In early June, Bhaktivedanta College held a japa retreat for the students, Radhadesh devotees, and whoever wanted to attend. His Holiness Sacinandana Swami led the retreat for about a hundred and fifty people.
Everyone enthusiastically took part in temple programs and kirtans, which were followed by a ‘Discover’ lecture given by Sacinandana Maharaja. In these lectures he spoke on the Srimad-Bhagavatam and accomplished an “Ah-ha” effect — something the devotees hadn’t heard before about improving their Krishna consciousness.
Maharaja gave two classes a day and engaged the devotees in exercises on chanting the holy names. All the inspiring information enlivened everyone to improve japa. To describe the devotees’ experiences in writing might be to limit the individual experience each person had. Maharaja tried to get the best out of everyone, and the devotees were enthusiastic to learn fresh approaches to chanting. Each day of the retreat was rounded up in the evening, when Maharaja narrated a pastime of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and the gopis, followed by sweet bhajans.
During the first three days, Maharaja was preparing everyone for the most exciting event of the retreat: the day when everyone chanted sixty-four rounds. To help this chanting stay focused all day, devotees refrained from speaking about anything from nine o’clock in the morning until the last evening program. This day had a special sacred atmosphere. The participants did their best and had wonderful experiences, insights, and realizations.
On the last day, everyone went to Luxembourg for a harinama. The whole town seemed to be influenced by the congregational chanting of the holy names. With more than a hundred devotees chanting and dancing, it seemed as though time stopped. Friendly people on the street enjoyed the music and dancing in Luxembourg.
That evening, the retreat concluded with a wonderful play, a magical nama-yajna, and a cake given to Maharaja out of gratitude. Whoever took part in the retreat was truly touched and inspired to improve japa.
As Sacinandana Swami says in his book Nama Rahasya: “The Krishna conscious life is always dependent on the very specific relationship of an individual soul with the Lord and on how the individual responds to Sri Krishna’s call to resume that relationship.”
He not only gave everyone information on chanting but actually changed the hearts of the participants. Nama Rahasya is about secrets of chanting the holy names in perfection, and it has inspired devotees worldwide. Bhaktivedanta College looks forward to the next japa retreat with Sacinandana Maharaja.