Regarding your question about training and education; in my experience people join our movement not to work. They join primarily to find happiness, knowledge and relief from distress. Most Westerners do not need economic help, they need spiritual training. However they realize that they need to do something to keep busy and to help the organization as well as to please the Lord, guru and devotees so they agree to perform devotional service.
That service has to be carefully regulated otherwise it begins to seem like mundane work especially for newcomers. I’ve found that six hours is about as much as a devotee really wants to work or do service. The rest of the time he wants to chant (kirtan, japa, aratis), hear and give classes, study, discuss with other devotees, take prasadam, etc. Engaging new devotees requires careful attention. Idle time is dangerous too.
Later a devotee wants to work more, but in my opinion, he should be careful about doing that because he needs to balance his spiritual life. Too much work can be risky. Ramesvara was really a hard worker—from 4 am to 10 pm every day he was engaged, primarily in his BBT services. He neglected his rounds though and it snuffed out his advancement. Bhagavan was a brilliant devotee but he neglected study and writing (which Srila Prabhupada told him to do) and he fell victim to women. Harikesa put his management ahead of sadhana and look what happened. Healthy balance is required—sadhana and services.
If new devotees learn how to be regulated and fully engaged they have a better chance of becoming solid devotees. Fully engaged doesn’t mean ten hours of pot washing or ten hours of book distribution or emergencies all the time. Up to six hours of intensive service is good but that also should be in proper association, environment and guidance otherwise that also will become mundane for them.
They want enlightenment, realizations, mercy, bliss, nectar, transcendental knowledge and therefore they need enough activities which concentrate on these things. Morning and evening programs, classes, kirtans, counseling, etc. Of course running restaurants are not so compatible for these things that is why that service is mostly meant for householders who have another impetus—money, family, home, etc.
I have explained these things to help you understand why new devotees will naturally be attracted to bhakta programs or other well-organized programs of learning and spiritually-stimulating activities. The initial investment of time and energy put into training new devotees however pays off in greater profits as the new devotees become happily situated in Krishna consciousness for life.
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July 14, 2015 at 7:23 pm
Could you comment on what may be seen...Robert LessengerRobertLessengerdgservant@rvc.eduAdministratorDanavir Goswami