Devotee Success Partnership Guide

From the Seven Purposes of ISKCON

  1. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
  2. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.

WHAT IS A DEVOTEE SUCCESS PARTNERSHIP?

Devotee Success Partnership is an alliance of two or more devotees or family members who want to help each other succeed in devotional service and other areas of life that support devotional service. They speak once a week and have a two-way session, both playing roles of a coach and a coachee. They help each other work on their Krsna conscious goals by using the recommended structures, or some other useful structure. You may have such a partnership with several persons if you like.

Devotee Success Partnership sessions help to: 

  • Empower your confidence: with faith in God
  • Stimulate your creativity: with excellent questions
  • Enthuse your heart: with unconditional love

SASTRIC INSPIRATION FOR DEVOTEE SUCCESS PARTNERSHIP

Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all. Bg 2.29

The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me. Bg 10.9

That is why the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas protect each other, as well as themselves; and the Lord Himself, who is both the cause and effect and is yet immutable, protects them through each other. SB 3.22.4

The self-effulgent Vaikuṇṭha planets, by whose illumination alone all the illuminating planets within this material world give off reflected light, cannot be reached by those who are not merciful to other living entities. Only persons who constantly engage in welfare activities for other living entities can reach the Vaikuṇṭha planets. SB 4.12.36

As King Indra was standing by, he became ashamed of his own activities and fell down before King Pṛthu to touch his lotus feet. But Pṛthu Mahārāja immediately embraced him in great ecstasy and gave up all envy against him for his having stolen the horse meant for the sacrifice. SB 4.20.18

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear sons of the King, I am very much pleased by the friendly relationships among you. All of you are engaged in one occupation — devotional service. I am so pleased with your mutual friendship that I wish you all good fortune. Now you may ask a benediction of Me. SB 4.30.8

May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him. SB 5.18.9

It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary suffering because of the suffering of people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present in everyone’s heart. SB 8.7.44

Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in his Tattva Viveka -Tattva Sutra, proclaims that: “Those who think that devotion to God and kindness to the jivas are mutually different from each other, and perform accordingly in their life, such persons will not be able to follow the devotional culture. Their performances are only a semblance of devotion. Therefore, all the types of beneficence to others, like kindness, friendliness, forgiveness, charity, and respect…are included in bhakti…The actions of respect, friendliness, and kindness are the very form of love and the characteristic portion of bhakti: charity of medicines, clothes, food, water, etc., shelter during adversities, the teaching of academic and spiritual educations, etc., are the activities included in the devotional culture.”

DEVOTEE SUCCESS PARTNER ROLE

Each partner plays three basic roles for the other:

  • I’m your thinking partner
  • I’m here as support and encouragement
  • I’m here to help you be accountable

Thinking Partner: You help me think with clarity, rigor and imagination about my goals and challenges. You give me undivided attention and encouragement. You ask questions that ignite my best thinking.

Support and Encouragement: People who know me see me through their past experiences with me. You as my Success Partner come from a fresh point of view. You strive to see beyond our history, and you can help me to see many more possibilities and strategies that are way outside the box of my habitual work and life experience.

Accountability: I know you’re going to ask me how I’m doing with the goals I set last week. You’re the one I entrusted with my list of what I really want to accomplish, and what I’ve committed to I will actually do. I’m counting on you to ask me.

SEVERAL WAYS HOW TO DO DEVOTEE SUCCESS PARTNERSHIP

GITA PARTNERSHIP

Encourage devotees to read and discuss in pairs or in groups (“Always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.” Bg 10.9) and allow Bhagavad-gita As It Is to do the coaching. The essence of this approach is to allow Srila Prabhupada and Krsna to be the guide of each devotee according to devotee’s qualifications and inclinations.

Here the role of a Devotee Success Partner is to facilitate another devotee’s being coached and trained by Srila Prabhupada’s and Krsna’s teachings in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. This creates a strong spiritual foundation for success.

Here are the steps:

  1. Before the session, if a devotee has a problem or a goal, ask him to define it in writing, and share it with you
  2. Ask him to find, also before the session, quotes in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is that could help him work on it
  3. If he is not able to find them, help him
  4. Discuss with him how these quotes can help him work on his goal
  5. To help him be more focused and disciplined, recommend that he sends you daily or weekly his progress reports

SLOKA COACHING

Both Devotee Success Partners choose a verse that each of them would like to apply during the upcoming week, discuss how to apply it, make a plan, take action, and report daily or weekly to each other.

Example: Bg 17.15 communication skills

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

  1. Make a list of important areas in your life and form them into questions that your Devotee Success Partner can ask you in a session. These questions may cover your top daily or weekly priorities.

For example:

  • Have you done your best to take care of your body, mind and soul?
  • Have you done your best to chant quality japa?
  • Have you done your best to read Srila Prabhupada’s books?
  • Have you done your best to build trusting relationships with devotees, relatives, colleagues, and friends?
  • Have you done your best to make a wonderful contribution?
  1. Your Success Partner asks your own questions and listens to your answers attentively. If needed, he ask subquestions to help you think better about your goals and priorities.
  2. In the second part of the session, he gives you his Personal Questions, and you play a role of a coach. You both have equal time as a client and coach.

EXCELLENT QUESTIONS

Use these steps to do a two-way session at least once a week:

  1. Ask a devotee to clearly define a weekly goal. If he has a problem, turn it into a goal.
  2. Ask him to think about and write down several excellent questions that can help him achieve the goal.
  3. Ask him to think of the best answers to these questions.
  4. Ask him to make a plan based on the answers and take action.
  5. Ask him to report to you at the next session, or daily if he likes.
  6. Review together his performance and results at the next session.

JAPA PARTNERSHIP

Help each other with improving your japa by:

  • Sharing inspirational japa quotes
  • Reading together books about japa (Mahatma’s affirmations, Japa Reform Notebook, The Living Name, MTE Devotional Practice)
  • Discussing obstacles to your japa
  • Reporting to each other about your japa
  • Chanting in one go

Few quotes:

Of all the regulative principles, the spiritual master’s order to chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential. Cc Madhya 22.113 P

It is essential … that everyone fulfill a specific vow to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. Therefore we have prescribed in our Society that all our students must chant at least sixteen rounds daily. Such chanting must be offenseless in order to be of high quality. Mechanical chanting is not as powerful as chanting of the holy name without offenses. Cc Adi 10.43 P

FEEDFORWARD

  1. Ask each other for two improvement suggestions in a chosen area
  2. Say thank you and do not comment
  3. Follow up and report progress to each other

THINKING PARTNERSHIP

Use these steps to do a two-way session at least once a week:

  1. What would you like to think about and what are your thoughts?
  2. What more do you think, feel, or want to say?
  3. What do you want to achieve from the rest of the session?
  4. Ask Incisive Questions:  Is there anything you are assuming that is stopping you from achieving your goal (limiting assumption)?
  5. If you knew that (add here a positive assumption) how would you prepare for achieving your goal?
  6. Write down the Incisive Question (as in no.5), then ask it a minimum of three times (the positive opposite of the limiting assumption)
  7. What do you appreciate about your Thinking Partner or Thinker

INTEGRITY PARTNERSHIP

See the Integrity Partnership Guide, available upon request on gitaseva108@gmail.com

Goal: “Develop your own integrity and inspire others to develop theirs.”

SIMPLE MODEL

  1. Listen attentively with a genuine interest
  2. Ask questions that help a devotee work on their goals

MORE WAYS TO DO DEVOTEE SUCCESS PARTNERSHIP SESSIONS

Based on:

  • 3 gunas
  • Metaphors and analogies
  • Your favorite verses
  • BG index (by topic)
  • The most important verses
  • Srila Prabhupada’s purports
  • Sections (e.g., those describing devotee qualities)
  • Large subjects (e.g. body, mind, spirit)
  • Using the GITA model (Goals – Ideas – Tests – Action)

CONFIDENTIALITY

All beneficial relationships are based on trust, therefore respect confidentiality and privacy at all times. Never disclose to anyone private revelations and concerns expressed during Devotee Success Partnership sessions. Make sure never to betray trust invested in you.

True leader or coach wants your success more than his own.

The client’s relationship with a coach influences his relationship with himself.

A coach is emphatic, supportive, encouraging, and sees his or her partner in terms of his or her potential, not in terms of his or her present behavior or performance.

Because of the way one partner behaves with another partner, he develops a similar positive relationship or attitude with himself or herself.

The partner communicates partner’s worth and potential so clearly that he or she starts to see it himself or herself.

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