This years´ Bhakti Retreat in Switzerland had special momentum. The organizers´ goal was to facilitate spiritual experiences as much as possible – which they evidently did. Lots of devotional association, kirtan and katha was embedded in detailed care for life´s necessities (like nourishing and delicious food) and a breathtaking landscape filled with energy which rejuvenated the body and mind during the breaks.
Kadamba Kanana Swami who was one of the speakers, gave a seminar about the values of being open to the world and at the same time connected to tradition. He inspired us to be creative in our spirituality. Furthermore, Sacinandana Swami spoke about key teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – faith, serving other devotees and being compassionate to all living beings. The participants were especially moved by his presentation on serving devotees in which he told the story of Kanchipurnam who had a close relationship to his Lord Varadaraja, but found out that unless he practiced to serve others, his spiritual life would remain incomplete.
At the middle of the retreat the participants absorbed themselves into chanting Krishna´s names for most of the day. We were lucky that two gifted kirtan singers attended the retreat – Keshavacharya and Kamaniya – who helped us focus on the meditation by their gracious melodies and delightful voices. The retreat ended with a spirited theatre performance by the children that made the participants laugh so hard they had to wipe happy tears from their eyes. This was followed by a closing ceremony and a kirtan by Sacinandana Swami that many described as the best kirtan of the retreat. We look forward to the retreat next year – the organizers already booked a larger lodge to accommodate the growing number of participants and hope to see many of you there again.