Brazil is famous for its Carnival – a very colorful popular celebration of life that happens all over the country, that has been made specially world famous due to Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, the richest and biggest of all the Carnival celebrations. Of course, Carnival is also famous for being a very sexual, very crazy time – lots of booze, lots of scantily clad women, loud music and very lusty men. It’s basically a city-wide party going on simultaneously in every major city of the country. Naturally, because it is so wild, so “carnal”, a select minority of people do their best to avoid all the madness. It’s not surprising, therefore, that Carnival is our most sought after yoga retreat here in Pandavas Paradise.
We had people coming from many different parts of the country, some travelling over 2000km to get here. We had a good mix this time, with two couples (one young, one older), a single male (policeman), which is a rare occurrence in our retreats, and the rest were women (including a med school student, a state prosecutor, a university teacher and an architect).
We invited a lovely devotee couple to help us out – Tulasi and Radharani. They came with their baby daughter, Hladini. Radharani has been the yoga teacher many times in our retreats and guests always tell us how much they like her. Of course Hladini was a big hit!
The guests also went nuts over the prasada, prepared by Carana Renu. They couldn’t believe how good everything was and kept going on about it during the five days of the retreat! They also enjoyed the cooking course held one afternoon.
At night I presented a new lecture, on Maya. Finally, after all these years giving lectures about Krishna consciousness, I could speak on something which I truly understand! No, but seriously, I noticed that it’s important to present “the problem” more clearly, before presenting the solution. In other words, instead of just jumping in by explaining what the path of self-realization in yoga is, I realize now it’s important to emphasize why a person should want to take it up in the first place.
Though it’s the rainy season, the weather held out nicely, and we had several great walks and a great time at our waterfalls.
A more dedicated group of the guests came everyday for japa and our mangala aratik, but all of them participated in the evening aratiks. Most guests bought books (printed and audiobooks in CDs) in the end.
Here are some comments left by the guests:
“This was really one of the most important moments in my life, in all regards… I go back home with the certainty that the soul’s greatest obligation in this life, aside from love, is self-realization… Thank you very much for everything!!!” –Antonio, Brasília-DF
“Pandavas Paradise has left me with longing… EVERYTHING was good there… the people, the place so full of peace, the delicious food, the yoga classes, the mantras, the waterfalls, the walks, the sharing of life experiences and the teachings… My gratitude, care and longing! See you soon!” – Gisele, Belém-PA
“I’m still feeling a profound sense of inner peace. Even if destiny does not allow us to meet you all again, believe me, you have left a permanent impression in me. Hare Krishna!” – Paulo Cesar, Miguel Pereira-RJ
“Though we only spent five days there, they will never be erased from our minds, because our perception was so uniquely changed. We learned that life is lost in the whirlpool of superficial life, to the detriment of true “being”. And through introspection we forgot this superficial existence, and through meditation, mantras and the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita, we experienced our “soul consciousness”. In this state we return to our regular lives with the firm conviction that life is a long road and that we should share our love while we travel.” – Eliana, Palmas – TO
Click here to see more pictures of the retreat.