The principles presented in this Introductory course, namely Chanting the Holy Name, Studying the scriptures, Worshiping the Deity of Krishna, Devotional Association and Preaching, were instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to His followers lead by the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana. These teachings are presented in various scriptures like Caitanya Caritamrita, Caitanya Bhagavata, Hari Bhakti Vilasa and others. Although Sri Caitanya established these parameters for the process of Krishna Consciousness, they are all based in the original sastras such as the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, etc.
Srila Rupa Goswami refers to these items in the Nectar of Devotion and Srila Prabhupada will often mention these items in addition to the importance of the Holy Places. These items were emphasised by His Divine Grace as the basics and sometimes will bring them down to four: chanting, reading, worshiping and devotional association.
Srila Prabhupada defined Iskcon primarily as “an educational institution”. So, as what educational institutions do, conjointly we can decide a plan of action for delivery the course. Just like in schools, colleges or universities establish and follow a given educational curriculum. In this way the next generations will continue what we have taken from Srila Prabhupada and give it to newer devotees. It’s a matter of establishing Srila Prabhupada’s legacy.
The purpose of this course is basically four-fold:
(1) To give participants an idea what Krsna conscious life is, to help determine the individual the level of commitment towards the process.
(2) To present the correct attitude and approach to Krsna Consciousness
(3) To help participants in making a strong and swift progress in spiritual life
(4) To give fundamental procedures and regulations for the practice of Krishna Consciousness, thus creating firm spiritual basis for the future
1- Harer-Nama; Chanting the Holy Name (Japa and Sankirtana)
2- Sastra: Studying Srila Prabhupada’s books
3- Worshipping the Deity (Home and Temple worship)
4- Sadhu Sanga: Beneficial Spiritual Association
5- Preaching and Service
The weeks will be divided as follow:
1- Introduction, (Week 1) – Facilitator Iksvaku prabhu (14/1/2012)
(Reference Texts: BG, SB + those used on each week)
a- Contents and structure of the course
b- The basis of spiritual life: Hearing; chanting; remembering and serving Krishna
c- The Process of initiation: Disciplic Succesion; Charateristics of the Spiritual Master and the Disciple; Process of connection in Iskcon.
d- Vaisnava Behaviour: Benefits and Guidelines; Principles of Freedom; Dress, diet and daily practices.
e- The principle of selfless Devotional Service: Srila Prabhupada’s mission; practice and share; process of engagement; spiritual troubleshooting.
2- The Holy Name (Week 2) – Facilitator SitaRama prabhu – (21/1/2012)
(Reference Texts: The Ocean of the Holy Name – Sacinandana Swami; Namamrita – Srila Prabhupada’s quotes; Japa – Bhurijana Prabhu).
a- The Absolute nature of Krishna’s name.
b- Practice of the Holy Name: Japa and Kirtana General Guidelines
c- Japa: Personal Practice
d- Kirtana: The Art of Glorifying Krishna.
Usage of standard instruments & standard temple songs.
3- Studying the Scriptures (Week 3) – Facilitator Yadu Strestha prabhu -(28/1/2012)
(Reference Texts: BG, SB, Summarised Study of the BG, Living with the Scriptures – Satsvarupa das Goswami)
a- Vaisnava Scriptures: The mapping of Devotional Service
b- Srila Prabhupada’s legacy: The Bhagavata Process
c- Bhagavad Gita: The Basis of Krishna Consciousness
d- Srimad Bhagavatam; Lord Krishna’s Trascendental Identity.
4- Worshiping Krishna, (Week 4) – Facilitator Kesava Gopal prabhu -(4/2/2012)
(Reference Texts: BG, SB, Pancaratra Pradipa)
a- The Form of Krishna
b- Deities: Understanding and Regulations
c- The basic process of Adoration
d- Home altars
5- Vaisnava Association (Week 5) – Facilitator Manibandha prabhu -(11/2/2012)
(Reference Texts: Upadesamrta: Nectar of Instruction, Vaisnava Manual,
a- The power of Association
b- Scriptural guidelines regarding association
c- Vaisnava Etiquette
d- Avoiding Offenses
6- Preaching (Week 6) – Facilitator Hema Krsna prabhu – (18/2/2012)
(Reference Texts: BG, Preaching is the Essence, Bhakti Vriksa Manual, Taking Care of Krishna’s devotees)
a- What is Preaching?
b- Vaisnava essential philosophy
c- Methods of Preaching
d- General principles in presenting KC.
7- Principles of Devotional Service (Week 7) – Facilitator Deenanath prabhu – (25/2/2012)
(Reference Texts: BG, SB, Nectar of Devotion, The Spiritual Master and the Disciple)
a- Scriptural evidence of Exclusive love for Krishna
b- The connection to Krishna: The Spiritual Master
c- Disciplic Succession: The line of Gurus representing Krishna
d- Initiation & Engagement: Standard processes
8- Summary and Review (Week 8 ) – Facilitator Iksvaku prabhu – (3/3/2012)
a- Spiritual Troubleshooting; What to do when nothing works?
b- Summary: Essential Points
c- Feedback: How to improve my Spiritual Life?
The sessions will be added with icebreakers, group and individual exercises, and handouts. There won’t be examination but rather a facilitated system by which at the end of each session, participants will share their understanding.