It is a small group of congregational devotees, meeting every week to practice Krishna consciousness and to plan preaching activities. In these Bhakti-vriksha groups the devotees learn how to nourish their spiritual creeper and to cultivate their service attitude in cooperation with others. Every group member is also active in preaching and in bringing new people into the group. Upon reaching fifteen members the group divides into two. This system keeps the groups small, maintaining an intimate atmosphere of personal care and nurturing, not possible in large groups.
The members help each other under the supervision of a group servant-leader and a trainee-servant-leader. The trainee-servant-leader is being trained and groomed to become the future group leader after the group multiplies into two. Multiplying adds life and increases preaching momentum, compelling new leaders to take initiative. When the group multiplies the servant-leader continues to supervise one group while the trainee-servant-leader starts supervising the other group as a servant-leader. Both appoint new trainee-servant-leaders.
What Is a Bhakti-vriksha Group?
From Sitapati’s blog Network centric preaching.
his “book” consists of a series of articles published by Sitapati prabhu on his web site urbanmissionary.info.
He explains the vedic sankhya system, which uses the three gunas (modes of nature) as basic unit of analysis. Complex phenomena like the human mind and social systems can be explained by analyzing the interaction of these modes.
As seasons change throughout the year, there are cosmic cycles affecting the whole universe. During these cycles the predominance and interaction of the modes of nature change, affecting our consciousness, the way how the mind works, and therefore how the whole of human society works. Attempts to organize society and to influence human behavior and consciousness (preaching) have to take these circumstances into account in order to be successful.
I found many ideas that have been drifting around in my mind as vague concepts explained in these articles, and his examination of the Bhakti-vriksha program in this context, why it works extremely well in some places but not in others, appears very relevant to me.
I urge all of you who actually think about what you’re doing to take the time to read & digest these articles – and don’t hold back with your opinion! This isn’t a finished product; Sitapati himself says he’s still working on the presentation, and I’m sure he will appreciate your comments.
Chowpatty is becoming more and more an example for ideal community development within ISKCON. However, sometimes it is not easy to convince senior devotees of the value of the much discussed and glorified Counselor System. And without full and active support from senior devotees it is rather difficult to put into practise. Often we hear the opinion, “the Bhakti-vriksha Program does the same thing.” Some devotees conclude, therefore: “No need for any new systems!”
There are basic differences between these two programs; it is not that one is better than the other. If we analyze them more deeply we discover that they have fundamentally different goals, and that there is plenty of room for both programs to run side by side in a yatra.
Network Centric Preaching
Bhakti-vriksha Program Versus Counselor System– Which is Best ?