Week 27

The devotees should be all coming well on time, some of them ahead of time to render different services for the program. The services allotted to them are a means of providing them the nectar of Krsna consciousness. It also helps them associate closely with the devotees, which is good for their spiritual and emotional lives. If they become attached to the program and the people, then making spiritual commitments becomes relatively easy.

The philosophy only satisfies their reasoning on the need to make the commitments, but in order for their hearts to be convinced, which are the prime movers of all activities, one has to taste the joy and happiness available in personal relationships in Krsna consciousness.

 At the same time we have to make sure that it is selfless love and friendship that we are offering, which is geared towards their spiritual advancement and our own, not a friendship that comes in the way of our spiritual advancement. If the friendship based on true spiritual advancement, then it will be lasting even when the group splits and other leaders are being trained to start their own groups. But if it is tinged with selfish motives, then one will lose the will to care for people if they do not live up to our material expectations of them.

Just as parenting is selfless and is geared towards the well being of the children, the Bhakti Vrksha leader has to develop during the course of his preaching, a detached and selfless attitude to his service. This will evoke the same attitude among the members as well and they will begin to have healthy attitudes in forming Vaisnava relationships, and develop true qualities of humility.

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:  “Tell us of a time when you felt blessed by the Lord.”

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

By performance of sankirtana-yajna , the congregational chanting of the holy name, people will be happy economically, politically, socially, religiously and culturally:

Yajna must be performed, for otherwise people will be entangled in sinful activities and will suffer immensely. Therefore the Krsna consciousness movement has taken charge of introducing the chanting Hare krsna all over the world. This Hare Krsna movement is also yajna, but without the difficulties involved in securing paraphernalia and qualified brahmanas. This congregational chanting can be performed anywhere and everywhere. If people somehow or other assemble together and are induced to chant Hare Krsna Hare Krsna , Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, all the purposes of yajna will be fulfilled. The first purpose is that there must be sufficient rain, for without rain there cannot be any produce) annad  bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna-sambhavah). All our necessities can be produced simply by rainfall (kamam vavarsa parjanyah (SB-1.10.4), and the earth is the original source of all necessities (sarva-kama-dugha maht). In conclusion, therefore, in this age of Kali people all over the world should refrain from the four principles of sinful life-illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and

gambling – and in a pure state of existence should perform the simple yajna of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Then the earth will certainly produce all the necessities for life, and people will be happy economically, politically, socially, religiously and culturally. Everything will be in proper order.

                                                                                                            SB-9.20.24.26

Enquire from the devotees if any of them have come up to chanting 8 malas of japa everyday. Ask them if anyone would like to try committing to chanting 8 malas. Give them tips on how they can make it easier by chanting in the early hours, chanting maybe in intervals, if they say they lack the time, chanting along with a senior devotee, if possible, etc… While chanting is purely voluntary, the mind comes up initially with various excuses about the obstacles to chant, so it will be very helpful to them if you can encourage them to chant more while dispelling all their doubts.

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

SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION 

From   “Bhagavad-gita  As it is

BY DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg. Ch-16 Text – 23 and 24

yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya

vartate kama-karatah

na sa siddhim avapnoti

na sukham na param gatim

He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.

As described before, the sastra-vidhi, or the direction of the sastra, is given to the different castes and orders of human society. Everyone is expected to follow these rules and regulations. If one does not follow them and acts whimsically according to his lust, greed and desire, then he never will be perfect in his life. In other words, a man may theoretically know all these things, but if he does not apply them in his own life, then he is to be known as the lowest of mankind. In the human form of life, a living entity is expected to be sane and to follow the regulations given for elevating his life to the highest platform, but if he does not follow them, then he degrades himself. But even if he follows the rules and regulations and moral principles and ultimately does not come to the stage of understanding the Supreme Lord, then all his knowledge becomes spoiled. And even if he accepts the existence of God, if he does not engage himself in the service of the Lord his attempts are spoiled. Therefore one should gradually raise himself to the platform of Krsna consciousness and devotional service; it is then and there that he can attain the highest perfectional stage, not otherwise.

 The word kama-karatah is very significant. A person who knowingly violates the rules acts in lust. He knows that this is forbidden, but still he acts. This is called acting whimsically. He knows that this should be done, but still he does not do it; therefore he is called whimsical. Such persons are destined to be condemned by the Supreme Lord. Such persons cannot have the perfection which is meant for the human life. The human life is especially meant for purifying one’s existence, and one who does not follow the rules and regulations cannot purify himself, nor can he attain the real stage of happiness.

tasmac chastram pramanam te

karyakarya-vyavasthitau

jnatva sastra-vidhanoktam

karma kartum iharhasi

One should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.

As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Krsna. If one understands Krsna from the Bhagavad-gita and becomes situated in Krsna consciousness, engaging himself in devotional service, he has reached the highest perfection of knowledge offered by the Vedic literature. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu made this process very easy: He asked people simply to chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord and eat the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Deity. One who is directly engaged in all these devotional activities is to be understood as having studied all Vedic literature. He has come to the conclusion perfectly. Of course, for the ordinary persons who are not in Krsna consciousness or who are not engaged in devotional service, what is to be done and what is not to be done must be decided by the injunctions of the Vedas. One should act accordingly, without argument. That is called following the principles of sastra, or scripture. Sastra is without the four principal defects that are visible in the conditioned soul: imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned. These four principal defects in conditioned life disqualify one from putting forth rules and regulations. Therefore, the rules and regulations as described in the sastra—being above these defects—are accepted without alteration by all great saints, acaryas and great souls.

 In India there are many parties of spiritual understanding, generally classified as two: the impersonalist and the personalist. Both of them, however, lead their lives according to the principles of the Vedas. Without following the principles of the scriptures, one cannot elevate himself to the perfectional stage. One who actually, therefore, understands the purport of the sastras is considered fortunate.

 In human society, aversion to the principles of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of all fall downs. That is the greatest offense of human life. Therefore, maya, the material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always giving us trouble in the shape of the threefold miseries. This material energy is constituted of the three modes of material nature. One has to raise him self at least to the mode of goodness before the path to understanding the Supreme Lord can be opened. Without raising oneself to the standard of the mode of goodness, one remains in ignorance and passion, which are the cause of demoniac life. Those in the modes of passion and ignorance deride the scriptures, deride the holy man, and deride the proper understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They disobey the instructions of the spiritual master, and they do not care for the regulations of the scriptures. In spite of hearing the glories of devotional service, they are not attracted. Thus they manufacture their own way of elevation. These are some of the defects of human society which lead to the demoniac status of life. If, however, one is able to be guided by a proper and bona fide spiritual master, who can lead one to the path of elevation, to the higher stage, then one’s life becomes successful.

Discovery:

1)      What is the purpose of following the rules and regulations given in the Vedas?

2)      What is the danger we face if we do not follow them?

3)      Why should we accept the rules and regulations only from Shastra?

4)      When is a person acting whimsically?

5)      What are the two classifications of spiritualists?

Understanding:

1)      What is the highest perfectional stage one can achieve in spiritual life?

2)      How did Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu say we could reach this state very easily?

3)      Why do people fall down in their proper understanding of the Absolute truth?

4)      How do people behave in the modes of passion and ignorance?

5)      Why do we undergo miseries in material life?

Application:

1)      Discuss any one rule that you are following in Krishna consciousness and how it has helped you to elevate your consciousness.

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 24

“Understanding the purpose of the Lord, the devotee preaches:”

Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge.

Men who are ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Krsna consciousness, and therefore Lord Krsna advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Krsna consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.

                                                                                                            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

Collect simple recipes for day to day cooking and distribute to the members. So that those who are not well versed in cooking vegetarian dishes will feel inspired to cook and offer food to Lord Krsna and eat prasadam at home gradually.

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