Even though the majority of the members should be making progress in their devotional commitments along expected lines, there are still a few who may opt to it at a slower or faster pace. So rather than make them wait for the siksha ceremonies mentioned after every few months, you can give away the certificates to them as they are progressing , at the weekly Sunday/ Saturday/ Friday programs of your yatra. This will cater to the speed of each individual and maximize the speed in which they advance spiritually.
Satsanga: 15 minutes
For those who are still a little new to the group or are somehow not reading yet, you could ask the question: What makes you laugh more?
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.
Also the offering of incense by every member to the Alter Deities or Deity pictures can be done.
Read out first, the following passage from:
Chant a mala of japa together loudly after chanting the Panca tattva mantra 3 times together. You could ask one or two members to share their realizations on how they are progressing in their japa, both in the number of malas as well in the quality of their chanting. The others you could ask in the subsequent weeks.
Spiritual Edification- 45 minutes
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. If there is more than one member, you can facilitate a discussion between them separately. 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 topics etc, to substantiate the topic.
From “Bhagavad-gita As it is
BY DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA
Bg. Ch-8 Text-17
ahar yad brahmano viduh
te ’ho-ratra-vido janah
By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.
The duration of the material universe is limited. It is manifested in cycles of kalpas. A kalpa is a day of Brahma, and one day of Brahma consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas, or ages: Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali.
The cycle of Satya is characterized by virtue, wisdom and religion, there being practically no ignorance and vice, and the yuga lasts 1,728,000 years. In the Treta-yuga vice is introduced, and this yuga lasts 1,296,000 years. In the Dvapara-yuga there is an even greater decline in virtue and religion, vice increasing, and this yuga lasts 864,000 years. And finally in Kali-yuga (the yuga we have now been experiencing over the past 5,000 years) there is an abundance of strife, ignorance, irreligion and vice, true virtue being practically nonexistent, and this yuga lasts 432,000 years.
In Kali-yuga vice increases to such a point that at the termination of the yuga the Supreme Lord Himself appears as the Kalki avatara, vanquishes the demons, saves His devotees, and commences another Satya-yuga. Then the process is set rolling again. These four yugas, rotating a thousand times, comprise one day of Brahma, and the same number comprise one night. Brahma lives one hundred of such “years” and then dies. These “hundred years” by earth calculations total to 311 trillion and 40 billion earth years.
By these calculations the life of Brahma seems fantastic and interminable, but from the viewpoint of eternity it is as brief as a lightning flash. In the Causal Ocean there are innumerable Brahmas rising and disappearing like bubbles in the Atlantic. Brahma and his creation are all part of the material universe, and therefore they are in constant flux.
In the material universe not even Brahma is free from the process of birth, old age, disease and death. Brahma, however, is directly engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord in the management of this universe—therefore he at once attains liberation.
Elevated sannyasis are promoted to Brahma’s particular planet, Brahmaloka, which is the highest planet in the material universe and which survives all the heavenly planets in the upper strata of the planetary system, but in due course Brahma and all the inhabitants of Brahmaloka are subject to death, according to the law of material nature.
1) What is a kalpa? What is its duration?
2) What are the 4 yugas? What are their characteristics? How long does each yuga last?
3) How many years totally does Lord Brahma live?
4) How is Sathya yuga re-established after the dark age of Kali yuga?
1) Why is even the extraordinary life of a Brahma insignificant ultimately?
2) How does Lord Brahma attain his liberation?
3) What is special about Brahma loka? Who attains to Brahma loka?
4) Why is attaining Brahmaloka too insignificant ultimately?
1) Discuss about where you would like to go at the end of life. Why do you want to go there?
Preaching Session : 15 minutes
Read out the following passage:
Discuss your visit to a new contact’s house along with one of your Bhakti Vrksha senior members. Ask the senior member also for his/her feed back on how the meeting went and what he learned from the visit. You can ask another senior member to accompany you for the following week. If each of the senior members gets to come a few times to these visits, they will gain confidence and the experience how to deal with the new people. They can then be entrusted to do the visits themselves taking along with them a junior member for training them as well.
Right now you can ask the junior members for their reports on whom they contacted for the week and what they managed to achieve by their effort (invited them for the program, sold them a book or just started to cultivate them in Krsna consciousness, etc). Give them further assignments for the week. If they carry some prasadam along with them while they make these preaching efforts, it is bound to be more effective.
Prasadam: 20 minutes
Always announce the member’s names that have sponsored for the prasadam, especially if it is for some special occasion.
Encourage them also to make offerings of simple sweets in their homes and distribute it to their friends or acquaintances. It will be a very fulfilling service for them and will enable them to appreciate and understand the glories of prasadam even further.
Immediately after the devotees have left the program, kindly fill in the following form:
Please enter the details about your members attending this week:
Current Siksa status