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Week-end IYF Meetings & Public Speaking Test

Purpose of Week-end IYF Meetings

ISKCON 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 programs together

  • To take darshan of the deities
  • To take part in chanting and dancing with hundreds of friends before deities
  • Associate with many other temple devotees
  • Associate with many equal student devotees from various other college programs
  • Enjoy the challenging Q & A and discussions
  • Gain confidence and boldness by observing the presentation of a student like them
  • To taste the delicious out-of-the-world prasadam
  • Sleep overnight in the temple and join the early morning Mangal Arati program
  • When 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.
  • To 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.
  • To create well-trained and bold preachers of Krishna consciousness philosophy by giving a opportunity to speak.

    What happens in a Week-end IYF meeting ?

    In this 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 meeting begins.

    The 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.

    The 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.

    The IYF 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 ?

Criteria

Marks

Positive points

Negative Points

1) Introduction

6

  • Good clarity of speech
  • Good confidence
  • Nice sentence formation

 

 

  • Hasty beginning
  • Don't look into notes too often
  • 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 / illustrations required
  • Too close to mike - should be little away
  • More smile and expression required
2) Flow

8

3) Coverage

6

4) Non-Deviation

From Parampara

7

5) Humility

7

6) Facing Audience

8

7) Maintaining Interest of audience

5

8) Precision

7

9) Conclusion

5

10) Q & A

5

Total

64%

After 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 ?
  • If Krishna can dance with 16000 girls, being a part-and-parcel living entity can I not dance with 16 girls ?
  • Lord Krishna is God & should set an example how to behave. How can He act immorally ?

IYF 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.

The program is concluded with melodious kirtans and ecstatic dinner prasadam.

Sample topics for the meeting are :

  • Is accepting Vedas not blind faith ?
  • Modern Technology : A cure worse than the disease
  • Social service vs. Krishna consciousness
  • Why do bad things happen to good people ?
  • Is God Personal or Impersonal ?
  • Krishna's Rasa dance : Can we imitate ?
  • Hearing from authority
  • Can life come from chemicals ?
  • Preyas (Short term goal) verses Sreyas (Long term goal)
  • Bonafide guru vs. Imposters
  • Sense gratification is poison

    (We have these and many more topics presentation including discussion available in audio tapes. You may write to us for details)

Assessment Criteria for judging a Student speaker

Every student speaker is judged on the following 10 points for his lecture presentation:

1. Introduction

    One 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.

2. Flow

  • 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.

3. Coverage

  • 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 Krishna.

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,
  • Non 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,
  • Attacking personalities instead of defeating their bogus philosophies

All these will lead to reduction of marks for this criteria.

5. Humility Thread

6. Facing Audience

7. Maintaining Interest Of Audience

8. Precision

9. Conclusion

10. Questions And Answers

Final Discussion ...

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

Besides the 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.

The discussion involves :

(a) comments about the speech .

(b) Answer to unanswered questions

(c) 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.

The 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.

Student 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.

Prasadam

  • 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.

Transcendental competition

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.

 


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.

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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.