During May 2-7 Japa & Kirtan Retreat took place in the beautiful land of Radhadesh, organized by Bhaktivedanta College as part of its devotional strand of courses. More than a hundred devotees and community members took part, and dozens more followed the broadcasts on the Internet.
Sacinandana Maharaja conducted the retreat with a team who carefully and systematically organized the activities in such a way that the participants could wholeheartedly receive the treasures of chanting the holy names.
The days started at 7:15 a.m., with the temple’s guru-puja, followed by a kirtan and a Discovery lecture by Sacinandana Maharaja, which prepared everyone for the retreat day. After a two-hour breakfast break, the retreat continued in the community hall, where devotees eagerly gathered to receive the jewels from Maharaja’s Treasury Box. That is, they heard about the value of kirtan and how to fully absorb the body, mind, and heart while chanting together.
In the afternoons, the devotees gathered to hear about the lives and secrets of great kirtaniyas. Sacinandana Maharaja talked about Narada Muni, Haridas Thakur, Gopa-kumar, and Lord Caitanya. He shared their secrets of success and described how we can follow in their footsteps. After chanting the holy names and remembering such great teachers, the devotees gathered again in the early evening to hear beautiful krishna-katha interspersed with melodious chanting. Amazingly, even after hearing and chanting all day, many devotees could not stop. They sat together and had more kirtans in the community hall or in front of sweet Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha.
Compared to the japa retreats held by qualified devotees in various parts of the world, this japa/kirtan retreat supplemented the japa chanting and also gave a true taste for chanting the holy names. After all, it is much easier to chant the holy names together with many sincere Vaishnavas, and by doing so, Krishna reciprocates with His devotees.
Each day of the retreat brought new insights, deep realizations, and higher tastes. Many surprises were prepared by Maharaja that made the devotees go deeper and deeper into harinama. Mentioning the surprises would deprive future participants from experiencing the retreat wholeheartedly, so they will remain secret.
May the kirtan-arrow pierce the heart of all those who attend the retreat and may it also reach the hearts of those who sincerely desire to serve Lord Caitanya by chanting the Lord’s holy names. Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam/ kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha: “In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.”
The next Harinama retreat will be held from June 12-19 of 2010 on the beautiful island of Iz in Croatia. For more information, please visit: www.kirtanretreat.info or contact Govindananda Dasa <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Hare Krishna.
P.S. More pictures from this event can be seen here.
Written by: Syama Sakhi Dasi