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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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ISKCON Kuala Lumpur Holds its 5th Annual Youth Retreat in Bali, Indonesia
By Rati Gopika Devi Dasi   |  May 31, 2024

Youth gathered with Kavichandra Swami.

On May-24-28th, a group of 42 youth and 18 senior devotees from ISKCON Kuala Lumpur traveled to ISKCON Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha Mandir in Bali, Badung (Indonesia) for a spiritual youth retreat. The much anticipated transformative 5-day gathering was organized by the ISKCON KL youth department led by Rasa Parayana Das and his wife, Rati Gopika Devi Dasi.

This 5th Annual Youth Retreat aimed to immerse the youth in the nine processes of devotional service (Navadha Bhakti). We live in a world filled with miseries; no one can escape such miseries unless you surrender to Lord Krishna. Inspired by this reality, the retreat was held around the theme of “The Perfect Escape through the Nine Processes of Devotional Service.” 

This year’s retreat planning began last year itself. Rati Gopika Devi Dasi recalled, “We planned the retreat almost eight months in advance to ensure a smooth and successful experience for all. We planned the logistics, lodging and even the local sumptuous Balinese Prasadam served were all planned way in advance for a satisfactory outcome.”

On the first day after arriving at the beautiful temple of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha Mandir, we were warmly received by local devotees headed by Temple President Gadadhar Prana Das. There was a wonderful traditional Balinese welcoming dance performed expertly by local devotees. Right after that, the youth had a great time with Kirtan around a bonfire with sumptuous Prasadam.

On the next day, Kavichandra Swami, the Guest of Honor for the Retreat, joined us. He spoke on the nine processes of devotional services breaking them down skillfully that were easily digestible by all the youth participants. The youth had several questions, and Kavichandra Swami answered them all, much to the youth’s satisfaction.

An interesting “treasure-hunt” game was conducted by Bhakta John, one of our youth, and his team. It was centered around the nine processes of devotional service; everyone had a marvelous time. 

Day three of the retreat was awesome, as it was the day for Kirtan Mela, where many youth devotees from around Bali joined. The Kirtan was melodious and went on longer than planned. Kavichandra Swami’s presence and energy surcharged everyone during the Kirtan; some were dancing, some were just totally immersed with eyes closed, and others clapped all the way. It seemed like a scene out of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes. All the youth who participated felt very blissful and energetic. Right after lunch, we went sightseeing to a local park for more sadhu sangha. Many photos were taken, and the youth had many loving exchanges with one another among the senior devotees; it was simply a loving and fun environment.

On day four, after Mangal Aarati and the morning program, which included Japa, the youth attended a seminar by Gadadhar Prana Das. The seminar was on ways to deepen our love and devotion through the nine processes of devotional service. It was highly engaging and interactive. Many of the youth had questions, and Gadadhar Prana Das engaged very nicely with them.

The youth also had a chance to visit a very famous tourist attraction and destination called Garuda Wisnu Kencana. Visiting this place was an eye-opener for most of them, as they realized the glorious Vedic past of Indonesia and appreciated it very much. This iconic landmark is devoted to Lord Vishnu and his mount, Garuda. We had more association here with Kavichandra Swami, who took the trouble to be with the youth at this place.

On the final day, we had a realization-sharing session with all the youth. Bhakta Haarshwaran, 23, recalled how the retreat had helped him immerse himself in Kirtan and strengthened his faith in Lord Krishna and the devotees. Tilaksha Premkumar, also 23, noted, “I wasn’t sure how it would be at first, but after coming here, I am more grateful for everything. Most importantly, I am grateful for Krishna Consciousness.” Bhakta Guhanesh Ganesh, 18, joined the retreat from Brisbane, Australia. He said, “I had so much fun with great sadhu sangha on this retreat, and I am definitely coming back for the next one!”

Another youth, Theva Jagannath, 16, said he was surprised that he could wake up early for Mangala Aarati without much trouble during the retreat. All in all, many of them recounted that the retreat was filled with fun and became more exciting as they got to meet other youth around Bali with whom they made friends, and the overall experience was just magnificent.

Many of the youth are already inquiring and have even booked their accommodations for the 2025 retreat. Rasa Parayana Das said, “The retreat is a way to bring youth to simple living and higher thinking, with the aim to cultivate a deep understanding of Krishna Consciousness in a fun and relaxed environment.” He also noted that many of the youth developed a stronger connection to Lord Krishna and the devotees after such retreats.

Lastly, organizers would like to express their immense gratitude to all devotees, youth, and donors who made this youth retreat in Bali possible. Without their support, this would have remained a distant dream.

Rasa Parayana Das and his wife, Rati Gopika Devi Dasi, are youth preachers, and they hope to give more love and care to youth and to develop them into wonderful, committed devotees of Lord Krishna.

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