During the week since your last program, you should have kept in touch with your visitors just to enthuse them to come again the following week. But if some of them do not come again the succeeding week, there is nothing to be disheartened about. It takes time for people, even favorable people to make a commitment to be regular in their attendance week after week.
As they enter, you can make them feel more secure in the familiarity of the last visits, by enquiring how they have been doing in the week gone by… about their work, family, etc… not too probing or over familiar, but just expressing your concern and well wishes for them.
Make sure that they relax in their seats. Let there be some nice Krsna conscious literature, pictures or objects in the surrounding, for them to browse through.
When it is time to start, go straight ahead. People, when they see that you are very keen about keeping time, they will follow suit, if not for the interest they have in the program, at least to not be thought of as being tardy.
Satsanga : 15 minutes
After you have introduced any new visitor that may have come, you ask them this question: “If you could spend the rest of your life doing exactly whatever you like, what would you do?”
Don’t pass judgments on what people say, but encourage and be appreciative of everybody’s participation. Remember that this is not a session meant for imparting knowledge to them, though that can also happen naturally, but the primary motive is to make people open up and relax, and get to know one another.
Continue as in the previous weeks by distributing the sheet containing the pranama mantras and the Hare Krsna mantra as well as the glorifications at the end of the kirtana.
Have a sweet but simple kirtana for 15 minutes, that they all feel comfortable to participate and learn the tune. It is very important that they understand that should concentrate on the vibrations of the Mantra, rather than the music. If they request for a longer period of Kirtana, you can always ask them to come some of the other programs which have a longer duration. Otherwise, if the Kirtana time is extended you will not have sufficient time for the other sessions, which are equally important and necessary for them.
Read out first, the following passage from:
Chant loudly together one mala on the beads after chanting the Panca tattva mantra 3 times.
At the end of chanting, you could ask them how they felt, during and after the process of chanting. If they show some signs of appreciation, you can ask them if they would like to try it at home. If they volunteer to do so, then you can sell them some beads to chant on. You could also request them to bring the beads along for the next program.
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.
You should at last sum up all the points and give more points that you have.
From “The Science of Self Realization”
BY HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
Krsna consciousness is not a question of belief, it is a science.
The first step is to know the difference between a living body and a dead body. What is the difference? The difference is that when someone dies, the spirit soul, or the living force, leaves the body. And therefore the body is called “dead.” So there are two things: one is this body; and the other, the living force within the body.
One must first understand that he is a soul, or something other than this body.
For example, as a child grows, he becomes a boy, the boy becomes a young man, the young man becomes an adult, and the adult becomes an old man. Throughout all this time, although his body is changing from a child to an old man, he still feels himself to be the same person, with the same identity. The body is changing, but the occupier of the body, the soul is remaining the same.
So when your body is finished, annihilated, you are not finished. You get another body, just as you may change your coat and shirt. If you come to see me tomorrow wearing a different shirt and a different coat, does that mean that you are a different person?
No. Similarly, each time you die, you change your bodies, but you, the spirit soul within the body remain the same. This point has to be understood. Then one can make further progress in the science of Krsna consciousness.
The spirit soul is invisible to our material eyes. It is atomic in size. After the destruction of the gross body, which is made up of the senses, blood, bone, fat, and so forth, the subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego goes on working. So at the time of death, this subtle body carries the small spirit soul to another gross body.
The process is just like air carrying fragrance. Nobody can see where this rose fragrance is coming from, but we know that it is being carried by air. You cannot see how, but it is being done. Similarly, the process of transmigration of the soul is very subtle. According to the condition of the mind at the time of death, the minute spirit soul enters into the womb of a particular mother through the semen of a father, and then the soul develops a particular type of body given by the mother. It may be a human being, it may be a cat, a dog, or anything.
You are eternal. According to your work, you are simply changing bodies. Therefore, you should want to know how to stop this business, how you can remain in your original, spiritual body. This is Krsna consciousness.
1) What is the difference between a living body and a dead body?
1) Explain with an example, how we can understand that we keep changing our bodies, but we are the eternal soul.
2) How does the soul transmigrate from one body to the next, at death?
3) Why do we get different types of bodies?
4) When can we stop changing our bodies?
1) Do you feel relieved to know that you are an eternal soul? Share your impressions.
Preaching session: 15 minutes
Please read out first the passage given below:
From Preaching is the Essence
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lord Caitanya orders that the devotee should preach
A devotee must carry out the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “yare dekha, tare kaha “Krsna”- upadesha”.
Every devotee, therefore should spread Krsna consciousness by preaching, asking whomever he meets to accept the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord says, Sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me”. This is the order of the Lord, who speaks as the supreme emperor. Everyone should be induced to accept this order, for this is victory (dig-vijaya). And it is the duty of the soldier, the devotee, to impress upon everyone this philosophy of life..
Explain to the members the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement. How Srila Prabhupada took the austerity of preaching both in his house- holder life as well as at the ripe old age of 70 to give this spiritual knowledge to everyone. Also a brief account of how this movement has spread all over the world.
You can read the Prabhupada lilamrta chapters ---------& ____________. Cover the following points: 1) Srila Prabhupada was a busy householder with responsibilities of maintaining his family. Yet his obligation to his spiritual master to preach the message of Krishna consciousness to others, made him publish the “Back to Godhead” magazine single handedly and also distribute it to all the people on the streets.
2) He renounced his family life in his fifties just to prepare himself to go to the west. At the advanced age of 70, renouncing his peaceful life in Vrindavana, he set sail in a cargo ship with no support or money to the USA to give the message to the whole world to fulfill his spiritual master’s desire and instructions.
3) How the movement has spread all over the since then with sincere disciples and followers helping him in his mission. There were 108 temples when Srila Prabhupada left this planet and now it is still growing. We have more than 400 temples, farms and restaurants all over the world, with millions of followers of ISKCON all over the world.
4) By this congregational preaching, it is bound to bring the good fortune to more and more people .
Prasadam : 20 minutes
You can explain to them how the food you are serving them is not ordinary. It has been prepared with great care and offered to the Lord while thinking about Him. Also how this honoring of prasadam will give them great spiritual credit… destroy sins and give them faith and love for Krsna.
This will help them appreciate the value of prasadam and respect it.
Take great care in serving them the prasadam with attention, and also in having a light hearted conversation with them while you are doing so.
They are learning everything from you. So you have to set a very good example as well, besides making them feel comfortable with you.
Immediately after the members have left the program, kindly fill in the following report:
Current Siksa status