Week-end IYF Meetings & Public Speaking Test
Purpose of Week-end IYF Meetings
Youth Forum meeting is held every Saturday in our headquarters in ISKCON Pune, camp. This
meeting is specifically directed towards bringing the best boys from all the college
- To take
darshan of the deities
- To take
part in chanting and dancing with hundreds of friends before deities
with many other temple devotees
with many equal student devotees from various other college programs
the challenging Q & A and discussions
confidence and boldness by observing the presentation of a student like them
- To taste
the delicious out-of-the-world prasadam
overnight in the temple and join the early morning Mangal Arati program
students see a large gathering of students from many colleges, they feel, "we are not
the only ones to practice Krishna consciousness" and become more enthused and
fired-up by seeing a large gathering of students.
increase the conviction and dedication of the interested students by answering all the
questions - challenging, skeptical, sincere and genuine - that come to the mind of the
intellectual educated youth.
- To boost
up the confidence of already sincere ones and give them opportunities for service which
makes them feel as a host of IYF.
create well-trained and bold preachers of Krishna consciousness philosophy by giving a
opportunity to speak.
happens in a Week-end IYF meeting ?
meeting a crowd of about 125 to 160 students of various engineering and medical colleges
gather on Saturday evening at about 7:00 PM. There is a loud Gaur Arati with mridangams
and kartalas and students enthusiastically participate in the Arati. Subsequently the IYF
structure of a typical IYF meeting is 15 min presentation by student speaker - 15 min Q
& A - 30 min concluding speech by IYF Director or a Senior Devotee Speaker.
student speaker is one amongst the students attending a weekly college program for at
least six months. Generally the student speaker should be a outstanding candidate from a
weekly program either in speaking philosophy, rendering services or in strictness of
sadhana and should be in the direction of becoming more serious in Krishna consciousness.
He is given a topic like `Science of soul' or `Economic development vs. spiritual
advancement'. He may take some guidance from senior devotees to get some essential points
on the topic, but ultimately he has to prepare himself to present the same.
meeting begins with an introduction of what IYF meeting is all about and introduction of
speaker. The student speaker may begin with 5 min kirtan and speaks for about 15 minutes.
A grace time of 1 min. may be given to conclude the speech. During this presentation the
Director or any other senior devotee assesses the speech by giving marks and comments
(both positive and negative). A sample assessment by IYF Director is shown below :
Bhakta Gopal on the topic `Krishna's Rasa Dance
: Can we imitate ?
- Good clarity of speech
- Good confidence
- Nice sentence formation
- Hasty beginning
- Don't look into notes too
- Talk more about Krishna
than only condemning bogus imitators
- You said, "it is not
necessary to be moral
- because devotee is
transcendental " - it is a wrong statement.
- More examples /
- Too close to mike -
should be little away
- More smile and expression
|6) Facing Audience
|7) Maintaining Interest of audience
|10) Q & A
the lecture presentation there is a 15 min open Q/A session where the audience is allowed
to ask any question connected to the topic of the presentation of the student speaker.
Just as a scooter or any instrument is tested for the worst conditions, similarly the
speaker is tested for his understanding of the subject. This may leave some of the
questions unanswered or partially answered. Some sample questions from students which were
unanswered by the student speaker on the topic :
- What was
the need of Krishna to have rasa dance to create controversies ?
- Why do
paramahamsa devotees meditate on rasa dance ?
Krishna can dance with 16000 girls, being a part-and-parcel living entity can I not dance
with 16 girls ?
Krishna is God & should set an example how to behave. How can He act immorally ?
Director or a Senior Devotee Speaker gives the concluding presentation for half an hour to
one hour that answers all the questions which the student speaker was unable to completely
answer. He also gives a deeper understanding of the Krishna consciousness philosophy on
the topic of discussion.
program is concluded with melodious kirtans and ecstatic dinner prasadam.
Sample topics for the meeting are
Assessment Criteria for
judging a Student speaker
Every student speaker is judged on the
following 10 points for his lecture presentation:
must address the audience, thank them for attending the program, give a brief idea of what
one is going to speak about, and begin with a thought provoking / humorous / interest
generating / attention catching -- incident / information / sloka / quote.
- Student speaker
must have good English, clear pronunciation and diction, framing of the sentences should
be without grammatical mistakes, sentences should flow with confidence without hesitation.
- Less marks
should be given for half sentences, stammering etc.
- The most
important themes under a topic must be covered
- E.g. For a
topic "Miseries of the material world" - one must speak about the 4 - fold
miseries of birth, old age, disease and death and also speak about 3 miseries -
adhiyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika miseries.
- Must cover all
the topics in the lecture presentation.
- E.g. For a
topic " Three modes of material nature " one should not just talk about the mode
of goodness for most of the lecture. Equal time must be given to all the modes of nature
and conclusion must explain how the come out of the three modes by surrendering to
4. Non Deviation From Parampara
- Examples and
stories told to convey philosophical points should be repeated from parampara. Student
speaker must use construction of words as Srila Prabhupada has used in his writing. For
example "Supreme Personality of Godhead", "devotional service" etc.
- Doubtful and
controversial points must be left out of the presentation.
- Unnecessary and
provocative examples and statements should be avoided. E.g. "man never went to the
moon", or "fall of the jiva from the spiritual world controversy !"
- Self made
stories or examples,
conventional vulgar presentation (for e.g. to present the information like cutting of
testicles of goat in Yayati's story),
- Hurting the
personal sentiments of one or more people (criticizing women to be less intelligent and
justifying, `Prabhupada said it'),
- Creating a
tense situation by criticizing other religions or paramparas openly,
personalities instead of defeating their bogus philosophies
All these will lead to reduction of marks for this criteria.
5. Humility Thread
6. Facing Audience
Interest Of Audience
10. Questions And Answers
This part of the program has to be extremely
powerful and thus either IYF Director himself or else a very senior devotee preacher who
is seasoned in the preaching field for quite some time should take the lead. The
qualifications expected of him are :
- should very
precisely understand the questions of students
- should be quick
to think and relate several examples and incidents on a topic
- should be very
thorough with Krishna conscious philosophy
- should be able
to tackle the scientific questions asked by students
- should be
sober, mature and genuine in presentation
- should be a
good speaker fulfilling the aforementioned 10 criteria
- should be a
role model devotee and ideal for other youths to follow
above qualifications, he should have strict sadhana track record, unlimited enthusiasm for
youth preaching, detachment from things not favorable to Krishna consciousness, attachment
to things favorable to Krishna consciousness - as he will be watched by the students more
than anybody else. Every IYF needs a Director or a Senior Devotee Preacher of that kind
who can lead in this regard ; otherwise it is very difficult to attract a large gathering
of youth for such meetings.
discussion involves :
comments about the speech .
Answer to unanswered questions
any further questions to be answered based on the discussion.Although the Director makes
two columns in his own note book, one giving positive points and the other giving negative
points of the student speaker's presentation, still all positive points and only a very
few negative points are mentioned in discussion. This is to not hurt or discourage the
student speaker. These points can be shown later privately to him for improvement.
answers to the unanswered questions should be so thoroughly dealt with that it should
drive out all misconceptions. Students should feel satisfied and enlightened like a sun
shining in its full glory in the sky dispelling all clouds. This thorough analysis of
misconceptions and clarification will lead to a strong understanding of Krishna conscious
philosophy. This makes the students overjoyed, as they have now got answers to the
questions often posed by their karmi friends while ridiculing them. This also drives out
their fear and helps them to take bold forward steps in their Krishna conscious progress.
Preacher Selection Criteria
- Assessment of the
public speaking test is done by the IYF Director (or) Senior Devotee Speaker based on the
above mentioned points.
- If the student
speaker gets above 70% marks he is allowed to become a CELL GROUP LEADER (for more details
please refer to WEEKLY PROGRAMS section) and then when he matures more he may be send to a
college to take a weekly program.
- The students who
score more than 60% are sent for Bhakta Prahlad School (BPS) teaching and later they may
also be sent for youth and congregation weekly programs.
- The public
speaking program can test the PREACHING APTITUDE of a student speaker but those students
who are sent for preaching must also exhibit other devotional qualities of humility,
service attitude, strong sadhana and submissiveness. He should not have any serious doubts
about the basic philosophy.
- Since the best boys from
all the programs come to the temple once a week for these meetings the best quality
prasadam should be served to them for dinner on Saturday and for breakfast on Sunday
morning after the class.
- These students go back to
their colleges and talk about their stay in the temple and prasadam and bring many of
their friends with them next week!
- In our temple on Saturday
night we serve the following for about 125 to 160 students :
- Khichdi, papad, one salt
item, one milk sweet, one dry sweet, sabji and banana/chickoo milkshake etc.
To increase the
enthusiasm of students to invite more students for these meetings we hold this
transcendental competition after every meeting. We announce the names of every college and
students of that college raise their hands and we keep a count of the number of students
from that college. In this way we keep a record of students coming from all the colleges.
At the end of the semester the student leaders of the college which brought the highest
number of students get a special prize.