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Chant in Service: Call and Response Foundation annual retreat
October 4, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - October 6, 2019 @ 2:30 pm
(NB: I’ll be leading kirtan Friday night, followed by some of the other folks listed below.)
You’re invited to join the Call and Response Foundation for the Third Semi-Annual Chant in Service Retreat at Camp Huckins located on the shores of beautiful Lake Ossipee in Freedom, New Hampshire.
The retreat will follow in the words of “Love. Serve. Remember.” As the title suggests, this will be a retreat focused on opening and serving the heart through both chanting and service (Seva). Over the weekend, we will have daily lakeside kirtans and dharma talks, morning yoga, cook and serve a meal for the local Dinner Bell (a program that helps those in the community who are trying to make ends meet), with evening fireside kirtans.
A unique aspect of this retreat is its service component: taking the love and compassion that we cultivate and sharing it with others. In this spirit, we will be preparing and serving a meal on Saturday night for the Dinner Bell Program in Ossipee, New Hampshire. The Dinner Bell program helps families and individuals stretch their budget and provide meals for those who are hungry. The Dinner Bell offers an opportunity for people from all walks of life to join together to share a meal as a united community. We will prepare the food at Camp Huckins on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and carpool to the Dinner Bell sites to serve the meals. Then we will return together as a group for dinner and the evening events.
Throughout the weekend we will be exploring the relationship between Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga and using the Gopis’ Rasa Lila dance with Krishna and Hanuman’s one-pointed service to Sita and Ram as our guide. We will discuss the deep and intimate inner experience of the devotional mood and the essence of surrender along the spiritual path.
From K.K Sah:
“In the West the word “surrender” means the act of yielding to the power of another or the acknowledgement of defeat. This does not, in any way, reflect the true meaning of the process of surrender in the Hindu spiritual tradition. As far as my own knowledge, I have not found an equivalent English word for the process which, in Hindi, is called sharanagati—the process of surrender.
Sharanagati is a combination of the two words shara, meaning shelter, and agat, meaning one who has come to be sheltered. The person who has come to the place of refuge or shelter can be called a sharanagat. Only a person who is afraid of worldly misery comes for relief to the shelter of a powerful entity. But this phrase cannot express the emotional vibrations that the word sharanagat bears in it.
At times when someone who is afraid takes the shelter of any person or place, he is fully dependent upon that shelter, and he does not even think of any other help for his liberation. In this state of shelter, he surrenders all of his body, mind and other sense organs to the situation. Like in the situation of a drowning person, he surrenders himself to the person coming for his rescue. In the situation of a person terrified of the scorching heat from the sun during peak hours of the summer noon, if he finds a tree for shelter then he cannot ignore it at any cost. The mental state of that drowning person, or the peace felt at the moment the overheated person finds relief cannot be expressed in words. But, even these worldly examples are not complete in the real understanding of a sharanagat.”
Keshav Kishor Sharan (Radhe Radhe), is a Bhakti Guru of the Nimbarki Vaisnava tradition from Vrindavana India and currently serves at the Braj Mandir of Sri Radha Bhakti in Holbrook, MA. Keshav Sharan comes from a long, multi-generational history of Bhakti Yogis and took his initiation in the Nimbarki Vaisnava tradition at the age of seven. Deeply touched by the teachings, he was leading dharma talks and kirtan in the local temples of Vrindavana by the time he was a teenager. When he came to the United States he began teaching at universities and in people’s homes until 2008 when the land was purchased for the Braj Mandir. He has since been there serving full time.
The essence of the Nimbarki tradition is the cultivation of unconditional love and loving understanding of dualistic non-dualism. Sri Radha Bhakti is a diverse community which serves whole-heartedly without any monetary exchange; they value that the whole world is one family and that service is the freedom of the soul. The community of Sri Radha Bhakti joins together in japa meditation, kirtan, dharma discourses, sharing meals (prasadam), and associating with Bhakti Yoga Practitioners.
To learn more about Bhakti Yoga at Braj Mandir, visit www.sriradhabhakti.org
Kripa was born out of the love of Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba, and Hanuman and inspired by their central teachings of “Love, Service, Remembrance, and Truth.” They are deeply committed to the wide accessibility of Kirtan and Bhakti Yoga, and they have partnered with the Call and Response Foundation to offer affordable, donation-based offerings and prison outreach. Their recent west coast tour was a profound experience for the group bringing, them deeper into their devotional practices and understanding of Bhakti. The tour brought began in Portland, OR and traveled the down the coast as far as San Diego. On the tour, Kripa held kirtans at San Quentin State Prison and Portland State Correctional Institution as well as playing at yoga studios and private homes along the way. To see more about Kripa’s prison work please watch their reflection video on Youtube