17 Nov DELAND RETREAT
His Holiness arrived at Florida USA at the end of July in time for his retreat in the US, held in Deland, Orlando, from 31st July to 5th August 2019. Devotees from all over USA came to participate in retreat. More than 200 devotees attended the retreat and made their way to hear HH Bhakti Charu Swami’s seminars on the topics of Sri Brahma Samhita. His Holiness’s sunshine like darshan immediately set alight everyone’s devotional mood and soon the temple program started that evening with Gaura Aarti. Everyone gathered and very eagerly awaited the darshan of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. The devotees beamed with excitement and joy.
His Holiness also thereafter set aside some time to hear two talented, young boys recite, by heart, shlokas from the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. HG Narahari Prabhu was also asked to play sitar for the devotees gathered and all together this was very pleasing for everyone to hear.
For the days that followed, the daily program began auspiciously with Mangal aarti. Everyone received an opportunity to participate in all kinds of services. Some were engaged in worship in the temple, singing, serving the devotees, playing instruments and much more.
His Holiness orchestrated the program in such a wonderful way for devotional service opportunities for everyone to be engaged in. His Holiness journeyed into the depths of the essence of Sri Brahma Samhita and everyone focused attentively on his divine words of wisdom. Everyone entered in a whole new world of wonder and truth.
Deland’s famous prasadam was also something that everyone was eager to relish and honour! This is due to the selection of the cooks being chosen and trained by His Holiness himself. After prasadam there were all sorts of activities that everyone, both adults and children got engaged in spontaneously, for example, taking advantage of the sun by paddling on the lake, digesting the rich nature of Deland by taking a stroll down one of its walkways, feeding and playing with the gentle cows and calves, or taking a peak into Deland’s ever increasing farm full of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
We were very fortunate to have the esteemed presence of His Grace Dvaipayana Prabhu, the Temple President of ISKCON Orlando. The association of His Holiness was treasured by all and he gave as much time as he could to as many of the devotees he could see, without any discrimination. In this way His Holiness exhibited a very extraordinary quality of deep compassion for everyone.
The last day was reserved for His Holiness to give initiation to a group of fortunate candidates. The lecture and ceremony both took place in Deland’s temple room. His Holiness began by discussing the importance of initiation and also tested the candidates on their knowledge of the ten offenses. The fire sacrifice was conducted soon thereafter. The sun shone on Deland brightly as these devotees took a big step in their spiritual life with the guidance of such a spiritual master as HH Bhakti Charu Swami His Holiness, who has dedicated his life in the service of Srila Prabhupada, and has taken the responsibility to bring so many souls to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.
Our temple of Deland was transformed by the divine presence and association of His Holiness and all the devotees. We were all enraptured by hearing the pure, sweet and inspiring voice of His Holiness again and again day after day and grateful for the being in the presence of such wonderful souls.