Week 23

Visiting the members in their homes during the week will enthuse them greatly and make them appreciate your gesture of concern and good will for them. In most cases, it encourages them to become more committed to Krsna consciousness. You will also know what actual progress they are making in their spiritual lives and can gently help them overcome their obstacles. Friendship and love are the magical weapons to draw them closer to Krsna consciousness.

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: “Share one of your goals in life”.

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 128

It brings material prosperity

Scarcity of food in this age can be counteracted by propagation of sankirtana-yajna, chanting of the holy name:

[The personified earth planet in King Prthu]: Due to being stocked for a very long time, all the grain seeds within me have certainty deteriorated. Therefore you should immediately arrange to take these seeds ou tby standard process, which is recommended by the acaryas or sastras.

            When there is a scarcity of grain, the government should follow the methods prescribed in the sastra and approved by the acaryas, thus there will be a sufficient production of grains, and food scarcity and famine can be checked, Bhagavad-gita recommends that we perform yajna, sacrifices, By the performance of yajna, sufficient clouds gather in the sky, and when there are sufficient clouds, there is alos sufficient rainfall.

In this way agricultural matters are taken care of. When there is sufficient grain, production, the general populace eats the grains, and animals like cows, goats and other domestic animals eat the grasses and grains also. According to this arrangement, human beings should perform the sacrifices recommended in the sastras, and if they do so there will no longer be food scarcity. In Kali-yuga, the only sacrifice recommended is sankritan –yajna.

            In this verse there are two significant words: yogens, “by the approved method,” and drstena, “as exemplified by the former acrayas”. One is mistaken if he thinks that by applying modern machines such as tractors, grains can be produced. If one goes to a desert and uses a tractor, there is still no possibility of producing grains. We may adopt various means, but it is essential to know that the planet earth will stop producing grains if sacrifices are not performed. The earth has already explained that because nondevotees are enjoying the production of food, she has reserved food seeds for the performance of sacrifice. Now, of course, atheists will not believe in this spiritual method of producing rains, but whether they believe or not, the fact remains that we are not independent to produce grain by mechanical means. As far as the approved method is concerned, it is enjoined in the sastras that intelligent men in this age will take to the sankirtana movement, and by so doing they shall worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Caitanya, whose bodily complexion is golden and who is always accompanied by His confidential devotees to preach this Krsna consciousness movement. As we have learned from the previous verse, one who is not in Krsna consciousness is considered a thief. Even though he may be materially very advanced, a thief cannot be placed in a comfortable position. A thief is a thief, and he is punishable. Because people are without Krsna consciousness, they have become thieves, and consequently they are being punished by the laws of material nature. No one can check this, not even by introducing so many relief funds and humanitarian institutions. Unless the people of the world take to Krsna consciousness there will be a scarcity of food and much suffering

                                                                                                                        S.M.-4.18.8

You can suggest to them that the easiest way to increase the number of rounds of chanting without even feeling the difference much is to increase by one round every few days, at least one a week. So by the next week they would all have increased their commitment by one more round! But of course this has to be gently encouraged and not pushed too hard, so that they do not feel that they are being forced.

Then continue with chanting together one mala on beads the Hare Krsna mantra loudly with them. If there are any new visitors, then explain to them how to hold the beads and chant.

Even children enjoy chanting, so if there are any children around, make sure that they too take part in Japa as well as Kirtan together.

Spirtiual Edification- 45 minutes

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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-12

kanksantah karmanam siddhim

                                                     yajanta iha devatah

                                              ksipram hi manuse loke

siddhir bhavati karma-ja

Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world.

There is a great misconception about the gods or demigods of this material world, and men of less intelligence, although passing as great scholars, take these demigods to be various forms of the Supreme Lord.

Actually, the demigods are not different forms of God, but they are God’s different parts and parcels. God is one, and the parts and parcels are many. The Vedas say, nityo nityanam: God is one. Isvarah paramah krsnah. The Supreme God is one—Krsna—and the demigods are delegated with powers to manage this material world.

 These demigods are all living entities (nityanam) with different grades of material power. They cannot be equal to the Supreme God—Narayana, Visnu, or Krsna. Anyone who thinks that God and the demigods are on the same level is called an atheist, or pasandi. Even the great demigods like Brahma and Siva cannot be compared to the Supreme Lord. In fact, the Lord is worshiped by demigods such as Brahma and Siva (siva-virinci-nutam).

 Yet curiously enough there are many human leaders who are worshiped by foolish men under the misunderstanding of anthropomorphism or zoomorphism. Iha devatah denotes a powerful man or demigod of this material world. But Narayana, Visnu, or Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not belong to this world. He is above, or transcendental to, material creation. Even Sripada Sankaracarya, the leader of the impersonalists, maintains that Narayana, or Krsna, is beyond this material creation. However, foolish people (hrta-jnana) worship the demigods because they want immediate results. They get the results, but do not know that results so obtained are temporary and are meant for less intelligent persons.

 The intelligent person is in Krsna consciousness, and he has no need to worship the paltry demigods for some immediate, temporary benefit. The demigods of this material world, as well as their worshipers, will vanish with the annihilation of this material world. The boons of the demigods are material and temporary. Both the material worlds and their inhabitants, including the demigods and their worshipers, are bubbles in the cosmic ocean. In this world, however, human society is mad after temporary things such as the material opulence of possessing land, family and enjoyable paraphernalia. To achieve such temporary things, people worship the demigods or powerful men in human society. If a man gets some ministership in the government by worshiping a political leader, he considers that he has achieved a great boon. All of them are therefore kowtowing to the so-called leaders or “big guns” in order to achieve temporary boons, and they indeed achieve such things. Such foolish men are not interested in Krsna consciousness for the permanent solution to the hardships of material existence. They are all after sense enjoyment, and to get a little facility for sense enjoyment they are attracted to worship empowered living entities known as demigods. This verse indicates that people are rarely interested in Krsna consciousness. They are mostly interested in material enjoyment, and therefore they worship some powerful living entity.

For the intelligent person, it is essential to be in Krsna consciousness, engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, in order to achieve a permanent, blissful abode for eternal happiness. The process of achieving such a marvelous result is very easy and can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualification. The only qualification required in this connection is to be a pure devotee of the Lord. It does not matter what one is or where one is situated. The process is so easy that even a leaf or a little water or fruit can be offered to the Supreme Lord in genuine love and Lord will be pleased to accept it. No one, therefore, can be barred form Krsna consciousness, because it is so easy and universal. Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Krsna conscious by this simple method and thus attain the highest perfectional life of eternity, bliss and knowledge.

Discovery

1)      Why do people worship the demigods or devatas normally?

2)       What is the general misconception about the position of the demigods?

3)      Who is God? What is the relationship of the demigods with Him?

Understanding:

1)      Mention some of the scriptural evidences to show the supremacy of Krsna.

2)      Why is it foolish to worship anyone other than Krsna?

3)      What are the benefits of being Krsna conscious?

Application:

1)  Have you been attached to worship of different demigods? Discuss how we can respect them while accepting the principles of Krsna consciousness now.

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 26

The greatest service is preaching; a Vaisnava is recognized by his preaching work:

“If one releases a conditioned soul or imprisoned person according to religious principles, be himself is also released from material bondage by the Supreme Personality of Godhead,”

The greatest service one can render to the Lord is to try to infuse devotional service into the heart of the conditioned soul so that the conditioned soul may be released from conditional life. Sril Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that a Vaisnava is recognized by his preaching work- that is, by convincing the conditioned soul about his eternal position…….. It is the living entity’s eternal position to serve the Lord; therefore to help one get release from material bondage is  to awaken one to the dormant understanding that  he is the eternal servant of Krsna.

                                                                        Cc. Madhya 20.6 (Madhya: 8,pp. 5-6                                                                                              

Share your preaching for the week. Ask the members to also account one by one their preaching efforts and accomplishments for the week. Set targets for them for the next week. If they have any doubts, or require guidance as to how to answer some questions from different people, you may discuss them for the benefit of everyone.

Ask them their realizations on what they are experiencing while preaching to others.

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 all 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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