Archive for September, 2010

Kirtan Retreat with Sacinandana Swami

September 4th, 2010

Kirtan Retreat with Sacinandana Swami
Island of Iz, Croatia
June 12-18, 2010

A friend once told me that a good class is where you learn at least one new thing. I learned many things at the kirtan retreat. Each class of Sacinandana Swami filled my book with notes. In the next few days I'll share them with you.

 

Day 1

Entering a retreat means to enter a new atmosphere, a new mode of thinking, for the purpose of change or transformation. “Kirtan Retreat” means how to connect to God, the power who can really transform us.

Attending a retreat is not just a matter of going through the programs. It entails a change in intention, as only according to our intention do we act. Intention is so important it even determines life and death. For example, in a serious life and death health crisis, our intention, our will to live, determines whether we do or not. So if you want to have a successful retreat, if you want to ensure the best use of your time here, you must first create a serious intention to be transformed. A sankalpa is necessary, an expressed intention of what you hope to achieve.

When we come to a retreat we may feel an initial discomfort. That's because we come not alone, but with our old life, a life that must be changed, which means creating space in the mind for something new to happen. It may make us initially uneasy, but it is exciting and important work.

Common maxim: if you think of the same things and do the same things, you will get the same result. Retreat is to move from that place and get different, better results. Accept your limitations, but take this opportunity to get the empowerment to go beyond your limitations. If you take this opportunity, you will bear the fruit of this opportunity.

 

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Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja

September 2nd, 2010

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to you!

A god-brother shared with me a personal realization, fully aware of the irony: “After studying the sastra deeply for over forty years, I have come to the realization that the essence of spiritual life is to fully surrender to the spiritual master.” I chuckled. It seemed like my life as a devotee. How do we miss the simple points you stressed again and again? But it also strongly highlighted one of my strongest appreciations over the last few years of you as a spiritual teacher:

You are expert at stressing and teaching those points that are most essential.

It also brought to my mind the things you emphasized that I am just beginning to realize after my own forty years of study:

Closeness or distance from you is not a matter of personal association or even what generation we are. It is simply our humility and mood of service that reveals who you are.

The foundational moods of devotion like humility, gratitude, and fixedness in guru are the mood and shape of love of Godhead that we can most readily access and express now.

Without being fully dependent on the mercy of Sri Guru there is no hope to advance in spiritual life.

My studies have also have reaffirmed your expertise as a teacher:

Although advanced in studies, you can explain even the deepest concepts to those who are not.

You're an authority in the subject you teach – never off the mark.

In the second verse of the Bhagavatam, we are told that one who hears the Bhagavatam just once arrests Krishna in his heart! I ask, “Why doesn't that ever happen to me? I've heard the text hundreds of times.” I know the answer. I haven't accepted its simple message – that Krishna is the most worthy object of devotion and my duty is simply to surrender to and serve Him. By hearing it again and again from you, however, I am getting closer to the goal.

What greater treasure than to have the lotus feet of Krishna in one's heart, by your grace? Thank you. Thank you.

Your unworthy disciple,
Dhanurdhara Swami

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