The Gita Nagari farm in Port Royal, Pennsylvania has launched the Bhakti Immersion Experience, a Krishna aware residency for brand new and skilled bhakti practitioners aged 18 to twenty-eight with three, six or nine-month choices.
The program is tailor-made in direction of each second era devotees trying to get some formalized ashram coaching and expertise in full-time temple/farm service, and younger people who find themselves comparatively new to bhakti and wish to study extra.
“It’s a finite period of time, so it’s not so intimidating, but it’s a really full and full expertise,” says Champakalata-sakhi Devi Dasi, co-facilitor of outreach and training with Vinoda Kovida Das.
Alongside the several-month-long Bhakti Immersion Experience, there are additionally Bhakti Yoga Weekends for many who have already got some basis in bhakti observe, and wish to study in regards to the way of life of a bhakti yoga practitioner, however have a busy schedule and might solely get away for a weekend or per week at a time.
Finally, there are Weekend Yoga and Meditation Retreats for full newcomers to bhakti.
Participants keep at snug lodging with single or double room choices on the 420-acre Gita Nagari farm. Established in 1974, the farm is dwelling to the gorgeous Sri Sri Radha Damodara, 80 cows, considered one of solely two licensed Ahimsa slaughter-free dairies within the U.S., a functioning vegetable backyard and a CSA.
Covid-19 security protocols are in place for the protection of contributors – all in a single day visitors are vaccinated, whereas daytime visitors are required to put on masks and social distance.
“As a farm undertaking, Gita Nagari has a possibility for individuals to get an expertise of the approach to life that Srila Prabhupada wished us to reside, which is straightforward dwelling, excessive considering,” says Vinoda Kovida Das. “We’re making an attempt to develop that as a lot as potential right here. So we discover that it’s very engaging for individuals to come back and see us rising meals, taking good care of cows and the land, and concurrently doing deity worship and outreach within the close by metropolis. It’s a really full expertise for contributors – it doesn’t matter what their pursuits are, they are often engaged right here.”
For the Bhakti Immersion Experience, enrollment is open, so candidates can be part of at any time and select the three, six or 9 month program. While in Gita Nagari, they develop a morning sadhana (non secular observe); partake in scrumptious prasadam and milk merchandise from Gita Nagari’s protected cows; and study many several types of providers akin to gardening, cooking, working with the cows and creamery, tending to Tulasi Devi, making flower garlands, cleansing the temple and different areas, and facilitating visitors.
They additionally take part in outreach applications at native universities, attend retreats hosted by Gita Nagari, have neighborhood kirtans and festivals, take yoga asana lessons, and obtain a profession aptitude workshop and one-on-one steerage via a mentorship program. To rejuvenate, there are leisure actions in nature, and at some point off per week. Participants additionally make lifelong pals and get to listen to from the broader neighborhood of discovered senior devotees.
Meanwhile there are systematic research applications relying on how lengthy an expertise one chooses. The three-month program consists of programs on all eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-gita, two cantos of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vaishnava Etiquette, and a Kirtan course on kirtan philosophy and temper, in addition to the right way to play devices and lead kirtan.
The six-month program consists of the whole lot within the three-month program plus a Nectar of Devotion course, ongoing kirtan course, Gaudiya Vaishnava History and classes from Sri-Caitanya-caritamrita.
Finally the nine-month program consists of the whole lot within the six-month program plus programs on the Nectar of Instruction, Sri Isopanisad, and Bhakti and Sustainability.
Those who will not be in a part of their life once they can decide to dwelling in a temple for a number of months however nonetheless need the bhakti expertise, and have already got some coaching in sadhana and bhakti yoga, can attend Bhakti Yoga Weekends. These experiences, which may final a weekend, a number of weekends or a full week relying on the candidate’s choice, embody participation within the every day morning program on the temple, yoga lessons, a guided farm tour, neighborhood kirtan, Bhagavad-gita lessons, prasadam meals, limitless therapeutic time with the cows, forest walks, talks on sustainable dwelling, and repair alternatives.
“This is a superb program for individuals who need to perceive what it’s wish to reside in a temple, whereas nonetheless sustaining their job and household, and many others,” Champakalata-sakhi says.
The Weekend Yoga and Meditation Retreats, in the meantime, supply related experiences because the Bhakti Yoga Weekends, solely tailor-made to finish newcomers.
Speaking about the advantages he hopes to see from Gita Nagari’s Bhakti Immersion Experience, Vinoda Kovida says he wish to see contributors get “a healthful expertise of bhakti – training it, dwelling it, studying the philosophy and providing service.” On a nationwide degree, he provides, “We wish to see this program create extra strategic cooperation amongst ISKCON facilities within the U.S., the place people come to Gita Nagari to obtain coaching and inspiration of their bhakti observe, after which return, enlivened, to supply service at their facilities.”
Champakalata-sakhi emphasizes that the aim of Bhakti Immersion is to not have members of different facilities keep at Gita Nagari long-term, however to offer a service to these temples and communities who could not have the ability by giving their members the ashram expertise, after which sending them again to take part to a good higher extent in their very own communities.
“We see a distinction in devotees who’ve had an ashram expertise and people who haven’t,” she explains. “People who by no means have that have could also be coming to applications for years however could not know the right way to supply their meals, set up a morning sadhana observe, or do sensible providers, and will not ever get to systematically research the scriptures. Even in the event that they perceive about chanting sixteen rounds and following the 4 regulative rules, however haven’t had an ashram expertise, some don’t make it long-term – they could observe for just a few years, after which their hearth could burn out. But I see that when individuals have an ashram expertise, and so they go actually, actually deep, it offers them the instruments and the muse that they want for a lifetime of service in Srila Prabhupada’s motion. And it doesn’t imply they’re going to be a temple devotee for the remainder of their life. But they’ve had that temple expertise, which provides them the power to have a job and a household whereas making their dwelling a temple. So we need to give people who form of expertise.”
To apply for the Bhakti Immersion Experience, please go to: https://www.iskcongitanagari.org/kc-gap-year/