Our retreats in Pandavas Paradise (Alto Paraíso, Goiás, Brazil) are always intense and blissful. But this last one, held during the famous Carnival holiday last weekend, was especially sweet. Although it was meant to be more of a laid back yoga retreat, with some Krishna Consciousness added, mostly giving people a chance to relax and enjoy nature, it turned into a full on bhakti-yoga experience.
It just so happened that everyone who went was, in fact, intensely looking for spirituality, and very open to hearing about Krishna and practicing bhakti-yoga. As a result they were chanting 2, 4 or more rounds of japa a day, hardly missed any of our aratis, paid close attention and participated intensely in our lectures on KC and our mantra workshops.
The mood was enhanced by the sunny weather and beauty of the land and waterfalls.
The tasty and healthy prasadam also helped lift spirits and cure the ills of a rushed life in the big cities.
Many of the participants were women with high powered, stressful careers. We had psychologists, lawyers, a system analyst, a chemical engineer, a successful veterinarian and others with important government jobs. Many had little to no previous experience with Krishna Consciousness, but, in the end, they were very favorably impressed, taking home japa beads and books.
It just so happened that they were all from cities where I do my Weekend Gita Workshops, so practically all of them either signed up or showed interest in participating in my next workshops.
It can be hard work running the retreats. My wife and I were very busy performing aratis, leading workshops, giving lectures, guiding the walks etc. but we experienced that deep satisfaction one gets on feeling that Srila Prabhupada is satisfied with us.
For more photos from the retreat click here.