By Sudharma Devi Dasi
I thought that congregation referred to those who congregate in the temple. In a sense, we are all congregation, because we all congregate in the temple. When we think of congregational preaching, we mean going into people’s homes. This is actually very significant for our movement because if we trace back the roots of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement, we remember that Lord Caitanya was a householder.
Srivas Thakura and many of the devotees were also householders. The most ecstatic kirtans were in a congregational setting at the home of Srivas Thakura. Most of the devotees who protested against Chand Kazi were householders. These people lived everyday lives: they were working as teachers, storekeepers or whatever and were part of Lord Caitanya’s movement.
When you go out on the street and make a cold connection, the person doesn’t know you and he doesn’t know that he has an active relationship with Krsna. That person may or may not be able to open up and enter into the mood of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes and get the nectar from the storehouse of love of God.
But when you preach to people on a regular basis in their home and open up their heart and mind, you are actually able to go with them through all the mellows of devotional service and introduce them to everything that Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya have to offer. This is actually the most ecstatic type of preaching. It is the most necessary because it provides a mechanism for ISKCON to interface with the rest of the world.
We create healthy relationships when we preach to the congregation. Many times we find that devotees who live very simply in their homes and practice Krsna consciousness for many years are the most fixed-up, agreeable and kindhearted devotees. They surrender everything to Krsna.
(Excerpt from the book The Nectar of Congregational Preaching by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry)
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