Every year ‘Giri-Raj’, the king of the mountains, Goverdhan attracts thousands of pilgrims for its parikrama during the month of Kartik. Krishna declared it non different from Himself. For similar reasons and many other, HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj brings his disciples here from all over the world for a ‘Bhakti Retreat’. Not only Braj, Delhi or India, disciples from America, Canada, Dubai also attend this retreat. HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj makes sure that each of his disciples gets the nectar that he shares during these three days of Bhakti Retreat.
The retreats organised by HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj are aimed at providing ‘Higher Education’ to his disciples. It is a cocktail of rigorous lectures, soothing kirtans and delicious prasadam.
Goverdhan Retreat’2015 was one such event too. Organised at Gangadham, it gave the disciples an opportunity to personally associate with HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj and also with each other. The retreat started with a close study of the book ‘Ragvartima Chandrika’ by one of our profound Acharya Srila Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur to know the various level of ‘Raganuga Bhakti’ and was followed by the sweet insight upon Madhavendra Puri’s devotion by HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj’s disciple, HG Shyamananad Das. The following two days began with Mangla arati at 4:30am followed by Japa sessions in the association of each other.
The drama organised by IYF-C2C became a highlight of the second day. This drama showed the very dear Damodar Lila to everyone and also included some very new aspects to it. The evenings became very enthralling because of ‘deep daan’ and ‘Gopi Geet’ for all the three days.
HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj personally took a session on ‘Attacks on ISKCON’ focussing on the reasons why people develop a tendency to leave this perfect organisation of ISKCON. He strongly stated at every point that this very organisation has everything to offer that one can desire for.
A very pragmatic, yet very warming seminar was organised by HG Shyamsunder Das, a very senior disciple of HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj which started with a soft kirtan just using cymbals on Srila Prabhupada’s very famous melody, it was almost like being transmigrated to the Second Avenue street in Srila Prabhupada’s presence. It continued to brief all the youngsters as well as the seniors of the ‘Kirtan Standards in ISKCON’. It included very easy-to-follow tips on doing a kirtan and also some expectations of ISKCON from the kirtans we perform.
The evening gave way to a very deepening lecture by HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj explaining about Krishna Prem, and the various steps a devotee under goes to achieve this ever Nectarean Prem.
The last day saw enormous amount of kirtan and organized dancing by IYF-C2C and abhishek of a beautiful pair of Sri Sri Gaur Nitai by HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj. It was followed by a Parikrama of Giriraj ji in association of all the devotees.
I will not be wrong in saying that I saw some pairs of tearful eyes by the end of this retreat, as during these three days, the disciples lived almost like a family in close association of their eternal father, HH Kratu Das Ji Maharaj.