His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder Acharya : International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Srimad Bhagavatam Katha Training Course

Need For Training Course

Srila Prabhupada often did not like the idea of professional Bhägavata Kathas. In his various quotes in Bhaktivedänta purports, Srila Prabhupada has listed the three exact reasons why most bhāgavata kathās are not able to become effective:

(1) The speaker is non-devotee, but is simply a professional who is into the kathā for money.

(2) The audience is not śuśrūṣatām(eager to render service). The audience simply wants to hear something flowery, take prasāda and go home.

(3) The kathā goes on for only seven days.

With a view to create ISKCON’s own pure variety of bhāgavata kathā platform which will be free of the defects that are currently plaguing many bhāgavata kathās in the world outside, IIAC has designed a framework for Bhägavata Kathas in ISKCON. These kathas will be free from professional money making, non-vaisnava behaviour and irresponsible preaching.

The standards, rules and guidelines finalized by IIAC is to be followed by organisers and speakers of katha.

Details of Training Course: ……..(To be updated)

IIAC Approved Standards

The rules and recommended guidelines for Temple Managers and Bhagavata Katha Speakers for conducting Bhagavat Katha in ISKCON, India, as approved by IIAC (ISKCON India Advisory Committee) are listed as follows:

Rules and recommended guidelines for Managers :

Rules :
  • Invite only ISKCON authorized Bhagavata katha speaker.
  • All financial transaction including dakshina to Speaker to be monitored and accounted by ISKCON temple organizing it.
  • All publicity materials should be of ISKCON standards.
  • If any person or an organization want to organize bhagavata Katha still the official invitation letter should be from the temple manager and he should monitor all financial dealings.
  • The temple manager/ Zonal secretary has the right to invite or not to invite a particular speaker.
  • The temple manager/ Zonal secretary has the right to invite or not to invite a particular speaker.
  • Any discrepancy found in the Bhagavata Katha speaker in following the rules set for him, should be immediately reported to DC chairman. DC Chairman, after investigation, should report to IIAC Bhagavata katha committee.
  • Bhagavata Katha speaker is guest speaker only and all the managerial responsibility is on the local temple management. So, temple management/ Zonal secretary reserves the right to cancel the Katha any time, if they find the Katha speaker interference in managing Katha program.
  • No Katha speaker can independently organize Katha, it should always be done under the management of an ISKCON authority. If the katha speaker is himself an ISKCON authority, then there should a senior ISKCON authority who takes responsibility of Katha organization and Management.
Recommended Guidelines :
  • Invite only those speakers whoever the temple manager feels would be beneficial for their temple
    and their zone.
  • Before invitation make it clear to the katha speaker that they should submit all the dakshina to
    temple accounts and any financial consideration should be discussed before hand. Best is to not
    invite anyone who has a demand for money.
  • It’s best practice to host the speaker in Temple premises and monitor his morning program. Better
    not invite a speaker who has his own choice of stay and no proper sadhana. House invites during his
    stay also to be under the supervision of the temple manager.
  • Have `Jaya Radha Madhava’ kirtans in the beginning and kirtans in the end. In the middle if the
    Speaker wishes, there can be Hare Krishna kirtans and Vaishnava bhajans. There should be no
    background music during the lecture.
  • Its best that a temple Representative be the MC of Katha and only one donation stall operated by
    temple.
  • Also the organizer can ensure there will be a Srila Prabhupada’s book table during the event for
    reaching Prabhupada’s books to the attendees.
Rules and recommended guidelines for Bhagavat Katha Speakers :
Rules :
  • First get certified in writing (details in powerpoint on the Training and certification program), as an
    authorized ISKCON Bhagavat Katha speaker
  • Katha can be done in a place only on invitation by Local or Zonal authority.
  • No monetary or commercial precondition to be laid for speaking Bhagavatam.
  • The speakers of the kathā should ensure that they speak pure vaiṣṇava philosophy aligned to the gauḍīya-vaiṣṇava siddhāntas. They can quote commentaries by previous ācāryas only if they are sure that they are rendering a faithful translation of the ācārya’s words. He must be second initiated, Bhakti sastri holder, philosophically sound, in good standing, must have visible sadhana to set a good example, must be rendering tangible and effective service within an ISKCON temple(s) for last seven years from the time of chanting minimum 16 rounds of japa daily; must be loyal to Srila Prabhupada instructions, GBC Body, to representatives and following ISKCON’s line of spiritual and managerial authority; must understand and practically apply spiritual knowledge according to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada; must be trustworthy with clear history of personal conduct; must know how to deal appropriately with children and women; must be inclined to lead and train others; must be willing and able to serve co-operatively with others in a humble mood; must be enthusiastic to preach appropriately.
  • He should be connected to an authorised ISKCON Temple and not doing anything independent of the local temple management or Zonal secretary
Recommended guidelines :
  • Maintain appropriate simple dress code. Preferably doti, kurta, anga-vastra. White for grihastas and saffron for brahmachari and sanyasis.
  • Stay in the place arranged by the host temple and attend morning program.
  • For those who do Bhagavata katha as a fulltime service, then the best policy is to have shaved head, tilak, kanthimala, shika and no turban
  • Maintain a proper consciousness that Katha is to attract conditioned souls to krishna not to ones own self. Always introduce Srila prabhupada to audience as a founder acharya and local authorities as the siksha guru.
  • Maintain simple lifestyle befitting your ashram and stature.
  • Disclosure of assets and income to local authority, if you have a private business and trust.

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