It is not enough if you think of your Bhakti Vrksa members just once a week a little before the program.
However old or otherwise qualified they may be, where spiritual life is concerned, they are beginners, like little children so to speak. So it requires a lot of involvement and meditation on our part during the week too to help them develop faster.
A child responds well to love, care and attention, to supervision, help and guidance and a lot of encouragement and appreciation. We can relive our own beginning days in Krsna consciousness and thus understand the needs of the new members.
They will have a lot of little doubts and curiosity about several things in Krsna consciousness. So if you are in touch with them and are communicative, they will find their new life in Krsna consciousness very exciting to discover.
You can share with them whatever relevant Krsna conscious news that would enthuse them, any articles, books, cassettes etc.
Besides, they also may look up to you for confiding their material problems/ interests.
Do not brush these topics aside when they come up because they may also be relevant to their spiritual development. They can learn to look at things and situations in a Krsna conscious way, they can start to think of using their talents and assets in Krsna’s service, learn to see how Krsna is controlling everything , etc…
You could ask the question, “What do you admire most in your parents?”
Once again, allow everybody a minute to express themselves.
Sometimes it is difficult to stop somebody when they continue to speak for more than a minute lest they think their message is not being appreciated, so it is best that you make it very clear in the very beginning that everyone is requested to keep to time, otherwise you could easily lose track and end up doing nothing but “Ice- breakers” the whole program!
Continue with your regular Kirtan with Srila Prabhupada’s dhun. You can improve the quality of the Kirtana by putting into it all your energy and concentration to making it as Krsna conscious as possible. It will then penetrate their hearts and soften them so that they are more receptive to accept Krsna’s message.
Offering of incense to the Deities, will be very enthusing to them. Please engage little children also to do it. It also focuses attention on the Deities and arouses their service attitude.
Japa ….. 15 minutes
Read out this first:
Before you begin chanting the mala with them, enquire from those who had taken the beads in the previous class, if they were chanting regularly. Ask those who have started to chant, to share some realization on how they felt after chanting regularly every day.
Appreciate their commitment, and ask again if any one else would also like to start chanting regularly at least one mala every day.
Then continue with chanting together one mala on beads the Hare Krsna mantra loudly with them. If there are any new visitors, then explain to them how to hold the beads and chant.
Even children enjoy chanting, so if there are any children around, make sure that they too take part in Japa as well as Kirtan together.
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 SCIENCE OF SELF Realization
BY HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
Primarily, religion means to know God and to love Him. That is religion. Nowadays, because of a lack of training, nobody knows God, what to speak of loving Him.
People are satisfied simply going to the places of worship and praying, “O God, give us our daily bread.”
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, this is called cheating religion, because the aim is not to know and love God but to gain some personal profit.
In other words, if I profess to follow some religion, but I do not know who God is or how to love Him, then Iam practicing a cheating religion.
Whoever teaches how to know God and how to love Him- he is a spiritual master. Sometimes bogus men mislead people. “I am God,” they claim, and people who do not know what God is, believe them.
You must be a serious student to understand who God is and how to love Him. Otherwise, you will simply waste your time.
We are presenting the science of how one can know Krsna, the supreme personality of Godhead, by practicing the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. They teach us that our only business is to love God. Our business is not to ask God for our necessities. God gives necessities to everyone- even to one who has no religion. For example, cats and dogs have no religion, yet Krsna supplies them with the necessities of life. So why should we bother Krsna for our daily bread? He is already supplying it. Real religion means to learn how to love Him
First class religion teaches one how to love God without any motive. If I serve God for some profit, that is business- not love. Real love of God is ahaituki apratihata: it cannot be checked by any material cause.It is unconditional.If one actually wants to love God, there is no impediment. One can love Him whether one is poor or rich,young or old, black or white.
There are 4 classes of men: the karmis, the jananis, the yogis and the bhaktas.- and each achieves a different goal.
The karmis work for some material profit. For example, in the city, many people work hard day and night, and their purpose is to get some money.
A jnani is a person who thinks, “why am I working so hard? The birds, bees, elephants, and other creatures have no profession, yet they are also eating. So why should I unnecessarily work so hard? Rather let me try to solve the problems of life-birth, death, old age and disease.” Jnanis try to become immortal. They think that if they merge into God’s existence, then they will become immune to birth, death, old age and disease.
Yogis try to acquire some mystic power to exhibit a wonderful show. For instance, a yogi can become very small: if you put him in a locked room, he can come out through any little space. By showing this kind of magic, the yogi is immediately accepted as a very wonderful man. Of course, modern yogis simply show some gymnastics-they have no real power. But a real yogi has some power, which is not spiritual, but material.
But the bhakta or the devotee does’nt want anything for himself. He simply wants to serve God out of love, just as a mother serves her child. There is no question of profit in a mother’s service to her child. Out of pure affection and love , she cares for him.
When you come to this stage of loving God, that is perfection. Neither the karmi, the jnani, nor the yogi can know God- only the bhakta. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad Gita, bhaktya mam abhijanati: “Only through the process of bhakti can one understand God.” Krsna never says one can understand Him by other processes. No. Only through Bhakti. If you are interested in knowing God and loving Him, then you must accept the devotional process. No other process will help you.
1) What is real religion?
2) Who is a true spiritual master?
1) In what different ways are people cheated from following real religion?
2) What is Krsna consciousness teaching you?
3) Describe who is a karmi, jnani, yogi and bhakta.
4) Why is the bhakti or devotional process the best of all?
1) Share your realization on what you want from following religion, and why you want it.
Preaching Session : 15 minutes
Preaching is the Essence
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada
Devotees should rise from the neophyte stage to the preaching platform:
Everyone is eligible to become Krsna’s devotee. One simply has to be trained according to the approved process. It is the work of Krsna’s confidential devotees to turn everyone into a Krsna-bhakta. If the confidential devotees do not take up the task of elevating everyone to Krsna consciousness, then who will do it?
Those who claim to be devotees but do not engage in Krsna’s service to elevate all living creatures to Krsna consciousness are to be considered knishta-adhikaris(people in the lowest stage of devotional service). When one rises to the second platform of devotional service, his business is to propogate Krsna consciousness all over the world.
Those who are active in the Krsna consciousness movement should not remain in the neophyte stage but should rise to the platform of preachers, the second platform of devotional service.
Devotional service is so enchanting that even the first-class devotees (uttama –adhikaris)
Also come down to the second platform to preach and render service to the Lord for the benefit of the whole world.
You can share with them what preaching you did during the week. Enquire form them if anybody would be interested in bringing in new people to the program.
Give them guide lines on how exactly they can invite others in a very informal way explaining how we have Bhajans and a group discussion on Vedic scriptures.
They may not all volunteer immediately to invite new people as they may be still shy to reveal their new found interest among their friends and relatives who they fear might ridicule them for being interested in matters spiritual.
They may be already fielding some criticism, so you can ask them to reveal these things, as you can help them to give appropriate answers and responses to people.
Prasadam : 20 minutes:
As you have done in the previous week, request them to chant the prasadam mantra.
You can share with them what care you took in making the prasadam. How Krishna accepts food made with care and devotion for Him and how by accepting His remanents, our consciousness gets purified.
Immediately after the members have left the program, kindly fill in the following report:
Current Siksa status