Week 32

Organizing picnics or get togethers on certain week-ends is a wonderful way of creating a family feeling among the members. It will also gradually make them associate more with one another for close inter personal relationships, rather than with their materialistic friends. It is also ideal for the children of the group to feel comfortable and happy in the association.

Organizing will not be a strain for any one individual if you let everyone take part and volunteer their services. At the end of the day, you will be happy you undertook it as you find all the members blissful and happy.

You can make the outings / get togethers Krsna conscious, by including Kirtan, Krsna conscious games or quiz and sharing personal realizations etc.

We will give you a list of suggestions for these outings as a separate sheet after this week’s lesson.

Satsanga:  15 minutes

 

Share an interesting and useful point that you have learnt from Srila Prabhupada’s books during the week, and ask others also to do so in turn. 

For those who are still a little new to the group or are somehow not reading yet, you could ask the question:  “What do you like most of going to the Temple?”

Kirtana: 15 minutes

If any of your members have started to chant 16 rounds of japa, then you can encourage them by asking them to lead the kirtan. Of course you should do so after giving them sufficient training and have tested that they are able to do so effectively. This will also enthuse the other members by giving them hope to make further progress and feel a sense of achievement.

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from:

                            Sri Namamrta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page 146

By chanting the holy name, even a lowborn person’s body is changed into that of brahmana:

{Sukadeva Gosvami to King Pariksit}: My dear King a devotee who has taken shelter of the dust from the lotus feet of the Lord can transcend the influence of the six material whips-namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death- and he can conquer the mind and five senses. However, this is not very wonderful for a pure devotee of the Lord because even a person beyond the jurisdiction of the four castes-in the other words, an untouchable –is immediately relieved of bondage to material existence if he utters the name of the Lord even once.

Not to speak of a sanctified devotee, even a candala, an outcaste, who is untouchable, is immediately freed from material bondage if  he utters the holy name of the Lord even once. Sometimes caste Brahmanas argue that unless one changes his body which is obtained as a result of past actions, one who has in the past acted as a brahamana takes birth in a brahmana family. Therefore, they contain, with such a brahminical body, one connot be accepted as brahmana. Herein it is said, however, that even vidura-vigata, a candala—a fifth-class untouchable–-is freed if he utters the holy name even once. Being freed means that he immediately changes has body. Santanana Gosvami confirms this:

                                                Yatha kancanatam

                                    Kamsyam rasa-vidhanatah

                                                Tatha diksa-vidhanena

                                    Dvijatvam jayate nrnam

When a person, even though a candala, is initiated by a pure devotee into chanting the holy name of the Lord, his body changes as he follows the instructions of the spiritual master. Although one cannot see how his body has changed, we must accept, on the grounds of the authoritative statements of the sastra, that he changes his body. This is to be understood without arguments.

 This verse clearly says, sa jahati bandham: “He gives up his material bondage” The body is a symbolic representation of material bondage according to one’s karma. Although sometimes we cannot see the gross body changing, chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord immediately changes the subtle body, and because the subtle body changes, the living entity is immediately freed from material bondage. After all, changes of the gross body are conducted by the subtle body. After the destruction of the gross body, the subtle body takes the living entity from the present gross body to another. In the subtly body, the mind is predominant, and therefore if one’s mind is always absorbed in remembering the activities or the louts feet of the Lord, he is to be understood have already changed the present body and become purified.

Chant a mala of japa together loudly after chanting the Panca tattva mantra 3 times together. Enquire from the members after the japa, how they feel now after chanting 8 minimum rounds at home everyday. You could ask one or two members to share their realizations. The others you could ask in the subsequent weeks.

Spiritual Edification- 45 minutes

If there are new comers to the group, then you should give them a brief introduction on Krsna consciousness and a summary of what you have been doing so far. It is better to give them the first week’s edification to go through. If there is more than one member, you can facilitate a discussion between them separately. This should not be difficult as the other members are also going to be discussing in smaller groups as you will find out below:

You should divide the group into 2 or 3 groups and make them sit in circles. Make sure that the group is evenly distributed with regard to the number of senior, junior and new members in them.

Distribute the sheets containing the spiritual edification to the members.  You could ask a senior member in each group to be the group spokesman/woman.

The leader of each group has to facilitate the participation of all the members, encouraging each one to answer the question addressed to them. Let the leader take down their points. This procedure is only for the Discovery and understanding sessions.

After this the whole group can sit in a circle. You can ask the leaders to read out the consolidated answers of their respective groups for each of the questions.

After this, you can ask each one of them to answer the application question one by one.

You can then sum up the spiritual edification lesson once again and add more points relevant to the topic. You can also include interesting pastimes of the Lord and his devotees, current topics etc, to substantiate the topic.

SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION 

From   “Bhagavad-gita  As it is

BY DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg. Ch-6 Text-24

sa niscayena yoktavyo

yogonirvinna-cetasa

sankalpa-prabhavan kamams

tyaktva sarvan asesatah

manasaivendriya-gramam

viniyamya samantatah

TRANSLATION

One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith and not be deviated from the path. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of mental speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind.

                                                 PURPORT

The yoga practitioner should be determined and should patiently prosecute the practice without deviation. One should be sure of success at the end and pursue this course with great perseverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success. Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. Regarding bhakti-yoga, Rupa Gosvami says:

utsahan niscayad dhairyat
tat-tat-karma-pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati

“One can execute the process of bhakti-yoga successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance, and determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness.” (Upadesamrta 3)

 As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuda, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Visnu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuda was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuda at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuda.

 Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Krsna consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.

Discovery:

1) What are the ingredients neccessary for succeeding in our spiritual life?

Understanding:

1) Explain how we should be determined to continue with our spiritual life in spite of all obstacles, with the example of the sparrow.

2) Why is it guaranteed that we will succeed in our spiritual path if we persist?

Application:

1) Share some of the obstacles you encountered in practicing Krsna consciousness, and how you overcame them. If you have not already overcome them, mention those too.

Preaching Session : 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 33

Preaching Krsna consciousness is the highest welfare (the Lord is pleased with one who preaches):

It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary suffering because of the suffering of the people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present in everyone’s heart.

Here is an explanation of how those engaged in activities for the welfare of others are very quickly recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says in the Bhagavad Gita(18-.68-69), ya idam paramam guhyam mad bhaktesv abhidasyati.... na a tasman manusyeasu kascin me priya-krttamah: “One who preaches the message of Bhagawad Gita to my devotees is most dear to Me. No one can excel him in satisfying Me by worship.”

There are different kinds of welfare activities in this material world, but the supreme welfare activity is the spreading of Krsna consciousness. Other welfare activities cannot be effective, for the laws of nature and the results of karma cannot be checked… If one tries to spread Krsna consciousness all over the world, he should be understood to be performing the best welfare activity. The Lord is automatically very pleased with him.

If the Lord is pleased with him, what is left for him to achieve? If one has been recognized by the Lord, even if he does not ask the Lord for anything, the Lord who is within everyone, supplies him whatever he wants….

The best welfare activity is raising people to the platform of Krsna consciousness, since the conditioned souls are suffering for only want of Krsna consciousness….

All the sastras conclude therefore, that spreading the Krsna consciousness movement is the best welfare activity in the world. Because of the ultimate benefit this bestows upon the people in general, the Lord very quickly recognizes such service performed by a devotee.

                                                                      Bhag.  8.7.44(VIII:1, pp. 280-281)

With more devotees now on the Krsna sadhak level, you can start entrusting more preaching responsibilities to them.

Making phone calls to remind the new members of the Bhakti Vrksha programs, enquiring the well being of the newer members during the week and slowly encouraging them to start chanting, visiting new members in their homes to give them some association and encouragement etc. can all be distributed to the senior members of the group.

The juniors could try to get their colleagues at work, their neighbors, friends, relatives, etc to bring them to the program.

So after you share your preaching work done for the week, entrust all the members with their respective responsibilities for the week, and note it down. You should ask them for the report the subsequent week and give them further tasks to do.

Discuss any doubts or queries they may have about their preaching services.

You can also engage all of them in book distribution to their friends and acquaintances.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

Let the entire distribution of the prasadam, including the cleaning up be organized by the members themselves. They can take turns every week in doing the services. You can ensure that no one is burdened and at the same time every body gets a chance to share in the services. Do not force any one to do the services, but ask for volunteers.

If children volunteer to read out the prasadam mantra, they can be given turns to do so. Devotees repeat each line after them.

You can spend time giving your association to the members while everyone honors the prasadam.

Enquire from the members if they are cooking food for the Lord and offering it to Him before honoring the prasadam. Encourage them to cook and offer to the Lord.If someone is doing it regularly, express your appreciation. These are big milestones in their spiritual advancement. Teach them how to do the offering to the Deity pictures if you have not already done .Also tell them the rules to follow while cooking for the Lord and the consciousness in which it must be prepared.

Give them some vegetarian, non onion and garlic recipes to follow.

You can also ask each of them to share a recipe they know. You can ask one of the members who volunteer to compile the various recipes, type them out for distribution to all the members.

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks