July 19, Montecito, California
By Karunamayi dasi
While planning our Yoga and Ayurveda Retreat, Dharma Shakti and I were very excited when we chose a venue just a few minutes from the home of my guru maharaja, His Holiness Giriraj Swami. It was a wonderful blessing that he accepted our invitation to be the special guest speaker on Saturday, July 19.
After an intense day of yoga and lectures on different aspects of Ayurveda, our seventeen students were eager for a mellow evening of transcendental sound vibration. The devotees arrived at 7:30, just after we had dinner. Vrajesvari dasi and Bhakta Adam catered for us the entire weekend, and the prasada was outstanding. Vrajesvari has gained an excellent understanding of sattvic, Ayurvedic cooking after all these years of cooking according to Guru Maharaja’s standards. We were thrilled to be able to provide meals that exemplified the principles we were talking about all weekend.
Guru Maharaja was accompanied by Yajna Purusa dasa, Rupa Ragunatha dasa, Sri Radhika dasi, and Krishna Kirtan dasa, Kandarpa Manjari dasi, and Radhika. This small group of devotees was just the right combination to make the students feel comfortable. After an introductory lecture, Guru Maharaja taught everyone how to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. He had us repeat one line at time, then two, and then four. Eventually he had everyone standing and swaying while chanting. As I looked around the room, I was happy see so many people trying to absorb themselves in hearing by closing their eyes and deeply focusing on the words. Guru Maharaja then answered many interesting questions. The program concluded with Kandarpa Manjari leading a beautiful kirtana.
The next day many people commented on how peaceful and relaxed they felt that night when they went to bed, after such a calming and spiritually enlightening evening.
Please listen to the lecture and view the photographs below: