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IYF COUNSELLOR PROGRAM

Need for a counsellor program....

For the past few years it is our experience that in every student community if there are systematically organized one time/ six session/ weekly etc. programs then hundreds and thousands of students will be introduced to and throng IYF.

In our enthusiasm to bring many "karmi" students to become devotees we sometimes forget to pay attention to the spiritual nourishment to the mature devotees. This is a penny wise - pound foolish philosophy where we neglect the real wealth of devotees for immediate results in preaching.

Therefore the prime meditation of the preachers should be that they spend adequate time for caring and training devotees so that they will remain in Krishna consciousness throughout their lives. Otherwise new devotees will come, do lot of service and then bloop. Again many new devotees will come and go, so finally not many devotees will be left.

The best leaders are those who train others to do what he's doing. If he's too busy to train them then he'll NEVER have relief!

For e.g. If there are 25 leaders who are all too busy - for years there will remain the same 25 leaders! However if each leader trains 10 devotees as leaders at the end of the year there will be 250 leaders and next year 2500 leaders and next year 25000 leaders! Always increasing in geometric progression.......

We may do little service in another area but must give time to see into the future. The real future is to develop and train high quality devotees and leaders.

What is the structure of the counsellor system?....

In IYF Pune we have board of SECTOR COUNSELLORS, which is presided over by the Director of IYF (Radheshyam das)

Each sector counselor had a couple of assistant counselors under them. Each sector counsellor along with his assistants manage a group of about 40 - 50 students.

Training For IYF Counsellors....

IYF is managed by the Director who has a group of six sector counsellors under him. They are trained as below to behave and to prove to be ideal leaders of I.Y.F.

  • Teaching sound scientific Philosophy through Srila Prabhupada's books , weekly programs and Q&A sessions on Personal basis.
  • Teaching to play instruments like Mridangam and Kartalas and doing Kirtans
  • Teaching through a monthly journal (BHAGYAVAN JIVA) about deeper aspects of spiritual life-
  • Chanting, reading, associating with devotees, finer etiquette’s in spiritual life,
  • Prabhupada Nectar etc.
  • Teaching Personality Development & mixing with people.
  • Teaching Public Speaking, Presentation, Tackling "Karmi-Type " Questions on Krishna Conscious Philosophy.
  • Teaching How to give Presentations using OHP (Over Head Projector & Transparencies ) and Slide Projectors.
  • Teaching to make Altar at Home ,conduct Arati ,Offer Bhoga to Lord etc.,
  • Teaching to cook & offer bhoga to Krishna and only eat Krishna Prasadam.
  • Teaching Vaishnava Etiquette and vaishnava relations and behaviour.
  • Conducting Ishtagosthi, to get better ideas to expand book distribution and Preaching to Youth.

    Qualifications Of A Counsellor ....

  • Chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra everyday.
  • Reading regularly Srila Prabhupada's books .They should meet the standard of "BHAKTI SHASTRI" examination, which means becoming thorough with
  • 4 basic books of Srila Prabhupada:(1) Bhagavad Gita As It Is. (2) Sri Isopanishad (3) Nectar of Instruction (4) Nectar of Devotion.
  • Regular Attendance to atleast one weekly program on Bhagavad Gita.
  • Regular attendance to I.Y.F meetings at ISKCON temple, once in a fortnight.
  • Regular attendance to Morning Mangal Arati & Chanting session to temple
  • Or any place where group of devotees practice Krishna Consciousness together.
  • Cooking & Honouring only foodstuffs which are offered to Lord Krishna.
  • Following 4 regulative Principles strictly :No meat, No eggs, No omlete, No Onion, No Garlic, No Coffee, No tea, No Smoking/Boozing, No illicit Sex, No speculative answers which are unauthorized by guru Parampara etc.
  • Following Ekadasi Vrata rules by abstaining from Grains
  • Following Vaishnava Etiquette of behavior in dealings with devotees.
  • Remembering atleast 10 vaisnava songs of previous acaryas
  • Leading Mangala Arati /Gaura Arati with instruments like Mrdanga, Kartala etc and performing deity worship with incense, ghee lamp, camar etc.
  • Always enthusiastic just like a fireball of enthusiasm to preach and Expand
  • Krishna consciousness everywhere in the world.
  • Always perform activities in a way to increase LOVE & TRUST amongst devotees.
  • Inspire, encourage and enthuse the upcoming devotees who are just joining I.Y.F and engage them in the proper service that they like the most.
  • Behave in a mature way Keeping in mind :" I am representing my Guru Parampara"
  • Behave in a mature way remembering: "I am setting an example for my juniors"
  • Avoid Quarrels/misunderstanding. Always ready to be humbler than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others.
  • Have a spirit of sacrifice - must learn to put others before him and learn to feel for others' difficulties and share their joys.
  • Should not act in such a way that the counsellee loses faith in spiritual managers and the spiritual master.

    Qualifications Of Assistant Counsellor ....

  • Chanting at least 8 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra everyday.
  • Reading regularly Srila Prabhupada's books. Be thorough with small books &
  • Bhagavad Gita As It Is.
  • Regular Attendance to ATLEAST one weekly program on Bhagavad Gita.
  • Regular attendance to I.Y.F meetings
  • Following 4 regulative Principles strictly: No meat, No eggs, No omlete, No Onion, No Garlic, No Coffee, No tea, No Smoking/Boozing, No illicit Sex, No speculative answers which are unauthorized by guru Parampara etc.
  • Following Ekadasi Vrata rules by abstaining from Grains
  • Avoid outside foods as far as possible and take only Prasadam.
  • to offer all respects to others.
  • Following Vaisnav etiquette of behaviour in dealings with devotees.
  • Always ENTHUSIASTIC to ASSIST & CO-OPERATE with the SENIOR SERVITORS in the departmental activity.

    How should a counselor behave with respect to his counsellees?....

  • The spiritual master is like the father of every devotee. The counsellor is ones philosopher, friend and guide - like an elder brother.
  • He must take care of the bodily, mental, spiritual welfare of the counsellee.
  • To encourage and enliven the devotees in Krishna consciousness the counsellor must train his counsellees by holding regular meetings for
  • Discussions in sastra.
  • Discussions of practical realizations of devotees
  • Tackle various problems that devotees face.

To develop team sprit in the Counselor Program the counsellor must show ....

1. Affection

The counsellee should be inspired to render service to senior authorities and he should not get a feeling of being used for ISKCON.

2. Thrill, joy & delight

This will come in the life of counsellees only when we present challenges to them with fresh challenges and goals to achieve in Krishna consciousness.

3. Success

The counsellee must be recognized and appreciated for success in fulfilling his challenges and achieving his goals in his service. This will keep him enthused to continue in Krishna consciousness.

4. Feeling of security

No devotee should feel neglected or left out of the group of vaisnavas. Every devotee should be offered adequate love, respect and should be shown his self-worth. Each devotee should feel that I am also wanted and have a definite role to play in the sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya.

If the counsellor is unable to conduct the counsellor-counsellees meetings, then the following guidelines are suggested:

(A) Short term period : (15-20) days or more.

The counsellor should make arrangements so that his counsellees can attend the meetings of other counsellors.

(B) Long term period : (more than 6 months)

The counsellor should his counsellees under the guidance of other counsellors after due consultations with the Director.

What is the recommended format for the counsellor-counsellee meeting?

Recommended format for the counsellor- counsellee meeting -

  • A minimum of two meetings must be held every month.

Contents of the meeting are suggested as follows.

Suggested time duration Agenda

  • 20 mins Vaishnava song, kirtan
  • 15 mins Vaishnava etiquette
  • 15 mins Discussions on japa
  • 30 mins Discussions on the chapter from the recommended book for the test. Test should be taken in the subsequent meeting.

  • 10 mins Shloka recitation.
  • 20 mins Pastimes from the krishna book.
  • 10 mins Announcements and ista gosti.
  • 30 mins Prasadam and discussions.

    2.30 hrs Total time including prasadam.

Advantage of the Counsellor system ....

Hundreds of students cannot be taken care of by one preacher. The Counsellor program operates by the philosophy of `each one teaches one while being taught by one'. It makes a serious devotee become more committed by taking leadership and it offers care and guidance for neophyte devotees. In this way thousands and thousands of youth by a proper system can be cared for, guided and protected in a Krishna conscious atmosphere.

 

For more information mail to iyfpune@vsnl.com

Chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna   Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama   Rama Rama Hare Hare

                                                 And make your life sublime.