Play some soft music of Krsna consciousness as you keep the house ready for the members to come in. You should have called each one of those who attended the program the previous week to remind them to please come this week too.
Since you have an idea about the individual members, you can take care to arrange the seats according to their convenience…. Some chairs for older people if required, etc. These personal touches will warm their hearts very much and they will then look forward to coming to a place where they are considered welcome and important.
It will be nice if you remember their names and address them to welcome them as they enter and as you usher them to their seats. You can engage in some informal talk about how their week passed by or about the weather or some public event etc… Do not let them sit alone and unattended till everyone arrives. They might feel a little uncomfortable. If you need to take care of something else for the program, then you can engage them by playing a Krsna conscious video or keep them busy with a Back to Godhead magazine.
You tell them that you are going to give them a topic on which each of them will have exactly a minute to speak on. Tell them that this exercise is just to make them unwind; relax with one another, and also to come to know each other personally.
The question you could ask them: “What do you do or where do you go when life becomes stressful?” or alternatively: “What would be your ideal one-month vacation?”
As you ask the first person to your left, encourage them with your smiles and eye contact, so they feel reassured to start. You can yourself speak on the topic for one minute as you look to your neighbor to continue. You should be very attentive and responsive to every member, encouraging them with appreciation, etc as they speak. This will give them a lot of confidence to open up and speak, which is very important if you want their good participation during group discussion.
Tell them that you are going to have a short Kirtan for 15 minutes.
Distribute the sheets having the Srila Prabhupada’s Pranam Mantra, Hare Krsna Mahamantra and the Mangala Archana.
Start a soft Kirtana with a simple tune (ideally Srila Prabhupada’s dhun), so that it is easy for everyone to follow.
You can invite every member to come and offer incense sticks to the photos in the altar, even while the Kirtan is going on.
Read out first, the following passage from:
If they express any doubts with what was being read, you can explain it to them. You could also summarize what was read in a few sentences so that the message remains clear in their minds .Enquire from them if they would like to try chanting themselves together now. If they sound open or positive, distribute japa malas to everyone and explain to them how the japa mala is held in the hand while chanting. Chant one round of japa or just half a round, together. Encourage the members to chant by maintaining eye contact with them and by smiling, so that they feel enthused to chant. You can stop with half a round if you want.
If the majority of them seem a little reluctant or hesitate to take to chanting right away, you can wait for a few more weeks before chanting with them. You have to be interactive with them and gauge their mood and decide on how much you can get them to do.People are all different and require different approaches for being enticed to Krsna consciousness.
Spiritual Edification: 45 minutes
Please read out the passage and start asking the questions.(Do not explain it to them.) Let the people assembled find out the answers from the passage themselves. Please engage everyone in answering. You can ask two, three people to add to the same answer. Move from one person to the next and give them sufficient time to think. You could ask leading questions for them to go deeper and clearer in understanding the subject matter and in giving relevant replies.
The application question has to be answered by everyone.
This is the most important part of the discussion, and so you must provide sufficient time of at least 15 to 20 minutes for it.
The Bhakti Vrksa leader should at last sum up all the points and give more points that he has.
SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION :
From “Coming Back “ The science of Reincarnation”
BY HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
Pg 103- 107
Two children are born at the same time on the same day. The parents of the first are wealthy and well educated and have anxiously awaited the arrival of their first –born for years. Their child, a boy, is bright, healthy and attractive, with a future full of promise. Surely destiny has smiled upon him.
The second child enters into an entirely different world. He is born to a mother who was abandoned while pregnant. In her poverty she feels little enthusiasm to rear her sickly new off spring. The road ahead is fraught with difficulties and hardships, and to rise above them will not be easy.
The world is full of disparities like these, blatant inequalities that often provoke questions: How could providence be so unfair? What did George and Mary do to have their son born blind? They are good people. God is so unkind!”
The principles of re- incarnation, however allow us to view life with a much broader perspective- from the stand point of eternity. From this point of view, one brief lifetime is seen not as the beginning of our existence, but as nothing more than a flash in time, and we can understand that an apparently pious person who may be suffering greatly is suffering greatly is suffering the effects of impious activities performed in this or previous lives.
With this broader vision of universal justice we can see how each individual soul is alone responsible for its own Karma.
Our actions are compared to seeds. Initially they are performed or planted, and over a course of time they gradually fructify, releasing their resultant reactions.
Such reactions may produce either suffering or enjoyment for the living being, and he may respond by either improving his character or by becoming increasingly animal like.
A criminal chooses to enter prison by willful transgression of law, but another man may be appointed to sit on the Supreme court by dint of his excellence of service.
This is the special benediction of human life- even if one is destined to suffer terribly for impious acts performed in this and previous lives, one can by taking up the process of Krsna consciousness, change his Karma. The soul in a human body stands at the evolutionary mid point. From here the living entity can choose either degradation, or liberation from reincarnation.
If a living being makes some degree of spiritual progress in his present life, then in the next life he is allowed to continue from that point. The Lord tells His disciple Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita, “In this endeavor (Krsna consciousness) there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the greatest type of fear (returning in a lower- than- human form in the next life).” The soul may thus develop its inherent spiritual qualities through many lives, until it no longer has to reincarnate in a material body, until it returns to its original home in the spiritual world.
1) Mention some inequalities we find in life among different people in their enjoyment and suffering.
1) Why do even pious people suffer sometimes?
2) Explain why each person is responsible for his own Karma
3) How can we overcome our suffering and bad Karma?
4) What are the advantages of taking up Krsna consciousness?
1) Have you believed in the theory of reincarnation so far? Why or why not?
2) Do you want to change your Karma? Do you think Krsna consciousness will help you achieve that? Why do you think so?
Preaching Session: 15 minutes
Read the passage below:
Preaching is the Essence
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Lord sends His representatives to end the living entities’ suffering:
…… because He the (the Lord) wants to maintain the creation, He desires the mass of people to follow the right path of self realization, which enables the living beings to enter into the kingdom of God. The Lord wants the suffering human beings to come back home back to Him, and cease to suffer the threefold material pangs. The whole plan of creation is made in that way, and one who does not come to his senses suffers in the material world by pangs inflicted by the illusory energy of the Lord.
More discussion will follow in the following weeks when the full 15 minutes will be utilized. But for now you could just explain this paragraph to them.
Prasadam: 20 minutes
Distribute some simple but tasty prasadam and while everyone is partaking the prasadam, have some friendly and light hearted conversation with everyone.
Please enter the details about your members attending this week:
Current Siksa status