Formal and informal preaching style – with comments

Question

PAMHO & AGTSP
Dear Manonatha Maharaja,
Although I have no qualification to question how a discussion of Krishna katha is supposed to be carried out, I have experienced that there is usually a structure to lectures at our ISKCON Temples.
My question then becomes, is it wrong or incorrect to hanker for the reciting of a verse and the reading of one of Srila Prabhupada’s purports during one of these sanga programs?
Although this is a very personal sentiment I have addressed you here in hopes that this subject matter brings life to this post on the blog.
I remain your servant,
Narayan dasa

 

Answer

Dear Bhakta Narayan,
Please receive my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

It’s right to hanker for recitation of the verse etc. as it is a standard established by Srila Prabhupada himself.

However it is not an obligatory standard to apply every time we speak. In fact when walking or meeting guests and devotees, Srila Prabhupada did not always begin reciting verses and all, but had different conversation styles.
I was personally with Srila Prabhupada in his room and I watched him speaking informally, while in other occasions he had a different mood.

So while it is right to do it in one way, depending from the circumstances it is not wrong to do it in some other way.

 

I certainly love to give formal classes. If I could I would do that everyday.
mac-cittā mad-gata-prāṇā
bodhayantaḥ parasparam
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ
tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca
“The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.”

Krishna Katha is so sweet.

 

The main objective of my discourses is to arouse curiosity in the mind of the listeners, to induce them to participate to the sacred Krishna Katha by asking questions. Who asks questions are those who will be (if they don’t already are) the most qualified to become preachers. One can’t be a preacher if he is not anxious to listen and know more.
In this way one can feel the pleasure Sri Krishna talks about in the Bhagavad-gita.

 

In some temples (luckily few) managers do not give sufficient importance to Krishna Katha, relegating it to some secondary liturgy. They give lecturers some 45 minutes or so. If you consider initial bhajan, mantra, preparing the right atmosphere and everything, you can barely begin formulating your thoughts, everything is quickly over and there is no time for questions, which are the most important part of a class since this is the moment when you can establish a personal relationship with the attendees.

 

The real preaching is to establish a spiritual relationship with younger devotees so that you can continue in time to inspire them increase their attraction for Radha Krishna. 

 

Because of time limits, classes are generally intended for reading Srila Prabhupada verses, a short explanation and few questions.
However what I mainly want to do is to encourage people to enter into the spirit of Krishna Katha by having all the time of the world to ask questions.
It’s a personal preaching choise.

 

But again, I hope we can have also formal Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam classes in video conference.

 

Your well-wisher

  • Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)

 

 

Spanish translation

 

 


 

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Chant
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
and your life will be sublime
– by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

 

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Narayan De Jesus Reyes
Narayan De Jesus Reyes
April 21, 2020 11:58 am

@Templo – Manonath Maharah dear Manonatha Maharaja, I offer you my most humble respect.🙏🏽 All glories to your service to Guru, Sadhu, and Śastra. 🙌🏽 I was very moved by the sweetness of your explanation to my question about verse reading in a class and the possible formats used outside a temple hall. I want to thank you very much for taking the time to address this question that arose from your most recent English program with devotees in the Houston, Texas area. I look forward to witnessing more of these sweet exchanges on subsequent Sundays. I prostrate myself before… Read more »