A new spiritual program, developed by ISKCON guru Sacinandana Swami and Bhaktivedanta College Principal Yadunandana Swami, will offer more than lectures or lessons: it promises participants an immersive experience of the five foundational processes of Bhakti-yoga.
The Bhakti Inspiration Retreat, to be held at ISKCON Spain's New Vrajamandala farm on August 15th through 17th, will explore Nama-kirtan, chanting the Holy Names; Sadhu-sanga, associating with devotees; Bhagavata sravana, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam; Murti seva, worshiping the Deity; and Mathura-vasa, living in a holy place like Mathura.
“In his book Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada explains that a little attachment to one of these five processes can bring even a neophyte to the level of Bhava-Bhakti, or ecstasy,” says Retreat co-facilitator Yadunandana Swami. “Nowadays we may not go deep enough within our hearts in applying them on a daily basis, often staying only in the externals of community life. So at the Bhakti Inspiration Retreat, our aim is to create a space where devotees can really relish the processes of devotional service, and have a deep Krishna conscious experience that will stay with them long after they leave--and that they can recreate at home or in their temples, or simply within their hearts.”
The seed of the Bhakti Inspiration Retreat was planted eight years back, with the launch of ISKCON's Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh, Belgium in 2002. Then, Yadunandana Swami first began his service as principal, while Sacinandana Swami began offering his now-famous japa and kirtan retreats at the school. The two developed a relationship, and eventually decided to combine their wealth of experience to facilitate a new retreat together.
"This will be Sacinandana Swami’s first visit to New Vraja Mandala," says Yadunandana Swami, who is originally from Spain. “It's exciting. I think Spanish devotees will like him very much--he's so sweet and personal."
Around fifty or sixty devotees--some from Spain and some from around the world--are expected to attend the Bhakti Inspiration Retreat, which will begin at 7:00pm on August 15th with a kirtan and a special session dubbed “Entering the Retreat.”
“The idea is to start off by creating the mood, so that devotees will see the importance of what we’re about to do, and really focus their attention,” says Yadunandana Swami. “We'll also look at what we want to attain individually and as a community of devotees during the retreat. Then the following two days will be full-time from 9:00am to 8:30pm, with sessions interspersed with breaks and prasadam meals."
According to Yadunandana Swami, this year's retreat is a pilot project that may be repeated in different locations if successful. But right now, he's focused on the immediate task at hand. “I’m feeling very inspired," he says. "In my experience, when devotees are enthusiastically participating, seminars often go beyond my expectations. So exactly what will happen I don't know -- it's in Krishna's hands -- but I am confident that something wonderful will manifest."
Everyone is welcome to attend. For room reservation, please contact Godrumadwipa Dasa or Puspa Gopal Dasi at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone them at: +34 949 321 001 or +34 607 40 56 74[ retreat ] [ seminar ]