Week 22

You can continue to invite new members to the group for just a few more weeks. But make sure to give them a brief introduction to what Krsna consciousness is all about …. The process of  reviving our eternal relationship with God through chanting and engaging in His devotional service., etc. so that they are able to follow the spiritual edification discussions. Also meet with them separately a few times or give them association through the telephone, so that they feel comfortable with the topics being discussed at the program. If they are ready, you can also give them the previous edification sheets, so that they can familiarize themselves with the concepts.

Satsanga :  15 minutes

 

You can share with them an interesting point which will also be of benefit to them from what you have read during the week from Srila Prabhupada’s books.

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: “If you could wake up tomorrow morning having a quality or ability, which one would you like that to be?”

 

Kirtana : 15 minutes

The regular members should have learnt the kirtan tune by now. You can add more simple tunes for your kirtan, and teach the members to play the karatala, mridanga , etc.

Distribute the sheet containing the pranama mantras and the Hare Krsna mantra as well as the glorifications at the end of the kirtana to the newer members.

 Continue with the offering of incense by every member to the Alter Deities or Deity pictures.

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from:

                            Sri Namamrta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page: 127

The chanting of the holy name is the holy remedy for setting the world aright:

This work of maya is called durasraya, which means “false or bad shelter.” One who puts his faith in durasraya becomes a candidate for hoping against hope. In the material world everyone is trying to become happy, and although their material attempts are baffled in every way, due to their nescience they cannot understand their mistakes. This is the way of the struggle for existence in the material world. If one in this condition is advised to take to Krsna consciousness and be happy, he does not accept such instructions.

            This Krsna consciousness movement is being spread all over the world just to remedy this gross ignorance. People in general are misled by blind leaders. The leaders of human society- the politicians, philosophers and scientists-are blind because they are not Krsna conscious. According to Bhagavad-gita, because they are bereft of all factual knowledge due to their atheistic way of life, they are actually sinful rascals and are the lowest among men.

                                    na mam duskrtino mudhah

                                     prapadyante naradhamah

                                         mayayapahrta jnana

                                       asuram bhavam asritah

“Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me.” (Bg-7.15 )

            Such people never surrender to Krsna, and they oppose the endeavor of those who wish to take Krsna’s shelter. When such atheists become leaders of society, the entire atmosphere is surcharged with nescience. In such a condition, people do not become very enthusiastic to receive this Krsna consciousness movement, just as a diseased person suffering from jaundice does not relish the taste of sugar candy. However, one must know the cure for jaundice, sugar candy is the only specific medicine. Similarly, in the present confused state of humanity, Krsna consciousness, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord-Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare- is the only remedy for setting the world aright.    

                                                                   The Nectar of Instruction Text:7

Ask the members about their progress in chanting at home. This will help you to clarify their doubts on how to cope with problems regarding time, concentration, taste, etc. This will help all the members to improve their chanting. Suggest methods to improve chanting like rising a little earlier to fit it into the schedule, do the chanting along with Srila Prabhupada’s japa cassette, or with a soft background music of Kirtan to set the mood, to hear the words carefully, etc..

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 

                                          From      Bhagavad-Gita As it is

BY HIS DIVINE GRACE  A.C BHAKTIVENDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg Ch 4 Text  8

paritranaya sadhunam

vinasaya ca duskrtam

dharma-samsthapanarthaya

sambhavami yuge yuge

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear millennium after millennium.

According to Bhagavad-gita, a sadhu (holy man) is a man in Krsna consciousness. A person may appear to be irreligious, but if he has the qualifications of Krsna consciousness wholly and fully, he is to be understood to be a sadhu. And duskrtam applies to those who do not care for Krsna consciousness. Such miscreants, or duskrtam, are described as foolish and the lowest of mankind, even though they may be decorated with mundane education, whereas a person who is one hundred percent engaged in Krsna consciousness is accepted as a sadhu, even though such a person may be neither learned nor well cultured. As far as the atheistic are concerned, it is not necessary for the Supreme Lord to appear as He is to destroy them, as He did with the demons Ravana and Kamsa. The Lord has many agents who are quite competent to vanquish demons. But the Lord especially descends to appease His unalloyed devotees, who are always harassed by the demoniac. The demon harasses the devotee, even though the latter may happen to be his kin. Although Prahlada Maharaja was the son of Hiranyakasipu, he was nonetheless persecuted by his father; although Devaki, the mother of Krsna, was the sister of Kamsa, she and her husband Vasudeva were persecuted only because Krsna was to be born of them. So Lord Krsna appeared primarily to deliver Devaki, rather than kill Kamsa, but both were performed simultaneously. Therefore it is said here that to deliver the devotee and vanquish the demon miscreants, the Lord appears in different incarnations.

 In the Caitanya-caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the following verses (Madhya 20.263–264) summarize these principles of incarnation:

srsti-hetu yei murti prapance avatare
           sei isvara-murtiavataranama dhare

mayatita paravyome sabara avasthana
      visve avataridhareavataranama

“The avatara, or incarnation of Godhead, descends from the kingdom of God for material manifestation. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatara. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When they descend to the material creation, they assume the name avatara.

 There are various kinds of avataras, such as purusavataras, gunavataras, lilavataras, sakty-avesa avataras, manvantara-avataras and yugavataras—all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Krsna is the primeval Lord, the fountainhead of all avataras. Lord Sri Krsna descends for the specific purpose of mitigating the anxieties of the pure devotees, who are very anxious to see Him in His original Vrndavana pastimes. Therefore, the prime purpose of the Krsna avatara is to satisfy His unalloyed devotees.

 The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the Age of Kali. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who spread the worship of Krsna by the sankirtana movement (congregational chanting of the holy names) and spread Krsna consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of sankirtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya as the incarnation of Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, is described secretly but not directly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures, such as the Upanisads, Mahabharata and Bhagavatam. The devotees of Lord Krsna are very much attracted by the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatara of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers them by His causeless mercy.

Discovery:

1)      Why does Lord Krsna appear in His different avatars or incarnations in this material world?

2)      Mention some of the types of avataras/ incarnations?

Understanding:

1)      Why is it said the Lord appears primarily to protect His devotee? Whom does He have to protect them from? Give some examples from history.

2)      Why is the avatara of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very special? How can we accept that He is an avatara ?

Application:

      1) Do you accept Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as  the supreme Lord?Discuss your feelings towards Him.

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 25

Pure devotees preach and deliver conditioned souls:

The Ganges water is celebrated as being able to eradicate all kinds of sinful reaction. In other words, when a person takes his bath in the Ganges, he becomes freed from all life’s contaminations. The Ganges water is celebrated in this way because it emanates from the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, those who are directly in touch with the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who are absorbed in the chanting of His glories are freed from all material contamination,. Such unalloyed devotees are able to show mercy to the common conditioned soul. Srila Vrandvana dasa Thakura has sung that the devotees of Lord Caitanya are so powerful that each one of them can deliver a universe. In other words, it is the business of devotees to preach the glories of the Lord and deliver all conditioned souls to the platform of suddha-sattva, pure goodness.

                                                                                                            Bg. 3.29 (pp.194-195}

Share your preaching reports for the week. Also encourage everyone to share the preaching they have done for the week according to the assignments given to them in the previous week. 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.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

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.

Share some easy to prepare, but popular recipes with them. This will encourage them to try out cooking for Krsna at home.

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