The Ratha Yatra festival came to an end, but what a nice experience it was! And it was happening not only in India but all around the world by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. Everywhere the Ratha Yatra is celebrated according to the place and circumstances, however, we can say that in Kolkata they also found a way to engage Bhakti-vriksha devotees. The Congregational Development Ministry would like to share with you information about that.
Every year during the Rath Yatra festival, ISKCON Kolkata Bhakti-vriksha devotees set up a separate booth in the midst of several other stalls, to welcome new members into their Bhakti-vriksha.
The booth is set in between the Gundicha temple and the exhibition room. The visitors enter the Bhakti-vriksha after visiting the exhibition room, where they get to see and hear about the ten different incarnations of Lord Krsna. On entering the Bhakti-vriksha booth, the visitors are guided to their respective Bhakti-vriksha leaders based on their areas of residence. Each sector servant leader from the existing Bhakti-vriksha group, sits at a table with their team members, forming a circle.
After a friendly conversation, the visitors are requested to register for an upcoming seminar on the ‘Jiban Jigyasa’; ‘Knowing about Life’. The interested visitors are asked to fill out a form and put their required details and pay 100 rupees as a donation for the seminar. Before a week of the upcoming seminar, a few members from each Bhakti-vriksha group call the registered members and welcomes them to the seminar, this also acts as a reminder for these members.
Like this for the last forty years, ISKCON Kolkata has been able to make a hundred thousand devotees, every time from these nine days of the Ratha Yatra festival. The process they follow is very simple, at first they collect contacts, then get in touch with them, then invite them to the seminar, and the more interested members from the seminar finally join the Bhakti-vriksha. And during this year’s celebration, Ratha Yatra 2022, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended the program as well!
We all can follow this process to expand our congregational preaching, do not forget to share with us if you are already doing something similar!
Sri Jagannath, Baladev, Subadra Ma Ki Jaya!