It truly felt like coming home.....!
As every year it took a few days to settle in and get organised, and I was glad to have my two assistants Anna and Damodara-priya Matajis with me.
A wonderful group of 31 devotees from all corners of the world decided to venture all the way to Ekachakra in order to embark on the transcendental adventure of deepening their relationship with the holy name. We spent four days out there - in seclusion, bathing our hearts in Lord Nityananda's mercy.
This year the cold season came a little later than usual, which was very convenient for us. Thus at the end of December it was rather mild for this time of the year.
On the first day of arrival we went on parikrama, visiting some of the main places of Nityananda's pastimes. My favorite places are Lord Nityananda's very birth place with the big tree under which the visiting Sannyasi had requested Hodai Oja to give his son to him as assistant. A little further down the road is the tree where Nitai performed his childhood pastimes and dramas on Krsna lila, which also carries a special atmosphere and transcendental energy.
To this very day Ekachakra has preserved this very special mood of a holy Dham - simply because it is so remote, and thus not so many visiters are coming to upload their contaminations. Only very sincere devotees are accepting the tapasya of traveling all the way out there on bumpy roads, and this certainly helps to preserve the transcendental atmosphere. It is one of those more confidential and hidden Dham's.
I was amazed how far the construction of our ISKCON temple had progressed since my last visit ten months ago. The devotees had been working very hard in order to get the temple ready for the planned inauguration in mid of February.
During our retreat Sankarshan Nitai Prabhu, who is one of the Mayapur managers and also in charge of Ekachakra was out there, overseeing the construction of the temple. I invited him to give a morning lecture on the topic of the holy name to our group. And he gave such a wonderful and deep class - a perfect introduction to the retreat, touching on so many aspects of chanting the holy name. I was impressed about his deep realizations and insights.
Gopal Prabhu from Hillsborough (North Carolina) shared the following experience:
"Learning to focus my mind, and more importantly, my heart, on the transcendental sound vibration of HARE KRISHNA was the most inspiring and terrifying experience of my life. I got real clarity on where I am in my devotional life, and I earned a real understanding of how to take steps to advance farther and faster, if I can muster up the sincerity. Perhaps this retreat was the greatest and most educational 4 days of my life. I strongly recommend anyone and everyone to experience this at least once in their lives."
Returning to Mayapur it took me a few days to settle back into the mood here. I somewhat missed that sweetness and intimacy, and the nice evening kirtans...
Ironically enough, even as a full-time traveling preacher I feel a lack of good quality kirtan in my life.....
Your servant, Devaki dd