The 7thannual VIHE International Vaishnavi Retreat at Govardhana (India) concluded on March 26. The 6-day program, dedicated to celebrating Srila Prabhupada’s mercy upon womankind, had as its special theme “Windows to the Spiritual World”. In other words, it focused on art, specifically painting.
The Bal Krsna Bhawan hall in the village of Jatipura, home of the original Gopala Temple of Srila Madhavendra Puri, was duly transformed to host an exhibition of over 60 reproductions of paintings and drawings by various vaishnavi artists from the world over, ranging from well-known BBT artists to young devotees from the St. Petersburg Art University.
The special guest for the occasion was Dhriti Devi Dasi, an accomplished artist disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Through lectures, question/answer sessions and workshops, she shared the heritage of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to the artists, bringing the participants’ attention on this very particular field of Krishna-conscious expression—yet another way to convey Krishna’s message and praise Him.
Other presentations by Yashomati Devi Dasi, Nagapatni Devi Dasi, Prashanta Devi Dasi and Radha Prema Devi Dasi, covered a variety of topics, such as “The Killing of Pralambasura” and “Gauranga-lila.”
The great success of this year’s retreat was the significant number of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and other senior ladies who took part. Ten of Srila Prabhupada’s daughters attended the retreat and three more blessed the sanga. In total, 75 vaishnavis from 15 different countries participated in this unique event.
Each day started with inspirational readings, followed by concentrated japa, our ISKCON morning prayers, and offering of flowers to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. On March 24 the day was spent at Ter Kadamba, the place of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s bhajan sthali, where he compiled the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (rendered by SrilaPrabhupada as The Nectar of Devotion). In that beloved place of the Gaudiya devotees, vaishnavis engaged in a 6-hour kirtan.
On the retreat’s last day, participants shared their realizations. All agreed that the retreat indeed bestowed upon each and everyone some much needed peer support for spiritual progress.
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