Welcome all the members and guests. Make a change in the seating arrangement, as today they would all have to sit facing the speaker, rather than in a circle.
Have the black board/ white board ready with chalk or marker as the case may be, for the seminar. Have a chair and table arranged for the speaker. Discuss with your senior leader about who could possibly enact the short skit which is part of the seminar given below.
Also show him/her the seminar material well in advance, so that they can be well prepared. Prepare the handouts to be given at the end of the class. This could be the forms that have to be filled up as an application for receiving the siksha certificate. A copy of the siksha application form is given at the end of the book.
Request the senior to lead a kirtan for twenty minutes.
Seminar: 90 minutes
Module For Guru Asraya
v To motivate members to take shelter from an initiating Guru of ISKCON.
v To inspire them to commit themselves to following all the rules very scrupulously.
At the end of the lesson the participants will be able to:
Give their names for taking shelter
Conditions: They will volunteer to commit these things.
Criteria: At least 75% of the members attending the program will agree to take up shelter immediately.
Assessment: By orally asking them at the end of the class.
Preparation: For the lecture session on the guru you can have a flip chart having all the points mentioned.
LESSON OUTLINE :
The whole class
Small notes of paper and pens
Summing Up and Question & Answer session
LESSON PLAN :
Have 2 devotees practice the following skit and enact it before the audience: In case it is not possible to enact it, you can ask two devotees to read it out slowly and clearly, but with expression.
Dhruva is standing on one leg , deep in meditation, chanting the mantra “Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”.
Slowly, he smiles in deep satisfaction.
Lord Krsna appears.
Dhruva immediately opens his eyes. He is very agitated, excited and falls flat paying obeisances. Then he raises his head and keeps drinking the beauty of the Lord and then embraces His lotus feet.
Dhruva attempts to speak something, but is not able to. The Lord then touches his head with a conch shell.
Dhruva(with folded hands): My dear Lord, You are all powerful. After entering within me, You have enlivened all my sleeping senses—my hands, legs, ears, touch sensation, life force and especially my power of speech. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
The Lord smiles and keeps looking at Dhruva.
Dhruva: My Lord, You are the supreme one. You appear differently in the spiritual and the material worlds. In the material world, You create everything by Your external energy Maya. Then You enter the material world as the Paramatma or Super soul. You create varieties of manifestations in the material world, according to the 3 modes of material
People who worship You simply for sense gratification are certainly misled by Maya. In spite of having You, who are like a desire tree and are the cause of liberation from birth and death, foolish persons such as me , desire benedictions from You for sense gratification, which is available even for animals , and those living in hellish conditions.
I was overcome by my material desires for positon and fame, but it is by the mercy of my spiritual master that I have found You now.
My beloved spiritual master Narada muni, who is always hankering after Your Divine lotus feet, and is always serving you took pity on me and instructed me on how I can achieve You!
I have been so fortunate to have a guru coming in such a bonafide sampradaya .
He destroyed all the obstacles in my devotional service. I was a young boy alone in the jungle, and my mind was prone to be disturbed by the roar of wild animals. But by my Guru’s shelter and protection I have achieved perfection so fast! All my karmas and sinful reactions have been destroyed only by his mercy!
Krsna: My dear Dhruva, you were looking so earnestly for ME. Being the Paramatma in Your heart, I knew your desire and so I sent him to you. Iam very pleased that you took advantage of his mercy and instructions to attain ME. But you also desired something material, and I am going to fulfill that as well.
Dhruva: No, no Lord, I was looking for some broken pieces of glass, but have found You the most precious diamond. I have no need for anything else!
And since it is by the mercy of my Gurudeva, that I have found You, I want to engage eternally in serving my spiritual master. I want to eternally be the servant of Your dear servant.
Krsna: My dear Dhruva, I am very pleased by your devotion to your Guru. It is simply your full devotion and faith in your Guru that has attracted Me to you.
I will still award you the kingdom of the pole star, which is circumambulated by all the planets, stars and solar systems. I Myself reside there in an island called Sveta dvipa situated on an ocean of milk. At the end of your material life in this body you will come go to my planet, never to come back again to this miserable material world.
Krsna blesses Dhruva and leaves.
Dhruva: Oh! By following the instructions of my Guru I have been blessed so much. All my material and spiritual desires are fully satisfied!
But I still feel ashamed for having those material desires. When my spiritual master preached to me about the impermanent nature of this material world, and to advised me to tolerate the insults of others, I could not follow him. And that is why Iam still left here in this material world to enjoy for so many years away from my beloved Lord Krsna.
My Guru has been so merciful to me not minding my mistakes and offenses and given me this most wonderful benediction of Krsna consciousness! Iam eternally indebted to my spiritual father! He has shown me by example what it is to be a devotee. H e is the personification of the book Bhagavatam. I can never exist for a moment without his protection and guidance.
Group Discussion : Divide the class into groups by calling out numbers and grouping them according to similar numbers.
Ask them to note down points on the topic: Why is it necessary to accept a spiritual Master?
One spokesperson from each group can come and read out 2 points each.
Points you can cover:
1) Sastra’s instructions
2) Guru worship is greater than even the worship of the Lord
3) The Lord set an example Himself
4) To receive perfect knowledge& clarify doubts
5) To understand transcendental subject matter
6) Guru is the representative of Krishna
7) Easy to approach the Lord’s representative
8) Guru is mercy incarnation of Krishna
9) Only with blessings of the Guru advancement is possible
10) Instructions of Guru liberates us
11) Initiation necessary to go back to Godhead
12) To solve all the problems of life
13) To be protected in our devotional service
14) Krsna prema possible only by his mercy
Explain each point clearly during the lecture.
Qualifications of a bona fide spiritual master
1) Follows our disciplic succession always
2) Is fixed in bhakti yoga
3) Speaks from the sastra
4) Does not speculate
5) Is fully submissive and faithful to his guru’s instructions
6) Is a great devotee of Krishna
7) Is self- controlled
8) Shows us by example
9) Can clear all our spiritual doubts
10) Gives proper directions
11) Ability to liberate his disciples with his instructions
12) Is very merciful and compassionate
13) Is engaged fully in delivering all the fallen souls
Qualifications of an ideal disciple
1) Is inquisitive to know the spiritual truths.
2) Enquires submissively from the Guru.
3) Does not argue
4) Renders selfless service to the Guru.
5) Follows all the instructions of the Guru
6) Tries to satisfy and please the Guru
7) Respects the Guru as Krsna’s representative
8) Avoids all offenses to the Guru
9) Is fully surrendered to the Guru
10) Tries to help in the Guru’s mission
11) Is self controlled
12) Is humble before the Guru
13) Has firm faith in the Guru
14) Worships and glorifies the Guru
Ask for possible obstacles in taking up shelter. Clarify doubts. Check if they are following all the rules for Prabhupada Asraya.
Then distribute the application form for shelter to them. (A copy of it is at the back of this book.)