. The devotee does not need to wait to become very experienced in order to transfer himself to the spiritual sky.
In the Varaha Purana this verse appears:
nayami paramam sthanam
The purport of this verse is that a devotee does not need to practice astanga-yoga in order to transfer his soul to the spiritual planets. The responsibility is taken by the Supreme Lord Himself. He clearly states here that He Himself becomes the deliverer. A child is completely cared for by his parents, and thus his position is secure. Similarly, a devotee does not need to endeavor to transfer himself by yoga practice to other planets. Rather, the Supreme Lord, by His great mercy, comes at once, riding on His bird carrier Garuda, and at once delivers the devotee from material existence. Although a man who has fallen in the ocean may struggle very hard and may be very expert in swimming, he cannot save himself. But if someone comes and picks him up from the water, then he is easily rescued. Similarly, the Lord picks up the devotee from this material existence. One simply has to practice the easy process of Krsna consciousness and fully engage himself in devotional service. Any intelligent man should always prefer the process of devotional service to all other paths. In the Narayaniya this is confirmed as follows:
ya vai sadhana-sampattih
The purport of this verse is that one should not engage in the different processes of fruitive activity or cultivate knowledge by the mental speculative process. One who is devoted to the Supreme Personality can attain all the benefits derived from other yogic processes, speculation, rituals, sacrifices, charities, etc. That is the specific benediction of devotional service.
Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna—Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—a devotee of the Lord can approach the supreme destination easily and happily, but this destination cannot be approached by any other process of religion.
The conclusion of Bhagavad-gita is stated in the Eighteenth Chapter:
One should give up all other processes of self-realization and simply execute devotional service in Krsna consciousness. That will enable one to reach the highest perfection of life. There is no need for one to consider the sinful actions of his past life, because the Supreme Lord fully takes charge of him. Therefore one should not futilely try to deliver himself in spiritual realization. Let everyone take shelter of the supreme omnipotent Godhead, Krsna. That is the highest perfection of life.
1) What does Krsna ask us to do in order to qualify ourselves to be taken back to Godhead by Him?
1) What is the pure devotee’s understanding of his relationship and duty towards Krsna?
2) How can we hope to reach this state of awareness of our relationship and our duty to wards Krishna?
3) Why should we not take part in other processes of religion such as performing yagnas for material benefit, cultivating knowledge by speculation and performing astanga yoga to achieve siddhis?
4) What are the advantages of rendering pure devotional service in comparison to the other processes?
5) What is the highest perfection in self realization? Can a sinful person hope to achieve this perfection? Why?
1) Share your realization on this verse.
Preaching Session: 15 minutes
Read out the following passage:
Share your preaching reports for the week. Also discuss any doubts or difficulties they may be facing while approaching people and while replying to their queries.
This will give them good exposure on how to deal with different types of people and situations. By sharing them in front of everyone, all the members can be trained in preaching.
Give assignments for the subsequent week.
There must be the eagerness to get new members, to cultivate the new members and to progress oneself in spiritual life. All this will be automatically achieved, if you take this preaching session seriously and give them assignments every week.
The younger members of your group, the children, can lead the prasadam honoring prayers. This will be enlivening for everyone and make everyone listen to the prayers more carefully. You can also read out the translation of this prayer for some weeks, till the meaning of the verse is well understood by all the members.
Current Siksa status