Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do Gangster go to Akshardham?

A fellow bal sabha-ologist came up with this idea while pondering how to present the prasang of Joban Pagi to a group of Bal 2 balaks. His idea was to look at the prasang from a different point of view.

Attached is a different way that I will talk about Joban Pagi in the upcoming sabha. I did some research on gangsters in America and put together this presentation. Key is for kids to see that people can change, even flawed people, (like our flaws), and if we try and have the proper conviction, we too can change and go to Akshardham. Joban Pagi represents a way that a gangster could end up in Akshardham.

This is a powerful tool. Changing the point of view from which a prasang is told gives us a fresh perspective on that prasang, and even though we know the prasang by heart, and know what the take away point is, this change of perspective can really drive home the simple point.  We brainstormed some other points of view on this same prasang each can give some credence to slightly different simple statements. 

  • Joban Pagi from point of view of a relative of a person that Joban Pagi murdered - can hit on forgiveness and the fact that in Akshardham we are all atmaroop, so that our bodies and their relation would be meaningless. Accomplishing that mindset on earth can only happen with the grace of the Guru.
  • Joban Pagi from point of view of someone Joban Pagi killed. They may not have wound up in Akshardham, this could illustrate purva karma, maya, and reincarnation.
  • Joban Pagi from the viewpoint of Maharaj. He knew all about him, his past, his future - therefore everything Maharaj did was for Joban's own good and to serve as an example to others.
  • Joban Pagi from Joban Pagi's viewpoint. This is the version we usually get. Emphasizing transformation of character. 
It would be a very interesting sabha indeed (could we say a very Sticky Sabha) that told this same tried and true prasang from each of these angles to drive home a simple point. Let us know if you try that and how it went.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Presenter Pointers #5: Assist (not Assault) II

Every Sunday (or Saturday), Sabhaologists are on the field monitoring, observng, and analyzing presentations. This series brings to light their observations and points of improvement in a bite-sized blog post.

Last time, we looked at how to present prachar, from pounding it into our audience mercilessly to using it as a beacon to bolster our audience, and last week's presentation in kishore/kishori sabha on katha provided us with another opportunity to revisit this lesson.

In one sabha, the presenter remarked why we don't listen to katha: laziness, lack of understanding Gujarati, lack of time, etc. Such negativity serves nobody, but in review, we learned that this presenter was merely following the syllabus's speaking points.

Every audience in every mandal is different and has different levels of understanding present. Katha might be an addiction to some, a distraction to others, and a waste of time to the rest, so we have to tailor our message to hit home with these segments. Perhaps pointing out flaws may work to move those already seeking to improve themselves, but we know that many of our audience members have yet to reach that stage.

Next time we have a syllabus in our hands, lets take a step back and think of our audience before mindlessly regurgitating the syllabus. It's also not enough to reword the syllabus and present it. The Vachanamrut is replete with examples where Shriji Maharaj details one concept to a sabha filled with just sadhus very differently to one mixed with householders.

A little thinking can thus move mountains.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

That's So Cliché

Detach from the world. Eliminate worldly desires. No [insert niyams here]...

Week in and week out, we grow accustomed to hearing statements like these. It's not that their message is valid, it's just that they are heavy doses for our heroes. They don't invigorate the audience at-large and fall under the category of cliché, phrases that we think carry appeal but rather fall flat on their feet to carry change forward.

The folks over at show us just how blind-sided we can be passing them off as cool. Of course, it's difficult to know if we abuse this habit, so record yourself next time to find out. Even if you do, it's not the end of the world.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Samaiyo Recipe

This past Sunday marked Swaminarayan Jayanti, the first of five days where we defy our body with a waterless fast.

Sitting in on some post-samaiyo feedback really got us thinking - at least on something other than food.

What makes a great samaiyo?

Many point to dances, dramas, and kirtans.

Dramas engage us with comedy and suspense.
Dances enamor us with vivid costumes and fast music.
Kirtans involve us with melody and lyric.

Few point to the speeches; they only have words.

Conclusion: Great samaiyos have more singing, acting, and dancing.

And that's where our formula falls apart, for what empowers a program is a message. Shriji Maharaj's purpose behind encouraging samaiyos stemmed from their ability to inspire countless individuals to a life for the better only because they walked away with that message.

Dances, dramas, and kirtans may entertain us, so let's enhance their effect by combining them with a central message. If the elements of a program cannot connect back to a core theme, what we have is a lifeless list on a cue sheet.

Just as a speeches without SUS will inevitably lose the audience, let's craft a program with a punch the next time it's samaiyo season.