Jaya Jaya Jagannatha Saciranandana

Bhajans | July 5, 2016 |

English; Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India

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Question: I have a new kind of service in our yatra since October 2011 – arranging children’s programs. The idea of it appeared last year. During Sunday programs the children are left to their own devices. While the parents are taking part in kirtana and listening to a class the children run about, make a noise, disturb the lecturer.… Expand>

Question:

I have a new kind of service in our yatra since October 2011 – arranging children’s programs. The idea of it appeared last year. During Sunday programs the children are left to their own devices. While the parents are taking part in kirtana and listening to a class the children run about, make a noise, disturb the lecturer.

Unfortunately parents don’t always pay attention to the kids and their behavior in the temple. Sometimes it caused the irritation of other devotees. Actually it was not clear for me how to hold these programs and what content they should have.

I was in Moscow last year in September and made acquaintances with a mataji who serves as a coordinator of children’s programs. She explained to me the way They organize such programs in Moscow yatra. After returning back home I asked the advice of Advaita-patni dd, Kalindi-priya dd and the devotees who have children. They gave me their blessings and I started my new service.

Children’s programs are held once a week on Saturdays and last about one and half hour. Children are divided into two groups: those who are 2-6 years old and those who are 7-10 years old. At first we arrange the program for the little children and then for the older ones. We learn to offer obeisances to the Deities and chant Maha mantra for 2 or 3 times, read about Krishna, play, draw and learn how one should behave himself in the temple. The little children offer their pictures and applications to the Deities. Then they chant Prasada Sevaya mantra and take prasadam, after that they wash the floor in the altar room.

The older children offer their obeisances to the Deities and chant one round of Maha mantra. We learn together the following topics: what is the Veda, what piety means, the qualities that pious people have, the law of God, the manners of behavior in the temple. The girls attending Sunday programs have their own Deities of Gopal and they are taught to make garlands. We plan to teach them to sew dresses for Deities and play musical instruments.

They also chant prasada-sevaya mantra, take prasadam and wash the floor in the altar room. The older children take care of the little ones during Sunday programs (dispense prasadam, help to wash hands). The adult devotees staged a New Year performance for the children about Father Frost (Santa) and his granddaughter seeking for Krishna. When we celebrated the Appearance Day of Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya the children had their own abhiseka for the Deities of Gopal. The older children rang the bell and made acaman. The little children recited poems about Krishna during the celebration of Lord Caitanya’s Appearance Day, the older ones showed a performance about a brahmana who prepared a feast at Jagannatha Misra’s house and Nimai ate that offering without permission. We are planning to stage a performance for Lord Nrisimha’s Appearance Day which all the children would take part in. The adult devotees try to involve our little vaisnavas in the ceremony of the Deities Greeting and kirtana at Sunday programs. The upbringing of children mostly depends on the way  parents behave and spend time together and what knowledge they impart to them. That’s why we arrange classes for the parents concerning the topic of child upbringing.

Guru Maharaja, in one of your lectures answering the question “How to bring up a Krishna conscious child,“ you told that one cannot enforce children to become devotees. We try to follow this instruction and involve our children indevotional service in a very gentle way and they attend programs, take part in celebrations, help the adult devotees with a great pleasure. There are 25 children in our yatra. However only half of them attend children’s programs. They are the children whose parents are active in devotional service and take part in Sunday programs.

Unfortunately there is not enough literature about philosophy adapted for children. I have a lack of knowledge myself, but my tutor Advaita-patni Mataji and other devotees support me.

Guru Maharaja, I’d like to ask for your advice concerning the following topics:

  • How should we arrange the work with the parents?
  • How do we act properly in training and upbringing our children?
  • How should we awake the interest of those parents whose children do not attend programs?
  • What should be avoided in our cooperation with parents and their children?
  • There are a lot of films and cartoons about Krishna, can we use them in our programs arranged for the children?
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Question:

As a neophyte devotee, who has recently taken interest in giving my life to serving Srila Prabhupada and The Hare Krishna Movement, the common question of how to do so has arisen freqeuntly in my recent months of trying to serve Srila Prabhupada. How can I give my life to Srila Prabhupada’s mission to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?

Looking at the movement in general, in the first few 20/30 years of the movement, devotee’s were more detached to the material world and its activities and stayed more in the temple, many would not partake in the activities of daily materialistic life, such as, school, a job, having a household away from the temple, having friends away from the temple. Which are all very understandable, because for spiritual advancement, environment and association is very important. But looking at the general trend of devotee’s today, it is very rare that devotee’s become Brahmacari, or live at the temple, or spend more than just an average one or two evenings at the temple each week. Rather the general mass of Hare Krishna devotee’s today, are very inclined towards their material education, their material success as businessmen, as families part of the social environment they live in and so on.

As a neophyte, the greatest difficulty I am facing, which is now becoming quite problematic in my spiritual life, is seeing that there is actually no difference between serving Krishna directly by maybe cleaning the temple floor, or serving his devotee’s, compared to

indirectly by concentrating on being successful in their material education or business life.

More specifically, as a student who would like to give his life to serving Srila Prabhupada, being enthusiastic about serving by gaining a material education is something very difficult for me to understand. On one hand I’m reading Srila Prabhupada’s books on how the material education system in todays contemporary society is mundane as it skips the greatest question of life, that we are not these bodies and that we are the spirit soul, eternal part and parcel of Krishna. Rather material education concentrates on how we can use all the resources of the material world for our sense gratification. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains, Karma Yoga, we must not simply forget everything and practice vikarma by renouncing everything and sitting alone in a room, rather we should practice akarma by offering the fruits of our actions onto Krishna and accept Him as The Supreme Controller. My difficulty is seeing how I can do so with a material college degree. It is difficult for me to submit to professors in universities who try to invalidate Krishna as Supreme Personality of Godhead, rather they accredit atheism and such illogical theories.

The question arises in my mind, that, rather than spending time and money in college acquiring a degree I am not even sure with what I want to do, rather I can surrender my whole life in serving as a devotee in a temple where they hardly have any devotee’s to serve.

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I am currently listening to your lecture "Some Concerns About ISKCON." I also heard a lecture recently from my spritual master HH Tamal Krishna Goswami. He said, "originally, Srila Prabhupada wanted ISKCON to consist solely of brahmacaris and sannyasis, but then Jadurani came, what was Srila Prabhupada to do? He couldn't reject her."

It seems that since we do not discriminate who joins ISKCON in terms of their varna or ashram, ISKCON will continue to face these sorts of issues (i.e. Ksatriya Initiative).

My question: Although I understand that we are ultimately only concerned with becoming Vaishnavas, but do you forsee that ISKCON as a society will gradually evolve into strictly a brahminical body as Srila Prabhupada wanted or will the brahminical class be forced to create a seperate body to offer guidance to society? Thank you for maintaining the standard. 

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