As the days are nearing for the vrinda to divide, and for devotees to make solid commitments in siksha of taking Guru Ashraya as well as in taking up services of responsibility, the air must be full of mixed feelings of excitement, anticipation, nervousness and the pain of separation. Understand what they are going through and empathize with them in their sharing of emotions. You can encourage, inspire, and cheer them up to meet the challenges successfully. Since the preaching mood has been instilled in them through training, they will be strong to face the demands made on them.
Satsanga: 15 minutes
Engage one of the senior devotees of your group to lead the Satsanga.
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.
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. .
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.
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.
FROM “BHAGAVAD-GITA As It Is
BY DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
Bg. Ch-17 Text-20,21 and 22
datavyam iti yad danam
dese kale ca patre ca
tad danam sattvikam smrtam
Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness.
In the Vedic literature, charity given to a person engaged in spiritual activities is recommended. There is no recommendation for giving charity indiscriminately. Spiritual perfection is always a consideration. Therefore charity is recommended to be given at a place of pilgrimage and at lunar or solar eclipses or at the end of the month or to a qualified brahmana or a Vaisnava (devotee) or in temples. Such charities should be given without any consideration of return. Charity to the poor is sometimes given out of compassion, but if a poor man is not worth giving charity to, then there is no spiritual advancement. In other words, indiscriminate charity is not recommended in the Vedic literature.
yat tu pratyupakarartham
phalam uddisya va punah
diyate ca pariklistam
tad danam rajasam smrtam
But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion.
Charity is sometimes performed for elevation to the heavenly kingdom and sometimes with great trouble and with repentance afterwards: “Why have I spent so much in this way?” Charity is also sometimes given under some obligation, at the request of a superior. These kinds of charity are said to be given in the mode of passion.
There are many charitable foundations which offer their gifts to institutions where sense gratification goes on. Such charities are not recommended in the Vedic scripture. Only charity in the mode of goodness is recommended.
adesa-kale yad danam
apatrebhyas ca diyate
tat tamasam udahrtam
And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
Contributions for indulgence in intoxication and gambling are not encouraged here. That sort of contribution is in the mode of ignorance. Such charity is not beneficial; rather, sinful persons are encouraged. Similarly, if a person gives charity to a suitable person but without respect and without attention, that sort of charity is also said to be in the mode of darkness.
1) Describe charity in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.
1) What is the purpose of giving charity?
2) Who is worth giving charity to?
3) What kinds of charities are forbidden in the scriptures?
1) Discuss some charities that devotees can perform. Ask everyone to give suggestions. Ask them to share with everyone the charities they are already performing, or those they would like to give.
Preaching Session: 15 minutes
Read out the following passage:
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 feed back 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
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
Always announce the names of the devotees who have helped in sponsoring, purchasing, cooking, offering and distributing the prasadam and in cleaning up Normally though everyone benefits greatly by these services, they tend to be left unnoticed or unappreciated and taken for granted.
Appreciation can enthuse the devotees to serve Krsna better, and also inspire more people to join in the services, and taste the nectar of doing so. The ones who acknowledge their services also feel good for having done so.
Please enter the details about your members attending this week:
Current Siksa status