Week 35

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

 

Share an interesting and useful point that you have learnt from Srila Prabhupada’s books during the week, and ask others also to do so in turn. Request them to start reading Srila Prabhupada’s Lilamrta, and share points from it.

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?

 

Kirtana: 15 minutes

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.

 

Japa…. 15 minutes

Read out first, the following passage from:

                            Sri Namamrta  - The Nectar of the Holy Name

Page 154

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastime of causing the animals of Jharikhanda forest to chant and dance:

When the Lord passed through the solitary forest chanting the holy name of Krsna, the tigers and elephants, seeing Him, gave way. When the Lord passed through the jungle in great ecstasy, packs of tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and boars came, and the Lord passed right through them. Balabhadra Bhattacarya was very much afraid to see the animals, but by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s influence, all the animals stood to one side.

One day a tiger was lying on the path, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, walking along the path in ecstatic love, touched the tiger with His feet. The Lord said, “Chant the holy name of Krsna”.  The tiger immediately got up and began to dance and chant, “Krsna! Krsna!”Another day, while Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was bathing in a river, a herd of maddened elephant came there to drink water. While the Lord was bathing and murmuring the Gayatri mantra, the elephants came before Him. The Lord immediately splashed some water on the elephants and asked them to chant the name of Krsna. The elephants whose bodies were touched by the water splashed by the Lord began to chant, “Krsna! Krsna!” and dance and sing in ecstasy, Some of the elephants fell to the ground, and some screamed in ecstasy, Seeing this, Balabhadra Bhattacarya was completely astonished.

Sometimes Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu chanted very loudly while passing through the jungle. Hearing His sweet voice, all the does came near Him. Hearing the Lord’s great vibration, all the does followed Him left and right. While reciting a verse with great curiosity, the Lord patted them. “Blessed are all these foolish deer because they have approached the son of Maharaja Nanda, who is gorgeously dressed and is playing on His flute. Indeed, both the does and the bucks worship the Lord with looks of love and affection.”

While Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was passing through the jungle, five or seven tigers came. Joining the deer the tigers began to follow the Lord. Seeing the tingers and deer following Him, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately remembered the land of Vrndavan. He then began to recite a verse describing the transcendental quality of Vrndavana. “Vrndavana is the transcendental abode of  the lord. There is no hunger, anger or thirst there. Though naturally inimical, both human beings and fierce animals live together there in transcendental friendship.”

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Chant Krsna! Krsna!” the tigers and deer began to dance and chant “Krsna!” When all the tigers and does danced and jumped, Balabhadra Bhattacarya saw them and was struck with wonder. Indeed, the tigers and deer began to embrace one another, and, touching mouths, they began to kiss. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw all this fun, He began to smile. Finally He left the animals and continued on His way.

 Various birds, including the peacock, saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and began to follow Him, chanting and dancing. They were all maddened by the holy name of Krsn. When the Lord loudly chanted “Hari bol!” the trees and creepers became jubilant to hear Him.

Thus all living entities----some moving and some standing still in the forest of Jharikhand-----became maddened by hearing the holy name of Lord Krsna vibrated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

                                                            Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila  17.25-46

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.

SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION 

From   “Bhagavad-gita  As it is

BY DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

Bg. Ch-8 Text-17

sahasra-yuga-paryantam

ahar yad brahmano viduh

ratrim yuga-sahasrantam

te ’ho-ratra-vido janah

TRANSLATION

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.

PURPORT

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.

Discovery:

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?

Understanding:

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?

Application:

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:

                                       Preaching is the essence

                   His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada                 

Page 29

Devotees must preach all over the world, as ordered by the spiritual  master :

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotional cult teaches one not to sit down in one place but to spread the devotional cult all over the world. The Lord dispatched Sanatan Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami to Vrndavana to excavate and renovate the holy places and from there establish the cult of bhakti. Therefore Vrndavana was given to Sanatan Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami as their place to residence.

 Similarly, everyone in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotional cult should accept the words of the spiritual master and thus spread the Krsna consciousness movement. They should go everywhere, to all parts of the world, accepting those places as prabhu-datta desa, the places of residence given by the spiritual master or Lord Krsna.

The spiritual master is the representative of Lord Krsna; therefore one who has carried out the orders of the spiritual master is understood to have carried out the orders of Krsna or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to spread the bhakti cult all over the world {prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama}. Therefore devotees in the line of Krsna consciousness must go to different parts of the world and preach, as ordered by the spiritual master. That will satisfy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

                                                                                           Cc. Antya 4.144( Anta:2,p.69)                           

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:

No:

Members

Attendance

   Current Siksa status

Remarks