Week 24

As the day draws nearer for the members to commit themselves to the Krsna sadhak level, it is important that you equip them with all the qualifications necessary to commit themselves to this level. Those will include increasing their chanting to 8 rounds, following Ekadasi, and worshipping Tulasi devi, and following all the 4 regulative principles. Now this may seem too difficult for certain kinds of people not exposed to the Vedic culture or background. However, you can try to introduce these things and see if it is well received. Knowledge of the philosophy, association and loving friendship are powerful instruments for motivating most people.

If there is some resistance however, you can let them take their own time to follow it, but the principles can be accepted in theory as being necessary for their spiritual advancement.

The members should have also become serious enough to come another day separately for a group study program of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Maybe all the members may not agree to come, but most should agree to come if they have become steady and enthusiastic. Please see the chapter on how to conduct a study class. During the study class, 30 minutes have been set aside for training them in devotional practices. So you can avail yourself of this time to train them in learning the Tulasi prayers and method of worship, the glories of following Ekadasi, how to fast for Ekadasi, etc

Discuss with them which day of the week would be convenient to have the study class on the Bhagavad–gita. Announce the date, venue ant timing of the study class. Encourage everyone to attend it. 

.

Satsang:  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. Please remind them that it is only for a minute.

 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”.

Since the group members must have developed some attachment to one another, they should be quite ready to discuss some thing personal about themselves with the group. This also leads to more bonding and trust between one another, as they come to know each other more.

Kirtan: 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 130

If people in general chant the Hare Krsna mantra, the necessities of life will automatically follow:

All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna{sacrifice }and yajnas is born of  prescribed duties.”(Bg.3.14.). When food grains are sufficiently produced, both animals and human beings can be nourished without difficulty for their maintenance. This is nature’s arrangement. Prakrteh Kriyamanani gunaih Karmani sarvasah(Bg3.27}. Everyone is acting under the influence of material nature, and only fools think they can improve upon what God has created.

The householders are specifically responsible for seeing that the laws of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are maintained, without fighting between men, communities, societies or nations. Human society should properly utilize the gifts of God, especially the food grains that grow because of rain falling from the sky. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, yagnad bhavati parjanyah {Bg. 3.14} So that rainfall will be regulated, humanity should perform yajnas, sacrifices. Yajnas were previously performed with offerings of oblations of ghee and food grains, but in this age , of  course, this is no longer possible, for the production of ghee and food grains has diminished because of the

sinful life of human society. However, people should take to Krsna consciousness and chant the Hare Krsna mantra, as recommended in the sastras (yajnaih sankirtanaprayair yajanti hi sumedhasah(SB.11.5.32).

If  people throughout the world take Krsna consciousness movement and chant the easy sound vibration of the transcendental name fame of the Supreme Personality of  Godhead, there will be no scarcity of rainfall; consequently food grains, fruits and flowers will be properly produced, and all the necessities of life will be easily obtained. Grhasthas, or householders, should take the responsibility for organizing such natural production. It is therefore said, tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovidah. An intelligent person should try to spread Krsna consciousness through the chanting of the holy name of  the Lord, and all the necessities of  life will automatically follow.

                                                                                                            SB.7.147

Enquire from the members how their chanting at home is progressing. If every week you enquire about their chanting and encourage them to add one more mala to their chanting, then very easily they can progress to chanting 8 rounds everyday easily.  Be sure to clear all their doubts and sort out any difficulties that they maybe facing in their chanting.

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

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

.

If you are having more than 10 members, you can divide the group into two. You can choose some serious member in each group to facilitate the discussion among the smaller groups, and note down the points. You can supervise the discussion in both the groups, making sure that everyone is made to participate and that the discussion is going along proper lines. When they have completed the “Discussion” and “Understanding” questions, you can ask both the groups to come together again for discussing together the application question. When they have all assembled together, you can first ask the leaders of both the groups to read out the answers that they have gathered from the members.

Then you can proceed to asking each of the members the application question as usual.

There are clearly two, three major advantages of dividing the group for the discussion. The shy ones will participate more freely, more leaders will get trained to facilitate, and last but not least, it saves time!

                                          SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION

                                          From      Bhagavad-Gita As it is

BY HIS DIVINE GRACE  A.C BHAKTIVENDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg.Ch-9.Text-27

yat karosi yad asnasi

yaj juhosi dadasi yat

yat tapasyasi kaunteya

tat kurusva mad-arpanam

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform—do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.

Thus, it is the duty of everyone to mould his life in such a way that he will not forget Krsna in any circumstance. Everyone has to work for maintenance of his body and soul together, and Krsna recommends herein that one should work for Him. Everyone has to eat something to live; therefore he should accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krsna. Any civilized man has to perform some religious ritualistic ceremonies; therefore Krsna recommends, “Do it for Me,” and this is called arcana. Everyone has a tendency to give something in charity; Krsna says, “Give it to Me,” and this means that all surplus money accumulated should be utilized in furthering the Krsna consciousness movement.

 Nowadays people are very much inclined to the meditational process, which is not practical in this age, but if anyone practices meditating on Krsna twenty-four hours a day by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra round his beads, he is surely the greatest meditator and the greatest yogi. as substantiated by the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita.

Discovery:

1)      List some of the daily activities which Krsna is asking us to do as an offering to Him?

Understanding:

1)      Is it possible to think of Krsna throughout the day? How?

2)      How can we start to become the greatest yogi?

Application:

1)      Discuss some of the obstacles you face in thinking of Krsna throughout the day.

How do you think you can overcome them?

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 29

Devotees must preach all over the world, as ordered by the spiritual master:

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotional cult teaches one not to sit down in one place but to spread the devotional cult all over the world. The Lord dispatched Sanatana Goswami and Rupa Goswami to Vrndavan to excavate and renovate the holy places and from there establish the cult of bhakti.

Therefore Vrndavan was given to Sanatana Goswami and Rupa Goswami as their place of residence.

Similarly, everyone in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotional cult should accept the words of the spiritual master and thus spread the Krsna consciousness movement. They should go to all parts of the world, accepting those places as their prabhu-datta desha, the places of residence given by the residents of Lord Krsna.

The spiritual master is the representative of Lord Krsna, therefore one who has carried out the orders of the spiritual master is understood to have carried out the orders of Krsna or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to spread the bhakti cult all over the world (prthvite ache yata nagaradi grama). Therefore devotees in the line of Krsna consciousness must go to different parts of the world and preach, as ordered by the spiritual master. That will satisfy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

                                                  Cc. Antya 4.144 (Antya:2, p.69)

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 now for the benefit of everyone.

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

Prasadam: 20 minutes

While the devotees are honoring prasadam, you can tell them that as every grain has been supplied by God, we must not waste even a grain of it. Also as it is sanctified prasadam

It is even more precious and so must never be wasted. This is also essential in developing the mood of sacrifice while cooking, offering and honoring 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:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks