By His Holiness Guru Prasada Swami
I am pleased to be able to speak some words on congregational preaching. People are not so willing to join temples, and we are not capable of maintaining devotees all throughout their life. Congregational preaching provides the facility for people to become Krsna conscious. Having a big congregation provides support for individuals who are capable of becoming brahmacaris or temple residents. They can be funded throughout their lives and get the security they need to surrender unto the service of the Lord.
Also, the reality of the world is that most people want to live comfortably in their homes. Congregational preaching addresses the reality of human society. Srila Prabhupada began his movement with brahmacaris. Everyone had the vision that “I will give my life and live my whole life in the temple.” Many devotees were not able to maintain such a position, what to speak of those who may have just come into Krsna consciousness from being a student or being a family member.
Someone who joins as a congregational member and grows in the congregation can understand the obstacles and the difficulties that other householders may face. They will be better counselors than some devotee living in the temple who says, “Just give it all up! Just forget about that, that’s all maya.” That’s the reality of a devotee living in the temple.
My zone is one of the most undeveloped zones. In Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica we have had a little bit of success. We need Kaunteya Prabhu or someone who is really into congregational preaching to come and inspire the devotees. We have to look for new congregational leaders from different classes. Latin American society is very stratified. A person from a certain economic or cultural class likes to be with the same kind of people. We need to look for new leaders from different social statuses.
Bhakti-vriksha is definitely the best program for the development of Krsna consciousness. Now we call it Bhakti-vriksha but I’m sure in the future it will have hundreds of divisions. Bhakti-vriksha will be one branch and there will be other branches. The Christian churches and other religions, even Hindu organizations, have so many groups that are supported and directed by people who are part of their congregation.
(Excerpt from the book ‘The Nectar of Congregational Preaching’ by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry)
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