We had a beautiful yoga retreat during the Easter Holiday here in Pandavas Paradise, from the 20 to the 24th of April.
The retreat was made special by the presence of a group of Spiritists from the north-eastern coastal city of Natal. This musical and educational group is the Spiritist equivalent of a Nama Hatta that gets together almost every day (!), to chant devotional hymns and perform charity work. Their main philosophy is Christian Spiritism (Allan Kardec), but they have lately been expanding their horizons and now call themselves Universalists. Thus, they were very eager to learn more about Krishna consciousness. They also took to japa very seriously and especially loved kirtan, since they practice it almost every day in their own way.
Not only were the people from this group serious spiritualists, but, this time, it so happened that just about everyone else on the retreat was too, something normally found only in our bhakti devotee retreats. Add to that delicious prasada and amazing weather and we had the perfect ingredients for a beautiful retreat.
Here are some pictures of our walks. My wife, Carana Renu, is getting more and more inspired in her photography (and she also just got a new wide-angle lens). She took amazing pictures.
Here the guests are enjoying one of our waterfalls.
It’s becoming a tradition now for guests to enjoy the therapeutic effects of a natural mud bath. It leaves your skin very soft. (It also makes for hilarious photos!).
Here are the guests enjoying Mahavira Kunda, so named in honor of Mahavira Prabhu (ACBSP), a great friend and mentor of mine, and one of the major pioneers of the Hare Krishna movement in Brazil.
The guests always love the prasada, and this group were especially gifted in their abilities to consume large quantities of it! (What is it with being more spiritual that makes you eat more prasada?). The prasada was mostly prepared by Manjari DD and our dedicated assistant Dani (in the picture above).
At night I Iectured on different themes of Krishna consciousness to an attentive audience.
We had a couple in charge of the yoga classes: Premananda DD and her husband Rafael – Iyengar style.
Here are some of the comments left by our guests:
“In one sentence? An unforgettable and transforming experience. Without a doubt I can sum up all these days in Paradise with this sentence and, in it, include everything: the wonderful place, Mother Nature in all her forms, the temple and the prayers which touched me profoundly, the hospitality, the wonderful cooking and, for course, the enlightened people, which, I’m sure, were carefully chosen to be together in this retreat. Thank you all for the opportunity of getting to know you. Everything was really special and transforming for me.” – Natália, Natal-RN
“The dictionaries explain that the word ‘paradise’ comes from the Persian word meaning a walled garden. The meaning and tone of words change through the centuries. Thus, paradise lost its walls and went from the terrestrial plane to the celestial Eden, but it left a fragment here in the Cerrado. A piece big enough to remind us that magnificent nature and good-hearted people help us find our inner paradise. Thank you.” – Márcia, Rio de Janeiro, RJ.
“In a simple way, I can say that this was a transformative experience, the kind we remember for a long time and carry with us for the rest of our lives! I’m profoundly grateful for everything! I hope to come back soon, in another yoga retreat or a vegetarian cooking retreat, because I confess that the prasadam was unforgettable. : )” – Andrea, Brasilia-DF.
“My stay there was divinely enchanting. Charana’s voice still rings in my ears and my heart. I want to come back as soon as possible” – Giovana, Brasilia-DF
“It was a very pleasant surprise participating in this yoga retreat in Pandavas Paradise. I felt like all of us were part of one big family. Everyone’s mood and vibes seemed very harmonious and left me very relaxed, in peace and at home.” – Rosa, São Paulo, SP
Click here to see lots more amazing pictures from the retreat.