Gauranga and Nityananda sabha camps for IYF devotees of ISKCON Sri Jagannath Mandir.
Being devotees we all know the importance of guidance from seniors at every step in our life, be it education, career or anything else. The guidance of experienced senior devotees become even more important when it comes to choosing right ashram with the right attitude.
Sensing the need for such a training ISKCON Sri Jagannath Mandir organized Gauranga and Nityananda sabha camp for IYF devotees.
The main aim of the seminar was to set the right expectations in each ashram, and discuss the advantages and challenges in each of them, also giving a holistic view of the interdependencies between the ashrams.
The seminar started with a combined class for both the Gauranga and Nityananda sabha devotees. The speakers for this talk were HG Vraja Krishna Pr and HG Anadi Jagannath Pr.
The main aim of the talk was to set the right mood for the devotees of one sabha towards the other so that things are in proper perspective. They explained, it is only when devotees work in co-operation with each other, ISKCON society, in general, can flourish and propagate the mission of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on a larger scale and thus fulfil the desires of our founder acharya Srila Prabhupada.
HG Vraja Krishna Pr (a senior Brahmachari devotee) explained the important duties of a Brahmachari devotee and the principles following which he is supposed to Lead a pure life by reading and hearing shastras and being a live example of how to practice the pure principles of Srimad Bhagavatam without any hidden motive or any personal agenda making it clear that hypocrisy has no place in our ISKCON society.
Then HG Anadi Jagannath Prabhu (a senior Grihastha devotee) explained how in Grihastha life a devotee should associate more and hear submissively from the devotees in renounced order and always keep Lord Sri Krishna as the centre of all the activities in life. He explained how by leading a pure life as a Grihastha couple, the devotees can have a very pure soul as their child and in that way render the best service to society by raising a Krishna Conscious family.
Then in a separate seminar for Gauranga sabha devotees, HG Vraja Krishna Prabhu explained how it is vital for them to join the ashram with the mood of becoming the servant of devotees and not with any kind of false hopes of having a peaceful life. He also explained how a Brahmachari should invest his mind and emotions in the Lord while engaging in the active service so that he can develop “Krishna bhavana”, feeling of love towards the Lord, and then gradually moving upwards with the same attitude of really becoming a menial servant of the devotees.
For Nityananda Sabha devotees there were several seminars with various topics starting with the topic “Missionary spirit in Grihastha Ashram”. This was covered by HG Vidura Madhava Prabhu. He explained the importance of aligning ourselves with the vision of our founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada, and how he wanted all his follower to have the Missionary zeal to preach and spread the mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He explained how it is very important for devotees in Grihastha ashram to maintain regular deity worship at their homes and then gradually they should take the service forward and teach others about Krishna Consciousness. He added that preaching is the only way to get easy access to the mercy of Krishna. It is like a rope that Krishna gives to a devotee so that he can come out of the deep dark well of this material world. By sincerely peaching a devotee tries to set his focus from a “family-centred” life to “Krishna-centered” life.
The next topic was “Functioning of ISKCON marriage board and importance of financial planning in Grihastha life” by HG Krpamaya Gauranga Prabhu. He explained how the marriage board can provide a helping hand in the search by providing a common platform for devotees to get contacts of potential devotee life partners.
He explained the approach a devotee should take for marriage to search like-minded devotee spouse. He also briefly explained how vital it is to have future financial planning to lead a happy Krishna Conscious life as Srila Prabhupada himself pointed out that “Poverty can take one away from Krishna Consciousness”. The focus of financial planning should be to come out of job/business responsibility as soon as possible because sooner a devotee is financially stable and independent, more time he will be able to give for Krishna Consciousness. He also explained the importance of getting married to a devotee and explained how getting married to a non-devotee can be sometimes detrimental to our progress in Krishna Consciousness. He explained how devotees should look for a spouse who has good character and mature attitude rather than looking for external beauty, as it is rightly said: “It’s much easier to live with a sweet person than to live with a sweet face”. In conclusion he said that marriage is a lifelong commitment and it should be approached very carefully under the proper guidance of other senior devotees.
The last session was taken by HG Anantha Vallabha Prabhu on the topic of “Choosing Right Partner and Role of Astrology in Marriage”. He started by explaining the ideal qualities to look for in a wife and how a male devotee should also be ready to become an ideal Husband. About astrology, he said, is an indicative science which can help us understand the basic natures of the people; which can help a future couple understand if they are compatible or not and can help devotees take better decision. He also cautioned devotees by saying that to get right guidance from astrology, they should seek a right astrologer.
Also, there was a two hours long QA session in which all the devotees asked various “difficult to ask” questions which are not possible to ask in temple classes and all the senior devotees gave perfect answers to these questions.
All in all, it was a great platform for all Nityananda Sabha and Gauranga Sabha devotees to get important insights about their respective ashrams from the senior devotees who have acquired great wisdom and knowledge about devotional life by many years of their sincere practice of Krishna Conscious philosophy.
If there is someone who could not attend the seminar due to some reason, there is no need to get depressed as at the end of the seminar it was decided that there would be seminars like this every two months.
Gauranga Sabha – Devotees aspiring to enter bramhachari aashram
Nityananda Sabha – Devotees aspiring to enter grihastha aashram