Week 48

Even from earlier weeks, it was suggested that if some of your members ever requested you that they host the Bhakti Vrksha for a week or few weeks in their homes, it would be a good idea to do so. It would give them blessings and happiness and the opportunity to attract their neighbors, friends and relatives to attend the program. This way you can gradually increase your contacts for cultivating them into regular members.

Now it is even more relevant to rotate the program in the trainee leaders’ homes, so that they get into the habit of hosting programs.

Satsanga:  15 minutes.

 

Engage one of the senior devotees of your group to lead the Satsanga.

Let them go through the following instructions before conducting it.

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: “Tell us about one thing that you learned the hard way, through direct experience?”

 

 

 

Kirtana: 15 minutes

Assign another senior devotee of the group to lead the Kirtana. Let them be responsible for the Kirtana session by ensuring that the new members get the copies of the mantras being sung, and that they offer the incense to the Deities .

 

 

Japa…. 15 minutes

You can ask another devotee to read out the following passage. Let him  conduct the japa session by leading the japa. After japa, He should ask two or three devotees from the group to share their progress in their daily chanting.  .

                            Sri Namamrta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page 257

If one can control the tongue by engaging it in tasting prasada and chanting Hare Krsna, all the other senses can be controlled:

Self-control means that one should not accept anything which is detrimental to the path of spiritual progress. One should become accustomed to this and reject anything which is against the path of spiritual progress. This is real renunciation. The senses are so strong that they are always anxious to have sense gratification. One should not cater to these demands, which are not necessary. The senses should only be gratified to keep the body fit so that one can discharge his duty in advancing in spiritual life. The most important and uncontrollable sense is the tongue. If one can control the tongue, then there is every possibility of controlling the senses. The function of the tongue is to taste and to vibrate.

Therefore, by systematic regulation, the tongue should always be engaged in tasting the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krsna and chanting Hare Krsna.        

                                                                                    Bhagavad-gita As It Is 13.8-12

Spiritual Edification- 45 minutes

Please ask the trainee leader to go through the following instructions and the passage well in advance and discuss with you about extra points on the topic before the session.

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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.  You can have a discussion for them separately. If there is only one new member, you can have a discussion with him. 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 issues, etc, to substantiate the topic.

SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION 
FROM   “BHAGAVAD-GITA As It Is

BY DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg. Ch-8 Text-21

TEXT 21

avyaktoksara ity uktas

tam ahuh paramam gatim

yam prapya na nivartante

tad dhama paramam mama

TRANSLATION

That which the Vedantists describe as unmanifest and infallible, that which is known as the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, one never returns—that is My supreme abode.

PURPORT

The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is described in the Brahma-samhita as cintamani-dhama, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Krsna, known as Goloka Vrndavan, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees, called “desire trees,” that supply any type of eatable upon demand, and there are cows, known as surabhi cows, which supply a limitless supply of milk. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (Laksmis), and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes.

The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute (venum kvanantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds—His eyes are like lotus petals, and the color of His body is like the color of clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of Cupids. He wears saffron cloth, a garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna gives only a small hint of His personal abode, Goloka Vrndavana, which is the supermost planet in the spiritual kingdom

. A vivid description is given in the Brahma-samhita. Vedic literatures (Katha Upanisad 1.3.11) state that there is nothing superior to the abode of the Supreme Godhead, and that that abode is the ultimate destination (purusan na param kincit sa kastha parama gatih). When one attains to it, he never returns to the material world.

Krsna’s supreme abode and Krsna Himself are non-different, being of the same quality. On this earth, Vrndavan, ninety miles southeast of Delhi, is a replica of that supreme Goloka Vrndavan located in the spiritual sky. When Krsna descended on this earth, He sported on that particular tract of land known as Vrndavan, comprising about eighty-four square miles in the district of Mathura, India.

Discovery:

1) Describe Goloka Vrndavan  or the spiritual world as given in the Brahma samhita

2) Describe Lord Krishna’s form as given in the Brahma samhita..

Understanding:

1)    What is very significant about the nature of the spiritual world?

2)    Why is the land known as Vrindavan 90 miles south east of Delhi situated on this earth, equally important and worshipable as the original Goloka Vrndavan?

Application:

1) Have you read the pastimes in the book “Krishna The Supreme Personality of Godhead” by HDG Srila Prabhupada? Share a pastime of Krishna’s from that book. If you have not read the book, then share all that you know about Lord Krishna from any of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Preaching Session: 15 minutes

Read out the following passage:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                  

Page 53

Members of ISKCON should be assured of the Lord’s protection and preach:

In all kinds of danger, they (the members of the Krsna consciousness society) should be confident of their protection by the Visnudutas or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed it Bhagavad-gita (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati). Material danger is not meant for devotees. This is also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Padam padam yad vipadam na tesam: in this material world there are dangers at every step, but they are not meant for devotees who have fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The pure devotees of Lord Visnu may rest assured of the Lord’s protection, and as long as they are in this material world they should fully engage in devotional service by preaching the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Krsna, namely the Hare Krsna movement of Krsna consciousness

                                                                        Bhg. 6.3.18 (VI:, P. 161-162)

Ask the devotees who conducted the various parts of the Bhakti Vrksha now, to share their realizations on their new experiences. You can also ask for the group’s evaluation of the various trainees’ performances. Since all of them are their peers, no one will mind this kind of evaluation. On the other hand it can be very helpful in boosting their confidence as well as in giving the necessary feedback on how effective they were and where they need to improve.  Your judgment of their performance is very important for them to understand the correct standards of evaluation. For example, it is not necessary that a good speaker is the best leader, but that one who facilitates well is the one who is good

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Ask for the report of the home visits of the senior devotees along with juniors to some new contacts’ homes.

Continue taking a senior devotee along with you to visit more junior devotees’ homes.

Fix up which devotee is going to accompany you for the week.

You can enquire from the group their progress in their book distribution, prasadam distribution, street Sankirtan, etc. These experiences will give them exposure to dealing with new people and gaining contacts for inviting them to different programs, especially the outreach programs and the new vrindas to be started by the trainee leaders shortly.

Prasadam: 20 minutes

Make sure that the devotees preparing prasadam are the ones who are chanting 16 rounds and following the 4 regulative principles.

If an initiated devotee can supervise them, it would be ideal. But in the absence or unavailability of such a person to do the service, persons who have taken Srila Prabhupada Ashraya can be engaged in the service. But please be very strict about the standards they follow while cooking: standards of cleanliness, standards of how they maintain their Krishna consciousness devotion while cooking (can be chanting or listening to Krishna conscious kirtans and lectures from the tapes/CDs), and standards  of offering  bhoga to the Lord.

Immediately after the devotees have left the program kindly fill in the following from:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks

         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

Please enter the details about your members attending this week: