For the fourth year running, we held our one week intensive bhakta training retreat at Pandavas Paradise. We call the retreat “JIVA” (Jornada Intensiva de Vaishnavismo).
This retreat is probably one of the most rewarding for us. Seeing enthusiastic devotees take to Krishna consciousness with determination, getting a deeper grasp of the philosophy and practices, gives great pleasure to any follower of Srila Prabhupada.
This year we had a slightly more advanced group than the previous year, including an already initiated devotee lady. This meant the participants got more hands-on training, including leading the kirtans and helping with the aratiks.
We strive to instill in the participants the importance of having a solid sadhana as well as a desire to serve the mission, be it in direct preaching engagements, or be it in the form of helping out their local administration.
All the classes were taught by me or my wife, with the exception of a Vaishnava songs class taught by our visiting guest teacher, Sadhu Sanga Prabhu.
We emphasize the importance of reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, especially the Srimad Bhagavatam. Every year just about all the participants walk out of the JIVA retreat owning a Srimad Bhagavatam. This year we sold three full 12 Canto collections, as well as large Gitas and other books. Alas, these are the last Portuguese Srimad Bhagavatam collections in Brazil! The Brazilian BBT has run out of them and it may take a while before they manage to print another full set.
JIVA isn’t just about studying and austerities though. We also make sure everyone has a really good time. The rooms are very comfortable, the prasadam quite opulent (but still healthy!) and we take them on walks and for swims in the waterfalls and natural pools.
Here are some comments we received from this year’s group:
“This experience was an important milestone in my spiritual life. I feel I have made great progress and many concepts which before were vague and unclear to me I now understand well.” – Alessandra, Brasília – DF
“I had rich unforgettable moments in this retreat, full of intense devotion. I left there with more love, wisdom, understanding and friendship.” – Rasa-lila Devi Dasi (CMS), Brasília – DF
“By Krishna’s mercy my family and I spent a week in a true paradise with sublime people. We had eight very important days for our spiritual lives. We returned home renewed.” – Gustavo, Márcia and Hillary, Belém – AM
“Many of the questions I had about Srila Prabhupada’s mission were answered and I had the chance to learn various key practices for my spiritual progress… Beyond that, I was able to understand more clearly the importance of passing this transcendental knowledge to others who are in need of true peace and happiness… Pandavas Paradise is a holy place that is completely favourable to our search for a spiritual life.” – Raphael, Brasília – DF
You can see more picture of the retreat here!