Seminar and Workshop Descriptions









Urmila devi dasi

(Dr. Edith Best)

List of seminars and workshops

Updated: December 10, 2018

 

Contents

Sastra seminars. 4

Nectar of Instruction. 4

Sri Isopanisad. 5

Bhagavad-gita, depth. 5

Bhagavad-gita, overview.. 6

Nectar of Devotion. 6

Krishna Book. 7

Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, part
2
. 7

Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto
2
. 7

Catur-sloka of Srimad
Bhagavatam
.. 7

Talks between Lord
Caitanya and Ramananda Roya
. 7

Manah-siksa (Raghunatha
Dasa Goswami’s verses with Bhaktivinoda’s commentary) for Devotees
. 7

1 session seminar
description
. 8

3 session seminar description: 8

6 session workshop
description:
8

12 session workshop
description:
8

Seminars and Workshops on
Manah-siksa for the General Public
. 9

1 session seminar
description:
9

3 session workshop
description:
9

Sastra based: Applying
Krishna Consciousness (all one seminar unless otherwise indicated)
10

Essence Seekers: From
materialist to Krishna prema
. 10

Siksastaka. 10

Spiritual and Material
Happiness
. 10

Pleasure in the Self 10

Material and Spiritual
Balance
. 10

How can all the aspects
of my life energize me spiritually?
. 11

Struggles with maya—is
there hope and how?
. 11

Can I find high quality
time for Krishna in a life filled with so much to do?
. 11

Always thinking of
Krishna—Is it possible in the realities of my life?
. 11

How to Control the Mind. 11

Peace Instead of Worry. 11

What is Maya. 11

Who is God. 11

Getting free of anarthas:
English only, not suitable for translation into other languages
. 11

The Nine Processes of
Devotion
. 11

·       Process #8: Friendship with the Lord. 11

·       Process #9: Surrendering everything. 12

Coming to the mode of
Goodness
. 12

Dealing with Sexual
Desire
. 12

Our Longing for
Reciprocation (can be taught as one or as three seminars)
12

Forgiveness. 12

Emotions: material and
spiritual
12

Humility. 12

Choosing our Association. 13

Fellowship with devotees. 13

Meditating on Krishna in
everyday life (can be taught as one or as five seminars)
13

Obstacles and Tests: If I
want to serve Krishna, why are there external difficulties in my life?
. 13

Chanting with Attention,
general
13

Chanting with Attention:
reversing material creation through sound
. 13

Brahma Gayatri Mantra. 13

Developing Vaisnava
Qualities
. 14

Overcoming the “Stigma”
of Being a Religious Person in a Secular Society
. 14

Women’s Ancient and
Modern Social and Economic Role
. 14

Where I Am in Spiritual
Life and How to Progress
. 14

Stages of Hearing and
Meditation
. 14

ISKCON and Lord Caitanya
in the scope of “Hinduism”
. 14

How to Treat a Wife. 14

Transcendental
Personalities and Places
. 14

Spiritual strength from
Lord Balarama
. 15

Taking shelter of the
divine energy: Srimati Radharani
15

Nrsimhadeva. 15

Lord Nityananda. 15

Lord Caitanya. 15

Lord Siva. 15

Ramayana. 15

Srivasa Thakura. 15

Advaita Acarya. 15

Krishna’s appearance. 15

Tulasi devi/Vrinda devi 15

Govardhana. 15

Radha Kunda and Shyama
Kunda
. 15

Prabhupada seminars. 16

Prabhupada as
Founder-acarya (not suitable for translation; English only)
16

Prabhupada as Preacher—his
life (not suitable for translation; English only)
16

Prabhupada in our lives. 16

Prabhupada—assisting in
service
. 16

Practical Life Skills for
devotees
. 16

Plans that Work. 16

Personality Types. 16

Giving a Scripture Class
or Any Public Lecture
. 17

Inspiring People to
Achieve Their Best
17

Metaphor and Story
Telling
. 17

The Relationship between
Spiritual Life and Culture
. 17

Eight ways to modify
unwanted behavior
17

Leadership and Management 17

An effective persuasive
agent of change
. 18

Implementing effective
plans and policies
. 18

Organizational Culture
and Structure
. 18

Preserving ISKCON.. 18

ISKCON History. 18

Relevant and Relatable
ISKCON
.. 18

Women in ISKCON.. 19

For primary and secondary
school administrators
. 19

For Preachers and
Teachers, General
19

Super Motivated
Listeners/Students? Teaching to peoples’ real needs
. 19

Students/listeners
Retaining What They’ve Learned: method 1
. 20

Creating Presentations
that People Remember: method 2
. 20

Practical and Relevant
Preaching and Teaching
. 20

Bloom’s levels of
learning along with Multiple Intelligences and Talents
. 20

The Vocation of Teaching
in Krishna Consciousness: Inspired for Life
. 20

For ages 2-18 with adults
helping (parents or teachers)
21

Parents and Children Fun Workshop. 21

For Parents and for
Teachers of Children and Youth
. 21

Transmitting the Culture
of Krishna Consciousness to the Next Generation
. 21

Parenting and teaching
based on the Gita
. 21

Srila Prabhupada’s
principles of education
. 21

Teaching and Guiding
Children in Chanting Japa
. 21

Sadhana for Parenting in
Krishna Consciousness
. 21

Motivating our Children
to Engage in a Variety of Devotional Services
. 22

Motivating our Children
to Hear and Read About Krishna
. 22

Multi-level Classroom.. 22

Speaking and Drama. 22

Critical Thinking/Logic. 22

Brief biographical
information about Urmila devi dasi
22

 

 

 

 

 

Sastra
seminars

In general, the sastra seminars are designed for practicing
devotees, or those with some knowledge of Krishna consciousness. Most require
printing of materials for the presenter, and often also printing materials for
the participants. Some also require a projector and screen.

 

Nectar
of Instruction

4 seminars, 1 hour each (can be given as a group or
separately). For each of these seminars, we need printing of materials for
presenter and students. These are designed for devotees.

·      
Ourselves and Our Life (texts 1-3)

The importance and method of controlling the mind and senses
as well as what will accelerate or hamper our progress in devotional service

 

·      
Devotees and Society (texts 4-6)

Having a society based on loving exchanges with devotees on
various levels of realization, transcending bodily limitations

 

·      
Absorption in Krishna (texts 7-8)

Going from the offensive to pure stage of chanting,
understanding our progress through the steps of devotion

 

·      
Better and Best (texts 9-11)

How to become the best person and live in the best place?

 

Sri
Isopanisad

(note: These seminars are available in two forms. One
concentrates more on content and is suitable for a concentrated Bhakti shastri
course, whereas the other concentrates more on personal application. These can
be taught as a group or separately.) For each of these seminars, we need
printing of materials for presenter and students. These are designed for
devotees.

 

These seminars can be optionally taught with a projector.

 

5 seminars, 1 hour and 10 minutes each

·      
Relationship Between Krishna, Jivas, and
Prakriti (invocation-mantra 3)

Finding happiness and harmony through overflowing
completeness which eliminates lack and scarcity

 

·      
The Lord as Known by the Maha-Bhagavata (mantras
4-8)

The vision and consciousness of great souls who through
revelation know the Lord’s inconceivable qualities

 

·      
Knowledge and Ignorance (mantras 9-11)

Knowing wolves and wolves in sheep’s clothing to lead
instead a balanced life

 

·      
Worship of Absolute and Relative (mantras 12-14)

Other kinds of wolves and wolves in sheep’s clothing that
help us to distinguish real and false religion, being successful both
spiritually and materially

 

·      
Revelation of the Lord (mantras 15-18)

Developing loving appreciation for Krishna through the
process of surrender and His mercy.

 

Bhagavad-gita, depth

·      
18 classes, one seminar per chapter, 1 ½ hours
each, needs projector, for devotees

 

·      
Special for Gita, Chapter Twelve, needs
projector, for devotees

Three parts—can be taught as one seminar, as two, or as
three seminars of about 1 hour each, with projector; This chapter gives a model
for the progression of bhakti

·      
Texts 1-7: the two paths to perfection

·      
Texts 8-12: going step-by-step: how the paths
connect (this includes printed handout)

·      
Texts 13-20: qualities of peace

 

Bhagavad-gita,
overview

These need printing for the presenter; printed handouts are
available for participants. Suitable for any audience

 

·      
Overview (the entire gita)

A summary of the entire work, showing the relation of each
chapter to each other, with some emphasis on key verses, and a concentration on
thinking of Krishna with love and surrender

 

·      
The Self and Working in Sacrifice with Knowledge
(chapters 1-6)

How the essence of Karma yoga and Dhyana yoga is meditation
on Krishna, dedicating our mind and activities to Him

 

·      
The Lord, Sri Krishna, Known through Bhakti
(chapters 7-12)

The glories of the Lord, distinct from demigod worship or
impersonalism, can be known through linking with Him through loving service. He
then reciprocates and reveals Himself to the devotee.

 

·      
Material Nature and Knowledge that Increases
Love and Surrender (chapters 13-18)

Among the world’s theological philosophies, none gives as
complete an understanding of the relationship of the Lord and the soul with
matter. By understanding the nature of our entanglement, we can also gain
knowledge of how to become free and again situated as Krishna’s servant.

 

Nectar
of Devotion

 

·      
The Six Opulences

We first explore the benefits from hearing about Krishna’s
qualities, and how one can truly understand the Lord’s qualities. Then, for
each of Krishna’s six opulences, participants study how to think about the
Lord’s reciprocation with us as well as examples and stories of the
manifestation of each of the opulences. This is suitable for any audience.
Printouts are needed for presenter and participants.

 

·      
Some Traits of Krishna

After considering benefits from meditating on Krishna’s
qualities, participants consider three traits discussed in Nectar of Devotion,
with several stories related to each. Two other traits, as well as the four
traits manifested only in Krishna, are also discussed. This is suitable for any
audience. Printouts are needed for presenter and participants.

 

·      
Krishna’s Personality

The four seemingly contradictory descriptions of Krishna’s
personality are explored, along with examples and stories that illustrate each.
An understanding of the Lord’s personality is compared and contrasted with
concepts of mundane personality. This is suitable for any audience. Printouts
are needed for presenter and participants.

 

·      
Nectar of Devotion, Introduction through chapter
19

8 classes, 1-1 ½ hour each. For devotees. This includes
printouts for the presenter.

 

Krishna
Book

These each require printouts for the presenter. They are
suitable for devotees and people with some exposure to Krishna consciousness.

 

·      
Kaliya serpent

·      
Brahma stealing the boys and calves

·      
Swallowing the forest fire (needs projector and
sound hook up for the computer)

·      
Salva attacking Dvaraka

·      
Pundraka, Sudaksina, and Daksinagni

·      
Bringing back the brahmana’s children from
Mahavishnu

 

Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,
part 2

With projector, this seminar tells the story of the journey
of Gopa Kumara through the universe to Goloka Vrindavana. This story gives a
model for a devotee’s progress. Useful especially for devotees but can be taught
to any audience

 

Srimad
Bhagavatam, Canto 2

Overview of the canto. A multimedia presentation that
requires a projector. For devotees

 

Catur-sloka of Srimad Bhagavatam

These requires printouts for the presenter and participants.
Suitable for all audiences though especially for devotees. 4 seminars of about
1- 1 ½ hours each

·      
2.9.33: Krishna is everything; acintya bedabeda
tattva (includes an overview of how to meditate on Krishna in the world)

·      
2.9.34: The nature of illusion and the illusory
energy

·      
2.9.35: The Lord’s detachment from the world and
His attachment for His devotees and acintya bedabeda tattva

·      
2.9.35: The independence and glories of
bhakti-yoga

 

Talks between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Roya

Lord Caitanya hears from Ramananda Roya about better and
better methods to attain life’s perfection. Their discussion helps us to
understand whether or not we are on the best path and how to adjust so as to
make the most rapid spiritual progress. This seminar requires a projector and
screen and is useful for devotees.

 

Manah-siksa (Raghunatha Dasa Goswami’s verses with
Bhaktivinoda’s commentary) for Devotees

[Note for organizers: These are seminars and workshops for
devotees: people already familiar with, and practicing, bhakti yoga in the
Gaudiya tradition. A projector and a screen are highly recommended, but not
absolutely required. There is a one-page printed handout to be given to
participants. This course can be taught in 1, 3, 6, or 12 sessions of 45-90
minutes each.]

General description:

Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami wrote Manah siksa under Svarupa
Damodara Gosvami’s direction as a step-by-step guidebook for attaining love for
Krishna in the mood of the residents of Vrindavana. In twelve verses, it goes
deeply into the heart with practical and clear instructions for overcoming all
obstacles and finding the ultimate spiritual attainment.

Copies of Manah siksa, translated by ISKCON scholars,
profusely illustrated, and with commentaries by Bhaktivinoda and contemporary
ISKCON devotees (Jayadvaita Swami, Sivarama Swami, Sacrinandanda Swami, Bhaktivijnana
Swami) will be available for purchase.

1 session
seminar description
:

·      
The shining path of Vraja bhakti starts and ends
with loving attachment to Krishna and His associates. But on the way thieves
and various traps lurk to stop the devotees’ progress. We get an overview of
the step-by-step process, learning what to do and not to do on our spiritual
journey.

3 session
seminar description:

·      
1) Making sure our compass is set to the right
direction, and our heart is attuned to the mood of the spiritual world; 2)
Recognizing the increasingly subtle inner thieves and traps on the path, and
employing counteracting measures; 3) How the fully humble soul enters into
loving perfection in Vrindavana.

6 session
workshop description:

·      
1) Making sure our compass is set to the right
direction, and our heart is attuned to the mood of the spiritual world; 2) What
we talk about: How speech is the key to spiritual wealth or poverty—the
prostitute, the tigress, the goddess’ husband, and the jewel; 3) What we do:
matching our actions and words—the thieves on the shining path of love, ropes
woven out of actions, the cheating crane, and the protectors; 4) What we want:
when pure speech and action have hidden motives—the burning donkey urine, the
ocean of love, the artistic singer, and the mountain holder; 5) What we crave:
the deep and hidden desire that blocks full internal absorption in bhakti—the
dead dog, the dance of the promiscuous woman, the army general, and the ladies
of pure love;  6) How the fully humble
soul enters into loving perfection in Vrindavana. 

·      
All participants will work with the metaphors of
the original text as well as crafting their own, in their choice of medium and
expression (language, song, painting and so forth). Participants will also
create a short and long term plan for personal and group application of peace
through authenticity.

·      
[paper and writing implements are required, as
are musical instruments]

12 session
workshop description:

·      
1) Starting the journey to Vrindavana by having
affection for Krishna and all that is related to Him including non-sectarian
appreciation of devotees; 2) Our relationship with our spiritual masters (what
to do and what not to do), and the place of Lord Caitanya in our love for
Krishna; 3) The dawning of our spiritual identity in the science of rasa, the
guidance of Rupa Goswami and Svarupa Damodara Goswami, and the incompatibility
of love and liberation; 4) What we talk about: How speech is the key to
spiritual wealth or poverty—the prostitute, the tigress, the goddess’ husband,
and the jewel; 5) What we do: matching our actions and words—the thieves on the
shining path of love, ropes woven out of actions, the cheating crane, and the
protectors; 6) What we want: when speech and action in spiritual life have
hidden motives—the burning donkey urine, the ocean of love, the artistic
singer, and the mountain holder; 7) What we crave: the deepest hidden desire
that blocks full internal absorption in bhakti—the dead dog, the dance of a
promiscuous woman, the army general, and the lady of pure love;  8) Deep authenticity: the humble soul—purity,
glowing nectar to drink, and the service of the supreme artistic singer; 9)
Meditation—sacred places and supreme persons who connect to the deepest places
in our heart; 10) The internal energy and the supreme goddess, Srimati
Radharani; 11) Direct service through five nectars and our connection with
Govardhana; 12) Benediction—singing, understanding, applying—gaining another
jewel.

·      
All participants will work with the metaphors of
the original text as well as crafting their own, in their choice of medium and
expression (language, song, painting and so forth). Participants will also
create a short and long term plan for personal and group application of peace
through authenticity.

·      
[paper and writing implements are required, as
are musical instruments]

Seminars and Workshops on Manah-siksa for the
General Public

 [Note for
organizers:  These are seminars and
workshops for a general audience (university classes, temple Sunday feast,
etc.). It can be taught either as a seminar overview or as in-depth workshops.
For a seminar overview (30 minutes-1 ½ hours), a projector and screen are
desirable but not necessary. For more in-depth workshops (3 sessions of 1 to 1
½ hour each), a projector and screen are required, participants should bring
paper and writing implements, and musical instruments should be available.]

 

1 session seminar description:

Title: Instructing Our Mind to Attain Peace through
Authenticity

A presentation of a classic guidebook to mental balance and
peace, as interpreted by contemporary international philosophers and visual
artists. The seminar is based on Manah-siksa [Instructions to the Mind] by
Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (1495-1586).

Topics include:

·      
Affection and passion: genuine love of ourselves
and others

·      
Respect and integrity: escaping the pitfalls of
arrogance and deceit

·      
Metaphor and poetry: using literary ornaments
and visual art to unlock our potential 

Copies of Manah siksa, translated by ISKCON scholars,
profusely illustrated, and with commentaries by Bhaktivinoda and contemporary
ISKCON devotees (Jayadvaita Swami, Sivarama Swami, Sacinandanda Swami,
Bhaktivijnana Swami) will be available for purchase.

 

3 session workshop description:

Title: Instructing Our Mind to Attain Peace through
Authenticity

A presentation of a classic guidebook to mental balance and
peace, as interpreted by contemporary international philosophers and visual
artists. The workshops are based on Manah-siksa [Instructions to the Mind]
by Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (1495-1586).

 

Topics include:

·      
Affection and passion: genuine love of ourselves
and others

·      
Respect and integrity: escaping the pitfalls of
arrogance and deceit

·      
Metaphor and poetry: using literary ornaments
and visual art to unlock our potential 

In three sessions, using a multi-media approach,
participants study the original text as interpreted by contemporary international
philosophers and visual artists. They explore the concepts and timeless
principles. Additionally, the group crafts proposals in which, in the world
today, we can achieve unity in diversity by applying those principles according
to local culture. The proposals are generated though discussion, role-play,
music, art, and creative writing. All participants will work with the metaphors
of the original text as well as crafting their own, in their choice of medium
and expression (language, song, painting and so forth). Participants will also
create a short and long term plan for personal and group application of peace
through authenticity.

Copies of Manah siksa, translated by ISKCON scholars,
profusely illustrated, and with commentaries by Bhaktivinoda and contemporary
ISKCON devotees (Jayadvaita Swami, Sivarama Swami, Sacinandanda Swami,
Bhaktivijnana Swami) will be available for purchase if there is at least three
months’notice.

 

Sastra based: Applying Krishna Consciousness (all
one seminar unless otherwise indicated)

These seminars, in general, are useful for both/either new
people and devotees. Please note which seminars require a projector, printouts,
and sound hook-up for the computer.

 

Essence Seekers: From materialist to Krishna prema

The journey to Krsna prema, based on Jada Bharata’s Forest
of Enjoyment in the Fifth Canto, Lord Caitanya’s instruction to Sanatana Goswam
on Sarvajna, and Raghunatha dasa Goswami’s Sri Manah Siksa (Splendid
Instructions to the Mind)  

 

(There is a book to accompany this seminar, so it’s best to
arrange it at least three weeks in advance to give time to order books). Projector
needed. Suitable for people new to Krishna consciousness and all devotees.

 

Siksastaka

Meditation on the first verse of the siksastaka; this
requires a projector and sound hook-up for the computer

 

Spiritual
and Material Happiness

Exploring the differences; this requires a projector and
sound hook-up for the computer. Suitable for any audience.

 

Pleasure
in the Self

How realization of our real spiritual self is joyful; this
requires a projector. Suitable for any audience.

 

Material
and Spiritual Balance

How to balance devotional sadhana, work, study, family and
so forth; this requires a projector and sound hook-up for the computer. This
seminar can be taught in summary form in one hour, or in 4 sessions of one hour
each. The 4 session version is as follows. Each of these sessions can also be
taught as entirely separate seminars:

 

How can all the aspects of my life energize me
spiritually?

Dealing with misconceptions about renunciation and
detachment, experiencing Krishna in the world, seeing our life as service,
seeing Krishna’s hand in everything, seeing everything as spiritual energy

 

Struggles with maya—is there hope and how?

Examining the nature of illusion, our temptations, and a
variety of solutions, including the eight ways to change bad habits

 

Can I find high quality time for Krishna in a life
filled with so much to do?

Examining the problems such as scheduling, demanding lives,
busyness, and the solutions such as gaining perspective and prioritizing, along
with various practical and creative ideas

 

Always thinking of Krishna—Is it possible in the
realities of my life?

How to enter into practical samadhi through bhakti-yoga
throughout the day

 

How
to Control the Mind

Understanding the mind and how to control it—for people with
at least some preliminary interest in Krishna consciousness; this requires a
projector

 

Peace
Instead of Worry

Why we worry, and how to find peace; this requires a
projector. Suitable for any audience.

 

What
is Maya

Understanding Illusion and how to be free of it; this
requires a projector. Suitable for any audience.

 

Who
is God

Using logic and sastra to understand the nature of God; this
requires a projector. Suitable for any audience.

 

Getting
free of anarthas: English only, not suitable for translation into other
languages

A meditation on letting go (from Rocks in my Pack); this
requires a projector and sound hook-up for the computer

 

The
Nine Processes of Devotion

·      
Process #8: Friendship
with the Lord
. This is an exploration of the two parts of friendship
that are included in sadhana bhakti, as well as a brief look at the rasa of
friendship of the pure devotees. This requires a projector and sound hook-up
for the computer. Suitable for any audience

·      
Process #9:
Surrendering everything.
Krishna ends the Bhagavad-gita with a call
for our surrender to Him. But what does surrender mean? How do we do it? What
does surrender feel like? Are there ways to think we are surrendered when we
are not? We meditate on the surrender of King Bali, explore the two limbs of
bhakti that deal with surrender, and relish the six symptoms of surrender with
corresponding songs of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. This requires a projector and
sound hook-up for the computer. Suitable for any audience

 

Coming
to the mode of Goodness

An analysis of the three modes, why goodness is important,
and how to transcend the modes; this requires a projector and sound hook-up for
the computer (allow 1 ½ hours for this presentation) Suitable for any audience.

 

Dealing
with Sexual Desire

We look at Bhagavatam verses 5.25.5 and Caitanya Caritamrita
Madhya 8.138 to examine the source of desire in the soul, how to ultimately
transform it back into prema, and how to deal with it until perfection. This
requires a projector and sound hook-up for the computer. This is suitable for
devotees and those with some preliminary exposure to Krishna consciousness

 

Our
Longing for Reciprocation (can be taught as one or as three seminars)

Do we ever find that we do our utmost yet all is dry? Do we
have moments of sweet reciprocation and realization that we can’t maintain and
they vanish? In this seminar we explore having a conversation with the Lord, as
we open our mind and heart to understand the various ways of reciprocation, and
the unlimited love Krishna has for us. From Bhagavatam 10.32. This requires a
projector and sound hook-up for the computer. This is more suitable for
devotees

 

Forgiveness

What is forgiveness?  Is
it condoning? What about justice? How do we forgive and yet protect ourselves?
We explore misconceptions, truth, and freedom in this practical and healing
seminar. 
This requires printing for the presenter and participants.
Suitable for any audience.

 

Emotions:
material and spiritual

We learn the functions and interrelation of the
intelligence, body, and soul, how to deal with and control the material
emotions. We explore the value and variety of spiritual emotions and the
difference and similarity between impersonalists and personalists in thinking
about and dealing with the emotions. This requires printing for the presenter
and participants. Suitable for any audience.

 

Humility

Exploring the need for humility, we define what humility is
and is not. Participants then learn various ways to develop this quality in
their behavior and hearts. This requires printing for the presenter and
participants. Suitable for any audience.

 

Choosing
our Association

After considering the power of association in general,
participants learn of various ways of thinking about and dealing with people
according to our relationship with them and their advancement in devotional
service. We also explore various ways to interact with non-devotees, including
situations where such non-devotees are family or co-workers. This requires
printing for the presenter. Can be adjusted for any audience.

 

Fellowship
with devotees

We explore the value of devotee association at all levels of
our spiritual advancement. We learn the six loving exchanges with devotees,
explore the necessity of such exchanges for devotees to develop the support,
strength, and determination to succeed in spiritual life, and make a plan to
increase the practice of these exchanges. This requires printing for the
presenter. For devotees and those with some knowledge of Krishna consciousness.

 

Meditating
on Krishna in everyday life (can be taught as one or as five seminars)

How to meditate on Krsna through the qualities of earth,
water, air, fire, and space. This can be one seminar or five, one hour each.
These seminars are of great help to people who want to be Krishna consciousness
while working in the world. This requires printing for the presenter. Can be
adjusted for any audience.

 

Obstacles
and Tests: If I want to serve Krishna, why are there external difficulties in
my life?

We examine sources of problems—our own behavior, the
external energy, and ways in which Krishna Himself is dealing with us. Then we
consider the purposes for obstacles and the different ways in which devotees
and materialists respond. This requires printing for the presenter and
participants. Suitable for any audience.

 

Chanting
with Attention, general

Why and how overcoming this offense to the holy name is the
key to spiritual advancement and removal of all obstacles is examined in this
seminar. An honest appraisal of both the problem and solution is explored. This
requires printing for the presenter and participants. Suitable for devotees.

 

Chanting
with Attention: reversing material creation through sound

An explanation from the eleventh canto of why and how we can
revive our original consciousness through attentive chanting of the mahamantra.
This seminar gives a very practical experience of attentive chanting and an
unusual scientific explanation of the process. Based on a series of seminars
given by HH Bhaktivijnana Maharaja. Highly recommended This requires printing
for the presenter and participants. Suitable for any audience.

 

Brahma Gayatri Mantra

The benefits, origins, and mediations on Brahma Gayatri.
Suitable for devotees and those familiar with spirituality (Hindus, yoga
practitioners, etc.) Requires a printout for the presenter.

 

Developing
Vaisnava Qualities

Considering why such qualities matter to an individual and
society, this seminar focuses on some specific qualities and the ways to make
them an integral part of our character. This requires printing for the
presenter and participants. Suitable for any audience.

 

Overcoming
the “Stigma” of Being a Religious Person in a Secular Society

This workshop defines the discrimination, often subtle, that
religious people experience when interacting with modern society, whether at work,
school, or even shopping. We explore the two toxic extremes devotees of Krishna
can adopt when interacting with the world, and many specific strategies and
results. This requires printing for the presenter. Suitable for those trying to
be devotees. (There is a sociological version of this with a projector. Please
discuss which version is more suitable to the particular audience)

 

Women’s
Ancient and Modern Social and Economic Role

Exploring history and exploding myths, this seminar
challenges our assumptions about Vedic culture and practical application in the
modern world. Participants consider an unbiased and rational understanding of
women’s role in society, beyond stereotyped liberal and conservative ideas.
This requires printing for the presenter and participants. Suitable for any
audience.

 

Where
I Am in Spiritual Life and How to Progress

From Sraddha to Prema with an emphasis on overcoming the ten
offenses and exploring other ways to think about the stages of progression in
spiritual life. This requires printing for the presenter and participants.
Suitable for people with some involvement in Krishna consciousness.

 

Stages of Hearing and Meditation

From sravanam to perfection—the eight stages of hearing and
meditation from Nectar of Instruction, text 8, Jaiva Dharma, Harinamacintamani,
Premabhakticandrika, and Manah Siksa. This seminar explores how we advance in
devotion with a focus on the internal state of the devotee’s mind and heart.
Suitable only for people who are practicing Krishna consciousness. This
requires printing for the participants.

 

ISKCON and Lord Caitanya in the scope of “Hinduism”

A scholarly presentation, suitable for university classes
and a general audience. Needs a projector.

 

How to Treat a Wife

Based entirely on scripture verses, Prabhupada’s purports
and instructions, we examine how to please Krishna by the way a husband treats
his wife.

Transcendental
Personalities and Places

These are designed for any audience and can be used for
festivals related to the person, or at any time. They all require a projector
and a sound hook-up (external speakers) for a computer

 

Spiritual
strength from Lord Balarama

How Balarama kills Denukasura and the process for gaining
spiritual strength

 

Taking
shelter of the divine energy: Srimati Radharani

A meditation on Srimati Radharani, with emphasis on
Bhagavad-gita 9.13 (also available with Russian or Hungarian text)

 

Nrsimhadeva

The story of the Lord’s appearance as Nrsimha.

 

Lord
Nityananda

A visual and auditory meditation on Nitai Pada Kamala

 

Lord
Caitanya

A visual and auditory meditation on Parama Karuna

 

Lord
Siva

His identity and pastimes

 

Ramayana

The Appearance and Pastimes of Lord Ramacandra

 

Srivasa
Thakura

His identity and some of his pastimes with Lord Caitanya
Mahaprabhu

 

Advaita
Acarya

His identity, His spreading of bhakti, and His followers

 

Krishna’s
appearance

The story of why and how Krishna
comes to the material world. The emphasis is on Bhagavad-Gita 4.9

 

Tulasi devi/Vrinda devi

The glories of Tulasi, benefits from worshiping her and
using her wood. Some discussion of her role in Krishna’s pastimes.

 

Govardhana

The excellent qualities of Govardhana Hill and the story of Krishna lifting the hill

 

Radha
Kunda and Shyama Kunda

A tour through the holiest of all places

 

Prabhupada
seminars
 

 

Prabhupada
as Founder-acarya (not suitable for translation; English only)

Deepening appreciation for Prabhupada’s unprecedented
success, and Prabhupada’s position and accomplishments in respect to ISKCON.
Requires projector and sound hook up for computer

 

Prabhupada
as Preacher—his life (not suitable for translation; English only)

We identify important events in Prabhupada’s life, explore
how we can be connected to Srila Prabhupada, understand his wonderful gift to
humanity, and explore how to promote knowledge of Prabhupada’s life to people
in general.

 

Prabhupada
in our lives

Participants describe how they personally interact with
Prabhupada on a daily basis, discuss the specific benefits they receive from
that contact, and plan for increasing the quality, quantity, or both of their
regular contact with him. Requires paper, pencils/pens, flipchart or
whiteboard/blackboard

 

Prabhupada—assisting
in service

We explore Prabhupada’s accomplishments in service, define devotional
service and discuss how one becomes empowered in devotional service.
Participants make an offering of service to Srila Prabhupada. Requires paper,
pencils/pens, flipchart or whiteboard/blackboard

Practical
Life Skills for devotees

 

Plans
that Work

Before we can accomplish anything, we need to know our goal.
Unfortunately, sometimes we only know what we want to get away from. Our lack
of success may lie in plans that invite failure. This seminar covers the five
essential elements of planning. In this workshop practical skill will not only
aid your own formation of long and short term goals, but also greatly enhance
your teaching and counseling in all areas. This seminar is most useful for
everyone in all areas of service, particularly for those who are engaged in
teaching, lesson planning, counseling, and managing. Can be done either with a
projector/screen or with printing for the presenter and participants. Suitable
for any audience.

 

Personality
Types

This workshop explores how our relationships are more
conducive to developing Krishna consciousness (as well as being more externally
pleasing and productive) when we understand our and others’ personality type.
The models presented are easy to understand and apply. The personality models
presented are both modern and based on ayur-veda and the modes of nature. The
principles are universal and scriptural. (If there is sufficient advanced
notice and funds, participants can receive scoring devices and booklets to
determine their style according to one of the models described) This requires
printing for the presenter and participants. Suitable for any audience.

 

Giving
a Scripture Class or Any Public Lecture

This workshop will give participants the skills to organize
and deliver a class that captures the main points of a verse and purport.  We will explore the goals of a public
lecture, the proper mood of the speaker, effective delivery skills, and how to
organize the content so it will be interesting, logical, and memorable.  Although we will focus on classes based on
sastric verses and purports, the skills covered here are applicable for any
public lecture.  Attendees will be
actively involved in the learning process. This requires printing for the
presenter and participants. Suitable for devotees. (This is a workshop and
requires at least two hours.)

 

Inspiring
People to Achieve Their Best

How do our expectations of others affect us and them? Are
their ways we can communicate positive expectations so as to inspire others?
Practical formulas and examples from Prabhupada. (Also called: Law of
Expectation) Highly recommended (This seminar has an accompanying PowerPoint
and so a projector that can be connected to a laptop should be provided,
thought it can be taught without it.) This requires printing for the presenter.
Suitable for any audience, though designed for devotees.

 

Metaphor
and Story Telling

Why are the sastras full of stories and metaphors? Why did
Srila Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and all the acaryas use stories
and metaphors extensively in their preaching? Learn the advantages of metaphor
and story telling in teaching and preaching. This is a workshop where
participants will practice the two ways of creating metaphors for specific
purposes. This workshop is suitable for all teachers of all subjects (including
those who give sastric lectures) and for all counselors. (It is helpful to have
already taken the “Well-formed Plan seminar prior to having this one.) This
requires printing for the presenter. Suitable for any audience, though designed
for devotees.

 

The
Relationship between Spiritual Life and Culture

What culture is “native” to Krishna consciousness? How can
devotees relate to other cultures in the world? What are the pros and cons of
dealing with outside cultures in various ways? This presentation is based on
the study of the sociology of religion and is especially suitable for devotees.
It requires a projector.

 

Eight ways to modify unwanted behavior

This workshop examines eight ways to change unwanted
behavior in yourself or others (both adults and children). We discuss how
Krishna uses all eight methods in the material world, the pros and cons of
each, and real life examples. Participants work on scenarios and how they would
use these methods to deal with issues they are facing.

 

Leadership
and Management

 

These seminars are designed for ISKCON leaders and managers
(or those interested in leadership topics) and are based on the research of
sociologists or organizational experts, with reference to sadhu-sastra-guru.
They all require a projector. Please also see the “Practical Like Skills”
section, most of which are applicable to leadership and management.

 

An effective persuasive agent of change

When we want to move a society, a group, or an individual in
a new direction, what are the effective tools of persuasion? We explore and
practice methods that are both elegant and straightforward to apply. Become an
expert change agent in terms of organizational culture, goals, values, and
behavior. (8-12 hours for a fully interactive course) Projector and printing
required.

 

Implementing effective plans and policies

Why do good policies and plans so often end up not getting
implemented at all, apparently implemented but in an unrecognizable form, or
having negative unanticipated consequences? We learn various ways of crafting
and evaluating plans so as to maximize enthusiastic implementation with the
intended results. Expect to challenge existing ideas of how to be effective! (6
hours for a fully interactive course). Projector and printing required.

 

Organizational
Culture and Structure

Prabhupada spoke and talked about “brahmincal culture” and
about having ISKCON be like a “family” based on “love and trust.” What is
organizational culture, how does it form, what does it affect, and how can we
change it, are the questions explored and answered in this seminar. We
especially look at the relationship between organization culture and
varnasrama, as well as organizational culture and structure.

 

Preserving
ISKCON

Mahaprabhu’s Movement will flourish for 10,000 years.
Prabhupada sometimes warned us, however, that we had to be careful to keep
ISKCON both alive and pure. In this seminar we examine the work of two leading
sociologists of religion and their research on what factors contribute to the
preservation and purity of a religious tradition.

 

ISKCON History

An overview of ISKCON History from Bhaktisiddhanta to the
present time. Not for a general audience. Needs a projector and screen.

 

Relevant
and Relatable ISKCON

This is a three part interactive workshop, one hour for each
session. Each participant requires printed materials in the form of two
handbooks.

Participants learn how to make preaching dynamic, attract more
people to become devotees, make Krishna consciousness accessible while
maintaining the purity, and increase the participation of existing members
through the regular and systematic use of scanning. Needs a projector and
screen.

 

Women in ISKCON

This is a three part interactive workshop, one hour for each
session. This workshop is for ISKCON leaders only, not for a general audience.
We explore developing a vision for ISKCON and the world with practical
application. We also explore the history of women in ISKCON, as well as
Prabhupada’s instructions and example. Needs a projector and screen.

 

For
primary and secondary school administrators

 

Each of these lessons is about an hour to an hour and a half
long. Each participant requires a printed handbook. The lessons for that course
are as follows:

 

1.    
Duties of an administrator, necessity and definition of
vision

2.    
Formulating an effective vision statement

3.    
Developing school policies that reflect the school’s
overall vision

4.    
Restrictions on vision—law, constituency, resources,
and finances

 

5.    
Policies and procedures for admitting students

6.    
Curriculum views, approaches, methods, and organization

7.    
Extra-curricular activities and general evaluation

8.    
Discipline

 

9.    
Choosing, supervising, and evaluating teachers

10.  Relationships
with ISKCON leaders and general adult community

11.  Parents

12.  General
conflict avoidance and resolution

 

13.  Choosing
or arranging the physical facility to meet goals

14.  Funding
and maintenance

15.  Choosing
educational materials and equipment

16.  Prasadam
program and library

 

17.  Planning
the school year

18.  Promoting
the school and its vision

19.  Overview
of administrator’s service

20.  Self-evaluation:
Are we achieving what we’ve envisioned?

 

For Preachers and Teachers, General

 

These seminars are for anyone who is regularly engaged in
teaching or preaching to any age or audience.

 

Super
Motivated Listeners/Students? Teaching to peoples’ real needs

Anyone who teaches or preaches anything to anyone will find
much useful information and practical guidelines in this seminar. Are those
whom we teach eager to learn, and begging us for more? Do those who attend our
classes feel that what we are teaching is relevance and helpful for their
lives? If you’re a classroom teacher or give Bhagavatam classes, this
presentation can revolutionize your effectiveness. (Also called: Law of Need)
Highly recommended (This seminar has an accompanying powerpoint and so a
projector that can be connected to a laptop should be provided, thought it can
be taught without it.)

 

Students/listeners
Retaining What They’ve Learned: method 1

What is the difference between “dumping” information on
students and facilitating their long-term learning? Learn and practice the
seven maxims and seven methods for having learning “stick.” This seminar is
helpful for anyone who teaches anything to anyone (including those who give
scriptural classes), as well as to those who write and develop educational
materials. (Also called: Law of Retention) Highly recommended (This seminar has
an accompanying powerpoint and so a projector that can be connected to a laptop
should be provided, thought it can be taught without it.)

 

Creating
Presentations that People Remember: method 2

Based on the Made to Stick method, this interactive workshop
helps us to find our core message, and present it in ways that capture and hold
attention, allowing people to remember and use what we teach in their lives

 

Practical
and Relevant Preaching and Teaching

Ever sit in a class and wonder how it applied to your life?
Ever look at a verse and purport and wonder how to explain it so the listeners
could really use it? Want your preaching and teaching to be revolutionary and
transformational? Learn and practice a simple approach to teaching for personal
transformation and lifechange. (Also called: Law of Application) Highly
recommended (This seminar has an accompanying powerpoint and so a projector
that can be connected to a laptop should be provided, thought it can be taught
without it.)

 

Bloom’s levels of learning along with Multiple
Intelligences and Talents

This workshop uses a matrix of levels of learning and kinds
of learning, creating 42 templates. Participants then create a wide variety of
plans and activities for teaching and learning. Using the templates not only
gives much variety to teaching, but also facilitates various individuals’
strengths and talents, as well as having learning move past information and
memory to really make a difference in life application. This requires printing
for the presenter and participants

 

The
Vocation of Teaching in Krishna Consciousness: Inspired for Life

Participants will explore what practices and attitudes are
most conducive for long-term satisfaction in teaching and evaluate themselves
in light of whether or not they are heading for satisfaction or “burn-out.” This
requires printing for the presenter and participants

 

For ages 2-18 with adults helping (parents or
teachers)

Parents and Children Fun Workshop

For one or two hours we have supervised fun activities
related to Krishna and His various incarnations. This workshop needs some
advance planning by local people to have various materials and handouts. It
requires a room with tables and chairs and some facility to make a mess.

For Parents and for Teachers of Children and Youth

 

Transmitting
the Culture of Krishna Consciousness to the Next Generation

What’s the four most important elements and practices to
inculcate someone with culture and behavior? Setting a good example is not
enough and may even be counterproductive unless these three elements are
present. This seminar defines many practical applications and is designed
mostly for devotees. This requires printouts for the participants.

 

Parenting
and teaching based on the Gita

There are many philosophical principles in the Bhagavad-gita
which have direct application to teaching and parenting children. In this
seminar we examine three of those principles along with general and specific
ways to apply them with children. This seminar is particularly aimed at an audience
who is new to Krishna consciousness, and is also useful for committed devotees.
This requires printouts for the participants.

 

Srila
Prabhupada’s principles of education

Based on lectures Prabhupada gave about gurukula and the
brahmacari asrama, we explore basic principles of Krishna conscious education.
Requires printout for the presenter. Suitable for any audience.

 

Teaching
and Guiding Children in Chanting Japa

Participants will explore the goals of having a japa class,
learn various methods of teaching japa, and the essence of the japa
instruction. (It is helpful to have already taken the “Well-formed Plan seminar
prior to having this one.) This is designed for devotees. This requires
printouts for the participants and the presenter.

 

Sadhana
for Parenting in Krishna Consciousness

Involving children in regular sadhana as part of family and
temple life, this workshop considers obstacles and useful practices. (note:
this seminar is similar to The Vocation
of Teaching in Krishna Consciousness, Part II: Inspired for Life,
except
that it is geared toward the specific needs of parents and their daily practice
of spiritual life.) This is designed for devotees. This requires printouts for
the participants and the presenter.

 

Motivating
our Children to Engage in a Variety of Devotional Services

What are our children’s gifts? In this interactive workshop,
we explore how to match activities to people, and come up with a practical plan
for implementation. This is designed for devotees. This requires printouts for
the participants and the presenter.

 

Motivating
our Children to Hear and Read About
Krishna

Based on meeting the real and felt needs of our children,
participants consider many approaches to increasing the quantity and quality of
their children’s reading and hearing about Krishna, so that children will want
to make such absorption a regular lifelong habit. This is designed for devotees.
This requires printouts for the participants and the presenter.

 

Multi-level
Classroom

Designed for academic teachers and school administrators,
this seminar covers the philosophy and practice of teaching several grades and
ages together. This requires printouts.

 

Speaking
and Drama

How to have our children become expert at public speaking?
What do we hope to accomplish with courses in speaking and drama? This workshop
can be adapted to the needs of elementary or secondary teachers and can focus
only on public speaking rather than also including the drama section. This
requires printouts.

 

Critical
Thinking/Logic

What is Critical Thinking? 
This seminar explores definitions, the objectives of teaching critical
thinking to primary and secondary students, the main means of instruction, and
whether students should be taught with the content areas or as a separate
course. This requires printouts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief biographical information about Urmila devi dasi:

 

Urmila Devi Dasi (Dr. Edith Best) joined ISKCON in 1973 in
Chicago. She received first initiation in 1973 and second initiation in 1975
from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In 1996, Urmila and
her husband, Pratyatosa, entered the renounced order of vanaprastha. They have
three grown married children, fourteen grandchildren (two of whom are married),
and a great-grandson.

 

She is the acting chair of the Sastric Advisory Council to
ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) and has been an associate editor of
Back to Godhead magazine since 1990. She has taught the entire Bhakti Shastri
course over 15 times, and is a professor of Sociology and Education at
Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh. She travels worldwide teaching sastra as
well as practical courses in education and organization. Urmila has three
decades of experience teaching primary and secondary students, which include 19
years of experience as a school administrator and leader. She has a masters
degree in school administration and a PhD in educational leadership from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Urmila’s publications include Vaikuntha Children, a
guidebook for devotional education (http://www.illuminationeducation.com/freebooks
), The Great Mantra for Mystic Meditation (http://www.amazon.com/Great-Mantra-Mystic-Meditation-ebook/dp/B007TVCRO0
), Essence Seekers (https://www.amazon.com/Essence-Seekers-Beyond-Forest-Enjoyment/dp/1987703464/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526068487&sr=8-1)
 dozens of articles, and Dr. Best Learn
to Read, an 83 book complete literacy program with technology enabling the
story books to speak in 25 languages at the touch of a special “pen” (http://www.illuminationeducation.com/
). Her
official website: http://urmiladevidasi.org/ and personal website: http://urmiladasi.com/

 

 

Shorter Bio:

Urmila devi dasi (Dr. Edith Best) has served ISKCON
continuously since her initiation by Srila Prabhupada in 1973. She and her
husband are in the vanaprastha order since 1996. They have three married
children, 14 grandchildren (two of whom are married), and a great-grandson. She
has a PhD in education, was a primary and secondary teacher for 27 years, and
has 19 years of experience with school management. Urmila is the chair of the
Sastric Advisory Council to the GBC, an associate editor of Back to Godhead,
and a professor of Sociology of Religion at Bhaktivedanta College. She travels
worldwide teaching Krishna consciousness. She is the author of Dr. Best
Learn to Read, an 83-book literacy program for children. Her books for adults
are The Great Mantra for Mystic Meditation, Essence Seekers, and Sri Manah
Siksa, all available on Amazon. Her official website: http://urmiladevidasi.org/   and
personal website:
http://urmiladasi.com/