Week 25

Encouraging people gently in their spiritual advancement is very crucial now, as they are heading towards the next level of Siksha, namely Krsna Sadhaka. Since this involves the following of all the regulative principles, it will be very helpful if you paid a visit to their homes, especially to the ones who need special attention. Of course, it should be done very discreetly, not pushing them too directly, but just helping them with suggestions, in case they discuss their obstacles with you. They should value your visit as your general concern for them and not as a painful interference.

These gestures will definitely reap great results in gaining their commitment and enthusiasm in Krsna consciousness, and so experiencing a higher happiness, they will venture to give up the inferior sense pleasures more easily.

Announce the Vyuha program for the following week. Allot services to them for arranging the program. Make arrangements with the other Bhakti Vrksha leaders and the upa chakrapati in organizing the event.

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. 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: “What is the most difficult thing you ever did in Krsna consciousness? Why was it so difficult?”

 

 

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 131

In this age, people can be freed from drought and scarcity of rain by congregational chanting of the holy name:

When the Hare Krsna mantra is chanted by many men together, the chanting is called sankirtana, and as a result of such a yajna there will be clouds in the sky (yajnad bhavati prjanyah {Bg.3.14. In these days of drought, people can gain relief from scarcity of rain and food by the simple method of the Hare Krsna yajna. Indeed, this can relieve all of human society. At present there are droughts throughout Europe and America, and people are suffering, but if people take this Krsna consciousness movement seriously, if they stop their sinful activities and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, all their problems will be solved without difficulty.

                                                                                                                        SB-9.1.17

Ask the most enthusiastic members first about how their japa was during the week, and how many malas have they progressed to chanting,  etc…and to share their realizations on what chanting is doing to them. You can then ask the rest to volunteer their realizations by asking them…” Anyone else would like to share something about your chanting?” If they do not volunteer to say something, at least they would have been inspired to hear the other members’ realizations. Then privately, you can just ask them casually about their chanting, so that they do not feel any pressure to chant, and that they do so voluntarily.

As you had recommended the previous week, you can tell them how they could increase their chanting to one mala per week, so that it is easy to make the additions.

These enquiries and encouragements should be done very carefully, understanding the mood of the members, how far they are ready to go, etc… because though chanting is a very pleasant activity and a natural one too, in the initial stages, when they are struggling to chant, they may consider it a burden and may also react negatively if they think that they are being pushed, even if it is being done for their own benefit, with the best of motivations.

Yet we should also not give up if some people are a little slow in their progress, just as we would never give up on bringing up our own children even if they were not so quick or expert in the beginning.

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

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-7 Text - 13

tribhir guna-mayair bhavair

ebhih sarvam idam jagat

mohitam nabhijanati

mam ebhyah param avyayam

Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible.

The whole world is enchanted by three modes of material nature. Those who are bewildered by these three modes cannot understand that transcendental to this material nature is the Supreme Lord, Krsna.

 Every living entity under the influence of material nature has a particular type of body and a particular type of psychological and biological activities accordingly. There are four classes of men functioning in the three material modes of nature. Those who are purely in the mode of goodness are called brahmanas. Those who are purely in the mode of passion are called ksatriyas. Those who are in the modes of both passion and ignorance are called vaisyas. Those who are completely in ignorance are called sudras. And those who are less than that are animals or animal life. However, these designations are not permanent. I may either be a brahmana, ksatriya. vaisya or whatever—in any case, this life is temporary. But although life is temporary and we do not know what we are going to be in the next life, by the spell of this illusory energy we consider ourselves in terms of this bodily conception of life, and we thus think that we are American, Indian, Russian, or brahmana. Hindu, Muslim, etc. And if we become entangled with the modes of material nature, then we forget the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is behind all these modes. So Lord Krsna says that living entities deluded by these three modes of nature do not understand that behind the material background is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 There are many different kinds of living entities—human beings, demigods, animals, etc.—and each and every one of them is under the influence of material nature, and all of them have forgotten the transcendent Personality of Godhead. Those who are in the modes of passion and ignorance, and even those who are in the mode of goodness, cannot go beyond the impersonal Brahman conception of the Absolute Truth. They are bewildered before the Supreme Lord in His personal feature, which possesses all beauty, opulence, knowledge, strength, fame and renunciation. When even those who are in goodness cannot understand, what hope is there for those in passion and ignorance? Krsna consciousness is transcendental to all these three modes of material nature, and those who are truly established in Krsna consciousness are actually liberated.

Discovery:

1) Name the three modes of material nature. Mention which types of persons have which type of mode predominantly in their personalities.

Understanding:

1) Why are these bodily designations unimportant? What do they make us forget?

2) What is the understanding of the absolute truth of a person situated in the mode of goodness?

 3) Why is it important to be Krsna conscious?

Application:

1)      Do you want to rise above the three modes of material nature and be liberated?

Discuss the advantages of being transcendental in Krsna consciousness.

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada        

Page 27

Contrary to the order of Lord Caitanya, some of His modern so-called followers do not preach.

It is the desire of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that the benevolent activities of the sankirana movement which was inaugurated five hundred years ago in Navadvipa be spread all over the world for the benefit of all human beings. Unfortunately, there are many so-called followers of Caitanay Mahaprabhu who are satisfied simply to construct a temple, make a show of the Deities, collect some funds and utilize them for eating and sleeping. There is no question of their preaching the  cult of Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu all over the world, but even though they are unable to do so, if anyone else does it, they become envious. This is the condition of the modern followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who must come out of India to preach His cult all over the world, for this is the mission of Lord Caitanya. The followers of Lord Caitanya must execute His will with heart and soul, being more tolerant than the trees and humble than the straw in the street.

                                                                                    Cc. Adi 9.47 (Adi:2.p.245)

The preaching mood is very important to be inculcated in the members. This is what will give them the life and inspiration to progress in Krsna consciousness. So it is very important that you conduct this preaching session very diligently week after week by sharing your own preaching efforts, enquiring about the performance of their preaching assignments, clearing their doubts on the right approach to conduct themselves while preaching, as well as how to face the questions from the people that they preach to. Make sure you give them assignments for the subsequent week as well. You have to keep progressing in the assignments you give them depending on their performance and enthusiasm. Encourage and show a lot of appreciation for their efforts, however small. This will keep building up their confidence to perform more and more preaching services.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

The more that people appreciate the value of prasadam, the more they will progress in their Krsna consciousness, and their attitudes towards prasadam will be in the right consciousness: one of honoring rather than one of indulgence. They will also be inspired to sponsor the prasadam during many of their special occasions like different anniversaries. This will give them great spiritual credit.

They will also quickly then progress to eating prasadam at home too.

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

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