Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Power of Story (2)

In a letter of March 18, 1971 Prabhupada writes, “So when they will read Krsna book, certainly they will enjoy this as a story or as philosophy, morality, religion, etc. and gradually they will become perfect in Krsna consciousness.”
Just like Prabhupada in his presentation of Krsna Book, the idea behind storytelling is to weave story and philosophy together to make it both an entertaining and enlightening experience for the reader. The storyteller, according to the audience, has to determine the right mix of story and philosophy. What would be the appropriate balance for your audience to be engaged. See what is the major point of the story. Look for one or two additional points.
Storytelling is not a platform to convince the listener. Rather, we want the listener to open their minds and get absorbed in the dynamics of the story and  “enjoy” the story. The listener should walk away with a satisfying experience. Prabhupada concludes that  “gradually they will become perfect in Krsna consciousness.” 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Power of Story (1)

Srila Prabhupada explains in the Krsna Book: “The conditioned soul has a natural aptitude to hear about other conditioned souls in the form of fiction, drama and novel. That inclination to hear something about others may be utilized  in hearing the pastimes of the Lord.”  Storytelling is an age old tool in all cultures around the world.  Actually it is both a technology and art form in itself.  Through the stories people learn about the history of their culture. Stories are the perfect way to understand what is right and wrong, what it means to be good or bad, how to approach life’s obstacles,  and what are the consequences of our actions. Stories are for the young and old, the rich and the poor, the learned and unlearned. Everyone will delight a story well told. Especially in our Vedic tradition we are so close to stories that we take them for granted. Sukadev Goswami shares stories of Krishna’s incarnations with Maharaja Pariksit. Valmiki shares the stories of Lord Rama. Vyasadev shares the stories of Mahabharata. And Srila Prabhupada shares many stories both scriptural and non-scriptural in offering a variety of lessons and insights. 

To spread Krishna Consciousness in todays’ climate, it is imperative for each of us to understand the power of story. In Srimad Bhagavatam 3:13:48 Prabhupada writes, “Every one of us is fond of hearing some wonderful narration, but most stories are neither auspicious nor worth hearing because they are of the inferior quality of material nature. Every living entity is of superior quality, spirit soul, and nothing material can be auspicious for him. Intelligent persons should therefore hear personally and cause others to hear the descriptive narrations of the Lord's activities, for that will destroy the pangs of material existence. Out of His causeless mercy only, the Lord comes to this earth and leaves behind His merciful activities so that the devotees may derive transcendental benefit.”

Look for more about the power of story later.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Beginning of an Age

Today is the day the Kaliyuga is said to have started 3102 BC. 

My recently published book Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest at