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MYPUR INSTITUTE

Bhakti-Pravesa Course
Student Handbook
The International Society for Ka Consciousness
Founder-crya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupda

DEDICATION

om ajnna-timirndhasya jnnnjana-salkay
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sr-gurave namah
nama om visnu-pdya krsna-presthya bh-tale
srimate bhaktivednta-svmin iti nmine
namas te srasvate deve gaura-vni-pracrine
nirvisesa-snyavdi-psctya-desa-trine

In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is


explained fully so if there is anything which you do not
understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By
reading daily the knowledge will be revealed to you and by this
process your spiritual life will develop.
Letter to Bahurupa - Bombay 22 November, 1974

We dedicate this Mypur Institute Bhakti- pravesa course to


Srila Prabhupda.
May it be pleasing to him and the members of ISKCON.
( Mypur Institute Sstric Curriculum Development Team )
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Acknowledgements
Special thanks to:
Atul Krishna Das and Padmanayana Das for giving us the freedom
to create this course.
Su-gita Vani dasi and Shyamala sakhi dasi for putting this course
together.
Gopika Radhika dasi for invaluable background support.

Contact Us
For any further information on the course please contact
Mypur Institute (MI)
Mayapur.Institute@pamho.net
Or visit our website at: www.mayapurinstitute.org

Contents
Introducing the course ..4
Vaisnava etiquette 5
Book distribution ..7
Preacher training ..9
Devotional decorative arts 11
Srila Prabhupada lilamrita.15
Deity worship at home..16
Vaisnava bhajans..21
Disciples course22
Vaisnava family relationships..23
Bhagavad-gita overview ..27
Nectar of Instruction 29
Slokas for memorization ..31
Sadhana sheets..32

INTRODUCING THE COURSE


Last year the Mayapur Institute launched the Bhakti-pravesa
Course to address and serve the needs of ISKCONs Vaisnavis
according to the understanding that Srila Prabhupada imparted to
us. This is an introductory sastric course which will qualify
participants for the Bhakti-sastri and also for a range of practical
devotional services. Inspired by very positive feedback, we have
gone deeper and identified further needs of our talented Vaisnavi
community. We added new components to this years Bhaktipravesa Course that blend sastric understanding and practical
training in diverse areas giving us confidence that our students will
get the support and inspiration required to identify the seva for
which they are best suited while simultaneously deeply imbibing
the foundational principles of spiritual life.
As this course evolves over the years, the assessment system will
become more rigorous. For this year, students will be assessed
through a closed book exam and sloka test. They will also be
expected to write one or more essays. Students sadhana, attitude
and behaviour, both in the classroom and otherwise will be taken
into account in the overall assessment structure. In order to gain
entry to this course, it is sufficient, at this stage, to be chanting one
round of japa daily. However, during the period of the course,
students are expected to chant, at least, eight rounds daily.We
encourage and expect them to take full advantage of the morning
programme in the temple.We have many qualified teachers coming
together to share their expertise and realizations in their chosen
fields for this course. Students are advised to make full use of this
opportunity and associate with teachers and in this way chart out
their future course in spiritual life.
N.B. Henceforth, the term course will indicate a specific
component of the Bhakti-pravesa course.
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VAISNAVA ETIQUETTE

Every society is governed by an accepted code defining norms of


behavior for its members. The same applies to Vaisnava society.
Yet, Vaisnava etiquette is a world apart from ordinary rules and
regulations in that it is firmly rooted in the desire to please Krsna.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tells Sanatana Goswami, "Maintenance
of Vaisnava etiquette is the ornament of a devotee." The Lord also
instructed Sanatana Goswami to compose a manual illuminating
the heart of the beautiful Vaisnava culture for generations to come.
By studying these instructions of our acaryas, we can understand
how to truly live - in every situation - for the pleasure of Sri Sri
Radha-Madhava.
Some of the topics covered in this Introduction to Vaisnava
Etiquette are:
1. History of Vaisnava Etiquette
2. Understanding the Principle of Vaisnava Culture
3. Associating with the Holy Name
3. Avoiding Offenses
4. Associating with Different Categories of Vaisnavas
5. The Butter-Fire Principle
6. Six Loving Exchanges

7. The Importance of Prasadam: Cooking, Serving, & Honoring


(This includes kitchen organization, menu planning, arrangements
for serving, etc.)
8. Receiving Guests
9. Accepting Invitations
10. Preparing for Festivals & Programs
11. Cleanliness
12. Vaisnavi Etiquette (Issues related specifically to Vaisnavis)
We will explore these topics by analyzing the words of SrimadBhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrita as well as other
instructions and anecdotes from Srila Prabhupada and our previous
acaryas through discussion, drama, interactive lessons, and a lot of
fun!

BOOK DISTRIBUTION
Srila Prabhupada especially desired that all devotees learn the art
of book distribution. He said that his books would serve as the law
books for society for the next ten thousand years. The value of the
books he translated so painstakingly is captured in the quotation
given below.
On the other hand that literature which is full of descriptions of the
transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of
the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of
transcendental words directed towards bringing about a revolution
in the impious lives of the worlds misdirected civilisation. Such
transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are
heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly
honest.
( Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.11)
Naveen KrIshna Prabhu narrates the following incident that
highlights how important, Srila Prabhupada considered this seva :
Srila Prabhupada once called me at 1 am into his room in
Vrindavana and pointed out the need of systematic training for all
our devotees engaged in book distribution.
Therefore we stress so much in the book distribution. Somehow or
other, if the book goes in one hand, he will be benefited. At least he
will see, "Oh,they have taken so much price. Let me see what is
there." If he reads one sloka, his life will be successful. If one
sloka, one word. This is such nice things. Therefore we are
stressing so much, "Please distribute book, distribute book,
distribute book." A greater mrdanga. We are chanting, playing our
mrdanga. It is heard within this room or little more. But this
mrdanga will go home to home, country to country, community to
community..
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( Srila Prabhupada lecture: SB 1.16.8, Los Angeles, Jan 5, 1974)

This course will teach the principles and values behind book
distribution and the techniques to achieve effective book
distribution. It will emphasize the identity and character of a book
distributor ( as an ideal representative of ISKCON ).
The psychology of book distribution, how to deal with internal and
external challenges, how to develop a supportive and appropriate
lifestyle and ideal standards of behavior, building team spirit and
organizational skills are some of the other themes that this course
will cover.

PREACHER TRAINING
Living the order to spread Krishna Consciousness
We will explore different dimensions and aspects of
preaching and outreach, of sharing Krishna consciousness
with others, including relevant instructions by Srila
Prabhupada.
We will analyze the common obstacles to preaching, such as
fear of public speaking, and how to overcome them.

We will describe practical ways the students can engage in


preaching throughout their life.
We will explore the idea of addressing the audiences needs,
interests and concerns.

Our aim is to help students develop attachment to fulfill Srila


Prabhupadas desire that his followers preach.
We will study key quotations on preaching such as the
following:

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Lord Caitanya's order to preach:


yre dekha, tre kaha 'krsna'-upadesa
mra jnya guru ha tra' ei desa
"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they
are given in Bhagavad-git and Srimad-Bhgavatam. In this way
become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land."
[ Cc. Madhya 7.128]
Serious students of this Krishna consciousness movement must
understand their great responsibility to preach the cult of
Vrindavan (devotional service to the Lord) all over the world . . . I
am very hopeful that some of our students can take up this
responsibility and render the best service to humanity by educating
people in Krishna consciousness.
[Cc. Madhya 23.104p]

This course will offer a glimpse into the techniques of various


types of preaching that are currently in use Bhakti vriksha,
namahatta, counselor system, preaching through the media and
bridge preaching. Students are encouraged to practically apply
what they learn in this short course during the rest of the semester .

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DEVOTIONAL DECORATIVE ARTS


This short course will offer a glimpse into the logic and rationale
behind one of ISKCONs most striking aspects spectacular deity
worship. It will explore the history of Sridham Mayapurs
presiding deities, Radha Madhavas most popular festivals, their
history how these festivals originated and evolved. Being mostly
practical in content, it is sure to engage and enthrall the students.
The purpose of decorating the Deity is to please the Lord, enhance
His beauty and thus attract the conditioned soul to the Lord.
The decoration should be so attractive that people when seeing
Jagannatha will forget all attractiveness of Maya. (S.P. letter June
1968 ).
We can express our love for the Lord by decorating the Lord, not
whimsically the way we want but the way Krishna wants.
Therefore we have to learn how He likes to be decorated.
The Deity is not a statue. He is a Person, the Supreme personality
of Godhead, with whom we can exchange loving sentiments.
When a devotee with all his heart and soul serves Krsna, dresses
Him in nice garments and gives Him flowers, Krsna smiles. If you
can get Krsna to smile upon you just once, your lifes goal is
fulfilled. (S.P. lecture SB 3.25.12 )
Lord Balaram is the origin of devotional decorative art
Lord Balarama expands as the Lords bed, ornaments, etc. Lord
Nityananda incarnates as His plenary expansion Ananta Sesa. As
Lord Sesa He transforms His body to become the bed, throne,
umbrella, the garments, bracelets and other ornaments worn by
Lord Krsna. Expanding again as the pastime potency, lila-sakti,
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Lord Sesa is aware of all the details of Lord Krsnas confidential


pastimes. (GGD)
Krsna Balarama Learnt 64 arts from Sandipani muni.
They themselves are the origin of all the arts. Still to teach others,
they went to the school and learned the 64 arts. They learned the
various types of paintings, beginning from different village arts up
to the perfectional stage. They learned how to paint tilak on the
face and make different kind of dots on
the forehead and cheeks, the art of painting on the floor with liquid
paste of rice and flour, decorate clothing and leaves with colourful
paintings, set different valuable jewels in ornaments, draw
pictographic literature (a story is represented by pictures), and the
art of architecture, etc. (KB)
Different categories of decorative art.
(1) Directly on the Deity such as tilak decoration. (2) The Lords
ornaments such as dress and jewelry. (3) The Lords resting places
such as the bed, the altar, simhasana and the temple room. (4) The
festival decoration such as Julan yatra, chandanyatra, etc. (5) the
others such as lamp, conch, tulasi devis table, book cover for the
scripture, etc.Actually there is no limit how much we can do for
the decorative art.
The decoration on the Deity
There are many description of Lord Krsna and His way of
dressing. You can take advantage of such descriptions as well as
styles from different temples for dressing and ornamenting the
Deities. Dress and ornament design for the Deities is of course an
art in itself, it best learned from experts. (SP)

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Description of Lord Krsna.


Sri Krsnas complexion is the colour of a blue lotus flower or a
sapphire, and it is as enchanting as a tamala tree or a group of
black clouds. Govinda wears yellow garments and a garland of
forest flowers. Generally, there are four kinds of garments on the
body of Sri Krsna: His shirt, turban, belt, and wearing garments. In
Vrndavana, Krsna used to put reddish garments, with a golden shirt
on His body, and an orange- coloured turban on His head. The
different kind of belts, combined with Krsnas enchanting smile,
used to always increase the transcendental bliss of His associates.
This dress of Krsna is described as gorgeous. (NOD. ch.26) On
His body Sri Krsna wears many ornaments fashioned from
precious pearls, gems, gold and other materials. (RKG)
Description of Srimati Radharani.
Srimati Radharani is fifteen years old and full of the luster of
youth. She is expert in all the 64 fine arts and Her transcendental
form is like molten gold or stationary lighting. She is decorated
with various pearls and flowers. Wearing light colored clothes
during the full moon and dark colors in the moons absence, Sri
Radha dresses to please Her beloved Krsna. Her favorite outfit is a
Krsna blue dress with pink blouse that delights Sri Krsna.
Gandharvika ( Radha ) is very beautiful, and has long, nicely
braided hair. Radhas splendid forehead is decorated with the red
pigment, sindura, and with beautiful locks of curling hair.
Decorated with blue bangles, Sri Radhas arms have defeated
Cupids staff with their beauty. Decorated with black mascara,
Radhikas expanded lotus eyes are the most beautiful in all the
three planetary systems. Sri Radha wears a locket containing a
picture of Sri Krsna and a signet ring that is engraved with
Radha. Radhas Shamantaka-jewel is also known as
Sankhacuda-siromani. ( RKG )
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The simhasana and the altar.


Since the simhasana is the Lords asana, or place of activity, it
should be attractive, and kept absolutely clean. There should be
roof, umbrella, or some cloth canopy above the Deity, and the door
or curtain in front. (PP) When we decorate simhasana and altar,
we should meditate on the ratna shimhasana (jeweled altar) in
Vrindavan. In that garden of the desire trees, a bejeweled temple
sits with a pinnacle of rubies. Bedecked as it is with various jewels,
that temple shines brilliantly in every season. It is beautified with
brightly colored canopies, glittering with various gems, and
endowed with coverings decorated with rubies, as well as gateways
and arches inlaid with gems. That temple shines with the splendor
of millions of suns and is eternally free from the six waves of
material miseries. Within it sits a great, golden, gem-inlaid
throne. (Gautamiya-tantra4)
Festival decorations
In Mayapur we make different shape of boat (fish, swan, makara,
etc.) for Radha Madhava to ride on, in the lake, during the hot
summer. We make lotus petal shaped swing with diamond throne
for Their Julan yatra (Swing festival). Govardan puja day, the altar
is fully decorated with flowers, clay cows and peacocks. We also
decorate the (real) elephant very gorgeously so that Radha
Madhava can have pleasing evening stride on her back.
Nrshimhadevas altar is always mysteriously illuminated with
hundreds of ghee lamps.
You may decorate the alter with wooden, metal, or clay
ornamental figurines of auspicious animals like cows, peacocks
and elephants. There may be a decorative cloth or painted
backdrop hanging behind the Deities. You may place standing or
hanging ghee lamps on or around the altar. (SP)
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SRILA PRABHUPADA LILAMRITA


This course will consist of the following sub-sections :
Understanding Srila Prabhupda
Lesson 1 Introduction
Lesson 2 Srila Prabhupda, the Founder-crya of ISKCON
Lesson 3 Building Faith in rla Prabhupda
Lesson 4 Srila Prabhupda, the Empowered Representative of
Lord Caitanya
Srila Prabhupdas Mood & Mission
Lesson 5 Srila Prabhupdas unique contribution to Gaudiya
Vaisnavism
Lesson 6 Srila Prabhupdas Mood & Mission
Following Srila Prabhupdas Example
Lesson 7 Srila Prabhupda : the Living Bhagavat
Lesson 8 Srila Prabhupda : Perfect Disciple
Preaching like Srila Prabhupada
Lesson 9 Preaching like Srila Prabhupada

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HOME WORSHIP FOR NEW DEVOTEES:


Lesson Plan and Outline
DAY 1: INTRODUCTION TO DEITY WORSHIP
Lesson 1: Welcome and Overview
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Relate to fellow students
b. Identify the course outline and requirements
c. Identify their personal goals for the course
Lesson 2: Role of Deity Worship in Devotional Life
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Cite some quotes and instruction from Srila Prabhupada on the
importance/ role of deity worship in ISKCON
b. Identify some of the 64 limbs of devotional service that relate to
Deity worship
c. Illustrate how deity worship has been meaningful in their lives
Lesson 3: Temple Worship vs. Home Worship
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Cite some quotes and instructions from Srila Prabhupada about
the standard of home worship vs. temple worship
b. Explain key differences in temple worship vs. home worship
c. Identify appropriate way to approach/ enter/ behave in the
temple and in front of the deities versus home deities/ altar

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DAY 2: PRINCIPLES OF DEITY WORSHIP


Lesson 4: Cleanliness and Punctuality
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Cite some quotes from Srila Prabhupada about the importance of
cleanliness and punctuality
b. Give examples of how different Vaisnava Acaryas demonstrated
the importance of cleanliness and punctuality
c. Explain what external and internal cleanliness are, and how they
relate to each other
d. Identify what contaminated items, atmospheres, and mentalities
are and how they should be cleansed or purified (if at all possible)
e. Explain in their own words how cleanliness and punctuality
affect the performance/ quality of deity worship
f. Demonstrate how simple acaman is performed
Lesson 5: Offenses to Be Avoided
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Identify the 64 offenses to be avoided in the performance of
deity worship
b. Recite pastimes of the Lord and His devotees in relation to the
importance of avoiding offenses
c. Describe in their own words how being offensive affects the
quality/ performance of deity worship
d. Cite quotes from Srila Prabhupada about hot to rectify ones
offenses
Lesson 6: Mood of the Worshiper
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Cite Srila Prabhupadas instructions on how a pujari should
approach the deity
b. Explain the role of the Guru in the performance of puja
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c. Give examples of how the Vaisnava Acaryas/ Lords associates


would worship their deities
d. Identify inappropriate attitudes and behaviors for approaching
the deity

Lesson 9: Setting a Standard


By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Cite quotes from Srila Prabhupada about the importance of
maintaining standards
b. Explain how the standard set by Srila Prabhupada relates to the
standard of ISKCON deity worship we see today
c. Describe in their own words how the standard of temple worship
differs from the standard in the home
d. Identify elements that should be considered when setting up a
standard of worship
Lesson 10: Setting up an Altar
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Identify proper locations for setting up an altar in ones home
b. Demonstrate the proper order for the parampara, and different
Personalities on the altar
c. Describe the different worshipable forms of the Lord (i.e. wood,
brass, paper, etc.), and identify circumstances in which one may be
more appropriate than another

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DAY 3: HOME WORSHIP I


Lesson 7: Mantras/ Prayers
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Explain the importance of mantras and prayers
b. Identify when and where a particular mantra should be used in
deity worship
c. Identify which mantras are received from the Guru and which
can be used by all devotees
Lesson 8: Items of Worship
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Identify essential items of worship and their meaning/ purpose
b. Describe the importance of and proper way to handle each item

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DAY 4: HOME WORSHIP II


Lesson 11: Starting Your Day
By the end of the lesson students should be able to:
a. Cite quotes from Srila Prabhupada about the importance of a
regulated lifestyle
b. Illustrate some morning practices that are beneficial to the
performance of deity worship
c. Identify ways to help one established a good morning routine
Lesson 12: Standard Worship Procedures
a. Identify different arati procedures (mini, full, and most simples)
b. Demonstrate how to perform arati, bhoga offering, and waking/
putting the Lord to rest, and explain the importance/ meaning for
each procedure
Lesson 13: Caring for the Deity
a. Identify appropriate ways to bathe, dress, and maintain a deity
according to the material it is made from
b. Cite quotes from Srila Prabhupada about caring and maintain for
the deity
c. Describe in their own words the importance of properly caring
for the deity
DAY 5 : Review , Assessment,Feedback, Farewell

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VAISNAVA BHAJANS
I am greatly pleased to see this collection of songs composed by
Thakura Bhaktivinoda, Narottama dasa and other great acaryas of
the Gaudiya Vaisnava community (sampradaya). Songs composed
by the acaryas are not ordinary songs. When chanted by pure
Vaisnavas who follow the rules and regulations of Vaisnava
character, they are actually effective in awakening the Krsna
consciousness dormant in every living entity.
We should always remember the danger of mayas influence and
endeavour to save ourselves from her great power. We must
therefore always merge in the transcendental mellow of kirtanarasa, for kirtana-rasa is the safest situation within this material
world.
( Srila Prabhupada, Foreword, Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas )
This short course on vaisnava bhajans will cover the following :

Importance and significance of learning bhajans


Origin and purpose of music
Music in the modes
Music therapy
Music in our Gaudiya tradition
Significance of singing bhajans in parampara
Bhajan acaryas
Songs and bhajans for specific occassions

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DISCIPLES COURSE
The Disciples Course is a training program which deepens
devotees understanding of guru tattva and guru padasraya within
the multiple guru environment of ISKCON. Designed for new
devotees preparing to take initiation in ISKCON, the course is also
recommended for leaders,preachers councilors and educators in
ISKCON. The course was developed under the direction of the
Guru Services Committee, with the combined efforts of leading
educators in ISKCON. The course is based on the teachings of
Srila Prabhupada and current ISKCON Law and gives reference to
the writings from the broader Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. The 10
lessons include Power point presentations, interactive workshops
and assessment exercises.

Guru-tattva and the Guru-parampara System


Srila Prabhupada ISKCON Founder Acarya and Pre-eminent
Guru
Types of Gurus
Relationship between ISKCON Guru and
ISKCONAuthorities
Gurus outside of ISKCON
Guru-padasraya
Selecting a Guru
Following Initiation Vows
Guru-puja and Vyasa-puja
Worship of ISKCON Gurus
Guru- vapu and vani seva
Guru- tyaga
Developing Cooperative Relationships in a multi guru
enviorment

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VAISNAVA FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS


THE VAISNAVA MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP SEMINAR
OVERVIEW
1.

KNOWING ONESELF.

2.

PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE.

3.

MARRIAGE IS ASRAMA OF RESPONSIBILITY.

4.

UNDERSTANDING ONES HUSBAND.

5.

KEEPING ONES VOWS.

6.

DUTIES OF WIFE AND MOTHER.

7.

FAMILY LIFE.

8.

BALANCING ROLES.

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THE VAISNAVA MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP SEMINAR


OVERVIEW
1.KNOWING ONESELF.
The person we are with the most is our own self. If for some
unfortunate reason, we have not learnt to accept ourselves
and love ourselves in spite of our shortcomings, then the
chances are that we are unhappy from within due to negative
self-talk. In such a situation, it would be very hard for us to
extend ourselves in genuine love for another, because we
havent even learnt to love ourselves properly. This class
will teach you how to overcome negative self-talk and have
a better relationship with the person we are with the mostourselves.
2.PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE.
Just as in other areas of life we prepare for an event, we need
to understand how to prepare ourselves for marriage. For
most people who get married most of the time is spent in
preparations for the wedding day which is only one day, but
this is not true for devotees who want to prepare for a
lifetime of commitment. Today we will focus on how we can
be best prepared for marriage.
3.MARRIAGE IS ASRAMA OF RESPONSIBILITY.
When we are getting married many times we are focused on
our needs being met, but the grihasta asrama is an asrama of
great responsibility. In fact, grihastas support the other three
asramas. There are duties and responsibilities for husbands
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and wives in marriage that need


understanding..

clarification and

4.UNDERSTANDING ONES HUSBAND.


The secret to a successful marriage according to the
instructions of sadhu, Guru and sastra is to understand the
nature of a husband and act accordingly. How we can tune
into understanding our spouse and have a harmonious
relationship is the focus of todays class.
5.KEEPING ONES VOWS.
It goes without saying that one cannot hope to make any
progress in any area of ones life without making a firm
commitment. It is exactly the same in spiritual life, even
more so, because this is not just a commitment, it is a sacred
vow. What are the warning signs, and the danger signs that
could get us in trouble and how to avoid them are important
for us to learn.
6.DUTIES OF WIFE AND MOTHER.
The role of a wife is described in the sastras as that of a
strong fortress, that protects her husband. Just as we
understand the husbands role of protector, let us try to
understand how the wife protects her husband by her caring
for him, serving him, being sensitive to his needs and
reciprocating with him in a kind, loving manner.
The most beautiful sight for a mother is her baby, it is also
one of the most demanding of roles. The hand that rocks the
cradle rules the world. How can a mother do her best for her
child? Especially for a devotee mother, this knowledge is
essential.
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7.FAMILY LIFE.
The family unit is the basic building block of society. A
devotee home is like a temple and all members of the family
unit contribute to the well-being of the unit. A devotee
family also interacts with the community and the society at
large. What are the difficulties and joys of family life? How
do we live in harmony with others? How can we grow as a
family? What the transitions that a family goes through?
8.BALANCING ROLES.
Women in KC balance many roles. We are daughters, wives,
mothers, sisters, members of the community and also have
many other services. How do we do justice to all these roles?
How can we nourish and recharge ourselves so that we are
not under stress? Understanding our natures, our talents and
capabilities, learning our limits, all these become very
important so that we can perform optimally in the long run.

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BHAGAVAD-GITA OVERVIEW
This section will take students through the eighteen chapters ,
highlighting the major themes and events while attempting to give
taste for this book in students.
The Structure of the Bhagavad-gita
The Gita may be divided into three parts of six chapters each :
Chapters 16 describe the living entity as a non-material, eternal
spirit soul capable of elevating himself to self-realisation by
different types of yoga, the highest form of which is Krishna
Consciousness (bhakti yoga), as confirmed by the final verse of
the sixth chapter. Chapter four specifically deals with the
transcendental position of Krishna as the Supreme Personality
of Godhead and with the importance of guru and disciplic
succession. Since Krishnas instructions actually begin in the
second chapter, chapter one serves as a prelude to the rest of the
text. Chapter two is a synopsis of the whole subject matter of
the Gita.
Chapters 7-12 describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead
and his different energies and opulenc. This section especially
deals with the relationship between the Supreme Soul and the
individual soul in regards to devotional service. Krishna also
discusses the nature and activities of such pure devotional
service which he confirms to be the best process of selfrealisation.
Chapters 13-18 describe how the living entity comes into
contact with material nature, how he is entangled, and how he is
delivered by the Supreme Lord through different methods of
fruitive activities (karma), cultivation of knowledge (jnana),
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and devotional service (bhakti). The Gita is actually finished in


seventeen chapters; chapter eighteen is considered a summary
of all previous instructions.
The Content of the Bhagavad-gita
Five basic truths are explained in the Gita :
ISVARA the Supreme Controller (Krishna )
JIVA the living entity (also called atma or jivatma).
PRAKRITI material nature.
KALA time
KARMA activity (more specifically, material activity)

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NECTAR OF INSTRUCTION ( VERSES 1 6 )


( Overview )
Preface The Goal of Krishna Consciousness and the Means of
Attaining It
To reach perfection in Krishna consciousness, one must follow the
instructions of the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavana by controlling the
mind and senses as instructed by Srila Rpa Gosvmi in
Upadesamrita
Text 1 Controlling the Six Urges
This verse elaborates on the prerequisite for spiritual life as
described in the third main point of the preface the necessity of
controlling the mind and senses. A person who has mastered this
prerequisite is fit to be a guru.
Text 2 Obstacles to Devotional Service
Text 2 describes the consequences of not controlling the mind and
senses. By his own choice, the conditioned soul has fallen under
the jurisdiction of the material energy of the Lord. Under its
influence, he has to meet the demands of the body, which is a
product of this energy. Text 2 further explains how to meet these
basic demands in a way that fosters spiritual progress rather than
material entanglement.
Text 3 Principles that Aid Devotional Service
Six principles are given that help us progress on the path of pure
devotional service. Before discussing them, rla Rpa Goswm
explains what pure devotional service is.
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Text 4 Six Loving Exchanges


In previous lessons, we mentioned that ones desires and ambitions
develop according to the company one keeps sangt asnjyate
kmah (BG 2.62). Therefore, if we want to progress in Krishna
consciousness, we have to associate with devotees. Text 4 explains
what association consists of. It also begins to explain how one
should associate with devotees. Further instructions on how to
associate with different types of devotees are found in texts 5 and
6.
Text 5 Association According to Levels of Advancement
In order to properly apply the six loving exchanges described in
the previous verse, one must select proper persons with whom to
reciprocate. The kind of Vaisnava that should be chosen as a friend
and how one should deal with different kinds of Vaisnavas is the
subject matter of this verse. All devotees should be respected, but
in order to make spiritual advancement we must associate with
serious devotees and distance ourselves from casual association.
Text 6 Associating with the Pure Devotee
Text 6 discusses further how we should associate with devotees,
especially with the spiritual master, who is understood to be
transcendentally situated.

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SLOKAS FOR MEMORIZATION


Bhagavad-gita :
1.1, 1.40, 2.14, 3.13, 3.37, 4.8, 4.13, 6.47, 7.14, 8.5, 9.26, 18.66.
Nectar of Instruction
1,2,3

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