Moundsville, West Virginia
It was like a real pilgrimage—people moving together, on foot, with a spiritual purpose. From the main temple in New Vrndavana, where the men's retreat was held this week, we commenced the kirtan chanting, and from there walked, bypassing the popular lodge, moving next to the lake where swans were plying over its waters, up the hill, and to the Palace of Gold. The movement of pilgrims (this time, all males) was how I imagined it in the period of Chaitanya five hundred years ago, when walking parties were conducted with destinations of tirthas, sacred places.
When we reached the Palace, we entered and continued our chant in an uproarious way. The joy experienced was boundless. Following this was a great meal. Lasagna was on the menu. A great bonfire was started as night fell, when camp-fire stories were told of inspiring sorts. We all sat on the grass, listening, laughing. No mosquitoes. But the daytime events were on par with the evening programs. https://www.instagram.com/p/B2p8vawAjY6/?igshid=1vuflc5lu6iux
Break-out sessions were meaningful. I sat in on the group that discussed the topic of affection in relationships. This is a pertinent topic because in our spiritual community you have those people of a rigid mindset in this regard, who speak of detachment as the ultimate goal in life. Others believe strongly in the more practical realm of affection and intimacy in a relationship. This subject is of course, more applicable to the husband and wife scenario, and I'm a monk right? Still it is necessary to speak about the accommodating factor under the controversial subject: illicit sex.
May the Source be with you!