Building meaningful relationships with all members of our communities…
Recognizing every devotional home as an abode of faith…
Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir)
“Everyone can establish a small temple in his house,
and he can begin family-wise — himself, his wife, his children.
That is wanted. This Krishna consciousness movement wants to
see that every house has become a temple of Krishna.
That is our program.”
(Lecture by Srila Prabhupada, 13 December 1972)
Srila Prabhupada wished to see every home transformed into a place of spiritual practice. This aspect of nurturing every devotional residence into a “place of Krishna conscious faith” is an essential strategy for the re-spiritualization of society. However, in ISKCON, this has not yet been developed to its full potential. This initiative, namely “Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir)” (an original term used by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura) aims at exactly that — acknowledging the homes of practicing devotees as places of spiritual cultivation. It is an invitation to every family to be formally recognized as an ISKCON-friendly unit.
The Purposes of Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir)
1. To recognize the efforts of all those who endeavor to spiritualize their life and environment.
2. To express appreciation for their contribution to the fulfillment of Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
3. To facilitate devotees receiving proper support and care.
4. To establish meaningful relationships amongst members of our community.
5. To acknowledge every Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir) as an active center of Krishna conscious-ness and a reference point for those seeking spirituality.
The aim of this program is to focus the attention towards supporting individuals’ practices and, in that context, their dealings with matters relevant to congregational devotees: children’s education, marriage stability, finances, reciprocal support between families, communities and temples, and many others. With this initiative devotional communities can enhance their opportunity to create a harmonious atmosphere of care, cooperation and unity amongst devotees.
Minimum standard for a Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir)
– Each member is at least favorable to Krishna consciousness.
– Only vegetarian food is consumed within the home.
– At least one member of the household is daily chanting a fixed number of rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
HOW TO START?
There are many ways in which the concept of Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) can be introduced. However, it is up to the local leaders from the community, temple or center to choose the most appropriate approach for their circumstances. The following are some suggestions:
– Organize a meeting with leading devotees (temple authorities, congregational preachers, etc.) to set a date for an initial community informative-session.
– Select some responsible devotee(s) to make a list of potential Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) (and their contact details — address, phone numbers and email addresses) and organize the necessary meetings.
– Approach the householders on the prospective list and confirm their willingness to participate in the program.
– Hold a recognition ceremony — During the Sunday Program or other festival at the temple, where it can be announced that certain families have been recognized as Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) — abodes of faith and devotional cultivation. Certificates (available from the Congregational Ministry) and other symbols of recognition (such as a plaque or sticker) can be presented to them in public.
– Assign visiting devotees (Find volunteers to organize regular visits to the Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs)).
– During such visits consider doing any of the following depending on the preferences of those being visited (new members may have different needs to more senior devotees):
• Bring some gifts (e.g. Maha-prasadam).
• Enquire about their personal situation, needs and concerns.
• Facilitate all family members’ participation in the conversations.
• Acknowledge the value of their practice of Krishna consciousness at home.
• Perform bhajan, kirtana or a simple puja at the Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir) altar.
Other ideas that could increase the effectiveness and impact of this initiative:
– Place a Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) — Register book in the temple room or in another visible area listing the devotees already in the program. The book should look prestigious, perhaps gold in color and can be displayed permanently for public view.
– Set a large map of the city (ideally in a visible place) with pointers, such as colored pins, to indicate each Bhakti Home.
– Organize regular conventions and workshops focusing on the nurturing of such Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) — addressing pertinent issues like schooling, parenting, marital relationships, devotional engagement for householders, etc.
The recognition of Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) is only an initial step in supporting the immense and, at times, untapped potential of every family household. This initiative will encourage families to feel more connected and committed to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, understanding that practicing Krishna consciousness is a significant contribution to our ISKCON society.
How Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) can benefit your community
Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) can help communities by:
1. Supporting each other to address common issues.
2. Strengthening devotees’ friendship.
3. Joining together with other Bhakti Homes (Sraddha-kutirs) to organize programs.
4. Encouraging the youth to form groups and engage their talents and innovative ideas.
5. Participating more in temple services.
In the spirit delineated by Srila Prabhupada,
“If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Krishna… accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four things will make one happy. One should train the members of his family in this way.”
(Bg 13.8-12, purport)
The Congregational Ministry has available a promotional brochure, certificate and sticker (with the Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir) logo to be placed in some visible spot, such as the front door of the home).
* For the sake of having a tangible indicator of the healthy growth of our communities it is recommended that the temple or community leaders keep track of the homes recognized as Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir). This will provide an accurate sense of the extent of success of the development of Krishna consciousness in a given locality.
We have Bhakti Home (Sraddha-kutir) packages available. Each package consists of a:
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on receiving the packages.