Since its launch in 2000, Festival of Inspiration has been a unique standout of the festival season. It has just the right mix of enlightening presentations by ISKCON’s best speakers; top-quality entertainment from dramas to stand-up comedy; rip-roaring kirtans; and mouth-watering prasad.
This year, 600 to 700 devotees from all over the USA, Canada and beyond are expected to flood into the emerald hills of New Vrindaban, West Virginia from Thursday May 7th to Sunday the 10th for FOI’s unmissable 15th Anniversary event.
World-renowned kirtan singers Agnideva Das and Karnamrita Dasi will kick off proceedings on Thursday with an evening of ecstatic kirtan and bhajans from 6 to 10pm.
On Friday and Saturday, after a special themed Bhagavatam class by a VIP guest, the presentations will begin. With three on offer at once, devotees will have the chance to pick their favorite from 18 different seminars over the weekend.
Jayapataka Swami, making a rare appearance outside of India and his very first at Festival of Inspiration, is expected to draw quite the crowd for his presentation. He’ll also give one of the weekend’s special extended Bhagavatam classes.
Also presenting for the first time will be Vrindavana pilgrimage guide Deena Bandhu Das, who is expected to take audiences for a dive into Lord Krishna’s nectarean pastimes with his unrivaled storytelling skills.
Other speakers will include walking monk Bhaktimarga Swami; Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant Srutakirti Das; New Vrindaban’s own simple living expert Varshana Swami; and academic scholars Ravindra Svarupa and Radhika Ramana.
Also appearing will be Prabhupada’s early disciple Malati Dasi; respected educators Laxmimoni Dasi and Urmila Dasi; ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Das, BBT editor Dravida Das; and inspirational university preacher Kalakantha Das.
Topics are expected to range from practical life skills such as public speaking to in-depth looks at the lives of Vaishnava saints, to Srutakirti’s wonderful stories of his time with Srila Prabhupada.
Attendees will also have the option to take part in two special 15th Anniversary treats offered simultaneously alongside the seminars. They’ll be able to join a host of renowned kirtaniyas for bhajans in the covered “yajnashala” on the temple grounds. And they’ll get to spend quality time with visiting Swamis and senior devotees in the question and answer tent.
Parents will be free to attend all of this, with experienced child-carers running an all-day Kid’s Tent where children will be engaged in a variety of fun Krishna conscious activities.
In the evenings, senior devotees and kirtaniyas will lead “Nama-Yajnas” from 7 to 10pm in the temple, delving deeper and more joyfully into the Holy Name.
Meanwhile Sunday morning will see devotees running to the community hall to save their seats for one of FOI’s most popular offerings – two hours of transcendental entertainment including an epic drama by Bhaktimarga Swami, and a collection of side-splitting comedy sketches by professional New York comedian Yadunath Das.
The festival will then conclude with a delicious classic Sunday Feast.
Of course, prasadam throughout the Festival will be top notch, with breakfast, lunch and dinner served every day, a variety of international menus, and healthy options at every meal.
“The prasadam at Festival of Inspiration is legendary,” says organizer Vrindavana Das. “Nothing can compare. We spend most of our budget on prasadam.”
Accommodation is also first class, with the recently renovated Palace Lodge offering fully-furnished onsite motel quality rooms with either double queen or king beds. Guests are advised to register early as onsite accommodation is expected to be booked by the end of March. For overflow guests, rooms will be booked at local hotels within a 15 to 30-minute driving distance.
“Festival of Inspiration is always a consistently enlivening experience,” comments Kalakantha Das, who has brought students from Gainesville’s Krishna House to FOI for years. “It’s uniquely educational in nature -- you have a chance to hear from very experienced and educated devotees in interesting fields. Attendees get a good sense of the veracity of Krishna consciousness and the variety of ways that it can be practiced and experienced.”
“It’s a rare opportunity for devotees to come together for the purpose of association,” adds book distributor Vaisesika Das, who attended last year. “And the varied choice of presentations lets everyone fill up their devotional plates and eat to their full satisfaction!”
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Register now by calling (1) 304.843.1600 ext. 134 & 129, or visiting http://www.festivalofinspiration.net/registration/
For the schedule and more details, visit http://www.festivalofinspiration.net[ festival-of-inspiration ] [ jayapataka-swami ] [ new-vrindavana ]