Srila Acharyadeva Visits Pandavas Paradise

Srila Acharyadeva

Srila Hridayananda das Goswami Acharyadeva’s visit to Pandavas Paradise this last weekend was a historic occasion. Pandavas Paradise was started by me because, 10 years ago, my spiritual master, Srila Acharyadeva, requested that I set up a rural project in that region. It was a one line email, just saying he wanted me to “bring Krishna to High Paradise”. (The nearest town is called Alto Paraíso, which means “High Paradise”).

There were no further consultations. I did not ask from him, nor did he give me, any other details on the project. What to do? Where to do it? What to build? How big, how many, when??? But I just set off to do it, constantly praying for guidance and inspiration from Krishna.

So, ten years later, when the time finally came for him to see what had been done, I confess I was quite anxious! What if he didn’t like it? What if he thought I had spoiled it?

We organized a retreat there with Srila Acharyadeva, as part of his Brazil Tour. People came from all over the country. It was our biggest retreat yet, with some 50 people there. We had to buy extra pots, pans, plates, cups and cutlery for it.

We got there before most other guests had arrived, so Acharyadeva could look around in peace, have a quiet lunch and get ready for the evening program. To my great relief, he immediately liked it! He loved the beautiful scenery, the distant horizons, the deep blue of the sky, and the grassy plains. He loved the crisp pure 4000 ft (1300 m) altitude mountain air. He liked our guest rooms, our log buildings and our vegetable garden. Phew! I couldn’t believe my good fortune!

Throughout the retreat he remarked on what had been done there. He said it was very inspiring and it had been very important for him to have gone there. He said that he had all kinds of realizations there. One point that struck him most was that we had created a bubble of transcendental reality. Because the place is so big (800 acres, 397 hectares) and far away from everything (from all sides you can only see in the distance a few other farm houses), the outside world is left behind and one becomes absorbed in the prevailing Krishna conscious atmosphere.

Acharyadeva gave two main lectures during the retreat. One covered the existence of the personal soul and personal God concept in different religions. The other was a Gita lecture on verse 10.10 were he stressed the need for understanding God in order to understand oneself and the importance of the holy names.

For the second lecture, we had some guests come from the local town. We started off with aratik and kirtan, led by my wife, Carana Renu DD.

Acharyadeva danced in ecstasy!

We also had a special guest there, Jagad Vicitra Prabhu. He was one of the first Prabhupada disciples in Brazil and is the brother of Dhanvantari Swami (also a Prabhupada disciple and one of the pioneers of KC in Brazil). Jagad Vicitra Prabhu opened dozens of temples in the North and Northeast of Brazil in the early days, under the command of Srila Acharyadeva. He deeply loves and appreciates Srila Acharyadeva. He gave two classes, one was just glorifying Acharyadeva, the other was on the glories of the Srimad Bhagavatam. His second lecture was so effective one of the retreat guests bought a whole collection! People laughed and cried at his lectures – he’s an amazing story-teller and a very captivating speaker.

On Saturday we walked to the waterfalls. It was a beautiful day and people had a great time.

Early on Sunday, we had to leave for the airport (3 hours away), as Acharyadeva was off to Porto Alegre.

I was very grateful for his visit, for Prabhupada’s mercy and for Krishna so kindly letting me take part in such sweet transcendental adventure.

Click here to see more pictures of the retreat with Srila Acharyadeva.

Click here to see pictures of the lecture he gave in Brasilia, the day before we travelled to Pandavas Paradise.



Filed under Realizations on Krishna Consciousness

12 responses to “Srila Acharyadeva Visits Pandavas Paradise

  1. Tapana Misra das

    Very nice service. If each disciple did just one thing of great importance like you have created your project “Pandavas Paradise”, the world would be saturated with God-consiousness. I am filled with spiritual envy and beg your forgiveness.

  2. What a wonderful service! well done.
    are the lectures of the retreat available online, are they in english?

  3. Sankarshan Das

    This is wonderful what you have done, Prabhu. You have done a wonderful service for your spiritual master. How often do you have retreats up there? Is there interest for other ISKCON gurus to come there?

    • Giridhari Das

      It would be our greatest pleasure to receive other ISKCON gurus there!

      We had nine retreat this year, but we plan on expanding this, to the point where we can have mini-retreats every week.

  4. Sadhu Dasa

    NOTE: The previous post was sent without checking the grammar. Sorry about it. Here below follows the corrected version.

    On September-17-09, at 2:37 PM, Mark Middle Mountain wrote:

    “Srila Hridayananda das Goswami Acharyadeva’s visit to Pandavas Paradise this
    last weekend was a historic occasion. Pandavas Paradise was started by me
    because, 10 years ago, my spiritual master, Srila Acharyadeva, requested that I
    set up a rural project in that region. It was a one line email, just saying he
    wanted me to “bring Krishna to High Paradise”. (The nearest town is called Alto
    Paraíso, which means “High Paradise”).”

    Dear MMM Prabhu, PAMHO. AGTSP

    Thank you for such inspiring reference. I visited the site, and so much appreciated HG Giridhari Dasa’s contribution, that I fully support you in proposing him as an Iskcon GBC member.

    What he has done almost singlehanded, during a long period of 10 years of dedicated service to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, is worthy of a devotee with high managerial skills —obviously supported by Vaishnava behavior, and the blessings of Sri Guru & Vaishnava. Therefore, he is no doubt a real candidate to be voted for as a potential Iskcon GBC member. His service’s results probes his qualifications.

    By the way, if you —or anyone else on the conference—, knows the means to support, or vote for new GBC members, kindly let it me know. I would like to know also if it is possible to request, or express a vote of “NO confidence” for any particular GBC member.

    My question still stands as for weeks now… Where does the Iskcon GBC stands within Iskcon Varnashrama? I tend to think that it should be Daivi Varnashrama… However, I personally disagree with some of the GBC individual members as per their lack of Vaishnava behavior. I have already personally expressed it to such GBC member(s), and after having exhausted all other means to the GBC Executive Commission itself.

    HELP: I’m still puzzled in trying to understand, how a society like ours, that has all the means to implement Varnashrama Dharma (leading to Daivi Varnashrama), has not yet implemented it in a scientific manner within it own realm? Surely, I may be out of touch regarding Iskcon’s GBC co-ordinated and systematic efforts taking place. Could somebody, please remove my ignorance about it?

    It appears that according to Srila Prabhupada’s statements, in the implementation of Varnashrama relies the 50% of his mission. Is it true?

    Finally, if the Iskcon GBC is purely based in Daivi Varnashrama, how is it implementing Varnashrama Dharma within Iskcon, and how protects itself —as a whole— against eventual deviations of any of its members?

    As a tatastha-jiva in the mortal world from time immemorial, I’m always afraid of continuing committing mistakes. Therefore, the great mistake of an “almost” eternally conditioned jiva (“almost,” since it is impossible to ascertain its fall down… nonetheless, for sure it will be redeemed), is to take things within this mundane world for granted. Surely, things within this temporally world are real, but as a reflection from the Ultimate Pure Reality.

    A synonym to tatastha-jiva is prakrita-sahajiya. Since time immemorial tatastha-jivas have been involved in “playing God” within material nature. In Sanskrit “sahaja” means “acting naturally, or spontaneously.” This means that “sahaja” could also be a synonym for “raganuga.” The difference is that a prakrita-sahajiya, who is a normal tatastha-jiva, acts in a most “natural” manner in connection to sensual pleasure (mundane or religious temporary pleasure), whereas a pure devotee in the raganuga stage acts in a most natural manner, while in his/her spiritual connection with the Divine Couple. Such devotee, then becomes capable to reject rasa-bhasa while executing raganuga-sadhana-bhakti, in his duties within this mundane world.

    The above statements may confuse some —not ALL on this conference—, since such statements are INTRINSICALLY linked to Varnashrama Dharma (proper of tatastha-jivas, that as prakrita-sahajiyas try to “naturally” live their mundane lives disregarding their spiritual nature or svadharma), and Daivi Varnashrama (or those sincere Vaishnavas who “naturally” consider their position as eternal servants of the Divine Couple as their prerogatives on life… whether in their social function as brahmanas, kshatiyas, vaishyas, or sudras).

    I remain your humble servant, in Srila Prabhupada and the pure Vaishnava’s seva,
    Sadhu Dasa

  5. Malati Manjari dd

    Very inspiring, Prabhu! That shows how by the desire of the spiritual master a sincere soul is able to achieve things he/she would probably never have accomplished on their own. Of course only an empowered person with very good managerial skills (and possibly some material assets) can ultimately make such a desire become manifest. How many people are living there permanently (if any?)

    your servant,

    • Giridhari Das

      For a while we had no resident devotees, only staff, using Pandavas Paradise for the retreats. But we are now starting there the Devi Ashram – International Vaishnavi Training and Retreat Center. A place where ladies can come for either training in Krishna Consciousness (philosophy, cooking, Deity worship, instruments, kirtan, etc.) or just for a devotional ambient to relax in.

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