A Real Treat
So many registered. Our visiting monk from South Africa, Bhakti Brhat Bhagavat Swami, organized a retreat and people were registering. "Retreat? No, it's not a retreat," he corrected me, "it's Prabhupada's program."
Basically he was telling me that he was simply implementing the good old fashioned Hare Krishna program and conducting a concentrated course of hearing and chanting.
I was impressed because for this first of a four day treat (cancel the word retreat then) about 60 people turned out. Women in sarees and men in dhotis and kurtas, the traditional dress code, came to participate. Some people took time off work to gain something more than just monetary gain.
Bhakti, or devotion to Krishna begins with sravanam, listening, followed by kirtanam, chanting, and that is primarily the intention of this program. One day the focus would be a marathon of eight hours of chanting known as 64 rounds or revolutions on the meditation beads. Each strand of beads has 108 beads to finger with the thumb and middle finger, the main tool for what's called japa.
The weekend would be a four day process of purification. I would not be in a position to be terribly involved due to prior devotional appointments set up. I did take a peek in Govinda's hall where most of the program is being held. Everyone was sitting nicely chanting. Inside my heart I thought, "I wish I could be inside the circle of japa chanters, but I can't sit for very long."
You see, I have a condition. It's called itchy feet.