Week 36

Inviting your members to the Sunday programs of your yatra will give them the exposure to the bigger programs, more devotees association as well as senior devotees’ association. They will flourish and progress by attending them. Make sure you are there to receive them, or take them along, introduce them to everyone and see that they are comfortable. It is also a sense of joy and achievement to you to see your members become accepted in the larger community of devotees. This brings great transcendental joy to everyone.

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.  .  Request them to start reading Srila Prabhupada’s lilamrta , and share points from it.

 

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 feel about old people? What does being old mean to you?

Kirtana : 15 minutes

You could ask someone chanting 16 rounds already to lead the Kirtana. You could first ensure that they know how to lead, and then you can encourage them to do so. This will   enthuse them as well as the other members, who will then feel confident to also make progress in their commitments. Also this is part of their training to become good Kirtana singers as well.

 

 

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from:

                            Sri Namamrta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page 157

The loud chanting of the holy name benefits even lower species of life:

Those who are actually servants of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must seriously distribute this movement all over the world to render the greatest benefit to human society, Of course, animals and other lower species are not capable of understanding this movement, but if even a small number of living beings take it seriously, by their chanting loudly, all living entities, including even trees, animals and other lower species, will be benefited.

 When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired from Haridasa Thakura how he was to benefit living entities other than humans, Srila Haridasa Thakura replied that the Hare Krsna mah-mantra is so potent that if it is chanted loudly, everyone will benefit, including the lower species of life.

                                                            Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 9.39.

As most of the members are approaching the completion of 9 months of regularly attending the Bhakti Vrksha and are all attending the study classes, they are now coming close to taking up the commitment of taking Srila Prabhupada Asraya. Find out how many of them are chanting 16 rounds of japa and encourage them to start doing so.

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-9 Text-2

raja-vidya raja-guhyam

pavitram idam uttamam

pratyaksavagamam dharmyam

su-sukham kartum avyayam

TRANSLATION

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.

PURPORT

This chapter of Bhagavad-gita is called the king of education because it is the essence of all doctrines and philosophies explained before. Among the principal philosophers in India are Gautama, Kanada, Kapila, Yajnavalkya, Sandilya and Vaisvanara. And finally there is Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedanta-sutra. So there is no dearth of knowledge in the field of philosophy or transcendental knowledge. Now the Lord says that this Ninth Chapter is the king of all such knowledge, the essence of all knowledge that can be derived from the study of the Vedas and different kinds of philosophy. It is the most confidential because confidential or transcendental knowledge involves understanding the difference between the soul and the body. And the king of all confidential knowledge culminates in devotional service.

 Generally, people are not educated in this confidential knowledge; they are educated in external knowledge. As far as ordinary education is concerned, people are involved with so many departments: politics, sociology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, etc. There are so many departments of knowledge all over the world and many huge universities, but there is, unfortunately, no university or educational institution where the science of the spirit soul is instructed. Yet the soul is the most important part of the body; without the presence of the soul, the body has no value. Still people are placing great stress on the bodily necessities of life, not caring for the vital soul.

 The Bhagavad-gita, especially from the Second Chapter on, stresses the importance of the soul. In the very beginning, the Lord says that this body is perishable and that the soul is not perishable (antavanta ime deha nityasyoktah saririnah). That is a confidential part of knowledge: simply knowing that the spirit soul is different from this body and that its nature is immutable, indestructible and eternal. But that gives no positive information about the soul. Sometimes people are under the impression that the soul is different from the body and that when the body is finished, or one is liberated from the body, the soul remains in a void and becomes impersonal. But actually that is not the fact. How can the soul, which is so active within this body, be inactive after being liberated from the body? It is always active. If it is eternal, then it is eternally active, and its activities in the spiritual kingdom are the most confidential part of spiritual knowledge. These activities of the spirit soul are therefore indicated here as constituting the king of all knowledge, the most confidential part of all knowledge.

 This knowledge is the purest form of all activities, as explained in Vedic literature. In the Padma Purana, man’s sinful activities have been analyzed and are shown to be the results of sin after sin. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities are entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions. For instance, when the seed of a particular tree is sown, the tree does not appear immediately to grow; it takes some time. It is first a small, sprouting plant, then it assumes the form of a tree, then it flowers and bears fruit, and, when it is complete, the flowers and fruits are enjoyed by persons who have sown the seed of the tree. Similarly, a man performs a sinful act, and like a seed it takes time to fructify. There are different stages. The sinful action may have already stopped within the individual, but the results or the fruit of that sinful action are still to be enjoyed. There are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as distress and pain.

 As explained in the twenty-eighth verse of the Seventh Chapter, a person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. In other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions. This statement is confirmed in the Padma Purana:

aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
visnu-bhakti-ratatmanam

For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish. Therefore the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called pavitram uttamam, the purest. Uttama means transcendental. Tamas means this material world or darkness, and uttama means that which is transcendental to material activities.

Devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service will know that they are not material activities. They are all spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature.

 It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Krsna (Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) in course of chanting without offenses feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Krsna consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.

Discovery:

1)      What is referred to as the king of all education? What are its chief qualities?

Understanding:

1)      What knowledge is considered very confidential? Why are people generally unaware of it?

2)       What is even more confidential than that to know? Why?

3)      Why is this knowledge the purest?

4)       Why is this knowledge mentioned to be transcendental?

5)      Describe how we can see the result of this knowledge?

6) 

7) 

8) 

9) 

Application:

     1) Describe the changes you have experienced in yourself after taking up Krsna consciousness.

10) 

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 activity (the Lord is pleased with one who preaches):

It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary suffering because of the suffering of people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshiping 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 Bhagavad-Gita (18.68-69), yaidam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati…….. na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah: “ One who preaches the message of Bhagabad-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 acivity 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 only for 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 people in general, the Lord very quickly recognizes such service performed by a devotee.

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

Discuss your visit to a new contact’s house along with one of your Bhakti Vrksha senior members. Ask the senior member also for his/her feed back on how the meeting went and what he learned from the visit. You can ask another senior member to accompany you for the following week. If each of the senior members gets to come a few times to these visits, they will gain confidence and the experience how to deal with the new people. They can then be entrusted to do the visits themselves taking along with them a junior member for training them as well.

Right now you can ask the junior members for their reports on whom they contacted for the week and what they managed to achieve by their effort (invited them for the program, sold them a book or just started to cultivate them in Krsna consciousness, etc). Give them further assignments for the week. If they carry some prasadam along with them while they make these preaching efforts, it is bound to be more effective.

Note down in a book the preaching efforts of everyone. This will help you plan better to cover all the people that need to be visited, and also to train all the members who need training to do the visiting  themselves.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

Always announce the member’s names that have sponsored for the prasadam, especially if it is for some special occasion.

 Encourage them also to make offerings of simple sweets in their homes and distribute it to their friends or acquaintances. It will be a very fulfilling service for them and will enable them to appreciate and understand the glories of prasadam even further.

Find out and narrate the pastime of why Lord Jagannath accepts so much prasadam at Puri and why He allows it to be distributed widely to everyone in Kali Yuga.

Please enter the details about your members attending this week:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks