Photo Credits: Param-dhamananda Dasa
Japa Retreats are a special time to reconnect with the power of the Holy Name.
From May 2-7, the annual 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 Swami conducted the retreat, backed by a team that devoted months of time in preparation.
The days started at 7:15 a.m., with the temple's guru-puja (worhip of the spiritual master), followed by a kirtan and a Discovery lecture by Sacinandana Swami, which prepared everyone for the day to come. After a two-hour breakfast break, the retreat continued in the community hall, where devotees eagerly gathered to hear about the value of kirtan and how to fully absorb the body, mind, and heart while chanting together.
In the afternoons, devotees gathered to hear about the lives and secrets of great kirtaniyas (reciters of the holy name). Sacinandana Swami talked about Narada Muni, Haridas Thakur, Gopa-kumar, and Lord Chaitanya. 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 stories about Krishna interspersed with melodious chanting. 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 the presiding deities Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha.
Like the japa retreats held by qualified devotees in various parts of the world, this japa/kirtan retreat attempted to give participants a renewed taste for chanting the holy names.
Each day of the retreat brought new insights, deep realizations, and higher tastes. Many surprises were prepared by Sacinandana Swami to make the devotees go deeper and deeper in their chanting. (These were not described, so as to not deprive future participants from fully experiencing the retreat.)
The next Harinama retreat will be held from June 12-19 of 2010 on the island of Iz in Croatia. For more information, please visit: www.kirtanretreat.info or contact Govindananda Dasa .
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