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Since the beginning of June 1999 we have started a youth group at the temple. It is held on alternate Sundays, from 4 to 6. We start by singing a couple of bhajans, followed by a discussion on the topic we are studying. After that, the 10 offences are repeated and the whole group chants one round of the Maha-Mantra together. To end with we sing Guru-Puja and flowers are offered to Srila Prabhupada.
At the moment we are studying the Bhagavad Gita. We are covering it thoroughly, chapter by chapter. We have just started chapter 5 – Action in Krishna Consciousness. Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 have already been done and dusted.
Each week a different member of the group facilitates and is ‘teacher’ for the session. He/she starts with the invocation and then summarises what was covered in the previous session. Bhupendra prabhu prepares a question sheet for us all to answer for homework, and we discuss our answers in the class. The questions often ask for a lot of detail and no question goes by without a contrast in opinion! After all the questions have been answered, we repeat a verse from the texts we are studying.
At the end of each chapter there is a test. Yes, a test! But it is no ordinary test. It is a spiritual testing our knowledge and focusing on the chapter we are supposed to have revised. Thanks to the test, our weak areas in the topics studied are hastily discovered and they can be covered again so that we understand them better. The test is not particularly difficult and nobody has failed, yet! To help us if we get stuck, there is always a Bhagavad Gita close at hand.
The first youth club drama
On Gaura Purnima, the group celebrated the appearance of Lord Caitanya with a drama, on Jagai and Madhai, two demoniac rogues and how the Lord changed their lives. Jagai and Madhai are first seen quarrelling. Lord Nityananda and Haridas Thakur are nearby to break up the argument. But things turn out for the worse as the two devotees are made to run for their lives as the two rogues chase them. Back at Lord Caitanya’s ashram, Lord Nityananda and Haridas Thakur explain what had happened to the Lord. This enrages Lord Caitanya, who threatens to kill the two miscreants. He is persuaded otherwise and the two devotees take leave of the Lord. A short while afterwards there is another confrontation between the two disciples of the Lord and the two rogues. Madhai throws a pot at Lord Nityananda’s head and he is injured. Lord Caitanya arrives with his Surdarsan Chakra, to the delight of the villagers. Everyone expects the inevitable, the two rogues killed and peace through the town. But the lives of Jagai and Madhai are saved by Lord Nityananda. By this act of compassion, the lives of Jagai and Madhai are changed and they turn into devotees of the Lord. This pastime of the Lord shows that the association of devotees can change your life for the better.
What the members think of the youth group
Anant – I learnt that the soul never dies and we should seize every moment that we have to chant Krishna’s name as this human body is very rare. We are looking for glass but with Krishna, you can get diamonds.
Gomti – The youth club has helped me to understand the basic principles of Krishna consciousness. The club is fun, entertaining and enlightening. Anyone not joining us doesn’t know what they are missing.
Ganga – I enjoy learning about the Gita. I like sharing ideas and having discussions. It is a great idea for different people to facilitate.
Amit – I understood what the real meaning of studying the Bhagavad Gita is. Reading is one thing, but understanding and trying to put the teachings into practice in our daily lives is absolutely something else.
Anish – It is a good way to study the Bhagavad Gita, reading different verses, and then answering questions. It is enlightening because now we have learnt a lot considering we haven’t even got through a third of the book!
Sachin – It is a great way of studying the Bhagavad Gita. I have learnt a lot about jnan, the different types of yoga and the soul. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put Lord Krishna’s teachings into practice and advance more in spiritual life.
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